Description: With the shoot for Lucky Chloe's new music video, Kiss of Life fast approaching, the singer steals her backing dancer's idea to get some free publicity (and slave labour) by getting the New Fighting Generation competitors involved. What starts off as some low key litter picking soon spirals into biting banter and blood being shed.
The plan had been conjured up one Saturday afternoon on Daybreak Beach. Lucky Chloe had come to scope out the location as a shoot for her new music video for Kiss of Life, accompanied by her friend and backing dancer Raiza. Disgusted by the sorry state of the Sunshine City beach, the singing star had sulked and stropped whilst Raiza came up with a clever plan to launch a cleanup campaign. Taking advantage of the New Fighting Generation competitors being the hottest ticket in town, they could both sort out the beach for the shoot and get some perfect publicity for the pussycat popstar.
During her guest spot on The New Fighting Generation Roundup Podcast Chloe had announced that whoever cleaned up the most rubbish would win a date with her! It didn't have to be a romantic one (unless a certain Mister Storm should prove successful) but it did mean that the lucky winner could choose an all expenses paid treat of their choice. Perhaps it would be a meal eating the finest food in town or a shopping spree at the mall. Maybe they'd like to star in the music video. All bets are off! (Within reason.)
Chloe has showed up to the beach to launch the event in a hot pink sundress and cat-eye pink tinted sunglasses. Her pigtails are tied with matching pink ribbons and on her feet are some slides with cat faces on.
"Welcome New Fighting Generation! It's my pleasure to invite you here today to take part in this project to make Sunshine City cleaner. I know some of you have already been involved in charity work locally." She nods her head in the direction of Ichika and Chevy. "Whilst for others, it may be the first time they are offering a public service. Whatever your level of experience, everyone can pick up trash. Now there are gloves available to protect your hands if you choose to use them and also sticks and nets to latch on to awkward items."
She gestures over in the direction of two young Japanese men in pink polo tops. "My staff here will be happy to answer any other questions you have. Oh and just so everyone knows, there will be photographs taken during the day, so I hope none of you are shy!"
Djamila came. She did say she would, and she will be safe there, yeah. Though for anyone that knows Djamila, her demeanor is not the same as usual. She's keeping more to herself, she's quieter. Her Hidjab is not set like usual either.
She listens to Lucky Chloe explaining everything. She didn't super care about the prize before, she cares even less now, but it's still a good cause. So up with it
When it's time, she goes get the gloves. She has no problem getting some gloves. It's when someone wants to help her that she pulls back rather sharply with a deep breath. Soon after. she says, "Sorry." She puts on the gloves with no further explanations.
She then starts picking up trash in her little corner of the beach. Her moments are more mechanical, less fluid than usual.
There are not many people she wishes to see right now, but she steels herself ready in case someone comes to talk to her.
Ichika had come to the beach once before herself. She, too, had noted how awful it was - but as she had come in the aftermath of the Soup Kitchen Incident, she'd been too exhausted to consider trying to organise something herself. When she heard that Lucky Chloe was putting this together, well, even as taxing as she is finding her current workload, she knew she needed to get involved.
The girl returns Chloe's nod with one of her own, and a smile. "Hopefully there'll be less drama this time." She says, cheerfully. Greatly heartened by the number of people who have turned out, she wastes no time. She collects a trashbag, draws her sword, and plunges it...
... deep into a piece of washed-up driftwood. Which she then deposits into the bag. "There's a lot of beach. But there's a lot of us, as well. I'm sure if we all work together, we'll get through it in no time." She does shoot a look in Djamila's direction but - she seems content to stick to her own area, at least for now; Ichika definitely wasn't going to invite another encounter if she could avoid it.
It all started with that pain the ass cheerleader, Iris reflects. She'd had to tell Amber the Annoying that so far she hadn't met any of her teammates in person just yet. Iris can't go back in time and win the fight with a do-over -- and hasn't even spent much time thinking about it; that way lies madness if she's really planning to do this professional fighting thing Seriously -- but she CAN choose to throw that bit back in her opponent's face and actually attempt to meet people.
Plus, good advertising.
Iris herself is waiting at the edge of the boardwalk while Chloe gives her introductory speech, until there is a clearing of the throat behind her. Turning, the Brit sees her spindly butler and expansive nanny, both having recently departed a Sunshine city bus and holding big bags from, apparently, Home Depot.
"We've returned, young miss," the butler says gravely, handing over a medium-size bag. "Although I must say, isn't this sort of work demeaning?"
"No," the wizardess replies, taking the bag and looking inside with satisfaction. "And even if it were, it's stupid that I have yet to meet a single one of my supposed teammates, so if even one of them shows up, then this was worth it. Here, let me have that, Nanny."
"Right you are, young miss," the linebacker-esque Nanny says, handing Iris, of all things, a garden rake. "Weren't no trouble gettin' these. You sure you don't want us helpin' out and all?"
Iris shakes her head. "No, you head on back to the hotel and have some time to yourselves. Thanks for running this errand for me." She gives a little wave and, rake and shopping bag in hand, heads off to the beach to find a place to sit down for a moment. This is going to get complicated.
Near the end of the tide's greatest reach, a curious sight decorates the beach's sandy shore. A headstone made of sand that's been packed together by some beach-sculptor's hand sits as a silent memorial to one of the city's most beloved figures, taken before his time and last seen being placed in a coffin in Stoker and Sons Funeral Home.
==R.I.P. BRIAN STORM==
The likely-ephemeral grave marker is surrounded by a small group of young children playing in this patch of beach that has been fully cleared of the bottles, cans, and various sharp objects that litter most of the sprawling shoreline. And in front of the marker is a rather large lump in the sand, sculpted to strikingly resemble the face and body of Brian Storm himself. The likeness is almost uncanny, although its handsomeness appears to be somewhat exaggerated.
As some of the fighters start to get to work, Chloe wanders amongst them offering the occasional encouraging words but not any practical help. She sees her role here as motivational or perhaps as a supervisor. She's definitely not getting dirty.
Presently she comes to the sign constructed in the sand and a hand moves up to her pink painted mouth.
"Brian Storm is dead?" she gasps. "Surely that was just a wrestling gimmick."
She takes out her candy pink cellphone, googling to try and confirm or deny the shocking news. Apparently though, it doesn't have service on this beach. She scowls at the screen just as a photographer snaps a shot of her.
"Delete that" she orders under her breath. "Now!"
Djamila doesn't seem to care much about what is going on around. She just picks up some trash. She doesn't let out a rather loud curse when finds a needle on the beach. "Who the fuck does that. I swear, asshole." She takes a deep breath to calm down.
After that, she continues picking up trash. Some she is very rough with, some she's almost hesitant, but at least the trash she picks doesn't have feelings, so it doesn't matter. She speaks to herself low. "Remember, you're doing that to help. It's ok, it's all ok."
A bag fills quickly with how much trashes this beach has.
"Mm-hmm..." she assents, slowing her pace. Breathless, she comments, "Back home... my boss' favorite sayin' used to be... 'many hands make for light work!' Though that was usually right before he shut the door to his air-conditioned office..."
When Ichika looks over towards Djamila, it's hard for Chevy to avoid noticing her teammate's discomfort. "Mm." Not wanting to stir up a discussion right then and there, she moves to spear a piece of trash with her pole; buckets have been traded for a razor-sharp point. She's done beach cleanup several times in the past, back home. That probably explains her attire too: denim shortalls, a bikini top, and a wide-brimmed hat to keep the temperature at bay, and water shoes to keep her feet safe from the beach trash.
Though -- after spearing a few pieces of trash, she glances over towards Iris and her entourage. "Oh... hey, we have even more help...?" But then she sees Nanny and the butler running on. "... Mm."
She asks Ichika, after a moment: "Hey, Ichika... I don't know much about swords an' all, but... ain't that gonna dull your blade or somethin'?"
If she notices the grave -- or Chloe's commentary about it -- she's too polite and/or shy to comment at this point!
Looking around, Iris doesn't really recognize anyone here, other than Lucky Chloe herself, who is famous enough on the internet that she's recognizable at any distance. Shrugging, and hoping some other members of Team Blaze make an appearance, the Brit finds a park bench-ish place to sit near the boardwalk and throws herself down on it, putting the Home Depot bag on the space next to her and laying the rake across her lap. Maybe she missed the part about Brian Storm? But even if she hadn't, "the thing" is that he's dead, so she could be forgiven, one imagines.
"Alright, let's get to work." Holding out a hand, there's a telltale flash of light and a knife -- specifically a really witchy-looking, athame-adjacent knife -- appears her in grip. "Right, the combination would be something... like... this." Leaning forward, she studiously carves something into the wooden handle of the rake. Anyone who can get close enough (or get a camera drone close enough) may recognize them as runes, for that is indeed what they are. Having carved three or four down in a vertical line, Iris nods in satisfaction, and the knife vanishes as suddenly as it came. Standing up, the wizardess holds the rake upright next to her, mutters a barely-audible and definitely not English word, and then lets go.
