SNF 2006.08 - Seijyun Rules: Foxy vs Alma

Description: A model and a swordswoman walk into a theater, ouch! A nailbitingly close bout which showcases the style, grace and skill of both fighters but comes with an unexpected twist at the end... could this be the start of a beautiful relationship? (Winner: Foxy)

'Did you hear? He's going to be /here/! In the theater...'
'Well, we can't miss this. I hear he's a rather talented fighter...'
'What? Who cares about that? He's gorgeous!'
Whispers of conversation drift through the ornate halls of Seijyun High, the pattering of footsteps echoing through the hallowed halls of the renowned girls' school. It might be surprising to some that so many young ladies are still present at this time in the summer, but the kind of families that have the money and motivation to put their daughters in a school like this generally also are either busy over the summer, want their children to pack in as much education and refinement as possible in any case, or both. Thus, though much of the audience is still waiting outside the famed Seijyun Theater to be let in, there are still many half-hidden whispering faces peering over the balustrades of entrance hall's second floor.
~ Shucks. ~
Serene and relaxed, Alma Towazu, young warrior-model extraordinaire, reveals no reaction to the whisperers above him as he passes through the main hall and toward the beautiful theater. Calm-faced with his usual mild smile, the handsome youth's gaze sweeps the room through his swept blond bangs, the earthy tones of his stylish clothing contrasting nicely both with the Victorian decor and his own bronzed skin. His poise and posture, natural to him but exceptional in the eyes of others, make him worthy of the halls of Seijyun. Why, if he were a girl, he'd make a prime student here.
...yeah, okay, maybe with a little makeup, but... look, he's in college already, okay?
Entering through the doors to the theater, Alma only pauses in his even steps when he reaches the stage. He stands there still while the SNF cameramen begin to set up around him and the audience begins to fill into their seats in an organized fashion, his chin lifted, looking up to the high ceiling of this fabled theater. He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath, and revels in the feeling -- not just of these expectant people, but of the ancient passions that still resound in this place, of the actors and the audiences who have linked to each other time and time again, of the times where things went just right and the times where things went horribly wrong... even the dust itself inspires awe within him. When he opens his eyes again, they're shining slightly.
~ Nice place. ~
No wonder he smiles all the time.

"Indeed, ma'am, I regularly make top of my class! Perhaps one day..."

"You could be like me?" Alma's opponent finishes the bookish schoolgirl's sentence with a quirk of her lips, humour faintly audible through that Hispanic lilt. A considerate gaze takes in the youngster, all perfect hair and smooth skin bound in a carefully gathered uniform, reading glasses pushed back on her brow now that attention lies away from study. Not all Seijyun's pupils have such wanton desires as those gossiping over the model extraordinaire. Lifting a gloved hand, Foxy lays a gentle touch upon the girl's shoulder, "Perhaps we shall speak again, child. My employer always has need for eager talent. In the meantime, I trust you shall cheer for me?"

"Absolutely! Good luck, ma'am."

Mouth phrasing an earnest smile, the woman turns without formal farewell, leaving that to echo behind her as she moves away from the quiet corner to slip into the theatre. Scant paces ahead of the crowd she strides, coattails billowing out behind and right hand resting upon her softly clinking rapier's hilt. "All present and correct," she muses aloud, glancing across the stage before her crimson gaze settles upon the serene Towazu. A face she dimly recognises - have they met? His identity may become more apparent in time, but for now he is her ticket back into the public eye. It's been a long time since Foxy Arreaza allowed herself to be viewed by a piercing camera's lens, that she exposed herself to those with whom she would otherwise have no business. At least, directly. She'll have to make the most of this.

Confident, and regal of poise, Foxy makes her way gracefully to the stage without showboating. Her position opposite Alma is taken with a soft sigh, and a swallow that is neither nervous nor uncertain. The Venezuelan is merely composing herself, wordless for a few moments, examining the handsome youth as she slowly, almost sensuously draws the blade from its loop at her hip. Raising it close to her face - parallel with her nose - she offers a warrior's salute to her opponent. Scant words are uttered, and these come quietly. Intended only for him.

