NFG Season Two - Odyssey R2 - This Food Tastes Funny

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Description: Odysseinie is sightseeing when she stumbles upon an ancient palace, from where the sound of Circe singing classic rock whilst cooking can be heard. Curious, Odysseinie calls out to her and is welcomed in to share a meal. In the nick of time, Odysseinie discovers that Circe has mixed a potion into her food with the intention of turning her into a pig and she's none too happy about it!

"They must throw some amazing parties," the tour guide explains. A dozen or so tourists listen eagerly, as they make their way down the spiral staircase of the Cape Circeo Lighthouse. The tour guide gesticulates towards a tower-like building to the west, where, just under half a kilometer away, some sort of amplified rock music can be heard.

"It always starts with rock music. And I see tons of people drive up -- I guess people take Ubers now? Who knows?"

The camera pulls back to reveal a breathtaking vista of the Tyrrhenian Sea, its waves gently rocking against a rocky coastline in late afternoon. As the camera pulls back further, Mount Circeo itself can be seen -- and far off in the distance, the sign of cities along the western Italian coastline.

"They say it's an open invite to anyone interested. Free food, free drinks. I'm always, you know, *working*, so I've never been able to take them up on that offer..." The tour guide seems perfectly amiable and folksy, as she continues: "... but it sounds like a great plan if your schedule's open..."

One dour-looking tourist pipes up from the back of the crowd of tourists. "Isn't that where the farm animals can be found too? What's the deal with that?"

The tour guide's expression darkens.
"... Well, that's just a nasty rumor."

As one gets closer, it's clear that the rock music is pre-recorded. But one voice stands out -- a female voice, and -not- one of the original singers of Lynyrd Skynyrd.

"'Cause I'm as free as a bird now
And this bird you cannot change
And the bird you cannot change
And this bird you cannot change
Lord knows I cain't change
Lord, help me, I cain't change o/~ "

A gate that would normally prevent access to this private villa is drawn back, allowing free access to the private driveway that snakes its way up the mountainside to the tower. The stonework lining the sides of the asphalt drive is kept in immaculate condition -- who knows how many hundreds of years this building has been kept up?

"Lord, I cain't change o/~
Won't you fly high
Freeeee bird, yeah o/~

The music is cranked up. There's the sound of cheering, of raucous laughter from within the tower, of applause. Everything is louder, more exciting, more fevered, as the guitar solo gets faster and more frenetic.

And yet... once the corner is turned, to see the wide garage doors at the base of the tower cast open...

There are no humans present but one -- a stunning redhead, wearing a grape and vineleaf headdress and a white, loose-fitting dress. She seems like she's straight from a page out of a history of the ancient Greek times -- and she might yet be, if she weren't also strumming air-guitar throughout the song's final solo.

The applause is little more than the pitter-patter of cloven hooves, clattering over the the tower's ground floor. Whatever it sounded like before, her audience now is nothing more than sheep, goats, and pigs, baa-ing and braying and snuffling.

There -was- food there -- empty serving trays, pitchers, and decanters suggested several dozen people present.

Just about the same as the number of animals present.

The grill continues to belch out black smoke, all throughout. Not far away, a lightly-stained cooking apron is draped across the back of a chair. And it becomes clear as the song ends that the strange redhead is the cook -- for she lifts the lid on the grill, enjoying a long breath of the next batch of marinated chicken wings grilling inside.

"Loooord... I cain't change..." she sing-songs, unaware of any new arrivals to the villa's property.

"Bene!" someone on the tour seems thrilled at the scenery, the guide's diligent work. Perhaps even the smell of food in the distance or the thrum of Skynrd. Genie, who is apparently practicing her Italian, has repurposed the Grecian garb of "Athenie" into something a bit more subdued, with the toga-like stop pulled around and wrapped more tightly to make something more akin to a shirt and shorts added to her wardrobe. As the vehicle pulls through the gates, Genie steps off with a light hop, making her way toward the woman and her ... accompaniment of far animals?

"Boungiorno!" Genie calls. "I hope I am not interrupting?" She pauses for a minute and bites her lip. How far is she supposed to take the script again...?

