Mortal Kombat - MK Round 2: I-no vs Rose

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Description: Rose and I-no encounter each other in the howling wastelands of another dimension. It gets sexy, but not... TOO sexy.

She's got a reputation.

After the first day or two, I-No began to suspect that Shang Tsung was DELIBERATELY stationing guards that he doesn't like in places where he expects I-No to be on any given day. Why? Because they love to do that 'cross our halberds and bar your way' shit and let's just say the red-clad rock goddess already had 0 fucks to give for The Help interfering in her day and now, after a few days on this island, is running at a fucks-to-give deficit of epic scale.

TO WIT: once matches for the first 'real' round of Mortal Kombat were made available -- "Okay, 'succumb fully to the task laid at your feet'... jesus fucking christ, Hemingway, get a Tumblr!" -- she had gone to the throne room to perhaps sort out what the hell all those lines of Vogon poetry meant, when she had indeed encountered two guards, one of whom threw down the old Swiss Chalet spear cross and started to say the words "No one is admit--"

Then he was upside down on the floor while I-No planted a boot on his stomach and addressed his partner.

"Hey. Fuckstick No. 2. Where the hell am I supposed to be fighting this... 'Rose'. And do you happen to have a dainty-ass tea set and maybe some goddamned crumpets I can bring just in case someone with that name is expecting a tea party? Thanks in advance."

The heel twisted somewhat, provoking a groan from the pinned guard, while I-No sweetly said: "I want to be, like... ladylike about it, or some shit."


She had been directed to the Wastes, which -- as the Red Witch stands around looking at them -- appear to really be living up to their name. "What the hell. This place makes Detroit look like a fucking anime space colony, jesus." She shields her eyes, which given the wide brim of her red hat isn't terribly necessary and is mostly for show, and scans the horizon for signs of... well, anything.

Rose has been less disapproving of some aspects of this situation (she thought that poetic language was rather nice, but maybe it's coming off better when she mentally translates it into Italian) but, perhaps, more disapproving of others (murder sprees, corpse forests, etc.)

Rose did have the advantage of getting to this place sooner than I-no did, having, perhaps, set out ahead of schedule. Rose is not hard to spot, between her hair and the fact that she's an intact and well-moving human figure sitting in a not-so-concealed place, her scarf round her shoulders and her legs crossed. Her outfit, unfortunately, is shabbier than she'd like, but a bare midriff never hurt anyone, and her shoes are fine. (if sitting over there, carefully placed.)

She seems as if she's been working on something, using an ink brush and stone to paint onto thick sheets of some local paper or papyrus, no doubt ground from bones and bound with blood. She has several stacks of whatever-it-is in a box made of wood that doesn't grow on Earth. When she hears I-no in the distance, she finishes a single stroke, puts the small sheet down, and calls ahead, "Good afternoon!"

The box is closed as Rose rises up. As she steps into her shoes, the light gleams off the green malachite hanging from a pendant on her neck.

"Though I suppose the light's a bit more evening."

Rose's hair remains annoyingly perfect. Or at least it is clear that she intends it to be this way. (Secretly, she styles it with Soul Power. Don't tell anyone.)

'Good afternoon!'

The proper response to this in any sort of social cue situation, for anything ranging from 'Miss Manners society tea' to 'busting in the front door of your favorite dive bar' is almost never what actually happens, which is: I-No cracking up and going "You have to go to be fucking KIDDING me!" between giggle-snort-chuckle bursts.

Because she's fucking ladylike about this shit.

To say that these two women are very different indeed is the understatement of the century, even given Rose's surprisingly porn-dominatrix-in-training costume change. Meanwhile the rock and roll witch is as scantily clad as ever, the scarlet straps of her outfit barely keeping two pairs of what can only be called Angry Boobs in check, the brim of her hat tipping down into her dark black bangs as I-No sets her gaze on the Soul Power mistress.

"You've got the juice, though, I can tell that much," I-No says with some amusement, inclining her head at Rose. "There's a few of 'em around here, the heavy hitters. Please tell me your superhero origin story is you caught a lightning bolt on that fucking hair and now you have the powers of a radioactive spider or whatever, though. Jesus."

Above, thunder crackles. And though they are not familiar with each other... Rose can probably tell that this one's also got, as said in the vulgar argot, 'the juice'.