COMBATSYS: Foxy has started a fight here.

COMBATSYS: Alma has joined the fight here.

Alma is alerted to Foxy's presence by both the rising murmurs of the audience and the sensation of her vibrant fighting spirit. The calm young man's eyes acquire an intent look for just a moment, as though trying to remember something; he has a better memory for auras than for faces, and this one seems familiar. Some flickering images pass through his mind, of speaking to Jiro long ago, of a trip to America, of the mountains-- but that was a long time ago, and it was only once. He doesn't expect that she remembers too. He tends to not expect as much of others as he demands from himself; but with the cultivated composure that this woman has, one thing he /does/ expect... is a good fight.
"The honor is all mine, Miss Arreaza." He actually pronounces her name correctly, something she may not be used to after living in Japan. His smile is slight but genuine, and his eyes, though focused, seem warm.
She sinuously draws her blade and readies it, he shifts his feet along the ground like a jungle cat preparing to pounce -- and the conductor taps his rod, bringing the audience to attention. The quiet hubbub fades completely, total silence reigning for just a moment, as though the theater itself has taken an expectant breath.
The percussion begins. The violins are sharp, intense. The pianist's fingers dance lightly in the beginnings of a fierce, dramatic number, in what much be an aria from some battle scene--
--and Alma is already moving as though the music itself has carried him forward, lunging forward as though in an attempt to quickly get around the woman's superior reach. Instead, however, as he closes in and uncoils his arms, the gathering momentum sparks a burst of auric light around his hands and forearms and he lashes out with his right palm, emitting a spiralling gout of white purple-tinged mind-assaulting fire.
The youth's eyes flash. The battle is on.

COMBATSYS: Foxy negates Sacred Wave from Alma with Horn of the Unicorn.

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Alma             0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0             Foxy

Vibrant fighting spirit. Words rarely attributed to the fire-eyed woman, though none the less apt. Were they spoken aloud, she might begin to wonder about this candid youngster, whether he has some untold ability to discern what beats in the hearts, the souls of man. Composed and calm, Foxy displays none of the outward signs most would expect from a truly passionate individual. A tinge of excitement burns deep inside, and perhaps - to some - that warrior's spirit is clear in her words, even in her subtle motions. But Alma speaks not these sentiments. This makes him none the less interesting.

When the reply comes, Foxy's head dips downward. A concession to a bow, which brings no other motion beside a flicker of the eyes. She is watching, observing. Whatever emotion might be stirred by the music or through Alma's surge in energy goes utterly checked by the swordswoman, her attentions riveted most firmly upon the boy. Should this be 'man'? That has yet to be proven. His movements are superb, seamless and stylish enough to somewhat explain the ruckus raised among the waiting schoolgirls - those who wait no longer. Their hero moves, and his opponent is prepared for the task ahead of her. In a single smooth display of dexterity, her free hand lifts to caress briefly at the rapier's hilt, a metallic sound going unheard through the soundtrack as she draws forth a metal object. It flashes fleetingly in the stage lights. "Impressive."

Part of the same supple movement, Ms. Arreaza unfolds her arms outward, flourishing the blade to one side as the other hand pitches forward the tiny dagger she has withdrawn. It's tip carries a potent surprise, and though the miniscule weapon seems an unlikely opposition for the magenta flames it greets, upon impact an explosion rings out through the air. "But not enough!" Lips quirking once more, Foxy draws herself into a fencer's stance, keeping her gaze on Alma even through the dissipating psychic energy, which billows for a time before sparkling into nothing.

