Description: A new face arrives at Gedo High and Ryuko, self-appointed big sister of the unwashed masses, welcomes her in the traditional fashion.
Consider the crow. Intelligent, kind of noisy, associated from everything to being a psychopomp to being an ill omen.
They also have a good memory, as Seori's finding out. ".... Ow." One crow, sitting on her head, tries pecking at one shiny bead she has in her hair, managing instead to peck at her cheek. "That hurt."
Seori can imitate them, alright. She can even feed them from her hand now, allowing one lucky Gedo student to win a bet with his friend. Walking away from a resident tree than has since lost its leaves to the passing bustling of fall, the young crow remains balanced on her head, occupied by a few of its own flock. "No, you're not getting any food." The crow caws, fluttering one wing, bobbing in time with the motion of Seori's walk, appearing almost as a bright-eyed extension to the Gedo student's own black hair. "I didn't think the novelty from this whole experience'd wear off this quick..."
There's a yell in the distance. "Can you do a pigeon now?!" Seori shakes her hands, palms up, to the calling Gedo upperclassman from before. "Nono, they won't come because of the crows." It's sort of a lie. City pigeons seem akin to flying battletanks than their coo'ing country counterparts.
Ah, yes, the crow. Smartest of its kind, haughty and beligerant in its superiority over lesser avians, and yet eternally curious, drawn to the most simple of enigmas, ever ready to poke its beak where it doesn't belong.
Were she born a bird, Ryuko would no doubt have been a crow for such words adequately described herself, save perhaps that her superiority complex manifested itself in a far more benign motherly instinct, a pressing need to take upon her own shoulders the burdens of those less capable than herself - which is to say, most people that she meets. It is through this need to demonstrate her skill and reliability that she has come to be regarded as the big sister of Gedo High, ever ready to lend a compassionate ear or a helping hand to those in need; and sometimes, a good thrashing to those deserving it.
Like the aforementioned crow, Ryuko finds herself beset with curiosity as the usual din of casual conversation that permeates the wide courtyard during the lunch hours is puncuated with louder than normal bursts of commotion. Such rambunctious behavior is hardly unusual at Gedo but she has found it always worth investigating. It could be something as mundane as a noisy disagreement but there's always the off chance that there's a fight brewing and she's never one to miss out on a good scuffle.
Having finished her own meal already, Ryuko stalks along one of the high walls surrounding the school, both hands tucked into the pockets of her fancy school blazer. The quality of her clothing is several notches above the standard found among most of her classmates. Most don't even bother to wear uniforms despite the dress code and the school doesn't bother trying to enforce it leaving the student body to come in whatever manner of dress they please, which ranges from the kinds of casual outfits one would expect from teenagers to bizarre ensembles practically ripped out of the delinquent handbook. Few care enough about maintain a sense of esprit de corp to don the uniform but a few can be seen here and there, though none are of nearly the same quality as her own.
Rounding the end of a small row of hedges, Ryuko steps out into the open courtyard and casts her gaze about in search of the source of the commotion. Her lone eye sweeps slowly from one side to the other in an almost mechanical manner, the other obscured behind the heavy black eyepatch and a swath of her raven-black bangs. She locks in on the strange sight almost immediately and blinks, her eyebrows raising in surprise and then amusement. Seeing that the strange girl is already heading her way, Ryuko simply waits for her to draw near, idly puffing on a fresh cigarette. There's rules against that too but again no one seems to care enough to make an issue out of it.
Ryuko pipes up with a friendly call, lifting a hand towards Seori in greeting once she's within easy earshot. Taking a few steps closer, she smirks around the butt of her smoke and leans towards the other girl as if to whisper something to her in a conspiratory manner.
"I don't want to alarm you but your nest seems to be trying to escape."
Did she...just talk to the bird?
There's always some sort of noise going on at Gedo High, not unlike the cawing of the small murder of crows that is slowly beginning to disperse after the lack of engagement from Seori. Yet, it's rare for such disagreements to be held over pigeons. "Aren't pigeons doves?" "No, you idiot, they're different." "No, there're the same, it's just a wording issue." "No, man, pigeons and doves are totally different!" "Nono, man, they're the same." "I did *not* just ask a chick to feed a dove for me!" "Dude. You need to work on your anger management." "I'm telling y-"
The group trails off in the distance, engaged in a rousing debate of pigeons versus doves, and the various themes held within. Blows will be shared eventually. It is the Gedo way.
If the crow had to choose a nest, Seori's head isn't a bad one. Her hair is nice, dark, and thick, and well taken care of, and if it flattened itself just enough, maybe it would be viewed as a pair of bird eyes atop the young Gedo student's head. Peck. Peck. "..." Seori's eyes trail off towards the fellow student, noting quickly what sets her apart: a nice uniform. A nicer than usual uniform, in fact. And not only that, there's-
The student talks to the crow. Well, time to make this unknown a known. If this person is a threat, Seori'll find out soon enough.
"... Nekomata." Maybe. Seori considers, a knuckle thoughtfully placed by her chin. "Your headdress, I mean." That's what it is, right? She makes a curled pawing gesture with one hand. "But that would make you a maneki-neko, wouldn't it?" The crow considers Ryuko, eyeing the real estate between those cybernetic enhancements. It just may hop on over.
Ryuko recoils in mock surprise, a hand going to her heart as she takes a step back.
"It speaks too! I've never seen the like! You, sir, are one lucky crow, assuming you can keep track of it."
Her gaze shifts down to Seori's face and she grins mischieviously, lifting her hands in a mimicry of the superstitious fairytail. A pair of short leather gloves covers her hands save for the index and middle fingers, which are missing the protective fabric, likely an intentional design for fashion or perhaps practical purposes. Ryuko coils her long fingers in a beckoning gesture a few times.
"I'm not so sure luck and fortune are what my presence herald, unless you consider it lucky to be getting into trouble all the time and count your wealth in battle scars."
A quick glance at the exposed skin of her face and arms seem to corroborate her story. The faint traces of scratches or scrapes mar her otherwise pristine skin and the slight discoloration of an already fading bruise or two can be found here and there. Ryuko wiggles her eyebrows and lowers her hands stuffing them back into her pockets nonchalantly and offers a shrug.
"As for my 'headdress' as you have dubbed it, no it isn't intended to be decorative. They're actually cybernetic implants. The latest medical technology."
She eyes the raven, noticing it's interest.
"They also function as bug-zappers to keep flying pests away."
Okay, not really but the raven doesn't have to know that.
Well, if this person is out to attack Seori, they're clearly going to kid around first. Seori grins as she adjusts her teal scarf's knot. She'll just assume they're a part of Gedo High, for now, if only because it means Seori herself can play along with the ruse. Shifting her voice's pitch upwards and bobbing her head with the unsuspecting crow, she mimes, "Oh, no! The nekomata's discovered me! Er, I mean-" The caw Seori parrots from her own lips causes the crow on her head to tilt its head, and make a strange, gutteral, honking sound, while its brethren caw in the far distance.
The term 'battle scars' causes Seori's smile to falter momentairely, as well as her own words in the ruse to pause. Battle scars. Does she know? Did she see the scar on her front? Maybe-
Peck. "Ow." Oh.
Ryuko's provided a focus far more tempting than Seori's own constant paranoia, however: those implants. "Really?" Dark eyes widen in awe as Seori moves around Ryuko to get a better look. "... Wait- you're not just saying that because you heard I'm new, right?" There's evidence of a laugh in her words- even if Ryuko confirmed it, it wouldn't be *too* much of an insult. "Whatever they are, they're really neat!"
