Rising Star 2022 - Rising Star 2022: FINAL BOUT

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Description: The final bout of Rising Star 2022! Action packed and full of fun! And fabulous(?) prizes!

Rising Star 2022, the Final Round. The finals of any tournament are an exciting time, and this one especially. The combat has been fierce and all the bouts have been achingly close. This, coupled with all of the money Rose has thrown around at the fight locations have done wonders for her branding and social media presence. ... Anyway.

This final fight is being held in the audience chamber of the Sky Noah, high in the sky above Illyria. Transports were dispatched to retreive the finalists and their chosen guests, delivering them to the flying fortress. Attendants lead the fighters and guests from the landing bay straight to the audience chamber.

The blast doors open to reveal the severe and grand room. The red carpet leads from the door to the dais. Upon the dais are three thrones. In the smaller one to the left of the big one is Rose Bernstein, seated primly and managing to look imperious and pleasant at the same time.

Exposing up-and-coming officers to dangerous threats runs the risk of accidental attrition. But restricting officers to fight only amongst other themselves can be a slow, monotonous grind that runs the risk of ... boring officers out of their minds. Tournament combat is, in many ways, a preferred compromise.

The tigress may be representing the NOL, but to this tournament she has brought her own style and a lighter color palette. Comprised of thick, shiny fabric -- it looks vinyl? -- the outfit resembles a Chinese cheongsam with matching sleeves and leggings. The pale, off-white fabric stands in stark contrast to the tigress' orange and black, visible at her bared shoulders, but moreso in the fluffy tail that swishes about.

Lt Yao wears a cooled expression as she is paraded through the Sky Noah. In previous matches she was able to prepare herself more fully. Here? She was escorted onto a transport, forced through the turbulent skies, and then all but ejected into the gusts and breezes of the airship.

Which is to say -- she isn't being a rude guest. But she's not exactly brimming with excitement.
More like travel sickness.

As the blast doors open, though, Meifeng draws in her breath and puts on a more cheerful countenance. She gently nudges her yellow lenses up along the bridge of her nose, and walks with a more confident stride.

Also in attendance: Some NOL private who follows a good ten feet behind. It's hard to look imposing when you're only five foot two and following a tall tigress.

Meifeng stops at a fair distance, placing her left fist in her right palm, and giving an appropriate bow in greeting to her esteemed company. She falls silent here -- not wanting to speak out of turn. Though her tail does flick back and forth, with curious interest.

Shermie has arrived at the venue for the Ristar final with her CYS bandmates in tow. She's even designed matching outfits for the rock trio. Her own striking ensemble consists of an ultra tight and ultra short skirt suit, that clings to every inch of her considerable curves. The background of the material is midnight blue and upon it is a pattern of white stars, in a variety of different sizes. Yahsiro's creation is a midnight blue leather jacket, worn without a shirt underneath and a pair of pants with the same colour and print as Shermie's. Maybe the mademoiselle got a discount on the fabric, because Chris too is adorned in it. His cropped t-shirt is very much in his own style, but the celestial imagery is present, the white stars complimenting his jeans of the same colour.

Spying the thrones, Shermie makes a beeline for them, planting her pert posterior down upon the largest of the three.

"Oh look, guys! Someone has set up these thrones for the three of us, but it seems someone else has gotten here first."

A wink is offered in Rose's direction to prove that she's only playing. She knows full well who the woman is, her having done so much work for the tournament.

Seeing Meifeng, her opponent for this grand final, she moves in her direction, offering her a smile that would meet her eyes, if only they could be seen.

"Meifeng, it is a pleasure to meet you. I have heard a lot about your skills from little Chrissy here. Hopefully you will be kinder to the keyboard player in our band, than you were to the singer."

"Uhh... Shermie? I'm not sure those thrones are for us!" Yashiro calls out to his red-haired companion, his eyes drifting to Rose before returning to Shermie as he walks in, traipsing around to the side that he deems to be 'Shermie's Side' to fold his arms across his bare chest and look menacing. He still isn't entirely over the fact that he wasn't allowed to join in the tournament, his understanding being that it was because he got tricked into picking a fight with a certain redhead when interviews are supposed to be for talking. "This would be a cool place for a gig, except there aren't enough chairs."