There's a moment as the two square off, before I-No reaches across her back and produces -- in every sense of the word -- a sky blue electric guitar of the finest make. With a flourish, she produces a guitar pick made of, apparently, a brightly luminescent turquoise, and as she runs it down the strings the sounds of a power chord run through the wastes.

Without an amp or cord. So there's that.

"Let's see if you'll be more interesting than karate pajama boy who was more interested in--" And here, she pitches her voice down, comically overdramatic, "-- ~* M O R A L C O M P A S S *~ than Mortal Kombat."

With that, she leaps into the air and... well, she basically rides the guitar down at a sharp angle, looking to rocket into Rose from above. Time for the opening set.

COMBATSYS: I-No has started a fight here.

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I-No             0/-------/------=|

COMBATSYS: Rose has joined the fight here.

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Rose             0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0             I-No

COMBATSYS: Rose dodges I-No's Sultry Performance.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Rose             0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0             I-No

Rose lets out a small sigh as she puts her hand on her hip, waiting patiently for I-no to finish laughing herself half to death. From her expression, this has happened to her before, although she does discreetly and surreptiously brush her hand up to ensure she'd fastened up the top. Just in case.

"'Heavy Hitters'? I'm flattered," Rose says, raising her eyebrows. The thunder rolls, and I-no draws out her weapon. Her AXE. Rose tosses the far end of her own scarf, and when she sees that bright turquoise, she turns her head slightly.

"What a lovely sound," she says, before making a noise, half-scoff and half-grunt, at I-no's mimicry of Ryu. She leaps upwards, twists that guitar around with what is no doubt quite the lewd pose (but maybe it helps keep the neck moist?), slams ahead, and--

Rose twists round on the toe of one heel, like a ballerina. Despite a lack of audience, she arches her back slightly and hikes up her opposing foot before coming back down to the ground, saying as she does, "As for my superhero origin story... I was sent to this world by my parents, from a far-off world of style."

Her tone grows slightly less playful. "You seem rather eager for slaughter. A death-metal artist, or do you need to keep all of that red--"

And at this point Rose moves mid-statement, her leg arcing upwards with swift speed to aim a strike with toe of boot and broad of calf, shimmering with a polychromatic burst of green-yellow-blue light, at the backside of I-no. It is a swift motion, belying all this deliberate shillyshallying.

Without missing a beat, Rose finishes her statement: "-- leather fresh and painted?"

COMBATSYS: I-No endures Rose's Light Kick.

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Rose             0/-------/-------|===----\-------\0             I-No

Don't hit a hot girl in the ass.

You'll just encourage her.

Landing from that aerial move does not put her in the most advantageous position for dealing with any sort of followup; too unsteady to dodge, too out of position to block. Luckily, there's another option: sit there and fucking take it, like a boss.

Rose's Soul-tinted leg smacks against I-No's red-clothéd ass and... well, what mostly happens is the rock witch turns her head around to look at her attacker with a quizzical expression, mostly. The attack certainly landed home. It's just that I-No kinda... failed to move.

"Don't try to bullshit me," she scoffs, though about which assertion -- bloodthirstiness or the leather -- is up for debate. What is NOT up for debate is the guitar suddenly swinging around to ideally clip Rose a good one, the instrument vibrating with sonic energy.


COMBATSYS: I-No successfully hits Rose with Medium Strike.

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Rose             0/-------/-----==|===----\-------\0             I-No

Having kicked a musician directly in her cushy ass, Rose can cross something off her bucket list. Even so she can't just rely on this collapsing, Rose reasons: this woman was either being VERY flattering, or has, at the least, an excellent 'awareness'. She would have no deep reason to suspect Rose as anything other than a competent eccentric if she'd just watched Rose's highlight videos on YouTube, right?

(Of course there are highlight videos on YouTube. They just slow them down a little so the autoscrubbers don't take them down for Big Capcom's DVD sales.)

Her scarf is already slithering down along her arm with its characteristic flair when I-no makes her opinions known and swings that guitar hard at Rose. Right at chest height. The guitar hits and, well, Rose's pained expression is well earned. It is good, no doubt, that Mortal Kombat is not televised, for THIS would definitely end up on YouTube.