The runes on the rake flash briefly, and the rake itself... does not fall over. Instead it sort of... hovers there. And because narrative convention is the most powerful force in the universe, two little twiggy arms sprout from the wood on the handle.
Grabbing the shopping bag, Iris stands up and pulls a pair of heavy work gloves from it, and nods at the rake. "Okay, buddy. You and me against the world."
"I'll need to sharpen it again when we're done, yes." Ichika replies to Chevy, "But it won't cause any permanent problems. That's... actually part of what I like about the sword."
As she talks, she continues to work; though perhaps surprisingly, she doesn't seem to be throwing herself into it with the kind of passion that Djamila is showing. And she certainly doesn't have any strange magical tricks. What she does have is a good eye and methodical precision in spearing the trash and slipping it into the bag.
"After every fight, or every event like this, I spend some time restoring it. It's like... my body needs to heal, and remembers the lessons that it has learned. So I do the same for it, right? And it would be sad if my sword only remembered when it was used to cause pain. So that's why I like using it for other things. Like this, or chopping vegetables for soup."
It's only after she's done with her explanation that her eyes drift in Iris' direction, and she sees the rake. "Huh." She smiles, shaking her head a little in wonder. A few weeks ago, a self-propelled gardening implement would have seemed impossible and demanded explanation. Now, though? Well. It just makes as much sense as anything else she's seen and done lately.
"Osterlund-san wasn't lying. She really can do anything. I was wondering how we'd deal with the glass, but that'll make it way easier."
Suddenly, a tremor starts to run through the sand in the midst of the group of the children, causing them to turn their heads in near-unison to watch in horror at the display.
"It's a sandworm!" one of the kids shouts. "Worm sign!"
"No, it's a volcano! It's gonna explode!" another, rather imaginative kid shouts.
"No, it's an antlion!" a third child, this one a girl with a bucket and shovel, shouts. "I saw it once on a video and -"
"NO!" a muffled voice booms from under the sand, the sound like distant artillery. Then, suddenly, the sand-sarcophagus explodes, and a very pale-looking, buzzcut and dark-eyed Brian Storm pops up from underneath it, sending sand spilling from his shoulders. "It's an ANT-BRIAN!"
Electricity flashes around him, flinging sand scattershot around him and causing the children to scream in pain and annoyance as they're pelted with particulate.
Standing up to his full height and dusting himself off, he turns to the kids with a grin.
"ALRIGHT! I hope one of you kids took a picture! I bet that sand-Brian looked awesome!"
"I already uploaded it on FightBook, Uncle Brian," the little girl says, holding up a smartphone.
Already, hundreds of online news sites have been reporting on the sudden unexpected death of Brian Storm in a ravenous frenzy for clicks.
"Awesome, dude!" Brian says, giving his niece two thumbs up. "Now, who wants to help Uncle Brian pick up bullet casings over by the boardwalk?"
Multiple hands shoot up in response.
Lucky Chloe laughs nervously as the storm that is Brian proves he is very much alive! "Great stunt!" she enthuses, waving over in his direction, her cheeks flushing almost as pink as her clothing.
"Make sure you get some shots of him and the kids" she orders the photographer.
The beach is already starting to look better with the efforts of the young fighters. At this rate it'll be done by the end of the day. The only problem will be keeping it clean. Perhaps she will have to hire some security to stand over it until the video is complete.
As she struts across the sand she spots Djamila and moves closer to converse with her.
"Thanks for showing up like you said. I watched your last fight. I'm sorry you weren't able to get the win."
Pulling on the heavy work gloves -- hey, a wizard's hands are their instrument, along with like, the fabric of creation -- Iris heads off, ambulatory wake in tow, whistling a little tune. "Right, so your job," she says, without actually seeming as if she's speaking to anyone and definitely without turning to LOOK at anyone, "is to get all the junk you can into a nice pile and then we'll sort it out, I guess." Stopping at a reasonably unoccupied spot of beach, Iris puts her gloves hands on her hips. "And I'll be grabbing anything too big for you. Alright?"
NOW she turns and looks at the rake, which has followed her all the way here. Can a rake nod? Who knows. It has little arms, which... do not really seem to do anything other than make it less aerodynamic. But without further ado, the rake starts methodically... well, raking lines in the sand in a nice big geometric-feeling square pattern, like a combine harvester, dragging detritus in its wake.
Of course, then a man explodes out of the sand in the distance, which pulls the wizard's attention (and gaze) in that direction. Ant... Brian? No, wait, where has she heard 'Brian' in relevant contexts before? A pulling out of her phone and quick thumbing through some app or another confirms: that man is one of her teammates.
"...Welp." What does it say that she immediately scans the horizon for what is probably ANYONE ELSE? In the process she comes across two vaguely familiar shapes, brow knitting. "Oh hey, it's... uh..." You can remember the eightfold seal of demonic banishment in four different dead languages but you can't remember Ichika's name? "Sword Kid. And Boba Girl, I think?"
When Brian makes his spectacular entrance, it makes Djamila jump. She then turns her head toward the commotion and mutters something, taking a few deep breaths in the process.
It's starting to make her wonder if she did the right thing coming here. Maybe she should have stayed away. But then what, let that creep want? She said she would be there, and she is. She's kind of wishing Ayala was here, but it makes sense she isn't. Kenzo would be nice too. She enjoyed her time with him.
She takes a short break before she goes back to picking trash. She's not here to win this contest at all. She has too much on her mind anyway.
At least until Lucky Chloe came to her. She didn't expect that. "A promise is a promise. " She takes a deep breath. "Happy to be here." She means it, but yeah, she's different. "I lose a fight, I learn, I win a fight I learn. As long as I am alive, I learn. I will try to keep it that. Thanks." She doesn't know what else to say.
Kenzo for his part pulls up to the beach parking lot driving the Ford Mustang Mach-E that he had been driving every since his fight with Buck. He doesn't go to the beach right away but instead pulls a robot out of the trunk.
The robot itself has a pair of tank treads, a shovel with a sieve to allow sand to go through leaving rubbish in it and an arm to put it in a canister. Trailing behind it is a brush to sweep up the tread marks.
After closing the trunk he heads to beach. He waves to Djamila, Ichika, and Chevy before turning the machine on to clean up mode where it digs in, lifts, pauses for a moment to allow Kenzo to intervene if something that shouldn't get trashed ends up in the shovel before it goes into the canister.
For a good long while, Chevy is focused on her task, just like Ichika -- spearing anything sufficiently large and prodding it into her bag. The good thing is, far from the boardwalk, the bullet casings are fewer and further between, but she does kneel down to retrieve those she does find.
"... Right, yeah! That makes sense..." She says that -- though the redhead's forehead wrinkles as she gives the matter a bit more thought. Swords... have memories?
She holds up her pole, raising an eyebrow. "I mean, I'd never thought of it that way." Does her pole remember the few times she'd hit the wall? Does it care that she's using it to pick up trash? Weird...
"... Huh." Chevy didn't even think about the glass. It's not a common problem where she's from. "Yeah, that *would* make it easier..."
And then there is a commotion. And an -explosion-, as Brian Storm erupts from the sand. Chevy pauses in her work for a moment, raising a hand to conceal her snickering. As one of Brian Storm's fans, she's not as surprised as she -could- be! But ... as one of his more shy fans, she's content to let the kids soak up his attention for the moment.
"Hey, I'll be back in a minute, Ichika..."
She'd heard 'Boba Girl' float past her ear on the breeze. And Chevy's waving her hand to Iris as she jogs on over.
"Hey! It's Chevy, good to see you again!" She makes a pointed look at the rake. "... How's it movin'? From back there I thought it was one of them robots, but..."
She sees Djamila and Lucky Chloe talking, and flashes a smile if they happen to look her way. And to Kenzo, who just pulled up in his roaring^H^H^H whisper-quiet Mach-E, she gives a friendly wave!
Waving to a blind girl, or smiling at her, shouldn't get any reaction, but Kenzo gets a wave back. And somewhat Chevy gets a smile back, but it's a little force. Hopefully, Chevy doesn't think she has a problem with her. Otherwise, she wouldn't have forced a smile to begin with.
When Lucky Chloe goes to handle other business, Djamila moves awkwardly toward Kenzo. "It's ok if I hang out with you a bit I mean I will still pick up trash away from your thing. Just if it's ok, yeah?"
'Fuck, act normal. What the hell is wrong with you. You're a strong woman, so stop with this already. Just be fucking normal.' She tells herself in her mind before adding to Kenzo. "You don't have to though. If you want your peace, I will go back there, you know?" She fidgets a bit while waiting.
