SNF 2014.11 - SNF: "Past Lives, Present Parades"

Description: Fighting atop an ice sculpture turned into a parade float, Gabriel Kai and Haru Sakuraba have their first meeting. While Haru's tricksy yoyo technique seems to give him an early edge, it may be that Gabriel's distinctive brand of psychological warfare is what clinches victory in the end! (Winner: Gabriel) [Burnout DMs Used: 1]

Spectacles of battle prowess, parades, floats! BEADS. . well okay maybe not beads. But everything else is there The spectacle, the show and maybe no one really has heard of one of the athletes atop the float, that doesn't matter because no one really pays a lot of attention to these things anyway. The streets are lined with people and they're over loaded with things to look at, things to see. The Dragon Float is surely one of the coolest ones, but don't forget giant Olaff that seems to steal the attention of most of the younger attendees (and by proxy their parents). It's awfully hard to compete with disney on a big release year.

Gabriel couldn't care less about all of this if she tried. She's not a well known athlete, she only got her name on this ticket for one reason. Haru. The one who defeated that strange demonic Lilith was worth consideration and testing. Unfortunately he is also still in high school, and being an adult herself it might look bad if Gabriel stalked him and jumped him after school or something. SNF provided an opportunity therefore like none other. And so Gabriel has been put in her place, awaiting the producers and the assistants and all of the other red tape preventing her from starting already. For most people this is a show, for her this is an experiment.

Tonight Gabriel is dressed like someone who is going to be participating in some sort of battle clothes, that is to say not her usual business casual attire. She has a long skirt that looks almost like hakuma and a gi on top with a very thin neoprene body-covering suit underneath that. The colors, white skirt, black gi and red underneath ensures she will be stylish.

Standing in her place as the time for the battle nears she bows toward her opponent, clasps her necklace while her eyes and lips show the faintest of smiles, though not friendly. No not friendly, calculating.


Haru Sakuraba is from Amami Ooshima in southern Japan, part of the Ryukyu chain. This means, among other things, that he's from a climate just shy of the tropics. Long summers and mild winters were the norm, and snow was more of a legend than a reality, being more associated with the northern regions like Hokkaido. Thus despite the serious problems that four feet of snow can cause in an urban setting, Haru is quite happy to be participating in SNF this week and, well, for the snow in general. When your birthplace is known more for devastating typhoons than blizzards, you never get to do things like make snow angels.

The idea of fighting on a giant ice parade float is... maybe a different story, but it will certainly present an interesting challenge. Having trudged across town from Justice Academy in the snow, just to see the way the city looked. He's certainly dressed for the weather, glad for the excuse to break the Justice dress code for a bit, since there's no regulation school parka. He's wearing thick, dark brown corduroys tucked into tan faux-fur calf-high boots. Over that he's got on a dark blue insulated shirt just visible under a black fleece jacket with a single gray stripe, and a scarf of the same blue as his shirt wrapped around neck. His face has that rosy-cheeked expression of 'WoW! Snow!' you might expect from someone in this situation.

As he very carefully ascends the ice dragon float and somewhat unsteadily gets his footing atop it, squaring off against his opponent and realizing he needs to do a better job of watching SNF the week after it airs so he can figure out who these people he's never MET are.

He gives Gabriel a little wave with a black-gloved hand, giving her the once-over at the same time. The woman's aura reads as remarkably focused and disciplined, considering she can't be older than her early 20s. Haru actually blinks in surprise at that, and at her neutral-ish expression. "Ah, I'm Haru SakuraWHOA--"

And then his arms are pinwheeling a bit as he slips, almost falls, and rights himself at the last second. "Aheh. This is gonna be a challenge."

The cold is just something to be overcome, the ice is an even disadvantage, so the different aspects of this battle are all more or less going to result in probably an even field. Now that would be different if Haru had shown up in ice skates, but luckily he did not. There is still some time for casual conversation and being polite costs nothing.

"My name is Gabriel Kai," Gabriel responds in an even tone, "You are the one who fought Lilith, correct?"

Straight to the point, brow raised and hands at her side, Gabriel isn't one for showmanship. She's here for a purpose and gosh darnit, she's going to fulfill her purpose.