Rose does not scream, but does hiss breath through her teeth, in and out, a swift chord of it, before she answers, voice tight. "You're right. At the end, it wasn't chic at all."

Rose would, perhaps, like to tease out more of what this woman knows. Maybe invite her over to have her fortune told. But she is, at present, pushing past a burning agony in bruised soft tissue, so I-No must settle for a lunging thrust with her scarf-wrapped arm. This is not scary at all, except perhaps for the part where the cashmere scarf erupts out like a spiralling drill around wrist and arm alike, aglow with that lambent energy.

But still. It's just a scarf! How bad could it be?!

TOUCH IT AND SEE. (It stings, of course.)

COMBATSYS: Rose successfully hits I-No with Aura Scarf.
- Power hit! -

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Rose             0/-------/--=====|=======\-------\0             I-No

'Awareness'... that's one way of putting it. Let's just say that Rose doesn't have the lock on 'people who mysteriously seem to know more than they're letting on, For Reasons'.

She KNOWS the scarf is not actually the dangerous part. She KNOWS it. But just having that knowledge is not enough to keep I-No safe from danger, as it were. Her usual tactic when someone attacks her with Mysterious Woo-Woo Energy Vibes is to use her own power to fight back, a sort of competing-eye-lasers tactic that generally speaking hasn't done her wrong before now. The problem is that her number of encounters with psychic individuals is relatively low, and Rose's energy and I-No's own... they're not compatible. At all.

This would certainly explain why the simple touch of a scarf sends her flying back off her feet, for starters. The fact that she wasn't prepared to receive the blow just makes it all the worse, and considering it's I-No, she's always prepared to receive the blow. As it were.

"Don't confuse me for these other jerkfucks here on Gilligan's Death Island, Mall Hair," she says to Rose, wiping a hand across her mouth and then holding that same hand up, revealing the bright electric blue guitar pick in her hand. "Besides, we both know THIS means even if I WAS into that Ozzie-bites-the-head-off-a-bat shit, I couldn't do jack and I expect, neither can you. Could be wrong, but I'm usually not."

There's a moment as she collects herself, then tilts her head at Rose, inclining her head at the scarf. "You have a bad run in with a balaclava as a kid, turned you to neckwear-based violence, or what."

Then? Then she's sliding across the ground in a low run, looking to come at Rose low. When she gets near, I-No's hand leaps up, the heel of her palm looking to slam right into the bottom of Rose's perfect little chin. Which is bad enough, but the fact that it's accompanied by a blade-like shape of sonic energy -- which looks SUSPICIOUSLY like the digital level meter on an amp -- makes it all the worse if it connects.

COMBATSYS: Rose blocks I-No's Stroke The Big Tree.

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Rose             0/-------/-======|=======\-------\0             I-No

That shimmering feeling of synaesthetic soul-shaking force makes I-no go flying. Rose exhales with relief and straightens back upwards as she grits her teeth at the pain in her chest. Of course, I-no is not long cowed by this force.

Rose didn't expect any less.

Even so she takes a moment to breathe, relieved that there is that second while I-no speaks. And she presents that pick - ah, yes; Rose had wondered, if not to the point of interrogation. "I would worry that if I told you either way, it might make you more vicious," Rose says, gesturing with her un-scarfed hand. "But... Yes, I don't think it would make a change. You're quite right..."

Oh no, she's coming right for her! Rose leans backwards, raising her arms into a cross block that snaps up to protect her throat and chin from being demolished. No hits to her bread and butter, I-no! She's able to contort herself backwards, it seems, through either tremendous core strength or by cheating on some subtle level. Then comes that sonic burst -

A ripple runs through Rose. For a moment, that jagged singular bang of hers matches that sinewave effect exactly. After this, Rose staggers back a step, exhaling with faintly shaken force. "-- The scarf? It's my favorite accessory. You know how it is. You start planning around things like this..."

Another step backwards. I-no must have truly shaken her. Or perhaps it's because she wants to build up a bit of distance.

"And before you know it, it's in everything. SPARK!"

So that she can snap her scarf forwards with sudden vigor. It is not going to reach I-no - if she swung her guitar outwards, it might brush against that electric body at the fringes. But that's not the point; it is a direction for a sphere of that bursting light, seeming to pour out from Rose's shoulderblade, down her arm, along that length of cloth...!

