Ryuko - Making Friends at Gedo High

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Description: After picking a fight with a nameless bully, Ryuko ends up taking shelter at a tree occupied by one of Gedo High's more prominent cliques. Intrigued by her unusual appearance, Miko suggests a contest of skill between one of her friends and the newcomer. The prize? A... bunch of energy bars?

Some students were smart enough to earn with a blissful month away from school, vacationing with their relatives or doing whatever the inner-city kids do. Many, though, are stuck here in the penitentiary grays of Gedo High for the summer session. Outside is blissful compared to the poorly-ventilated convection ovens known as 'classrooms' -- even though it's hot outside, at least there can be a nice breeze from time to time.

Lunch break, then, is the one island of respite for the student populace. Not long after the bell rings, those of the Gedo student body who brought their own lunches are able to migrate out to the common courtyard. Trees scattered here and there provide small oases of shade, subjects of bitterly contested territorial disputes.

One tree, though, is -not- picked over. And neither is the young woman in Gedo uniform really threatened at all -- no one seems to be picking a fight with the slim, black-haired youth, as she casually leans her back against the tree, reading a small novel.
It's not really... -her- territory, is it? It wasn't yesterday, or the day before that, or the day before -that-.
What's more, she seems to have been standing there for a few minutes before the bell rung -- for she only looks up once the first wave of students rushes out from the classroom buildings, small bags of bento boxes and bag lunches swaying as the students dash about.

"Miko!" shouts a young woman with dark hair -- almost midnight blue, really. In tow behind her is a young man with a shock of red hair and a choker collar. Both students seem ... more than passingly familiar with the young lady by the tree.
Well, if by 'passingly familiar,' one means that the blue-haired girl throws a punch at 'Miko's' face -- one which is deftly and effortlessly avoided by the lithe bookworm.
The pugilistic greeting is forgotten, subsumed into a more friendly and traditional greeting as the two new arrivals (Saya and Touji) stand apart from the bespectacled woman. The three are all smiles. "How the hell are you? It's been freakin' ages, dammit!"

"I'm fine, just had a lot on my plate." The woman removes her glasses, lifting them up to prop them atop her head. While Saya and Touji continue to natter away about trivialities, the reader casts her gaze over the courtyard, scanning. Something, feels... different about this place. Perhaps it's the psion's powers getting stronger. Or perhaps something else entirely.

"Is everything going okay here...?" she asks tentatively.

The question has hardly left the young woman's mouth before the faint sounds of a distant commotion drift towards the trio from somewhere on the far end of the courtyard, her words seemingly invoking some sort of cosmic law about asking for trouble. A small group of people can be seen gathering around some sort of spectacle, their faces sharing a knowing look that all Gedo High students eventually adopt once they figure out how things tend to go in the rough and tumble environment created by dumping all of society's future problems into one basket. Likely a scuffle or brawl or one about to break out.

Confirmation of this comes only a few seconds later as a loud resounding crash warbles through the air, the noise immediately joined by the loud chorus of several cheers. There are a few more impacts in staccato bursts, sharp cracks as if a wooden stick were being broken over something hard, followed by a period of silence. The crowd, however, continues to mill about, something still keeping their attention well enough to sacrifice the precious minutes of free time before being forced back into the horrid climate of another poorly vented classroom.

The brief peace is once more shattered by another crack, this one louder and somehow more angry than the others. Several of the onlookers take on looks of surprise or worry but they hardly get time to express their emotions over the out-of-view incident before a lone figure comes barreling through their ranks like a cannonball, practically running straight over half a dozen people in their hurry.

The girl spews apologies as she careens past the victims of her sudden withdrawal from the circle of onlookers but doesn't slow down for even a moment. She takes off at a full sprint, dashing madly towards the safety of a nearby row of poorly trimmed hedges as if the devil were right on her heels. Just as she dives into the bushy foilage, a second figure blasts into the already fractured circle of gawkers sending another handful sprawling while the rest scramble to get out of their way.

The second individual might well be mistaken for a gorilla that happened to slip into an oversized jacket, towering a full two heads over the majority of those around him with a body wider than most of the trees. He glares from side to side, eyes seeking out the subject of his obvious ire, only to settle on the escaping girl's form as she makes her hurried dive for safety.

"You ain't gettin away that easy, bitch!"

Thundering forward at in a loping gait, the gorilla student crosses the courtyard almost as fast as the girl and simply plows through the hedge as if it were no more an obstacle than a silk curtain. Perhaps inevitably, there is yet another sharp crack which is echoed by a deep yelp. A much more feminine but still husky voice calls out, "Didn't anyone ever tell you not to chase the snake into the grass? Well, this is an institution of learning, just doing my part to help out!"

The scuffle continues for another minute or so, slowly working its way back and forth across the school grounds but somehow always just out of sight, the struggling pair obscured by trees and students without enough sense to give them a wide berth. The girl once more takes to the safety of the various bits of shrubbery, inevitably followed by an even more raging mad gorilla. This time there is no telling blow that follows, however. After several seconds of loud stomping around, the boy lets loose a growl of frustration.

"Where are you?! Come out here and fight me straight, you godamn coward!"

No response is forthcoming and another outraged cry rocks any sembles of peacefulness that might have been expected during the short lunch break. Surprisingly, the bushes near Miko and her little group rustle a few moments later, only to spit forth the apparently elusive form of the girl in question.

Ryuko slips into the open only briefly, peering out into the courtyard to get a peek of the situation before she quickly flops down against the base of the tree on the opposite side from the crowd, shielding herself from view.

"Whew, thought I'd never give that big ape the slip!" She tilts her neck back and forth, rubbing at one shoulder, and offers a sly grin up at the trio. "Don't mind me, he'll probably give up in a minute."

Miko can't help but stare back at the scene as it unfolds -- mostly because she was already tossing a glassy-eyed stare that way anyway.
Saya drifts off in mid-prattle to watch as well. Saya raises an eyebrow, sputtering out a sigh comprised of equal parts disgust and amazement.
Her red-haired companion Touji, meanwhile, fishes his lunch out of a bag. He's seen similar exchanges happen often in the past, and this one... well, until blows are exchanged, he can't really be arsed. A plastic container is popped open; moments later, the taste of low-budget PB&J is en route to his stomach.

"What is her name...?" wonders Miko aloud, as the nimble girl flits into the foliage. Unlike her two companions, she doesn't have a lunch -- no need for one, it would seem. Her eyes half-lidded, she takes a more intense gaze at the bushes, straining to make sense of the exchange...
Only to realize that there is now motion immediately behind her. Without any real warning or preamble, Miko extends a knife-hand in the direction of the tree, her chin turning to follow the warding gesture a moment afterwards. She... knew -something- happened, but until her focus shifts to note the flickers of motion suggesting the new location of the fleeing student, her guarded expression does not change in the slightest.

"Whph the phrgh?" sputters the otherwise-unflappable Touji, as he adjusts to the presence of a new person while he has half a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich stuffed in his mouth. Don't mind me, she says? "Jmmmmshhz."

Saya Tanizaki, for her part, is a bit more vocal than either of her companions, balling her hands into fists and advancing on the interloper. "What the hell gives you the right to sit -there- anyway? You don't expect -us- to cover your ass, do you?!"

Miko rolls her eyes skyward, the fingers of her defensive knifehand splaying out into a more casual gesture. "Ease up, Saya. If she wanted you dead, don't you think she'd have been fast enough to make it happen?" Miko smirks, reaching down to pluck Saya's bento from the plastic bag she was holding it in. The gesture draws some protest from the blue-haired girl: enough to draw attention away from the newcomer so that she can take proper advantage of her hard-won cover.

