SLAMFEST 2020 - SLAMFEST 2020 R2 - Hotaru vs Sven

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Description: Round 2 of Slamfest brings Hotaru Futaba and Sven Maesters into a Matchmaker In Hell, a Savage 1 vs 1 overseen by the Iron Mystic. The fight quickly collapses into a frenzied free for all

It would be a letter in her locker.

Dropped in, by a friend with access to the locker. It wasn't in a proper envelope, just a piece of lined paper, folded into its own self serving envelope. Inside, it was scrawled with decent handwriting in pen:

To Hotaru.

I am Sven Maesters. You will be fighting me in Slamfest. I had friend drop this in here. Do not share this with others. I will be making some very strong words about you, and your animal. Very mean words, and they may make you feel bad and not want to be there, because those words are so serious. I have fought many non wrestlers and children before, so I want you to know that I am pretending to be a bad person, to entertain people watching. I cannot tell you in person, because they will expect a fight in the locker room. It is very hard to avoid cameras and breaking character now.

Slamfest and wrestling has a lot of pretend, like actors. You are not a wrestler, so you might not be used to very scary or mean words like that. This is a warning on that, and an apology. Do not worry about the fight though. The character is fake, but the fighting is real. My fighting will be very serious. I expect your fighting to be serious too.

If you want to pretend too, you can pretend this was a very mean letter and lie about what's in it. Just do not share it with media and audience. Breaking character is very serious, and I can get in big trouble.

Sven Maesters

It was a very nice letter.

Which naturally, contrasted to what was being said by Sven now.

"I ask for Rainbow Mika! I demand Rainbow Mika! And what they give me? Little girl and her squirrel, ya?" Sven Maesters was dressed in his full Warwolf ensemble; khaki shorts, big stomping army boots, and no shirt. A wolf pelt was over his broad shoulders, and the wrestler wore a wolfman mask on his face. The blonde Swede was roaring to the audience; he made his entrance early on purpose. And why?

To damn Rainbow Mania

"It is worse than that. little girl cannot fight, she cannot wrestle, she just eats hot dogs and make little smiles to camera! She is joke! She is mockery! And now, she has Iron Mystic as bodyguard, to keep me from beating her so hard, ya? Is this what Rainbow Mika hides behind, little girls?"

And Sven shields his eyes, peering out into the audience.

"Where is she? Where are you, Hotaru Futaba? Where are you, Iron Mystic? Where are you, little squirrel? " Sven circles the ring, shaking his finger at each corner. when he reaches the fourth corner, he pauses, jumping up on the turnbuckle to call out

"Are you all done making up your pigtails, ya?"

Right now, in the arena, ear-drumming noise fills the epicenter of SLAM. The lull that normally existed between match cards has been cut short by one of the participants, his voice thundering his challenges, his targeted barbs. Anyone in attendance that expected the next match to be but an abeyance in the non-stop intensity that has SLAMFEST 2020 has clearly been given cause to reconsider. The heat is rising, and it isn't just from the intensity of the spotlights.

Only minutes prior, in the quiet sanctuary afforded participants in the preparation rooms hidden from view, Hotaru Futaba had stood, letter in hand, eyes taking in the missive. Perched on her shoulder, seeming to read along with her, a blonde furred marten peers over the letter as well. Though the girl started reading with brow furrowed in slight confusion, a slow grin works its way into her features as she gets further through it.

Taking a remote from an adjacent counter, she turns to unmute the large, flat panel television mounted on the wall, tuning into what is happening live in the arena now.

'Little girl and her squirrel, ya?'

The slender bodied critter on her shoulder hisses toward the TV as the girl lifts her hand to rub her fingers lightly behind its ears, "It's okay, Itokatsu. It's part of the show." Memories of her fight against the luchadora Moonchild, 'Satantic daughter of Mano 666', flash through her thoughts. She knows how this works. The young fighter turns back to her open locker, reaching for something extra. "Let's go. It's time to play our part."

Unlike her prior entrance, an excited but unhurried jog toward the Ring of Destruction while music blared and she had time to wave to the crowd, Hotaru Futaba bursts into view in full sprint.

The cameras pivot to pick up the pint sized fighter as she rushes past the crowd-restraining fencing without pausing to look or wave. Clinging to the sprinting girl's shoulder for dear life is her furred companion. One foot touches down on the concrete surrounding the ring before Hotaru transforms her momentum into a high leap, vaulting over the ring ropes with ease and landing on the mat, arms already raised and feet planted in a fighting stance.

As the cameras settle on the scene, Hotaru is clearly in her usual fighting outfit - white, comfortable Kung Fu pants, black slippers, and a Chinese styled vest of gold, blue, and white. Her black hair is done up in two long pig tails referenced by the taunting Sven, each tied off with a large crimson bow.

"I got your letter, Sven Maesters. And reading it. And hearing you just now. I realized something!"

Unlike her previous appearances, Hotaru has two wide red ribbons tied into bows on her wrists, their tails trailing behind the movements of her arms. Itokatsu leaps off the girl's shoulder to land in the ring between her and her opponent, back arched, fur raised as he hisses toward Sven with dangerous bestial ferocity.

"I realized that you're jealous!"

Hotaru pauses for a moment, eyes flashing with excitement and amusement. "Jealous of the pigtails Rainbow Mika and I have!" The Futaba girl raises her right arm, the lengths of the ribbon swaying along her limb. "So I brought some extra ribbons with me." She lowers her arm, sliding her right foot forward, balancing most of her weight on her right leg below her center of mass, her arms returned to ready, open palmed positions in front of her. "After I win this, I'll be happy to share." She cants her head to the side slightly, mouth open in a toothy grin.

Her marten issues one last growling hiss before running a quick three-sixty circle around the center of the ring, then darting off to one of the turnbuckles behind Hotaru and scrambling up onto the top of it to perch.

he Kung Fu artist shouts, "They're just the decorations your wolf head needs!"

"And There you have it folks!" The high southern drawl of Guilty Mc'creety booms over the pop of the crowd, the cowboy-hatted announcer lounging with his booted feet propped atop the ringside table, steel spurs polished to a mirror shine. "The War Wolf may have come out Snarlin', but it looks like he might be barkin' up the wrong tree! What do you think, Peaty? Can this little girly bring the canine to heel?"
Seated beside the tall, lanky outlaw is a shorter, more stockily built man with trim silver hair and a perfect wedge of a mustache. Principal Peat wears his traditional button down shirt and suspenders, glasses reflecting the light as he taps a pin thoughtfully against the open notebook before him, considering the two wrestlers now squaring off in the ring.
"First of all, Guilty, you know I despise being called Peaty. Principal Peat, please. As for our young challenger? Given her last showing I expect an A+ performance. That would be SS, for the Japanese."
The crowd has only now began to quiet down, readying themselves for the match to come. Two combatants, one ring. Real heat. This should be the show of a lifetime.
The lights go out.
The electronic cello scrapes.
An initial burst of confusion builds into a low roar of murmurs, the crowd struggling to see through the darkness and mist that has began to flood the arena. Is there a third challenger? Some unknown element? The violins chant, music building, building. They hold, begin their sliding wail...
The area around the ring explodes into a flash of flaming pyrotechnics, sending a wave of smoke rolling over both contestants. When it clears it does so to reveal the Iron Mystic perched atop a turnbuckle half way between Sven and Hotaru, head bowed forward so that his long brown hair partially obscures his face, thick arms folded impassively across his chest. Of a similar height and weight to the Warwolf, he has a much harder, battle-worn look about him. Scars peek out from beneath his worn robe, and the one eye that is visible through his hair is blank and milky white.
"Oh, My, GAWD!" Guilty haulers, "That's the Iron Mystic!"
"It appears we're in for a chaos match." the principal observes.

COMBATSYS: [ CFO$ - The Rising Sun ] Lights all throughout the arena blink off, soon followed by the raspy opening notes of an electronic cello. Thick puffs of fog waft teasingly up through the darkness as the violins begin to chant, and then, with a sliding call of strings and a sudden explosion of pyrotechnics, the lights flash back on to reveal the man himself already waiting inside the ring! The Iron Mystic is READY, TO, SLAM!!!

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Noboru           0/-------/-======|

COMBATSYS: [Halestorm - Rock Show] It looks like they held nothing back for the new fighter. Powerful rock music fills the arena as Hotaru steps up. "Little girl, you like it loud, / Come alive in the middle of a crowd, / You wanna scream, you wanna shout / Get excited when the lights go down.. / At the rock show, / You'll be right in the front row / Heart and soul, they both know / It's where you gotta be..." HOTARU FUTABA is ready to SLAM!

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Noboru           0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0           Hotaru

COMBATSYS: Sven enters the arena, to the roar of the crowd!

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Noboru           0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0           Hotaru
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                 Sven             0|-------|-------

There was a moment of apprehension, when the girl arrives.

You never know what comes out when you send a letter out. Sometimes, some unprofessional fighters think it's a great big thing to call out the fakeness of the act. It was always a risk. When Hotaru comes out, and mentions reading the letter, he was waiting, waiting to see which way it was going to go. But when she says those words, about what's in the letter? Sven was lucky that the mask could conceal his smirk.


Sven bellows, giving a moment's pause to let Itokatsu make its circle. He mimes out large and loud, so people can see in the nosebleed seats, as he gestures at his own invisible pigtails. "You think I would be jealous of those stupid ribbons, ya? You and Rainbow Mika are so stupid, acting like pretty princess girls in a -man's- sport! Those ribbons are a curse to all of wrestling. They are a -curse- of RAINBOW MANIA!" Sven then mimes tearing apart a phonebook, looking towards the audience as he does so. "I will rip those ribbons off, and more, little girl! I will cut those pig tails off, and more, little girl!" And now, the finger of power was at -Itokatsu.- "Because the only decoration on my wolf, will be your wretched squirrel, skinned and tanned as a fresh pelt!" And he turns, lurching, lunging towards Hotaru-

But then the Iron Mystic arrives.

