PREVIOUSLY: Night had a royally charming date with a princess. Now, what will the hockey players come up with?
[Colt steps up to the galley of hosts and calms himself with a deep breath before setting his sights on Wildfire.]
Colt: Wildfire, would you go on a date with me?
[For a moment, no one speaks, almost as if the room waits with bated breath. Then, Wildfire breaks into a grin and tosses her head back in a laugh.]
Wildfire: You really think you can handle me, boy? I don’t normally do this whatchamacallit-dating nonsense, so consider yourself lucky that I can’t stand you up.
[She begins to stride towards the room of illusions and virtual reality.]
Wildfire: Try not to bore me.
[Colt manages a smirk, always ready for some good competition]
Colt: What fun would it be if it wasn’t a challenge?
[Colt’s eyes light up with interest when he enters the room of illusions.]
Colt: Cool. It’s like a real life Star Trek holodeck! How do you turn it on?
[She crosses her arms with a smirk.]
Wildfire: Figure it out yourself. Impress me.
Colt: Oh, so that’s how we’re going to play this? Alright, well, science fiction knowledge don’t fail me now.
[He steps forward and looks up towards the ceiling like he’s speaking to the room directly]
Colt: Can I get a hockey rink, hold the ice? Please and thank you.
[The room transforms into a rink not unlike the one Colt is used to back home. He breathes a sigh of relief, staving off embarrassment for now.]
Colt: And two hockey sticks, one for me and one for my date.
[Once both sticks appear in his hands, he offers one to Wildfire, who has raised a brow.]
Colt: You seem like the type of person who’d enjoy a contact sport like this. You want to play a little game?
[She sweeps the stick into her grip, the shaft smacking audibly against her palm.]
Wildfire: If you don’t mind having your butt handed to you. What are the rules?
Colt: Heh, we’ll see about that. Hockey is simple.
[He looks up once again to issue another command.]
Colt: Last request, I promise. Can I get a dek hockey ball and a goalie for both sides?
[Two goalies appear in front of each net with different colored jerseys as well as a ball in Colt’s empty hand. Colt drops the ball in front of him and dribbles it back and forth with his stick.]
Colt: You want to use your stick to shoot the ball past my goalie, the blue one, and into the net.
[Colt pulled back and knocked a shot towards the red goalie’s net. The goalie caught it with his glove and passed it back to him.]
Colt: Every time you get it into the net, that’s a goal or a point. If I have the ball, you want to try to steal it from me. You can use your stick to take it away, or you can knock me off the ball with a check, which is kind of like shoulder tackling someone. Just remember that your goal is to get the ball.
[Colt started bouncing the ball up and down on his stick, trying to keep it from hitting the ground.]
Colt: No using your hands, only your stick. We’ll play a 1 on 1 game. First one to three goals wins. Does that sound fair to you, Miss ‘Impress Me’?
Wildfire: Heh, only three times to give it to you? You really know how to leave a girl wanting more.
[She twirls her stick around once, more like it was a spear than anything else.]
Wildfire: Game on, boy. So, will I get to ride you if I win, Colt?
[Colt loses his concentration and lets the ball fall to the ground. He turns away to hide his fierce blush.]
Colt: Hahahaha, I get it, cause my name is Colt, right? Um, why don’t we just get to playing the game and worry about the prizes later.
[Colt clears his throat and whispers a few encouraging words to himself as he moves towards the center of the rink with the ball.]
Colt: Don’t lose it, now. Your team is counting on you. You can do this.
[He spins back to face Wildfire, his composure restored, and he smiles as he rests the blade of the stick against the ball.]
Colt: I hate to disappoint you, but the only person who is going to be winning today, is me.
[He winds back and fires a shot that whistled past Wildfire and her goalie into the corner of the net in the blink of an eye. The nearby scoreboard displays the goal, making it 1-0.]
Colt: Oh wow, I was not expecting that to go in. Maybe I should’ve given you a countdown or something.
[The red goalie gives Wildfire the ball so she now has possession of it.]
Wildfire: Hmph. Don’t worry about me. Just watch this.