Things in Iris's corner of the beach are looking surprisingly serene at the moment, perhaps because she has neither fans nor kayfabe-reinforcing antics to draw attention to her. Compared to the show going on elsewhere, a rake that's moving on its own is surprisingly tame. For her part, the Brit is just tossing things in a garbage bag that the rake would be unlikely to catch, which aren't numerous but ARE getting progressively more existential; she just, for example, yanked a school globe (like, the map of the planet) out of the sand and stared at it in disbelief before throwing it in the bag.
Something bumping up against her calf gets her attention, and she looks down to find the rake 'standing' at her side. Behind it, a carefully-combed, Spaceballs-esque stretch of newly-pristine sand greets Iris's gaze, along with a respectably tall pile of miscellaneous small-scale garbage. The wizardess smiles. "Heck yeah, good job, buddy." She extends her hand out and downward; the rake dutifully puts the end of one of its twig arms into her palm for a moment. "Why not take five for a bit before we get that stuff in one of these bags?"
This is the scene that greets Chevy when she makes her appearance to say hello: a grown woman giving a magically-animated garden implement a high five. Straightening, Iris gives the new arrival a little wave. Thank god, she said her name. "Ah, hello there. I figured other teams would have folks in attendance, too."
The fighting engineer, raises an eyebrow when Djamila comes over. While he is not the most socially adept person, he can tell something is up with the blind dancer.
"Yeah. You can hang out with me. Shouldn't be a problem if you hang close by. It's not perfect so you might catch something it misses."
A look of concern touches his face as there is a battle in his mind as to whether to ask if something is wrong. He ultimately comes to the decision to table it for later.
"Hey. Would you like me to give you a lift home afterwards? "
He turns to see Iris waving and so waves to both her and the ambulatory rake near her.
"Thanks, it was getting lonely on the beach." She tells Kenzo. It was a lousy excuse, but it would work for now.
"I don't mind catching something your robot misses. It's cool. You made it yourself?" She asks. It was interesting in a tech kind of way.
"Would that be ok? I wouldn't want to be a weight, but we do live in the same place, so yeah. if it's no bother, I would like that." It's about the first thing she means after that things, it would be nice.
Don't worry if you're not in the mood to talk much though. It can be quiet. Will just pick trash and stay close. It doesn't matter, I don't want to force you to talk or anything. Thank you for the company. I... I appreciate it.
Chevy takes a moment to applaud for the rake. The farm girl may act a little dense from time to time, but it doesn't take long for her to realize the rake is acting like it's alive. And that is why her jaw is hanging open when Iris poses her question.
"Uh.... y-yeah!" Gulping down a breath of air, she regains most of her composure as she considers a proper answer to that. "Yeah! Team Thunder is here to represent, yep!" She folds down the brim of her beach hat, as if it were a pricier Texas-style one. "Me and Ichika... you and Brian Storm from Blaze -- he's so cool -- and Kenzo and Djamila from Metal."
Satisfied that she's recalled the names, she asks with a grin: "So is this the sort of job the Anything Agency does?"
"Well, well... the gang's all here, then," Iris says to Chevy in response, before adding, as an afterthought, "or 50% of each individual gang. So the guy with the flashy sand detonation was Brian Storm?" She turns and looks toward where the children and the wrestler were not that long ago with a thoughtful look. "Wish I'd had a chance to say hello, even if he DOES seem like a complete bloody maniac."
Stretching her arms above her head, the Brit turns back to Chevy at the question about the work she does, and grins slightly. "Well, it DOES say 'anything' on the card, love," Iris says, with a slight 'what-can-you-do?' shrug. "Granted, I think if this had been a client request, I might have said no. My little friend here is something I could do when I was barely a teenager, after all, and I like to take jobs I can sink my teeth into instead, challenge-wise."
Meanwhile, the rake -- perhaps at the edge of Chevy's periphery -- appears to be circling the American fighter, or more specifically, her weapon of choice. Can... can a magically-animated rake blush? Is Chevy's pole secretly extremely sexy to other wood-based beings?!
"Oh, he -is!- That's why he's got so many fans!" Chevy even pumps her fist in the air, as if she's about to shout out one of his catchphrases... But then thinks against it. Shouting randomly at people you don't know all that well might come across a little rude. Instead -- she drops her volume a little. "He's got a really mean stage persona but he's really got a heart of gold, you know... "
Though, a thought occurs to her, probably a little on the late side. Shifting her weight, she lets her arms hang by her sides. "... Wait, you haven't even -met- him yet?" Chevelle lets out a soft chuckle. "Dang. Did you meet Coco or Hawksley yet?" Could it be that Chevy's spent more time with Team Blaze?
Her relaxed state seems to be short-lived though, as she notices the rake gravitating towards her, at first. She takes a step sideways as Iris talks about client work. "... Oh. So you're... able to move them around and such...? They're moving... without any input from you at all?" Her brow furrows for a moment. First Ichika talks about her sword remembering, and now Iris is having her rake move on its own like one of her servants.
And then suddenly the rake is moving -closer-. Chevy -jumps- to the side, raising her hands in front of her defensively. "Aaah! What the-- they aren't -alive- are they?"
One of the problems with growing up in a family with an ancestral and quite old mystical lineage is that you stop thinking of things like 'a rake moving on its own, and taking an interest in a quarterstaff' as being out of the ordinary, which might explain why after Chevy's shocked question, Iris's expression goes from 'yeah why's that weird' to a more dawning and, truthfully, apologetic expression.
"Oh, not like... I mean, it's not ALIVE," the Brit says, trying her damndest to reassure the woman next to her that a rake is not going to follow her home or anything. "Well it is, sort of, and sort of not. It's, uh..." Suddenly faced with how to explain sorcery to someone who has 0 frame of reference for it, Iris is left groping in the dark and latches onto the first thing she can think of. "Like a faerie? Yeah. A faerie. The spell invites a little bodiless spirit into the object that can follow simple orders and such. They're not, you know, like... human intelligent."
She looks down to find the rake's twig arms bent into < > shapes against its own handle, and puts her hands in the air. "Look, I call 'em like I see 'em, alright? Nobody said you weren't useful or shouldn't be cared about."
Once Chevy's apart from the rake, she can see much more clearly that the object of its attention (and she doesn't even want to contemplate its -affection-) is her pole, stuck in the sand. And at that point, she's considerably -less- antsy about it.
But... there are now things for her to grasp in the time where she is safely out of rake range. (So she thinks.) "... Faeries, huh...?" Resting one hand upon her hip, she seems to grapple with that idea for a moment, before giving an understanding nod. "Yeah... that makes sense." It only makes -some- sense. Leaps of faith seem to be required often in this new world of 'fighting' that Chevy's been recently introduced to.
She glances sidelong at the rake, scratching her cheek. "... Okay, but it's not, like... the same faerie -every- time, is it? I mean, I'm sorry if this is makin' it awkward for your lil' guy..."
Chevy glances over at Djamila, and Kenzo. And then she pales, her eyes widening, as she realizes she might be the only one who -hasn't- done a ton of work yet. "... Erm, I should probably..."
"You know?" Iris says, in a terrifyingly worrying casual tone, "I don't actually know the answer to that question?" Caught off guard, she just responded automatically with the truth, which is PROBABLY a bad idea. "It could be? Their attention spans are usually pretty low and the magic ends when they decide to go do someth--"
The rake falls, lifeless, to the sand with a vague *WHMPF* noise. Chevy's pole is safe, as is any other vaguely cylindrical wooden object in her position, or any piles of leaves she had on her person.
"--something else," Iris finishes, reaching down to pick the rake up. The little twig arms, maintained entirely by the presence of the inhabiting spirit, fall harmlessly off, and the wizardess dutifully puts them in the bag of trash she had collected. "Honestly, first rule of magic is that if a spell feels like it makes something TOO easy to do, then there's probably some catch involved. Usually there's no substitute for getting your hands on and doing the work yourself."
She notices the meaningful glance at Chevy's teammates, and nods, giving a little wave of farewell. "Well, hey, it was nice seeing you. I hope your fights are going alright. Who knows, maybe we'll get our chance in the ring at some point."
Chevy blinks at Iris' quick reply. And the tug of gravity that exerts itself on the rake the moment after. "Ah!" She listens intently to the explanation, and nods slowly... "Ahh, yeah...! I feel like that's kinda how my skills work too. Too much thinkin', and poof, the magic's just gone, right?" She seems to understand things in those terms, resting her hands lightly upon her hips.
"I'm just glad we're in an opportunity to learn with friends here. It seems like most everyone here gets along somehow or another!" She nods to Iris' statement, grinning cheerily. "... Oh, yeah! I'm startin' to get the hang of it! You were provin' to be a real terror in that fight with Genie!"
