Description: Undercover as the Swag One, NESTS agent Whip comes face to scarred-and-broken face with her childhood heroine, the one and only Lightning Spangles. What could be ridiculous or heartbreaking turns out to be a little from column A, and a little from column B, with a sexy surprise sandwiched somewhere in the middle. This must be heaven...
-EARLIER, DEEP IN THE BOWELS OF NESTS HQ-
"AgEnt dESignAtiON, SAllY, rePOrt fOr MisSION."
Whip wakes up with a start, thrashing her way out of the tangled sheets to lunge with eager haste at the smooth nine-inch tube discarded lazily upon her bedside table. She misses on the first attempt and swears loudly as she follows her arm's momentum to slide - dishevelled, undignified, and butt-naked - out of the bedclothes onto the floor. Her arm joins her a moment later, trailing fingertips catching the edge of the article...
Which smacks her in the forehead a beat later, rolling end over suggestive end until it sits balanced on her distastefully-wrinkled nose.
"It's gonna be," mumbles Whip, careful not to move her face around too much as she reaches to extract the device from the bridge of her sniffer, "One of those days, huh?"
Once it's held up before her, she examines the device with one eye half-closed, the other bleary and fringed with sleep-dirt. A few increasingly-deft taps of her fingers bring the screen online and pulls up her schedule for the day. The handheld computer - for such it is, and nothing more suggestive you lecherous filth - vibrates softly as it comes out of standby. It's an iCone, named for its shape which is absolutely inspired by a 'cone' and not a 'tube', neither a 'shaft', and one of the more recent misguided inventions to come out of the NESTS' laboratories. Designed to nestle comfortably inbetween one's... pockets, it presents information on a 360-degree angle screen and boasts all the latest features one might expect from a multifunctional multimedia platform. Except that it's practically impossible to read.
That's okay. That's what the annoying, badly-coded voicebot is for.
"TwO pEE EM: GoLDeN anGel ToUrNameNT--"
"Oh, fuck!" Whip turns the iCone off by shaking it up and down with a well-practiced wrist motion, tossing it overhead to land amidst the rumpled wasteland of her Lighting Spangles (tm) Limited Edition Lil' Cowgirl Cosy Comforter. Groaning, the assassinista leans her head back and puffs out her cheeks, staring long and hard at the cool halogen lights on the metallic ceiling.
Unlike a surprising number of her compatriots, Whip despises waking up - she LIKES to be asleep, it's cosy and she always wakes up in the middle of the best dreams; the ones where she's an honest-to-goodness Deputy and riding with Injun Joe and the Hoedown Dillo to save-- wait. Whip suddenly sits up, reaching to scratch at her tangled bob of dyed-blonde hair. Is she forgetting something? A couple of slow blinks precede the removal of all that sleep gunk, during which she tries to rack her brains for any detail she may have forgotten. She'll be damned if she's checking the iCone again, and at least she knows she's not too late to make her assignment. It'll probably come to her after.
Breathing an almighty sigh, Whip strives to her feet, grabs her Good Mornin' Lil' Cowgirl hat off the peg by the door and excuses herself to the bathroom. A minute later she's staring at her pillow-marked face in the mirror, the pink plastic Stetson set at a jaunty angle to somewhat conceal the mess her hair is in; a mess she'll have to sort out if she's going to be Sally Swagger for the day. Which she most assuredly is. F, as the kids say, ML.
-RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW, FUNK SOUL BROTHER-
Sally Swagger struts gamely through the halls of the Golden Angel Hippodrome, popping her bubblegum every ten or twenty paces, her ripped-up Daisy Dukes riding high on powerful thighs and baggy 'Angels Gone Wild' shirt hanging teasing and baggy from her shoulders, promising not a glimpse at the undoubtedly-curvaceous flesh beneath. Outrageous pink shades only partly conceal her doe-brown eyes, which twinkle over their rims as she blows kisses and other, less savoury gestures toward the paparazzi streaming all over the venue. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Sally effin' Swagger is how she moves so well wearing high-heeled flip-flops; beyond that, it's a mystery to the world why she's suddenly turned up a tournament where you're supposed to /fight/ in addition to being a filthy ho-beast. But the media is loving it regardless. Swagger is a walking nip-slip waiting to happen... and then some.
The area set aside for Sally's contest today is already thronged with slavering manboys who've been keeping up with her Twitter feed (Whip doesn't post there herself - that's all handled by the iCone app), and know they're going to be in for some seriously tasty treats. It's something of a mystery how the Swag One became such an overnight sensation, but she's everything a desperate teenage boy could hope for in an apparently-famous fighter attending an event as questionable as the Golden Angel tournament.
'I don't care who my opponent is - they deserve a Sally spanking! #SallySpanks'
'Retweet if you wanna see me make out with an unconscious so-called fighter #YOLO'
'Should I strangle 'em before or after I spank 'em y/n'
'All aboard the Swaggerbus, we got the moves like Jagger and a bullwhip like Alice Cooper!'
Basically, whatever happens here, they're convinced it will be some blend of sexy and awful, and they're almost certainly right. Right?
Whip is inwardly unconcerned, doing naught but playing a role as she was quite literally born to do. Sally Swagger has been created for the purpose of titillating these folk while the real work continues behind the scenes, and so she'll do it with appropriate aplomb - nay, swagger. There's practically a sonic boom of excitement as she strides past the rapidly-panning cameras, grabbing at the edges of her 'Angels Gone Wild' t-shirt and hoisting it juuust enough to make them think she's about to remove it. Her bubblegum pops, a saucy wink goes to one of the leering camera lenses, and then she spins around, throwing her arms out and screaming,
"YOLO, SOUTHTOWN! LOL!!!"
Yeah, no, she pronounces those as if they were actual words. Sally Swagger is possibly the actual worst.
"WHO WANTS TO GET WIIIIIIILD?!"