If There is any sense that she is cold or especially affected by the odd arena, she's doing a good job of hiding that fact. Her breath fogs, bug she suppresses any shivering (and actually the neoprene underclothes are probably making her a little warmer than comfortable). Then again there is the slipping problem. She has a pair of shiny black boots that probably arn't designed for standing on ice. If she was familiar with Smash Bros Brawl she might consider the possibility that the ice could cause a slip up at the most un-opportune times. Instead she just notes Haru slipping and continues to stare at him. No sign of amusement or disrespect at his near fall, but nor does she offer any sympathies or help. Though it could be considered she is being rude, the fact that she is here to beat on a juvenile doesn't speak well to her moral compass to begin with (or the compass of those who organized the fight).

"I'm ready to begin when you are," She offers, politely, apparently not aware or concerned with an official start to the fight.

His expression was absolutely the red-cheeked flush and smile of embarassment once he got to steady footing again, but once he's actually in a better place, Haru quickly seems taken aback by Gabriel's total business-like mien. Of course, most of the fighters he's encountered so far have been... let's use the word eccentric, with the exception of Hotaru Futaba, who was honestly just anxiously goofy as Haru himself was. This is his first time encountering someone who's All Business, so it's quite striking. But he seems to take it in stride; Gabriel's attire says 'serious martial artist', after all, and discipline is certainly part of any good training regimen...

"Lil...ith?" Haru asks at the quetion put to him, wracking his brain for a moment. His memory throws up an image of the winged bat girl from last week and the realization visibly dawns on him, his eyes widening in recollection (among other emotional reactions...) "Ah, the 'Fighting Pixie'. Yes! Just last week. It was, um..." There's a pause while Haru scratches the back of his neck, looking off to the side. "It was a unique experience."

But then she more or less allows him to start things off, and Haru nods. "Yes! Alright. Good luck to you, Kai-san," he says, and then with the announcers realizing the fight's about to start, the bell rings and the float begins slowly moving through the streets!

As for Haru, he tests the ice, then starts closing in on Gabriel. There's a flick of the wrist, his chosen weapon -- a yoyo -- dropping in to his hand, but as he's about to swing it at his opponent in a testing strike, the ice gets the better of him, and the Justice student starts... sliding across the float's surface at Gabriel in an ungainly, unprepared, accidental tackle. "Waaaaaaah--!"

COMBATSYS: Haru has started a fight here.

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Haru             0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Gabriel has joined the fight here on the right meter side.

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Haru             0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0          Gabriel

COMBATSYS: Gabriel endures Haru's Light Random Weapon!

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Haru             0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0          Gabriel

Right so this was the young man, it never pays to leave things to chance, so why not ask, why not be sure. Fighting Pixie wasn't what Gabriel expected and she looks a little perplexed, but that quickly clears when the time comes for Gabriel lecture or hear herself speak. And so

"Excellent, I have come to defeat you for Lilith." Gabriel meanwhile takes a ready stance and doesn't appear even remotely concerned with the fight to come. You could chalk this up to discipline or being a trained martial artist, but more likely you could attribute it to her under estimating Haru. . Also it isn't like Lilith asked, instead Gabriel looked into Lilith after meeting her and found the SNF event. They're not friends, but since Lilith had gotten the upper hand in that encounter it only makes sense that Gabriel would try to one her up by defeating Haru.

This is more or less what is going through her mind when she finally notices that Haru is coming toward her like an out of control bicycle messenger who also plays bike polo and is totally a hipster. That's the imagine in Gabriel's mind as she gets struck and the only saving grace is now Haru is in her face.

"Take this seriously! " Exclaims Gabriel, looking embarrassed and red in the face. Is she upset that Haru slipped or that she couldn't come up with an effective defense or that she basically just got caught day dreaming? It's anyone's guess. Now that they're both slipping, Gabriel tries to grab Haru about the collar and transfer her momentum into him so she can at least stop and he can go sliding into the ice. Maybe next time she'll try to toss him off the float entirely!

COMBATSYS: Haru blocks Gabriel's Medium Throw.

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Haru             0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0          Gabriel

Well, uncontrolled fall into your opponent isn't exactly the most graceful way to start a fight, but it appears to connect? Sort of? So even as he's careening into Gabriel, Haru is willing to put it in the 'could have gone worse' category. This is because he hasn't been at this fighting thing long and does not think to consider what it means that he doesn't STOP when he hits Gabriel, or that she's now reaching for him and he's in too close to do anything about it.

'Take this seriously!'