Chevy reaches for her pole, plucking it out of the sand and resting it atop her shoulder. "Yeah! See you around. And best of luck, whoever you end up fightin'!"
And with that, Chevy takes a step back. Can't keep dodging work -all- day long...
The sudden, dramatic entrance of Brian Storm is met with a flat look from Ichika.
"... he's actually made things worse." She mutters to herself, eyeing the unearthed debris and chaotic mess made by his entrance. "Ah, yes, no trouble." She says, shaking her head a little to bring herself back to reality as Chevy dashes off to say hello to her friend; no big deal. No Team Frost either, she realises, as she looks around the beach. That's not too surprising, though. Frost had seemed pretty intense. Though she couldn't say she was sad that Buford wasn't present; she was already trying to avoid Metal's pair just in case she inadvertently sparked some drama. If Buford were here the chances of that escalated even further.
As Brian retreats to the boardwalk to pick up bullet casings with the kids, Ichika sighs and drops off the first bag of trash, retrieves another, empty bag, and goes to the exposed mess; the broken headstone especially. This, she feels a lot less confident about ramming her sword into, so she has to sheathe that and actually haul the pieces into the bag by hand, grumbling faintly to herself the whole time about flashy people who are more concerned with looking good than doing a good job. Huff!
With all the people around, he finds it hard to believe that she was getting lonely. No matter the reason, he was more than willing to keep her company.
"I did make it myself. Knowing what could possibly be in there, I figured it would be a good idea to have a way to get to trash without touching it directly."
As the machine continues to grab waste, he observes things going on at a distance. Djamila's voice brings him back to the close proximity.
"It's not a bother. We're headed to the same place anyway. It's just efficient use of our time."
The rambling and uncertainty that comes afterwards, end up becoming a a sign that something is rotten in the state of California besides some of the trash found on this beach. That's also when Kenzo notices Ichika pointedly avoiding the two of them. Considering his last conversation with her was cordial, that ends striking him as odd and that probably has more to do with his current company than anything he said.
"Something is going on. If you'd like to discuss it now we can do that or if you want, we can wait until the drive home to do so and discuss other things while we're here."
Right now would be a good time to meet the last two people of Team Blaze. Iris seems cool, and Brian Storm seems annoying. But Djamila is not in the right state of mind to try to make new friends. Kenzo, she trained with, and he was a teammate, and she nearly gave herself a concussion in front of him, so she felt the safest with him at the moment. She sighs though, because she should feel the safest with herself, and right now, it wasn't the case.
"Some nasty stuff here. You need gloves and to be careful anyway if you touch anything. The robot is a great idea, but I could never build one. I don't have the technical intelligence you do.
She doesn't pay much attention to anyone else in particular, even though in a way, she's hyper-vigilant. It's a weird feeling.
"Yeah, it's effective to ride together. Can't deny that. Besides, I appreciate you. I mean... you're cool." The worse is seeing how weird she acts and not being able to do anything about it, she's freaking trying. But it all comes out wrong.
"Yeah. I don't know. It would be better to not talk here. Maybe Mint should be there too." She frowns. "Oh god, I lost my last match, I am bringing trouble to the team." Breathe, breath. "It will be ok. But I guess I should share later, yeah. Just not here." She goes as nearby as possible to get trash, any trash, it doesn't matter. Foot in mouth. Not just foot in mouth, whole leg in mouth!
Djamila had seemed to be in a bad mood. Many times, Chevy would tend to be the type of person who would sweep in with a wave of good cheer and hope. But, she also remembers that the last time she'd seen Djamila was during the fight. And the topic of conversation for most of that fight was... the Team Thunder member working on a busted up tombstone right now. The setting isn't... perfect, especially with the groups so spread out as they are. So she's been perfectly fine going over to rendezvous with Ichika.
She just manages to make her way over to Ichika's new spot, one hand clasped to the front of her beach hat. "Hey, Ichika... sorry about that! Iris and I didn't, uh... leave on great terms the last time we talked, and..." She frowns at the wreckage Ichika's poking at. "Oh, hey, that's a big one. Lemme help you with that..." Chevy crouches down, helping to get some of the larger pieces into Ichika's bag. She's able to help Ichika break up the most of the destroyed headstone...
It's just that, as she does so, her grip on her own bag became a secondary concern. With all the redhead's chattering, her own bag is mostly empty. And when she starts to make her way to the coast, she forgets to hold the bag's mouth closed...
The bag is ripped right out of Chevy's hands, swept through the air... right towards Kenzo and Djamila.
Ichika nods with understanding. "Iris is... an interesting person." She says, "I think we left on amicable terms but, she didn't like the idea that I am a fighter at all to begin with. Her magic seems formidable, though. I look forward to facing her." She accepts the help with the larger piece gratefully, the STORM somehow mostly intact and requiring both their efforts to help maneuver it--
Only for disaster to strike.
Ichika watches in horror as the bag is whipped away, and towards the one place she didn't want it to go. All she can do is stare, open-mouthed, as the not-quite-empty bag threatens to careen into Metal's representatives.
"... oh no. No no. This isn't good at all. Chevy!!"
She's still picking up some trash, staying close to Kenzo. She doesn't know what else to say. Everything that comes out of her mouth seems wrong in some way. So she stays mostly silent. But it's nice to be near him.
While she's doing that, a garbage bag is swept toward them. She doesn't react for the longest time until suddenly, she lets her bag drop and grabs the offensive almost empty bag. "You're not going to run away." She tells the bag, or perhaps herself. She looks at Kenzo. "Since you probably need to watch your robot, I will take it back."
She makes her slowly toward Team Thunder, almost hesitantly, but she still makes it. She takes a deep breath.
"I think your bag is trying to skip work. Doesn't have the team Thunder Spirit." She hands it back. When that's done, she says, "Sorry for the disturbance. I will be going back now." She thought about starting something with Ichika, but she was not going to feel better. She's just going to make someone else feel crappy at best and make everyone feel crappy at worse. "Sorry for your lost Ichika. You will get there." She turns around and cringes. That made it sound like Ichika lost someone. She really can't do anything right. "Take care, Chevy." She risks herself saying. At least that didn't sound wrong... right? She isn't even sure right now.
Chevy can't just let everyone else do -all- the work. As soon as her bag flew out of her hands she had started to run after it. But... once she sees Djamila is able to intercept the bag, to keep it from flying off into Sunshine City proper, she breathes a sigh of relief, one hand going to her chest. Not that Djamila would be able to see the gesture.
"... Yeah," she comments Chevy, "it kinda got away from me! Thanks, Djamila...!" She graciously accepts the bag. She bows -- not because she -has- to, but because she just feels more Japanese with Ichika present.
"I feel bad you had to run out all this way."
She glances back to Ichika, with a small measure of apprehension. Did they ever... talk it out? She's puzzled for a moment, but makes a subtle 'c'mon over' gesture with her hand.
But, even then, she looks back to see that Djamila is trying to skirt away. "Oh... Sorry about your loss, Djamila. And dang, that was a close match!" She laughs uneasily. "Hope... everything -else- is going okay though? You seemed like you weren't in a great mood earlier, I was afraid we'd done somethin'..."
Ichika's face becomes as stone as Djamila approaches. The girl's expression just, drops. And though she listens to what Djamila has to say, she herself remains silent. Chevy has perhaps become used to the Ichika she knows; the one who wears her heart on her sleeve. The one that Djamila draws out of her is quite different, and it isn't until the woman turns that Ichika speaks. Her tone is as sharp as the sword sheathed at her side.
A deep sigh leaves the schoolgirl, and she pinches the bridge of her nose.
"Seeing you like this is pathetic." She says, "I don't know if it is your loss, or something else, that has got you acting so miserably. But I can't stand it. You're the most infuriating person I've ever met, but I've never seen you flinch from a challenge before. So. Two choices."
Her hand curls around the hilt of her sword.
"We can find our way back to the Djamila I know with words. Or with violence. Make your choice."
Lucky Chloe returns just in time to hear Ichika's challenging words to Djamila. Behind her is one of the men in the pink polo tops, carrying a huge tray of strawberry smoothies. He's about to give them out to the workers when Chloe holds her hand up to him. She doesn't want a disruption to the drama. If it turns out there's going to be a brawl right here and now on the beach they may even make the local news.
She takes a seat on the sand (being sure to pick one of the areas that's cleared) and takes one of the drink from the tray herself, sipping it slowly as she awaits the coming show.
"Bags are like that." She shrugs at Chevy. "It's no problem. I can still walk." No, don't say that. It makes it sounds like something happened. Well, something did happen. But they don't need to know. "I mean, you know it's nothing."