[She rears her stick back and, using her full strength, launches it straight at the ball, intending to shoot it in the direction of the opposite goal.
Colt suddenly gets flashbacks of Blake’s legendary shots and hits the deck to get clear of the oncoming bullet.
It sails right through the net, which rips with a terrific sound and changes the scoreboard to 1-1. Wildfire lets out a low whistle.]
Wildfire: Oh, is that all? All right then. Room, patch that hole up, will you?
[As the net repairs itself, she rolls back her shoulders and flashes Colt a grin.
Colt can’t hide his shock at the demonstration, and he’s suddenly grateful that he listened to his instincts.]
Colt: Good —-, what are you a superhero?
[Wildfire tilts her head to the side, almost as if considering that question seriously if only for a moment.
He dusts himself off as he stands back up. He takes the ball again and his expression turns more serious, completely focused and no longer holding anything back.]
Colt: Well, you’re certainly impressive. I’m not about to beat you in the strength department, but I still have a few tricks up my sleeve.
[Colt takes off with the lightning quick speed he’s known for, right towards Wildfire’s position]
Wildfire: Haha! Bring it on.
[Facing towards him, she begins to charge towards him as she would with an enemy on a battlefield.
Colt waits until he’s sure Wildfire will be unable to stop her forward momentum and then spins out of her way, chipping the ball up over her head in the process]
Colt: Ha, I’m not that stupid.
[The ball comes back down to the ground and he collects it, making a move to get the goalie out of position. He slides the ball between his legs and into the net for his second goal.
The scoreboard changes to 2-1 in favor of Colt and it is once again Wildfire’s ball.]
Colt: I’m not about to let you have the time to wind up again, so you’ll have to come up with something better to get passed me.
Wildfire: Heh. No problem.
[She bounces the ball on her stick once before vaulting it upwards. With a deafening crack, it shoots high up into the sky. While it’s still out of eyeshot, Wildfire barrels towards Colt like she’s fully prepared to tackle him.
Colt makes the mistake of getting distracted by the ball, trying to spot where it’s going to land. When he does notice Wildfire coming towards him, he barely avoids taking the full brunt of the blow but is still easily knocked flat on his back.]
Colt: First Paige, now this. Why do the girls hit me so much harder?
[He moans on the ground in pain, slowly getting back up again.
As soon as Colt had hit the ground, Wildfire began to circle back around, making a beeline for the place where she had flung the ball into the air. As gravity sends it hurtling back down, she slams her stick into it, spiking it straight towards the goal.
The goalie actually manages to catch it with his glove, but the power behind the shot forces his hand to fly back and into the net with the ball. The score is once again tied 2-2.]
Wildfire: Yes! This is being shown publicly, isn’t it? So, are you watching, Brooks? I bet you wish you were here!
Colt: If I lose this game, those guys will never let me live it down. Ending this now.
[His goalie bounces him the ball, and he takes a slap shot at the wall behind his own goal. The ball rebounds off the wall and it heads towards the opposing goalie. Colt turns and chases it down.
It takes a moment for Wildfire to track the quick-fire movement of the ball before realizing where it’s heading. Once she does, she takes after Colt like a lion with its prey. For a little while, she considers flinging her stick at him but, unsure of whether the rules allowed it, decides against it.
Colt took a quick peek at Wildfire. He beat her to the ball, but he knew he had to hurry the shot. As a result, it wasn’t as crisp as his other two shots, and the red goalie saves this one.]
Colt: Oh wonderful, so you guys can stop me. Why did I ask for goalies again?
[The ball once again bounces towards Wildfire’s position, and Colt panics as he spins around to go after it.
Could Wildfire outrace him? Maybe not, but even if throwing things at his head was debatably out of the question, she could at least try to intimidate him. As she charges forward to meet the ball, she begins to whirl the stick, circling it around and around in her hand like a baton or a halberd.
Colt immediately slows up. She wouldn’t actually hit him with that stick, would she? Then again, he never thoroughly went over any rules with her.]
Colt: ——, why do I have to be such a chicken?