Sven oversells the arrival, the burst of fire and smoke sending him staggering backwards. Landing back first into the ropes, he eases, looking across at the corner post. And thus stands, the Iron Mystic. For the announcers, he was deaf. But staring at the glowering figure of the Iron Mystic, it seemed that even the Warwolf was cowed, lowering his head as he steps forward. Looking back at Hotaru, the wrestler thrusts a finger at her direction. "Do not think I will hold back, because the Iron Mystic is here." The pointing then shifts to Noboru, as he accuses -him-. "I will DESTROY all allies of RAINBOW MANIA! I spit on RAINBOW MANIA! PATOOIE! PATOOIE!" And the bell rings as Sven crouches down, ready to pounce, as he unleashes the ultimatium.


And Sven bounds. Not towards Hotaru. But -away- from her. Leaping back, he spirals, spinning as he lands on the top rope. Catching it on the hook of his booted heels, he stretches them, bending his legs as he readies a single, astounding fist. Springboarding off, he sails past Noboru, aiming a single superman punch -straight- for the center of the smaller girl. The Warwolf, the Rainbow Mania, was all an act. But the fighting? He wasn't kidding.

The fighting would be real.

COMBATSYS: Sven successfully hits Hotaru with Garouken ES.
+=+=!= Power Slam! =!=+=+

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Noboru           0/-------/-======|====---\-------\0           Hotaru
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                 Sven             0|-------|------=

COMBATSYS: Noboru has joined the fight here on the top side.

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                 Noboru           0|-------|-======
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                                  |====---\-------\0           Hotaru
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                 Sven             0|-------|------=

COMBATSYS: Sven has joined the fight here on the left meter side.

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                 Noboru           0|-------|-======
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Sven             0/-------/------=|====---\-------\0           Hotaru

Waiting in her ready stance, Hotaru watches Sven eat up the attention, moving around the ring, looking like a natural in this element. All the eyes on him, all the heat, it's part of the thrill to some, she thinks to herself. Gritting her teeth, she stands up straight after a moment, leaving her ready stance, hands going to her hips as she lifts her face to the bright lights above and shakes her head, giving an impression of one who isn't intimidated by the threats directed her way. Even in the far off seats, the audience can easily imagine the eye-roll accompanying the reaction.

"Could it be- that you aren't jealous- You're just afraid?! Rainbow Mika has more than proven this," Hotaru gestures to her right with a wide sweep of her arm, "Is a sport open to everyone!"

But then he threatens Itokatsu, the marten perched on the turnbuckle on his haunches, head raised as he looks back toward Sven with the same tiny ferocity he demonstrated moments prior. Hotaru grits her teeth, right hand closing into a fist, arm bent in front of her. "You can't handle Itokatsu, let alone-"

The arena falls to darkness, Hotaru having been too caught up in Sven's theatrics to notice the shift in music or sudden unease washing over the audience. The contrast against the near blindingly bright lights of a moment prior makes the empty dark seem even more foreboding and she backs up a couple of steps, arm reaching behind her in search of the ropes to get a better spacial awareness. Fingers touch the middle rope the same moment the arena is illuminated in a brilliant flash of flame and sparks. Lifting her right arm over eyes that had just started to adjust to the pitch black, the Iron Mystic is in place by the time she can see again.

Eyes glance toward the man standing with ease atop the narrow turnbuckle. Another giant, she thinks to herself, eager grin returning to her features. While the spectacle surrounding the fight can't hold a candle to the actual challenge of using her art, she can't deny that being in the midst of it all is not thrilling in its own way.

Standing up straight, she breathes in deeply, shoulders drawn back, before releasing a slow, calming exhale, lifting her hands to the ready position as she does so. Sven's letter had not been unclear on the point - amid the theatrics, the strong heel performance, a legitimate fighter lurked and he would be bringing his skill to the match every bit as much as she was.

Part of the challenge, she knew, was that the Warwolf was at home in this kind of situation - performance coupled with combat - whereas the blend of the two was more difficult, less natural for her. Could she handle them both at once? Or switch back and forth seamlessly? Her heart raced, adrenaline pumping as Sven leaps back to the ropes. She wasn't sure of the answers. But she was certain she would be giving it her all either way!

The masked wrestler leaps, fist extended, and Hotaru tenses, bringing her arms up, planting her feet as she pivots to the right, attempting to deflect most of the incoming force to the side with a sweep of her forearms and perfectly timed step.

Sven powers through her guard all the same, fist sinking into the side of her ribcage, folding the girl over and sending her flying back against the ropes with a pained gasp. Itokatsu's renewed upset hissing would be impossible to hear over the rest of the commotion of the arena if one of the staff didn't have the good sense to dangle a hanging mic over the marten just to add to the audio/visual extravaganza.

Right arm draped over the top rope behind her, Hotaru winces, rubbing her side with her left arm. Given her opponent's build, there was certainly not surprise at his potential striking power. But she wouldn't treat their contrasting statures a mismatch. She needed to show otherwise... how else could she follow her brother's path?

"Hold back?" Hotaru shouts back as she moves away from the rope. Her movements are fluid, slipping in close not as a burst of speed, but rather with smooth, purposeful motion. She gracefully flows into a low stance, left leg stretched out in front of her, right leg bent to support her, her arms out at her sides as if the wings of a bird. "If anything, you're going to need the Iron Mystic to hold ME back!"

She propels herself forward, launching off her right leg, using her left leg as a fulcrum as she aims to deliver a strong left palm strike. The transition into the next attack happens in an instant, forward momentum converted into a pivot to the left, her right arm slamming out, right palm seeking a direct hit on her opponent's torso as she leans into the blow, focusing leg, body, and arm strength into a singular point of impact!


MC: "MY GAWD! The match has just begun, and I do believe the Warwolf just tried to kill that girl!"
The crowd hisses and boos as the pigtailed fighter drags herself back to her feet, the majority of eyes focusing on her recovery from a blow that could have put most of them in the hospital. There are a few whistles and shouts, a smattering of loud 'AWOOOOOOOO's.
PP "It does beg the question, what is the Iron Mystic doing here? Isn't it his Job to absorb blows such as that? I do believe it's about time he started earning his pay."
To those paying attention, the robed Shinobi has been on the move from the moment Sven's fist made contact. With the majority of the crowd's attention caught on the young martial artist, the ninja flung himself into the air, passing shadow-like over the head of the Warwolf to land softly behind him. Though he is a big man, there isn't even a tremble of canvas when he touches down, knees bending low to bleed away the force of his impact.
Sweeping upright with the calm, measured majesty expected of a mystic, the monk stands with his back to both fighters, arms still folded across his chest. There he stands, sensing the vibrations of their movements, tracking the paths of both as Hotaru charges forward to deliver the first of two palm strikes.
In the moment just before impact, the Iron Mystic pivots on his right heel, left foot swinging back to stomp down hard behind Sven. The force of the impact sends a shutter through the ring, the muscle-bound monk anchoring himself in a way not dissimilar to the young girl across from him. The difference comes in the intensity of their results.
The shinobi's arms come unfolded and he whips his torso around, following the path of his foot in a surge of muscular power. Right hand curled into a fist, force rolling from right foot, through his body, over his anchored leg and along his arm, he puts every muscle behind a single, driving punch aimed squarely for the middle four ribs on Sven's left side. If he has timed the blow right, it should land at the exact moment his young charge's second palm strike does. If he hasn't, well, she shouldn't be in position to get hammered. Probably.

COMBATSYS: Sven blocks Hotaru's Engan Soushou Da.

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                 Noboru           0|-------|---====
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Sven             0/-------/----===|====---\-------\0           Hotaru

COMBATSYS: Noboru successfully hits Sven with Fault Line.
+=+=!= Power Slam! =!=+=+

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                 Noboru           0|-------|-======
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Sven             1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0           Hotaru


Oh, Sven would be chewing on that in a moment. As he -hurls- the full force into Hotaru, he could feel the raw impact of the momentum. Ripping through the little person's guard, he stands fast. The crowd boos and hisses, but he doesn't need them. He only needs to share in the "AWWOOOOO!" With his fans, as few as they may be. He doesn't exploit it yet; he only barely tracks the Iron Mystics movements. No, his eyes were on Hotaru. He wasn't worried about hurting her too badly now; he -knows- what little people can do in the ring. He was seasoned enough for that. But amongst the hissing of Itokatsu, there is the dull thumps of his footsteps to corner Hotaru. The girl rises up, -challenging- him, and she throws herself at him.

And he matches.

The palm strike is caught as Sven steps -in- to the momentum. Slamming his forearm into the jutting palm, it was an more than expensive response to even an opening blow. But this was his opening play. And more so, when Hotaru immediately switches to her true strike, the palm strike with the right. There is a thunderous thump as the Iron Mystic makes his landing. Two sides, Sven could feel the pressure. But everything was in as he jabs his opposing forearm into Hotaru's own arm. He takes the bodyblow as a glancing hit, the wrestler dangerous close as he seemed almost ready to grab Hotaru by her pigtails. With a problem. Charging in deep into Hotaru's guard was the right play against Hotaru.

But it left him blindsided by the Iron Mystic.

The whole blow comes in sync with Sven's final deflection; ironically, it probably would have shattered his ribcage, if Sven wasn't moving in tandem with Hotaru as well. A perfect synchronization, that blows the wrestler away from Hotaru straight into the ropes. He artfully catches himself on them; let the ropes take a portion of the blow. Hanging on them a moment, as the crowd -roars- in response, the Warwolf pushes off, selling every moment of it. Oh, it -hurt-; you couldn't hide the growing bruise on his body. He shakes a finger, the rage of the blow building in him. He should channel it, right into the girl.


