Rumble In The Streets - [Rumble W2] Elise vs Ayame

Description: After an easy round one victory, Ayame returns to face someone more on her level of combatative skill and perhaps beyond her when it comes to tricky techniques. Meanwhile, Elise's own motives for appearing in the event beg questioning, to be certain. Is this really her idea of fun?

The Twilight Star Circus. If you attend, you're guaranteed one hell of a high-energy show. Full of acrobatics and daredevil stunts and even the all-too-traditional, almost-certainly-a-trope animal handler who puts their head in a lion's jaw. And of course, as the current Rumblr and HitBit fad is proving out, the circus's connection to the professional fighting world brings just as many thrills to its audience. The head of the circus, Honoka Kawamoto, is perhaps its most visible star, with her flashy and unique fighting style. From the outside, there's nothing about the organization that says the word 'subtle'.

By contrast, Elise Harkness is less well-known. She very rarely appears under the big top; when she does, it's in the role of 'ringmaster for a day' while the normal crew is otherwise engaged, or to do knife-throwing tricks. Her real business is as part of the sideshow, with her all-too-accurate old world wooden caravan where she tells fortunes... eerily accurate fortunes. She is showy in her own way -- the word is "ostentatious" -- but not particularly... loud.

Thus it was a big surprise to many who know the Twilight Star and have been watching the Rumblr app to find that Elise's name appeared in a matchup set for today right here on the bustling streets of Yokohama's Motomachi shopping district. She hasn't had a public fight EVER as part of the Twilight Star; many assumed she wasn't even capable of it. And yet, here she is, the winter day brisk yet clear under a sprawling vault of pale blue sky. Fashionistas, shoppers, and tourists line the narrow streets, keeping mostly to the sidewalk. The crowd is a melange of color and shape; the neighborhood draws the sort of person that mixes colors and styles with their desire to keep warm in the winter: scarves and gloves and hats of all kinds -- some in the most inexplicable traditions of fashion, some more conventional -- are the norm.

And Elise? Well... she's here, but she's got to look the part. Currently, she stands at one end of the designated space for the tournament, wearing her usual performing garb... a costume that is intended to evoke the somewhat stereotypical image of a European witch. Sheer leggings, flats, a camisole-style strapless dress and full length gloves. She's currently wearing a huge faux fur coat (grey fox, if one cares) over it all as she leans forward, strapping the HitBit™ monitors onto her ankles and wrists. "Lord, all this dreadful nonsense, and in this weather," she murmurs to herself. "Slavedriver."

The second party to this venue is late to arrive by a few minutes. The quiet nature of her approach is likely to have her go initially unnoticed by the gathering Hitbit-summoned crowd as the miko of Ichijo lineage turns onto the street maneuvering a bicycle. Pedaling with no sense of haste, she comes to a stop just behind the eager audience, slipping off of her bike with continued calm and a soft sigh.

Left to her own devices for a number of seconds, she slips off her bike with the same lack of hurry with which she arrived, reaching over her right shoulder to pull loose a long, wooden staff from its holster. The appearance of the weapon is enough to get a couple glances her way, curious looks from those not familiar with the Ichijo scion. Her bike is rested against a storefront wall before she then shrugs off the crimson haori worn over the rest of her attire. Folding the coat over one hand while keeping a hold of her staff in the other, Ayame presses the garment into the arms of an adjacent young man whom she seemed to single out at random.

"See to it nothing happens to this or I will know where to send the bill." she remarks pointedly. Elise would recognize the young man as a member of the Twilight Circus staff... perhaps the miko was not so random in who she burdened with the task?

With the overcoat shed, her attire is the traditional outfit of the humble shrine maiden... only in Ayame's case, there is a certain vainglorious ostentatiousness about her clothing with detailed trappings and extra ribbons of unknown significance decorating her clothing. A sidelong glance is cast toward Elise as she reaches into a bag strapped behind the seat of her bike to pull out a headband familiar to any fans of the event. Slipping it on calmly, she takes a moment to adjust the camera forward as requested by the event officials, though there is something about the way she moves that suggests she'd just as well have nothing to do with the match-mandated accoutrements.
The ankle and wrist straps are donned with the same quiet not-quite-disdain as the headband before she finally strides through quickly parting masses to step into the street. The app-engaged members of the audience begin tapping away at their phones. Ayame's public fight record is so short as to be unremarkable except that on the sparingly few times she has fought she proved to be a formidable combatant.