"So, Miss Mystery Student, what was the 'big ape' after you for, hmm? Is it worth our time to -not- flush you out for his benefit?" Miko flashes a faint, albeit somewhat condescending smile down to Ryuko. None of her gestures, nor those of the cowed duo accompanying her, would especially draw the attention of the aforementioned simian... though that seems to be why it's a legitimate question worthy of Ryuko's time.

Despite her rather frantic chase only a few moments ago, the new arrival doesn't seem particularly winded. She lounges back against the tree trunk even as the two more skiddish of the trio protest her choice of hiding places, tossing a glance at Saya when she advances forward with angry words. Ryuko opens her mouth, about to answer with something along the lines of 'you won't have to unless you keep yelling', but Miko beats her to the punch.

Her grin renews itself at the interesting display of dominance displayed by the older girl, easily picking up on the social cues as Saya backs down. Such heirarchy within small groups is hardly anything new, particularly at Gedo. Rank and respect hold more weight here than other schools, everything has to be earned. The fact that such an obviously nice spot is occupied by only the three of them had not escaped her notice either. Whoever this girl is, she's higher up on the food chain than the average student.

"Ah, nothing important," she says, waving a hand dismissively in the air. "Just some dumb jocks who thought they were hot shit. Had to give them a little lesson in humility. Gorilla-boy there was the ring-leader, so I rung his bell a few times."

Ryuko reaches up to brush a few twigs from her head, picking them out from the crook between her hair and a pair of rather strange looking hair ornaments. Shaped like enlongated tear drops with their tips cut off, they protrude upwards from the thick lockes of her black hair almost like a pair of dog ears; except they look more like a piece of advanced technology than mere fashion accessories. A bright purple glow emenates from symmetrical rectangles midway up their length as well as a trio of thin vents near the bottom. The resemblance to bits of mecha widgets from anime is hard to miss. Some sort of cosplay?

The girl goes silent for a moment, pondering the question. When she answers, her head tilts up and she regards Miko with a bright smile. The motion, however, also causes the long bangs covering the left side of her face to fall back far enough to reveal the dark shape of an metallic black patch over the eye beneath.

"It's Ryuko. Ryuko Tenjin. I don't really have anything to offer, if you're looking for a bribe - had to ditch the rest of my lunch when that all started going down - but I'm willing to bet that it'll be a lot less noisy if you don't."

Between the blue-haired girl and the red-headed guy, Touji is the level-headed one. Unless he's caught unaware by sudden motions, as the recent occurrence illustrated. So, now that the situation is resolved to his satisfaction -- that is, the newcomer isn't showing intent of attacking any of the others -- he turns his attention to the apelike student.
Mind, he does bristle somewhat at the blanket dismissal of 'dumb jocks' as a lower echelon of human being. "Tch..."

Saya, for her part, is scarcely paying much mind to the conversation -- certainly not enough to be offended by the notion that she or Touji could be considered 'jocks.' Her eyes are crossed as she stares back at her bento box, cruelly lifted from its flimsy plastic cocoon by her accompanying upperclassman.

Miko lifts the bento box away carefully so as not to upset the contents, making absolutely sure that she has Saya's attention while Miss Tenjin speaks. And hers, of course, strays to the glowing rectangles; kind of hard to ignore. Especially at the lowest rung of the Southtown financial and educational ladders.

"Mmm... Yes. Eat or be eaten, that's the way of things here at Gedo.
Saya's mouth gapes open, as she stares hungrily at the bento box.
"It's really no bother, I understand completely. But... you really just seem to be passing the buck from one student to another. Your lunch interrupted our lunch."

Touji polishes off the last of his sandwich. "Mmmot mmmmnn!"

Saya elbows him in the ribs, hard. "Shut up, asshole, I'm starv--"

"He won't bother you," states Miko with cold precision. "But you need a lunch, and Saya needs a fight."
"What I /need/ is my /lunch/, bitch!" spits Saya, making a mad grab for her bento box.
One that Miko predicted as she pivots about, blocking Saya with her shoulder as she swings the bento box just out of reach.

"Miko Kobayashi. And this is Saya Tanizaki, and Touji Matsubara." She indicates each in turn, combining the gesture with a simple evasion of the blue-haired sophomore's hungry swipes at the meals. "I have a few energy bars in my locker. They're yours if you can beat Saya."

And only then does Miko relent, allowing Saya to snatch the bento box from her hand. The cover flies off, and delicately wrapped o-nigiri and pickles are shredded into unrecognizable masses in a matter of moments. "Mmmrh mmyou mmup mmoo?" mumbles Saya -- clearly focused on the task of eating over anything else.

Ryuko notes the look of disapproval at her casual insult and gives the red-haired boy a quick wink. "No offense to present company intended, copper top."

Off in the distance, the large angry student continues to growl and shout profanity-laden insults for a little while. The crowd, however, quickly begins to grow bored when it's clear that the fight is over, one of the participants having made good their escape, and begin to slowly scatter to resume their own meals with what time remains to them. No longer egged on by an audience, Gorilla quickly loses steam and marches off back the way he came, vanishing behind the corner of a nearby building.

Almost as if she could sense this fact without looking, Ryuko pushes to her feet and casually dusts herself off while Saya makes the desperate lunge for her lunch. She absorbs their names, nodding a couple times, already turning to leave. "Thanks for the..."

Mid-sentence she stops, turning to give Miko a look of mild incredulity from beneath a raised eyebrow. Her gaze travels from the older student down to the ravenous girl, shifting back and forth a couple times before she turns to Touji with a look of 'is she serious?'.

"You... want me to fight your friend?"

Miko takes a note of Ryuko's situational awareness. It's... curious, but not enough for her to draw attention to -- yet. Could it be that the nimble Tenjin is a psion such as herself? There's too little information for the upperclassman to ascertain at this point in time.

Which brings her gaze to Saya -- who has already polished off everything but the little rice crackers in her bento box. And those escaped her wrath only because of the plastic sheathing.

Touji's wild eyes break away from the dispersing crowd, fiery scarlet irises suddenly finding Ryuko's staring back at him. He doesn't lurch -- this time -- from the sudden attention. He hadn't been oblivious to the conversation: he nods his head dully in response. Yes, Miko is serious.

"Spar, actually. I'm not in the habit of offering handouts without making it worth my while," answers Miko with an elusive smile.

Saya interjects, "It's not -you- offering the meal, though, it's me!"

"And you've been continually underwhelmed by the competition here," explains Miko, with an upraised finger. "Just a quick tussle, though. Or... " Miko inclines her head towards the glowing bits on Ryuko's head. "... you can tell me what's up with the headgear there. Seems a little... high-tech for this run-down school. You've been here long enough to remember Atelier Medical, hmm?"

Ryuko considers this. She has a stash of food awaiting in her own locker, emergency rations for situations just such as this or when her good nature compells her to share what she has with those less fortunate, a rather common predicament at Gedo. As evidenced by the rather fancy bit of technology clamped to her skull and the designer clothes she wears, her family is a fair bit better off than most. She hardly needs to take this challenge.

But she wants to. Stuffing her hands into the pockets on her skirt, she turns to face Miko and Saya once more, regarding them both with a thoughtful expression. Neither of them looks particularly dangerous but she didn't fail to notice how easily the former evaded the latter's attempts to reclaim her lunch. If anything, the older more calm girl is likely to be the greater challenge. However, if this small group functions anything like the rest of Gedo, she would have to go through the lackies before she could take on the boss.

"Sure," she says, shrugging. Ryuko's smile returns, filled with confidence and anticipation. "It's not like I have anything better to do."