Rose is polite and queenly as Meifeng arrives. She smiles slightly as she is bowed to and graces the NOL officer with an acknowledging nod. That's one. Then Shermie arrives with the band in tow and...

Marches up the dais...

Sits in the big throne...

Rose looks shaken to her core when Shermie gleefully sits in that chair. It's a combination of abject horror and sick to her stomach. It doesn't last long, but it happens. Red eyes flick around, just in case. She steels herself and moves on, rising. She lifts her hands up and begins to speak. Suddenly, camera drones descend from the high ceilings.

"Lieutenant Yao Meifeng, Miss Shermie, welcome to the Sky Noah, and congratulations on reaching this, the final bout of the Rising Star Tournament!"

She looks between the two women and smiles, snapping her fingers. From the side of the room, a cart is pushed out. Upon it is a pedistal with the Ristar CHAMPIONSHIP BELT, and a large rectangle covered in black cloth.

"Today you fight for the championship and all of the prizes that entails. You also fight for glory, for your own and for the glory of those you have defeated." She looks at one of the camera drones, smiling like a professional. "Each of you carry the hopes of those who fell to your might along with you. Bring your resolve forward, and let the final match begin!"

Rose drops her arms like a signal, and sits primly once again.

COMBATSYS: Meifeng has started a fight here.

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Meifeng          0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Shermie has joined the fight here.

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Shermie          0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0          Meifeng

It was at her signal, that he begins to get in position.

He was standing at the sides with the grand entrance, avoiding the center stage. A striking blonde haired man with a thin mustache. He is dressed in a formal suit of crimson in jacket and slacks. A white dress shirt is underneath his jacket, and the red jacket carries a red trim. He dons a modest bow tie around his neck, and fingerless black gloves on each hand. It might be very obvious to those aware of the family that this was the head of the Bernstein family; the hostesses own father Rugal. And yet, he wasn't even mingling, lurking in the corners and shadows of the Sky Noah. It was difficult, to say the least. Almost impossible. But his baby girl wanted to feel like a real hostess of her own tournament. So at the very least, he would give that to her. He always had to spoil her.

Even when someone was sitting in his throne.

As Rose drops her hand, Rugal moves to one of two grand pianos. Each was placed on opposite sides of the Sky Noah, each one placed on a kind of rotational platform, where each was a counterweigh to the other as they could move around the audience chamber. Sitting down before the piano, he stretches his fingers, before hanging them over the keys. His bionic eye flares up, as he looks across to the opposite piano. He would not need the sheet music for this piece. But it was a duet. And for this fight, this battle between the two rising stars of Rose's tournament, there would need to be music.

And once his partner sat down, they would begin.

This would definitely not be the first time that Meifeng was upstaged by more flamboyant personalities.

The tiger's stomach is still in knots over that flight. So she doesn't particularly mind standing her ground far away from the thrones, bowing in deference to the host of the affair. And when she rises, with eyes open, she draws in her breath. Discipline, Meifeng, discipline.

When her name is called out, the tigress curtsies politely. And when it's appropriate, she speaks her mind: "It is an honor to be here in your presence, Miss Bernstein. I will do my best for you tonight!"

And to Shermie, she bows as well, ears folding down in deference. Here, at least, she offers a less formal smile. "I have already promised to do my best. It would be impolite to do any less now, mm?" Her ears raise back up, as she adds with a soft chuckle, "It is an honor to meet you as well. Our journeys are almost at an end. I wish you the best, Miss Shermie." With a flick of her ear, she snaps sideways, leading with her left shoulder, her right forearm paralleling the floor, as she returns her yellow-tinted gaze to Rose.

The honors are given. The arms are dropped. And Meifeng's gaze flits back to Shermie.

Half a second: nothing.
The tiger swallows her trepidation.
And then...