The hot blooded rage of the Viking boils forth, as the Swede shifts his attention -not- on the little plucky Futaba. No, his attention was on the Iron Mystic. "You RAINBOW MANIAC! GET OUT OF MY WAY, YA!" He roars, as he does a swift rush against -him.- snapping his hands out, the wrestle lunges to -seize- the Iron Mystic. Should he get a grip? He would get a hand on his shoulder... and -swing- him around. Not for the ropes, no.

But straight for Hotaru herself!

COMBATSYS: Noboru just-defends Sven's Irish Whip!

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                 Noboru           0|-------|-======
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Sven             1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0           Hotaru

The crack of her palm against Sven's forearm is not enough to dissuade the young Kung Fu fighter from seeing her intended combination of strikes through. Launching off her back leg, thrusting her right arm forward into an intended crushing blow. But her right arm is intercepted, the strike knocked slightly askew, promising nothing more than a grazing hit rather than a potentially staggering one.

Oblivious in the moment to the movements of the Iron Mystic, Hotaru begins a desperately swift attempt at withdrawing. She had a lot into that singular right handed palm strike, leaving herself overextended in the case that it did not connect cleanly, and as the heel of her palm glances against Sven's side the only thing that flashes in her mind is that she needs to change course and escape.

Pushing back with her forward leg, her right arm retracting, racing combat instincts warn her of the Warwolf's incoming retaliation. She won't be fast enough, she realizes in an instant. Her only ally here is speed - speed enough to recover her poise from overextending and evade Sven - and in that exact moment, it isn't going to be enough.

But rather than getting a grip on her flailing pig-tails, Sven goes flying toward the ropes, and it is in that instant she realizes she has another ally than just her speed alone. The unexpected interference is a critical reminder that there is another element in play this match and while the imposing ally of convenience just saved her from being caught, she understands he's every bit as dangerous to her as well!

Balance restored, the girl is free to move. There is only a second to consider her options. Common survival sense suggests retreating across the ring, buying time to reevaluate the state of things. Distance favors her ability to react in time to whatever comes her way next. There are no points to be earned simply by taking unnecessary risks. Indeed, the only score that matters in this sport are ones like the throb in her side from Sven's initial leaping punch, and match point will be determined when she's just shy of having taken too many of those. Until then, she can act.

But rather than withdraw, she settles on the opposite course of action - to stay close. Moving with the same fluid, controlled motions as before, she she steps to the side, left foot crossing over right, arms raised to defensive positions as she circles, placing Noboru between Sven and herself. If the Viking Brawler is going after he next, he'll need to circumvent the Iron Mystic to do so, and she'll capitalize on that exact moment!

Another quick step, continuing to circle quickly but warily, and now Noboru is directly between her and Sven.

'Get out of my way!'

Her opponent's roar is just the clue she needs to spring her own trap. The moment Sven engages with the statuesque stranger, Hotaru takes two more circling steps, coming in right behind him, potentially beneath his notice even if his focus is too intensely rooted on dislodging the monk from his position.

She'll leap for Sven's reaching arm, intending to wrap herself around the strong limb. With arms tightly folded over his wrist, pulling his arm back against her chest, while her legs would seek leverage against Sven's chest, she would give herself the chance to wrench his arm painfully back by straightening herself out, pulling with her back and arms, and pressing against his chest with the back of her legs! At the same time, it might put her in a position that is difficult to dislodge with his other arm.

"I've got you now!"

A slow exhale causes the Mystic's tattered black mask to flutter away from his face. Head turning, he levels a cool-eyed gaze down through the spot the Swede had so recently occupied and into the face of Hotaru Futaba. Both large men bring a certain energy to the match, but where Sven's is loud and bombastic, the shinobi's is coiled and intense with every motion smooth and deliberate.
GM "And a Big Right Hand from The Mystic nearly knocks Maesters right out of his boots!"
Flowing forward into the wake of his fist, Noboru relaxes out of the heavy blow and steps into the center of the ring, turning to face the recovering Sven while Hotaru sidesteps her way behind him. Broad shoulders relaxed,, he bows his head forward and brings his rope-bound hands together, right fist settling into left palm in a stance of monkish contemplation.
PP "It appears I spoke to soon. A timely intervention from the Iron Mystic spares Ms. Futaba the wrath of the garu, though it looks like the near miss has taught her some caution."
MG "It's a regular game of ring around the robe. He may have taken a pounding but the hunt's not over yet! The Warwolf is back on his feet and--It looks like he's out for blood! To hell with the pin, this beast wants revenge!"
The crowd's roar of approval redoubles as Sven charges the impassive monk, strong hands lashing out to grab him by arm and shoulder. Beneath his hands the man himself is rock solid, a statue cloaked in scratchy grey wool. And for all he budges he might as well weigh as much as one. The Warwolf's muscles flex hard enough to fling the high-flying wrestler off his feet and yet the Mystic doesn't budge, no selling the attack as if it were fake and he were being billed as a giant or monster.
PP "Hmmm. It appears from here that the Iron Mystic has found a way to grip the mat between his toes. I'm honestly curious how one would develop those muscle groups to that extent."
MG "The man is a damn freak of nature! A human ape!"
A quiet, almost thoughtful rumble vibrates through Noboru's body, head lifting just in time to see Hotaru come flying in from the side to wrap herself around his attacker.
PP "Ms. Futaba sees her opportunity and takes it. Sven Maesters may be over twice her size, but with a big enough lever she can move the world."
relaxing his grip on the taught canvas beneath their feet, Noboru moves at the same moment as Sven, right hand flicking away from his palm in a quick, deadening blow toward Hotaru's slender right thigh. If the strike lands it will be like getting the world's worst frog, leg going numb from hip to toes.
MG "That yellow coward! The Iron Mystic has just betrayed Hotaru!"
The audience pops, cheers and boos filling the stadium while Noboru hurls himself forward, flowing around Sven and reaching out to try and grab their pigtailed opponent by left shoulder and right thigh, rope-bound hands squeezing with inescapable force. If he can secure the grip he will tear her out of the air and bring her crashing to the ring in a thunderous slam, crouched over her like the human gorilla he is accused of being. Peering down at her through the curtain of his hair, mask hiding the movement of his lips from any eagle-eyed viewers in the stands or at home, he murmurs something only loud enough for her to hear.
"I am not so dishonorable as this script demands I be, Hotaru Futaba."
That little matter of honor addressed, the Iron Mystic explodes to his feet in a surge of muscular power, jerking Hotaru free from the ground and launching her toward the arena ceiling high, high above. If all goes well, the youngest of the three wrestlers will enjoy a short-lived career as a ribbon-bedecked human comet before crashing to earth somewhere within the bounds of the ring.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru successfully hits Sven with Tie-up Lock.

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                 Noboru           0|-------|--=====
[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Sven             1/-----==/=======|=====--\-------\0           Hotaru

There was an unspoken faux pas, executed somewhat innocently.

As Sven goes for the irish whip, he couldn't even move the Iron Mystic. Stopped dead, he actually looks... stunned. That wasn't an act. But the wrestler's rage was only building. He was about to interject, but he heard movement. The little girl, she was coming in. He tries to pull his arm away, stagggering, but it was too late. Hotaru got it, and wouldn't you know it, if there was one thing little martial artists knew, it was how to use your size against you. It wasn't a fancy hold, per say.

But boy, does he sell it.

"GGGRAAAAGH!" Howls Sven Maesters in pain, the coarse fur of his wolf pelt shedding furiously as Hotaru gets his arm into a lock. Staggering, he bends back, just keeping on his feet, jerking in agony. It didn't hurt -that- much, maybe. But he made sure to get it out. He claws at her, even managing to snatch one of the ribbons, not even enough to pull it off. All while he snarled behind his mask. "That kind of DIRTY TRICKS only could have come from one of RAINBOW MIKA'S PRODIGIES! GRAAAAGH!" He catches Noboru's move in the corner of his eye. And then, the weight changes. He turns... to line up Hotaru for the Iron Mystic's finish. It looks like a set up. A perfect set up.

But they would hear it.

The low growl, as he twists and wrenches... not to break out of Hotaru's grips, but to -slam- his other arm into a brutal clothesline, straight into the towering shinobu's throat. An assist from sven, right when Hotaru had him on the ropes? A punishment for betrayal? Hotaru would get off, break away anyways, one way or another. But the passing shot would be made, with the gutteral growl spreading within the ring.

"Sandbag -me-, ya?"

COMBATSYS: Noboru successfully hits Hotaru with Embrace the Sky.

                 [  |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| ]
                 Noboru           0|-------|=======
[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Sven             1/--=====/=======|=======\==-----\1           Hotaru

Having secured her hold on Sven's arm, Hotaru shows no signs of giving up her grip. It might not be the most fight-decisive maneuver ever executed, but it could wear the man down, reduce his ability to use that arm in the future, even if byh a bit, and for the moment, feels safer than alternative options.

That idea comes to an end the moment she feels a painful impact against her leg, bruised nerves simultaneously managing to convey the message of ouch to her brain while also broadcasting a distracting tingling sensation warning that her own leg might be less than perfectly responsive for the next bit.

Allowing herself a pained gasp, she's in the process of reevaluating her present predicament when she finds herself plucked right off Sven's arm all together by the Iron Mystic. Arms flail, feet kick as she's hefted up with ease then slammed right back down against the mat. The impact is staggering, breath knocked out of her lungs, eyes widening a bit as she finds herself restrained by the monk's hold on her, only to blink a moment later at the words exchanged in private in spite the hundreds of thousands of eyes riveted to the match around the world.

In the next moment, she finds herself flying high - far higher than she could even jump on her own, which in itself is a formidable altitude. Blinking, she shakes her head, twisting and turning as she reaches the apex of her ascent. A free fall back to the mat below is one thing, but given her regular experience with aerial techniques, recovering for a much less damaging landing is a forgone conclusion for her for as long as she remains conscious and in possession of some degree of strength.

But rather than simply correct for a less painful landing below, she tucks herself into a ball, flipping forward into a dive back toward the Ring of Destruction. There is only so much more she can adjust her trajectory now that she's on her way back down. And when she realizes her present vector, a grin crosses her features.