The crow seems to croak at Ryuko's veiled threat, then takes to the air, flying away. Seori lays a pale hand atop her head. ".... I was getting used to him being there. Or her. I'm not sure how crows work, beyond words." Her smile acquires an odd slant. "Maybe I'm a crow as well? And you're a cat."
.... Well, Seori doesn't want to exhaust that joke for *too* long. "What do they really do, tho? I admit, I'm kinda... behind on technology stuff. You're the first person I've met here at Gedo that has anything more advanced than a smartphone. Are they like headphones?"
Ryuko's head swivels around to follow the curious new girl on her circular inspection but she remains otherwise stationary, showing no outwards annoyance at being gawked at. It's a pretty normal reaction, even from the other city-dwellers. Technology hasn't quite advanced to the point where cybernetic implants are commonplance. Infact, she's never seen or even heard of them being used before, making her own head the home of the bleeding edge of technological progress.
The one-eyed girl smirks again, lifting a hand to scratch at the spot on her cheek where the bottom edge of the bulky eyepatch rests, either out of habit or perhaps in an unconscious effort to bring attention to it. She waits for Seori to make her way back round to the front again before shaking her head.
"Nah, it's the real deal."
She focuses for a moment, mentally shifting her attention to the space behind her and the pair of angular antennae, which is what they really are, whir to life with a soft pulse of purple light from within, adjusting the tilt of their angle slightly. She then shifts her attention back to Seori, causing the another realignment. The overall effect is that the mechnical 'ears' wiggle a couple of times.
"As for what they do," she says, taking the cigarette from her mouth between two fingers and puffing out a cloud of grey smoke. "I'm not fully up on the technical details, but in layman's terms, they compensate for some brain damage I suffered a few years ago. Lost some memory and higher consciousness functions, so they help me focus and process information."
Examine your surroundings. Identify patterns, trends, the very flow of each environment, like knowing a river. Look for irregularities. See if anything's different. Your enemy could come in any form, including yourself. Trust your instincts, but never let them become you.
... It's only after circling Ryuko that Seori realizes the implications of her behavior. Right, right. This girl hasn't established herself as an enemy yet. Why should she be treated like a slide under a microscope?
At least Ryuko seems to be taking this in stride.
If stars could form in Seori's eyes, they'd be doing so right now as she watches Ryuko's antennae wiggle. "That's..." She balls her hands in front of her mouth, her words muffled. "... so adorable..." They really *are* like ears. _They wiggle_. omg that is so cute and she's got an eyepatch so she's like this tough fluffy ca-
Seori sobers instantly at Ryuko's next words. "... I apologize." She bows her head slightly, her eyes downcast. "I shouldn't have treated you like that. That was demeaning of me." Her earlier country accent, slight as it was, has faded away to nothing here. The solemn, formal tone feels out of odds in the dusty yards of Gedo High, even if it rings with the same level of heartfelt intent most actions here do have.
As a sort of peace offering, Seori reaches out her hand in greeting. "I should introduce myself. I'm Seori Kouhara. I just transferred here not too long ago from Niigata."
The sudden shift in tone causes Ryuko to blink in confusion but she quickly barks out a good-natured laugh when it becomes clear what has caused the problem. She reaches out and takes the hand offered by Seori and grips it firmly, yanking the other girl towards her so that she can slip her arm around her shoulders like they're a pair of old chums. Despite her slender build, Ryuko is quite strong, and any attempt to escape her sudden friendliness would prove very difficult.
"Don't sweat it, kid. It's no big deal. They are pretty cute, I guess, if you look at it that way."
There's no evidence to suggest that Seori is any younger than she herself but Ryuko defaults to big sister mode regardless. She taps the dwindling ashes of the cigarette out on the sidewalk with a casual flick before taking another long drag and puffing it into the air.
"Ryuko Tenjin. Been here a couple years, myself." She gestures in the direction of the main school building. "Doubt you'll get much of an official greeting from anyone else, so allow me to welcome you personally to Gedo High - the dumping ground for losers, reprobates, delinquents, and the occassional oddball who just doesn't fit in anywhere else."
Ryuko sweeps her free arm out like a game show host, offering the view of the school as if it were some sort of prize. The buildings look old and outdated, though obviously maintained, but the fresh paint and clean windows can't hide the utilitarian nature of their construction, almost like they were originally intended to be warehouses. Clusters of students dot the wide campus in groups of various sizes, tiny gaggles of close friends interspersed with the larger cliques. A few look like little more than gangs of ruffians, some clad in biker leathers and boots, some simply sporting matching bands of cloth on their arms. While most of them look relatively normal at first glance, a longer look would reveal mannerisms present only in those who are constantly on guard, eyes warily darting about every so often or simply sitting with their back to a wall.
"So," she asks, reaching up to pluck a stray feather from Seori's hair, blowing it off her palm and into the wind with a quick exhale. "Which are you?"
"-gh!" Ryuko may feel the way Seori's muscles seize and tense under her fingers, like a startled snake coiling to blindly strike at a possible threat. Yet, Seori's paranoid reflexes are no match to the grand power of the big sister hold. Her posture concedes to its defeat in the face of such friendliness.
A big sister is more than an age. It's a state of being.
".... a-haha." Seori stills her breath, quickly gathering the will to relax her posture under the friendly weight. This Ryuko is strangely stronger than she looks, but she's done nothing to show herself as an honest threat in the way Seori is watching for. "I-I'm glad," Seori says. At least her smile is honest; it'd be a shame to lose a potential acquaintance after so long.
Raising her head to glance about the campus, she nods to compliment Ryuko's stirring introduction, raising her hands to offer a tiny bit of clapping at the end of her speech. "They should have you in charge of showing new students around. The person I had was... uh..." Her hands falter to find the correct gesture. "Short? To the point? Didn't take too long? Interesting." There. That word works.
"Ah." Ryuko's ending question causes Seori to pause and think, a quality that would probably mark her as prime Gedo material in itself. She holds up a finger, offering a single, honest word: "Oddball."
A lone bird from a village of ghosts, who chases winding rivers to the ocean to hear some remnant of a song she herself isn't sure of. Or is she a ghost herself, like this rumored 'ghost of Ryouhara'? Yes, oddball would be it.
This she doesn't offer as a reason, even if no reason was asked. Instead, as a strange veiled expression crosses her eyes, she adds, "I came here to learn how to survive." It's the truth. "What about you? Who are you, if not a nekomata or a maneki-neko?"
Ryuko nods at the assessment. Anyone who calmly lets a bird use their head as a roost definately has some quirks. It remains to be seen if her oddness is the most prominent feature, however. There's plenty of weirdoes who are lowlifes and jerks as well. For the time being she hasn't seen any reason to call the girl's character into question and she's happy to give her the benefit of a doubt until such time as she's proven otherwise.
"How interesting. Ok, oddball it is."
The antennae wiggle and whir a little as if responding to this new information. Ryuko stiffles a faint smirk making it difficult to tell if that was supposed to be a joke. Her gaze shifts to something more complex after a short moment, somewhere between thoughtful and curious.
"Me? Hmm... I wonder, beep boop." The implants wiggle again and she grins more openly this time. "I'm not sure I fit into any of those categories. Unlike everyone else, I'm here because I wanted to be. I guess you could say that's pretty odd," she concedes before the inevitable point can be raised, "but this place offers a unique opportunity that I'd be hard pressed to find anywhere else."
Unwinding her arm from Seori's shoulders, Ryuko steps away from her new acquaintance and turns to face her. She plants a fist into the open palm of the other hand, grinning from ear to ear, clear excitement rising up to engulf her.