After that, she wants to answer Chevy about her match and say everything is fine, there is nothing, but there's Ichika. Djamila tried to be nice, but damn. That bitch. Anger needs to come out, and that might just be now. "With words? You have as much depth as a sandwich consisting of only two slices of bread. As for violence? You couldn't beat me on your best day if I was half dead on the ground. So how praytell do you think you can do anything? Get used to what we're doing now. This is likely your future!" Her voice raises louder the more she speaks. "I swear, try to be nice to a little brat. If it's a monster you want, a monster you will get." She's getting red on the face. "So if you want to follow through with that violence. Bring it. I am more than happy to clean the beach in this way." She is so angry right now. Ichika doesn't deserve to receive it all, but she's the only one who can make her blow. Djamila even pulls her staff back to her from Kenzo, with a strong gust of wind, that makes it smack into their hand. That was even painful, but she didn't give a shit.
Chevy, the peacemaker.
And Ichika, the...
Wait, let's not.
Miss Beaumont had stepped aside to try and facilitate the conversation between her closest friend and her polearms sister. She'd -wanted- a cheery, friendly conversation to see if she could get to the root of what had Djamila so worked up. She'd -hoped- that whatever differences the two might have had in the past could have been resolved.
And what she -got- was an explosive confrontation between two veritable forces of nature.
So... she finds herself staring wild-eyed at Ichika's outburst. "... e-excuse me, I--"
But before she can find any positive words to defuse the situation, Chevy finds Djamila just upping the ante even further. Ichika, she can handle some other time. But to have Djamila just -relentlessly- doubling down on her friend? This situation has her beach shoes grinding into the sand so hard it squeaks. She grips hold of the bag and her pointy-ended pole in one hand, gesturing wildly with her other.
"Wh-- wow, listen to you all full of yourself! Actin' like you won King of Fighters or somethin'..."
She braces her stance, nostrils flaring as she looks between Ichika and Djamila. She's... -frustrated-. But she's also at a loss for words, as she clamps one hand down on her beach hat!
Kenzo can only watch as sequence of events starts with a flying trash bag that leads to an absolute cluster that could eventually grow to the size of epic proportions.
When it looks like it's about to get violent and knowing how much of a PR disaster that could be as a Justice High alumni and representative of Team Metal, it is in his best interest to nip this in the bud.
"WILL YOU TWO STOP THIS RIGHT NOW!?!?"
He looks around at everyone here before focusing his attention at both Ichika and Djamila. The usually laid back teen looks downright ticked off.
"We are at a charity event and you are talking about violence? Have either of you thought about how it looks like in the optics? It is behavior like that makes the reporters in the news look at us like we're menaces."
He looks at Ichika for a moment as he considers what he says carefully since he's associating whatever is bothering Djamila with what she was talking about with Mint which was kept in strict confidence.
"Had it ever occur that whatever was bothering her might be a private issue that she isn't willing to share with the world nor is something she can or should deal with here and now?"
He then turns to Djamila now ready to turn his attention to her.
"As for you, what the hell did you say or do to her to get her this pissed off? Either way what we are not going to do is fight at a charity event where there are people who are going to take pictures of us and possibly circulate videos of you two brawling. What we are going to do is what we came here to do which is clean this beach and if you don't think you can handle that, we can leave right now. "
Ichika actually smiles as Djamila lays into her. Oh, it gets her blood boiling. But it isn't anything she hasn't heard before. Djamila thinks that she's weak; that she is an impossible obstacle for the sword-wielding girl to overcome. She thinks she's a brat. Arrogant. Spoiled. And hell, maybe she's even right. But whatever she was dealing with, in this moment, that isn't on her mind; her anger at Ichika is.
"Apologies, Chevy, it seems like there's some stubborn trash for me to clean up. I'll have ... to..."
She trails off as Kenzo lays into her. Her hand falls away from her sword, and she looks truly shamefaced. Rare, for her.
"... sorry, Kuroiwa-san." She says, giving a vague wave in Djamila's direction. "Fadel-san and I have had unfinished business ever since the first match and it has only gotten worse of late. I just thought, if I provoked her, it would help her forget her troubles. I always feel better after a good fight. It might even have cleared the air between us."
She bows her head. "But you are right, of course. It was foolish of me to risk the purpose of our trip here today. Please accept my sincere apologies. The last thing I want to do is set a poor example. I am deeply sorry for my lapse in judgement."
"Boring" Chloe mumbles beneath her breath.
"Well I suppose if they aren't going to entertain us, you can go ahead and give them their smoothies."
Her assistant springs into action, approaching the fighters with the tray of goodies. "These are courtesy of Chloe" he explains with a polite smile. Each of the straws inside the drinks is made of white paper with a pink Lucky Chloe logo on it
The singer stands up, dusting sand from her sundress. "I wonder who's in the lead so far!" she says, in perhaps another attempt to stir things up.
She's not happy to see Chevy upset, but it's not enough to stop her. She's ready for this. Her head be damn, her body be damn. Everyone can go fuck themselves right now. It's not fair. No, not Ichika. Ichika is fair. There is a reason for all this, and maybe they would never be friend, but it's not unfair. The anger it's not ment for her. She's taking the anger, like a lightning rod takes a lightning bolt.
Then Kenzo comes and says his piece. There are three people who could stop her from fighting, and Kenzo happens to be one of them. To be fair it's very good she doesn't fight right now. "I was out of line." Yeah she can feel it, it's bleeding again. Good thing she has her Hijab, "You are right Kenzo, not a good place to fight." She tightening her staff tightly. She feels the anger there. "I am sorry Ichika, Chevy and Kenzo. It was nice to let out some anger though." She looks at down
"I don't know if I should stay here or go home. But the beach needs more cleaning, so cleaning is what I will go back to. I am sorry." She takes a steps back, and she almost falls. Only her staff allows her to keep her equilibrium, but nobody would miss that. A single drop of blood sneaking it's way out, which the hijab doesn't quite catch. "Or maybe home after all. I don't feel super good." That's what happens, when you don't go to the hospital, and you only fix yourself as quickly as you can, because you have something you promised to come to, and it's a good way to not think about anything. Or at least it should.
There are times in which Chevy can be diplomatic and smooth things over. And then there's right now, where she's been spun around so fast she's still left shaken.
When Ichika starts to stoke the fire again, though, Chevy just shoots her a fierce look. It's not one she's used before on the diminutive Justice High student -- but the intensity radiating outward from it shouldn't need to be subtitled.
Luckily for her, Kenzo is close enough to be the true voice of reason, his demeanor making it absolutely clear that there -will- be consequences if the insult-slinging continues. Chevy stands back so she can watch both Kenzo and Ichika. Her expression softens considerably as he speaks; when he chastises Djamila, she seems to approve. "... Th-thanks, Kenzo. I think that's pretty much the root'a what I had to say..."
She turns to her friend Ichika, tension ebbing as the mostly-empty garbage bag flutters in the breeze. Anything she could hope to add has been already, well, admitted by Ichika.
Except, well, the thing she chimes in: "... That's a really *weird* way of 'helping', Ichika."
She looks back to Djamila -- pleased to hear that the two rivals are, at the very least, able to resolve the differences for -this- event. "It's okay, it's okay! I just..." She stammers, her foot swiveling on its heel in the sand as she once again finds herself without words.
Only this time, she now has a smoothie handed to her. That's... not something that generally happens. She looks at the smoothie, then the assistant, then looks over to Lucky Chloe.
"Oh! Thank you! And... hi! It's Lucky Chloe! I mean, I'm so happy to meet you, Miss Lucky Chloe! ... Thank you for these!"
turns back to Ichika, taking a sip of her smoothie. Good, good, something cold to deal with the -burnt fuse- from dealing with everything at once. And while she's about to say something, she happens to notice the blood seeping out. "... Oh, hey..." She taps the spot on her that corresponds to where she'd spotted blood. "... Did something happen, Djamila...?"
The moment the tech ninja sees the droplet of blood escape the hijab, that about seals it. That when taken in conjunction with the loss of equilibrium that was just barely saved by the staff. Yeah... Going home was looking like a much more appealing option.
"Yeah. Let's go home or we can rest a bit before we make that decision. I can't believe you were about to fight in this condition. "
He sets the bot to travel mode as if he anticipates going home being option. The machine is still off having turned it off before he had to talk to the two rivals.
Chevy also noticed the blood and all thoughts of making a quick escape are abandoned at least temporarily.
Ichika grunts faintly at Djamila's apology, but most of her attention returns to Chevy.
"Is it?" She asks, "Think about it, Chevy. How did we become friends? We fought. How did I get to really know Buck? We fought. My first fight with Djamila just left us both feeling insulted. I'm not going to be satisfied until we've fought at least one more time."
She takes the offered smoothie and sips it. Then pulls out her sword, and gets back to spearing trash.