She knew both of her opponents were strong. She had felt what it was like to be struck or hauled around by them. She also already knew how Sven was able to respond to her techniques, managing to deal with her physical strikes when prepared, but perhaps caught off guard by her improvised arm lock when distracted... But what about the Iron Mystic? What of his ability to contend with her attacks? As she plummets, she reasons he might not be her opponent, but he's in the arena, he attacked her, and he clearly knows how to handle himself given what he did against Sven's previous attempts to dislodge him... why NOT test the quiet figure's mettle?

She's still a second from landing as she completes her flip, slamming both legs out, directing the remainder of her falling momentum into a two legged drop kick for the back of Noboru! After all, she wouldn't want him feeling left out of SLAMFEST!

COMBATSYS: Sven successfully hits Noboru with Heavy Clothesline.

                 [     ||||||||||||||||||||||||| ]
                 Noboru           0|-------|=======
[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Sven             1/-======/=======|=======\==-----\1           Hotaru

COMBATSYS: Noboru guards against Hotaru's Big Boot.

                 [      |||||||||||||||||||||||| ]
                 Noboru           0|-------|=======
[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Sven             1/-======/=======|=======\===----\1           Hotaru

Rope-bound knuckles thud into Hotaru's thigh a split second before Sven's forearm arcs up and strikes the Iron Mystic squarely across the throat. Two hundred and Fifty pounds of raging Swede hammer into one of the most vulnerable parts of the monk's body, the crowd letting out a WOOOF of expectation. But there is no choking collapse. No thundering crash to the mat while the robed man claws desperately for breath. Maesters' strike meets the tensed muscles of Noboru's neck with a thud that can be felt through both men's bodies, rocking the battle-scarred shinobi back on his heels and provoking a flat, unblinking stare from him that lingers for a full second.
High above the crowd, the oversized video screen showing a slow-motion replay of Sven and Noboru's exchange blurs into twice speed, ninja flowing passed him to pluck Futaba off of his arm, the slam, the throw, and now, slowing to normal speed, the forward flip of the girl as she takes control of her fall.
MG "Did you see that?"
PP "The phenomenal aerial recovery of Ms. Futaba? I don't know how anyone could have missed it."
MG "No, the look the Iron Mystic gave Maesters after that vicious throat shot! I think this fight might quickly be shaping up, into some sort of grudge match!"
PP "Why anyone would be taken with such childish in ring antics over the graceful display of technical mastery shown by Ms. Futaba is beyond comprehension."
MG "Sure, Peaty. Sure."
Chin tilted up to track Hotaru's upward progress, Noboru waits until she has regained control of her fall before turning away from the girl and back toward Sven. Mismatched eyes, one icy blue, the other scarred and white, stare into the masked face of the Swede as he steps closer, closing on the younger man with smooth implacability. He takes no notice of the small shadow that eclipses the lights above, nor the slowly growing murmur of the crowd. In fact, he seems completely unaware of anything other than the target of his focus.
Hotaru's slippered feet catch the monk high up on the back, the entirety of her girlish weight dropped onto a spot that should see him overbalancing and crashing to earth with her perched gracefully atop him. However, it seems the Iron Mystic operates under a different understanding of physics. Striking him feels less like hitting a person and more like drop kicking the pavement, the heavy muscles beneath his robe flexed and unyielding.
The trained eyes among the audience would see things for what they are. The way the shinobi timed his steps perfectly so that both hemp-bound feet were on the ground when she struck. The ripple of a flex that passed through his body just before impact. A series of masterfully planned actions that end in the hulk walking right out from under Hotaru's perching feet as if the attack never happened.
MG "I Can Not believe my eyes! A beautiful super dropkick delivered like a bolt of lightning from the sky, and the Iron Mystic walks it off like a bad hang over!"
Noboru's next step is a stomp, right foot crashing down as he throws his weight onto it, entire body poised in a forward hunch over his lead leg. Then, he explodes forward into a dead sprint, robe and hair flapping out behind him. With all of his weight and momentum focused into a single, powerful lunge, he twists his body, right hand blurring up and forward to drive the stiffened spear of his fingers up beneath Sven's ribs, doing his utmost to fold the Viking in half over the rising spike of his hand.

COMBATSYS: Sven blocks Noboru's Split the Peak EX.

                 [       ||||||||||||||||||||||| ]
                 Noboru           0|-------|=======
[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Sven             1/=======/=======|=======\===----\1           Hotaru

It had become a kind of grudge match.

Sven Maesters wanted to focus on Hotaru before, at the start, he had wanted to focus on her. But the Iron Mystic dismissing his power with, well, greater power was such an insult, such a chip on Noboru's shoulder, that the Warwolf felt everything in his heart that he wanted to knock it off. He knew the rules needed him to win over HOtaru, not the Iron Mystic. But this was a matter of honor. So when the blow comes right to the Iron Mystic's throat, he expected him to drop. But he didn't.

And that was the last straw for the towering Swede.

"THAT DOES IT!" He roars, as the Iron Mystic rebuffs a hit from the little Futaba. "I am now DECLARING A TEMPORARY TRUCE against RAINBOW MANIA, to TAKE THIS SUCKER DOWN!" Sven points a finger at the Iron Mystic. The Iron Mystic promptly brings the stomp, as he -hurls into a flash step right for Sven. The wrestler brings his -own- feet down. ANd when the blow merely -slips- right between the the radius and the ulna of the forearm, it -merely- snaps it. The swede roars in pain as he stops his entire ribcage from shattering. He -does- fold, roaring as he nearly loses his footing. But the roar becomes a howl. "This doesn't mean I am helping Rainbow Mania!" Sven Maesters snarls at Hotaru. "But I do not tolerate such disrespect!"



And he hurls the cloak off.

Flinging the cloak out of the ring, Sven's body turns bright red. Surging with power, he hurls out a staggering arm chop, chaining straight into a leg smash with the right. A brutal barrage of blows, each one aiming to crack the defenses of the Iron Mystic. Howling with every blow, he keeps the pressure off his now injured arm, instead focusing on an elbow slam at the Iron Mystic, into a grapple with one hand, and a sudden knee jab to the groin. A dirty tactic, but one where he would need to stun the Iron Mystic long enough to lift him up, and hoist him over to the ropes to leap off for a MASTERFUL superplex suplex off the shoulder.


Her heels hit unyielding muscle even though, from her perspective, she had struck someone making no effort to defend against her! Twisting to the side, Hotaru's descent from above finishes with her bouncing against the mat side long, rolling once over, then tucking her feet underneath to kick back to standing as quickly as possible. It's easy to see her favoring her right leg, her left leg feeling numb from the monk's earlier strike, but while the girl has a bit of a limp to her movements, she still seems to traverse quickly enough around the Ring of Destruction as she circles away from Noboru.

The infuriated roar of Sven Maesters is impossible to miss as she takes in the sight of her opponent jabbing his pointing finger out toward the Iron Mystic. A truce? He's challenging the steel-muscled agent of combat chaos? Eyes widen at the successful? defense of the Warwolf against Noboru's dangerous strike, balking slightly at the cracking sound that accompanies it. Shouldn't they call the match? That seems like just cause to call the bout all together, right? But instead of drawing back, perhaps getting medical attention ringside before the officials declare the bout over to prevent any further severe harm, the wrestler only seems to get more fervent about taking down the Iron Mystic.

Blue eyes flick between Sven and Noboru, the Kung Fu fighter clearly surprised to see the match continuing. What is she supposed to do now? She can't attack Sven, not with his injured arm and with all his focus on the monk who seems to defy and and all force behind his attacks. And she can't simply leave the ring and look like a quitter... What would the audience think if she just let this amazing match turn into the monk subduing Maesters in an unchallenged one verses one? What would her brother think? Well, what would her brother /do/? Her brother would probably look for the toughest guy around and try to punch him! Well, right now, that seems to be the Iron Mystic.

"All right," she speaks up, not loud enough for her voice to carry, simply enough so that she manages to convince herself to take on the monk in tandem with the Warwolf. She can do this! "You better not get hurt too bad to fight afterward!" she calls after the Warwolf.

Sven is committed to his fate, charging to attack Noboru with a violent combination, dirty or otherwise, leaving Hotaru a moment to test her tingling leg for support. Finding that she can still trust in it for now, she breaks into a run toward the Iron Mystic. Another leap, reaching an altitude of well over twice Noboru's height, before she flips forward and drops back down toward him. As if deciding one good drop kick deserves another, she falls out of the air back toward him, small shadow barely visible against his frame as she aims to land heel first against his collar bone, then use his broad shoulders as a perch to spring to the nearby ropes and run along out of reach!

COMBATSYS: Noboru endures Hotaru's Koushuu Da.

                 [         ||||||||||||||||||||| ]
                 Noboru           1|-------|=======
[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////             ]
Sven             0/-------/=======|=======\====---\1           Hotaru

COMBATSYS: Noboru fails to interrupt Wolf Blitzer ES from Sven with Calm the Storm EX.