Jezebel was happy.
She's been going through a hard point in her life. She failed once, and then twice. She made herself look like a complete fool to her friends and her fans. She ruined herself again, and again, and again, until there was nothing but broken glass and ash. Until there was a rope coiling around her neck. And yet, the screaming nightmares dragged her to the surface of the water, and showed her just how awful she really was, how disgusting she actually was... and how that was all her. That was a dream, a horrible dream, and perspective in the shrieking whirlwind of madness.
But Mantisman really gave her more perspective on real life.
Because she wasn't around things. She was around people, healthy, happy people. People who liked her, not what she pretended to be, but who she was. They were worried about her, because of who she was. And... she had a responsibility for them. And she acted on that. She acted on that responsibility. She was happy. Jezebel was dressed just as conservative as she was last time, if not more so. The swim suit was a one piece, covering most of her body, stylized as a single American flag. You could barely see the pudge of her belly, the hanging cellulite of her bottom... especially since, unlike before, she had a little wrap of thing fabric around her waist, hiding her bottom a little better than last time. She didn't need to expose her body so much, so freely. She had self-respect. She was happy.
But she was concerned about her opponent.
Sometimes, you look at a person, and sometimes you don't see them as a person. You see them as a thing, and object. Jezebel saw a broken reflection. As Jezebel sat at the cafe, enjoying a glass of non-alcoholic water, she watches the display unfold. She almost jaw drops. The baggy shirt, the daisy dukes, the exposed legs. It was like a dark parody of Lightning Spangles.
There actually was a parody of Lightning Spangles just like that, in fact, called Thunder Chaps' Ho-Up Ho-Down.
Sally Swagger was... overwhelming. And yet, Jezebel not feel overwhelmed. She didn't feel like she was being batted on a string, like her hotel encounter with Honoka. Everything about Sally felt... loose. Broken. Put together again. That's the feeling, put together again. She was being too out, too open. It seemed... uncharacteristic of her, even though she never met this woman. Jezebel felt a sadness, for a moment. But her heart rises. She knew sadness.
And it was her job to bring joy.
"Hello, Sally Swagger!" Not a howdy, not a y'all, not a square-dancing fun and fancy free. But a Hello, confident and pure. "Looks like you got a whip tighter than a needle in a pinhole, and twice as sharp! But you better keep yourself together, pardn- Sally Swagger." Jezebel was trying, trying so hard to be herself. Not Lightning Spangles. Herself. And yet, she gives the wink, and the almost too cute and young pose, as she thrusts a fist in the air.
"CAUSE I WANNA GET WILD! YEEEE HAW!"
There's a turmoil in every soul, isn't there? Every fame-hungry Vlogger, every Sally Swagger and - yes - even every Lightning Spangles. There's a darkness in the heart of man.
Currently, it's decidely unequalled by the pig-eyed lust of the Golden Angel fans at 'ringside'. Sally's lip-glossed mouth is pulled into a gruesome parody of a seductive smile as she turns to face her opponent for the afternoon, juking her denim-clad hips from side to side and raising her fists in a mocking boxer's stance. It's clearly not a stance she's used to; or perhaps that's a side effect of the none-too-pragmatic six-inch flip-flops on her feet. In any case, Sally plays up to the approaching Jezebel's words, letting out a little whoop and running her fingers through bottle-blonde hair as her tightness is proclaimed. The come-hither after-smile to the cameras is almost a touch too much, and for anybody paying genuine attention... it's certainly not reflected in those doe-brown eyes. A subtlety lost in the garish lights.
Glancing back to her still-unnamed opposition, Whip - for lest we forget, it is she - leans back onto her outrageous heels, folding her arms behind her head so the fluttering t-shirt rides up almost to her belly-button. There's yet to be a glimpse of her swimsuit for the occasion; the fans are left only to assume it must be skimpy indeed. With Sally Swagger, what more could it be? They are certain. Devout. Ready.
Only one such adjective might be used to describe young Sally as she comes eye-to-eye with a profoundly familiar wink. The hair, the freckles, the everything, it all tumbles into a perfect whole before the convincingly-disguised NESTS agent. Her assembled fiction comes crashing down around her ears, and suddenly she's hyper-aware of the baying crowd, of the woman before her, and the setting in which she finds herself. On every side stand garish, golden hippopotamuses with harps and angel wings. Corinthian columns tower majestically to the cafe's 'rafters' where novelty hangings in the shape of puffy clouds are festooned. Beneath the din of the fightfans, she can even hear serene muzak to suit the occasion, and that's when it strikes her right between the eyes, in much the manner her frankly embarrassing iCone had a few hours earlier...
She's in heaven.
But she doesn't deserve to be.
"You're... you're her..."
The voice that comes out of Sally Swagger is tiny, and definitely doesn't belong to the Swag One. Doe-brown eyes are wide and shimmering behind pink plastic shades, which are swiftly fumbled off as 'Sally' totters forward on her heels, almost falling as she staggers without the easy, accustomed-and-slutty grace she's displayed up until now. In amongst the bright lights and the tacky gold leaf and the people who just want to see bare, naked flesh, Swagger shows far too much of herself as she leans in toward Jezebel Faiblesse and reaches out a tentative hand, fingertips extending, quivering, and then pulling shut as she pulls her hand to her chest and *squeaks*.
That's the exact moment she pauses once more, clears her throat, and lets a decade and a half of hard conditioning restore her immediately to the role of Sally Swagger, possibly the THIRD worst person in the world. Drawing herself up, she spins around on her flip-flops and rips the tawdry material of her shirt in one, bold motion, tossing the fabric toward the crowd where it's immediately caught by a pimple-faced boy who...
...well, let's not discuss what happens to him. What's important is that Sally Swagger is now clad in the skimpiest, most--- wait.