Not that she would have declined even if she did. As anyone who witnessed her exchange with the much larger jock might be able to guess, Ryuko is something of an arenaline junky. The bigger the challenge, the more exciting it is. This Saya girl is a complete unknown to her. Speed, strength, abilities, technique - she'll have to learn it all on the fly, which is half the fun of getting into these competitions in the first place.

"We should probably take this somewhere else though. Gorillas are attracted to loud noise."

Miko may have been absent from Gedo for a while, but she remembers that the vast majority of its students are not here out of choice, or any great need to fit in; they're here because they can't afford to go to a nicer place. The offer of food would have served as a notable enticement to just about any of the other students.

But something, she can tell, is out of place with Ryuko, and it's not just the shiny headgear. She's... happy, and her ready acceptance of the offer comes swaddled up in an aura of eager enthusiasm, rather than the desperation and anxiety which she would have otherwise expected.

Unexpected, but not unwelcome.

As they finish up with their respective lunches, Touji and Saya look towards the upperclassman with anticipation. Touji mentions, "We could probably head out by the side gate."

Miko nods her head, gesturing for Touji and Saya to lead the way.

"Miss... Tenjin. It's a miracle we haven't crossed paths sooner, hmm? But I am glad that fate has seen fit to draw us together today. Folks have to look out for one another, here at Gedo..." If the upperclassman is upset about her implied questions being brushed aside, she doesn't show it -- that's the whole purpose of throwing such seemingly unrelated queries out there, after all.

Touji barks out orders at a couple who has decided to park their butts in the place he so thoughtfully picked out. It's a smallish area, bounded by the gate itself, a building housing some machinery, and a small garden of sorts.

As the two run off, Saya rolls her sleeves back. The unkempt, blue-haired girl draws her gloved fists back. One fist is raised high, the other is kept low near her waist. Reminiscent of some form of karate -- though whether it's Shotokan, Rindoukan, or, um, Saikyo-ryu isn't really clear -- because she's not holding tightly to any one of the three.
"I'm ready whenever you are!" calls out Saya, as Touji sees about making the sure the area is kept clear. Miko, for her part, looks on with an enigmatic smile, eager to see exactly what this "Dragon Child" is made of.

COMBATSYS: Saya has started a fight here.

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Saya             0/-------/-------|

Ryuko nods at the suggestion of taking the impromptu duel out to one of the smaller gates dotting the school grounds. Such a place would be unlikely to have much of an audience due to its distance from the main buildings and on a hot day like this even the delinquents will be inclined to remain close to something that provides shade. Ofcourse, there are always atleast a handful willing to brave even the midday sun to shirk some sort of responsibility; fortunately, the two in question are pushovers and clear out with only a verbal warning. Even Gedo pushovers usually make a show of pretending like they don't care, though. This pair up and ran away without so much a word. Interesting.

Rather than mimick Saya's immediate shift into combat mode, the mecha-earred student holds up a hand, extending her index finger towards the trio in the universal signal for 'give me a moment'.

"Hold that thought, I need to go get something."

Turning away without waiting for assent, Ryuko jogs back towards the main building and vanishes from sight. A few minutes pass before she reappears in distance, still moving with a quick but casual pace despite the obvious signs of the heat shimmering on her skin, a long object in held in one hand. As she draws closer, it becomes obvious that the item is a slender wooden sword, a practice bokken. Oddly, she also carries a sheath for the weapon, it's bulk a little larger than most to accomodate for the extra girth of the training blade.

Ryuko gives a little wave as she approaches, holding the sword up for the three of them to see before she slips it into the sheath and affixes it around her waist with a loose sash of cloth. Once more she does something odd, affixing the weapon to her right hip rather than the left. Obviously, she must be a south-paw.

"Sorry about that, I broke my usual sword over ape-boy's head. Must be made out of rocks or something. Had to grab the spare."

She makes a show of stretching a little, bending to both sides, rotating her torso without moving her legs, and holding her arms up towards the sky, but finally Ryuko seems to be ready, dropping into a stance of her own. Bizzarely, she turns away from Saya, only half facing the other girl. Her hand goes to the hilt of her faux sword, resting lightly around the handle, and while it looks as if she is prepared to do so at any moment, she does not draw immediately.

"Just a fair warning, I'm not the type to hold back when someone challenges me. Can't guarantee you won't walk away from this without a bruise or two. So you better give it all you got!"

COMBATSYS: Ryuko has joined the fight here.

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Saya             0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0            Ryuko

Miko and her troupe wait as bidden -- if nothing else, it gives Miko a bit more of an opportunity to give Saya a bit of a pep talk, as well as some warmup exercises. When Ryuko returns, it will be to the sight of Miko keeping her hands behind her back, quietly and efficiently swinging her upper torso out of the way of a wild and frenzied series of swiping punches. As fast as Saya can throw the punches, Miko's speed is significantly higher; where a simple sway to the side won't do, her feet are more than adequate to complete the job.
Through it all: Miko wears the most condescending smile she can muster.

So Saya is plenty hungry to land an actual strike, in other words. As Ryuko arrives, Saya throws her index finger out at her. It's not in a sign to wait, but quite the opposite..!

Miko and Touji take a few steps back, clearing the space so that the melee can begin properly, without their interference. The upperclassman raises an eyebrow at the iai style, chuckling softly to herself. "You -are- full of surprises..."

Saya coughs out a laugh. "Feh. Turning your -back- to me? I ain't gonna be the one walkin' out with bruises!" But when Saya rushes forth, it's not with a punch -- but with a hopping spin kick aimed at crashing right into Ryuko's guard and knocking her to the side, -daring- her to unleash the fury of her bladeless sword. "Hyaaaa!"

COMBATSYS: Ryuko blocks Saya's Medium Kick.

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Saya             0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0            Ryuko

Ryuko just grins at the the other girl's response over her shoulder. The short warm up session she'd witnessed on her return as well as Saya's frantic attempts to rescue her lunch earlier had given away a bit about her personality and style, though not necessarily enough to get a full read on her. There is always the possibility that she is putting on an act as well, misleading people into assuming one thing and then surprising them with another. It's an effective tactic but a dishonest one. Not the sort of thing an upright citizen would do. Ofcourse, this is Gedo - you'd be hard pressed to find a ruler that manages to stay straight. More importantly, it only works once, and that's the kind of margin of error that only assassins can afford.

The swordsgirl offers no deception in her stance or style and it turns out that she doesn't need to. Even as Saya takes to the air, Ryuko is already in motion. Her eye narrows as she focuses intently and the world seems to slow down for just a few moments; more than long enough for her to get a read on the attack. The sword is drawn forth but only so far as necessary to slam the butt end of the hilt into the oncoming attack. Saya's foot impacts with the handle several inches before her intended target and Ryuko rides the momentum backwards a couple of steps, sliding the blade back into place in the process.

"Good, I like that enthusiasm. Let's see how long you can keep it up!"

Taking a step back to create space, Ryuko returns fire. The sword whips out of its sheath like a bolt of lightning, a faint glow of blue energy illuminating its whip-crack through the space that Saya currently occupies. The assault has a second component that comes hot on the heels of the first as Ryuko spins in place bringing the sheath around like a second sword to smash upon the girl's body or guard, pressuring her hard to drive her out of easy distance to use her fists or feet.

COMBATSYS: Saya blocks Ryuko's Tenryuko Souken.

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Saya             0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0            Ryuko

Miko is hiding a great deal. Saya, though... well, it's probably no secret across the Gedo campus that she likes to punch things about 300% more than she likes to kick them.

This, however, is training for the young brawler. Fighting unarmed against an armed opponent is just one of many hurdles to advancing her skill as a fighter. It's a lesson she learns as soon as the side of her boot thuds into the hilt of the sword -- it was physical contact (a marked difference from fighting Miko), but it was not exactly as soft as she was hoping it'd be. "Ugh..." she mumbles as her foot is knocked aside, and stumbles as she attempts to recover.