Alma aimed to close in after his attack in hopes of taking advantage of an off-balanced opponent, but this was not to be. The collision of the two attacks forces the youth to withdraw, taking a step back with his hands circling loosely. He seem unpreturbed by this, his relaxed expression unchanging -- at least, until her final exclamation. He actually grins in response, the good-humored expression apparently genuine, making no verbal response. Yet the emotion does not fully reach his eyes. His eyes are intent. He's serious. His smile says he's appreciating and admiring her ability; his eyes say he's looking for ways to overcome it.
"Then I'll have to give my all," he finally murmurs, good-naturedly. "I hope you do the same."
Indeed, if he's going to put his all into this fight, he'll have to use everything at his disposal-- and he's still got a bit of manifested soulfire wreathing his hands from his failed attack. He flows with this, utilizing it even as it dissipates; when he lunges forward again, he feints into a punch and lets blurring aura-images of the strike fade behind him, the faint lightshow confusing his intensions. He does this several times in quick, smooth succession, but once he closes in, his real attack is not a punch at all, but a twist into a sweeping low kick to hopefully knock the woman's feet out from under her and ruin her stance.

COMBATSYS: Alma successfully hits Foxy with Light Kick.

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Alma             0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0             Foxy

Her opponent's estimation may be lacking, for while Foxy is hardly unbalanced in the manner he intended, she does lack the gathered perception to see through Alma's startling approach. Drawn into her traditional, well-famed stance, she moves only slightly and keeps her concentration trained upon the lunging youth. Clearly his 'all' will comprise a most frontal approach, as evidenced by his clearly exhibited passion and initial assault - an arrogant assumption that costs the Venezuelan a potential upper hand. Leaning back fractionally as she turns to meet the incoming blow, she looks through the fire to the flesh beyond, focusing fully on seeing the intent and veering around it.

"...!" When Alma shifts his momentum, Foxy's eyes widen. A breath darting from her nostrils, she hastily attempts to correct her posture and move with his sweeping kick - seeing it well enough. But unable to react in time, her ankles are struck and her tall frame thrown off its balance. There is only one thing she can do; roll into the fall, carry it to some fortuitous conclusion, and through the pain of his surprisingly potent strike she manages to move surely. Extending her free hand, she plants a palm to the floor before her side can come into contact, and darts into a graceful flip that carries her a few yards from the psion, a smile upon her lips. "That, was apparently enough. Prepare yourself, my dear."

Pausing only to blink, Foxy makes her own offensive motion. Darting forward with right foot leading, she takes a brisk criss-cross path to Alma, blade lashing the air in a distracting 'x' before him. Another slash comes toward an instant later, aimed toward his gut with intent only to tear the material covering that flesh, to bribe the instincts into forcing the youth backward. Then, with a hiss of indrawn breath she lunges, left arm curled behind as she follows through with a dramatic stab, to pierce clothing and flesh both.

COMBATSYS: Alma dodges Foxy's Heavy Strike.

Alma, in spite of his apparent grace and command over his movements, is finding this fight incredibly difficult, and not just because the woman's weapon gives her longer reach. One of the main tenets of Hiten-Ryu is to make the fight one long combination attack-- to gather every action and reaction toward one relentless purpose. The key is, then, to be the master of a battle's momentum, even when the opponent seems to be on the offensive. But Foxy's superior technique and the deceptive nature of her fencing style are making fulfilling this tenet highly problematic.
But he is a patient man. He watches her, relaxed but focused.
She closes in, and at first he moves slowly, retreating with the slow smoothness of the tide going out as he carefully eyes the distracting 'x' she cuts before him. The first slash catches him; it tears a horizontal line across his dark shirt along his abdomen, but the young man doesn't even blink, because the tide is coming back--
--and coming like a crashing wave, he flows just out of the way of her powerful lunge and attacks with his own lunge, a blazing halo of white soulfire manifesting around his hand as he lashes out and aims to strike her with a close-range blast. To the audience, it looks as though they've struck simultaneously.

COMBATSYS: Foxy blocks Alma's Self Expression.