Whip stands there now in teeny-tiny Daisy Dukes and the most modest, purposeful black swimsuit that a hot teenage girl could surely not bear to be caught wearing. It's... it's certainly practical?
There's even a harness on the back in which Voodoo is nestling, but it's probable that by all expectations this would be the most cumbersome thing about her attire. Even 'Sally' seems surprised.
Looking down at herself, she giggles uncertainly, reaches up to unfurl Voodoo with a resounding *crack*, and then spins toward Jezebel once more, beckoning her on with her free hand bedecked in jelly rings.
"Fu--" Well, she almost didn't hesitate. But this is /her/. Respect! "F-Fudge it! YOLO, right? Show me you've got the moves... like Spangles."
COMBATSYS: Whip has started a fight here.
"The move like Spangles?"
Already, the presence of Jezebel forces the PG rating. No bad language, no bad words. And no nipples falling out. Already, she was being given the Lightning Spangles treatment. Going from page 5 smut, to tasteful classy outfits. It was her. But as Sally Swagger tries to Yolo it, and asks for Jezebel's moves?
The music starts to play.
"Oh no, I couldn't..." She begins, as the county twangs- the twangs?- begin to play. Jezebel starts to shake her hips, bouncing in time. "I'm trying not to be Lightning Spangles right now!" Now the audience, oogling on Sally... couldn't help but clap along too. "LIGHTNING SPANGLES! GIVE US LIGHTNING SPANGLES!" Was the cry. And Jezebel, shaking her head. "Okay, just this once!" And then, she gives in to the music.
She begins to line dance.
Step step step Clap!
Step step step Clap!
The fiddle plays as the country cover of Moves Like Jagger begins to play. Jezebel hooks her thumbs into the wrapping, boldly step dancing by herself, moving in line against Sally. Smiling, she approaches closer and closer, as she sings more and more with a decidingly Lightning Spangles twist to the lyrics.
"./'Just shoot for the stars
"./' if it feels right ./'"
"./' And y'all aim for my heart if you feel like ./'
./'Take me away and make it okay ./'
"./' I swear I'll behave! ./'
"And it goes like this! YEE HAW!"
That comes with a clap clap, and then... Jezebel is right on top of Sally. Pivoting on the turn, she suddenly -rushes- in hip first, unleashing a singular, charging bottom bump. To send Sally tumbling back, as she unleashes her Baconator-infused behind with bounding battery.
COMBATSYS: Jezebel has joined the fight here.
COMBATSYS: Whip parries Jezebel's Broken Arrow!
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Jezebel 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Whip
They say that Sally Swagger's heart grew three sizes that day...
Well, no. What they'll remember is one of the more confounding staredowns even in this bizarre premise for a martial arts tournament, as the bewilderingly-available, practically-clad Swag One stands tall on pink flops goading the retired Jezebel Faiblessed to reprise her iconic role in perhaps the least suitable of the many, many unsuitable situations she's found herself in over the years. In all likelihood, Sally doesn't actually have a heart. In reality, she's not real and therefore absolutely *cannot*. What happens to the Angel Cafe, however, is an overwhelming transformation from a gaudy, sweaty pit of debauchery-in-waiting... to something truly beautiful. Choirs of angelic hippos seem to sing Lightning Spangles, and by extension her undercover opponent, to the very heavens as the previously-slavering crowd rallies behind a beloved icon of their childhood.
Sally's heart be damned, Whip's beats like butterfly wings beneath her breast as she watches, frozen, for the unfolding spectacle. Every pore of her being begs her to join in, to dance with Lightning Spangles. Didn't she dream about this only last night? After tearing her heroine from the claws of her tormentor, Injun Joe bust out his deerskin drum and Hoedown Dillo played the fiddle /she can hear this very moment/. Together, they danced until all the woes in the world ceased to matter, until there was only the Lightning, the Spangles, and the American Dream urging them on.
A tear trickles onto the dark, robust material of Sally's swimsuit, and she finds herself clapping in time with Jezebel. Her hips sway too, donk, donk, back and forth like an alluring pendulum; affording the cameras at least the display of her tight-clad buttocks swaying to and fro. It's something of a runner-up prize to the Feast of Flesh they might have prayed for, but... but something magical is happening.
A few more tears fall as Whip's eyes close, and she feels herself lifted, lifted--
Her hands freeze with the second, and her eyes snap open. Lightning Spangles is charging at her - at, at HER! Which means, in just half a heartbeat...
Voodoo has slid up Whip's arm as she's clapped, the handle but a twist of the wrist away from falling back into her calloused palm. That twist comes on honed instinct, but something more, too; this is her hero, her everything, the woman she's dreamed of meeting since she thought her boss' name was 'Big Biz' and those doelike brown eyes covered approximately 80% of the surface area of her face. She can't TOUCH her!
She's not earned that honour!
Voodoo unfurls beside her, and the other arm comes down as Sally Swagger spreads her stance on outrageous heels, plastic shrieking across the sparkling mosaic floor, throwing up twin swathes of gold glitter as she sinks her weight. Jezebel's rear end is intercepted with the lightest touch of Voodoo's uplifted hilt. The handle clunks against a firm cheek, and carries on heavenward, the carried impact driving Whip's around, feet sweeping across the floor as the Greatest of All Possible Cowgirls is left launching past her. The upward drive of Voodoo turns into a slash, wrist twitching at the apex to direct the starting blue tip up into the rafters where it secures around a wafting imitation cloud. Whip's wide brown eyes, sparkling with joyful tears, seek Jezebel's own for but an instant before she's suddenly gone, flying into the sky.
Her namesake's coils regather in her arms as Whip floats there for a moment, allowing her eyes to close once more as she turns a slow, overhead somersault. Heaven. This... this is it. Her dreams, they have brought her here.
To the completion of a technique she's drilled a hundred thousand times, her gymnastic twist bringing her heels over head, and then heels TO head as she thunders down for a double-flip-flopped collision with Jezebel's skull.