"Wha...?" And then Gabriel's got him around the arm, because at the last second Haru twists his body away just enough that she can't get a grip on a nicer, softer target like his throat. But the lady fighter still sends Haru past her like a matador with a nicely twisted arm for good measure. "Wh-whoa...!" Slipping past her, he sees the dragon-float's tail looming in the distance, and with it the steep potential drop OFF of it that implies. Exerting all his will, he manages to get himself to a stop before turning back to his opponent.

"I... I am taking this seriously! But ice is slippery! And what do you mean, 'defeat me for Lilith'?" This is a lot to take in all of a sudden. Are she and the bat-winged girl friends? The eccentric, bubbly young succubus (not that Haru knows that's what she is) hardly seems a match for the staid and focused individual in front of him.

Deciding that he doesn't want to chance things a second time, Haru's approach is now a little more considered, a little more methodical. Nearing Gabriel, he snaps out his wrist, flicking out that yoyo he put in his hand before. His plan is to wrap it around her arm, then heave her around in a tight horizontal circle before letting her drift into the air, then snapping the yoyo around any grip he can get and redirecting her momentum right into the float surface! If he can do it without falling over, anyway.

COMBATSYS: Gabriel blocks Haru's Jade Turbulence.

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Haru             0/-------/------=|==-----\-------\0          Gabriel

Good he's taking it seriously. He demonstrates it by saying so, but he also complains about the ice which is a mark against him. Gabriel looks annoyed.
"Yes, defeat you for Lilith, did you not hear me the first time? It means I am going to defeat you so I can-" Gabriel stops herself, not wanting to give away the game which is actually to one up Lilith. Instead she clamps her mouth tight at that point and raises her guard, expecting an attack, but not a Yoyo.

"I said take this seriously-!" she exclaims as it wraps around her forearm. Then she's yanked into the air. Oh so he really is taking this seriously, she seems to think.

Gabriel looks less annoyed.

There must be a display screen somewhere because it can't be easy to see what is going on here on top of a float, and yet they cheer, they react and they have a favorite. Perhaps the antics of Haru, or the yoyo or just the fact he is younger, but it is clear by the cheering that begins when Gabriel is brought into the air that he is the preferred fighter to the crowd. Gabriel meanwhile is focused on completing her aim and brings herself around in mid air to come down instead on top of Haru.

Stealing a page from the books of chunli, and maybe Vega and Hotaru and countless others with a head stomp move, Gabriel tries to do the head stomp move on Haru. Luckily it's been turned into such a generic attack across genre's of fighting that it is unlikely a cease and desist letter is in the mail.

COMBATSYS: Haru counters Heel Stomp from Gabriel with Topaz Vigilance.

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Haru             0/-------/------=|====---\-------\0          Gabriel

Okay, that demand to take things seriously is starting to wear down on Haru's nerves, and it shows on his face. Perhaps... a little too much, because as Gabriel somehow wriggles out of his previous technique and starts dropping toward him out of the sky, she can likely briefly the sudden set of his jaw, the look of determination that crosses his face. Well, and the fact that he says, quite loudly, "I -AM-!"

And then the OTHER hand, the one that didn't have a yoyo in it before, suddenly snaps up and snags Gabriel's extended kicking leg with a SECOND yoyo, which Haru uses to swing her out and around his position, whipping her up into the briefly before striking out with the first yoyo like a flail, smacking Gabriel out of midair, out and away from him.

For a second, his countering technique successful, Haru just sits there breathing loudly, puffs of white steam clouding the air in front of him, surprised at the feeling of annoynace surging through his body... and actively attempting to suppress it. When he feels like he's got his breath back, he looks at Gabriel with as even an expression as he can muster. "Please, Kai-san... just because I use a strange weapon doesn't mean I don't take this seriously. I'm trying my best! I hope you are too."

Not going according to plan, Gabriel wasn't expecting a second yoyo and ending up having to alter her plan mid air doesn't work out either, so when the second yoyo is sent at her she sort of ends up landing on her behind and looking more than a little surprised. Wow. She picks herself up with some care because she's on ice and apparently learned from Haru's own antics on the slippery surface, but it's obvious she's concerned about falling over. The way she distributes her weight coming up and occasionally stops mid stream indicates that right now she is really concerned about an ungraceful spill.