[He didn’t have to worry about things like this during normal games because Blake and Paige were always around to do the fighting for him, but he can’t rely on them now. If everyone is watching this…]
Colt: There’s no way I’m backing down now.
[He continues towards Wildfire and he swings his stick, stopping the spinning, and locking the two sticks together like one would lock two swords.]
Colt: You’ll have to do better than that, Wildfire.
Wildfire: Hmph. Didn’t your papa ever teach you not to challenge a Valkyrie, boy?
[Flashing a grin, her free hand shoots for Colt’s stick, jerking him closer and into a lip-lock..]
Colt: Wait, wha– MPH!
[Colt freezes when her lips connect with his. He sees stars, and he is so stunned he forgets about the ball and the game. Even after the kiss has ended, he’s too shocked to even move.
Wildfire tosses him a smirk before she rushes for the ball, fully prepared to take another power swing at it.
Colt wakes up at the last possible moment and realizes what’s about to happen. In desperation, he reaches out his stick hoping to deflect the ball off course at the very least. The blade of his stick barely touches the incoming shot.]
Colt: —-, please be enough.
[The ball is slightly deflected and goes over the blue goalie’s head. Like a bullet ricocheting off concrete, the ball hits the back wall, then the east wall and finally zips past the red goalie and into the net. The Final score is Colt 3 – Wildfire 2.
Wildfire clenches her fingers over the stick, which cracks beneath her strength.]
Colt: Wow, um, that’s bad luck for you, huh?
Wildfire: Not just me. You’re the one who’s not getting lucky tonight.
[Colt let out a nervous laugh, the will to win and adrenaline wearing off along with his more serious demeanor.
With half a smile tugging at the corners of her mouth, Wildfire stretches her arms, touching one hand to her elbow.]
Wildfire: Aww, I should have tossed that stick at your big head when I had the chance. Anyway, was that it for our “date,” hotshot?
Colt: That was all I had planned. I hope you at least had a little bit of fun.
[He shifts uncomfortably like he’s considering something and then takes a steadying breath. He leans down and kisses Wildfire’s cheek.]
Colt: I really enjoyed myself. I haven’t been challenged like that in hockey for a long time. Thanks for indulging me.
[For a moment, Wildfire is silent, her body rigid and her eyes almost comically wide. Then, she bursts into laughter.]
Wildfire: You know what? I like you, Colt. If you ever want another work-out, you know I’m game.
[She takes a step forward but then stops.]
Wildfire: Oh, right. Your score. I’ll give you 4 stars for how much I’m into you and 3 for how much you’ve satisfied me. I can’t really give you a 5 until I’ve given you a ride.
[She clicks her tongue once before heading for the exit.]
Colt: Probably should’ve expected that.
[Colt sighs and makes his way through the exit, reuniting with his own team again.]
Colt: Sorry, guys. I did my best.
Blake: Good to know that your best is a C grade.
[Colt narrows his eyes at Blake’s insult. He is honestly getting pretty sick of his constant commentary.]
Colt: I think I did pretty good all things considered. I wasn’t too bad, right, Paige?
[Paige shifts uncomfortably and doesn’t make eye contact with him as she gives a half-hearted appraisal.]
Paige: Yeah, sure, you did great, Colt.
[Colt notices her slightly depressed state and moves to her front to attempt to catch her gaze, but she turns in another direction.]
Colt: What’s wrong? Are you mad at me?
Paige: N-No, I’m just… tired.
[She comes up with the flimsiest of excuses which doesn’t do much to calm Colt’s nerves.]
Colt: Those kisses didn’t mean anything! The first one was a complete surprise, and I was just trying to be a polite date with that cheek kiss.
Blake: You’re not seriously bothered by that, are you?
Paige: No, it’s nothing, really.
Jordan: She’s upset because you said like you haven’t been challenged like that in a long time.
[The other two are surprised, but Paige grows even quieter and tenses up like Jordan hit the nail on the head. Colt panics when he realizes his monumental error.]
Colt: Wait a second. That was– I– you–
Blake: Haha, nice job, superstar. How many times have you two 1v1’d each other over the past month alone?