COMBATSYS: Jezebel fails to interrupt Assassin Strike EX from Whip with High Noon EX.
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Jezebel 0/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0 Whip
Jezebel was already moving into the next attack.
The actress's penetrating bottom thrusts deep, and yet, it does not connect. Instead of being off-balance, however, she was already whipping her leg around, already twisting it into a rising kick. Red, white, and blue energy were flowing over her, as Sally deflects and pivots off the smooth cheek. The duo are moving in harmony, moving as one as the actress shifts, whipping the kick up as Whip swings by...
As the heel drops hard on her head.
Jezebel is stunned, smashed straight down to the ground. For a moment, it almost seems like... that was it. But the words come out, as her eyes are shut tight. "Great job, pard- Sally! Great job Sally!" Jezebel praises as she recovers. She just took a boot to the head. ANd while Jezebel looks dazed, even stunned... she wasn't broken. She wasn't shattered. She was just... just smiling. Did she like the pain? No. She just knew that she had to keep going. And as she smiles, and stands up, to make everyone see how okay she is... she gives a whisper, a low whisper to Sally. "Do you have a non-stage name I can know, or do you need to be Sally for the rest of the performance?"
A look of concern comes across her face.
"Oh-- oh no!"
Sally Swagger looks utterly appalled as she lands with perfect poise on her ludicrous footwear, spine straightening lithely on impact and one arm rising with a grace at odds with the girlish horror writ upon her face. Whip's heart is beating a thousand times a second, her stare fixated upon the downed Jezebel, the arm still bearing Voodoo tucked close to her strong, well-toned torso. Even in the practical swimsuit, it has to be said; the young assassin has absolutely nothing to be ashamed over regarding the level of eye candy she naturally provides. She may not have the atomic bombshells strapped to her chest that the world sincerely believed the Swag One had, but... well, the fans are eating it up anyway, assisted perhaps by the slow-dawning doubt that there's more at work here than the simple, bikini-clad catfight they were hoping for.
In a far corner off the central stage, the Mexican announce team is excitedly hyping the possibility that Jezebel Faiblesse had a sordid lesbian affair with Sally Swagger. Scandalous!
"Lightning Spangles, I'm so sorry!"
When tears are streaming freely from the younger woman's face, the story writes itself. There's two forces at work here, however, and one of them is driving the motions of Whip's tightly-powerful frame, her stance already spreading anew to add force and grace to the next punishing lash of Voodoo. Only, Jezebel's concerned query breaks through to the performer working both angles. It comes naturally; the assassinista's entire life has been a performance, one way or another, every moment outside her own bedroom and a few stolen moments with her erstwhile 'friends' spent purely refining technique and poise. She's an actress.
Most of the time.
The two halves and their bonding glue come together, and Whip checks herself with a shake of her head, tossing a Sally-riffic wink to the nearest camera and then bending a couple of inches lower in her posture. This serves the purpose of treating all other cameras to a decent view of her straining buttcheeks through the Daisy Dukes, effectively affording a moment of distract to communicate.
"Sally, but..." she murmurs, trailing off to tip one last glance to the cameras - sufficiently parried, she notes. "I'm *such a huge fan*. I'll tell you later!"
The last comes out in a bit of a squeal, every ounce the young, starstruck girl and all too keenly aware of it. "OKAY," she states firmly, drawing herself up--
and then, almost against the laws of physics, back, heels once more shrieking across the opulent cheapness of the cafe floor.
This carries her away from the downed Jezebel, but only so the equal and opposite reaction can pitch her arm forward with that threatened lash from before, Voodoo slicing through the air to snag Jezebel around the throat.
Not /nicely/ but... she's an expert, she's not really trying to cause permanent damage. Should they have agreed on a safe-word?
A flourish of the striking arm turns that grapple into a tug and a vicious, uppercutting strike, the culmination an intent to drag Spangles up off the floor and hurtling toward a filthily-grinning Sally Swagger.
"That's a good start, y'all," Sally is back in force, and mocking her opponent with a woeful rendition of her accent, "But let's Show this Ho up! Who wants to see us REALLY HURT EACH OTHER?!"
The crowd explodes, remembering why they came here. Remembering what they want.
It's... it's just showbiz, right?
COMBATSYS: Jezebel blocks Whip's Strength Shot - Code Power.
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Jezebel 1/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0 Whip
A huge fan.
Not the first fan, either. How much of the fighting world really adored Jezebel? Not Lightning Spangles, but Jezebel? The role she plays is just a role, and they wanted the actress. The joy lifts the actress's heart more and more; she felt like a person around people. Even as the audience is hungry, wanting the violence, the sex, the pure libido action, she felt so much lighter now.
Even as the next whip comes.
As the counter-action comes, Jezebel snaps out of her haze as the whip comes around her throat. She slips her hand up to the crook, just giving her enough space to -breath- as it lashes on. Grunting, she spreads her legs apart, as she fights for her footing. "That's not appropriate though! Jezebel say brightly, as she refuses to... give way. Not enough to simply power through, but with little tells. Her feet slip. Her eyes bulge. Just a little more effort, and Sally would rip her towards her.
A stalemate, for the moment.
But Jezebel's passion doesn't stop. She struggles against the taunt whip. "It's not good to get... get too excited by girls hurting each other! There are a lot of showup Hoedown ways of self-defense, which don't result in long term physical injury!" And then, she stops resisting. She lets the pull come, this time -rolling with- it, rolling with the jerk towards Whip. But the momentum is off now, the timing is off, her footsteps come. And now both hands are on the whip...
And she's not releasing the whip...
COMBATSYS: Jezebel successfully hits Whip with Good Bad and Ugly.
~~ Alluring Hit! ~~
CSYS: This exciting moment brought to you by The Lightning Spangles Tie-Up Show-Down Self Defense DVD Set!!!