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Alma             0/-------/------=|===----\-------\0             Foxy

Hiten-Ryu might be called poetry in motion. A perfection of movement which Foxy herself has sought on occasion, a graceful flow that may be interrupted only by the emergence of a victor. Speech, gestures, other distractions may come and go, but the ultimate goal is to never leave the winds of battle behind. One with the weapon, with oneself, and even with the similarly striving opponent. Which of them is truly 'superior' is another matter that remains to be seen, and in this case the young Towazu gives his elder a run for her money, seeing the feint better than she saw his and acting with a very direct intent. She is over-extended, crimson blade grazing past Alma's side without striking... and he catches her almost offguard.

However, the woman is alerted at the last possible instant, gaze following her foe and marking well his intent. With little time to act and the most disadvantageous of positions at her disposal, Foxy still mounts what might be called an excellent defence, drawing her trailing arm around to meet the searing energy blast with a hardened palm, extended to scatter the blaze and draw away some of its power. The attempt is successful, enough time bought for the woman to dart away in a low lunge, hair whipped into a maelstrom behind her as it is caught in the failing brunt of the attack. Close to the ground and breathing rapidly, for a moment it appears as though Foxy intends to remain where she is, a short distance from Alma while she recovers.

Appearances are deceptive at best. Smile darting across her lips, eyes flashing, she coils her leg muscles in preparation, tights rippling as an athletic build makes itself known below the material covering. Wordless, free from further jibe, the Venezulean is at one instant hunkered down and the next soaring high above the stage in a sudden leap. Twisting her lithe frame about, she lashes out with her bloodless blade, cutting a flashing arc that leaves in its wake a searing silver afterglow - her own energies, pure and free from ornate decoration. None the less cutting. Rapier's shining edge and accompanying chi are brought into play seamlessly, that long and deep cut designed to catch Alma in its spray.

COMBATSYS: Alma blocks Foxy's Silver Moon.

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Alma             0/-------/----===|===----\-------\0             Foxy

Alma grits his teeth against the attack, crossing his arms as the blade slashes forward. At first glance, intuitively, this may seem like a pretty bad idea, what with Foxy having a sword and Alma only having an already-torn shirt to protect him -- with short sleeves in any case. However, it is actually Foxy's chi that partially saves him from a worse fate. His own spirit resonating with the power she draws upon, an auric shield surges into existance around his crossed arms as the attack hits, and his psychic energies take the brunt of the attack, naturally redistributing the total force around his body and into the ground so that he doesn't need to budge. Faint red lines appear on his forearms, but his skin doesn't seem to have been pierced -- and perhaps more importantly, he himself hasn't absorbed any of the momentum of her attack thanks to his spiritual defense, so he is primed for a counterattack.
Aiming to catch her while she's still above him and recovering from her slash, he angles up and jumps himself, attacking with a fierce punch toward the woman's abdomen in an attempt to knock her back and the wind out of her lunges; another single strike of keen precision.
He's got to keep it stuff like this, as long as she's got that sword readied...

COMBATSYS: Foxy counters Strong Punch from Alma with Seven Cycles.

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Alma             0/-------/--=====|====---\-------\0             Foxy

Such a display should, at least, keep the audience happy. Those not concerned solely with adoring Alma's pretty features. Foxy's energy meets his own in a fierce flare of light, a soft 'hmph' from the woman expressing both disappointment and approval - an odd juxtaposition of emotion, but she cannot be entirely swept in one direction or the other. Winning is irrelevant though hardly undesirable, enough that it catches even the relatively calm Venezuelan with its promise. Perhaps she can put up enough of a fight to at least entertain the girls with a new role model... a service to NESTS in itself. Maybe Alma's speed and grace will overcome. Each has a chance.

In this case, his is slashed short.