And, needless to say, towards I-no. Perhaps towards her guitar pick.

"Those jewels are certainly something. I suppose you'll tease me - but they worry me. What about you?" Of course I-no might not be listening what with the sphere of electric psychic force.

COMBATSYS: Rose successfully hits I-No with Soul Spark.
~~ Alluring Hit! ~~

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Rose             1/-------/=======|=======\==-----\1             I-No

She is getting visibly annoyed.

The scarf isn't the problem, but this is a fool-me-once situation; because it's close enough, I-No's plan is to fade backwards away from the scarf, expecting that to be the end of it. Unfortunately, it is not, and so when that quick back fade is over, there is still the bloody energy sphere to deal with, and by 'deal with' we apparently mean 'get hit by'. This, at least, is not quite the crushing blow she was dealt earlier, but does it have to be, with power as intense as Rose's?

The woman with the improbable hair has made her joke, and apparently I-No found it funny, because when the Red Witch gets to her feet, she's smiling... though, upon reflection, it is not the sort of smile that actually suggests she is amused. It's actually quite wolfish.

The guitar slips into place. The pick is raised.

"Yeah," she says, thickly. "I DO know how that goes."

Throwing her whole torso forward, I-No plays The Chord. It justifies those capital letters.

Arcs of sonic power, blazing like an electric rainbow, shear across the ground toward Rose. MUSIC. IS. THE. WEAPON.

COMBATSYS: Rose reflects Longing Desperation from I-No with Soul Reflect.

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Rose             1/------=/=======|=------\-------\0             I-No

Rose twirls her scarf round and is, for a moment, in quite a sporty pose. But then I-no's recovered quite quickly. Rose's lips quirk into a pouty quizzicality that happens to her pretty often.

She didn't answer my question! Rose thinks with momentary petulance. She doesn't say it aloud because she is about to have her abdomen ruptured by a shrieking arc of sonic force, jacketed by rainbow iridescence. It would be a beautiful way to die, but it would actually not kill her, and also, it would probably not be beautiful after the initial strike. Yeah, that's a bad way to do things.

Rose snaps her scarf down in a descending mode, that shimmering light running along it as Rose forces the words out - "SOULREFLECT!" - with breathless haste. The scarf curves round, contorting as it imitates Rose's hair a moment ago, contorting to that sonic chord of profound force... struggling...

And echoing it backwards, even as the backchannel feedback does blast a stray strand or two of Rose's hair back, her face tightening and eyes squinting as if she DID just get sprayed in the face with something. ROCKING, perhaps. It's brief, though. Preferable, no doubt, to what that chord would have done.

"I think I li- I don't think you can hear me," Rose begins, then stops, because, of course, she is speaking behind a visible wave of sound.

COMBATSYS: Rose successfully hits I-No with Reflected Longing Desperation.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////                   ]
Rose             1/------=/=======|>>-----\-------\0             I-No

COMBATSYS: I-No has left the fight here.

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

COMBATSYS: I-No has joined the fight here.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Rose             1/------=/=======|=------\-------\0             I-No

COMBATSYS: I-No has left the fight here.

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

COMBATSYS: Rose has ended the fight here.

No... I-No *can't* hear her, though the reason why has very little to do with the moving wall of sound headed her way, or the blood rushing in her ears due to a combination of frustration and annoyance. In fact when the returning wave of energy splashes against its owner in the cheekiest possible way, I-No doesn't look particularly phased. Rose's kick hurt more than that.

It's because none of this slots into place.

With Ryu, it was different. She saw him, there, in that moment. Surrounded by white and black, whatever he was fighting at the time mirroring his struggle against Kotal. But Rose, for all her power, doesn't trip the same response. And yet here she is. It's the frustration of thinking you have one of the puzzle pieces mapped out, and finding out the piece you've been building around turns out to be from a different puzzle altogether.

Plus that numbing tingle of psychic energy is starting to get on her nerves.

This may be why I-No is perfectly okay making really stupid, pointless tactical errors like diving straight at the woman for what feels like the umpteenth time in a row, kicking off the ground into a long, low jump and attempting to axe Rose a question, by which she means: club her over the head with Marlene.

COMBATSYS: I-No successfully hits Rose with Power Strike.