"I'm trying not to pay attention to the rankings any more." She says, to Lucky Chloe. "I know I'm performing poorly. I imagine I must be near the bottom by now. But if I put too much stock in where everyone else is compared to me, I'll overthink things before I even get to the fight." And then, a little quieter, "Greene-san taught me that lesson pretty well."
Tamaki likes the beach, and she apparently has no problem with being a public spectacle and having people pop up and point cameras at her. She even has been approaching her training in a new way, which means she's actually *training* and not just doing things by feel.
But - critically - Tamaki does not like actually doing work, which means her interest in joining a cleanup crew approaches zero. She lives her life the way she wants, and the way she wants doesn't involve cleaning up other people's trash.
(Not that she minds trash. She's rummaged through it, and then some, plenty of times. But she wasn't cleaning it up, so it doesn't count.)
So she didn't bother to make herself obvious at first and has only made an appearance now, when people are settled in and she can be a little lazy and simply meander around from person to person while being her usual personable self. By the sounds of it, the beach could use a little more personability.
"Hello~!" Tamaki has decided to wear a sleeveless top, a shortish skirt, and - surprisingly for her - sandals. She has a trash bag (mostly empty), one of the gripping poles, and a big grin. "What's going on over here? The rest of the beach is, regrettably, completely bare of interesting features, and I did hear *something*... Though I suppose the fighting square is a little interesting." She does not consider urban decay interesting.
"Hiii! I'm Lucky Chloe!" the idol responds to Chevy. Somewhat unnecessarily since the redhead just greeted her as such. She even throws in one of her cute little kitty poses despite not being dressed in her costume.
"You're all very welcome for the smoothies. Remember to also pick up your gift bags before you leave. They have a 'Pretty Kitty' t-shirt, Lucky Chloe shower gel and shampoo, and a set of cat ear headphones."
Turning her head towards Ichika, she gives her a nod of approval. "Good for you. The only person I compete against is myself. When peforming I insist on being the best version of me at all times. This takes dedication, devotion and dance sessions that last hours. I suppose the fighting is more of a fun thing for me, as I see it as a hobby or sideline but for all you members of the New Fighting Generation, this is now your life."
Once he realises that Tamaki is here, Lucky Chloe's assistant hurries over to offer her a strawberry smoothie.
"Just like that, she just wants to disappear. Maybe if she wills it hard enough. No, that just adds to the headache, and she still feels crappy. "I am fine." She tells Chevy. Even she is not at this point. She also did not even answer the smoothie offered, not because she was an elitist, but because she didn't hear the man.
Then it's Kenzo who realizes it too, and she feels herself overwhelmed but tries to calm down, she knows no one wants to hurt her. Well maybe Ichika, but she wouldn't be satisfied to beat her in a weakened state so that works. "I don't think I can make my way quietly out of here. Unfortunately." She at least sets her staff to stick down with Chi, so at least she can hold on even better to it. I will explain when I can. She tries to tell Kenzo only but could probably be overheard easily by the others nearby.
She then hears Tamaki and is happily trying to settle the attention on her. "Oh hey Tamaki, great you're here. How are you?" She also finally thinks of wiping the little bit of blood that escaped her hijab. As for the gift bag. Right now, she couldn't care less. Either someone will grab one, or she will go without, and she won't be really sad about it either.
Chevy nods back to Kenzo. "Yeah! Thanks... thanks for lookin' after her, Kenzo!" She smiles, but that little spot of blood has her a bit worried.
The worry does not abate as Ichika begins to contest her. "Ah, maybe you're right on that." Her words may be calm, but her blue eyes are holding back a storm of emotion as she turns back to address Lucky Chloe -- not wanting to be rude.
Here, she can offer a polite smile and a bow of her head. "Oh, nice! My headphones got a bit broke on the trip, so that's some pretty good timing. Thank you!"
Tamaki's arrival is another happy moment for her. "Tamaki! Hey, good job on your fight!" Chevy couldn't -not- watch a fight between her teammate and Big Buford, after all. Though -- while she has some... -thoughts- about it, she settles for walking up to Tamaki and clapping a light hand upon her shoulder. "It's good to see you, okay? I'll catch up with you in a bit."
The next thing she does, though, might -not- be rote politeness. Rooting around in her pocket for a moment, she produces a small silk hankerchief, neatly folded. And she walks up to Djamila, stepping past... pretty much everyone, and marches right into what would normally be considered personal space.
She presses the hankerchief into Djamila's hand.
She leans close.
She whispers, discreetly: "Put some pressure on it, okay?"
After which point, being close to Kenzo and Djamila, she turns to the others. "Hey, I'll be back in a lil' bit, okay?" Her gaze lingers on Ichika for just a bit longer than the others: an unfamiliar departure from her usually cheery smile. But then she would move to escort Djamila. Not that Kenzo couldn't handle it himself. But he shouldn't -have- to.
Ichika is trying to help the Djamila situation the best way she can - by not getting involved. Everyone had heard the way the woman spoke to her now. It should be *obvious* why the pair are at each other's throats. She'd reached out the only way she thought she could - and sure, that had been a mistake. But it wouldn't make a sudden turn in her attitude towards the woman to ring true. They hate each other. Maybe they could work that out. Maybe not. But as Chevy stares her down not once but twice, Ichika returns her gaze with a look that says - very clearly:
What do you WANT from me here?
She gives a little nod to Lucky Chloe when she feels she can look away again. "I didn't think that would be set in stone at the start, to be honest. But yes. If we want it to be, I think everyone in the competition will get there."
More trash is speared, and she smiles as she sees Tamaki - now that's someone she does want to have a conversation with ... though with Djamila being like, right there, she hangs back for the moment. Best not to aggravate the situation.
"Why, thank you," Tamaki says, when she's given a smoothie. The flavor doesn't even matter! Though she likes strawberry, so it really wouldn't be a problem even if it did.
She pops the straw in with a practiced motion and takes a long drink. Fortunately, she does not seem to be afflicted with brain freeze - maybe it's not cold enough any more. She returns Ichika's smile, too, though she doesn't initiate a conversation; others are talking to her at the moment.
"Oh, me? Fine, fine. I haven't had any problems, even if the beach is not entirely to my taste. It's awfully sunny." Tamaki, who is a pale-ish redhead (well, brown-red-head) does not exactly get along with the sun. "I'd rather stay in the shade, but alas, that isn't in the cards."
"Ah, that fight? Honestly..." Tamaki trails off before deciding not to get into the weeds about it. "Well, if nothing else it should improve my standings." Which aren't exactly *bad* to begin with, though she's hardly number one. "I did see yours as well. Though there wasn't a lot of room inside, I managed to find a spot. It made a bit of a mess, didn't it? One of the melons went right for me; I was forced to take it for my own protection."
Pause. "Don't worry, I paid." Eventually.
She glances over toward the Djamila situation. Busy, but... it looks like things are handled, more or less, so she doesn't get in the way. "Honestly, it was less of a mess than this beach is. Who does this?" She waves, gesturing across the beach with her pole.
Not that she's done much of her job in picking it all up. The trash bag is pretty empty.
emit Djamila just tries to keep her breathing steady. She's not feeling good, but she knows it will pass. Just so many things on her mind. Maybe she deserved this. NO! She almost winces at that. Internal fighting. This is the greatest of all. She has friends. It's ok. Just relax, pass through that time and everything will be ok.
She unwillingly jumps when Chevy gets in her personal space. It's not because she's afraid of Chevy, just a natural bad reaction she couldn't control.
SHe whispers back once Chevy is done whispering and pressing the handkerchief. "It will stain." She "looks" down at her hand, but then decides to do it. She could always buy another. That would be a kinder gesture than just giving it back later. Or at least get it clean if the blood stain can be removed. She hesitates a moment. It's not like she could hide what she is doing. But when Chevy starts walking with her, she is quick to free her staff, and when far enough she brings the handkerchief under her hijab. "Why are you so nice to me, when I just insulted your close friend and teammate pretty bad." She keeps pressure on the wound. She thought it had close to good enough, but apparently, she was wrong. She has to be strong, but she's tired right now. But it shouldn't be anyone else's problem. "Thank you, Chevy. That's what I should have said right from the getago."
Kenzo nods when Djamila states that there's no way they can leave quietly.
"In that case, you can rest and then we will figure out what moves to make after."
When Chevy arrives, as discreet as her actions might be, Kenzo due to his close proximity to the two women in question can see the handkerchief get pressed into Djamila's hand. Upon Chevy calling out to the others, Kenzo realizes that a quiet departure has gone from highly unlikely to absolutely impossible.
He speaks quietly to his teammate in the interest of not drawing any more attention to her, "Djamila. A quiet departure is no longer an option. How do you want to handle it? Do you still want to rest for a bit or head back to the car?"
"I don't want to make you miss all of this though." She whispers to Kenzo. "I am sorry." She is ready for the car at this point, but yeah. It's unfair to Kenzo.