                 [                |||||||||||||| ]
                 Noboru           0|-------|--=====
[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////             ]
Sven             0/-------/=======|=======\====---\1           Hotaru

The Iron Mystic is strong beyond even what his build would suggest. A single blow from him can shatter stone, and yet Sven withstands him, powering through to declare his challenge. The grudge against Rainbow Mika is set aside, Hotaru invited to help put down the shinobi that had once been her partner.
PP "Surely ms. Futaba hasn't lost sight of the goal of this match. If she were to partner with the Mystic her victory would be assured."
MG "Partnering with that snake is a good way to get a knife in the back. Fool me once, Peaty. Fool me once!"
Continuing his challenge, the Warwolf drops his signature line and the crowd goes wild, the pelt coming off to reveal the pale musculature beneath. Paleness that is quickly being overtaken by red as the wolf charges, rampaging in toward the calm stare of the Mystic.
At the same moment, Hotaru makes her choice and comes flipping in from above, both wrestlers descending upon the ninja for what is promising to be an epic clash, perhaps even a highlight of the Muscle Bomber tournament.
MG "A new Alliance has been formed!"
PP "But will it be enough?"
Pausing with his feet shoulder width apart, Noboru brings his rope-bound hands clapping together before his chest with enough force to send a rush of wind roaring out from the impact, his hair and robe blown back in suitably dramatic fashion. Muscles visibly flex beneath his robe, pecks swelling, traps pressing out along his shoulders, and biceps straining the fabric of his sleeves. Potential power builds within the shinobi's body, gathered in the moment before impact.
Hotaru's foot strikes the Mystic's granite-like collarbone just before Sven is within range, rocking him back slightly on his heels. It is not much. Barely enough of an attack to register, but the fractional backward shift is exactly enough to cause everything else to fall apart. Knocked out of position, Noboru attempts to shift closer, shoulders pivoting beneath Hotaru's feet and right palm exploding forward toward Sven's chest with such force that the wind is driven before it, grabbing at the Warwolf's clothes and roaring passed to wash over the crowd beyond. However, the strike reaches max extension less than a hair away from actual contact, Noboru's palm vibrating the air a moment before Sven powers through to deliver a brain-jarring chop to the center of his forehead.
Hotaru's weight leaves the hulking shinobi's shoulders while he is rocking back beneath the opening blow, hair flailing out from the impact and a rough grunt of pain forced from the big man's throat. The follow up kick takes him in the meat of the leg and turns his backward lean into a stumble, unseating his stance and opening him up for the elbow that thunders through his jaw and seems to have finally done enough to stun him, even if hitting him in the face feels like elbowing a pillar.
MG "It looks like it just might be! The Warwolf Is On A Rampage! He has finally cracked the shell of the Iron Mystic, and he's taking him all the way down town to SUPLEX CITY!"
As it is called, Sven's knee smashes up between the Mystic's legs and a second grunt of pain is forced from the dazed monster, the deep rumble of it vibrating through Sven's shoulder, his bulk hoisted up and hauled up atop the ropes for a brief and impressive display, before being flipped head over heels and superplexed into the center of the ring with enough force to set the whole thing to shaking.
Arms and legs sprawled out, hair and robe fanned beneath him, the Iron Mystic stares up toward the bright lights above, perfectly framed atop the logo in the center of the ring. Very punch drunk and out of it, he seems to have briefly forgotten where he is, the roar of the crowd fading out into a mass of white noise.

Sven Maesters probably shouldn't be conscious right now.

The relentless barrage into the Iron Mystic was like hammering a concrete wall. Chip by chip, blow by blow. With his desperately injured arm, he -shouldn't- be fighting. And yet he was. He was fighting, wrestling, and placing himself and his standing in the SLAMFEST at danger. And why? Why does he keep fighting the wrong person?

Because the ring demands it.

It was a specific relationship, that only Pro Wrestlers could understand. Well, maybe performers in general. The show must go on. Sven Maesters didn't have the draw here; he had a few fans. But the Iron Mystic probably had a bigger draw, to say the least f his opponent, Hotaru. Sven Maester felt in his heart, that he worked as hard as anybody else out there, if not harder. But there was only so much talent to go around in the world. Sven Maesters had to work with what he had. It wasn't much.

But right now, it was just enough.

The suplex comes slamming down, as Sven -howls-. He was frothing mad, literally; foam was flying out from the mask. His body was red, and only glowing brighter. Every movement was jerky, a charge from nowhere. He was burning himself out, burning himself out. He was blind in his frenzy, it was just an act right? For a moment, it almost looked like he was going to rise up and -immediately- charge Hotaru, after making the truce? Maybe it was an act. Maybe it wasn't, it wasn't clear now as he was fully consumed in the berserker frenzy. His wild eyes pause, and he looks down at the man at his feet. And there, he throws back his head and howls.


The cry would come as Sven would -descend- on the downed Noboru. And there, he would attempt to deadlift up the massive Shinobu. Hold him up for -just- a moment, to let the crowd take it in, before just -slamming- him right at Hotaru's feet. Finally, words come out from the wrestler, gagged and snarling. "It's TIME, RAINBOW MANIAC." And there, he reveals just how far into the berserker rage he really was, as lucidity cuts out directly and clearly to the girl.

"Start getting ready for a team up!"

The granite-tough shoulder of the shinobi provides a steady perch from which Hotaru launches herself, her slipper-clad feet next touching down on the adjacent top rope. With a gymnast's graceful balance, she runs along the rope to the nearest turnbuckle before hopping down into the ring, having put a bit of distance between herself and the clashing men, leaving Sven all the space he needs to execute his elaborate combination.

It's also the safe range from which to absorb the berserker-like frenzy the Warwolf unleashes on the Iron Mystic once he manages to close in tight, missing a crushing palm strike by a hair's breadth. The performance is visceral enough, furious enough, that she knows full well that she has no capacity to judge whether it is an act or whether the wrestler has completely lost his mind in the face of Noboru's near immunity to his prior techniques. Whether it's an act or a berserker rage, it's certainly effective. As if making up for a legacy of slights, the Warwolf's assault is such that would fell his peers and even seems to leave the fallen shinobi slow to respond in the aftermath.

Hotaru hesitates. She's certainly not one to strike an opponent on the ground, the very idea of it anathema to the honor of her fighting spirit, but she's also not entirely certain about attacking Sven, his arm wounded to the point that she would almost definitely concede the match were she in his situation. It places her in a conflicted place, neither target looking like one she is comfortable attacking. And hadn't the Warwolf declared a truce too?

Sapphire blue eyes settle on the Viking Wrestler as if trying to take her cue from him. In the next instant, Sven dives for Noboru with the ferocity of a wolf securing its prey and Hotaru takes a step back, clearly too hesitant to act in that instant.

And that's when Sven speaks to her, not as a frothing beast, but as a man, his plan made clear - they are to coordinate their efforts for one decisive combination. Only then does she seem to be drawn back into the spirit of the fight, eyes lighting up, Sven's resolve to see this through in spite his injury seeming to inspire her to get back into the match.

"I'm ready!"

Breathing in, she lifts her hands back to the ready, standing up straight, moving to the side with quick, controlled steps that never leave her vulnerable to beeing caught flat footed even mid-step. With the trust extended, she can't mess this up. If anyone is tough enough to test even their coordinated efforts, it is the steel-muscled monk who's rebuffed her twice already!

COMBATSYS: Hotaru focuses on her next action.

                 [                |||||||||||||| ]
                 Noboru           0|-------|--=====
[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////             ]
Sven             0/-------/=======|=======\====---\1           Hotaru

COMBATSYS: Noboru endures Sven's Audacious Slam.

                 [                   ||||||||||| ]
                 Noboru           0|-------|-======
[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////             ]
Sven             0/-------/=======|=======\====---\1           Hotaru

Far above where Noboru lies, stage lights flash and twinkle, drooping lazily across his vision as the pain of his injuries sinks clawed fingers into his consciousness, tugging at it in an attempt to drag him under. His good eye blinks, pupil unfocused, while his bad remains shut, scarred lid closed raggedly over the ruined eye beneath. His head hurts, his jaw hurts, and his groin hurts. But pain is nothing. Pain is merely a reminder that he is still alive. Still able to act.
PP "It seems that last hit may have been too much for the Iron Mystic."
MG "Alexander the Grater thought that too, and then the damn monk rose up like the dead and took him down with him. Whatever team Furry Ribbons has planned, they better hope it's big enough to bury him for good!"
PP "That suplex surely would have, buried, me. The Maesters Wolf Blitzer. A powerful finisher for any man to try and walk off."
A shadow falls across Noboru as he lies dazed on the mat, blotting out the lights above and plunging his view into unexpected darkness. Darkness. Where evil dwells. Where the secret fears of man corrupt themselves into obsession.
Above him, the shadow throws back its head and howls, and off in the distance, cutting through the roar of noise in his ears, yet more howls answer him.
A deep, rumbling growl works its way from Noboru's chest as strong hands reach down and hoist him bodily from the mat, the muscular monk being lifted higher and higher, presented to the roaring masses like some sort of trophy. Again the world spins, lurching around him as he is brought crashing back down to earth, and the ring shakes beneath the crash of his bulk striking canvas. But this time, something is awake in the battle instincts of the ninja. That deep, abiding, gritty drive that has forced him through situations that would have killed anyone less driven.
Iron fingers attempt to close around the forearm of the Warwolf before he can pull away from the slam, anchoring him in place just long enough for the ninja to draw up his legs, plant his heels, and explode up from the mat with all the grace and poise of a semi-truck smashing through the side of a building. Practically shouldering reality out of his god damned way, Noboru rises up into a vicious, right-fisted uppercut aimed squarely for the bottom of Sven's jaw, attempting to smash the wrestler's head back and send his upper body flinging away, held in place only by the grip the shinobi has on his arm. Only if he can land that first, dazing hit will he execute a tight 180 degree turn, using his grip on the limb to hurl the big man up and over his head before spiking him into the mat with a resounding slam of his own.
Ragged and battered, good eye only now beginning to narrow its focus enough that the world sharpens into recognizable shapes, the Iron Mystic stands before the crowd and Hotaru. One slow breath is drawn in. Held. released. The monk's center is regained. He is in a crowd, this is not a fight to the death. This is for fun, to learn. There are no monsters here.

COMBATSYS: Sven blocks Noboru's Uproot.

                 [                     ||||||||| ]
                 Noboru           1|-------|=======
[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////             ]
Sven             1/------=/=======|=======\====---\1           Hotaru

In the end, it was for fun.

No matter how you cut it, that's all it was. Fun. They might be Furry Ribbons now. The ultimate tag team duo. It may fade in time. In a real fight, of life and death, Noboru would have almost certainly have killed Sven. And Sven? He wouldn't have been able to bring himself to kill Noboru, in life or death. He's never been a killer.