Luckily, Ryuko steps back and gives the brawler some space. An eyebrow is quirked at the sudden manifestation of energy, but Saya rams her elbow and shoulder into the attack. Not the -smartest- idea, but Saya's also not the most frail student in Gedo, to say the least. The second attack... well, by the stinging in her shoulder, she knows enough to take the Miko-approved approach of leaping backwards to avoid the rest, holding her palms out to ward off the strike.

She's rewarded by a line of red welts on her palms for the trouble, having failed to anticipate the wave of energy that would come -with- such a strike. "Agh, agh!" she groans, forehead knitting in pain.

"Pff, you even -talk- like you're all that, too!" Shaking the numbness out of her head and hands, the girl rushes forward once again. She doesn't try to feint: she's making a move to grab hold of Ryuko's sword arm, and hopefully wrench it off to the side. Should she accomplish that she'd try to leverage the advantage by slamming her knee into the swordswoman's midsection.

COMBATSYS: Ryuko blocks Saya's Rose of Pain.

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Saya             0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0            Ryuko

Ryuko snaps her blade back into the sheath the moment that she completes her spinning assault, the movement flowing as easily as instinct. It manages to look pretty cool too. She grins at the banter, managing to look confident without the subtle condescending tone to the expression that Miko seems to have mastered.

"Maybe I am, maybe I'm not."

She doesn't get a chance to say much more as Saya dives right into the fray again, managing to do the smart thing by trying to stay inside the reach of her blade. Ryuko attempts to side-step but the hard grip of her opponent catches her arm before she can slip away. Her expression shifts to a faint grimace as the brutish tomboy tries to tear the arm clean off her shoulder forcing her to bend to the side to avoid that undesirable fate.

It is at that moment that she realizes what the real intent of such a move is. Hardly coming across as someone with the technical skill to engage in complicated joint locks, it seems obvious that the next step will be to take advantage of her momentary lack of movement to land a powerful blow. She's seen it a few times before but the certainty of what to expect floods into her mind almost faster than the attack happens, her unsual instincts reacting more fluidly than any conscious attempt she could ever muster.

Without even realizing what she's doing, Ryuko leans into the arm-twist and cartwheels in the same direction, unwinding her joint while evading the rising knee at the same time. She wastes no time in taking advantage of her swift escape and her opponent's momentary lack of balance. The swordsgirl yanks herself free and steps back, slashing out with her sword in a low chop aimed at the back of the leg Saya still has on the ground - her knee in particular.

"Heh, not bad!"

COMBATSYS: Ryuko successfully hits Saya with Medium Strike.
Glancing Blow

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Saya             0/-------/-----==|==-----\-------\0            Ryuko

Saya may be quick to anger, but she doesn't really and truly -live- on the bleeding edge of rage. The truth is a bit more complex than that, as Ryuko will likely find out in the course of the battle.

When her joint lock is evaded by such an impressive cartwheel, Saya actually finds her jaw dropping. The sword had implied that Ryuko would be slow to act, but the swordswoman's quick thinking has placed Saya in a particularly precarious position. Realizing that she can't capitalize any further on that hold, Saya starts to pitch herself forward into a hop. But, as with Miko, she just isn't -quite- quick enough. A wooden bokken swipes against the fleeing Tanizaki's calf, leaving a red welt and forcing her to pivot sharply to the side instead of landing with more grace. Her gray Gedo skirt flares as she whirls around, dropping one hand low to the ground to steady herself. Snarling, she glares up at Ryuko with the tenacity of a cornered animal.

Watching from her safe distance, Miko nods her head slowly. Her arms cross, and her index finger taps lightly upon one arm.

The feral look only lasts a moment, as her eyes' intensity fades. Saya's mouth adopts a more respectful smile. "Thought I woulda had'ja with that one!" she comments, shifting tactics back to ones that she's more familiar with. Ryuko appears to be enforcing a wider range than Saya would prefer, which means that the brawler will just have to keep testing her limits. Tanizaki charges in, swinging three wild punches -- none of which are meant to actually connect.

The fourth, though, would definitely leave a bruise, as the right cross is intended to plow right through Ryuko's defenses and slam squarely into her sternum. "HRRRRRAAA!"

COMBATSYS: Saya successfully hits Ryuko with Fierce Punch.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Saya             0/-------/-----==|=====--\-------\0            Ryuko

The sword dances back into its sheath as Ryuko steps back once more, leaving Saya to catch herself from the half-successful evasion rather than push the attack further. Were she actually trying to hurt the girl, such would have been an excellent opportunity to do so, but Ryuko treats such matches as more of an unofficial fencing match. Hit and retreat, hit and retreat, giving the opponent a chance to get their feet once more to continue the match.

The warning signs of someone who might not be in full control of their temper flare to life in Saya's eyes and Ryuko does not miss them. Yet another tidbit of information to file away. People who get mad easy tend to be easily provoked and someone who is upset is rarely as capable of putting up a good fight. On the other hand, she might just earn herself an enemy and several more bruises than necessary, so she opts not to immediately poke that particular beehive just yet.

The wild barrage of punches is not particularly difficult to see coming; infact, she's been waiting for just such an assault. Ryuko deftly manuevers away from the angry fists, casually tilting her head away from the first blow as if taunting a bull. The second and third she dodges artfully as well, almost seeming like she's going to lead the fiesty brawler around on a merry chase until she tires herself out. However, the final strike comes a little faster than she had anticipated, catching her solidly in the chest despite a last second effort to throw her arm in the way.


Ryuko staggers backwards, hand going to the impact site in an animalistic defensive gesture for a moment. She winces and rubs at the front of her shirt but doesn't make the mistake of taking her eye off her opponent for more than a few moments.

"Wow, nice punch. Gonna feel that one tomorrow."

Solid as the blow was, it was hardly a fight ender. Ryuko drops deftly back into her combat stance and considers her next action. Evidence would suggest that allowing many more of those blows to land would be a bad idea. She has two primary options to deal with this threat - don't get hit, which is easier than it sounds, and end the fight as quickly as possible, preferrably by being the one doing the clobbering and not the other way around.

She opts for option two. Closing her eye briefly, Ryuko takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly, exhaling all of the distractions and tension in her body. When she opens it once more, the only thing that she focuses on is Saya. The rest of the world turns into a hazy blur, blobs of color and shape which her subconscious recognizes as bits of the terrain; however, to her conscious mind there is only one object in existence that matters.

"Well that was a good warm up. Ready to get serious?"

COMBATSYS: Ryuko focuses on her next action.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Saya             0/-------/-----==|=====--\-------\0            Ryuko

Saya falls asleep.

Saya wakes up.

With each strike Saya throws, Touji is practically mimicking her on the sidelines. He doesn't commit as far as the brawler does -- he'd fall over if he did, of course! But he does throw punches whenever she does, and he recoils whenever she gets nicked. It's often been said that Touji and Saya are inseparable, like brother and sister -- they seem practically attuned to one another.

Miko, for her part, is connected with Saya in a quite different and less obvious fashion. Without Miko's presence, the little hellfire might completely give into her anger and create the openings that Ryuko is looking for. But without even a word, the puppetmaster is able to coach the impressionable teenager psychically, without speaking a word -- urging her to press forward in some cases, and suggesting that she bide her time in others.