There is an immediate response to the surprise visitor: the redhead's spine stiffens straight as she lets the grilling fork droop by her side. She slooooowly turns to face the new arrival, her jaw starting to hinge open...

That's not her voice, though.
It's the voice of a sheep walking past.
But it is lip-synced just about perfectly.

After her shocking -- and perhaps over-dramatized -- discovery, the freckle-faced redhead seems to make a recovery, waving 'Odysseinie' over into the shade, where all sorts of pleasantly appetizing aromas can be found.

"Oh, hey! No, not at all, ma'am! The more the merrier!"

'Circe' finishes her interrupted task of turning the chicken pieces onto their sides, and closes the grill lid up. Casting a look over her shoulder, she calls out, "You kinda missed the -big- party, but no worries! Go ahead and nab yourself some coleslaw and corn-on-the-cob!"

It's... possible there -was- a script, but it kind of went out the window with 'Circe's' inability to mimic an Italian accent.

"The grilled chicken's -juuuust- about ready, but I gotta kick it up a few notches first."

Here, the redhead reaches for a ceramic jug labeled 'Circe's Kickin' Chicken B*B*Q!'. Just underneath the writing is a crude paintbrushed caricature of a chicken's face. She takes a look over the menagerie she's gathered -- which might be a good opportunity for the cameras to highlight fact that -some- of the pigs bear ascots, while others have top hats and monocles.

'Circe' licks her lips as she sets the jug on the side platter of the grill, lifting the lid to remove the chicken. She pulls out a basting brush, and starts to motion Odysseinie over...

"I sure hope you're hungry! I just know it'll be love at first bite!"

Odysseinie does a double-take at "Circe's" baa-razen greeting, but when she realizes what had happened she settles quickly enough. It even elicits a bit of a giggle out of the Swiss miss. "It all smells heavenly!" Genie quickly adds, sniffing the air as her host flips the meat on the grill.

But then, things get kicked up a notch. Genie takes another sniff. Then another. "A-ah. 'Kicking it up a notch' means adding spice, yes? Would you say it is ... hot? I do not do so well with that--"

Perhaps it is the Swiss's sensitive palate that will help her with the ruse more than her sharp wit, but it remains unclear.

But then, there is another question:

"Is that pig wearing a monocle?"

Does it mean adding spice? Circe laughs as she puts on rubber gloves, and then starts to baste on the sauce from her bespoke-decorated jug. "Oh, naw! This is just barbecue sauce, I baste it on at the beginning so it works its way into the meat, then I put some extra on!"

She's exactingly deliberate with her brush strokes. Combined with the gloves -- it seems that she's taking *extra* caution to keep from getting barbecue sauce on herself.

"It ain't even a lil' bit spicy, just got a tangy 'kick' to it!"

She glances over to follow Genie's gaze, affirming that, yes, there is indeed a pig with a monocle. But as she scans back, her blue eyes happen to track a little further -- as she happens to catch a glance of the mounds of clothing piled upon the floor. It was easier to miss those when the animals were milling about, but now that they've gravitated away from the two humans, the stark contrast of black and white formal attire stand out vividly against the sandstone tilework of the tower's ground floor.

'Circe' draws her breath through her teeth. "Ha-ha! Y-yeah! I think it looks cute, don't you? Each of the porkers has their own lil' style, it helps me tell 'em apart better!"

As she finishes brushing sauce onto the chicken, she slides some chicken onto a plate and offers said plate to Odysseinie. "We burned through all the fries already, but we got some potato chips left if you want 'em! Buon appetito!"

She offers a nervous giggle afterwards. As if she -really- wants Odysseinie to dig in before asking too many more questions!

In that moment, Genie seems caught between two worlds. The world of suspicion, of playing the part of gullible traveler, but also playing the part of the ever-clever Odysseus, the likes of whom sees through Circe's clever disguise. How much is playing the part too well? Is she supposed to almost fall for it or see through it immediately? Genie wishes it had not been so long since had read her ancient Grecian epics.

No, she is caught between three problems. Genie reaches up with her sleeve and tries to hide the drool at the smell of the barbeque. Something so decadent, such a divine mix of spice and sugar was not quite like anything she'd have back home. The thought of indulging in that sticky, delicious, smoked goodness and tearing through it like a pig (metaphorical not literal) grips Genie's imagination, sinking its fangs in like she'd like to do to that piece of chicken.