"That is not a weapon," Gabriel replies flattly and then continues, "There is no world in which I will accept a children's toy is a weapon!" She exclaims, looking rather more invested in if Haru is using a legitimate weapon than ought to be needed. It hurt after all right? So clearly he can use it as a weapon, but no, she refuses to accept it, so moving on. .

Gabriel doesn't stay still for very long either, she goes right on the attack with a jumping assault on Haru. At least she isn't telling him to be serious.

"When you use a real weapon I will believe you are taking this serously!" she exclaims, oh well so much for that.

Her intent, if she can pull it off is to land on Haru's shoulders and charge up a blast of energy in her palm to thrust into his face before flipping off again. The audience meanwhile seems to be having a great time. A float, a parade and someone whose young and cool using yoyo's as weapons? And the second trick yoyo coming out was like woah! How much cooler than that can you get?

COMBATSYS: Haru endures Gabriel's Flash of White.

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Haru             0/-------/---====|=====--\-------\0          Gabriel

"Then I think your world," Haru says to Gabriel, with an expression of genuine sadness, "is kind of a small one."

And really, he DOES seem sad that Gabriel doesn't appear to 'get' it, that she thinks of what he's using to fight with as merely toys, as indicators that he isn't giving his best. A tiny part of Haru, deep inside, probably agrees with her. But that's why he has to work all the harder to not let that voice win out. His way of fighting has roots in Wudan and Shaolin martial arts going back centuries in China... just because he adapted meteor hammer techniques to work with a yoyo doesn't mean he's not taking this seriously.

And perhaps that's why he seems to make a tactical error when Gabriel leaps at him, looking to plant that blast of light right in his face. Certainly, it doesn't SEEM advantageous to him that he doesn't even appear to try and get out of the way, taking the full force of the attack right on the chin. But careful observers may notice one important detail: a single yoyo lying on the ground in front of him, motionless, left there after his last attack.

As soon as Gabriel tries to jump away from Haru, he leaps into action, yanking the yoyo upwards as hard as possible so that it, ideally, smacks right into the bottom of Gabriel's chin like an uppercut. "If winning is the only way I can convince you how sincere I am," Haru yells mid-attack, "then I guess that's what I have to do!"

COMBATSYS: Haru successfully hits Gabriel with Crushing Strike.

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Haru             0/-------/---====|=======\-------\0          Gabriel

Not being the most aware of the people around them or how they feel, Gabriel doesn't pick up on anything that Haru is telling her. At least she doesn't seem to, her expression seems laced with some irritation, but she seems to be letting it show on purpose. No doubt her feelings and judgements cloud her to what she is being told, but that can't be said for the audience.

Clever producers watching this fight could easily see a storyline unfold, Haru having already won a bout before would be a clear favorite to make bank. With some clever shots and editing done with a very small delay no less, they are able to weave together a tale of overcoming prejudice to beat all odds. Our young hero Haru must fight to prove himself to the old guard (old being Gabriel because she's older, really not a flattering light to be cast in) Meanwhile a quick note to the announcer and suddenly the story is all the rage. Can Haru do it? Can he overcome adversity and prejudice? No doubt the youth will just eat this up.

Meanwhile Gabriel doesn't look the most plussed by his attack until she gets hit by the yoyo just as intended. Now she looks annoyed.

" I don't care.. what kind of weapon you are using." She says in a dark voice, "But I will not allow you to continue like this." She doesn't elaborate on what that means, instead she just aims a palm strike at Haru's mid chest, fully extending herself into the blow.

COMBATSYS: Haru dodges Gabriel's Strong Punch.

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Haru             0/-------/---====|=====--\-------\0          Gabriel

As he's said to other fighters before now: Haru isn't very strong or fast, not by 'fighter' standards anyway. Nor does he possess overwhelming supernatural might, though he does have the ability to control his own powers into attacks to some extent. In truth, he's actually quite average... but he makes up for that average-ness with smart tactics and being observant. Case in point: as his yoyo snaps back into his hands, the Justice student is already thinking about where this fight might flow next. So when Gabriel decides to come back at him, he's already got a plan in place.

Which appears to be: run right at her.

Now, all things considered, this doesn't seem like a great plan? But the beauty of it becomes apparent when Haru, as he nears her and that palm strike heads for his chest, *drops* to the ground in a baseball slide. On the already-slippery ice, his momentum carries him under the punch and then right past Gabriel, her palm strike shearing over his head by a fraction of an inch, earning an "ooooh!" from the crowd.