She holds her hands out to either side in a grandiose gesture that encompasses the school behind her. The lights in her implants flicker to life as if empowered by the sudden energy that flows through the girl's spirit and they whir softly.
"Where else in the world could I find a place where I can pit my strength against others in a constant battle of skill and resolve without the fear of permanent injury? Don't be fooled - this may look like a school but it is in reality a forge! A crucible where the steel of one's soul can be shaped into a mighty blade! Here, the downtrodden and the outcast vie amongst themselves for prestige and power, struggling against the fate that has seen them cast aside by society so that they might regain some sense of self worth."
Ryuko takes a deep breath and slowly lowers her arms, stuffing them back into her blazer pockets as casual as can be. Her eager smirk remains fixed onto her face, however, and she locks her singular piercing eye upon Seori with all the affection of a hawk eyeing it's next meal. It is a calm sort of threat she exudes, that of a predator at ease in the knowledge that it stands at the top of the food chain.
"I guess you could call me a hunter. And, as it so happens, something of an expert at surviving in this particular jungle. Lucky you."
"I suppose I'll have to really get to work if I'm going to qualify for anything else," Seori says, looking upwards through half-lidded eyes, a thoughtful knuckle touching her chin.
A unique opportunity, Ryuko says. Seori mulls this over. "I suppose its-" she starts, before the gleam in Ryuko's eyes and the rising pitch of excitement provide an accompaniment to the big sister's simple answer.
"So." Seori nods slowly. "Kinda like me, then. That's my survival training. We got a high school full of many talented fighters to choose from. Like, I suppose... you yourself. If I can survive everyone, I can survive anything. Heating metal to make something new."
That's what Seori is banking on, anyway.
"I guess you'd be the best person to learn from, if anyone else. How about we teach each other, then? How to be stronger, that is."
"That's the spirit."
Ryuko's predatory smirk fades to something less passively threatening, the aura of coiled danger she exudes being replaced by the fluffy warmth of her big sister role once more. The change isn't overt - a subtle relaxation of her stance, a loosening of her shoulders, and a shift in the tone of her smile - but it is enough that the remnants of the ancient lizard parts of the human brain that still cue in on such minor body language can pick up on it.
She stops to think, a hand going up to rub the back of her neck as she ponders something. The cybernetics whir and shift in tiny increments as she does so, her lack of focus on the immediate surroundings kicking them into activity to ensure that her awareness never falters for an instant. After a few short moments, she shrugs.
"I'm not sure I'm the /best/ person. There's probably better teachers than me out there. Never met em myself, but there's this guy Daigo that everyone considers to be the unofficial boss of the student body around here. I hear he's pretty strong."
"I am, however," she adds, after a brief pause, "probably the only person who is likely to care enough to show you the ropes. I'm not exactly overwhelmed with responsibilities or anything. Infact, most days I head right home and just veg out on video games or anime. It'd be nice to have a sparring partner that isn't trying to prove something by smashing my face in."
They're both the very definite of oddballs, it seems. If Ryuko had revealed this predatory side too early, the young ninja's response would have been a lot cooler. Now, when placed in the context of the whole package Ryuko has already presented, it seemed like a fine layer of grit that only complimented Ryuko's entire being. .... Ryuko could still be out to get her, but Seori's not going to actively be on guard just yet.
It *is* odd, however, what stirs those antennae, and what seems to count as a part attributed to Ryuko's own brain. Excitement, violence, maybe? No, maybe it's just as she said: it's challenge. What could be a more human notion than that? It's no longer a matter of assessing whether or not Ryuko is a danger or not, but just what sort of stuff she's made of inside. Seori's curious. But how could she find out?
There's one way Seori can find out for sure.
The ninja's expression relaxes, her eyes still remaining half-lidded. "That's alright. I'm in no need of teachers. What I need is experience. Well, 'experiences'. You could provide one for me, if you're free. In return, I'll give you a challenge. You with your technological edge and talent against my old-fashioned Kouhara ninjutsu." Well, that's what Seori'll call it for now, anyway. It's Kouhara until she feels she's going to die. "Seems fair, don't it? So." Seori unknots the teal scarf around her neck and pulls it off in one measured, smooth motion, draping behind Seori from one hand to the other.
In a pause of concentration akin to the whirring of Ryuko's antennae, the scarf shifts from teal silk to brilliant metal, a dual-edged blade in one hand, connecting with a length of chain to a metal ring in the other hand. "What do you say? If you have someplace to be, tho... I don't mind if we pause here."
The answer of Ryuko must be found in the language of fighting, a language that most of Gedo High is fluent in.
Ryuko says, "I find that experience is often the best teacher," Ryuko counters.
She eyes the length of cloth as it is unwound from its resting place around the girl's neck, one eyebrow quirking upwards Spock style. She's seen a fair number of odd and unorthodox fighting styles during her time at Gedo. Not very many of the students that attend this dump are well off enough to afford proper martial arts lessons leading them to pick up bits and pieces of combat skill from watching others fight or being on the receiving end of several beatings. Quite a few of these poor sods resort to weapons of some sort, believing that a length of pipe or a baseball bat is an adequate replacement for proper training. They're wrong, most of the time, but she's been on the wrong end of a lucky swing enough times to learn a modicum of respect for anything that might be used as a weapon.
The other eyebrow mimicks its sibling's ascent on her forehead turning her curious expression into one of surprise as the scarf solidifies into a bladed weapon of some sort. She blinks a couple of times and then whistles appreciatively.
"Wow. I've seen people who can hide a knife in some crazy places but that takes the cake."
She tilts her head to one side, looking thoughtful. The girl had said ninjitsu and that weapon certainly looked like something she'd expect to see in one of her feudal-era RPGs. The faint hum of excitement that she'd felt at the prospect of getting to spar with someone new quickly shifts to a higher gear positively flooding her with a surge of child-like glee. Not only was her opponent atleast better armed than the dopes that she usually squared off with but she might be a real ninja! This day keeps just getting better.
Ryuko does nothing to conceal the emotion on her face, her lazy smile splitting into a white-toothed grin. She rustles around in the pocket of her blazer and withdraws a fancy looking phone, the kind that are practically miniature computers, and nearly as expensive. A simple flick of her thumb across its surface brings the device to life with a soft hum and a glow of light. She glances at the digital display on the front, noting the time. As much fun as it would be to throw down on a whim, she's still got classes to attend, and unlike a fair portion of the misfits at Gedo, she's never been late even once.
"Hmm. We have about half an hour until the next class starts. That should be enough for a quick bout." She tucks the phone back into her pocket and turns to start walking towards a tall building in the distance, motioning with the other hand for Seori to follow. "I'll need to grab something from the gym though and we might as well do this indoors.""
There's a secret joy Seori finds in displaying the more miraculous attributes of the Koumei Hagoromo. It's one thing to show up with a kyoketsu shoge, and another to show how that chain weapon was hidden all along, all under the command of your own chi. "It's a kyoketsu shoge. Well, the weapon itself is." She lifts one side of the weapon. "It's pretty useful outside of a fight, too..."
She trails off as she looks at Ryuko's open glee, suddenly feeling self-conscious. To be so open *about* ninjas in general, or to say that she knew ninjutsu, well, sure, it's all part of a ploy to stir up a possible lead, but it's also throwing herself into the spotlight. "... ah..." She frees a finger from the grip of one weapon to itch at the side of her brow as Ryuko checks her phone. Or... no, not a phone, it's... holy cow _what is that_ that is so cool, wow, can it do hologra-
% Ah, right. Has that much time already passed?