And he had no more appetite for death.

Slamming Noboru down hard, he steps back. Hotaru holds back, keeping away from the fallout. And that left the Warwolf all for the Iron Mystic. The wrestler snarls and foams, his mask flying spittle from it. He jerks, charging in as the Iron Mystic comes up and- and right into an sudden uppercut.

And his other arm takes it.

Both arms were gone now. That was a fracture, a second break as his arms swells in that familiar style. There is a howl of agony. Sven's defenses were in shambles. He was running out of tools to keep standing. And his fury was beginning to wane. As Noboru grips him on the followup, he is -slammed- on the mat. It's not the end of the world there. He can -handle- the slam, without the stun. He just doesn't handle it much past a groan and a roll away. He perks back up, staggering as he tries to bring up his arms into a defensive stance... and fails, the limbs going limp. He lowers down, into a crouch. "The Sun may rise to end the Night of the Warwolf..." Roars Sven as he backflips to the corner post. Straddling the ropes with both legs, he almost slips off, his arms unable to work well to keep his balance. Growling, body red, he finally snarls out. "But nothing will stop the DAWN OF THE ITOKATSU, ya?"

"Go in! NOW! Little girl!"

Hanging back, Hotaru bears witness to Sven once again putting the Iron Mystic's durability to the test with another thundering slam against the mat, causing the surface beneath her slipper-clad feet to tremble in the aftermath. But no sooner than the vibrations pass, then Noboru is back on his feet, striking out such force that the young Kung Fu artist takes a step back, pig-tails whipping against the backs of her shoulders, displaced by the shockwave of air that radiates out from the point of impact between Noboru's hand and Sven's forearm. Hands draw up on wide-eyed alarm as if preparing to guard against an incoming attack in spite not even being the target, so great is the presence behind the exchange.

Demonstrating commitment few will understand, and even fewer will know how to appreciate, Sven Maesters sacrifices the use of his other arm in order to guard against the stone-hard strike of the monk he had so brutally body slammed a moment prior. In the moment, Hotaru spares a glance to the audience, taking in the sight of the crowd, the excitement building over the spectacle playing out before their eyes. Is it blood lust that moves them so? Or is it something else? A captivation with the drama, the heart, and the resolve on display? The girl blinks once, attention snapping back to the present as the Warwolf leaps for the precarious perch on the turnbuckle, risking even further injury should his already impaired balance fail him now.

He mourns the potential end of the Hour of the Warwolf, but promises that in its place, a new beacon of hope to replace it at the first light of day. Hotaru grins, hands clenching. She never realized the power of theatric so well-performed that the line between true emotion and pure showmanship becomes blurred beyond recognition.

"Okay, now!"

Moving as the opposite of the Iron Mystic, she flows like water into a small hop, sweeping her arms in a whirlwind like fashion, striking from above with open palms, first her left, then her right coming in from above.


The second her foot touches the mat, she springs into a second hopping, whirlwind strike, attempting to draw Noboru's defense high - or at the least, be a very convincing distraction.


But she's looking for an opening in his stony guard, an opportunity to transition from the flowing grace into a hard hitting, singular launching shoulder slam targeting his chest.


If given the chance, her momentum would take her off the ground, where she would complete the combination assault with a spinning overhead axe kick before dropping back down to the mat on both feet.

Certainly a Titan Slaying attack if one ever existed.

COMBATSYS: Noboru just-defends Sven and Hotaru's Dawn of the Itokatsu!

                 [                   ||||||||||| ]
                 Noboru           0|-------|---====
[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////             ]
Sven             0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\0           Hotaru

And then, Sven straddles the turnbuckle.

One. Two. Three. On the third, he launches off the corner post, backflipping in the air, just as he hears the slap of Hotaru's feet coming down on the mat. Backflipping to land on the prone Iron Mystic as the final accent of the perfect assault-

"Uh Oh."

MG "Did You See That?! The Iron Mystic is back on his feet, and he nearly took the Warwolf's head Right off his shoulders!"
PP "Quick thinking from the high flying canine. He might be in a lot of pain right now, but he's still in the match."
MG "Unless Sven's found a way to stand on his head and power bomb with his feet, I bet we're about to see a lot of dropkicks and hurricanranas!"
The endless chatter of the announcers rattles on atop the roar of the crowd, their noise having reached an ear-splitting fever pitch at the explosive recovery of the Mystic. The dramatics of the match thus far have been all over the place. A clear heel vs a plucky underdog, the betrayal of an ally into the no selling threat of a monster fight. And now, the bitter brawl of two on one as rivalries are set aside to face a greater threat. Chants have started up at various points in the crowd, swelling and competing as each sub faction vies to convince the others to join them through sheer force of volume.
"Waaaar-Woooolf. Waaaaar-Woooolf!"
"HOOOO-ta-ru, HOOOO-ta-ru!"
"I-Ron-My-stic!" clap, clap, clap clap clap.
At the heart of this chaos lies the ring, in the center of which the Iron Mystic now stands, good eye slowly scanning down from where Sven now perches, across the empty expanse of canvas, and finally onto Hotaru herself. His bad eye has closed itself, scarred lid twisted and ugly, and a red mark is striped across his forehead where the earlier chop caught him square. Hair hanging messily across his masked face, he takes in her look of wide-eyed surprise, the guarded position of her hands. There is no emotion in that look, no softness or warmth. There is only the icy stare of one who has done what he must, always. Perhaps that is an act as much as the villainy of Sven Masters, but if so, it seems very real right now.
MG "Maesters has retreated to the top rope, and it's just Hotaru and Noboru left!"
PP "Ms. Futaba's showing has been nothing short of superb. She should be able to distract the Mystic long enough for Maesters to prepare his next move."
Inside the ring, the pronouncement is given. A new dawn of wrestling pride begins to break, and Hotaru charges him with all the determined enthusiasm of the high school aged girl she is, flowing gracefully into a bouncing series of wind milling strikes.
Noboru's bad eye flicks open, milky white and staring straight through the girl into a realm only he can see. The world on fire. A blazing hellscape of light and darkness, the girl's body a flickering mass of constellations webbed by glowing lines. Energy firing through her as her spirit rises up to meet him, cascading across his supernatural vision in clear patterns of intent.
Taking a single step back, Noboru swings his right hand up to intercept both of Hotaru's strikes, his rope-bound palm skipping from one to the next with a loud double smack. Though to the average member of the audience it would appear as if he responded with lightning speed, a slow motion replay would reveal the truth. Even before Hotaru's arms began to circle his hand was lifting to intercept them. And as he takes a second step back, smooth and assured, he repeats the trick in reverse, right palm skipping across hers in the other direction as if they were playing a handicapped game of patty cake.
A low rumble escapes the big ninja as his backward progress comes to an abrupt halt. Toes dig into the canvas, muscles flex into iron ridges beneath his robe, and Hotaru's shoulder comes barreling in beneath his raised hand to slam full-on into his gut.
He doesn't even flinch.
Though it is much less impressive to see the Mystic no sell a 90 pound girl, the crowd pops a bit when she simply bounces off of him. That slight whoop of applause flourishes into a rising roar of exhilaration as Sven uses that moment of distraction to launch himself high into the air, back flipping into a descending belly splash toward the ninja who, according to the plan, should be laid out on the ground.
Without even looking, Noboru swings that same right hand up in an almost lazy arc over his head, palm catching Sven in the dip between hip and ribs and sweeping him aside. Rather than crashing down upon the shinobi, the wolf comet is diverted away to impact the mat a short ways to Noboru's left, leaving him standing calm and unruffled amidst the shambles of their team up attack, both eyes open and very, very focused.
The crowd loses their minds.
Looming over the comparatively tiny, pigtailed form of Hotaru, Noboru sweeps his right arm down and straight out to the side to end the series of blocks, flourishing in his own stoic way. Left arm remaining folded loosely across his middle, he slowly curls his right hand into a fist, hemp wrap squeaking with gathered tension, and explodes into a whirling rush of motion. Right arm ripping through the air, he attempts to catch Hotaru square across the chest and hammer her flat, ploughing right on through her and completing a 90 degree turn with a lunge toward the recovering Sven, twisting his entire body toward continuing the deadly path of the forearm into the Warwolf's throat and hopefully flooring him again before he can regain his bearings. The entire maneuver is completed in a single surge of muscular power, forearm cutting a neat arch through the air that ends with the Mystic standing 4 feet to his left and facing the opposite direction, closer to Sven than Hotaru.
MG "My GAWD! The Mystic is still up, and he's on a rampage! Can this freak of nature be stopped?!"
PP "Fascinating."

COMBATSYS: Noboru successfully hits Sven with Heavy Clothesline.

                 [                   ||||||||||| ]
                 Noboru           0|-------|----===
[                         \\\\\  < >  /////////////////             ]
Sven             0/-------/=======|=======\-------\0           Hotaru

The words of dread come, as the Iron Mystic greets him.

The team up failed. And now, weakness was exposed. He lands hard on the rebound, bouncing up off the mat. It was good to get back on his feet. But as the adrenaline crash surged around him, he was merely in the perfect place for the Iron Mystic to unleashed a bone-shattering clothesline. Hotaru was somewhere... somewhere in that whirlwind of titanic man. Caught in the throat, he is -slammed- to the ground, neck throbbing. He was rolling, rolling towards the edge of the ring. He was close, so close to the ring out. He wasn't getting up, he couldn't get up. He was slipping, the lights and sounds swimming all around him in a daze. His mask was gone, ripped away by the sheer force. The cold air on his bloodied face was on him. By lucha rules, he would be disqualified. But he wasn't a lucha. Not a real one. He begins to fall, slipping out of the ring, for the final fall.

Sven grabs.