The rune-carved staff in her hand is gripped lightly at her left as she finally seems to take notice of the crowd, eyes tracing over those watching, her gaze lingering on some longer than others. Only then would she try to lock eyes with Elise, the corner of her mouth curling faintly into a smirk. The previous round had been a breeze for the miko of the Meian Jinja and her attitude had not been kind then. Everything about how she carries herself suggests she believes the outcome all but assured.

"Unfortunately, your presence in this event ends here." She speaks loud enough to project her voice over the din, a slight nod of her head, "Nothing personal."

COMBATSYS: Ayame has started a fight here.

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Ayame            0/-------/-------|

As Ayame arrives, Elise has thrown her head back somewhat, pushing her auburn hair off her face long enough to don the very last piece of HitBit™ equipment: the headband, which she raises as high along her forehead as she dares without it threatening to fall off, before letting her hair fall back over it. Coming back to an easy standing position, she brushes both hands backwards through her hair behind the neck, then reaches down and picks up something from the ground: an actual honest to goodness pointed witch's hat in dark purple and black, which she sets gently on her head before pinning it in place with bobby pins.

She doesn't need to look to see that Ayame has arrived, and supernatural senses have nothing to do with it; there's a change in the air from the crowd -- how they sound, what they're saying, even the sense of people's gaze that was on you lifting -- that reveals her immediately. So even though her eyes are closed, she turns toward Ayame with a faint smile and opens them JUST in time to lay her gaze on the young miko. "Is it, then?" the woman asks, her Scottish brogue fairly light but clearly audible. "Well, it's bloody cold outside and people seem to insist on having these little tete-a-tetes out of the warm, so maybe that's a blessing."

A hand comes up, containing an iPhone, and with a delicate flick of the finger and taptaptaptap of her security code, the Twilight Star fortuneteller finds herself looking at the Rumblr™ app. "Alright, my lass. It would appear the foredained hour has arrived." The phone is slipped back into a pocket, and as the hand comes back up, a bevy of silver knives suddenly appear between Elise's knuckles. It's a needlessl showy gesture, but giving the audience what they want is part of their job. "I do love the outfit, though. Really gives the whole match a nice 'east vs. west' costume drama flair, doesn't it?" This last said with a wink and a tip of her hat brim, a fox-faced smile.

And with that, she hurls one of the knives at Ayame. A warning shot. Ayame knows it, Elise knows it. But even a warning shot can have claws.

COMBATSYS: Elise has joined the fight here.

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Ayame            0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0            Elise

COMBATSYS: Ayame dodges Elise's Medium Fling.

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Ayame            0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0            Elise

The donning of the hat garners a slightly raised eyebrow but the rurally dressed demon hunter is hardly one to heckle one for dressing to a particular theme. "Well," the strawberry blond priestess considers, "Giving out blessings is part of the job." Her staff is twirled once with a delicate twist of her wrist, her right foot slipping forward slightly, body tensing.

Her right hand, empty, is extended forward, middle and pointing fingers raised, the others curled closed. A deep breath is taken, followed by a slow, controlled exhale. A slight nod is given at the acknowledgement of it being time to start but Elise's remark about costume drama flair finds a crack in the girl's otherwise aloof disposition. A blink, then a glance to the side, avoiding eye contact, ", thank you... um, I suppose it does." she murmurs awkwardly as if the obvious contrasting regional juxtaposition had not even remotely crossed her mind.

Composure is recovered as she draws back her right hand to flick a length of hair back over her shoulder, a soft 'hmph' accompanying the gesture. She moves in time with the launch of the silver blade, stepping into a spin of her body to the right, her staff sweeping from her left into an upward sweeping arc in time to send the sharp weapon careening.