She surges forward into a rushing elbow, which she follows up by snapping into a thrust knee. She then roars with ferocity, delivering a forceful palm strike -- and then spirals into an overhead spin kick. None of these are gentle maneuvers -- but if Shermie has made it this far, she should know what to expect!

COMBATSYS: Shermie blocks Meifeng's Form Two - Thundering Downpour.

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Shermie          0/-------/-----==|-------\-------\0          Meifeng

"I'm just playing, Yashiro" Shermie sing songs at her bandmate and beau. "Everyone here has a sense of humour don't they?"

She looks around those gathered, as if seeking proof of her words.

When the championship belt is wheeled out, she watches it with admiration, absorbing the grand words spoken by Rose. "You make a fine speech" she compliments. "Let's hope our fighting is worthy of it."

She bows back to Meifeng and then edges closer to the tigress, primed to react should she make the first move.

She'd pretty much ignored the presence of Rugal up until that point, but as he takes his place at the piano, her curiosity gets the better of her. What's even more intriguing is the fact that there's two instruments. Who will be peforming a duet with the debonair man?

Her interest in the musical matters means that Meifeng is able to get in the first attack. As she rushes towards her, Shermie takes the hit from the thrusting knee. Now she's aware that they are underway however, she's able to be ready for the spin kick. Bringing her arms up to block it, she prevents herself from further pain.

The red tressed rockstar then transitions into attempting a move that will be familiar to followers of the French woman, as one she often opens with.

Looking over her shoulder at the feline fighter, she launches herself backside first into her face, hoping to break her focus. If this works out, she will follow up by straightening her legs in mid air and spinning into the other female feet first.

Rose's focus is on the fight before her. All the work and time and resources are paying off. Her eyes flicker as Rugal appears, taking a seat at one of the soon to be orbiting pianos. She smiles slightly before glancing at the other, currently empty piano. Of course she knows who is going to sit there, and of course he's late.

She doesn't worry about it for long, red eyes lasering in on the conflict.

COMBATSYS: Meifeng interrupts Axle Spinning Kick from Shermie with Form Three - Rising Gale EX.

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Shermie          0/-------/-======|====---\-------\0          Meifeng

In the wake of Rugal's poised ascent to one grand piano, his son takes up position at its opposite, mirrored partner. The lithe youth himself shows resemblance-- to Rugal, and let's be honest, to his mother as well.

Thankfully for all, Adelheid does not sport a moustache.

Once Rose gives her intro speech, once the fight begins in earnest, once Rugal opens the first several measures of the challenging, dramatic notes of Chopin's 10th Opus, No. 12 -- "Revolutionary", Adelheid gracefully takes his seat, and his fingers dance over the matching set of ivories.

In tandem or in succession, the two men pass the strains of the Etude back and forth, with practiced precision both technical and improvisational. The short, intense piece is likely to refrain multiple times as Meifeng and Shermie clash for the Rising Star Championship-- as father and son dance their own intricate, skillful musical bout on the margins, filling the Sky Noah's chamber with swelling crescendo, with enigmatic pianissimo, with masterful renditions of a master's composition, each subtly different in rhythm, in flow, in accented intensity from the last.

Rotating about the acoustically profound deck, Adelheid is offered more chance to sense than to see the fight unfolding in tandem with the piano's voices, but this, too, is an art demanding practice. Demanding perfection.


If Rugal was hoping that his dearest daughter would gain the lion's share of attention, his hope proved correct. Prior to combat, Rugal existed only in the shadows of periphery. But now in the heat of combat, his presence is relegated to an even lower priority. For the tiger has fallen into the trance of combat, devoting the vast majority of her attention to her opponent.

Such it is that when the tigress delivers her attacks, she lands in a low crouch, both arms out to either side in preparation of a counter-offensive. She lets out her breath. Her forehead knits in consternation. Her stomach is still turning flips. But as Shermie winds up for her strike, Meifeng begins to twist back to her feet. As she turns about, her right palm leaves behind three blue afterimages of itself, which rapidly condense into tightly-packed orbs of qi, which begin to whirl about into a miniature whirlwind.