"A-ah, aha!" Genie quickly interrupts her own thoughts, stumbling through her words. "You have would lipstick on a pig?" She points to one in question. "Is this also so you can identify them, or is there something more heinous afoot?!"

Genie bites her lip. She hopes there is something more heinous afoot before she makes a pig of herself in front of the whole of NFG.

Circe Beaumont's eyes half-lid in response. "It ain't polite for you to be so judgy to someone you ain't even met." She tilts her head towards the pig to Odysseinie's left -- which, granted, the newcomer might not have even -seen-, but it's there all the same -- and stamps her foot on the floor. "... So I expect you might wanna apologize to Miss Piggy for that."

... Of course, the teasing was more of a Chevy response than a Circe response, but she's trying to have fun with it. She -wants- to sell the moment -- heck, that's why she spent so much time helping the crew with the setup for this scene. But, in another way, she really wants to cut to the chase and test her fighting spirit against Genie's.

"But more than that, ma'am, I'm not sure I like what you're insinuatin'."

Luckily, the cast and crew gave her one particular cheat code she could use in this instance: one that would certainly let her live up to Circe's reputation as a witch in the time of the mythical Odysseus. She turns her head, calling over her shoulder towards a device by the grill.

"Alexa, close the doors."

As the doors start to pivot shut -- which would, of course, -lock Genie inside-, she lifts the plate up for Genie's inspection.

"I ain't done nothin' 'heinous'. All I'd done was take away the disguise that made these pigs an' sheep look *human*."

She breaks out into a manic laughter, as she sets down the basting brush and reaches for the table knife. It's when she starts sawing into the chicken that she -really- starts to sound in-character.

"The real crime," she insists while cutting, "is how -rude- everyone's treated me, despite my hospitality!"

Setting the knife down, she turns back to Genie, with a piece of marinated chicken on the end of a fork. She reaches the piece out towards Genie with a macabre, and yet saccharine-sweet, grin.

"So are you gonna dig in, or ain'tcha?"

COMBATSYS: Chevy has started a fight here.

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Chevy            0/-------/-------|

In that moment, Genie trembles. The intensity is building up. Chevy is leaning hard into the role. People might have said she wasn't really "fit" for the villain, but Genie is feeling it. Genie is definitely feeling it. She almost seems to be pick up on "Circe's" feelings and responds in kind, even if they aren't spoken aloud.

"Their disguises...?" Genie looks back at Miss Piggy, and then--

Faced with the skewer, or rather, the chicken. Genie stares at it, intently. Both eyes are focused on that delectable morsel. She wants it so badly. So, so badly. And yet. Genie swallows again.

"I--I think I am going to have to pass?"

It sounds pained, but Genie is sticking to the script! Or what she thinks is the script. She tries desperately to hide the unladylike growl from her stomach, which is awfully outsized for Genie's petite form.

COMBATSYS: Genie has joined the fight here.

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Genie            0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0            Chevy

'Circe' stops just shy of literally -shoving- the morsel of sauce-laden chicken into Genie's mouth. It's... a testament to her stage presence that Genie -- at least outwardly -- seems to be completely terrified by this. Chevy's no psychic -- but she can feel the distress emanating from Genie, all the same!

And... she takes a step back, raising one hand to her chest in realization. If she -were- Circe, and said everything she had, and -meant- it... then Odysseinie would be doing the right thing. Odysseinie didn't call Circe out, didn't attempt to reframe her actions as objectively 'bad,' and most of all, wasn't... -rude-. She's taking a principled stand, politely refusing, and... quite possibly might be open to discourse. It's such a perfectly modern and enlightened way of handling a complex situation.

Chevy lets out a small gasp. "Mm..."
And then she steps back to return the fork and its morsel of chicken to the plate.

"Well... that was nice of you. I mean, that's fair, you know?" She even laughs, softly. "I mean, gosh, if you'd eaten it, it woulda changed you into a pig." She gives another bright smile, waving around to all the cloven-hooved friends -- many of which are scared off by 'Circe's' loud talking. "Ha! Just like what happened with all the rich and morally bankrupt folks here who were just lookin' to take advantage of me!"