Seori grins. "Well, we'll just have to be quick about it, I guess. I'll follow you."
Ryuko leads the way across the open stretch of courtyard in silence, conserving her energy and enthusiasm for the coming fight. She finishes off her cigarette with a few long drags, flicking the expended butt over her shoulder as they near the entrance of the gymnasium. It tumbles through the air and swooshes neatly into the open top of a nearby trashcan, her aim precise despite the target being behind her. If she's trying to show off, there's no indication of such, no smug grin or glance at Seori to see if she noticed. It was simply something she did without thinking.
The sound of light conversation wafts up to surround them as they push through the heavy double doors, stepping into the main room of the massive building. It looks like any other school gym. Polished wooden floors stretch from wall to wall, freshly waxed. Thick blue lines painted atop their surface lay out the bounds of a basketball court with a pair of old but sturdy hoops hanging from metal scaffolding on each side of the lanes. Rows of towering bleachers rise up in a half pyramid along each of the long sections of wall in the rectangular room offering seating for several hundred.
At the moment, only about two dozen bodies occupy the space, however. Spread out in a few wide lines across the room, the students bend from one to the other, following a rythmic pattern in turn to the barking voice of the old adult present, a coach leading his class through some generic exercises. The man turns to glower at the two girls as they slide into the gym, half expecting a pair of lazy members of his own flock to be working their way in late, but his expression softens upon seeing Ryuko. She gives him a smile and a little nod, jerking her head towards one of the side rooms. The couch shifts his gaze to Seori and comprehension spreads across his face and he returns the nod, turning his attention back to the class.
"Comon, this way."
Ryuko winds her way around the outer edge of the gym and ducks into a room with a sign overhead that reads 'Girl's Lockers'. She holds up a hand, indicating that Seori should wait, and disappears inside, returning a short while later with a long object wrapped in cloth tucked under her arm. She gives another hand gesture and moves down a little further into the door previously indicated to the coach, ducking into the room without a word.
"This is where the wrestling team practices," she says, untying a length of cord around the bundle once Seori steps in to follow her. The room is about a quarter the size of the main gymnasium. Thick pads of heavy matting lay scattered across the floor in small grids marking out several small 'rings' for the club members to toss each other about without fear of serious injury. Quite a bit of weight-lifting paraphanelia, dumbells, barbells, and exercise balls litter the floor as well, all the necessary tools for excessive machismo accounted for and present.
"They let me use this room to train when they aren't here. Just, uh, try not to break anything. I'd rather not have an entire team of muscle-bound meatheads mad at me."
The cord comes undone and Ryuko whips the cloth off the object underneath with a flourish, casting it aside into a corner. It turns out to be a sword, a katana to be exact. The sheathe is rather simple looking compared to the extravagant nicities that Ryuko has displayed so far, little more than a long tube of metal curved to match the blade stored within. The weapon's hilt is also quite plain, though it's clear that the simple black fabric is expertly fitted and well kept. When she draws the weapon, however, it becomes clear where all of the effort in its design went.
The blade gleams even in the dull glow of the cheap overhead lighting, its stainless steel body polished to a mirror shine. The leading edge of the weapon is a stark crimson red, a thin stripe of deadly intent that curves gracefully up to the tip of its chisel-like tip. The blade widens about halfwalf up its length, becoming about twice as thick and likely that much heavier. Oddly, the extra bit of metal has been drilled full of holes along its back, perhaps to allieviate some of its weight, though their purpose is not entirely clear. The end result is that the thing looks rather unique, and by Ryuko's standards, damn cool.
She turns as shows the weapon to Seori for a moment, letting her take in the blade. It's only fair, since she showed off hers. It quickly snaps back into the sheathe after a few seconds, however, and the one-eyed girl stalks a few paces across the room. She slowly takes up what could be considered a fighting stance, her legs sliding apart for balance, the sheathed weapon held at her hip in roughly the same place one would expect it to be attached if she was wearing a belt. Oddly, she only half turns towards Seori, leaving her flank exposed and forcing her to tilt her head to keep her eye on the other girl.
"Well, no time to lose. Whenever you're ready!"
COMBATSYS: Ryuko has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Seori has joined the fight here.
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////////////////////]
Ryuko 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Seori
The quick spinning arc of the cigarette catches the corner of Seori's ever paranoid eye as Ryuko flicks it behind her. It reaches the trash can, a feat that's unusual for most who depend on sight alone. Does Ryuko have some sort of radar? Like what's used for weather, maybe?
The quick spinning arc of the cigarette catches the corner of Seori's ever paranoid eye as Ryuko flicks it behind her. It reaches the trash can, a feat that's unusual for most who depend on sight alone. Does Ryuko have some sort of radar? Like what's used for weather, maybe?
Her gaze jumps then to the perceived glare of the old coach, who she offers an apologetic smile and shrug, an odd gesture considering the chain weapon dangling from her hands. He seems to know Ryuko, though. Nothing to be worried about.
"You seem to be on good terms with the coach over there," Seori observes as they duck around to the edge of the gym, away from the class. Her next idle question still on her lips, she waits patiently outside the locker rooms, eyeing the curved side of her dual-pronged blade. She really... needs to figure out how to soften the edges for practice without displacing the image in her mind. It's still hard for her to fully understand how the ninkou works, beyond 'know the weapon in your mind's eye, and will it into being'. Deceptively simple instructions from her dad, akin to teaching that riding a bicycle is about 'pedal the wheels at a constant pace and keep straight'.
... It did take Seori forever to learn how to ride a bicycle, come to think of it. Maybe her dad's just a bad teacher in that regard.
Seori looks up from her examination as Ryuko comes back out, dark eyes silently narrowing in on the new addition under her arm. A sword, maybe? She follows wordlessly, giving a thankful mini-bow to the coach as she ducks in after the cybernetic Gedo student. "That's a pretty nice setu-... ah." She's instantly looking at the katana, noting the simple but well kept black fabric of the hilt, as well as the simple sheathe. But, as the Koumei Hagoromo can attest to, it's often the plainer exteriors that hold the rarest of treasures.
She's somewhat happy to see that she's correct. It does seem to be a katana, though that odd bit of metal, drilled full of holes... what's its purpose? Seori is about to ask, then keeps quiet. No. Let it be a surprise. She needs to learn how to react to unique situations, not prepare for things she knows will happen. Be prepared for anything.
"Alright." The dark-haired kunoichi shifts to her own battle pose, holding the dual-sided blade in one hand while using her left hand to swing a length of chair ending in the metal ring. "Let's see if I can provide a bit of challenge for you."
The winding circle is brought to spin over her head at a fast pace, the diameter of its range gaining size despite a very little length of chain being supplied. Then, suddenly, in one swing, the arc of the metal ring lengthens and expands to include Ryuko's own head, Seori's lips pursed in concentration.
COMBATSYS: Ryuko blocks Seori's Teratsutsuki.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ///////////////////////////// ]
Ryuko 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Seori
Ryuko waits for her opponent to prepare, giving her time to take up a stance of her own and spin the weapon up to combat speed. A luxury that few would afford her in a real fight but it wouldn't be sporting of her to take advantage of that flaw - atleast not right off the bat. Her stance remains casual as the chain whirls faster and faster overhead, her lone golden eye locked on Seori's face. Less skilled opponents might be distracted by the spinning of the dangerous object overhead but despite her age, Ryuko has something of a natural intution for the flow of combat. There can be no movement of the chain without first a movement of its wielder's body and thus focusing anywhere else would be a mistake.