To onlookers, it might seem as if the tiger's slow rise is a poor match for Shermie's rapid approach. But then the tiger strikes with a surge of motion, snapping forward with her shoulder to intercept the Frenchwoman's spinning backside. The collision smarts, drawing a yelp of pain. After all, slamming against Shermie's full momentum is no easy feat; Meifeng slides backwards from the strike, rugged footwear squeaking across the floor.

But the tigress is not quite done -- for her followup is coming! As Shermie starts to spin, Meifeng is already unleashing her rebuttal. A snap kick neatly breaks Shermie's remaining momentum, knocking her back into the three spinning orbs -- sure enough to deliver their own barrage of concussive force to the Frenchwoman!

As her brazen backside is thwarted by Meifeng's slow and steady approach, Shermie is taken by surprise. When the follow up comes, it catches her even more off guard and she not only fails to fulfill the promise of her move, but she's also sent soaring into the spinning orbs, which soon see her sprawling on the surface of the skyship!

"You're a bit of a knockout aren't you?" she giggles, apparently not offended by her opponent getting the better of her. Once she's back up, she moves towards Meifeng, aiming to hip check her and then swivel her body around to end up in a crouching position behind her.

If she's able to do so, she will then loop her arms around her waist, before bridging backwards and seeking to suplex her into the ground, head and shoulders first.

COMBATSYS: Meifeng just-defends Shermie's Shermie Flash Original!

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Shermie          0/-------/-======|====---\-------\0          Meifeng

The three orbs swing around to a position several feet to Shermie's side, hovering about as she lands and subsequently rises. Meifeng stays where she is for the moment, though her shoulders sag forward a bit in mild discomfort.

She does offer a bright smile as Shermie compliments her. A pleasant reminder that not all fights have to be snarly angry sorts of affairs. "Ha, thank you! You have a quite unique style, yourself!"

Reading that unique style has been something of a challenge for Meifeng. Strikes, swings, and that sort of thing have tells and warning sighs. But Shermie's approach is quite unorthodox -- and leaves some vulnerabilities. When Shermie approaches, Meifeng summons her orbs back with a beckoning gesture of her left hand. And when Shermie lands her hips, Meifeng fades back, throwing her forearm into the blow, letting it glance off. With the retreat, she's in a better position for the sitting down -- another thing that momentarily confounds her. With crossed eyes and folded ears, she snaps open palms into the path of the grapple attempt, blunt force neutralizing the grab and keeping those hands away as she backs away another step.

She nods with approval -- and a bit of confusion: "... -Very- unique!"

A swish of her tail later, the tigress closes back in -- this time hopping low to the ground, and thrusting a heel kick at the crouching Shermie's knees. She'd hop forward if that strikes, stabbing a second kick afterwards if she can manage it!

On her throne, Rose is all smiles. This is very competitive, very close. The camera drones are sweeping around the fight, getting good angles and action shots. One will sweep across either piano now and again.

When the video is reviewed later on the internet, people will claim that, while they can see Adelheid quite clearly, somehow Rugal always seems to be shadowed. Weird.

COMBATSYS: Shermie blocks Meifeng's Medium Kick.

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Shermie          0/-------/=======|====---\-------\0          Meifeng

"I am unique alright" Shermie grins and she still seems to be having fun, when Meifeng messes up her suplex!%"You're fun to play with, pussycat" she purrs, though it's meant to be playful rather than predatory.

As the kick comes her way, she spins on the spot and then drops low, presenting Meifeng with her rear view and causing the attack to bounce off her backside.

Jumping up to a standing position, she then makes a grab for the kicking kitty, attempting to throw her across the room in the direction of the playing pianists!

COMBATSYS: Shermie successfully hits Meifeng with Medium Throw.

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Shermie          1/-------/=======|=======\-------\0          Meifeng

Once Lt Yao's first kick clashes against Shermie's rear guard, she draws back -- but not quickly enough!