'Circe' rests her hands on her hips, and begins to laugh!

"And you seem pretty nice an' all... so it's a bit of a shame!"

Here, though... 'Circe' reaches for a length of galvanized steel pipe. In one moment, she inverts the pipe, and in the process, lifts up what seems to be a plain bucket of water into the air. In the next moment, she loops the other end of the pole into the handle of a second bucket, hefting that into the air as well.

"Haha. So, I mean, it's kind of a shame -- 'cause now we *gotta* fight. Because -- now I see for who you -really- are -- someone who wants to put a stop to my insidious barbecue plan!"

The waterbender spins the staff around swiftly -- so quickly that a 'ring' of water is formed momentarily in the air from the motion, before she suddenly snaps the pipe to a standstill, filling the buckets once more without missing a drop.

Chevy may have looked sympathetic before. But now... kind of surly? Especially as she suddenly starts to rush towards Odysseinie, aiming to swing one bucket-on-a-pole at the lovely lady's wrists.

"Come to think of it -- I really wish you'd just eaten the one bite...!"

If she manages to catch hold, she wouldn't be subtle about it -- she'd try and hook the bucket around, lock it in place around a wrist, and tug Odysseinie off-balance -- quite possibly throwing her into one of the many pigs, sheep, and goats running around!

COMBATSYS: Genie blocks Chevy's Quick Throw.

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Genie            0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0            Chevy

The performance does seem to be working. In this moment, Genie is lost in the excitement, a bit caught between how much of this is fantasy and how much is reality. After all, she did just have a match-up with an honest-to-goodness vampire. That in itself says a great deal!

The bucket hooks Odyssenie's wrist and pulls her forward into a stumble. Would she have really turned into a pig? Is she already a pig because, whether she admits it or not, Genie would like to eat barbequed chicken until she can't walk? There are so many questions running through Genie's mind, and so many different ways that this could go and--

In that moment, Genie breaks out of the throw into a stumbling stagger, catching her balance before tripping competely over a hog standing directly behind her. She instead thumps up against it, catches herself, and rights. Dropping into her fighting stance, Genie pulls up a guarded, taekwondo-esque balance on one foot.

"Hup!" Genie stands up on one leg. "Well, since you did bring this to blows," Genie brings up more confidence. "I suppose I have no choice but to defend myself now, Miss!" The Swiss immediately hops in, striking out with a swift side kick aimed at catching Chevy before she can properly respond.

COMBATSYS: Chevy blocks Genie's Medium Kick.

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Genie            0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0            Chevy

Well, Chevy -had- considered whispering that it was really just plain 'ol Sweet Baby Ray's honey barbecue sauce she'd basted onto that piece of chicken. But, it was hard to manage something like that with the cameras rolling, so she'd opted out of that. Besides -- there's plenty of chicken for later. It can be a reward for the victor!

For now, though... Chevy grins as Genie manages to keep her footing.

"Yeah, guilty..." she agrees with a grin. It's... much easier for her to speak as herself, rather than someone far more circumspect. She nods in full agreement to the followup statement, swinging her bucket-laden pole around to block! The taekwondoka's kick does manage to reach Chevy's side -- though the raised pole is enough to roughly halve the force of the blow.

"Not bad! But I think you'll find I'm good at more than just grillin'!"

After two quick steps to the side, and a brief sidestep to account for a wayward goat, Chevy lunges in again -- this time with her pole lancing towards Genie! The goal here is to hurl one of the buckets from her pole, with the aim of looping the bucket's handle around Genie's wrist! If Chevy can manage that, she'll use her waterbending abilities to hurl the loose bucket sharply to one side, spinning Genie around in the process! And if -that- happens, Chevy would aim to slam her shoulder into Genie's back, haul her upward about a foot, and then slam her into the floor! Or a sheep, if one of those rascals happens to get in the way...!

The bucket -might- just stay 'glued' to her arm in the process, complicating Genie's movements for a little bit...

COMBATSYS: Chevy successfully hits Genie with Battleship Chains.