As expected, the first blow comes at range. Seori lets out the chain, giving it enough slack for its rapidly spinning rotation to extend past Ryuko's head in an attempt to ensnare it about her neck. Naturally, she has no intention of allowing that to happen. Rather than attempt to avoid the strike, she whips the sheathe of her own weapon up, interposing it between the chain and her head. The length of metal scrapes noisily as it wraps about the middle of the scabbard with enough force to rattle her bones.
Ryuko winces slightly and lets out another low whistle. That's the thing about weapons on chains, they can possess a frightening amount of force if allowed to take advantage of leverage. Fortunately, she's had a fair bit of experience with this concept. Lengths of chain are a particular favorite of many of the local riffraff. The trick is not allowing the wielder to spin up or stay at a range favorable to them. Which mean, it's time to get up close and personal.
"Hey, hey, easy there, kiddo. You'll find me a far less able teacher if you take my head off!"
Still grinning, Ryuko closes her fingers down over the chain, refusing to allow Seori to draw it back, essentially trapping the weapon in her grip. She pulls it taut with the hand holding the sheath and leans forward, her stance becoming more aggressive.
"One and two and..."
Before the word 'three' even leaves her mouth, Ryuko is on top of the other girl. Her speed is... unnatural, nearly impossible. One moment she's several feet away and the next she's a smear of color, her hand whipping the length of her own blade out so fast that only the shimmering contrail of a blue-hued chi that accompanies it marks its passage through the air.
The blade carves a sharp and precise line through the space that Seori occupies, dancing out of the sheathe and back into it in the span of a blink, the clink of it settling back into the container coming a heartbeat after the action itself. She strikes with the flat of the blade, not wanting to bisect her new friend on their first encounter. That would be rather rude.
COMBATSYS: Ryuko successfully hits Seori with Tenryuko Senjin.
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Ryuko 0/-------/------=|===----\-------\0 Seori
There's a reason Seori chose this attack straight away. It's generally meant to disperse attackers and gain space between the wield and a tight situation. Sloppy when done quickly, potentially distracting when done slowly, it's...
.... not a good attack to use on Ryuko. It also shows that Ryuko isn't about to use this oppurtunity to kill her. That's yet *another* tally mark in Ryuko's favor- not that Seori's really keeping count at this point. "-ah." Right. The formerly cheery girl, now donning a manner more akin to a librarian eyeing a stack of books that needed to be filed, thinks on this, and nods in apology. "That was forceful. It's... hard to hold back with this." But shouldn't she at least try?
Maybe Ryuko's weapon will offer a possibility. A tactic, perhaps. The unorthodox design, the slick form, the care of its owner(?) made obvious with the shine it displays as it flashes out of its sheathe. Yes, it's clearly got some sort of special technique to it, a-
"-Guh!" Seori's body attempts to make up for what its eyes and mind are currently lacking in terms of attention management, moving to dodge away from Ryuko's burst in speed. Feet curl on the mat and spin away, a graceful action that is massively helped by Seori getting hit by the flat of that very blade Seori was attempting to study.
That was a sad dodge.
Twisting her body to curl back on her feet, Seori raises up into a crouch. Her muscles are already set into motion, tensing to prepare her weapon for a counterattack-
She stops. Her breath eases, and she lids her eyes in a bid to concentrate. The sharp edges of the dual-edged blade melt like mercury underneath the flickering fluorescent lights, a spectacle that lasts only a moment before she throws it at Seori, the metal object curving a line of blue-grey chi towards the fellow Gedo student's body.
COMBATSYS: Ryuko dodges Seori's Hiendan.
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Ryuko 0/-------/------=|==-----\-------\0 Seori
It isn't very sportsmanlike to gloat at one's own success at the expense of others, but part of the duties of a big sister are to rub it in when she gets the better of you. Ryuko does this with a simple smirk, one corner of her lips pulling up to reveal a quick flash of teeth.
"We'll have to get you some training blades, pretty sure I can whip something up that'll serve the purpose. Maybe a wooden replica or a rubber sleeve to put on it at the very least."
She eases back into her previous stance, her back casually half-turned towards Seori in an almost dismissive manner. If the illusion of complacency created by this mannerism has not yet been dispelled, she offers yet another example of how her unorthodox fighting style is more than up to the task.
The shimmering twin-bladed sword flies through the air like a whirling helicopter blade and Ryuko blurs into another absurd burst of raw speed. Her body flows into a smear of dark colors, becoming an indistinct pastel likeness of her true form as she moves so fast that it is difficult to track. She ducks under the scything projectile and streaks towards Seori like a comet, once more stopping a couple of feet short of simply colliding with the girl.
Even as her form becomes distint once again, the outline of her body gaining solidity, her arm snaps out with the same blinding speed as before as the sword snaps out of its sheathe in a fluid motion. This time she lifts the blade up over her head before bringing it down like a club, smashing the hilt of the heavy katana towards Seori's forehead. The extra motion makes the attack a little slower than before but not by much.
COMBATSYS: Seori dodges Ryuko's Strong Strike.
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Ryuko 0/-------/------=|==-----\-------\0 Seori
Somehow, the idea of training without her precious scarf causes Seori to pale. "I'll figure something out. It's something I need to adapt to." The words spill out quickly, almost defensively, but the small smile on Seori's face betrays a smaller note: Ryuko does look pretty cool.
Seori didn't have this hesitation that night not too long ago. Why is it, when she was fighting that assassin in the alleyway, she felt more able to concentrate? Why was she so hesitant and distracted when she's with a new friend?
Ryuko doesn't seem like she's going to shatter into tiny pieces by one hit. In fact, it's... quite the opposite. The cybernetic girl moves in speed parallel or even surpassing Seori's own, pressing in like a brilliant spark of lightning on a hot summer night, or the sweep of a swallow in mid-dive.
But Seori's learning. The sword smashes through lingering ends of long black hair, Seori turning to the side of the blade's path inside of dodging a wider distance backwards. Her hand begins to form the distant point needed to jab into that open joint on Ryuko's shoulder, a shape made difficult by the weight of the blade in her hand-
She shudders. Not after what that woman said that night. It was a vicious technique, alright.
Instead Seori's own blade strikes, its well blunted, smaller weight swinging against the big sister of Gedo's midsection.
COMBATSYS: Ryuko fails to interrupt Medium Strike from Seori with Tenryuko Shoutenha.
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Ryuko 0/-------/-----==|===----\-------\0 Seori
Ryuko's overhead smash whiffs through the air with a soft whoosh of force and speed but her failed strike seems to delay her recovery only an instant. The sword slides back into her sheath in a blur and she whirls around, already shifting her attention to the girl sliding sideways to position herself for another attack.
It ends up being Seori's own indecisiveness that proves decisive in the short few moments. Ryuko's finely honed combat insticts lock in on the knife-handed jab being prepared and she reacts to it instantly, whipping her blade up to smash the incoming thrust aside, intending to blugdeon the wrist and give the girl a nice bruise for her efforts.
Instead, Seori falters for some reason, and the heavy blunt edge of her sword comes crashing sideways into Ryuko's exposed stomach just as her arm lifts into the air. If she had meant to do it, it would have been an incredible feint, worthy of praise, but the swordswoman just frowns through gritted teeth and lets out a pained grunt, stumbling backwards a few steps to take some of the sting out of the blow.
"Nice one," she says, after taking a moment to rub at what is most definately going to be a fresh bruise in a few minutes, her smiling returning as she looks up at Seori. There's a brief pause as she considers the girl, mulling something over, but she shakes her head at nothing in particular and bounces lightly on the tips of her feet.