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Jezebel 1/-----==/=======|======-\-------\0 Whip
And Jezebel slams into Whip, knocking them both over.
Jezebel's reaction is precise, and intimidate. Keeping her knees into Sally, the actress spins around, hooking the whip over her. "One of the most important techniques you can do, is to subdue your armed opponent!" Reversing the whip around Sally, she pulls it taut against her as she pins Sally against her, upside down. Twisting the pair of them to the camera, she looks directly on, the legs over her, daisy duke'd bottoms right on top. "Here, I have her restrained, and right where I want her." She pops off the high-heel flip-flops, exposing Sally's bare feet to the camera. "And right here, is one of your opponent's most sensitive pressure points!"
And Jezebel tickles the feet right before the camera.
"And when all else fails?" Jezebel continues, as she releases the feet. "Just let your American chi flow into your opponent, let it flow right in her!" The red, white, and blue energy pulses as it draws into Sally, priming her. Adjusting her feet, she now has Sally mounted. As the energy reaches it's peak, Jezebel launches her straight into the air, whip and all, with a great big launching kick. Rebounding upright with the momentum she turns towards the camera, giving it a thumbs up. "You can learn this, and more, in the The Lightning Spangles Tie-Up Show-Down Self Defense DVD Set! Guaranteed to teach you to fight like Lightning Spangles!" And when Sally hits the apex of her height?
It finishes with a fireworks burst of red, white, and blue all around Sally, as the chi detonates.
Muscles bunch beneath her very modest swimsuit, as Sally Swagger battles for supremacy with an All-American Icon longer in the tooth and far more beloved to the public than she. She doesn't even hold the edge in controversy, truth be told-- her burgeoning fandom outright mainstream by comparison to the deep, dark caches of sordidity esconced away in the bleak reaches of the Lightning Spangles fan community. One might question the inner assassinista's feelings on this and the answer is, perhaps, a disappointing one to many...
Her love for Jezebel's dynamic alter-ego is pure as the driven snow, pure as Krizalid's shock of white hair. The fighting spirit she mounts now is just as sincere, buoyed as it is by the mummery of the Swag One. Part of the appeal in the Spangles brand was always the competence of the woman behind the yee's and the haw's, that someone trained like she was - like Whip was - could be so heroic and so positive. She's everything that NESTS won't allow her to be, that her mission renders impossible to strive for. There's work to be done, always. No time for a Hoedown.
Consequently, it doesn't cross her mind that impact with Lightning Spangles would result in-- this.
Whip is dragged down, hogtied, and already blushing crimson ear to ear, her mop of bottle-blonde doing little to hide wide eyes and open mouth, forming an 'o' that draws on bewilderment but may be too-easily mistaken for rising ecstasy as she finds herself squirming against her childhood heroine; and against the confines of her own namesake weapon. Gone is the mockery, the putdowns, the warrior spirit.
Gone are her early forays into... experimentation. Replaced by a rising discomfort and the simple horror of unwanted passion as she's womanhandled and... tickled? Her body quivers, parts of her that really don't want to be excited tremble in anticipation, and then Whip begins to giggle, trying to fight it only to arch back against Lightning Spangles, gasping and barking out an all-too-womanly laugh, drenched in a lust she doesn't comprehend.
At least, not entirely. If her heart was racing before, it's palpitating now, sweat beading on pale skin, thankfully esconced in the modesty of a Golden Angel (tm) swimsuit and deeper still behind Daisy Dukes whose layering she's profoundly glad for. It's a relief to feel the businesslike warmth of chi spreading through her form as well, reminding her where she is, and what's happening. Fighting! They're fighting!
It's at once too much and a mercy when the kick comes, the spike of pain as her tightly-wound abdominals cave momentarily to the impact of Jezebel's practiced feet. Once more she finds herself in the heavens, and this time, at the apex, Sally Swagger practically EXPLODES. Voodoo is uncontrolled, the coils spinning around her in the maelstrom as fireworks erupt in tandem with... something else.
FIGHTING. THEY'RE FIGHTING.
Whip is still trembling, more with adrenaline than pain, lust turning to battle as she twists herself to drop through the tacky cloud lining and clearing wisps of Jezebel's chi. Her bare feet hit the floor tingling, her free hand poised in a three-point stance as she stares down her heroine with big brown eyes bright and startled, chest heaving against the tightness of her spray-on suit.
"I think," she manages to gasp out, lips curling into a smile in spite of it all, "I fight a little too much like Lightning Spangles already..."
A bubbling laugh erupts from her throat, as she rises smoothly to her feet, grace recollected.
Voodoo is brought around, recoiled for an instant and then unleashed, a broad strike barely missing the heads of the crowd and one of the rapidly-turning cameras as she lashes out toward Jezebel - once, twice, thrice... five times in total, a storm of controlled lashes, beginning to move herself partway through unleashing the third, stalking with spine erect and focus upon her, circling the perimeter of the stage.
COMBATSYS: Whip successfully hits Jezebel with Whip Shot.
-* CRITICAL HIT! *-
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Jezebel 1/=======/=======|=======\-------\0 Whip
Why did Jezebel feel so sweaty?
As Jezebel launches Sally away, she wipes away her sweat. Thank goodness they only melted from fresh water, not salt water! But it felt so different. As Sally makes her landing, Jezebel turns to her opponent, flashing a great big smile.
Just in time for the whip to -crack- across it.
One crack, and Jezebel is completely flatfooted. Staggering backwards, she gasps as the second whip comes, and then the third. Jezebel tries to stand fast against the assault, but unable to get her momentum, she is driven back, gasping. As the final whipping comes, -smashing- into her face, Jezebel nearly collapses. Falling to one knee, her face... bleeds. Blood and welts, everything was pain. "Before you press me.... press me any further...." She gasps, sobbing...