The problem is that he now has to get UP from this, which... well, tactician or no, he's still learning.

As the tan-skinned fighter continues to careen toward the front of the float -- the neck of the dragon -- he suddenly gets an idea. Snapping a yoyo into his hand, he tosses it out at the dragon's neck and manages to get a good loop around it, then closes both hands over *his* end of the cord and... lets gravity and centripetal force do the rest. With a loud shout of "...WAAAAAAAAAAAH!" (real smooth, Haru) he suddenly swings out into midair, AROUND the neck of the float, before his arc brings him right back over the float. Unlooping his yoyo anchor, the result is that Haru flies through the air at Gabriel in a low arc, his foot extended in an impromptu flying kick!

COMBATSYS: Haru successfully hits Gabriel with Power Strike.

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Haru             0/-------/---====|=======\-------\0          Gabriel

"Would you look at that!" Cries one of the watchers from the street. The narrative the producers are spinning is quickly helped along by Haru's antics and meanwhile Gabriel seems to be playing the part of villain well.

She looked angry before Haru started coming at her with his crazy swinging move and only now does she risk moving on the ice, but having not had the advantage of trying to move on it before this time she slips and recovers just in time to get hit by the kick. This sends her further skidding down along the ice, but digging her hand in she is able to get herself back onto her feet. She decides enough is enough apparently and charges at Haru.

Of course charging means more slipping and before long the efforts at grace are lost as Gabriel falls over and ends up sliding across the ice toward Haru. There is no telling of course what she intended to do originally, but now she's sliding on her back toward his feet. She's not -trying- to knock him over, but that's probably what will happen if he doesn't get out of the way.

Meanwhile the crowd goes WILD. Seeing Gabriel fall twice and slip along the ice, she was already being painted as the villain so this certainly brings laughter and jeers. Luckily she's not paying attention to them at all.

COMBATSYS: Gabriel successfully hits Haru with Strong Throw.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Haru             0/-------/=======|======-\-------\0          Gabriel

Sometimes you're the catch, and sometimes you're the bait.

For what it's worth, Haru doesn't look particularly happy that the crowd is laughing at Gabriel's expense as she slips on the ice. He's been in that position, and knows that it sucks, but he unfortunately can't do much to control the antics of people scrolling by in the background as the float makes its way through Southtown Village. Instead, he sets his jaw and tries to focus on the fight. That's all he can do for now.

Of course, just as his slipping and sliding helped Haru before, it's helping Gabriel now. He was expecting another high-angled assault, as most of her attacks to now had come from stomach level or above, but instead she ends up skating across the slippery dragon-float just as he had... and just as it helped him before, it proves to be the key to Gabriel's success too. Hoping to hop out of the way, Haru misjudges the timing and gets bowled over, effectively switching sides with Gabriel as he tumbles towards the dragon's tail.

Getting to his feet just in time, Haru crouches for a moment, then observes his opponent closely, not attacking just yet but rather taking her measure. "You... seem upset, Kai-san," he offers, trying to understand what's going on. "And forgive my impetuousness, but I don't really think I'm what you're upset about."

COMBATSYS: Haru calculates his next move.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Haru             0/-------/=======|======-\-------\0          Gabriel

The crowd goes wild, not cheering, laughing because that was ridiculous. They're still rooting for Haru, but seeing that blooper and you know it's going to end up on youtube with all sorts of different sides and views of Gabriel totally wiping out and taking Haru with her. If only she knew what was coming. If only she knew. Picking herself up, the flush on Gabriel's face is very clear: She's not happy, but she's not mad at Haru anymore, apparently, instead her cheeks are red and she's taking a moment dusting herself off of bits of ice and snow.

"Of.. Of course not, I just cannot believe I slipped." She stammers and then straightens back into a ready stance, but she doesn't attack, not just yet, instead she mirrors Haru's look and stares right back at him with the same sort of narrow eyed analytics. A standoff. The tension could be cut with a knife and before long the crowd is done laughing. .

. . Except for the occasional snicker and person who remembers the fall like that joke that always brings a smile to your face. Yeah, they're still laughing.

COMBATSYS: Gabriel focuses on her next action.

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Haru             0/-------/=======|======-\-------\0          Gabriel

His first impulse is to think: 'she's lying'.