In the next moment she finds herself flung head over heels. It may be true that cats land on their feet, but this generalized advice doesn't hold true when a grand piano is in the way. Meifeng makes a hard collision with the side of the piano played by Adelheid -- with all the sound and fury it entails. She lands in a low crouch on all fours, just a couple feet away. Her tail flicks back and forth with frustration, as she draws her breath in through clenched teeth. And yet, when she glances over her shoulder to first Rugal and then Adelheid, it's with a chastened look and a tone of polite deference: "My apologies!"

One ear flicks, as she turns back to get her bearings. Narrowed eyes turn towards Shermie, amber-fringed slits ringed in yellow lenses. "And you are full of surprises...!" replies the lieutenant.

And in the next moment, the tiger pounces! She falls in a downward arc onto Shermie, with her shoulder and forearm delivering the brunt of the damage -- but if the tigress is still in control when she hits the ground, she'd spring back up to unfold her arm into a devastating backfist!

COMBATSYS: Shermie blocks Meifeng's Aggressive Strike.

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Shermie          1/-------/=======|=======\-------\0          Meifeng

COMBATSYS: Shermie issues a challenge!!

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Shermie          1/-------/=======|=======\-------\0          Meifeng

The musical mayhem caused by Meifeng crashing into the piano, seems to delight Shermie, judging by the giggling and gleeful cries coming from her.

"Surprises keep life interesting" the redhead responds, before getting one from the pouncing pussycat!

The leap is greeted with a rapid reaction, which spares her the brutal backfist, but she is clipped by the initial impact.

Holding her arms out, she pushes Meifeng backwards and herself upwards into a standing position.

Throwing back her head and pushing out her chest, she calls out "My present...and a little extra!"

She lurches forward, looking to lock her arms around Meifeng's waist and pull her in close. If she manages to, she will drop her backwards, suplexing her into the ground. Keeping her in her arms, she'd shift around to her back, suplexing her again and then shift again into a belly to belly hold, from where she will suplex her a final time, this time with greater force, before releasing her to fall to the ground.

COMBATSYS: Shermie successfully hits Meifeng with Shermie Carnival.

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Shermie          0/-------/-------|=======\====---\1          Meifeng

Rebuffed from her leaping attack, the tigress hops backwards. Her azure orbs lag behind the motion, moving to orbit around her a second later. She seems stable -- but then her ribcage hitches. And then she doubles forward, appearing to sneeze into her forearm.

The tiger's eyes widen as she takes note of the blood left behind on her sleeve.

Gritting her teeth, she looks back at Shermie -- and squeezes her fists. The orbs respond; a moment later, the orbs dissolve into streaks of light, their absorbed energies causing a pale blue glow to appear around Meifeng for an instant. "I will keep that in mind!"

That momentary steeling of will is all the time Meifeng gets, though, before Shermie manages to grab hold. Meifeng's low growl can be heard as she's forcibly yanked forward, then plowed around -- for the Frenchwoman is able to wrench the NOL lieutenant around as if she were a rag doll, slamming her time and time again into the deck of the skyship!

Meifeng's form crumples on that last hit -- but if her clenched fists are any indication, there's still fight left in this tiger. Indeed, after the deck stops shaking from the impact, the tiger coils up, trembling with a mix of pain and determination.

An instant later: a silhouette of helicoptering limbs blocks out the overhead lights. Whup, whup, whup...

The next instant would see Meifeng's arms crashing down at Shermie. The tiger roars, her throat damp with intensity. But should she land, the next thing she would do is thrust her palm forward, channeling her qi into a rapid-fire blitz of her three energy orbs. Though they were blue before, this time they are a dark purple, tainted with amorphous blobs of crimson. And on her face -- a look of confused pain -- her mouth parted; her brows knit into consternation.

COMBATSYS: Meifeng successfully hits Shermie with Form One - Keening Draft.

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Shermie          0/-------/-======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2          Meifeng

The dimming of the lights gives the skyship a spooky ambience, which sees Shermie letting out "oooh" and ahhh" sounds.

The arms crashing down soon snap her out of her silliness though and as the tiger roars, the rockstar reels, her legs buckling as she's blasted in the face.

She blinks behind her blunt bangs, bringing her hand up to check for any damage. She finds some sensitive spots and it's several seconds, before she is able to contemplate her comeback.