Miko quietly asseses the battle. Ryuko is... a surprising anomaly thus far. A Gedo student who both enjoys fighting, and isn't completely enslaved by her emotions. Indeed, Ryuko seems more in control of her emotional state than most -adults- here on campus, which only makes the enigmatic puzzles that much more enticing: -Where did Ryuko come from?- -Why is she here?-

Saya, for her part, is completely in the zone. She couldn't care less what Miko or Touji are doing -- her focus is squarely upon the savvy fighter in front of her who insists on offering compliments after taking a full-on punch to the sternum. She doesn't give up the ground she's won -- even with Ryuko staggering backward, Saya presses onward, not wanting to let her opponent impart a full momentum strike onto her again.

Saya's midnight-blue hair rustles in the breeze as she narrows her eyes. Her opponent has one eye -- and she just -closed- it. "I'm -always- serious!" she insists. She can tell Ryuko is up to -something- -- but isn't entirely sure what that entails.

She doesn't want to find out.

Saya charges forward. She leaps in fast, hoping that her left knee can pierce the terrifyingly calm mien presented by Ryuko. Should her knee crash through her opponent's guard, Saya would bring her right fist low, and then thrust upwards rapidly with both feet, sending Saya skyward with a powerful uppercut. "KOOOORYUUKEN!"

COMBATSYS: Ryuko blocks Saya's Break the Darkness.

[       \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Saya             0/-------/------=|======-\-------\0            Ryuko

Ryuko's eye slides open just as the knee rushes up to meet her gut and once more she moves with casual ease to counter the blow as if she had seen it coming before it even happened. The swordsgirl's own leg snaps up and she catches the powerful strike on her shin - unpleasant to be sure but way less than than if she'd taken it square, particularly with what comes next. Leveraging the impact in her favor, Ryuko pushes back against the knee and hops backwards a couple of feet; not much but enough to avoid the dangerous looking uppercut, leaving the overly aggressive Saya with little for her efforts save to have exposed herself for a few moments.

A few moments is often all it takes in martial arts to swing the tides drastically. The one-eyed warrior smirks faintly as she becomes aware of the opportunity presented to her here, refusing to pass up such a delicious opportunity to sting the thug. She falls back into the neutral stance of her combat art the moment that she lands and the sword whips out only a breath later, blue light carving a precise fourty-five degree angle through the air at Saya's ribs. The blade strikes and snaps back into her sheath so fast that it's likely that only the faint afterglow of the energy is visible for more than half a second.


COMBATSYS: Saya endures Ryuko's Tenryuko Shoutenha.

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////             ]
Saya             0/-------/---====|=======\-------\0            Ryuko

Miko certainly can appreciate the capability of fighters to know when pain is about come crashing down -- but more important than that is the ability to do something with that foreknowledge. She nods slowly in appraisal, even as Touji flinches. He can see the eye open, he can see the knee rise up to catch the blow -- and he even flinches when it connects.

Saya winces, but follows through anyway, in the hopes that the harried guard would leave her defenseless -- but no such luck. As Saya's fist hurtles upward, the twisting motion flares her skirt out. Saya curls her knees inward in anticipation of an immediate counterattack, but Ryuko does her the favor of waiting until her landing.

Saya makes no attempt to defend the blow, however -- instead, she just squares her stance, landing solidly as the bokken cracks against her ribs. Bones creak from the instant stress: even though the blunt blade might not be able to cut through her seifuku, it is more than powerful enough to leave a scorch mark on the dark-grey uniform. The energy continues slicing through the fabric, drawing forth a degree of agony from the underclassman. "Ngyaaaa!!"

Her boot soles shift, digging into the weather-worn concrete. She staggers forward, clutching at ground zero of Ryuko's impact. But she does not yield ground, nor does she fall over from such an obviosuly painful attack. Her face is a rictus of pain, eyes masked by the bangs of unruly midnight-blue hair.

Saya soldiers through it. The fading blue energy is supplanted by a dark crimson aura emanating from the underclassman. And her pained cry turns into a roar, as she surges forward. It might be a fair assumption that she would try another punch; that'd be a fair assumption.

That is why she uses her head as a battering ram, left fist trailing behind as she charges forward into Ryuko, not wanting to give her another moment's respite. Only after the ferocious headbutt does she swing her punches: first, a wild hook from her left hand, and then an even more chaotic haymaker from her right hand, blazing hot with her crimson aura.

She doesn't have a name for this one, unless you could her screaming: "DORYAAAAAAA!"

COMBATSYS: Ryuko intercepts Miscast from Saya with Tenryuko no Hoko.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Saya             0/-------/=======|=======\-------\1            Ryuko

Ryuko can't help but be impressed by the sheer tenacity of her opponent. Most would atleast slow down a little after a smack like that, but the hyper aggressive tomboy is up in her grill again almost immediately. With barely a few moments to recover from her own attack, the sword wielder has no time to put distance between them once more, resulting in another brutal attempt by Saya to keep the battle at an in-fight where she is strongest. Tactical cunning or mindless aggression?

Rather than a punch, it is another kick that Ryuko expects to come flying her way as Saya seems to favor leading in with her feet in order to create a setup for her powerful punches. However, had she guessed punch, she would have still been wrong as the girl resorts to one of the older tricks in the brawler handbook.

The headbutt catches Ryuko off-guard but completely flat-footed. She whips her arm out and hooks it around the human battering ram's neck, pushing her head downwards to force the impact into her gut where she can absorb the blow more easily. The charge is still quite forceful, however, and she skids backwards a couple of steps before managing to cancel out the momentum. Ofcourse, Saya's assault is already continuing, her fist drawing back in an obvious wind-up.

"Not this time," Ryuko grunts.

The wild swing is caught on her shoulder, painful but nothing serious. The haymaker, however, is what she's worried about. Ryuko narrows her eyes as she slips into another moment of absolute clarity, her senses expanding in a way she can't explain. Time seems to slow down, the girl and her brutal punch, Touji and his shadow boxing mimickry, and Miko with her superiority complex smile - all of them become trapped in invisible molasses like in an action movie when something dramatic happens.

Ryuko, however, does not seem to suffer this same fate. In these strange bursts of bizarre reaction time, she moves just as freely as ever, as if time operated differently for her. Just as before, she does not squander the slightest advantage in this fight. Inhaling sharply, she stares down the barrel of the incoming fist and then yells.


The moment that she expels the force of her breath into the air time snaps back to normal. Her shout, while already fairly loud, takes on a completely different state altogether. A wave of raw power explodes out around Ryuko, her childish roar turning into a physical impact force. It catches Saya's fist mere inches away from clobbering her target in the face, the two forces clashing for a single heartbeat before it flings her away with no more effort than a child's doll.

Saya... knows something happened there. Her headbutt slammed into Ryuko's abdomen -- which was fun, but not ideal. Then her wild hook managed to clip Ryuko on the shoulder. These are all things she can cope with.

She can't account for the instant of time right after her punch -should- have clobbered Ryuko right into next week; instead, Saya found herself flying backwards.

Those two things don't make any sense. And on the sidelines, even Touji finds himself confused -- why did Saya's punch result in her getting blasted backwards -- and why did Ryuko's shout sound so -weird?!- Pitch-shifted, like he was watching the fight in slow motion...

Miko, though, grits her teeth as she sees Saya flying backwards. Her battle senses are a bit more keen than Touji, and from her perspective, Ryuko just accomplished a feat that the talented acrobat and weapon-wielder doubts that she could even match.

Saya is deposited unceremoniously on her backside from the blow, a look of utter confusion on her face as she stares back at her fist. It didn't hurt, like it should have if she landed the punch -- the wave of force was no less potent, but it shoved her back equally on all fronts. The fall itself seemed to hurt just as much, though the tomboy won't notice the holes worn into the back of her seifuku from her slide along the concrete.

Touji will, though, when the young woman kicks back to her feet. And if not for Miko slugging him in the shoulder, he probably would have alerted Saya to it. 'Not this time,' indeed.