"I'm not done yet though, come and get me."
Now Ryuko is the one pausing. Odd. Maybe Seori hit something wrong? Even still, as Ryuko thinks, Seori's shoes are pacing backwards in measured steps, attempting to keep fair distance between her and the swordswoman.
Something in Seori's shoulders seems to loosen as Ryuko speaks, her enthusiasm seeming to extend to Seori's own body posture.
She can't keep from revealing a small smile even as she chuckles, the beads on either side of her head shifting with the slight motion. "That's what I was hoping for." Seori's already winding up the momentum she needs for her next attack. "Let's keep going!"
The last syllable is punctuated by the swing of a left end of Seori's chain, the metal ring aiming to whip around an exposed piece of that sheath, or else an arm of torso.
COMBATSYS: Ryuko dodges Seori's Tsunawatari Jab.
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Ryuko 0/-------/-----==|==-----\-------\0 Seori
As before, Ryuko hunches down slightly when she sees the chain spin up, intended to intercept the flail with her sheathe. It was jarring and painful, but far less so than letting that thing smash into her ribs or tangle up an arm. Tying up the weapon would give her an edge over the other girl as well, limiting her options. All in all, it seems the best course of action.
At the last second, something in the back of her mind screams at her in warning, the sharp voice of intution that seemed to pop up when she was about to do something stupid practically yelling into a bullhorn, 'DON'T DO THAT, DUMMY!' Ryuko's eye widens a little as she sees the trap that has been laid and she jerks back in a hasty return, pirouetting like a ballerina as she does so. The tip of her sheath smashes into the chain in mid flight, knocking it aside but withdrawing just as quickly to avoid being snared up by the snaking length of metal.
She lets out a slow breath, look cool and collected on the outside, but mentally exhaling a great deal more vehemently. That had been close. She isn't entirely sure what unpleasant surprise would have been waiting on the other end of that technique but her guts told her it would have been bad and her guts are never wrong about things like this.
Her quick thinking has left her an opening though and she wastes no time in exploiting it. Ryuko lunges forward, fast as lightning and drives the tip of her sheathed weapon at her opponent's midsection. The blow is not a deadly one but it a potentially disabling strike, aimed to knock the wind out of her opponent for a few moments.
"Hope you've been doing your situps!"
COMBATSYS: Ryuko successfully hits Seori with Medium Strike.
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Ryuko 0/-------/----===|=====--\-------\0 Seori
Ryuko chooses currently, leaving Seori scrambling to recapture the errant metal ring before it looped around to hit her instead. This, coupled with Ryuko's position, leaves Seori very open to taking on a few... tips.
Well, to answer Ryuko's question, since Seori currently has been disabled from speaking, she indeed has been doing her push-ups. At least, enough that she's not falling over. Other than that...
Getting the wind knocked out of you just *sucks*.
Well, most of Seori is momentairely disabled, anyway. It just so happens that punch was the key to unlocking that little technique Seori almost tried to place on Ryuko before. Now, Seori's own lizard brain is up to bat, one hand dropping one end of her ninkou to form the pointed particular hand position needed. As Seori's mouth dryily heaves for air, coughing, she falls forward into a run, her dominant hand jabbing forth in a risky vantage point that Seori herself would normally not even *attempt* to try.
Maybe it's time to at least do that attempt.
If the jab manages to hit Ryuko's shoulder, a knife of chi extends inward, temporarily flushing the chakra of the immediate area, leaving it coldly numb.
COMBATSYS: Ryuko blocks Seori's Horou.
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Ryuko 0/-------/---====|======-\-------\0 Seori
Ryuko retreats a few steps and cups a hand to her ear in a playful fashion, pretending to attempt to understand the choking gasps coming from the other girl. She could have followed up immediately with another strike, perhaps driving a powerful blow down on Seori's neck as she doubled over or sweeping her legs out from under her, but this was a friendly bout and she wanted to keep it that way. With real weapons in their hands, either one of them could do something regretable if things got heated. She is rather certain that her own temper is well in hand but there's no telling how her sparring partner might react to such brutality. Best not throw her into the deep end right away.
"What's that? You could a little more practice?" She nods sagely, even as the winded girl comes lunging at her with a staggering gait. "Yeah, I thought so too."
The sheathe of the sword comes up to meet the point of Seori's thrusting strike, it's flat surface catching the tips of her fingers in what is very likely a rather painful fashion, stopping them cold. It does not, however, offer any sort of resistance to the dagger-like wedge of spiritual energy that fires off on contact. The chi-blade splits down the middle around the sword, sending a pair of glowing pointed prongs into her shoulder.
Ryuko yelps in surprise as her arm suddenly loses sensation and leaps back, eye widening. She rubs at the wound with her free hand, her shock quickly fading to chagrin and relief, and she exhales visibly this time.
"Wow, that's... a nasty trick."
She tests her arm a few times, noting that its response is more sluggish than before, but her grip on the sheathe seems to be reliable enough. She'll have to be careful until that wears off. It does wear off, right? With that disturbing thought in mind, Ryuko turns her attention back to Seori and grins.
"Well, let's see how I do with a handicap!"
That's all the warning that she gives before moving to strike again. The lack of full control over her off-hand arm doesn't slow down the rest of her in the slightest. Ryuko zips across the space between them and starts to draw her sword, making it obvious that she plans to deliver another of her snappy slashes. Instead, however, she continues her forward momentum and practically tackles Seori, drawing out her blade just far enough to ram the hilt up at the base of her jaw like a piston before snapping it back down into the case.
COMBATSYS: Seori blocks Ryuko's Quick Strike.
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Ryuko 0/-------/---====|=======\-------\0 Seori
It's hard to tell if Seori is even aware of Ryuko's playful behavior, or if the strange jabbing technique was some sort of reaction.
The very motion occurs before Seori has a chance to process it. She may have still used this attack later on in the fight as she grew more confident with Ryuko's abilities, but this soon? Seori can't help but let the surprise flicker on her face for a brief instant. Damn it, to lash out that easily just because she felt a ghost of a sense of danger? She's not in any danger here; Ryuko may be pushing her, but it's in a way that Seori's beginning to really get into.
... Especially since Ryuko's just as able to push herself. A momentary glimmer of relief relaxes Seori's face, even as Ryuko rushes forward. The kyoketsu shoge lapses into its fabric form, adding a slight buffer to Seori's arms as she blocks the the hilt, allowing herself to be pushed back by Ryuko's momentum. With the scarf still wrapped around one hand as she lands in a crouch, Seori rolls a shoulder and then shakes a sleeve of her jacket in a short, precise motion. Metallic slivers suddenly show themselves inbetween the ninja's fingers; she dips the upper half of her body low. "I'm going to push you a little harder," she murmurs as a word of warning, before swinging her right hand upward, a flurry of small kunai released.
She can't quite dull these blades on command.
COMBATSYS: Ryuko dodges Seori's Surprise Kunai.
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Ryuko 0/-------/---====|=======\-------\0 Seori
Rather than pressing forward, Ryuko falls back after her bullrush fails to connect. There are times when raw offensive aggression are the appropriate answer but she still has no idea what this girl is capable of and after that last little trick, she isn't keen to blunder into another such technique. No, this is the time for careful consideration and gauging of her opponent's abilities. Let Seori show her cards first, that will just make it all the easier to deal with them.