When it comes, it sees her dashing across the ring and trying to grab on to her opponent's head.

If she manages to, she will swing into a one armed handstand, atop their head, then drop down swiftly to smash Meifeng into the ground, by using her knee across the back of her head.

COMBATSYS: Meifeng blocks Shermie's Shermie Shoot.

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Shermie          0/-------/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2          Meifeng

Adrenaline really is a wonderful thing -- it's chased away the pain, and managed to settle the tiger's stomach as well. And with it she's able to put some of those concerns onto the backburner -- such that she can enjoy the repartee with an apparently entertained Shermie.

Pressing ahead isn't an urgent concern for the lieutenant as she gives Shermie some breathing room. "You and Chris really do seem to enjoy fighting. It is quite refreshing!" She rocks her neck from side to side, raising her bajiquan-style guard once again, nodding as Shermie signals that she's still in the fight.

Breath is recovered. And then Shermie is in motion once more. Meifeng's response is quick this time; she's able to bring her arms up to defend against the attack. Her orbs also swing in, interposing themselves in harm's way. The orbs take some of the damage, squishing as if they were thick water balloons. Even still, the force is enough to wrench the orbs - and the tiger's arms - away. The kung fu tiger's able to work this into her favor with well-timed footwork, swiveling around so that the followup grazes across her back and shoulders.

She twists further, dropping into a slight crouch. And when she uncoils herself, she aims to piston her feet into three quick rising kicks. The force would be augmented by her three orbs up shooting upwards in a shadow of their master's attack -- an impact that would see the three orbs explosing in a burst of crimson and azure energy!

COMBATSYS: Meifeng successfully hits Shermie with Form Seven - Whistling Gust.
>>> Punitive Hit!!! <<<

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Shermie          1/-----==/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2          Meifeng

"Fighting is my hobby" Shermie states, starting to dance around. "Fashion and music are my careers, but this is purely for fun. It takes a lot of the pressure off, though I don't deny, it's a thrill when I win!"

She eyes the tiger from behind her hair "I hope you enjoy yourself too, Meifeng."

The bursting of the balloon like orbs earns them a round of applause, which extends to the fancy footworked feline, as she swerves the worst of the damage.

As the kicks come towards her, Shermie's dance display is interrupted, but she stands her ground, trying to tough them out in the hope that she can stay upright and take the chance to slip behind Meifeng.

The choice costs her though, as she's brought to her knees, meaning her motion has to come in the form of a crawl.

Climbing back to her now unsteady feet, she wraps her arms around the nimble tiger's neck, positioning herself to perform a choke hold.

COMBATSYS: Meifeng Toughs Out Shermie's Choke Hold!

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Shermie          1/----===/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2          Meifeng

There was a time when Meifeng had refused to allow her hair to be trimmed back. She liked it wild and uncouth; it matched her disposition at the time. It's been a while since she'd even considered growing her hair out again. Looking back at Shermie, she feels like she made the right choice. It looks good on Shermie, but the look isn't one for the lieutenant.

The tiger smiles back through her yellow-tinted lenses. "It is fun, yes. I find fighting to be an invigorating change of pace." Not to say that her job -doesn't- involve fighting, per se -- just that it's hard to really talk about the specifics of her job in an open forum like this.

... But that was a few moments ago. Now? Shermie's hands are wrapping about Meifeng's neck, just after the fluffy-tailed one lands from her succession of kicks. Lt Yao started to turn away, but Shermie was a bit too quick for her -- and that means it's all Meifeng can do to hold on.

But it is worthy of note that Meifeng is not just a 'cat' lady, but also a -tiger-. Shermie may find that it's harder to clamp tight to someone as well-muscled as Meifeng -- someone who -had- grown up in the wild, so many years ago. Her neck muscles tense -- and the veins on her forehead and neck bulge out as she puts her heart and soul into resisting the choke hold! Her eyes lock with Shermie -- well, such as the veiling bangs would allow. "Grrrrr....!" she growls back, blood gurgling in her throat...