Saya's aura may have ebbed away, but as she clenches her fists and stomps into a horse stance, it flares back into existence. Her turn in the Rumble tournament seems to have paid off -- the girl knows how to wield her chi a bit better now. And against Ryuko, she feels it's a good time to try some things out.

"Tch. I don't know what the hell you just did," admits Saya with a smile and a feral gleam in her eyes. "But I freakin' -dare- you to try it again!"

The brawler charges forward, in what's sure to be an expected trend. The only thing different is her aura, waves of crimson chi emanating from her as she slams her knees in an aggressive encroachment on Ryuko's calm and measured countenance. Her skirt flares as she delivers a waist-level knee strike; she then steps forward to deliver a knee with the other leg. The third knee would be followed up with an underhanded punch to the ribcage, aimed at harrying the time-dilating swordswoman to see if she really -can- try that again! "Hraa! Hraa! Hraaaaah!"

COMBATSYS: Saya successfully hits Ryuko with Aggressive Strike.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////                    ]
Saya             1/------=/=======|=======\==-----\1            Ryuko

While she isn't planning on doing exactly that particular move again, Ryuko is fairly confident that she's gotten the hang of how to deal with her reckless opponent. Time to bring things to a close. Once more she inhales and lets it out deeply, focusing her senses for what is to come. While she cannot control the seemingly random flashes of insight that let her know exactly how to react, whether it be slipping out of an opponent's throw or avoiding a particularly nasty blow, there is one aspect of her unique skills that she /can/ reliably call upon.

"Let's dance," she says quietly under her breath and grins at the oncoming Saya.

The brilliant neon glow of whatever sort of machinery is contained within those hair pieces of hers flickers for a moment, three sharp pulses almost like some sort of code, then returns to its steady illumination. Did something happen? It's not abundantly clear.

Ryuko, however, doesn't seem to notice. Her attention is all on Saya. She moves with the attacks that come her way, shifting her legs in time with each rising knee strike to catch it on the opposite shin. As before, the impacts are hard and painful but like any diligent fighter, she's practiced taking hits like that and the pain is only temporary, already forgotten a few moments later. The two of them twist back and forth, kicks meeting guard, until Saya manages to slip past the agile swordsgirl's defenses with her sudden shift to the body blow.

Ryuko's grin is wiped clean off her face as the powerful crunch of impact knocks the wind out of her momentarily. She gasps loudly as she steps back, sucking in fresh air. However, she is distracted by the blow for only a moment, showing the same level of intense focus as she has thus far.

Barely having finished staggering from the hit, Ryuko snaps her foot out and drives it at Saya's torso, attempting to push her away while enhancing her own retreat. The bokken swings out a moment later as she draws it in another whip-crack strike. This time the strike is from above, a classic samurai-styled slash that comes in slower than her other attacks and most definately much harder since her target, Saya's noggin', has proven to be quite thick.

COMBATSYS: Saya fails to interrupt Strong Strike from Ryuko with Silent Jealousy.

[                      \\\\\\\\  < >  //////////                    ]
Saya             0/-------/-======|=======\===----\1            Ryuko

While Saya is exulting in landing a series of solid hits upon Ryuko, Miko's attention is fully upon the neon glow emanating from the bespoke technology upon Ryuko's head. In many fighters, bending the rules normally associated with 'reality' amongst the common people tends to be preceded with a burst of -intention- somehow. To one as practiced in observing fighters as Miko, the flare of intent serves as a red flag that some real stuff is about to go down.

But Ryuko doesn't exhibit that flag -- at least, if she did, it wasn't immediately obvious to Miko. Which is ... fascinating, in its own regard; suggesting that perhaps the gadgetry is acting independently of her own intent. And perhaps... augmenting her skills on its own technologically-ordained initiative.

Touji, meanwhile, has a much less scholarly approach. "What the hell is that neon shit on her head?" he asks in a low voice, hoping that Miko can enlighten him on that.
Judging from her lazy shrug, the upperclassman doesn't elaborate.

Saya, for her part, is too busy smirking. "Not much of a dancer," quips the brawler with the crimson aura, balling one fist by her waist as she raises her left arm in defense. She doesn't expect Ryuko to be down for long, but unlike Ryuko, she's okay with poking beehives if it gets her somewhere.

Unfortunately, it gets a foot snapped into her torso. Momentarily blinded by her hubris, Saya's rearward fist surges into motion with a crimson afterimage, but even her speed is not enough to surpass that of her opponent. While Touji winces in the background, Saya folds like a pocket knife from the strike, doubling over as she staggers backwards, any pretense of interrupting the attack momentarily banished from her mind.

She then finds her shoulders and head cracked downward into the concrete from the blow that follows. Her eyes scrunch together tightly as stars explode into her vision like fireworks. Irritably, she throws herself back to her feet, as ill-advised as that might be...

Even then, though, her stance is not steady. She lists from side to side, wobbling as she whirls back to face Ryuko. ... One of them, anyway. Blood trickles from her nostril, brought about by the faceplant a few moments prior. She tenses her fists, and her aura flares up anew.

"Feh." She turns her head to spit on the pavement, but altogether turns back to Ryuko.

"The true test of a fighter is how they act under duress," comments Miko from the sidelines -- presumably to Touji, but loud enough to be heard by the combatants. "What hidden powers lie in wait, I wonder...?"

Ryuko's wooden blade snaps back into its casing with the tell-tale click as it slips into the form-fitted sheath much the same way a real one might. She falls instinctively into her combat stance, half turned away from the fallen girl while slightly bent over and ready to unleash another crushing blow should she somehow shake off having her bell rung as quickly as before.

However, it turns out the even the fiesty tomboy can't walk away from a knock like that without a few seconds to recover. Ryuko sighs softly but smiles as she stands up and relaxes for the few moments she's like to have. Finally given a chance to rest and she's too worked up to take advantage of it. Go figure. This has definately been one of her more challenging encounters in recent memory. Some people might find difficult fights to be undesirable - but not Ryuko. The greater the challenge the more exciting it is! Even now, despite her outwardly calm appearance, she can feel the bruises that have been inflicted upon her body beginning to settle in. Throbbing sensations of dull ache whine at her from both legs and her ribs still feel like someone took a sledgehammer to them. She's getting close to her own limits. Down to the wire! Neck and neck! Who will take home the gold?

"Hahaha... been a while since someone made me work this hard. I'd bow but I'm pretty sure you'd kick me in the nose," she says with a genuine grin. "However, I would like to wrap this up before the bell rings - got some energy bars to collect as my prize. Yum yum, right? So now... I'll let you see one of my secret techniques! Watch closely - I'm only gonna do this once!"

Steadying herself, Ryuko adopts her combat stance once more, gripping the handle of her bokken tightly. Her eye narrows as she sucks in a slow breath and once more the world fades into the realm of slow-motion as her senses hike up to their utmost degree.


The first swing of her sword is aimed at Saya's head - a somewhat more difficult target than her torso but Ryuko is banking on her wooziness. However, she doesn't stop there - far from it - as another slash is delivered, this one down at her knees. The third comes in high, a sideways draw slash like all the others except the angle of it brings the blade crashing into her midsection. Then she repeats this pattern twice more - high, low, middle, high, low.

Each of the slashes follows the same basic motion, whipping out in a sharp cut then dancing back into Ryuko's sheath in one fluid flow. Perhaps more impressively, however, is the sheer speed at which the onslaught of blows rains down on Saya, each swing and retraction happening so fast as almost be undetectable, once more leaving only shining blue contrails in the air to mark its passage to the average viewer.