The swift motion is completed with the girl already two meters closer and rapidly closing the distance further. With a flick of her right wrist, a gleaming, ghostly pale talisman finds its way into her fingers. Even in the chill light of day, it casts a faint blue aura against the white kimono robe of the miko. A second twirl, swishing of cloth, and sweeping of her wooden staff to harry Elise into potentially committing to her defenses early, and Ayame slams her right hand out, palm aiming to plant the talisman right against the witch's sternum.

"HA!" Whether a kiai to empower her attack or a shout of confident execution even prior to landing the attack would be hard to say.

But if the attack finds purchase as intened, the effect would be far more certain - two twisting, crushingly strong tendrils of shaped energy, black in color, would swirl around the sometimes-ringmaster's body before spearing into the ground, potentially rooting her in place for further attacks!

A couple members of the audience might have to catch this attack's outcome on the replay later as their attention is likely more fixed on the silver blade sticking out of the hat of one of the venue's patrons - wait, did it go right through a Twilight Star brand marking on the tall spectator's hat? That couldn't have been intentional!

COMBATSYS: Ayame successfully hits Elise with Anchor Through the Endless Dark.

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Ayame            0/-------/------=|====---\-------\0            Elise

Right before Not At All Evard's Black Tentacles make their appearance, midway through an attempt to backstep away, Ayame might be interested to find that Elise's face contorts briefly into an expression of annoyance rather than surprise or pain. Probably because her inner monologue is running something like this: 'There's got to be an easier way to do this.' Sadly, from that point forward, the rest is lost in the somewhat comical physical result of being hit with Ayame's strike: the palm press shoves her backwards, but the naughty <3 tentacles snap her up in a sort of whiplash motion, pulling her straight up, wrapping around legs in a... really icky-looking manner. I mean: squishy black tentacles, energy or not. Ew.

For her part, though, when Elise sets eyes on Ayame again, she seems unruffled. In fact, the ghost of a smile quirks at her delicately rouged lips. "Oh dear, oh dear. A miko, tentacles, a pretty girl victim, right here in Japan... be honest, are you TRYING to become an internet meme? This can't be a coincidence." That actually gets a laugh from the crowd (and a few people snapping camera pics because, let's be honest, this is like a fetish dream come true). "Naughty girl, you should be ashamed." That said, the transcript of this fight later adds an emoji <3 after Elise's statement.

And then another knife is in her hand. "Well, you've shown me yours..." The knife suddenly crackles to life with a pale fire of energy, whorls of royal purple and silver, before she just... sort of casually flicks it at Ayame. The knife has practically no force behind it; if Ayame doesn't get out of the way, it does barely more than tap her and clatter to the ground. However...

COMBATSYS: Ayame fails to slow Hrunting from Elise with Reliquary of Lost Time.

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Ayame            0/-------/---====|=====--\-------\0            Elise

Inexplicably, Ayame's body is hurled away in the same direction of that careless handwave, the witch not moving the girl herself, but the energy that the knife had delivered instead, a much easier feat."

The knife, making purchase, really does not make even a dent in poor Ayame's defenses. BUT: the purple-silver flame leaves the knife on impact, spreading across the miko's body. The fire itself doesn't hurt; if anything, it looks like 'faerie fire,' as D&D nerds might put it. But as it flows around Ayame's body, she might find herself feeling... lighter. With a smile, the witch says: "Gotcha." And with that, she flicks her wrist to the side.

Inexplicably, Ayame's body is hurled away in the same direction of that careless handwave, the witch not moving the girl herself, but the energy that the knife had delivered instead, a much easier feat.

The talisman planted, Ayame snaps back two steps in a continuous, fluid motion, her left arm swinging forward to move her staff into an angled, defensive position designed to make it difficult to close distance with the miko. From behind her versatile weapon, her right hand slips into her left sleeve, withdrawing another prepared, inscribed piece of prepared papery doom.

The rearming and preparation for her next attack is almost instant as her right leg tenses, ready to push off into another aggressive lunge. Her opponent is handling the 'difficult' situation with remarkable aplomb but it's her words that provoke the crucial moment of hesitation.


Slightly widened eyes a hint of pink in her cheeks that does not seem brought on by the cold both suggest a certain obliviousness to the recipie so clearly spelled out by Elise. By the crowd gets their guffaw and she finds herself humorously chided, Ayame's pursed her lips into a stubborn line of 'I don't see what's so funny' about any of this.