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Genie            0/-------/--=====|====---\-------\0            Chevy

Genie has hopped back and resumes a defensive stance when her kick is intercepted. She's in that position when Chevy comes in with a mix-up of pole to bucket, catching Genie and pulling her to the side with a tug of suddenly heavy water! While she's still off balance, Chevy catches her for the slam, lift, and toss. The Swiss yelps as it all happens.

And then she suddenly finds herself on the back of a startled sheep, which bucks her off as it sprints away. "Ow...huh?" Genie shakes the bucket. It's still attached. She looks at with concern, but adapts smoothly enough, climbing back to her feet and back into her fighting stance---albeit an off-balanced version due to the bucket.

"And I promise I am better at more than just--" Genie starts to say "eating," but seems to think better of it. "--talking!" She corrects, sweeping her arms. When the bucket rattles, she instead pulls one hand up near her face and furrows her brow. Energy gathers where her focus rests, which she then pulls back and hurls like a spear!

COMBATSYS: Chevy dodges Genie's Lance Du Lac.

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Genie            0/-------/-======|=====--\-------\0            Chevy

There sure are a -lot- of animals milling about! Chevy's not unfamiliar with this sort of chaos, thanks to her previous job at a hog farm -- but that helps only when she can work around that long, flowing dress of hers. There's a reason the tomboy usually wears overalls or jeans!

'Circe' is quick to close in as Genie finds her way back to her feet. There's an impish smirk on her face as she swings her hand sideways -- which, naturally, moves the bucket attached to Genie's hand.

"Oh, don't fret none, I'd seen you fight before!" For a moment, Chevy -thinks- that'll be enough to discourage an attack...

At least, until she sees that energy coalescing into the form of a spear. Her smirk turns into a surprised gasp as she leaps sideways, wrapping her arm around a top-hatted oinker -- which suddenly jolts forward with surprise! The terrified pig carries her just out of harm's way as the energy spear sears into the floor with a shower of sparks! Thankfully, no animals are harmed in the making of that splendid special effect!

"Whew! I almost got flounder-gigged, right there...!" Though, by this point, the pig's carried Chevy close enough to take a swing with her pole. She aims to sweep low at the back of Genie's knee -- and if she manages to buckle the Swiss miss, she'd twist her into an arm lock and slam her sideways into the floor!

"Let's see if we cain't take you for another ride!"

COMBATSYS: Genie blocks Chevy's Weapon Trip.

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Genie            1/-------/=======|=====--\-------\0            Chevy

"F-flounder...gigged?" Genie seems confused, nay, even bewildered by this terminology as she tries to shake the bucket from her hand again. When the two engage again, Genie seems a bit more prepared for the exchange. She adjusts a bit from the kick, but the real reaction comes when she's flipped and thrown--and doesn't quite hit the ground as intended. Instead, Genie seems to redirect, perhaps a bit unnaturally, to slide across the floor. She's accompanied by a faint pink aura when she does before landing a bit more softly on her bottom instead of flat on her back.

"I would rather not, Miss Circe!" Genie objects, pushing up to her feet. She resumes her fighting stance once again, resuming her stance.

Genie sniffs, getting another whiff of the grill. She repeats the gesture, putting a hand to her middle as it grumbles. Shaking her head, Genie seems to be clearing her mind of thoughts of a post-fight snack and on the fight, but the desire still lingers. Genie is very accustomed to putting asider her wants, but perhaps she should have eaten before coming?

But taking another deep breath, Genie seems focused--centered, perhaps, and drawing on a wellspring of internal power. The distraction is real. The sound of farm animals, the smell of barbeque--but Genie needs --focus--. She finds it, in all places, in a memory of her fight with Zarine and when she touched on her mind.

Eyes snapping open and glowing pink, Genie surges with power. Her costume billows in a pinkish aura of energy as her hair struggles against the tie holding up her pony-tail. She launches forward--less leaping and more flying toward "Circe."

"I too have a bit of magic of my own, Circe!" Genie says confidently before thrusting forward with a palm---

---but rather than a palm strike, Genie's hand generates a much larger fist made of pure power. It extends where Genie reaches and expands--trying to grab hold of Chevy and give her a quick and powerful squeeze!

COMBATSYS: Chevy interrupts Belles Mains EX from Genie with Marsh Slam EX.