Colt: I wasn’t trying to imply that you weren’t good competition, Paige! You’re still one of the best defensemen I’ve ever seen!
Blake: Oh please, stop sugarcoating it. She’s not a professional and she’s not some hardened warrior. Of course she can’t keep up with either of you two.
[Paige clenches her fists harder with every word Blake says. She knows he’s right, which makes the comment impossible to brush off.]
Colt: Before you judge anyone, you should actually be able to play the game without tripping over your own stick.
Blake: I don’t need to be a hockey expert to see that you’re only indulging her because you like her.
[Colt pales noticeably and he’s too embarrassed to even respond. Now even Jordan is starting to become angry.]
Jordan: Blake, enough.
Blake: Oh geez, —— forbid I inject some honesty into this team. She drags us into this ridiculous game show with a bunch of friggin superheroes, and then she has the nerve to get upset when one of those people outshines her? She can barely hold her own against your run of the mill human beings.
Paige: Shut up, Blake!!
[Blake’s gaze snaps back to her, startled out of his unrestrained rant.]
Paige: If you think the other teams are so much better, why don’t you join one of them? See if they’ll put up with you like we do. You are the most frustrating, infuriating, and rudest man I have ever met. You think I wanted to be your partner on defense?! No, I got stuck with you cause there was no other option.
[Paige’s anger isn’t like her previous episodes where she was uncontrolled and spouting a bunch of meaningless gibberish. Her words seem genuine which causes the normally callous Blake to falter.]
Paige: I’m sorry, Jordan, Colt. I need a minute to myself. I’ll be back in time for the next round.
[Paige moves into another room to find a place to calm down. Jordan and Colt glare at Blake, who suddenly doesn’t have a lot to say.]
Colt: Way to go, idiot. The one person willing to put up with you, and you blew it.
[Blake doesn’t respond or even face his remaining teammates as he hides his pained expression.]
[Wind has his forehead in an open palm, clearly irritated by the surrounding chatter. In contrast, Ambrosia looks upon the fourth team with fairly knitted brows. Before she can react, Arsenik takes a step forward and reassures her with a smile.]
Arsenik: I’ll see to them, Miss Ambrosia. You should be preparing for your date.
Ambrosia: My date? No one has asked me yet unless…you are, Sir Arsenik?
[His brows rise up as if in surprise before a small chuckle escapes him.]
Arsenik: You shouldn’t tease me. Don’t you know how dangerous that is? I just may take you up on it, and then, where would we be? Ah, but I’m sure you’re all too aware of that. How cruelly you toy with my heart, mistress.
Wind: I thought you said you would check up on them.
Arsenik: It almost sounds as if you would rather volunteer.
[At Wind’s withering stare, Ambrosia gives a soft laugh.]
Ambrosia: Oh, I would happily go! For there is clearly no suitor awaiting me and Sir Arsenik so does enjoy his games.
Arsenik: I spoke in earnestness, Miss Ambrosia. I do believe you are far more likely to be chosen for the next date than I am. You were already asked once before. Meanwhile, I have nothing but time on my hands. Try not to eat her while I’m gone, Imugi.
Wind: Don’t worry. I’m sure she tastes like trash.
Night: A guilty pleasure then? Those are the best.
Ambrosia: Ah, it pleases me to hear you say that, Sir Wind. I would indeed turn your stomach, so please don’t eat me.
[As Wind regards her with an unreadable look, Arsenik begins to face away from them but then pauses.]
Arsenik: By the way, I also meant what I said about toying with my heart, Miss Ambrosia.
[Despite his words, the smile that darts across his lips makes it unclear whether it was another jest. Before Ambrosia can reply, he turns and heads in the direction that Paige last went.]
Date’s interest: 4
Date’s satisfaction: 3
The hockey players’s overall score for now is 7.
We’ll have to leave you on a bit of a cliffhanger for now. But did that date spark your interest and ignite your passions? Then, you know what to do at the end of this Love Challenge. Vote, vote, vote your heart out!