The final blow is once more aimed at Saya's midsection, except rather than simply slashing and sheathing her blade as per the other attacks in her lightning fast combo, Ryuko leans forward and explodes with motion, dashing past the other girl in a singular burst of speed that carries her some half a dozen feet to her rear. Pausing dramatically with her sword only half sheathed, Ryuko grins to no one in particular and slowly slides the blade home until the hilt snaps down with another sharp click.


COMBATSYS: Saya endures Ryuko's Ougi - Mokozan.

[                                < >  //////////                    ]
Saya             0/-------/-======|===----\-------\0            Ryuko

Miko smiles faintly: the idea of a scabbard for a blunted sword just strikes her as amusing. Maybe the scabbard is a core of the young woman's distinctive style, or perhaps the scabbard is a trigger for the young woman's technological gizmos.

At any rate, she nods appraisingly at the swordswoman's election to take her few moments of rest, rather than press an obvious advantage. Despite her clear mastery of strategy, it becomes clear that Ryuko is nicer than Miko would be in similar circumstances.

Ryuko isn't the only one who thrives on the challenge. It's a dreadfully close fight, and if Saya hadn't wanted to be pushed further and faster, she would have stayed down, for sure. Her midnight-blue tresses sway in the light breeze, fluttering lightly as her dense crimson aura burns from within. She steps from one side to another, presenting no -clear- vector for attack that wouldn't stand the risk of defense.

"Pssh, I'd think of something better than -that-," she replies, flashing her canine teeth in a wide grin. Sure -- it'd be nice to finish this fight before the bell rings. She nods back in reply -- as ferocious as the fight may be, the two both appear to be fairly evenly matched, which is its own incentive for the miscreant to do well.

As bidden, Saya watches closely. She can only do this once? "Hit me," she challenges, "If you can!"

And then Saya completely loses track of Ryuko's movements entirely. In a way -- she's already resigned herself to the role of practice dummy -- Saya lets herself fall slack. No difficult task considering her state of wooziness, really. But she doesn't need to -see- the attack to know what happens. Her head is cracked to the side, her shoulders moving as she sways with the strike. Her knees get slashed by the dulled sword, swept out from under her. Airborne, she's tossed about like a rag doll, completely beholden to the whims of the master swordswoman moving faster than the young fighter can even process.

Miko's eyes widen at the series of attacks -- glued to every action, clearly executed on autopilot from years of practice. How -old- is this fighter?

Touji, meanwhile -- he's not shadowboxing at all. He's slammed his right fist into his left palm, and his face is rapidly approaching the color of his vibrant scarlet hair.

Saya, meanwhile, is tossed about as if she'd gotten her leg caught in a chipper-shredder. Luckily, the truth isn't as violent -or- as fatal, though she will definitely have a hard time sitting still in next period's science class.
... But that would be the case even if she hadn't entered combat.

When Ryuko thunders past her, Saya is dropped back to her feet. She stumbles somewhat, dull confusion setting in on her face. Her eyes are glassy, unfocused. At the trigger word, Mokozan, Saya's crimson aura explodes outward into nothingness -- and the brawler is violently blasted backwards. She drops to one knee, her back to Ryuko... her arm curled around her ravaged midsection. Red welts appear all over the young woman's lightly tanned skin -- burns of chi scorched into her clothing.

And, on one knee... Saya lets loose a chuckle. And a second chuckle, even as her cuts begin to flare red.

Her head tilts to one side. She calls back, over her shoulder, in an unrepentant apology: "... Sorry... musta blinked." she apologizes, as she turns to face Ryuko once more, adrenaline pumping through every muscle in her body.

From her kneeled-over position, Saya vaults backwards into the air. She twists about to face Ryuko once again in midair: a whirling spin kick. Her entire body flares crimson -- the most significant expenditure of energy she's experienced to date. And her eyes -- her eyes are as clear as crystal as she draws upon her last inner wellspring of energy, as she launches into a series of attacks. "ORA ORA ORA ORA ORAAAA!" A roundhouse, a back elbow strike, a knee strike, stomach punch.
It's all as she'd seen it in the Saikyo Dojo videos, and live and in person where she could have. Raw, unrefined, and primal, she continues driving forward.

And if she's allowed to, the attack would culminate in one final rising uppercut, as all of her crimson energy rushes into the knuckles of her upraised right hand. "KOOOOORYUKEN!"

Touji frowns. "When the hell did she have the time to practice -that?-"
Miko shushes Touji with an outraised hand. She wants to watch! Though she's not the only one -- as a few students in Gedo uniforms begin approaching the area. Seems gorillas -are- attracted by noise... though, are they -carrying- something?

COMBATSYS: Saya can no longer fight.

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

COMBATSYS: Saya successfully hits Ryuko with Give Me The Pleasure.

[                            \\  <
Ryuko            1/-------/=======|

Ryuko lets out a little laugh of her own at the quip. After all that, this girl is still standing? She's harder to squash than a cockroach. Well, there can't be much left in her after that, regardless of how much of a tough girl act she wants to put on. It's amazing she can even keep on her feet.

Not that Ryuko is much better off. Sweat pours down her face from exertion in the unforgiving heat, her shoulders rising up and down in the steady heave of someone attempting to catch their breath. She's about spent but she should have enough left for one more little push, something light to bring the fight to a close.

The swordsgirl turns to face her opponent, preparing to ready herself for the next attack only to find that it has already been launched. Her eye goes wide and time slows down in instinctual reflex. It gives her enough of a glimpse to realize her mistake in assuming that her opponent couldn't recover from such an attack with that much speed; or rather that she would be foolish enough to push herself that hard just to win a sparring match.

The time dialation isn't as powerful this time, however, her energy reserves spent and her focus waivering in that brief moment of relaxtion. Ryuko leans to the side, attempting to throw herself out of the way but she's simply too late. The spin kick catches her in the side of the face, snapping her head down with a wicked thud. The second kick crashes into her back, jerking her in the opposite direction and exposing the hapless girl to the brutal elbow and all that follows after it.

None of the attacks meet any real resistance, Ryuko simply too surprised and drained to muster a defense. She doubles over as the blow to her stomach threatens to empty its contents onto the sidewalk but before she gets the chance the final overblown uppercut sends her flying backwards into a sprawled heap on the ground.

It is Ryuko's turn to see stars and savor the taste of her own blood. Neither of these things are firsts for her but they're rarely enjoyable. She lays on the ground for several seconds, allowing her vision to stop spinning. When she rouses, rather than attempt to get to her feet, she simply groans and leans forward until she can sit up. Turning her head, she spits a thick wad of red-stained saliva onto the sidewalk.

It takes a few moments for her to recover but eventually Ryuko turns and offers another grin towards the trio, wiping her mouth with the back of one hand before she leans back on her palms casually.

"Jeez, you don't kid around, girl. The last person to hit me that hard had a baseball bat." Her expression shifts to one of concern a moment later. "You okay, though? You must be some kind of crazy person to pull a stunt like that."

COMBATSYS: Ryuko takes no action.

COMBATSYS: Ryuko can no longer fight.

By this point -- the intentions of the five newcomers may become a bit more clear. One is carrying a first aid kit. Another is carrying a couple water bottles. And a third is carrying ice packs.

Miko Kobayashi plans ahead.

Saya Tanizaki, however, does not think in the long-term. It's true that she's been working on her chi techniques since just before the Rumble in the Streets tournament, under the occasionally-misguided tutelage of the Saikyo Dojo, but... she had forgotten that she doesn't really -need- to go all out on the offense. Her uppercut is powerful enough to send her own stomach turning; when she lands from the upward strike she loses her footing, collapsing into a heap of her own, barely able to keep herself propped up by the hands. Panting, she stares down at the concrete, while blood trickles down from her nose. A swath along the back of her uniform is nearly about to split open -- courtesy of being tossed across the concrete at high speed.