Pain, searing pain. His muscles were not cooperating, they should not cooperate. But Sven made a promise, under his breath. Just enough, to stand up. He wouldn't ask anything more. With every moment raw, tender agony, he grips the rope, and with a gritted heave, jerks himself up on them. That's all he needed, leaning against them. He wasn't even up in a full stand. But he wasn't falling off yet. He wanted to stop, he wanted to rest. His body demanded it. But he needed to keep going, a little longer. The Workhorse had to work. The warwolf had to war.

"You think that's it, ya?"

Sven throws the words behind his shoulder, as he shoves off the ropes, into a halting stand. It was hard, without using his arms. But every movement was pure strength, as he pushes up with his legs. "When they threw me out of the SWF, with my late father's blood still on my hands, with my broken brother under my wing, it did not stop me." Sven limps across towards Noboru, his body sweaty, bruised, and bulging. Shaking his bloodied head, he glares across at the Iron Mystic. "Rainbow Mania, Rainbow Mania! PATOOIE! Rainbow Mania could not stop me. Not even JACK SANDERS and his Self-Made, Hardboiled Brawling could stop me!" He leans back, hopping on one foot a bit as he builds the windup, the other leg coming back, bending hard.

"What chance do you have, Iron Mystic?"

And Sven Maesters delivers the big boot, a driving kick to smash Noboru right into the corner post, to trap him in. He didn't know if Hotaru was still there to get his back. But the bottom line was clear. Sven Maesters was on his last leg.

And he was going to make it count.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru blocks Noboru's Heavy Clothesline.

                 [                   ||||||||||| ]
                 Noboru           0|-------|---====
[                          \\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Sven             0/-------/=======|=======\=------\1           Hotaru

There was no deceit to Hotaru's attack as she swept into her combination assault against the unbreakable guard of the Iron Mystic. To his eye, the spirit of her technique would be made abundantly clear. The flourishing sweep of her arms into her overhead strikes was clearly designed to draw his attention and his defense rather than slip past unnoticed. Which is why when he moves his hand into position to knock aside her own, it did not diminish one iota her intent to pressure him.

The true threat was the lunge as the pint-sized martial artist leverages muscle and bone throughout her body to deliver the real attack, trying to smash through his guard and leave the huge monk stunned long enough for the Warwolf to descend from his perch to deliver his own attack.

She bounces off the steel-like torso of her target, rewarded with a personal demonstration of the shiboni's Iron Body technique. She lands on her feet four feet back from Noboru, staggering, practically dazed by how decisively her attack was rebuffed. The bruising on her shoulder is hidden by her poofy white short sleeve, but the repeated blink of her eyes and shake of her head is far more visible an indicator of how jarring her sudden stop had been.

Her vision has only just cleared when the Iron Mystic surges toward her, his arm sweeping, smashing through the air on an inevitable collision course with the smaller fighter. She pulls her arms up into the incoming impact, forearms intercepting the blow. But rather than fight the momentum and risk incurring the same injuries to her arms that the Warwolf had suffered, the Futaba girl allows herself to be hauled along, her diminutive figure dislodged easily, without any attempt at resistance, allowing herself to be caught and then hurled forcefully backward to the side, flying past Sven rather than into him as the monk's counter strike continues unabated without her.

Her feet hit the mat but fail to bring a stop to her motion as the girl slides forcefully into the center of the ropes, stretching them taut. Only a quick reach with her left hand, snapping out for the middle rope on the rebound, prevents her from being sling-shotted across the ring!

In the same moment, she bears witness to the Warwolf hurtling toward another edge of the ring into the oblivion of the concrete flooring surrounding the Ring of Destruction. Her left hand releases her hold on the rope as she takes a step forward, right hand outstretched in vain toward the wrestler who is about to be ejected from the mat.

But the Warwolf does the impossible. He grabs hold with arms in spite whatever agony he must be going through. Once more, the Futaba girl is left awestruck. All this? For what? Participating in SLAMFEST was certainly a great opportunity to get name recognition, particularly for fighters who might already be drowning in fame and adoration. And of course, there were prize purses for those who performed exceptionally well. But it was hardly a matter of life and death... Was it?

Hotaru watches as Sven, nearly broken beyond all capacity to fight, stands defiantly, releasing his hold on the ropes - he didn't need their support to stay standing he declared without word. As she hears his speech, she glances between the Warwolf and the Iron Mystic. The discrepancy between their current condition was impossible to miss. But even still, Maesters advances, hellbent on attacking anyway.

Gritting her teeth, Hotaru moves her right arm a little in a slight circular motion, testing its mobility in spite the aching stiffness felt deep in her shoulder. She should have secured Sve a better chance in their combined attack. He had counted on her to make an opening for him, but her attempt had failed. She owes him better than that last showing. She owes him a chance.

She bursts into a sprint - to the audience view it might look like the Kung Fu artist has finally shed any compunctions with combat honor and is now charging in to attack Sven from behind, determined to blindside him with an ambush when he was already on his last ounce of strength.

She closes up right behind him as the bloodied Warwolf starts to lean back... and then leaps, vaulting up into the air up and over the much larger wrestler into a steep, graceful arc that carries the featherweight fighter past Sven and Noboru.


Hotaru plunges out of the air, twisting out of the arc, attempting to kick Noboru's back from behind. Unless prevented, she would land behind the monk, between him and the turnbuckle Sven intends to kick him into, before launching herself into a second attack, a crushing backflip kick that would serve both to dislodge the Iron Mystic toward Sven's kick as well as launch herself out of the way should he truly be kicked back into the turnbuckle after all.

Her landing target would be the ropes, mirroring an earlier evasion where she would run along them some distance before hopping back down into the ring out of harm's way.

The entire attempt is risky with several points of potential catastrophic failure. But in the face of Sven's resolve, can she possibly shirk the peril now?

COMBATSYS: Noboru endures Hotaru's Senkai En EX.

                 [                       ||||||| ]
                 Noboru           0|-------|--=====
[                          \\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Sven             0/-------/=======|-------\-------\0           Hotaru

COMBATSYS: Noboru breaks through The Wicked Kick ES from Sven with Iron Sentinel EX!

                 [                         ||||| ]
                 Noboru           1|-------|=======
[                                < >  /////////////                 ]
Sven             1/---====/=======|-------\-------\0           Hotaru

MG "By God He's Killed Him!"
Guilty's exuberant outrage slices through the rising roar of the crowd as Sven's body rag dolls across the mat. Bouncing and tumbling, the Warwolf seems to have howled his last, the now maskless wrestler on a one-way trip out of bounds.
But he doesn't.
PP "Sven is safe! His feet Did Not touch the ground!"
Against all the odds, in slow motion replay, Sven Maesters snags the rope in his trembling hands, body swinging out toward the cement below, and halls himself back into the ring.
Warwolfians across the arena raise the cry.
Countless Others throughout the arena join in, howling out their support for the wrestling spirit on display. Such is the calling chaos that only Noboru and Hotaru are close enough to hear what is said next, the Mystic turning his head just enough to focus both eyes upon the blazing soul of the struggling wrestler.
MG "The Warwolf is...He's getting back to his feet!"
PP "A wounded beast is most dangerous when backed into a corner, Guilty."
The ferocious wrestler's words wash over Noboru while he stands there watching, taking in not only the fierce determination in the determined eyes, but the light of inspiration he has stoked in the girl behind him, young features firming into a look of stubborn resolve. He would never show it, but beneath his stony exterior there is a certain amount of affection growing for both of the youngsters, each of whom have clearly felt their own sorrows, dealt with their own struggles.
Turning to more fully face the approaching pair, the Iron Mystic folds his arms loosely across his middle, palms to elbows, and retreats at an even pace that perfectly matches Sven's pained stumble. Upon reaching the center of the wring he stops, falling utterly still and allowing the pair there approach.
Sven's leg comes up.
Hotaru leaps.
Noboru takes a single step forward, right foot impacting the canvas with ring-shaking finality.
What chance does he have?"
"One, final chance."
Powering forward onto his lead leg, the monk makes no move to defend himself from Hotaru's scything kick, her slippered foot crashing into his back squarely between his shoulder blades and aiding him on his way forward toward Sven's oncoming boot. But as he moves he twists, torso whip cracking around so that it is his flexed bicep that absorbs Sven's blow, crashing through the strike with a bone-vibrating thud and twisting it aside as his body continues the spin, weight pivoting onto his heel for the final thrust backward. All 250 pounds of Noboru's body crash into the Warwolf back-first, muscles flexed into an iron wall as unyielding as any mountain.
Head bowed forward and arms still folded, Noboru is facing Hotaru when her back flip kick drives upward into his chest, shoving him that little bit further back and turning his backward lunge into a stumble. Staggering two unbalance steps, the Mystic collapses to his knees with a heavy thud, shoulders slumped forward and a low, rumbling grunt working its way through his nose. The crowd is still roaring when that grunt transforms itself into words, grinding themselves from his chest with the deep roughness of boulders down a slope.
"There is always more to give."
MG "Jesus Christ In Heaven!"
PP "Is that the match? Has the Iron Mystic just won it for Ms. Futaba?"

Like slamming through a concrete wall.

Well, like slamming -into- one. Sven's leg smashes hard into the back of Noboru. Too hard. He feels his leg muscle get pulled. The force of not just Noboru, but an accidental Hotaru helping with the momentum. An unstoppable force meeting an unmovable object, both collapse. Noboru, on his knees, Sven Maesters, writhing on the ground at the edge of the ring once more. And then, still. It was time for Hotaru to make her pin.


Sven once more, grabs the ropes.

He was slow. Slower than before. Every movement was raw, burning pain. He was breathing hard. He drops. His arm was too weak. So he uses the other one. His leg was nearly useless now. 3 out of 4 limbs disabled, not a great set of odds. And he glares back, at the Iron Mystic. Defiant? No, something else. He was shaking a finger at the ninja, the matchmaker. "Never... sandbag. Asshole." He moans, stumbling, leaning over the ropes. I'm... I'm finished!" He groans. "But the right to pin is not -yours- Iron Mystic." He turns around, limping forward. wasn't looking at Noboru anymore.