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Genie            1/-======/=======|=======\==-----\1            Chevy

Thankfully, the next time Genie shakes her hand, the bucket flies off without too much difficulty -- it served its purpose for the time being, and Chevy will want it for some other purpose.

In truth, Chevy's just gawking a bit at the way Genie manages to slow her fall. Normally when Chevy fights someone, she has some way of sensing, on a subconscious level, what just happened. But here, she's a bit flustered; Genie's energy isn't even on her charts. She can sense where Genie is, but the energy just doesn't even register.

"Well, dang, that's pretty sweet..."

She laughs faintly as Odysseinie demonstrates just how mouth-watering that barbecue is. One hand snaps to the back of her head as she approaches the discarded bucket; splashed water leaps back into the bucket as she loops it back onto the end of her staff. She might not understand Genie's powers, but she understands her own well enough.

She had felt a little remorse. But instead of expressing it, she leans into the Circe act -- thanks to Genie's little reminder.

"You don't have to keep fightin' me, Miss Odysseinie. We can quit any time you like, and you can get yourself some'a that delicious barbecue -- just say the word!"

But... Well. Genie shows her answer to that. Chevy raises her eyebrows in surprise as that pink energy flares up again. The hayseed lowers her hips, raising her staff to shoulder height. Water splashes within her buckets. And she bares her teeth in determination...

She rises at just about the same time as Odysseinie thunders forth with that larger fist. Though -- Chevy's a bit slower than she'd hoped -- the pole collides with the underside of Genie's extended arm! And even though she's still rising upwards, the pole starts to turn towards a vertical, even as that enlarged hand threatens to wrap around her!

Normally, Chevy's intent would have been to freeze the pole into place just below Genie's chin, flip over her, and hurl her to the ground in a dizzying spiral. Indeed -- the water was already beginning to freeze in her buckets for just such a thing.

This is where things turn a bit awry. With the pole redirected, Chevy relaxes her hold on the chilled water, which splashes out to soak both herself and Genie! She's still rising, though -- and that momentum is used to continue carrying herself upwards, as her left hand retains its grip on the pole and emptied buckets, while her right hand and the water make a grab for Genie's left shoulder...

The entangled pair continues to rise into the air. Genie's hand continues to close its grip onto Chevy -- eliciting grunts of pain in the process as the air is squeezed out of her lungs. Genie's momentum continues to push Chevy backwards -- but the hog-wrestling veteran works against the giant hand's grip, turning that momentum into a corkscrewing spiral! As she flies backwards with Genie, she ends up on top, and slams her back-first into the floor! Thankfully, no hogs are harmed in the process...

The water drips away as Circe pries herself free of that grasp, staggering sideways as she rises to her feet. She was wearing white -- and now the loose garment is practically see-through. (The Chevalier fan community would, of course, make a notation of her wearing white spandex underneath.)

"Ugh... You really -do- know your magic, don'tcha? I cain't say I remember *that* from history class."

"Oh--no no, I cannot do that! I have a fight to win!" Genie sounds fairly certain of herself---at least in that moment---power surging through her. When Chevy intercepts, slamming Genie's arm from underneath, she winces. It is only the beginning.

The Swiss's eyes dart around as the water begins to freeze, then -shrieks- as she's splashed with pure, chilled H20 before the two of them are brought up together. Genie tries to retain her grip, putting on the pressure, but when she's slammed onto her back the hand suddenly lets go and dissipates as quickly as it appeared.

"Well, of course," breathing heavily, Genie takes a moment to get back to her feet. "Perhaps it is the blessing of Athenie?" She laughs, but her face scrunches as soon as she does. The pulsing, surging power seems to be taking a tool on her, but it's still lingering.

And Genie concentrates it, shaping it into what looks to be a greatsword, more defined than in previous rounds. Energy gathers steadily, billowing off of Genie as she seems to take her aura and extend it from herself to mould it into a weapon. She takes a swing, swinging loose paper and straw a flutter as it splits the air and cuts toward Chevy. Of course, the blade itself is not sharp--awful as though would be--but the sensation of the cut and the force of the swing is still very much there.

And if she connects, shw follows up with swing after swing, unleashing a flurry of strikes with which certainly lack the finesse of a knight or samurai, even if the power is there.