The longer the fight goes on, the more Gabriel's aura and presence confuse Haru... and intrigue him at the same time. Her seemingly incongruous combination of intensity and stoicism isn't like anybody else she's fought with or against before. Even Sagat, who gave the appearance of a disdainfully superior man, burned with a human intensity underneath. And now her inaction seems like it's calling Haru out for a showdown, of sorts. All this because of yoyos, and not thinking he's taking the fight 'seriously'?

"I guess... there is another way to prove my sincerity."

He's never actually done this on purpose, before; the last two times it happened, it was instinct. But there was a difference between fighting Sagat and feeling desperate for his actual life, and against Hotaru, feeling like he wanted to push himself to his limits to fight her. The latter time suggested to him that maybe, just maybe... well. Nothing for it than to try.

Taking a breath, Haru brings his hands in toward his stomach, shuts his eyes for just a moment, and... concentrates. Tries to remember the feeling of exhiliaration fighting Hotaru, the spark inside that he felt. And after a moment of searching, he DOES seem to find it.

When his eyes open again, for a moment they are pure white light that shines, then fades until his normal grey irises are visible. The light, though, spills out around his body, surrounding Haru like faerie fire, a flickering but visible corona of power. "You might doubt my methods, Kai-san, but..."

Rushing forward, he thrusts out a hand, and a burst of light erupts like the petals of a lotus flower unfolding in bloom, exploding into a short-range storm of petals that surround Gabriel if she doesn't fend them off. "You cannot doubt my intentions!"

COMBATSYS: Gabriel reflects Amethyst Clarity from Haru with Mimic.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Haru             1/----===/=======|=======\-------\0          Gabriel

There is a hush.

Like the bottom of the ninth, bases loaded. The game isn't over, but with two outs the next pitch something is going to happen. The rest of the game will be a slug fest. Things have moved on from the warm up and the exchanges to race to the climax. They're waiting . . And Haru does not let them down.

Gabriel came because of Lilith. She needed to see what the earlier battle was like, but maybe she misjudged Haru, under estimated him. Clearly he was able to use a yoyo like a weapon and as absurd as it seemed, she grudgingly couldn't deny the effectiveness in his hands. With the steady stare down her irritation returns to the stoicness stillness that she started the fight with, but there is one difference. She is no longer seeming to underestimate Haru. So when the energy gathers around him, she too is ready.

At first the light reflects in her eyes, but it isn't her light, it is what Haru is generating and then when the petals burst fourth Gabriel draws a deep breath and in a sharp contrast to Haru forms a wall with her body, overflowing with intensity before reaching out to take control of the storm. Like handling fire, at any moment it could burn you, should burn you, but instead she seems to absorb it until the glow encompasses her body. Flare ups of power swirl about her, illustrating the dangerous nature of trying to control the energy, but somehow she is able to hold onto it just long enough . .

Rushing forward, she thrusts out a hand, anda burst of light erupts like petals of a lotus flower unfolding in a bloom, exploding into a short-range storm of petals that surround Haru if he doen't fend them off.

"You cannot doubt my intentions."

She repeats his line almost mechanically.

Unexpected. And interesting.

But not enough to deter him.

Haru is forced back by the sudden reversal, and for the first time in the entire fight, the ice that makes up the parade float gives way to the forces being acted upon it; it cracks under Haru's feet as he steadies himself, sending spiderweb fractures out from the point of impact for a few feet. It is nothing so dangerous that the fighters' perch is threatened. The float is far too thick and robust an ice sculpture to REALLY be in danger. But it's an interesting testament to the level the fight has reached.

Part of him wants to be surprised, thinking that her ability to mimic his ability is a little too perfect... but something inside realizes, what he felt wasn't his own power. The lines may be the same, but the colors, the shades, all different, deep down.

He won't let this moment go just yet.

He doesn't have words for Gabriel, not now; instead, he flings out one yoyo low, almost at the ground. It's a trick she's seen before, and indeed Haru does suddenly yank it skyward in a yoyo-uppercut. However, he ALSO suddenly flings out his left hand with the second weapon, looking to smack Gabriel in the stomach with it at the same time. Will she be able to fend off both attacks at once?

COMBATSYS: Gabriel blocks Haru's Obsidian Serenity.