The momentum of her own plan is lost in that moment, however, the girl having to adjust her stance, drawing her right arm in, light-green inscribed talisman still tucked between fingers.

First one knife, then another... she can deflect those all day long, she thinks to herself, entirely underestimating the complete lack of force behind Elise's second projectile. "Che- is that all you've-" her right arm snaps, her lengthy white sleeve whipping with the force as she flings the talisman into the path of the blade... an entire half-second too early.


Excepting the sickening thud of a sound she was once all too familiar with, the girl glances down to find the silver blade falling to the ground as if she had just been lightly pegged by the dullest of butter knives.

When the aura spreads, eyes widen again, the priestess recoiling from a lack that lends itself to being as difficult to ward off as her own energy bindings a moment ago. Even before the full effect kicks in, her previous two techniques are rendered inert, black energy vaporizing to harmless mist before vanishing, and her flung talisman losing its own gusto and fluttering harmlessly to the ground.

Flung by a gesture and no small amount of energy, Ayame crashes to the side, shoulder crunching against the side of the adjacent building, a pained grunt escaping her lips as she staggers away from the crumbling stucco surface with a brief disoriented expression.

"I guess I will have to put some effort into this one," she allows, concealing the full extent of Elise's successful attack. With a countenance of confidence, she strides back into the street, staff angled in front of her defensively.

"Whoa-oh," Elise says, in a singsong tone, with a pleasant smile, "it's magic."

Reaching down, she brushes off her legs as Ayame collects herself, the grip of the most porntacular attack possible that doesn't involve Blue Mary or Bonne Jenet finally loosing its grip as Ayame's concentration falls elsewhere. The energy didn't leave any sort of lasting mark; if anything, the gesture is more reflex than anything else... that, or showboating. Maybe both.

In truth, Elise's attack was strategic in more than one way. It was big and dramatic, forcing the miko to split her attention. But it also, however briefly, put Elise's powers in contact with the young lady's aura. The contact doesn't last long, but from it, Elise learns a lot; the stern expression and confidence aren't just for show. An iron will burns under the impassive exterior. There's very much more to her than meets the eye. But could whatever it is be worth the sort of effort that whoever convinced Elise to be here is spending to find out? Difficult to say.

That said, Elise is utterly unruffled by trash talk OR by the hidden-lake depths of Ayame's aura of tightly controlled power. The notion that she'll have to 'get serious' is met with a wolfish smile. "I reckon you will, hen, aye?" the witch says with a raised eyebrow, sounding more Scottish than she usually does. Maybe to play to the crowd? Maybe to sound confusing, banking on Ayame silently mouthing the word 'hen' long enough to get punched in the jaw unwittingly?

A girl can dream.

"Let me tell you a secret, lass," Elise says, briskly moving forward toward her opponent, knife at the ready in one hand. Where is she even GETTING those? Isn't this like her fifth one?! "If you can have a sense of humor about this sort of thing, it makes dealing with the nonsense a wee bit easier." It probably doesn't help that Elise punctuates her point by swiping left... that is to say, with the knife, ideally across Ayame's be-kimono'ed midsection.

COMBATSYS: Ayame blocks Elise's Medium Strike.

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Ayame            0/-------/--=====|======-\-------\0            Elise

Had Ayame been expecting an attack bearing Elise's nature of energy, she would have prepared ahead of time - the masking of emotions she so often employs goes far deeper than simple expression and word. But that same connection that imparts insight into the miko's nature also educates the strawberry-blonde to be more on guard than she had anticipated needing to be. Recovered and readied, she eyes the witch with unshaken resolve.

Elise would have felt it before the wall was raised - that deep but suppressed well of temper and that shard of darkness testifying to experiences and history her saintly outward ensemble would never suggest. The first response is answered with the slightest uptick of Ayame's mouth - the kind of smirk brought on more by annoyance than anything - but nothing more.

Another knife is readied but Ayame doesn't budge. She knows the ins and outs of knife-play quite well... almost as well as the staff, even if she has yet to show signs of bearing any. For their speed and lethal edge, they lack range when not used as projectiles. Her own lengthy weapon should provide ample means of taking advantage of such short comings.