"Have you heard about the Lightning Spangles Christmas Carol?"
Jezebel suddenly is holding a DVD. "Straight to DVD, it's the latest in high quality Lightning Spangles entertainment!" Jezebel smiles through the blood dribbling down her cheeks. "Lightning Spangles explores her Christmas Past, Present, and Future, as she meets her newest Spangles friends, including Ainu Spangles and Aussie Spangles! It's the holiday movie of 2017! Buy it as a gift for your friends! Your families! And best of all, it includes a free registration card for the Official Lightning Spangles Showup Hoedown Club! Now looking for the newest International Spangles recruits! YEEEEE HAW!" Her voice drops, as she looks at Whip, eyes tearing up, as the welts only darken on her head.
"I'm looking for more Spangles, you understand me?"
COMBATSYS: Jezebel burns with the AMERICAN SPIRIT!
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////////////// ]
Jezebel 2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|=======\-------\0 Whip
It's a... rare feeling, for Whip.
To feel compassion for an opponent, beyond and above even, to feel love and adoration for them. Outside of her training sessions with her erstwhile 'family' and friendly roustabouts with a few who've otherwise won her better graces, life is a series of relatively mechanical tasks - she's not without empathy, one might say she's rather driven by it, but professionalism is key. She's thrashed many a decent person, ended careers and even lives while feeling a modicum of sympatico she's been unable to shake. But... not like this. Every stinging, bull-wrecking lash of Voodoo is delivered with an almost careless ease by the assassinista, her steps at once controlled and perfectly-timed to drive home the power in wrist and whip.
Far removed from the heat she experienced moments before, now that icy, remote chill seeks to take a grasp upon her. It's a duality she embodies; heat and light, and the cool darkness of insidious machination. Normally, it's at least for the greater good. Here? Here she's a distraction, a playmate for the gaggling audience and the cameras dotted throughout and around their braying mass. Sally Swagger. Not a killer, not an unstoppable force. Not a creature bound to break and kill at any cost - simply an entertainer. But one without a message.
A frown slips across her brow, as she delivers the last lash and then draws her namesake back, standing tall and proud with the coils bunched ready near her cheek, lips stinging the protruding tip as she plants, without thinking, a gentle kiss upon it. The crowd goes wild.
She can taste it. Jezebel's blood. The blood her nearly lifelong hero. The blood of a woman she LOVES, profoundly, purely.
Every word sinks in, beneath the facade, and Whip slowly blinks, her body still coiled around Voodoo. Still ready. A wound spring.
"I..." a nod, gentle enough for the cameras not to catch, enough for Jezebel to know she hears. Her heart rips in two. One half goes with the woman before her - follows a path she may never get to glimpse, wrenched as she is in another direction. "I understand you."
The pain, the welts. The aches. The heroism in spite of it all. Whip smiles, and means it, bright and sincere from her buried heart.
She unwinds, sending Voodoo forth once more, in a single, broad swathe. It's a telegraphed strike; easily caught, if not so easily evaded, because she wants it to be-- she merely needs a point of contact, something to cling on to. A rock in this weary land. At the instant she finds it, she's ready to erupt, going from standing tall to flipping adroitly through the air, powerful form blurring as she very suddenly introduces herself into Jezebel's personal space, looking down at her from the air inches above her head. "But I have to press us both."
There's a hint of resignation, there, even before her boot seeks a solid place in Jezebel's chest, descending like an arrow to pierce her deeply.
It's a breath on the wind, and is there a sob within?
COMBATSYS: Jezebel interrupts Strength Shot - Code Superiority from Whip with Magnificent Seven.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ////////////////// ]
Jezebel 0/-------/-<<<<<<|=======\====---\1 Whip
Another time, Jezebel might be feeling the cracks.
The pressure, the shame, the madness. She's been there, over and over again. Her face burned; she felt so hidieous. Even her other eye, covered by an eyepatch, seemed... seemed off. She was grizzled, scarred now, wasn't she? She should be curling up in a ball and dying. And yet, as she looks at Sally? She didn't feel wrath. She felt talent, skill. SHe was just a good fighter. And Jezebel could handle it. So what happens, when she smiles? Jezebel smiles right back. She doesn't show the pain, because it wasn't really pain. It was just a few cuts. "Don't be sorry." Whispers Jezebel, as Sally begins to swing."It's wonderful to fight someone like you."
And she fires up.
The actress explodes the moment the boot comes driving in. It's like a bear trap, as Jezebel rips up with a staggering kick straight to the chest. A second kick comes.. and a third, and a fourth. The frenzied chain of kicks rise up and up, each coming with gradually building explosions of red, white, and blue. Before finally, as the sixth one comes, she sweeps her heel up, and -drops- hard, sending herself and Sally straight down through a table. Jezebel actually recovers on the rebound, already standing over Sally, smiling. "You're doing very good, Sally!" Jezebel praises.
"You're an excellent fighter!"
Just cuts. Just scars. Just lacerations on the very soul. Perhaps, beneath their respective personas...
They share something deep. Whip has never allowed herself to suffer the indignities of pain, defeat, physical deformity, emotional anguish, for more than the time it's taken to simply breeze on to the next challenge. Why burden herself with doubt and pain, fear and horror? To face every day, every moment, with a new outlook and a deep, refreshing breath? That's the pepper, as they say. It's why she always admired Lightning Spangles; she may not be able to be so outwardly boisterous, to sing and dance and whoop, but she treasures that optimism.
In the face of everything, why change? Why not simply be yourself? But who, when it comes down to it, is she?
It's a question that 'Sally' is asking herself even as she's being launched heavenward, hot lances rocketing through her torso with each thunderous kick, locked in what feels a perpetuity of agonized motion. This way she's thrown, then that, bruises blossoming beneath her suit - and one, as she tries in the midst of it all to desperately block a strike - boldly pulsating on her forearm. That one drives the arm back into her face, spinning her sidewards, drifting to face the floor before Jezebel's final thunderous strike descends upon her spine.