But with Shermie locked onto her neck, Meifeng resolves to seek an advantage. A roar escapes her as she pushes back against Shermie, one arm shooting up under Shermie's -- and then seeking to knock her arms out of the way! Once she's able to break free, she'd continue spinning her arms into a windmill strike! Meanwhile, as her orbs loop around behind Shermie, Meifeng would continue the close-range barrage, slamming into a shoulder strike, and then a hip strike, transitioning into a full roundhouse kick extension -- relying on her orbs to keep Shermie fenced in for the bajiquan assault!

COMBATSYS: Meifeng successfully hits Shermie with Unbound Form - Relentless Typhoon.

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Shermie          2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|>>>>---\-------\0          Meifeng

"Grrr" Shermie imitates, grinning wildly at the big cat.

"Okay, so you won't let me tame you, Miss Tiger. I can respect that."

As Meifeng makes her bid for freedom, The CYS star struggles to stay clear of the spinning arms! She's slammed, she's struck and very soon she's squirming on the floor of the flying fight venue.

She refuses to stay down though. It's a struggle, but she gathers all her remaining strength and stamina to leap into the air!

From here she will dive forwards into the fearsome feline, trying to catch her around the waist and swing into a suplex position behind her. If she does so, she'll transition into a double backflip, seeking to slam Meifeng into the ground with a release and then pulling her up by the arm into a belly to belly position.

Bending backwards, the French fashionista will endeavour to drive her head into the ground, leaving her dazed and possibly confused! Looking to take advantage of this, she'd finish off by locking her long legs around her neck and spinning horizontally, before slamming the tiger into the ground with her hips.

An impressive effort for sure, but one that comes with the cost of the musician collapsing from exhaustion.

COMBATSYS: Shermie can no longer fight.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Meifeng          0/-------/---<<<<|

COMBATSYS: Meifeng just-defends Shermie's MAX Shermie Carnival!

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Meifeng          0/-------/---<<<<|

Meifeng has a great deal of respect for anyone who can keep fighting -- and smiling! -- as long as Shermie has -- it's quite the testament to her will and determination. Especially for something described as a 'hobby.' So while she could easily take umbrage at the gentle mockery, discretion is the better part of valor...!

The only -bad- part about this fight -- and the tournament in general -- has been the odd occurrences of her qi fighting back against her. It's true that she's only recently learned to harness her qi without the aid of her sword, Huan. And yet, her fight with Clio did -not- involve any such... eruptions of blood rage. Only fights within the tournament proper have... And it's those fits of rage, much like the ones that troubled her in her youth, that the NOL lieutenant thought she'd gotten a handle over.

She swallows a gulp of air, though. And as Shermie comes at her once more, she's regained her focus. The feline fighter steps backwards, raising her guard for a frontal attack -- and momentarily forgets that Shermie is headed for her waist. She steps back a moment too late, allowing Shermie's able to pivot around behind her for a suplex! But there's one advantage Meifeng has -- her orbs. And with a flick of her wrist, she pulls the orbs into position. At the critical moment, where she's -just- about to hit the ground, one qi orb is right there waiting, like a glowing azure pillow. The orb explodes into a motes of light on contact, cancelling out the impact.

Meifeng is then hauled up, finding herself face to face with Shermie. She grins back, with feral intensity, even as Shermie seeks to suplex her into the ground once more. The slightly taller woman proves her flexibility as she bridges backwards, staying as supple as she can. This time as well, an orb is there to take the hit, shearing apart into more motes of azure light and sparing her head and shoulders the hard impact. But, there at that precise moment where Shermie's hold is weakest, Meifeng suddenly kicks into motion with a half-growl, half-purr, hurling herself free of the hold and backflipping to safety.

Her tail swings wide, stilling the last of the tigress' momentum, as she snaps back into a ready stance, panting heavily from the exchange. She seems ready for a followup -- but seeing Shermie in her current state, holds her ground.

"Ahh! What an exciting fight! You are quite the grappler, Miss Shermie!" She grins, slipping out of her stance to steady the glasses upon her nose -- and taking the opportunity to take another gulp of air.