COMBATSYS: Genie successfully hits Chevy with Arondight EX.

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Genie            0/-------/-----==|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2            Chevy

"Haha. Maybe..."
Chevy can't help but smile at the reference.
Genie's fight against Zarine and Sarah was still fresh in her mind.
As was her memory of another fight.

From their rooms in a Sunshine City hotel, Chevy and Ichika spoke often about their strategies. While Chevy's talents allowed her to avoid and redirect an opponent's attacks, Ichika's innate gifts provided her with a particular method to weather the unavoidable.

* * *

"Not a wizard. Not a sorcerer. Not a sage. Not a conduit. What ARE you, Genevieve Bouvier?"

The sword brings a smile to Ichika's lips, and she gives a sharp nod of her head as the injured woman gives it her all. Bright blue power surges around her once again. It pours out of her to try and help augment her guard.

* * *

In all this time, Chevy hadn't -fully- learned how to replicate Ichika's defensive abilities. But she'd also remembered the conversations had shaped her outlook of the fighter who didn't really fit the mold, the one whose blend of innate talent with an apparent ignorance of fight tactics made her into one of the NFG's greatest wildcards.

Attacking Genie in the Rumble wasn't just out of a need for Chevy to challenge herself, or a desire to succeed where Ichika had found difficulty. It was an act of desperation -- of self-preservation.

She breathes in a gulp of dry air as the energy swells. While the sword in front of her is an unmistakably real threat, its existence is ineffable, unfathomable. She could -feel- Zarine's impact, she could -feel- Iris' magic -- this broadsword, in many ways, no different than watching a FightTube recording.

She can feel the water dripping down her arms and legs. It gives her the start of an idea, as she crouches down, preparing an escape. But it's too little, too late -- the broadsword descends like a guillotine.

Chevy hops back, raising her pole.
The sword whips past it as if it were nothing.
Pain ignites her nerves, spreading like wildfire.
Blood, bones, and sinew alike tear apart at the seams.
Every capillary, every pore, is as it's being wrenched apart from the inside.

Chevy staggers backward, clutching her head. The searing pain doesn't just assault her body, but her mind as well -- giving her the net effect of a five-alarm migraine.

The pole drops, the buckets clatter against the floor and spill their payloads. Her body convulses as the second, the third, the multitude of swings strike home. A physical assault would batter her backwards. But this paranormal assault has none of that -- she recoils from pain alone, her body reeling with the sense of what a blade -ought- to feel like as it rends her bones apart from within. The room blurs into blobs of color, seared with flashes of light.

Chevy falls over -- arms sprawling out over two surprised hogs, who -- ignorant of the psychic assault -- only see Chevy's fall as an attempt at capture. They take off running.

And with -that- particular memory, Chevy's muscle memory kicks in. She holds on tightly, her hands on autopilot as her brain skips through a rapid reboot sequence.

And, in an instant -- she's awake again, panting for breath as the hogs race through the tower's ground-level gathering room.


In the end -- it's the scent of freshly grilled barbecue that brings her back to the moment. Her body is still innervated with the remnants of psychic assault -- but the prodigy is able to press back against the mental pressure.

"Yeah, well... Charon's not taking me away just yet...!"
She may not have stayed in-character during her fight with Hated R.
But she -did- remember the assignment.

She digs in her heels, letting the stampeding pigs haul her back to her feet for the moment before she lets go. Turning, Chevy grits her teeth, focusing for a moment. The pain is forced out of her head with her intense focus. The air grows heavy with humidity -- a calm before the storm -- as she searches for every drop of water in the room. On the pools spilled from her buckets.

Panting out with breath -- she drops both hands to the floor beside her. The water drops spring free from her thighs and shins, her forearms and hands.

All the water vapor in a swath between Chevy and Genie condenses instantly.
A miniature sea splashes down onto the floor. And in the very next moment... it -all- starts surging towards Genie. A veritable tsunami, threatening to batter her against the walls of the tower!

COMBATSYS: Chevy successfully hits Genie with Gulf Stream.
- CRAZY Hit! -

[                             \  < >  ///////////                   ]
Genie            1/---====/=======|-------\-------\0            Chevy

In that moment, Genie feels like she's delivered the decisive blow she needed. In that instant, she thought she might have clinched the battle in her favor, despite what a formidable opponent Chevy is. In that second, she thought she had her on the ropes and was ready to move in the finish.