"Right!" chimes in Chevy. Though she does falter slightly as Tamaki moves to talk about her own fight with Ayala. "... Yeah, I sure hated puttin' so much food to waste. But I'm glad some of it found a good home!" Chevy moves to stuff the mouth of the mostly-empty garbage bag into a belt loop for easy transportation, then stashes her work gloves and stuffing those in a pocket as well.
"Don't care 'bout that." She laughs mirthlessly; she isn't really worried about the hankerchief. She -is- concerned about her dear friend Ichika -- a point to which Djamila speaks to. But even now, as Djamila questions why she's doing this, Chevy just offers a faint, neutral chuckle: "Eh. Priorities, mostly. Everythin's all fun and games till someone gets hurt." When Djamila offers thanks, she's quick to say, "No problem."
She glances over at Kenzo, nodding. The cat ears, the headphones, clearing things up with Ichika... those can wait. "It's your choice, Djamila." She might not have the sensor suite that Kenzo does -- but the farm girl can be a medic in a pinch if needed. But as long as Djamila needs to put pressure on it, she can't figure out what's wrong.
In a low voice, she asks Djamila: "Well, you're bleedin'. Ain't no secret, there. Can I ask what kinda injury this is, so we can treat it right?"
As the trio move away to attend to Djamila, Ichika sees her opportunity - and she takes it. Moving to approach polite conversation distance with Tamaki.
"Ah, hello there, Tamaki-san." She says with a smile, "I also wanted to offer my congratulations on your fight. Maclanky-kun ... irritated, me, in a very similar way to you, I think. In the end, I had hoped that a sufficiently hard blow would be able to cut through his delusions, but if anything they seem to be stronger than ever. But, he also has to live as Buford Maclanky, so, perhaps that is punishment enough for his sins."
She flashes a smile, though, then her gaze drops down to the barely-filled bag Tamaki is toting. "There, are a great many thoughtless people." She says, in answer to the question. "But, all the better for us, right? Whilst the others are, busy, we have an opportunity to get ahead in the competition!"
"I'm always willing to give some of it a good home," Tamaki says with a laugh and a thump of her stomach. "Though, even I could not have handled quite that much of it."
She keeps one eye on Chevy and Djamila, but apparently decides once again to not barge in - this is their moment and not hers, plus it isn't like she carries bandages around with her. She'd have to steal a first aid kit or something.
Instead she makes a face. "I would really rather not talk about him," is her response to Ichika. "Though you are right, in that it does give us an opportunity - though we shouldn't focus only on opportunities for the tournament! I for one am going to take an opportunity to have a day off quite soon... I had considered the beach but I think I will go somewhere else, actually. Between the sun and this - " Tamaki hefts the bag. "It isn't my favorite."
emit While Kenzo ponders Djamila's words and handle what he's gotta handle, like his robot for example, she turns to look at Chevy again. "You're the friend who is going to help Ichika improve. I am the bitch who will make Ichika go beyond just so she can shut my trap.." She smirks a bit, a bit fake, but the words are there, a mix of truth and kidding. She isn't even sure at this point, but it delays a bit, having to answer Chevy's question.
Why does she feel shame? Why can't she just admit what happened? Maybe because what kind of failure must you be when your own Father wants to off you because you're a monster in his eyes or some shit. No! Can't think like that. It's his fault, not yours.
"Yeah, I didn't take good enough care of it before coming here. I didn't want to miss it. Makeshift weapon from an alley. Not sure what. It was more blunt than sharp, I guess. I don't remember what it was." She shakes a bit recalling it. She doesn't want to shake. Stop!. But Alas, she can't stop. She's letting him affect her. She doesn't want that. And what was it he used? Why can't she remember?
"I just wanted to come here and help, and all I did was make a commotion and bring too much attention to myself. I don't want to feel like this." But she can't describe how she feels, and she doesn't share further information right now. She doesn't say who is responsible.
Chevy listens as Djamila attempts to set the record straight -- and even musters a small grin in response. But only that, because she's still a little ticked at the both of them.
"It probably would've been fine if you'd just taken it easy. But gettin' all worked up for a fight ain't helpin' no one." She frowns -- still not getting the answer she wants, but at least it shows what she's most likely to be dealing with here.
"Head wounds are serious business. And blunt can be a lot worse than just some nicks and scratches." She glances back to Kenzo for a moment, before resting a gentle hand on Djamila's shoulder. "I know you know all this. But I'm tellin' you -- you're gonna wanna get a doctor to check you out first. This 'I'm a big girl' tough act you're puttin' on is just gonna keep you from getting the help you need."
Chevy will walk with Djamila as long as she's allowed to. And would even help position her in the car if she can. "At the very least, call your sponsors. Let -them- know, okay? I want a rematch as bad as she does. But not like this." She offers a mirthless smile -- much more concerned about Djamila's welfare than on showcasing her usual sunny disposition.
"I suppose this kind of is my day off." Ichika says, continuing to fill her second bag of trash. "I've got a lot of schoolwork to catch up on, and the lessons from the sponsors have eaten into a great deal of the time I had set aside for that. Which, is fine! It's what I expected after all. But really, even taking today to help with the cleanup is... well, it's all time that I'm going to have to make up later."
She suddenly realises how this might sound, and very quickly tries to walk some of it back. "Not that I'm saying you shouldn't take more of an opportunity to relax!" She says, quickly. "Obviously, ah, we're... very different people. Chevy found some information on a nearby hotspring! That sounded like a great idea to, you know, just, not worry about things. Maybe you could tell me how different it is to the ones back home if you do manage to go?"
A bit awkward, the girl focuses intently on the job at hand after the rush of words - soon, she's heading back with her second back and collecting a third to begin filling. Even if everything else feels like a bit of a mess, at least she can restore order to some of this beach.
Somewhat, Djamila is happy to get a grin from Chevy. She checks the tissue, and it feels like for now, it stopped bleeding again. If she could just concentrate enough to meditate and use her healing wind. She thinks she would be ok then.
She understands in a perfect world, she would have already seen the doctor. But bah. This is not a perfect world. Right now, it's pretty shitty, but it shows her who her real friends are. Maybe NFG is a kind of family too, overall. Even with the competition.
"I will Call Mint. I have my cell somewhere on me. She should know." She takes a deep breath. When they are far enough. "My own Father did this to me, ok? I've gotten away from him the first time. Guess he lost track of me until I started appearing on TV." She shrugs. "That's what happened, Chevy. I think if he could have, he would have killed me." She makes a face. It felt so much more real saying it out loud. If only that was a joke. She said it loud enough so Kenzo could hear too. But she didn't want anyone else here to know. She wishes, she didn't know. But that's a bit hard since she was on the receiving end.
Chevy knows about first aid -- anything beyond that, she just puts her trust people like those who went to that big medical school in town. The people who can 'heal' on their own are classed right up there with her team sponsors, and may as well be magic to her at this point in time.
She seems content that Djamila is okay with contacting the sponsors. But she seems much less content -- heck, borderline -furious- -- when the identity of the person who -did- this is revealed. Balling one hand into a fist, she repeats, "... Your *dad*..." She passes a brief glance over to Kenzo. "Well. He's pretty brazen to try somethin' like that. I'm glad you were able to get away from him."
And... with knowing that Djamila's -best guess- is that he would've killed her given the opportunity... "Djamila, I'm not a doctor, but with what you're telling me... you need one. Somethin' could be very wrong, and if I start proddin' my mucked-up fingers around in there I'm just gonna make things so much worse."
Chevy glances back towards the beach. She'd hoped the injuries weren't this bad. They might not actually -be-. But knowing that her father is... well, wherever he is? That doesn't set her mind at ease.
"We'll get this taken of, okay?"
It has suddenly become clear to Kenzo that he and Chevy are going to be exchanging the role of voice of reason today. Between the admission of it being blunt force trauma and the shakes the likes of which that he can tell without his combat specs that Djamila has an elevated heart rate and high probability of PTSD affecting her. It was time to put his foot down.
"In light of new information, I can not in good conscience allow you to stay here and not get looked at by the team med staff at minimum."
It looks like he has more to say but he stops himself upon looking at Chevy. No. That portion of the rant will be kept in house as it were.
"I wish you told me about the injury sooner and didn't worry about making me leave. I have a car. I could have, in theory, come back."
Kenzo goes to escort Djamila to the Mustang Mach-E. He is running under the assumption that Chevy will escort them to the vehicle because all of her previous actions indicated that she would.
"Chevy, I appreciate all the help you've given."
He then turned his attention to Djamila, still being able to control his bot while supporting her. His voice takes on a cold tone and distain that he didn't even use when talking to or about Buford.
"I want his name and any type of information about him you might think would be useful. I want to know him so well that I know when his laundry day is and when I'm done with him, I will turn him into an example on why you don't want to hurt one of my own."