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Rose             1/---====/=======|>>-----\-------\0             I-No

Is it truly an error?

After all, Mark Twain said that the world's greatest swordsman would fear not the second greatest swordsman, but the novice, who might do anything at all - and catch the expert unaware, and end him thus. And that was a fool! No, Rose might think, I-no has that crazy wisdom often imitated but rarely accurately.

She might think that.

Except that as she recovers from her reflective motion, I-no dives in and smashes her with a guitar. In the HEAD... where most if not all thinking takes place!

The sounding body hits Rose in the top of the head, though for once that thick ol' mop of mall hair works in her favor. How? Because it's slightly brittle in a mechanical way and voluminous enough to take the edge off of that blow; the edge here mostly making the difference between "lose consciousness briefly" and "fall down to the ground with a loud 'Kuh!!' sound," the latter of which is what happens to Rose:


Like that!

She does not stay down for long. Only one of her hands hits the ground before she twists around, rising upwards to try and get her shoulder in the crook of I-no's arm - perhaps as she's recovering on the rebound from that brain-bashing blow she'd brought out - and, well, she has nothing to say just now; she is simply sweeping round to try and throw I-no back, to put HER on the ground, however briefly.

COMBATSYS: Rose successfully hits I-No with Quick Throw.

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Rose             1/---====/=======|>>>>---\-------\0             I-No

If there were some mud, you could sell tickets.

As it is, when I-No gets to her feet, she is hunching forward, a bit. Rose may be relatively unharmed, but this is starting to take its toll on the Red Witch, for sure. And let's be real: her feelings on being here for Mortal Kombat are already pretty ambivalent, so her desire to keep fighting this ridiculous other woman does not appear to be particularly strong. If anything, she's bowing to the rules of the ~*tournament*~ because it amuses her to do so.

The question arises: when it is no longer amusing, what is she going to do, exactly?

Well, that's the future.

"What the hell are you doing here? I mean, really. Answer that question with some honesty, one girl to another, without this..." She waves a hand, "...mystical aura of whatever bullshit. Why are you REALLY here. If you actually like this facepunching bullshit I'll eat this fucking hat, I'll tell you that much. Shouldn't you be off recruiting a bunch of teens with attitude or whatever the fuck they said on that shit TV show back in the 90s?"

Try to imagine Rose as Zordon. Just, drink that image in.

"Now, me... I actually DO like this punching shit, within reason. You're doing better than that fucker down in the caves with his head half up his own ass did, that's for sure. But me?"

Keeping her close was, maybe, a mistake.

A hand comes up I-No actually does a front somersault, in place, to land in a perfect split. The end of that split being the moment she strums that guitar. And if that earlier power chord was something, this is another thing entirely. Before, I-No wanted to push her away and make some space.

NOW she kinda wants to disintegrate her, hair and all.

COMBATSYS: I-No successfully hits Rose with Ultimate Fortissimo.
* Attack Of Opportunity! *

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Rose             2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|-------\-------\0             I-No

"You want to know?" Rose says - but with a pause as I-no continues. Rose looks blank, perhaps because she grew up in a wagon down by the river and did not get Power Rangers. Nonetheless, she answers, swift and precise.

"I don't know why I am here. I was brought here. I was asleep... I awoke surrounded by men. I didn't even have the chance to pack my things. But I suspect that it might be because... there's a certain man who is here, as well-"

But before she can explain that menace she has felt and inferred in corners and shadows, I-No comes. (So to speak.)

The split, the guitar, the screaming chord washes towards Rose. She throws herself backwards, and for a shining moment she herself seems to glitter with that iridescent power she's called up and thrown around in all its varigated beauty. The Soul Power refracts off that malachite shard in her necklace as it hangs in the air -

And so it is that Rose does not get instantly vaporized. She does feel that sonic wave run through her entire body, but that intense psychic force she's drawn out of herself and into her body keeps her blood from cavitating, her organs from shearing apart, her brain from popping like a popcorn seed, her skin from bursting, her bones from cracking. Any of these would either be fatal or 'comically near so, given the touch of the Soul Shards.'

It does hurt, though; tissue bruising running through her, stress making her ribs and her clavicle ache... and to make it worse, now that she has slipped the surly bonds of Earth, she goes flying. Not quite 'Earth,' of course, but there's no room to be too specific when you're flying into the edge of a half-sunken gate that has been left in forlorn ruins by the armies of Outworld.