Her intuition proves to be correct, as usual. Ryuko's eye darts to the movement in Seori's arm like a hawk spotting a rustling in the grass. The gleam of metal and a sudden mental reminder that this girl had claimed to be a practicioner of ninjutsu make it pretty clear what's coming next and she reacts with an alacrity and grace that would put most professional gymnast's to shame.
Ryuko darts to one side, ducking low on a path that will theoretically get her out of the line of fire just as the ninja's arm whips forward. Unfortunately, she's one of those ninja that throw their lot in with the quanity team rather than quality. A wide spray of flying knives comes her way and, as it often does in moments of intense danger or concentration, time seems to slow down for the girl. Her swift assessment of the situation had done much to get her clear of the danger but there were a few problems still in her way.
Gripping the sheathe of her sword with still numb fingers, she narrows her eye and focuses. Three quick flashes of blue light fill the air infront of her in a staccatto rhythm, each accompanied by a sharp clink of metal on metal. A trio of the kunai sail off in various directions embedding themselves in the walls. The entire thing goes down in about the span of a few heartbeats, the sword-wielding cyclopean girl moving with speed that just doesn't make any natural sense. And then she's on Seori again.
There is no flash of metal or fancy martial manuevers this time. Ryuko's blurring form solidifies directly infront of the other girl in a half crouch, her hand still resting on the hilt of her sword as the hilt slides with a delicate click against the top of the casing. She tilts her head back and grins up at Seori, giving her a playful wiggle of her antennae, and then she simply opens her mouth and roars a cry of battle.
The mundane sound of her voice is audible for only a few instants before it is amplified to something entirely inhuman. It twists and changes, becoming something deeper and more primal, as the raw energy of her spirit expands out in tandem in a sphere of shimmering blue destruction, Ryuko's fierce yell exploding like a stick of dynamite directly in Seori's face.
COMBATSYS: Seori endures Ryuko's Tenryuko no Hoko.
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Ryuko 0/-------/-======|=======\=------\1 Seori
Indeed, the small kunai hidden on Seori's form are nowhere near the quality of the teal silk scarf that remains wrapped around one arm. If they had hit, even if their ends were sharp, it wouldn't be a disaster.
The disaster was instead provided by Seori practically warning Ryuko ahead of time that she was going to throw sharp things at the other Gedo student's body. Yet, with Ryuko's choice to not use the sharp end of her katana, it just... didn't feel right to do it without the warning!
Maybe that's why some students on the campus grounds even wonder if Seori truly is a ninja, or just someone *posing* as a ninja out of earnest love or interest in the topic. ... Everyone needs a hobby.
Again, the cybernetic big sister is next to Seori in a flash, antennae wiggling in a deceptively adorable way. Well, Seori finds it adorable, even as she paces away to try to build space between her and her sparring partner. The cry that Ryuko lets forth, however, is... much more of a threat that those distracting antennae. Seori's answering with her own cry, mistaking the blood-boiling yell as a call to action that, well, an actual attack.
Seori doesn't dodge this time. Nor does she block the oncoming tsunami of sound. A miscalculation, to be sure- Seori wasn't aware sound *could* be used like a weapon. It's something she'll definitely consider next time.
But not now. Buffering through the growling wave like a surfer pushing through a rolling wall of water, much of Seori's momentum is absorbed by Ryuko's attack. But she's still moving forward, her slight form sailing in the air towards Ryuko. Like the sun orbiting the earth, a growing metal flattened ring whips around from behind the jumping Seori, arcing over her head and then directed with her arm downwards, intending to slam directly on Ryuko's body like a crazy meteor.
COMBATSYS: Seori successfully hits Ryuko with Ryuusei Burst.
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Ryuko 1/----===/=======|=------\-------\0 Seori
Ryuko's bone-rattling bellow lasts for a couple of seconds, throwing out raw power in all directions, sending the practice room into a chaotic frenzy of activity. The soft mats laid out on the ground flutter and slide around, some being cast completely into the air to crash into nearby furniature. Several dull metallic thuds and scrapes accompany a few sets of dumbells as they go rolling merrily across the ground, a few even being lifted out of their racks first. The enclosed space of the room only amplifies the effect and even Ryuko is left with a sharp ringing in her ears as the attack dies out. It's a small price to pay for the sheer effectiveness of the manuever. Very few people expect their opponent's very voice to be a weapon and the dragon's roar has rarely failed to deliver results.
This happens to be one of those times, unfortunately. Despite the point-blank nature of her attack, Seori manages to weather the storm more or less intact. Ryuko had hoped to send her careering backwards into the nearest wall - instead, the lithe ninja manages to navigate the waves of buffeting sound and press her attack much faster than anticipated.
Ryuko's mental alarms go off in warning and she throws herself backwards, time dialating for her alone as before in much the same way as one might expect to see in an action movie. The spirit of John Woo is not with her this day, however. Guess she forgot to offer a sacrificial dove this morning. The gleaming disc of hard metal comes crashing down with the disturbing power of leverage and though she manages to avoid being completely brained by the thing, adding yet another instance of mental trauma to her list, it catches her on the shoulder as she falls back.
There is a dull crunch as bone meets metal with the predictable results. Ryuko lets out a sharp cry of pain and goes flying backwards, landing hard on her back. She rolls once, knees tucking up into her chest as honed combat instincts take over, and arrests the momentum of her tumble with a graceful three-point stance as inertia flips her upright once more. Her face contorts in pain and she remains knelt on the ground for a few seconds, breathing heavily.
"Nrgh. Wasn't quite... fast enough that time. Haha, I almost dodged it though."
Her seemingly inexhaustible upbeat optimism rushes in to fill the silence in short order and Ryuko pushes to her feet after only a few moments more. Her right arm hangs slack at her side, the sheathe still clutched tightly in her fingers. It's a damn good thing that arm was already numb or that blow might have simply incapacitated her outright with the sheer pain.
Any reasonable person would hold no disdain for her if she wanted to call it quits after a hit like that. The thought is tempting. This is just a friendly sparring match after all. Breaking her arm over stubbornness would just be stupid. But, the little voice in the back of her mind that advises her on the moment-to-moment tactics of battle has little to say about this particular issue, which means it's up to her own judgement.
"Alright, I guess it's time to show you a little of what I can really do."
In the end, her pride wins the debate. She might be pushing herself a little too hard but when has that ever stopped her in the past? Besides, as the proud welcoming committee of Gedo High, she's got a reputation to uphold! Can't go letting the new blood think she'll have it easy.
Slowly, Ryuko adjusts her posture, turning her side to that her leading arm faces Seori. She rests her hand on the hilt of her blade and crouches slightly taking up a posture that anyone who has seen a samurai flick or two before will recognize. She stills her breathing, the rise and fall of her chest dropping off to almost nothing, and focuses all of her concentration on the girl infront of her. The lights in her cybernetics begin to glow with a steady hum of power and the familiar whir of their internal servos reaches a new peak becoming a shrill whine.
tWhen the attack comes it simply happens. One moment Ryuko is on the other side of the room and the next she's close enough to strike. Her body remains absolutely still save for the lower half of her sword arm. It moves in invisible blurs of speed that are almost imperceptible and each time it fades out into an indistinct wash of color there is a sharp snap of metal and a glowing arc of blue light carves into the air.
The lightning-speed assault strikes a total of eight times, each cut following a repeating pattern - low, high, middle. The fact that she strikes with the blunt edge of the sword makes the attack no less painful; infact, it might do precisely the opposite as the sheer sharpness of the blade would part flesh with ease, where as its heavy thick reverse edge acts more like a club.
COMBATSYS: Seori blocks Ryuko's Ougi - Mokozan.