Maybe it's magic, maybe it's faith. Maybe she's just a natural with the wind. She never really thought about it. It just is.
She has tried to be strong, mixed with a lot of different feelings all day. She is about to say she doesn't want a doctor, to Chevy, but then Kenzo talks about the team doctor. With him, she could. But she is also starting to be overwhelmed by things. "I think I do need to go see the team meds. I am sorry." She starts sobbing, though there are no tears to come out, and even if there were, they wouldn't be seen with her blindfold. But there are no tears at all. That's a function that was destroyed along with her eyes.
"I am sorry, I didn't mean for all this to happen. She tries to stop the sobbing, but she can't. It just comes out. "I just wanted to hold my promise. I said I would be there."
She takes a deep breath. She wants to say thank you to both of them, but what comes out again? "I am sorry. I am sorry." As she is taken to the Mustang by the pair. "We need to tell Mint, so she can kick me off if she wanna. I didn't mean to bring all this to the team."
She doesn't realize what Chevy wants to be taken off and doesn't realize right now what Kenzo said about the don't want to hurt one of his own. She's just breaking down. Because now it's all very too real, and she's a problem for everyone. It makes her father's right at the moment, in her mind."
Kenzo is careful about getting Djamila into the car. He is not going to make her head injury worse. He didn't want to call down the wrath of Mint or Zel down upon himself.
"Mint is not going to kick you off. Maybe verbally kick your ass for not getting your injury seen to right away but not kicked off."
He takes Djamila's pole weapon and places it in the back seat. He then goes to the bot and puts it in the trunk.
"I couldn't go. I had to come here for the beach." She reiterates. She is grateful for the help though, and even allows the staff to be taken. Well, technically it has to be taken, but she wouldn't let just anybody take it.
"Thank you again, Chevy. It'll be ok." She seems to have calmed down. Or she just switched mood again. One of the two, or maybe a bit of both.
"She's going to be so pissed one way or another. But it's ok, I can take it. Monsters can take it." She nods her head. "Thank you, Kenzo. She can finally say to him as well. Then she rests against the seat but does not fall asleep. "He dirtied my drawing." She adds randomly.
"It's the least I could do," answers Chevy with a subdued smile. "I just... yeah."
She stays close with Djamila, shaking her head slowly. "It's okay, don't you worry about any of us. It'll get done. Maybe not today, but I promise, we'll see this beach cleared." She keeps her hand on Djamila's shoulder -- soft pressure, just to ensure that her fellow pole-wielder knows she's still there. Chevy does her best to stay calm even though she can feel that she's on the verge of tearing up, herself.
She lets Kenzo speak for their sponsor -- Chevy's impression of her wasn't a complete picture, after all.
"It'll be good. Just listen to Kenzo and Mint, they'll take care of everything. Just try to keep talking to Kenzo, okay?"
She smiles over to Kenzo. "Thanks for looking after her, Kenzo. I know she's in good hands with you."
With Djamila secure, Chevy takes a few steps back from the car. "Get better soon so we can have a proper rematch, y'hear me?"
It'll be a little while before Chevy will decide to make her way back to the beach.
The dance diva sees that there's drama going on and a different kind to the fierce looks and threats of fighting she'd witnessed earlier. She can see the creased brows and looks of concern passing around and Djamila is at the centre of it all. She's not close enough to hear the conversation however.
As Djamila, Kenzo and Chevy take their leave for now, she calls after them "Thanks for showing up. I'll make sure what you collected is counted!" Not that she'll be doing this personally. It's one of the many menial jobs she pays her team of staff to do.
Chloe decides it might make sense to mingle. Walking over to where Ichika and Tamaki are, she gives them her sunniest stage smile and waves her hands. The gesture comes across as slightly strange, given that she's used to performing it whilst wearing cat paws.
"Hi! I hope you're having fun. Do you have any idea how you'll choose to spend your time with me, should you prove to be the lucky winner?"
Ichika casts the odd concerned look back to the trio around the car - she's not a fool, and it is very clear that there's more going on with Djamila than she had been aware of. Kenzo's rebuke still stings, but at least she can concentrate on spending time with Tamaki - albeit, the girl is obviously increasingly unsure with how to actually relate to the tanuki. She's a being out of myth and legend renowned for being exactly the opposite kind of person to Ichika herself. It soon becomes obvious that their range of topics for discussion is... extremely low.
So she's actually grateful when Lucky Chloe interrupts her litter-picking work... and immediately asks the worst possible question she could. Ichika gives a nervous laugh, and scratches behind the back of her head. "Well, I..." She starts, and then she remembers the stipulation in the competition.
"... I thought that I'd gift it to Brian Storm." She says, "After all, I'm not much of a performer, but I'm sure he could learn a lot from you, so, it only seems fair..."
And that is how Ichika came to be Lucky Chloe's second favourite fighter in the New Fighting Generation.
The blonde beams brightly at Team Thunder's youngest member as she makes her declaration about what her decision would be should she win the date.
"Well! What a lovely, kind young woman you are. How generous to think of the needs of your fellow fighters over the joy and pleasure you could experience."
Inside her heart is leaping as high as one of her killer kicks. "I'm sure Brian will be thrilled when he hears the news. He and I have so much in common. We're both performers, we're both misunderstood, we're both natural blondes..."
She trails off, struggling to think of any other comparisons. The important thing is that he's hot though right and Ichika's choice means she's just doubled her chance of landing a date with the daring dreamboat!
"Ah, well... you're, very welcome." Ichika says, and - hey, Lucky Chloe was probably right. Brian Storm did in fact seem like exactly the sort of person who would form a deep connection with someone like this, at least in the girl's estimation. It wasn't as though she had much experience in matters of the heart, but two performers who are both... blonde? Maybe that's enough.
"How... how is it that you are misunderstood, if I can ask, Chloe?"
"Oh there's been rumours about me" Chloe responds, waving her hand around vaguely. "People saying I'm cruel to my backing dancers. If by cruel they mean I demand they learn the routines perfectly then yes, call me cruel. I like to think it's just called professionalism though. Besides, ask Raiza what she thinks about me. She's had all kinds of fun since she came to work with my team."
Raiza or Liza as she prefers to be known as in her native Sunshine City had first come on to Chloe's radar after breaking into her dressing room to steal her catgirl costume. That's a whole other story though!
"So tell me Ichika, now that you're becoming well known, what do you plan to do with your fame? It can hold a lot of power if you manage it correctly."
Ichika looks a little askance at the pop star. A surprising number of professional fighters seemed to have such accusations against them, it seemed. And not all of them were as unfounded as the ones against Lyraelle. But surely, if they didn't like it, they could simply quit and find another job - it wasn't as though she had enslaved them or anything. Probably. That'd make a far bigger splash, right?
"I doubt anyone is that interested in me." Ichika says, in spite of the evidence from her social media escapades that said very much the opposite. "If I win the competition, perhaps then I'll be able to use my fame for good. But I'm not sure that the whole world knowing I am a mediocre combatant can really be ... useful. Unless you have any suggestions?"
"Of course they're interested" Chloe replies calmly. "You're the youngest member of the New Fighting Generation for starters. Still a schoolgirl. That's a story in itself. Suggestions wise, as much as I'm loathe to admit it, you have Lyraelle Lightheart on your team, so she can probably teach you everything you know about publicity. I can't stand the woman but I have to admit she knows how to play the game. I admire her for that if nothing else."
Ichika's discomfort - not only with using her age but with the way Lucky Chloe speaks about Lyraelle - is written all over her face. For all the things she's good at, hiding her emotions really isn't one of them. "Well. As a member of the Super Elite it is my duty to set a good example for others and guide them towards making the world a better place. Things like this." She waves around the beach - still so depressingly full of junk - with her sword. "Are a good example of that on the kind of scale that may be within my grasp. But for the kind of changes the world really needs... I'll need to be known for a lot more than just being, the child, in the competition. Lightheart-sensei is an excellent guide, though, you're correct. I'm sure she'll help me."
There's a lot more that Chloe could say on the subject of Lyraelle but for now she remains silent, pursing her pink lips together.
"Super elite hm? Oh yes, you go to Justice." She nods knowingly, familiar with the beliefs of that establishment having grown up in Southtown.
"I'm sure you will find your path through the contest and beyond. Being the youngest can actually be a boon. It means you have time on your side."
With that, she's offering a wave to the sword carrying schoolgirl, searching the beach for her manager. If they want to get this clean-up finished today, they're going to need to call in reinforcements.
Of course it will still be a competitor who will claim the promised prize but there's no harm in having some extra hands to make things move more rapidly. After all, Kiss of Life is due to be filmed in a couple of weeks time!
Log created on 16:46:02 07/08/2023 by Lucky Chloe, and last modified on 12:04:14 07/10/2023.