Retracting her rapier with admirable restraint, Foxy twists again as she reaches the very peak of her flight, coat whiplashing about with the motion. The garment almost blocks her view, but instead those blood-tinted eyes are free to settle back over her shoulder, onto the model as he gives chase. "I'd rather not," the woman murmurs quietly, setting one foot down toward the floor while lifting her blade, sloping edge presented toward the rapidly approaching fist. There is an instant where it seems Alma might blitz through the sword - it appears so fragile, so easy to disregard - and then his knuckles are forced to a jarring half. Jarring, that is, for /him/. His opponent simply nods her pleasure, and drops fully to the floor with a flourish as she withdraws the parrying steel. An unnecessary flourish it most certainly is not, a precursor instead to a countering strike from the woman, catching her recovering opponent with a one-two slash to the breast, cutting a cross through fabric and flesh to adorn his well-formed body directly over the heart. "Shoo yourself, Mr. Towazu."

That sword has more stopping power than it appears to.
Alma's eyes widen slightly as his fist comes to a jarring halt. He makes an admirable effort to avoid her counterattack; he actually pushes off of the sword with his own fist and attempts to perform a kind of mid-air withdrawl, flailing back in a confusing but strangely graceful sprawl so as to minimize the chances of him getting hit by a lashing sword. Unfortunately, it appears that, minimized though those chances might have been... they were still high enough chances.
A thin flower of blood is sheared from Alma's chest, his shirt being almost torn away completely by the two cross-wise slashes as the young man grunts, tucking in and flipping away as soon as he can. He lands in a nice crouch, but the damage has been done; gritting his teeth and wasting no time, the tall youth tears away the remnants of his ruined shirt and uses it to quickly dab at the shallow wounds before tossing it away. The model's muscles flex for a moment, his face a mask of concentration even as Foxy continues her descent -- and then his bleeding ceases altogether, his face relaxing again as his eyes glimmer with a new light. With his spirit's guidance and his body's exertion, he seems to have overcome this setback in a mere second or two--
--and begun a second attempt to overcome her defenses.
A blast of flame accompanies his next assault, the soulfire wreathing his feet as he explodes more fiercely into the air. Foxy may have already touched ground by this time, perhaps not; but either way, Alma is taking to the air himself in an attempt to carry her away with his furious attack. Feet leaving blazing white-purple trails behind him, the tall youth begins a series of spinning roundhouse kicks, throwing himself entirely into his attack in an effort to shatter her guard completely.
Looks like he's not shooing just yet.

COMBATSYS: Foxy dodges Alma's Rising Fury.

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Alma             0/-------/---====|====---\-------\0             Foxy

More than meets the eye. Could the same not be said of Alma?

Certainly, he has impressed his opponent in many fields, both skill and passion clearly matched but.. there is an intangible other which she cannot quite place, a hint that this youth might yet prove more special. Withdrawing herself at the time he does, Foxy takes the precious time available to observe Alma with quiet interest, watching him tend to his wounds and shed the shirt with a fascination far different to that now present in certain sections of the feminine crowd. This is only heightened when energy floods his torso with new strength and resolve. A light chuckle emanates from the swordswoman, her footsteps falling a moment later as the boy rises and starts toward her. Her destination? Directly into his furious onslaught.

Taking small steps, Arreaza paces herself perfectly to meet the first flickering wreaths of energy with the perfect defence. Her blade may be strengthened beyond its slender appearance, her spirit emboldened with a fanaticism few would suspect, but her speed has yet to be shown for what it is. This is not hidden, a more tangible quantity for all to observe, as Foxy's form flickers a fractional instant before her presumed oblivion at Alma's lashing feet. Indeed she has touched ground, found and reaccustomed herself, but a strike at head height is - if anything - more damaging than a blow to the torso. Certainly more disorientating. Neither state is desirable. Alma's attack is flamboyant and exciting though not lacking subtlety or accuracy, but here it is found most lacking by an experienced warrior, as she darts around the leading foot and drops low for a second time.

The balletic slide which follows carries the woman well away from the fray, enough that she can compose herself if she chooses. No such opportunity is taken - instead, one rather different. Entirely opposed. Holding her stance for but a moment, while Alma is still slicing the air with his soulfires his opponent is moving in to intercept his landing, a brisk sprint carrying her into proximity before she twirls on the spot, pirouetting about only to bring her weapon into play. Light cascades off shining steel as the edge seeks to play havoc with the psion's falling legs, both limbs targeted with a vicious cut across the knees. No quarter asked, nor given. "Ha!"