He was looking at Hotaru.

"He was supposed... to have... gotten you!" A betrayal? Or a refusal, to land the coup de grace on Noboru? "I can't stand the Iron Mystic, ya. But given a choice... I won't let RAINBOW MANIA steal away with an easy WIN!" And Sven lunges at Hotaru.

And he stumbles.

He rises up, a false start, his teeth gritting, his face bloodied, everything nearing the edge. But he was throwing himself at the girl. Rising up again, so slowly, he lurches again. Not towards Hotaru. Towards the ropes. Another mistake? Another misfire? He jumps up on the top rope, and suddenly, launches himself backwards, his thighs spread wide open. Aiming -squarely- for the pretty little neck of the one Ms. Futaba...

COMBATSYS: Sven can no longer fight.

                 [                         ||||| ]
                 Noboru           1|-------|=======
                                  >  /////////////                 ]
                                  |-------\-------\0           Hotaru

COMBATSYS: Hotaru interrupts Wolfensteiner 3D from Sven with Ri En Ryuubu.

                 [                         ||||| ]
                 Noboru           1|-------|=======
                                  >  //////////                    ]
                                  |>>>>---\-------\0           Hotaru

Her combination of kicks delivered, Hotaru successfully lands on the adjacent top rope without interference. Rushing along it with four perfectly balanced steps, she hops down into the ring safely. Landing closer to the center rather than any particular side, she whirls around in time to see the Iron Mystic drop to his knees. Stepping into a quick turn, she finds Sven Maesters twisting in agony near the edge of the ropes behind her.

Sapphire eyes blink, the girl breathing hard as she glances back and forth between the kneeling monk and the prone man who was her actual, on-paper, opponent in this wild match. She can't bring herself to attack either and so for a moment, she looks once more caught in uncertainty. The pounding of her heart, deep breathes, and ringing in her ears from earlier impacts leave her deaf to the chorus of the stadium trying to make it clear that her next move would be to pin Sven while he was done and bring this bout to an official close.

She glances to the side, toward the Iron Mystic, his gravely voice the only thing she manages to hear above all other sounds. More to give? He had certainly proven that the combined efforts of Team Furry Ribbons was unable to break him... how deep does his well of unyielding resolve go?

Hotaru whirls toward Sven next, watching in wide-eyed surprise as the man once more defies all sense and starts to pull himself with limbs far too injured to be forced into such action. Slowly, she shakes her head in disbelief, uncertain if she had ever faced an opponent willing to push on through injuries such as that. It was hard to imagine how one would be able to force themselves to continue for a single match. Is that the true spirit of the wrestler? Always more to give... while one draws breath, while one can still move, quitting before that is committing less than one's absolute best.

As Sven rises, Hotaru watches, seeing if he manages to break away from leaning against the ropes. Now he was focused on her and they meet eye to eye, the girl not backing down from the accusing words, the defiance of RAINBOW MANIA, a phenomenon she barely knows anything of. He makes his intent clear. Like the Iron Mystic, he too still has more to give.

Hotaru watches, neither retreating nor attacking, her hands lifted, ready to defend herself. But the man's movements are slow and while she had taken her lumps in the fight, her shoulder and chest aching from blows endured, she wasn't nearly in as bad as shape as him. It seemed like she could run circles around him in his condition if she wanted.

But rather than try to lunge at her, or attack with a strike she might easily evade, Sven suddenly leaps backward, feet landing on the top rope in one final defiant act of acrobatic skill. Hotaru's eyes widen briefly before her jaw sets, the girl moving her arms out to her sides, her left leg slipping forward, right leg bending to support her center of mass. Her look of surprise shifts to one of quiet acceptance, lips pulled tight in a determined grin.

"I wouldn't expect anything less... from the Warwolf!"

Sven leaps and Hotaru launches herself to meet him, left leg bending, foot catching against the mat as she springs backward, feet snapping up - not to escape, but to strike, accepting the collision of the much larger man against her smaller form simply one more way to give in the pursuit of fighting excellence.

Her legs collide with his back while his freefall weight hammers into her, driving the girl to the mat a few feet away, landing on her side. Wincing, she curls up briefly. She might have considered that enough, the new throbbing pain sufficient to prove that she had tried her best and didn't need to prove anything else.

But she knew that wasn't true. Not after what she'd seen both the Iron Mystic and the Warwolf devote to this match.

Seconds pass before she presses down with her hands, unfolding and twisting herself to hands and knees for a moment, gasping for breath, then finally pushing up to standing. Whirling, she finds Maesters down and once more looks unsure as to what to do.

Is the match over then? Is that it? Not if the spirit of SLAM has anything to say about it. The roaring in her ears starts to become comprehensible. She turns in place, trying to make sense of what is being exclaimed her way as if the collective will of the arena was demanding one specific action of her. Over and over, a word seems to be yelled collectively. 'Pin'? Hotaru blinks, realization slowly settling in as she turns back toward Sven.

Sucking in her breath, she steps with slow but deliberate steps toward Maesters, standing at his side, looking down at him. Finally, she drops to her knees, both hands pressed against the chest of the Warwolf. The idea that this gesture from the featherweight fighter is actually pinning anyone down at all is clearly symbolic at best. But she hears it then, loud and clear.


Somewhere, a bell rings.

Knelt a bit to one side of the giant CWA logo spread across the center of the mat, Noboru stares down at the blank white canvas and breathes. Warm air flows in through his nose, expanding his chest, then out through his mouth, fluttering his mask. The noise of the crowd begins to fade. The words of his fellow fighters drift through him, lost in the void. All around him there is only energy, the roiling, cascading mess of chi that links all things, bright as the sun, blinding.
MG "That could be it, folks!"
PP "It might very well be, but Ms. Futaba seems lost in the ring. Was she not informed of the rules?"
In, out. Air hot and smelling strongly of sweat and humanity.
MG "I, I don't believe it! The Warwolf is back on his feet! He's going after Hotaru! Can this girl not get a break?!"
PP "It appears Team Furry Ribbons is no more."
In, out. The ring vibrates beneath his knees, crowd bellowing as the final, epic clash of the match takes place mere yards away, Hotaru's feet driving into Sven's back with a meaty FWAP!
MG "And Sven Maesters goes Down Again! It Looks Like This Might Be Lights Out For The Warwolf!"
PP "Unless Ms. Futaba gets the pin or Sven is disqualified through a Ring Out, the match Must continue."
In, out. The shouts of 'PIN! PIIIIN HIM!" blend with the rolling chants of Hotaru's name and a last, few, desperate 'AWUUUUUU' from diehard fans of the Warwolf.
In, Out, and the tension leaves his body, chi mingling with the flow of the universe. With every eye focused on the tiny form of Hotaru kneeling beside Sven, it would be easy to explain why nobody seems to notice the Iron Mystic fading away to nothing. Though there one moment, he is simply gone the next, two figures remaining within the ring as young Ms. Futaba's music begins blasting through the speakers.
MG "She's done it! Hotaru Futaba has pinned the warwolf!"
PP "A fierce blow to the pride of one of our most ferocious competitors, but a shining example to all the girls across the world. This Riding Hood challenged the wolf and came out on top."




Those were the feelings for Sven Maesters, as he stares up from the mat. Something... no, the girl caught him. Hit him hard in the back, before letting him slam down. Earlier in the fight, he would have gotten up, and followed through. But how long ago was it? When was it now? In the haze, he begins to feel something, pressure.

A pin.

Sven blinks his eyes. He glanced over, as the numbers rattle out. Somewhere was that flash of anger. But he wasn't angry, not really. The fight was over before he even took into the air. He was going to be pinned, by the girl, or by the Iron Mystic. He feebly tries to make a show of resistance, he can't even pretend to struggle now. "Good job, kid." Is all he can choke out in a whisper, as the final count comes out, to the din of the roaring crowd, and the music. Lights. Noise. Pain. Sven had it all.

But he had no regrets.

She hears the music, the shouts, the words of the commentators she can't really focus on enough to comprehend. But none of that speaks as loudly as the whisper from the Warwolf 'pinned' beneath Hotaru's small hands.

Still breathing hard, she isn't exhausted beyond the point of lighting up at the kudos offered by one of the best performance artists she'd had the honor of facing in the ring, cheeks becoming a slight bit rosier in the moment. Even now, she wasn't sure how deep the emotions on display had gone, how raw the feelings were that Sven Maesters drew upon to deliver a show that audiences will remember amid the wide variety of bouts presented at the MUSCLE BOMBER.

But there was no doubt, no question when it came to his commitment to wrestling. From the letter delivered to her backstage, to the finale of the match, the man had poured his heart into it.

The young Kung Fu artist presses down with her hands in the process of rising back up to her feet. "Until next time, Warwolf." she remarks, light grin at her lips. "You can't leave Rainbow Mania unchecked, after all."

Standing, she lifts her face to the crowd, basking in the moment of her hard earned victory. Raising her arms over her head, she shakes her fists twice, joining in the cheering herself, before lowering her left arm and using her right to wave to the packed arena and cameras broadcasting to viewers around the world.

She had never pursued the Champion's Road to get famous, or to entertain audiences. But with this latest step in on her journey, she realized there was so much more to fighting than simply proving one's ability. Was it a lesson her brother had already learned?

Or would he, when she finally caught up with the wayward sibling, mock such sentiments as foolish? What would he know of the Warwolf's heart?

She turns toward where she had last seen the Iron Mystic, eyes blinking as she finds the location empty. A quick, surprised glance back and forth throughout the ring confirms his absence. How could someone so huge vanish without her noticing?

That too simply becomes one of the many questions swirling in the girl's mind as she is ushered off to make room for the next SLAMFEST 2020 bout, the roar of the arena fading behind her as she goes.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru has left the fight here.

                 [                         ||||| ]
                 Noboru           1|-------|=======

Log created on 10:39:13 02/01/2020 by Sven, and last modified on 20:49:25 02/16/2020.