The adrenaline starts to fade, but Touji's already taken the initiative and rushed alongside her for support, holding her around both shoulders. "You freakin' moron..." is the young man's chiding towards his longtime friend.

Miko, for her part, has already begun striding over to Ryuko. She'd be the one clapping her hands in approval, a warm and welcoming smile on her face -- a far cry from the look of condescension she reserves for most of the students of Gedo. "You /both/ hit pretty hard, really. I'm glad you took the challenge seriously. Saya's been -needing- someone like you to keep her on her toes: this may be the hardest I've ever seen her fight before."

"Shut up, it's embarassing enough!" retorts Saya, finally regaining enough of her focus to sit up and avoid passing out. "I'm fine. Or, like, I -will- be, just need to rest for a bit..." And then she hisses as an ice pack is applied to her back, and another is applied to her face, courtesy of Touji. "Gnnh!"

The other Gedo students -- wearing much nicer uniforms, are on hand to help Ryuko out with her wounds. Walking into class with bandages around an arm or leg would count as a valid excuse at this rough-and-tumble school, after all. From the way the newcomer students move and act, it seems that they not only know Miko, but look up to her as some sort of lieutenant, if not their outright boss. "I hope you don't mind, but I took the liberty of arranging some help while you were fetching your bokken."

Saya slugs Touji in the shoulder for something he says. It's not really clear -what-, but the fact that he's smiling is probably a good sign.

One of the students was carrying a lunch box bento, which he hands to Miko. She opens it for Ryuko, presenting her the open container: a stack of energy bars of various flavors and sizes, as promised.

"Take 'em all, if you want. And rest assured -- if that gorilla, or anyone else gives you trouble on Gedo premises in the future?"

Miko smiles reassuringly. "They'll have to answer to me."

Unfortunately for the would-be nurses, Ryuko's injuries are mostly confined to her pride for getting sucker punched like that. Aside from a few minor scrapes, Saya's beating left her with nothing but sore aching spots that will most certainly be bruises by the end of the day. Her clothes seem to have fared far better as well, showing no obvious signs of damage as she had managed to keep her footing throughout most of the fight.

She smiles at the small gaggle of minions but waves them off as she rises to her feet, turning to Miko when she presents the open lunchbox. She grabs a fistful of the energy bars and stuff them into her pocket though she pulls one of them back out immediately after and peels it open, munching on the bland mix of various nutrional ingredients.

"Hmm. Not bad. Thanks."

It's hardly on par with the home-cooked food that her mother had packed, likely picked over by opportunistic vultures at this point, but it's about the same as what she'd find in her own stash of reserves so she can't complain. Atleast she won't be hungry for the rest of the day.

Miko's unexpected ultimatum makes her stare for a moment, her eyebrow raising in a show of surprise. Considering the ease with which this girl seems to be able to boss people around, she doesn't doubt for an instant that the offer of protection is genuine and enforcable. The problem is that's exactly the opposite of what she wants. An investigation into her academic performace would reveal that Ryuko is a model student: good grades, perfect attendance, popular with faculty and students alike. In a place like Gedo, she's the one that would destroy the grading curve. As evidenced by her expensive clothes and fancy toys, she's not hurting for money either.

Her entire reason for being in this not-quite-a-prison of a school is because of the opportunities it offers her. A place where she can get into fights every day and people just shrug and go about their day? Where else could she find that? What other environment would provide such a fantastic training ground?

Ryuko returns the smile but shakes her head, taking another bite of the energy bar.

"That's a kind offer, Kobayashi-san, but there's no need for that. I get into so much trouble around here, you'd spend the whole day fighting fires, aheh. I can look out for myself."

The distinctive sound of tape being peeled from its roll is heard, followed by another pained hiss from the blue-tressed brawler, as fabric tape is applied to the back of her uniform. It's not pretty; nothing more than a quick fix that should help Saya get through till gym class without a wardrobe malfunction. She then busies herself by downing a bottle of water, while Miko does the speaking for her.
"No problem," answers Miko, "That was a great fight. I only regret that I didn't have -more- of a compensation for your time."

The Gedo lieutenant smiles placidly as Ryuko deflects the offer of assistance aside. Personally, she disagrees with the notion that she'd be needing to spend time fighting fires -- no, she hadn't planned to do -that-. Instead, the offer was more of one to prevent fires, to keep her from -needing- to be challenged at every opportunity. If one chooses to skip their lunch to avoid a fight, well... you can pitch it as feeding the poor, but the pack mentality of Gedo's student body would likely consider it cowardice, a sign to continue treating the girl as a premium vending machine.

"I respect that," says Miko, "You've earned the right to make that choice. Why else would you be here, after all?" In the course of the fight, Miko has learned more about the enigmatic swordswoman than she could have hoped from a simple conversation; she's learned of talent far beyond her years would suggest. The only question remains is -how- that technology would get used -- which is why Miko is stacking the deck in her favor.

"To wade willingly into the jungle, governed only by a single law: surival of the fittest. You didn't have to fight today, but you -chose- to fight, to test yourself."

Saya, by this point, stands up and walks over to Ryuko. Bowing properly, the rough-around-the-edges tomboy can be polite when it's expected of her. "Thank you for the fight, Ryuko. It was fun to just cut loose with someone for a change."
Touji, stuck holding Saya's empty water bottle, retorts, "You cut loose with -me-...!"
"Yeah, but you're so damn predictable now. Ain't the same!"

Miko offers a smile in Saya's and Touji's direction, before turning back to Ryuko. Handing the empty lunchbox back to one of her companions, the half-Ainu notes with a little bow of her own, "Well. It's been a pleasure making your acquaintance, Miss Tenjin. In the future, if you need help of any kind, please don't hesitate to ask." Her hand waves side-to-side in a pleasant gesture. "The bell rings in just over a minute; we will see you around."

Once pleasantries are exchanged, Miko and her companions would quietly begin to return to their classroom.

Ryuko manages to contain the sigh of relief she feels welling up inside when Miko lets the matter of protection drop by stuffing the last of the energy bar into her mouth and chewing vigorously. The used up wrapper disappears into her pocket for later disposal rather than simply being tossed on the ground where plenty of other litter already lies. She shrugs at the basic assessment of her choice, offering another grin once she's swallowed the rest of her meal.

"What can I say, I enjoy the challenge."

She turns to regard the pair of underlings, and she can't help but think of them as such considering the way that Miko seems capable of ordering people around, noting the ragged state of her opponent's clothes with a small pang of empathy. Saya's polite bow earns another raised eyebrow but Ryuko's smile grows a little wider and she returns the gesture.

"Sure thing. I'm always up for a good scuffle."

Miko gets a friendly bow as well, though it isn't quite as deep as the one that was offered to Saya. She has a lot more respect for people willing to dirty their hands, and just maybe she's trying to provoke the older girl just a little, setting up the seeds of a future fight. It would be interesting to see what she's capable of that makes everyone so compliant to her whims.


Ryuko watches the trio leave with the small group of nameless students trailing after them like a gaggle of baby ducks, chuckling to herself at the mental imagery. A quick glance at the slender watch concealed under one of her fingerless gloves proves Miko's assessment of the situation correct. Just enough time to grab her books for the next class if she hurries.

Turning in the opposite direction, she takes off at a light jog towards the front of the school where her locker is, snatching up her sword from the ground where it fell after that last collosal hit. Her body aches from the injuries inflicted upon it but it's the sort of pain she relishes, a reminder of a good workout and a properly challenging opponent. On top of that, she got to meet some new and interesting people. The day is only halfway over and it's already turning out to be one of the good ones.

Log created on 21:47:30 08/12/2016 by Ryuko, and last modified on 13:25:18 08/15/2016.