And after Rose strikes it, hard enough to let out an "Ngh!" and then a musical sort of gasp as she slides to the sere and dusty ground, the gate slumps to the side without further fanfare. The stones don't fall on Rose, but fall they do. How long was the gate there? Who knows.

Rose picks herself up, her scarf wrapping round her shoulders again. She dabs at her lips, which are now rouged up again, though, of course, the red comes from blood from some obscure internal injury. "... Teenagers, you say? Well," Rose says as she levers herself upright again, gritting her teeth against a scream in her spine, "I suppose those WOULD be the ones to recruit, if I wanted an army."

She steps forwards. The first step is the deepest - hardest? Unsure - but the second one is easier, then the third. She keeps her carriage erect as she walks, almost swaggering as she pushes past the pain. The abrasions and bruising are probably testament to how she's hurting. Her eyes are glowing an odd color along the way, too.

"As for your question - I can't say that I enjoy this realm. But a little sport never hurt anyone, and these events can bring talents and possibilities into the open-- and I can't just let the vulnerable be plucked up like so many new flowers, can I? Well, that's a rhetorical question -"

Rose snaps both hands out, fingers snapping with both, and a sort of turmoil in the air, previously below the threshold of perception, throws itself OVER that threshold, directly into the realm of the visible. Two spheres, not dissimilar to the spark of light she threw at I-no, appear at her shoulders. Unlike that spark, they do not seem to be peeling apart.

"You don't have to answer."

And now ROSE leaps upwards, in some echo of I-no. She folds her arms before her and curls her head down, a very guarded position. It would probably seem like some kind of trap or suicide attempt if it wasn't for, well, those spiralling spheres - and they grind and sing and send synaesthetic shudders through any flesh they may touch. There is, at least, the benefit that they don't bruise - why, they hardly leave a mark! Not on their own, anyway.

Rose's knees might, if they hit I-no square, of course.

COMBATSYS: I-No just-defends Rose's #Soul Satellite#!

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Rose             0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0             I-No

It's probably a good thing that this fight is happening out here in the wastes, mostly unobserved. Why?

Because any lesser being watching this shit happen would turn the fuck around and go home rather than face even a REMOTE chance of fighting these two women.

As she gets to her feet, Rose's sluggish response to I-No's own attack means that the Red Witch has plenty of time to study her opponent. Who was, in fact, NOT reduced to component atoms like she'd just been through a particualrly death metal-influenced cyclotron. I-No is a hard woman to impress, but when it happens, she does not shy away from making it clear. The full, carmined lips pucker as she lets out a low whistle. "Look I talk a lot of shit because that's just how I roll, but for all that you sound like a fucking after school special you aren't a fake. Whatever the fuck happens out here I just wanted that said." There's a brief pause. "I mean I'm still gonna smack you senseless and sculpt that weathervane hair into a question mark, but that's a different point altogether."

Respect or not, I-No is still I-No.

Then Rose is leaping right at her, rhetorical question and all, the woman's spiral of spiritual power looking to put the rock and roll rudie down on this dusty ground for good.

The brim of her hat falls down over her eyes. I-No raises the guitar pick. "Okay. Let's dance."

She strums a chord. And as it reverberates and echoes -- things which, coincidentally, require walls and a ceiling for acoustics to happen in accordance with normal physics -- it creates a scintillating, prismatic corona around the red-clad witch as she continues to play. That's right: she's going to fight Rose's attack with a guitar solo.

The forces at work here are trememndous; much greater than the world around them can handle. Splashes of Soul Power and sonic force spill off like solar prominence from a newborn star; they gouge the ground, light the dark purple sky as if it were day. But that wall of sound is keeping Rose from moving all the way forward, and the more it seems like it might give, the harder I-No plays. Notes arpeggiate up and down the scale at a furious pace, because the force of Rose's will -- indomitable, hidden like the core of an iceberg under the tiny visible bit above the surface -- demands it.

It feels like rather than a few seconds that this goes on forever, as if even time can't handle this clash of powers. Until, eventually, I-No reaches the end of her improvisation, playing one last burst that separates the two fighters... each unharmed.