"Oh really?" she snaps, a hint of irritation in her tone as she twists her body to the left the moment the attack is sprung. Many of the Hitbit App-sters that had seen Ayame in action before predicted the rune-carved staff would be used for deflecting a bladed strike but the girl's last second shift leaves them all down a few points in their Prediction Accuracy Score as the girl swings her right sleeved arm up to intersect the inside of Elise's, preventing the knife from finding its mark.

"Of you treat this like some kind of joke-" she exclaims as her counter strike comes. Few staff wielders would want to engage someone at the point-blank range she allowed Elise to get into, but it is indeed the wooden weapon the witch must contend with as crimson chi races along its surface and Ayame's left arm whips it up with a one-handed swing from below -

"This will be over in an instant!"

At the apex of her upward swing, she would snap her left arm back in a back-fisting horizontal strike, aiming to deliver a secondary, staggering blow to the side of her opponent's head with the glimmering end of her staff. The force is enough to crack stone even without the threat of additional energy empowering the strike!

COMBATSYS: Ayame successfully hits Elise with Power Strike.

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Ayame            0/-------/-======|=======\=------\1            Elise

It should be pretty clear, just to LOOK at Elise, that she is not a particularly tough fighter, and it shows. Mixing it up in melee is not her forte, and so a few of the people who just lost some prediction points on Ayame's defense just gained some from her swing (literally) back onto the offensive. With a look of consternation, Elise frowns and attempts to backswing away from the oncoming blow... but Ayame's tricksy, and the sudden change in angle screws it all up, sending the witch staggering back more than a few steps, bringing a hand up to the side of her head and wincing, trying to clear the stars from her vision.

She's lucky to still be on her feet, and yet she continues to keep that sangfroid-filled grin on her face, as if she's the only one in on some kind of private joke... which the crowd finds confusing, since she's kinda getting beat right now! "Life is the joke, hen," she says to her opponent, tilting her head to the side. "All a bunch of nonsense with no rhyme or reason. That's why it's best to enjoy it, I find... even if things go a little sour now and then." Bringing up her hands, she brushes off her dress, trying to center her thoughts. Initially, she'd read Ayame as just another uptight Japanese girl, flirting precariously with the line between "inaccessible" and "appearing just inaccessible enough to lure boys in." The truth, though, appears to be quite a bit different. She's not just guarded; she's *guarding*. There is something buried in there that -- if Elise's usually spot-on estimation of people is any indicator -- even Ayame herself is a little afraid of.

How interesting.

It doesn't help, however, that Elise's natural urge, when she sees such a shell, is to do everything in her power to crack it open. "A little fun never hurt anyone. I mean, nobody does anything for nothing, lass. Why get involved in all this if you're not interested in enjoying yourself?" A knife comes out once more, and in an uncharateristically flashy moment, Elise balances it -- by the point -- on the tip of her finger. "Are you going to tell me you're here to 'test yourself' in a big gruff voice?"

There's a brief pause, and then Elise shrugs and throws the knife... up in the air. Literally, STRAIGHT up. Which doesn't seem to make much sense.

However, midway up it seems to smack into a round, ornate seal of purple-silver light -- the sort of round magical circle associated with European witchcraft -- and then ricochet off in another, seemingly random direction. Until it encounters ANOTHER circle, which redirects it AGAIN. And again. And again. Each rebound gains speed and distance and the angle becomes increasingly less predictable until the knife is, eventually, coming from BEHIND Ayame, headed straight for her back.

COMBATSYS: Elise successfully hits Ayame with Carnwennan.

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Ayame            1/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0            Elise

The self-proclaimed holy warrior's eyes flit to the side as Elise expresses that it is life itself that is the joke - an ideology that sounds more familiar to her ears than she would care to acknowledge. But her focus is back in an instant, right hand flicking once, then twice, yielding two pink, intricately inscribed talismans between her fingers. "A life of frivolity and distractions is a dead end." She pivots on her feet, right shoulder forward, staff-gripping left arm slightly behind her as she holds the talismans slightly in front of her chin. A soft exhale of breath sets the scarlet ink to glimmering as whatever power within is activated.