Descent is certain, and mercifully swift, the table yielding beneath their combined weight with a splintering crunch that sends up sympathetic 'oohs' and excited screams from the audience, their petty lusts forgotten in wake of what seems a truly brewing conflict. It's a turnaround they may speak of for some time to come - that Sally Swagger, the Angel Gone Wild, walked in a carefree slut and walked out an anointed fighter.
The young woman behind the Swag One never even thought of herself that way. Fighter? No. Killer. Punisher. Mercenary. Bodyguard. Assassin.
Gritting her teeth she rolls, coming up on all fours with Voodoo stretched between both hands, held to the floor as if she were clinging to a life raft. That was a punishing series of blows, but those grinding enamels only pull into a smile, a little blood between them as she rises to a crouch, watching Jezebel with doelike eyes not so much wary as *intensely focused*. 'You're doing very good, Sally!' says her heroine. But... she isn't Sally. She has been a hundred times: Sally Benedict, Sally Jones, Sally Undersson, Sally Mackenzie, and now Sally Swagger. Who is she, really?
She doesn't have a name.
She does have a purpose. She does have drive. And she has a weapon.
It's for Jezebel's ears only, almost lost in the caterwaul as Voodoo is bunched and tossed heavenward, catching taut on another of those wafting clouds.
There's a screech as she triggers the mechanism in Voodoo's augmented hilt, and suddenly she goes from a crouch to a rapid ascent, her lithe form stretched out for a milisecond in front of Jezebel Faiblesse. Keeping her gaze on her heroine's until they're forced apart, the branded Whip rears her knees up, driving them forward just enough to clip the other woman beneath the chin and carry her aloft with her.
Not for the first time, let them experience heaven together.
COMBATSYS: Whip successfully hits Jezebel with Depravity Branding - Code FA.
-* CRITICAL HIT! *-
[ \\ < > ////////////////// ]
Jezebel 1/---<<<</<<<<<<<|=------\-------\0 Whip
Whip feels it, jolting not just through her body but her soul, and knows in the pit of her dichotomously good heart that she's opened her 'victim' wide for perhaps the worst and cruellest she's been trained to deliver. But this is about proving herself to an idol, about demonstrating a spirit and determination to match the Spangles name - the Spangles BRAND. The rush she experiences now is not that of the coming slaughter, but the pure instinct of a fighter, a warrior. It's something she's never opened her mind to; but she embraces it.
Jezebel is hurtled into the air, arching in the dead centre of the cafe's heavenly airspace, as Whip rises above her and catches herself against the very roof, bare feet crunching on the facade, sending a sprinkling of glitter-smeared plaster down upon the tables and chairs beneath. With a soft grunt, every honed muscle in her trim body seeming to pop at once, Whip springs down and around, swinging upon the accomodating length of her namesake like an eagle soaring upon its prey. A tight scream leaves her throat as she extends both feet once more, catching Lightning Spangles right in her central mass, her tickled feet sending fresh ripples up into her hips. "You /inspire/ me," she exudes, through the force of the strike.
And then she's lifting her feet and bringing them up as she continues past, reversing her motion with their following descent, her heels coming down in tandem right to the back - just as Jezebel caught her a few moments before. "I loved you..."
That's breathed with amazing softness, close to the ear as she disengages Voodoo and allows herself to begin falling, following Jezebel's descent now, forcing herself ahead by dropping her mass - landing in a hard crouch, neck arching as she turns her face upward. Voodoo is already uncoiling past the length of her upraised arm, wrist carrying another lash to snag the falling Jezebel around the throat.
"Perhaps," Whip yanks HARD with both hands, bowing her face almost to the floor as she hauls her foe - her idol, perhaps her friend - down beside her with bone-crunching force, the weapon only uncoiling from her throat once she's made her rough landing. Then, the former Sally Swagger rises to her trembling feet, dropping the coils of Voodoo beside her and preparing to walk away, a smile upon her lips that she simply can't hold back.
"I still do."
Voodoo trails behind her, as she walks toward the parting crowd. This fight, surely, is over.
Jezebel tries to power through it.
Getting caught by the whip, she tries to resist, tries to control it, tries to reverse it. But as that whip wraps around her neck perfectly, as it seizes her too fast, she sees something more. Something was driving her. Whip. Was that... her real name? Her stage name? Her street name? What did it mean? Whip wasn't- what did it mean? As she is sent hurtling up, it's so real that for a moment, it seemed that the mask was stripped away, and she could see the real woman underneath. The murderer. The cold assassin. Maybe the love wasn't real. Maybe she wasn't really a fan. Maybe it was all the mask. The thought is no comfort as she is snapped straight to the ground. The crowd falls silent.
Her body lays broken, on the ground.
She feels cold. Everything above her, everything around her is a blur. Everything was wrapping around her. She swears she can feel them. The strange boy, and the demon woman. Pulling her into the open grave, pulling her into hell. Pulling her to the sweet warmth, that would shelter her. She could feel her shadow pulling at her, rolling her on her back, and mounting her, to fill her with sweet Baconators, to fill her out. The bruises on her neck return; already first there from hanging herself, and now, from the fan who loved her more than anything else. Jezebel inhales, and exhales, as the colors dance around her. "Sometimes..." Jezebel says softly. "Sometimes love hurts."
"Nothing hurts more than when love hurts."
"All my fans love me so much." Jezebel stands up, staggering, easing herself, remaining -stable-. Her bone was... her right bicep was in a compound fracture, the bone jutting out. This was no longer a fun and friendly fight. It -couldn't- be. And yet, Jezebel eases herself on her legs, a smile on her lips. "And they still love me. And I ignored it so long, because it hurts when they love you. You h-hurt me with your love." Jezebel lunges in, hurling herself straight in, winding her foot back. And there, she attempting to -punt- Whip in the air...
