King Vs. King, continuing on from this first bit and this second bit, from the above art by palalife.
“Once you lose,” said Erik, “I expect you in my rooms by tonight. I hope you’ve already packed.”
Raising an eyebrow, Charles answered, “Very well. May the better man win.”
“Indeed,” said Erik, and he spared an amused look up and down Charles, lingering on the tiny golden crown with its ludicrous heart-shaped ruby. The better man! This would be quick.
“The first combatant to yield to the other will serve as his consort until the next Engagement,” said Darwin, the arbiter; hailing from the borderlands in the mountains, he was neutral to both countries. “The winner will be declared when he is able to pin his opponent, best two out of three. If either combatant leaves the ring before the end of the Engagement, he forfeits. Gentlemen, to your corners.”
The two regents took their positions, and at a word from Darwin, the Engagement began.
At once, Charles put his fingers to his temple, gazing intently at Erik— attempting to use his telepathy, no doubt. Erik lifted his battle scepter, topped with the beast from the Lehnsherr royal crest, the fearsome kingshark, crowned and proud. Charles frowned, stymied, and Erik flashed a smile to match that of the cloisonné shark. Of course he had come equipped with precautions against Charles’s mind. The shark was set with jewels in its eyes and crown, bespelled to avert telepathy by none other than the brilliant magician, McCoy. Erik cast a satisfied look into the stands to seek out McCoy, who leaned on his staff, smiling uncertainly in return.
Erik raised his hand toward Charles, calling on his own magnetic might. But Charles raised his battle scepter, scarcely more than a wand bearing the Xavier circle-X symbol… and Erik’s sense for metal faded before he could reach out for Charles. He couldn’t detect the scepter or even that silly little gold crown. Nothing of his magnetism could touch Charles.
“Very well,” Erik growled, and he used his power to levitate his scepter, speeding it toward Charles, the sharp nose of the cloisonné shark cutting through the air. The crowd gasped in awe.
Charles touched his brow and released his own wand. The decorative wings below the X fluttered, and the wand took flight, meeting Erik’s scepter in the center of the ring. When it came too near, Erik’s power over his scepter began to fade.
“McCoy!” Erik shouted to the stands, for no other could have devised such a wand. McCoy pushed his glasses up his nose, looking shifty, raising his hand in a shrug. Of course. Like Darwin, McCoy was from the neutral borderlands; he owed allegiance neither to the Lehnsherrs nor the Xaviers, and clearly, he had sold his magical wares to both.
Enraged, Erik directed his scepter up and away. He brought the shark’s pointed nose down toward the jewel in the center of the X, surely the seat of its enchantment. The wand flitted out of the way at the last moment, diving between Erik and his scepter, nearly costing Erik his hold on his weapon.
Erik ran along the edge of the ring, moving to get a better magnetic grip on his scepter, and Xavier hurried around the ring as well, keeping his distance. Erik watched him, inspired. Naturally Xavier shied from a true confrontation. Victory was still well within Erik’s grasp.
He played along with the charade for a few minutes, the tussle between their weapons drawing cheers from the crowd. But when the time was right, Erik broke toward the center of the ring, grabbed his scepter from the air and headed straight for Xavier.
Charles, however, was not as surprised as Erik expected, and his own wand flew back to his hand ahead of Erik. No matter! No longer reliant on his magnetism, Erik swung his weapon toward the wand, and to his satisfaction, the shark’s nose shattered the jewel at the cross of the X. He reached with his power for the wand and Charles’s crown, but he could feel neither; too late he realized the blue sphere at the base of the wand must be the real source of its power.
Still, he hardly needed his mastery of metal in this fight. He wielded the scepter with his own strength, driving Charles to the edge of the ring as Charles dodged the threatening shark. He was much more nimble than Erik anticipated, and as he evaded the latest attempted blow, he ducked past Erik and swept his wand wide, the flat circle of the X catching Erik in an embarrassing rap across the backside.