"There is no enjoyment to be found in failure - a concept you will be introduced to shortly enough." Her right foot slips forward, knee bent beneath her crimson pleated dress. Asked why she's involved at all and she snorts, "Work." She glances quickly over the crowd, taking her eyes of Elise long enough to take in their surroundings before settling her eyes back on the European, a faint grin tugging at the edges of her mouth, "I suspect your being here was not entirely your idea either... is being out here in the cold this really the most fun you could be having right now?"

She begins to scoot forward - not charging or leaping, but closing distance, maintaining a posture that implies she could attack with her staff in an instant if necessary, but it is the paper armaments in her right hand that are the nearest threat.

She keeps herself from focusing directly on the knife while it's perfectly balanced on its tip - until it's used to attack, it'd just be a distraction, one she's happy to ignore. But when it goes airborn, it has her attention. Eyes snap up to follow its upward trajectory briefly. To see it deflect in a new direction, even faster than it started, is what finally causes Ayame to pause her forward aggression.

She follows its path at first, even with the speed its gathering with each supernatural impact. Whirling, she sweeps her staff in front of her - this assault is by far the trickiest she's seen of a deceptively tricky fighter. But turn as she might, she can't keep up. She realizes where it must be coming from the instant she loses track of the blade - the only vector open to it is the one least guarded that instant.

She almost makes it, twisting her staff in one hand, one end of it sweeping up down along her back, but the timing is off. A pained 'grck' is her audible response as Ayame staggers forward. She should be no stranger to getting stabbed in the back, but that doesn't make it hurt any less! Sucking in her breath, she ignores the blade for the moment, its location readily marked by the spreading crimson stain in the upper back of her pristine white top. Rather than deal with it, she renews her offense, charging for Elise now. Given how late she attacks, it is hard to read if she's going for a strike or maybe even a thuggish shoulder tackle, before she stabs her staff down, aiming between the woman's ankles, twisting as she tries to slide by and trip the Western Witch down onto her back.

It is her right fist that swings with the full intent of her attack, however, aiming to drive the two glimmering talismans into Elise's stomach whereupon the both of them would explode with a point blank surge of concusive force.

All the while, the silver blade stays put as the zealous miko seems willing to risk further injury if it means landing an attack of her own.

COMBATSYS: Elise reflects Charged Combo from Ayame with Tyrfing.

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Ayame            1/----===/=======|====---\-------\0            Elise

"I've got some bad news for you, sweetness," Elise says, watching the miko approach her without a hint of worry in her voice. The staff sweeps for her feet and with dainty, almost ballerina-like footwork, Elise sidesteps it... or more accurately, given her Scottish heritage, she step-dances AROUND it without changing her overall position. The dance-like appearance isn't limited to her feet, either; her torso swings back, one arm behind her and away from Ayame, so that the miko can't see the subtle glow of violet energy growing around the witch's hand.

And then come the talismans... but also, in fact, comes Elise's hand as she whips it forward, index and middle fingers extended, thumb splayed. There is a pleasantly dramatic clash of energy as the incoming ofuda slam into another magic seal, which appears right at Elise's fingertips, light spilling off the clashing forces... but also preventing Elise from harm at Ayame's hands. Rather the opposite; the witch's spellcraft travels down the talismas, through Ayame's arms, and into the miko's body, an enervating chill likely spreading through her body.

"...EVERYONE comes to a dead end eventually," the witch says with a smile, finishing her thought.

When the two fighters are separated, the Scot stands tall, brushing her hair from her shoulders and watching her opponent carefully. She's not beaten, not by a longshot; in fact, the carefully-hidden intensity that Elise can sense indicates this is Ayame at her most dangerous. It won't pay to slip up now. But in terms of what Honoka asked her to do, she's gotten more than enough to report back on this mysterious girl.

Better keep the banter going, though.

"Of course not," she says, in response to Ayame's question about this being where she'd like to be. "I'd rather be in one of these stores in the warm. But haven't you seen Mary Poppings? 'A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.' If you simply must do chores, you might as well make the most of it."