COMBATSYS: Jezebel can no longer fight.
COMBATSYS: Jezebel successfully hits Whip with A Few Dollars More EX.
[ \\\\\\\\\\ <
And she sends Whip right back up into the air.
Jezebel stands fast, uneasy on her feet. She looks around at the audience, a smile on her lips still. Was this pain?Was this the endless pain? No. Your fans love you. And you love your fans. She looks around her, as the audience stays silent in terror. What was happening? What did this fight turn into. Jezebel could feel it, all the eyes on her. And she had a responsibility. She was responsible. So she says it.
"I forgive you, Whip." She says aloud.
"I forgive you, because you are doing a good thing! I am Jezebel Faiblesse, and I love and respect all my fans. It's just a fight, folks." She says to the people at home, the people there, everyone. She shakes her head, despite the deep slashes on her face, despite the missing eye, despite the bruises on her neck, despite the shattered arm. Because everything was alright. "Every thing is okay." She explains, as she pivots. Whip finally comes back on her descent, as Jezebel -snaps- a kick straight into her, a fireworks detonation of chi -exploding- on contact as she intercepts her before her landing.
The recoil sends her hurtling away, leaving her a crumple on the floor.
One doesn't surround themselves with pain, torment, death, and a hotch-potch 'family' of outlandish, mentally-disturbed freaks without learning a thing or two about what drives a person through emotional destruction. Without learning how to identify the signs in others. Whip is remarkably together given all that she's been through, but meeting her heroine has left more than the warm, cosy tingle she may have expected in her dreams. It doesn't take an empath to see that Jezebel Faiblesse has demons, that perhaps the Lightning Spangles facade is exactly that. More than a mere actress who sighs and goes to lunch after dishing out her painfully peppy lines, it seems there is more to the woman, cuts as deep - perhaps - as Whip has felt on her own soul, untormented as it has somehow remained. Strange, to meet your hero and feel... stronger, than them.
Lost in thought, and in the over-confident assumption that she's won, the assassinista is considering what to do about this when she hears movement, when words begin to reach her ears beneath the din of the crowd. Behind the competitors previously, behind the athleticism and skill, now they smell blood in the water and love it as much as they might have loved the lusty tearing of skimpy swimsuits.
They can't help it. They're only human.
Whip turns as Jezebel stands, a frown cutting onto her brow as Jezebel's broken words pour forth.
"I hurt you with thi--" she's cut off, gasping as she moves to defend herself from an attack she didn't see coming, from a woman she believed to be done. Lightning Spangles really is what she seems to be, to weather such an assault, to /keep on coming/ at such speed... it's all Whip can do to turn herself enough that she's not knocked clean out. Launched, again. Arching overhead, again. To heaven and back they go, over and over.
There's an irony there she can all too deeply appreciate.
This time, on the descent, Whip isn't allowing her inner beast to finish a fight - she's using it to keep her upright, and breathing, when it's all over. She's launched by the finale, but horizontally now, twisting end over end until she lands in the arms of the audience. Greasy hands find her body, smearing hungrily on the lines of her highly-practical swimsuit - now, more than ever. She fights upright, and finds herself lifted by those samd hands as Lightning Spangles stays down. The undercover agent's bottle-blonde head is swimming, she's barely able to keep her back straight, but she's elevated like a champion - albeit one with a nice butt that's been very definitely noticed by those holding her aloft.
Forcing the Sally Swagger persona back into place, she lets out a whoop and a giggle, easing against some of the groping hands, then fighting her way down with a noogie to the head of a starstruck teenage boy. "Fudge yeah!" She bellows, throat husky and Sally's accent thick on painted lips, whooping a few more times and obligingly signing the chest of someone who thrusts a sharpie toward her.
Someone else asks for a signature in his autograph book, and Whip considers it a moment before grinning Sally's lusty grin.
"Oh, I'll do you one better! LOL!" She exclaims, grabbing the boy and kissing him hard on the mouth, smearing her lipstick as she pulls away. He's flabbergasted, and so she neatly divests him of his book and struts her way back onto the stage, the cameras following her. She pulls the handy pencil from the ringbinding and finds a clean page, scribbling rapidly onto it as she stands there, basking in flashbulbs.
She's standing over Jezebel, but intent on her work, not seeming to even register the downed woman until she rips out the page, tosses the notebook back toward the fan - who fumbles the catch and goes scrambling into the throng to locate it - and bends over Jezebel, slipping it into the edge of Spangles' own Golden Angel bikini. She remains bent a moment, loathing in that instant that the cameras are on here, but... fudge it...
She eases her lithe frame low to the ground and plants a gentle, lingering kiss on the brow of her heroine.
With the fragile words spoken, she straightens and lets Sally take over, dancing as raucous music hits on the speakers, posing and posturing for the parasites who just came here for their own dubious pleasure. But in a way, even their love is real, isn't it? This is their catharsis. This is what they need from life, to feel better about who they are - about the things they choose to do.
Really, nobody here is all that different.
Sally Swagger takes her sweet time in leaving, but behind she leaves one last hint of the person she truly is, in the note awaiting Jezebel.
'I meant what I said. I've followed you since I was a little girl. This was an honour, but I had to give it my all. I know you respect that, just like I respect you. I wish I was the person you make me want to be - but I'm trying, in my own way. Thank you, Jezebel.
Her name, the only one that's really hers, is signed with a flourish, and a line beneath it. Underneath that is a strange e-mail address, all numerics and symbols. It's the best, perhaps only way to contact her; the address routes through to the robovoice on her iCone. A direct line to the life she can share with nobody. It's a risk but... Lightning Spangles has taught her, sometimes you have to risk it all. Yee haw.
Log created on 11:14:32 02/02/2018 by Whip, and last modified on 19:14:09 02/02/2018.