It takes a while for that last note to die away. I-No raises the brim of her hat and fixes Rose with a surprisingly calculating stare.

Eventually, she breaks the silence. "Okay I don't know what ex-or-possibly-current boyfriend you're here to find but if he pissed you off then I feel fucking sorry for THAT prick, lemme tell ya."

Another pause. "Look I'm gonna see this through so: nothing personal. But when we're done here I got a question for you."

Then she swings the guitar wide, like a headsman's axe, attempting to chop Rose in the neck. This time there's no accompanying sonic power, though. Maybe she used it all up.

COMBATSYS: Rose dodges I-No's Dead Angle Attack.

[                        \\\\\\  < >  ///////////                   ]
Rose             0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0             I-No

Rose doesn't have time to do more than smile at the statement of - respect? - before, well, she leaps.

And that sound.

Rose had calculated wrongly, though with more accuracy than she thought. A small part of her despairs, and resolves to treat everyone she may encounter in this wretched hellscape as being the love-child of That Man and the thick-thighed Interpol agent of some familiarity. Then, at least, she will err correctly.

But oh, the light is beautiful - and the sound! It is as if I-no is strumming her, voluntarily or not, and when Rose lands, she stumbles for a moment, slouched slightly forwards. She raises her own eyes to the other woman's and, for no clear reason, laughs. It's a pained laugh, which of course to I-no may mean "ex", and yet somehow it's validaaaaaaaaaaaaa

No. Rose does not seem interested in a broken neck today: she hurls herself forwards, though her face is still in that half-laughing state. It's a stumbling sort of motion, and it may not be unfamiliar if I-no DID look her up on YouTube. An arm-bar accompanied by a hard step forwards.

And, of course, another swirl of that light. Less now, but not gone. How CAN you erase a soul? (You don't want to know.) "Hyah!" Rose grunts as she lunges. But, you know, gracefully.

COMBATSYS: Rose successfully hits I-No with Medium Throw.

[                        \\\\\\  < >  //////                        ]
Rose             0/-------/------=|==-----\-------\0             I-No

Here's the problem with putting your all into defending yourself from your opponent's graceful, powerful finishing move: afterwards you're going to need a nap. It shows in the sort of ragged almost-a-dodge that I-No tries when Rose comes for her, which doesn't work, and the rock witch goes stumbling backwards. Not on her ass, but she's really, really feeling it.

She looks up at Rose, rolling her shoulder, and says -- in a surprisingly deep, serious voice -- "Hope Bubbles runs into you." What the hell does THAT mean?

And then she tries to grab Rose by the arm, the collar, whatever's handy. If she can get the grip, she shoves the fortuneteller off balance and then bats her away with the sonic-empowered guitar (guess she wasn't out of juice after all) like a baseball swing.

Regardless of how that turns out, however, afterwards she puts a hand, palm up. "Alright, that's enough of that bullshit. I'm not here because I love Upper Cthulhustan or whatever the fuck they're calling the not-Earth side of this shitshow. I just happen to like hitting people very hard."

Looks like she's done for now.

COMBATSYS: I-No can no longer fight.

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

COMBATSYS: Rose blocks I-No's Charged Combo.

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

Rose tilts her head slightly at that statement. Hope bubbles? she thinks, but then she's firmly grasped and given a VERY RUDE SHOVE. She totters, because--

-- She's in those leather heel boots!! She could have picked any kind of shoe here from the Room of Corpse-Sourced Outfits, but she just HAD to go with the hooker boots, didn't she? --

And is struck again with that final bursting ringing blow. It hits her and she shakes in that moment like she is half-gelatin, reaching up to put her hands on either side of her head... But I-no seems to be de-escalating matters, exhausted, perhaps.

Rose struggles, but in time all the vibrations stop. "I think -" She purses her lips, shifts her jaw - "No, it is a false alarm."

With that, Rose collapses backwards. It's a controlled sprawl, at least, and it is interrupted by another cough and an attempt to spit in a discreet and ladylike manner off to the side of the space they've formed with their repeated clashes of energies and bodies. (This is hard to do.)

"I had worried a tooth had cracked," Rose explains, gesturing with her hand. "So you came here freely... and of your own will?"

Log created on 20:28:54 10/07/2016 by Rose, and last modified on 04:07:59 10/10/2016.