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Haru             1/---====/=======|=======\-------\1          Gabriel

The air changes, the whole of the audience changes. This wasn't what they expected, not exactly, but then what good story has the hero win easily. The villain needs to show themselves to be a threat and so Gabriel, despite earlier showings has done just that. Now there are gasps, and tense breaths, now there is cursing and urging. Don't give up now Haru, defeat her! How much of this actually makes it to the top of the float is anyones guess.

Indeed the mimic is just that. A copy, a duplication, not the real thing, the power she uses is her own, made to look and act like the thing it came from, but not the same. Neither side has words at the moment as Gabriel stays silent and fixed on the task at hand. Haru makes his move, and so Gabriel will make hers too. First the Yoyo.

Bracing against the first of the two attacks was as Haru had predicted, she saw something similar, the second nearly catches her by surprise, but she manages to perhaps through dumb luck deflect that one too. Things are getting down to the wire though as the yoyo still hurts, even deflected.

Trying to keep things close, Gabriel makes for another return attack, a palm thrust, but her primary hand is just a fake, she steps into the attack with her secondary, perhaps expecting it to be deflected from the first attempt.

COMBATSYS: Haru fails to counter Medium Punch from Gabriel with Diamond Resolve.
- Power fail! -

                                  >  ///////////////               ]
                                  |=======\=------\1          Gabriel

COMBATSYS: Haru can no longer fight.

                                  >  ///////////////               ]
                                  |=======\=------\1          Gabriel

According to Robert Frost, 'I think I know enough of hate / to say that for destruction, ice / is also great and would suffice.'

Haru lets his feelings get the better of him, and for someone whose powers and abilities are derived directly from those emotional sources, that can cost you everything in the blink of an eye. Something about that attack of Gabriel's, the blatant appropriation of his style, the bland repetition of his words, sparked something in him that really, REALLY wanted to win, all of a sudden. A tiny part of him really wanted to take that away from her, to show her up. Maybe even to make her pay for it.

But for people like Haru, such negative emotions are a precipice with a very steep drop.

As she approaches him, Haru's hands come up in front of him, palms out. He steels himself, preparing to let that glowing power around him surge forward, become his shield, and stop Gabriel's attack short. And... in that moment, when his desire to take rather than give, his desire to hurt rather than help, becomes strongest, he feels that power drain from his body entirely. It's as if a presence that had been riding along with him suddenly and inexplicably loses faith in him and abandons him to whatever fate he's created for himself.

Haru has time to widen his eyes in surprise as the flowing light around his body winks out, and his concentration shatters. He has time to say "...what?!".

Then his time is up and Gabriel's fist knocks him halfway across the float.

In the poem, Frost talks about fire and ice as ways man can find his downfall. The fires of passion and anger may consume us... but it's the icy grip of hatred that may, in fact, be our greatest enemy within.

A barely-conscious Haru stops his slide against the neck of the dragon float and then slides off, where SNF staff retrieve him and whisk him away to the medical tent, leaving Gabriel to accept the accolades of the crowd.

The crowd is stunned. Gabriel is stunned too actually. She didn't throw the attack expecting it to fail, in fact it was a one to designed to catch someone off guard, but the way in which this happens, she can't help but feel like just maybe she got a little lucky. Maybe the ice and the slippage or who knows, but it shows as she stands there for a moment of stillness before frowning and turning and walking away. The announcer is of course surprised the narrative didn't go the way they intended it, but maybe they can play it up in future installments.

"A rematch then, Haru-kun." Gabriel says under her breath, probably no one will hear. She doesn't stick around to hear the results or get any praise, in fact there is only a scattering of applause because she fully lacks any showmanship.

Could this be the start of a rivalry? Only time will tell.

COMBATSYS: Gabriel has ended the fight here.

Despite appearances, Gabriel does stop on her no look back style walk off, but it isn't until she's cleared the spotlight and the parade forgets about her just as quickly. Pulling out her phone she makes a quick call.

"Mister Powell, find the young Haru and give him my regards, make sure he is alright and let him know that if he wants to show me his resolve I will be waiting." She ends the call just as the words come out the other side,

"Miss Kai, I don't think it is appropriate as your lawy-"

As she continues walking and makes it onto the mainstreet now one amongst the crowd of children and admirers of the parade, a small group of kids rough housing in front of her stop and look up.

" You can't beat Heroic Haru that easily, he's gonna get you!" Before scattering off, leaving a stunned Gabriel behind.

Log created on 13:15:38 11/22/2014 by Haru, and last modified on 23:13:26 11/22/2014.