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Ryuko 0/-------/----===|====---\-------\0 Seori
The final strike of the attack comes slightly differently. Ryuko suddenly leans forward and blurs into motion once more, her body streaking past the other girl to appear behind her. Her arms hangs out to one side, the sword clutched tightly in her grip, its naked steel bared for the first time since showing it off at the start of their match. She pauses for a long second or two, letting it hang there in dramatic fashion before whipping it around to neatly slide it into the sheathe.
The katana disappears with a slow hiss, inch by inch, until only a small sliver of the blade remains visible between the hilt and the top of the case. Ryuko smirks and with another flourish, slams the blade all the way down with a loud clink. A final and much larger slash of blue energy explodes across Seori's midsection, a thick line of chi tracing the blade's path in a delayed explosion of shimmering energy.
If it weren't for the growing metal weight of her weapon, Seori could very well have been cast back like a leaf to an autumn's brisk wind. It was a risky maneuver to even dare to try, and one she would neglect in favor of being cautious and careful. In this spot, where there's smashed mats, displaced equipment, kunai embedded in the walls, and ringing ears, Ryuko's given Seori the gift of being able to take risks. While some have ended poorly (with valuable lessons learned), others, like this one, pay off in a satisfying way. No telling if the coach will be as forgiving. Just how good are the terms of their acquaintance? Seori's not exactly sure she wants to find out.
The crunch of bone manages to pierce through Seori's temporary hearing loss. Well, it's less hearing it and more percieving it on a level of knowledge she's not entirely comfortable with. "H-hey." The metal ring retracts to its original size and shape, slipping across the flooring to rest at Seori's feet. Worry crinkles the girl's face. "You're... okay, right?" She relaxes when Ryuko speaks from her crouching position. The ninja even smiles cheerily when the eyepatched Gedo student promises to show her 'what she can really do'. That means she's okay! Well, okayish. Seori shifts back into her battle stance in response, a quick stagger betraying her body's tired condition before she manages to correct herself.
Seori won't patronize Ryuko by asking if she wants to continue; Ryuko's given her response already.
Like a chill wind, Ryuko begins her assault, beginning in a stance that instantly makes Seori's own weapon begin to react. The Kouhara ninja not relying on her speed or reflexes to get out of the way. No, she'll take on the blows and weather the storm, just as Ryuko had done moments before. They're well-matched in terms of speed and force.
That's what makes it fun.
Thought becomes chi becomes metal, then fabric, Seori barely matching Ryuko's strikes through the ninkou and her own body's efforts to buffer the blow. Sweat beads on her forehead from the amount of concentration and energy it takes to maintain these matching blocks, but if she just continues to weather this round of attacks-
Seori should have known she was doomed when Ryuko disappeared from her sight, a feat accompanied by a painful slash of brilliant energy across her abdomen. She collapses to one knee, black hair and teal cloth fluttering to settle down alongside her. It would be better, due to this being a spar, if Seori had called it there. Ryuko, full of enthusiasm and good-natured competitiveness, provided more than enough 'teaching' for Seori.
'You're still able to stand. Keep going.' If delivered in a gentle but firm tone of voice, it would have been proper encouragement. Seori's dad, meanwhile, delivered it with the mumbled nonchalance of a person vaguely accusing a child of crying over a minute scrape on the knee. Same intention, different delivery. It works. Ryuko's definitely got more in her that Seori does now, but...
The kyoketsu shoge snakes out from Seori's grasp towards Ryuko, swinging around to attempt to wrap around the fellow Gedo student's body-
COMBATSYS: Seori successfully hits Ryuko with Hisui Drop.
[ \\\\ < > ////// ]
Ryuko 0/-------/=======|=------\-------\0 Seori
The encircling chain reforms around Ryuko into a metal ring. Gritting her teeth, Seori's breath audibly heaves as she she turns her body, using the last remains of her strength and chi to lift her new friend into the air. As the ring and its load reaches the necessary amount of distance into the arc over Seori's head, the weapon releases Ryuko from its grip and allows Ryuko to continue forward. Seori staggers from the effort, teal cloth completely collapsing around her body.
She realizes it, even before the dramatic climax of her flashy assault. Each of her strikes is a tiny slice of perfection, the angle of the slash precise, the flow of her technique impeccable, but the damage done to her body quickly takes its toll on her. Every time her blade flashes out a tiny bolt of lightning explodes from her shoulder, running merry havoc along her neck until it detonates in a shower of white hot fireworks inside of her head. Even with her flagging health, however, it's clear that Seori is only barely able to keep up. Perhaps she might teach her one final lesson for the day.
The dash into the finishing blow ends the fight, one way or another. Ryuko's dramatic pause lasts a bit longer than she intends and she's glad that her back is to the other girl so that she cannot see the ugly grimace of pain that seizes her features. Pride forces the molten lava back down into her shoulder long enough for her to slide the weapon back into its sheathe and she manages to call out the name of her attack with a strong and clear voice.
The final blow had struck home. She felt the clean impact even through the haze of agony, sensed the other girl's fall through the web of cybernetic awareness that permeated her mind. She holds her pose, more out of fatigue than an over-developed sense of dramatic tension, and waits.
The answer to her question comes in the form of a sudden whipping sound in the air. Ryuko struggles to lift her sword to intercept the scarf-chain-thing, but she's already spent most of her gas. The ninja-towel solidifies into a solid ring around her midsection and the girl has enough time to let out a resigned, "Crap...", before she's flung through the air like a catapult shot.
Her landing is a great deal less graceful this time. She hits the ground in a tangle of limbs, her sword finally tumbling free from her numbed fingers. Fortunately, most of the room is still covered in the practice mats which does enough to break her fall that she doesn't end up adding a broken arm or concussion to her list of injuries for the day but the impact isn't particularly pleasant.
After a couple of rolls she flops to a halt against the far wall of the small space. Slowly, she pushes herself up to a sitting position, hissing out a sharp curse from between clenched teeth. Her grimace undergoes a swift transformation into a fierce grin and she holds her gloved hand up palm out towards the ninja.
"That's.... that's enough. Haha... you got me."
COMBATSYS: Ryuko takes no action.
[ \\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Ryuko can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\ <
For a moment, watching Ryuko rolling away, sword discarded, Seori is concerned. Her voice shoots out in a cry of concern. "... H-hey, I didn't do something off, did I!?"
But all is well. The one-eyed Gedo student pushes herself up, a hand raised palm out in a clear sign of Ryuko calling the spar to an end. Seori relaxes. "O-okay."
The kyoketsu shoge dissolves back into teal cloth, which Seori promptly wraps around her neck, knotting it in place. It's an automatic gesture, one that doesn't need her to think about it or expend much energy, which is great, because... damn, she's spent.
She collapses into a sitting position, her mouth sluggishly letting forth a noisy exhale into some loose strands of hair. "... You really pushed me. That was... really, really cool." Even as her breath struggles to catch up with her words, she laughs, still wavering from the rush. It didn't matter if she won or lost- Ryuko pushed her to her limits, and gave her the ability to throw everything down and push right back. There was no fear of dying or losing something aside from a few hours of restful sleep. "I didn't think I'd last like that. You're fast." She looks up and catches Ryuko's gaze, her eyes carrying the genuine smile curling her lips. "Thank you. You're a great teacher."
That sober moment spent, Seori rubs a developing bruise on her chin."... So, um. Yeah..." She trails off, her eyes falling shut. "... Mmn." Wait. Oh no.
"What time is it!?"
Log created on 21:20:00 12/09/2016 by Ryuko, and last modified on 01:35:16 12/14/2016.