The delicate grace with which Elise avoids her initial attack doesn't come as a surprise to Ayame - she'd expect that much out of what she's seen of the woman's tactics thus far. But evasion, in and of itself, isn't a threat, and even though her staff manipulation fails to accomplish its purpose, she swings in with her fist all the same. A point blank, chi-empowered strike is bound to make an impression whether or not her opponent is tripped up first.

It's the intercession of Elise's hand that does surprise her in the end - she'd have to be crazy to try and simply block her punch with such a gesture - unless she's packing far greater physical prowess than her frame would suggest. But the nature of her combined defense and offense becomes clear as the energies clash - an exotic violet and violent crimson contest of force that transpires in the blink of an eye.

The encounter ends with Ayame staggering backward, a pained gasp escaping her lips, her right hand going to rest against her chest as her kneeds threaten to buckle under an unexpected theft of vigor. A few blinks of her eyes makes it clear that she's only just now mentally coming up to speed with what happened. Sucking in her breath, she slips back another step, this one more certain but cautious. Left hand held forward, staff at an angle, her right hand reaches over her shoulder to pluck free the pernicious blade, wet with her own blood. The strength sapping injury in her back is proof enough that she needs to hurry this along - no sense in holding anything back. Well. Except for /that/ one option that has no place in a fight like this, anyway.

Bringing the weapon forward, she glances at it briefly - the temptation is there to put it to use... the knife feels familiar to her touch even though she had never held one of this specific make before. But the lesson of why that is typically not a good idea was hammered into her head repeatedly a lifetime ago. The decision to leave others' toys alone is easily made as she flicks it to the side. Another pant for breath leaves her without a voice for seconds longer before her mouth presses into a thin line of intense purpose.

"In that case," she murmurs, bringing her right hand to her angled, crimson hued staff. A controlled inhale accompanies a curious gesture of pulling her hands apart while keeping her fingers closed. Like removing a sheath, the energy coursing over her staff follows with her right hand. In the end, she is left with a now innert wooden weapon in her left hand, and a glimmering shaft of precision shaped chi in her right.

"You are about to need an abundance of sugar!"

The speed with which she surges foward is unlike any she had demonstrated thus far in the fight. To duel wield what is a traditionally two handed weapon is evidence of either extreme recklessness or of mastery beyond such limitations.

Elise would find herself the target of a whirlwind of strikes, swings, and smashing slams, as Ayame attempts to catch her with crushing staff strikes or painful energy strikes. To the untrained eye, her targets are random - to those who know better, each swing is designed to confuse defenses, connect against weak points, and take someone out of a fight in a single maelstrom of strikes. Unless prevent, Ayame would slide to a stop meters past Elise, the energy staff collapsing into a thousand crimson motes at her side.

COMBATSYS: Ayame successfully hits Elise with Final Solstice.

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Ayame            0/-------/------=|=======\=====--\1            Elise

"Well, you're making a joke... sort of," Elise says, with a tilt of the eyebrow. "And for all that you've claimed I'm not the serious one here, you sure took your sweet time deciding to be serious yourself."

When she replays this back in her head, later, Elise is going to try and convince herself she either let herself get hit on purpose, or that some vindictive member of the camera crew was toying with the HitBit™ controls. The truth is maybe 10% of these things, and 90% Ayame just being kind of ridiculous once she decided to to put her full weight behind everything. Her instinct, when an attack of such wide-sweeping magnitude comes her way, is that trying to deflect all those strikes would be stupid. So instead, she tries the most basic of all defenses: Don't Be There When They Try To Hit You.

This does not go as planned.

The combined physical and spiritual assault slams into the witch over and over again, drawing no blood but ensuring that Elise is going to be wearing long-sleeved everything and lots of scarves to cover the infinite amount of heavy bruising the blunt weapon is going to cause. The final strike -- dramatic by all accounts -- sends her flying back along the narrow street. It would seem that this was a decisive victory!

And then, with one last burst of strength, Elise spins upside down in her backward trajectory, hat miraculously staying on. A knife is suspended in the air before her as the witch tumbles, inverted, arms up as if she were holding some sort of short bow... and in fact, that's exactly what she's doing. The bow is made of energy, barely-visible lines of purple light, and as the ground nears, Elise pulls the knife, and an invisible bowstring, back... then lets it fly, the silver blade trailing sparks of violet as the Scot gives one last parting shot (literally) at her opponent.