"If this is the focus you apply to a hobby, I cannot wait to listen to your music."

She places her fist in her palm and bows to Shermie -- and then once more to Rose. The piano players may require a different greeting strategy.

COMBATSYS: Meifeng takes no action.

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

COMBATSYS: Meifeng has ended the fight here.

Rose has been fixated on the fight. So much so that she hasn't even made a gesture for some wine. It's been that riveting. She's gasped at the appropriate times, slid to the edge of her seat and took it all in. Every strike, every block, every improbable perfect motion. A model audience.

Moments that seem like hours later, it's over. Meifeng defeats Shermie in a glorious display of skill and power. It certainly didn't look easy, the lieutenant certainly gave her all, as did the musician, but only she was left standing.

Rose rises from her throne, applauding. "Well done! Excellent! Masterfully done," she says exuberantly. She stops clapping and gestures to one side, a medic darting out onto the floor to give Shermie a once over to make sure she's not too seriously injured. At the same time, Rose descends the dais, making another gesture. Another attendant pushes the cart with the covered object and the belt on it over to her.

"Lieutenant Yao, congratulations. Your victory today has sealed your place in the annals of history as the Champion of the Rising Star Tournament of Twenty Twenty-Two. For this, I give you three prizes. First, the belt. It is yours." She sweeps her hand at the belt, showcasing it.

"Second, I give you a token of my esteem. Something to display proudly so that you may look on it and remember me, your humble host, fondly."

Rose reaches over and grasps the cloth, and pulls it free in a flourish. Under the cloth is a framed picture. The frame is immaculately polished ebony inlaid with some beautifully grained red wood. The frame is pretty minimalist and modern, but is likely handmade and worth quite a bit. The picture is ... Well.

The picture encased in the frame is of Rose Bernstein herself, which is self centered as hell but not too weird. Except the part that makes it weird is that it's a budoir photo. Rose is in a classily revealing red lingere set, on her knees with her back to the camera. Her torso is half turned to look back at the camera with smoky eyes. It's honestly not a bad picture, but boy, is it ''weird''.

She tosses the cloth aside with a smile. "And your third prize, Lieutenant is... You get to fight me!"

Rugal stops playing the piano.

He did not stop during the melee. He did not stop when Meifeng had crashed into the piano; of course he took over Adelheid's portion for that part. But this was the point where he stopped. When the battle was over, and Rose had offered her prizes to Meifeng, that was when the leader of the R Cartal stopped playing the piano. He pauses, looking across from the piano, staring at Meifeng. A smile on his face. His bionic eye blazing with a deep crimson.

Waiting to see if Meifeng would accept her prize, before he would continue to play.

Meifeng takes a few moments to rub the tenderness out of her shoulders. Now that the adrenaline has started to fade, she can feel more of the fallout from Shermie plowing her into the deck...

She stands stock upright as Rose addresses her, offering a faint and polite smile as she listens intently. At the belt, she nods graciously, eager to accept.

The boudoir photograph, though...

Is the queasiness in her stomach a return of the motion sickness, or something else...? She grows a bit more pale at first. But the mention of a third prize -- and one that seems altogether -much- more palatable -- brings a toothy grin back to the feline fighter's face.

"Why, yes! I would be up for that. If it is not rude of me to ask though, is there time for rest and refreshments...? Particularly for the band, and my assistant... as they have travelled all this way..." She smiles cheerily, offering a brief glance at Rugal -- and at Adelheid.

Maybe the winner of the fight gets to pick where the boudoir portrait goes. Who knows?

If Rose is displeased by Meifeng's reaction to the portrait, she doesn't show it. Then again, she ''is'' Rugal's daughter and is quite good at showing only what she wants to show.

"Of course, Lieutenant. Rest. Be refreshed. I have had guest chambers prepared for you all. Take what time you need to be ready to fight again, and merely let an attendant know. We will meet here for your prize."

She's not going to fight in that dress, is she?

Log created on 19:30:59 06/15/2022 by Rose Bernstein, and last modified on 22:38:14 06/16/2022.