And with equal rapidly, the tide turns---literally and metaphorically.

Genie can feel the lingering psychic damage where Chevy cannot. The tides feel different to her, lacking the same presence that they might have for others, but her own strikes are a well understood known. She knows what kind of pepper she put onto that swordstrike, "hotter" than anything on the grill but not to the palate. She is fully aware of what devastating power it packed.

But for the damage it does, the tidal wave that comes back at her rushes off her, sending her sputtering, floundering, and flailing in its wake. It's like being taken by the beach---Genie remembers one time, on the coasts of France, when she was knocked down by a stray wave and, being a little girl then, felt like she was going to be washed out to see by the tide. In this moment, she feels like that again.

When she slams against the tower wall she stops, the water continuing to beat against her until it passes through and drops her, waterlogged, soggy, outright --drenched--. She coughs, sputters, and struggles, but her power surges one last time before she conks out.

A volley of arrows, each made of pink psychic power, rip out around Genie, piercing through the air and shooting back toward Chevy. The accuracy is lacking. The focus is not there, but the desperate last stand must be made.

COMBATSYS: Genie can no longer fight.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  <
Chevy            0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Chevy parries Genie's Courechouse!!

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  <
Chevy            0/-------/---<<<<|

Chevy's head feels like it will split open at any moment. The last time it hurt this bad was... her first night on the Mermaid, when she realized she could order pretty much any drink she'd wanted. And she'd tried a -lot-. This is... -kind- of like severe dehydration, only... well, obviously different.

For one, hydration is clearly not a problem either of the two fighters has to worry about right now. Nor is it a bother for the tower, or any of its caprine, ovine, or porcine, inhabitants, as they're currently all wallowing about in the surf. The pigs absolutely love it; the sheep and goats, not so much.

A completely drenched Chevy carves out a few moments to catch her breath. Her shoulders slump forward -- the soaked dress weighs much heavier than it looks. Her body convulses as her muscles fight to keep from firing all at once. The adrenaline kickstart gives her the -energy- to keep fighting, but even with her nerves fried, she still has the presence of mind to keep some of that energy on reserve...

Which ends up being a good thing, as Genie's last-ditch effort to close the gap manifests in an arsenal of willforged weaponry. Chevy's eyes widen as the psychic barrage comes into being -- and as often happens, she looks to the water to save her. She grits her teeth, and lightly tenses her fingertips.

The water glistens, as the waves curl around her feet. It takes every bit of concentration she's got left after that attack -- but she manages to lift herself up off the floor, as if she was mounting a surfboard.

And then in the next moment, Chevy raises her left leg, turning broadside to the oncoming attacks as the surf propels her forward! The first arrows whistle past, narrowly missing her! And as she thunders forward on her wave of surf, she manages to duck and weave at each critical juncture with the perfect timing needed to send the arrows crashing into the surf. Each arrow hits the kicked-up water with a cloud of steam, showing just how much impact the arrows would have dealt to the Carolinian herself! Chevy had never fully let her guard down, judging right -- with Ichika's guidance -- that Genie would be a threat right until the end of the match!

But... unfortunately for the Odysseus Swiss Miss, that's what this is -- as Chevy proves when she rocks herself to a stop just a few feet away from Genie. She raises her hand in a warding gesture, grinning wearily...

"Hah... hah... well fought...!"

'Circe' draws in her breath, clasping a hand to her chest.

"Whew... well. I done worked up an appetite after that."

She flashes a grin -- not sure if Genie's -actually- out, or just checking her eyes for light leaks. But as the waves subside, and the farm animals shake themselves in a futile attempt to dry themselves, Chevy claps her hands in both apology and thanks. For she could tell that Genie really wanted a taste of that barbecue -- which, thankfully, is plenty high and dry on the other side of the chamber.

"I promise I'll save you some!"

COMBATSYS: Chevy lets the tide wash out.

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

COMBATSYS: Chevy has ended the fight here.

Log created on 22:00:37 03/14/2024 by Chevy, and last modified on 08:22:09 03/25/2024.