When she lands -- and she lands poorly, thanks to taking that final shot -- Elise rolls briefly across the pavement before coming to a stop. She isn't quite unconscious, but it's clear that she's not going to be doing any further fighting. Hauling her torso up just enough to be supported on one elbow, she watches for the outcome of her last attack with, despite it all, a smile. "That's enough for today, hen, I think."

COMBATSYS: Elise can no longer fight.

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  <
Ayame            0/-------/------=|

COMBATSYS: Ayame reflects Almace from Elise with Midsummer Fantasy.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  <
Ayame            0/-------/-----==|

An exhale is released as Ayame slides to a stop. The aches in her body by grace of Elise's power and blades are catching up with her fast. As she draws her now empty right arm back, the limb trembles, the girl's breath visible in the air. She knows her assault connected - a risky expenditure of almost everything she had in order to control the tide of battle. But she also knows the graceful European has been pulling from quite the bag of tricks throughout the match and this is no time to let her guard down.

Grimacing, Ayame whirls, narrowing her eyes to try and regain focus from gradually blurring vision to spot the nature of the witch's next technique. With her right arm's strength spent by the last combination, she has no choice but to defend with her left. The rune-carved staff falls to the ground with a clatter as the miko sweeps her left palm into the path of that swift blade. A projection of rose hued chi forums a shielding discus that deflects the knife at the last possible moment. The defense lasts only a split second - her timing had to be exact - before vanishing in a swirl of energy.

A soft 'whew' escapes her lips though she makes no great show of it. She can mend the dagger wound too, or at least staunch the bleeding... Her right hand slips into her left sleeve, withdrawing a meadow green talisman with forest green glyphs. But with a pause toward Elise, the miko pauses then slowly stows the small slip of paper away again. There is no point in putting abilities on display when it isn't critical.

Silently and with a faint groan, she bends down to reclaim her staff before standing up straight with a wince. Silently, she lifts her face to the sky above, right hand brushing a length of hair back over her shoulder. Elise's words did strike a point - especially reinforced with her canny techniques throughout the match.

Ayame had not taken the fight seriously at first. Over-confident, especially from past performance in her rare public bout, she did not give it everything she could up front and as a result came one misstep away from defeat.

Closing her eyes, she lowers her face, head bowed for a moment as she actively tries to force awareness of the pain and irritation she's feeling out of her thoughts.

"I guess fun time is over now, hm? Or does it now finally get started?" she finally speaks as she strides past Elise back to where her bike has been resting against the wall. Stiffly, she yanks her haori from the young man tasked with holding it for this short but engaging bout of violence. With a grunt, she pulls it back on over her shoulders before sheathing her staff in the holster built into the overcoat.

"I give you credit for sticking to your philosophy though, and backing up your words with action. It is more than I can say of most these days." Balancing her bicycle by its handlebars, the girl pivots up onto the seat and pedals away as calmly as she had arrived.

COMBATSYS: Ayame has ended the fight here.

Elise says nothing; she didn't have any particular investment in bringing down her opponent in a mutual defeat with her final shot. But she did get to see more of Ayame's abilities on display... including a brief moment of one she chose not to use after all. Instead she just kinda... lounges there while the miko retrieves her ride and pedals off.

"You say all that," Elise says, once Ayame is out of earshot, "but _you're_ the one that showed up on a 10-speed."

By now, a few of the Twilight Star folks have come over and helped the witch to her feet. She'll ache and bruise for a few days, but considering her opponent's abilities, she could be far worse for wear than she is right now. Retrieving her coat, she slips it on, looking rather pleased with the warmth it provides.

But joking face aside, she's still watching the path Ayame took out of here. Eventually, she raises a single eyebrow. "What a curious girl," she murmurs, before turning to take her leave. Shopping awaits! And... maybe a long, hot bath.

Log created on 22:51:35 02/05/2016 by Ayame, and last modified on 17:06:43 02/14/2016.