COMBATSYS: Foxy successfully hits Alma with Medium Strike.
- Power hit! -

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Alma             0/-------/=======|====---\-------\0             Foxy

It's hard to accuse someone like Alma of using 'berserk tactics'. He's certainly put himself at a defensive disadvantage for the purposes of an all-out attack; but as Foxy clearly realized, a great deal of technique and focus went into aiming his dangerously arcing kicks. Had he succeeded, the burst of movement he utilized there would have put him at a definite advantage, and his gamble would have been most definitely worthwhile.
As it is, he just looks a bit silly.
When his kicks meet nothing but air, Alma attempts to twist himself into a controlled spin and guide his powerful frame away from the nimble woman's blade, but to no avail. Her precise strike catches him at the exact instant that it ought to even as he spins, and his legs buckle beneath him before he even knows what has happened. The young man's eyes can be seen widening again -- at least before his face meets the theater floor.
His opponent has clearly won /this/ round. But Alma seems unfazed, from what one can tell without being able to see his face; surprised but unstunned, his palms plant against the floor immediately and he lifts his body from the ground with only the aid of his arms, curling himself forward into a handstand and then, with a repositioning of his hands and another powerful flexing of his trained muscles, twisting himself back into a crouch. There's a slight pause as Alma hesitates over the condition of his legs -- then, more certain, he rises to his full height, apparently still functional.
He takes a moment to relax back into his stance, taking a deep breath as his arms resume their loose ready position and his feet spread again. He exhales the pain, and inhales the thrill of the fight... and his eyes gleam again with purpose, and with rising power.
He nods to her, both in recognition of her ability and to signify that he can continue.

COMBATSYS: Alma gathers his will.

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Alma             1/---====/=======|====---\-------\0             Foxy

Beyond satisfactory.

Foxy barely bites back a smug noise, seeing the effects of her rather underhanded strike fall rather more heavily than she had planned. This is nothing but advantageous, purchasing time to either reflect or immediately follow up, or better yet - to prepare herself and harness her energies in a similar manner to that exhibited by the recovering teen model. Nimble himself, he evades any direct flow in the assault before the thought can even be grasped from her mind, and this brings the woman time for decision. Sliding backward, she fades into the slight darkness at the edge of the stage, remaining wary but honing that wariness as she procrastinates on definite action.

Alma has changed somehow. Foxy can see that. Better, she can /feel/ it, and bites thoughtfully on her lip, shifting grip upon the rapier and resting its tip upon the wooden boards below. Tapping it carefully, twice, she meets the apparently recovered boy's nod with a slower, deeper of her own. "The field is yours, sir," she calls out, raising her blade and taking a single step forward into the bright lights. Beginning to shift in her stance, she assumes a tight rhythm, those crimson eyes seeming more keen and focused than before, her vigour restored along with a new insight. Perhaps she even appears.. more dangerous. "En guarde."

COMBATSYS: Foxy focuses on her next action.

Alma doesn't have Foxy's experience, nor does he have a mind as keen. But he can sense the echoes of her emotions and her motivations, and he can glimpse the faint trails of the impulses that guide her actions while she's in this heightened state. Her more highly charged attitude makes her more dangerous, to be sure, but somehow, he feels more comfortable-- as though now that her spirit is evident, he will be more able to aim his own spirit on a collision course, and make the sparks fly. He doesn't have to be a psychic to be excited about the possibilities.
Thus, it is not only through his own efforts that he feels his energies rising, but in response to the state he senses his opponent guiding herself into. Gaze burning with a kindled inner fire, bared upper body beginning to radiate faint plumes of pale light, Alma's resolve, born not of sheer determinion but of a pure joy in the fight, hones him in on an opportunity.
He blurs forward. His hand lashes out, again in just a single precise strike-- a powerful blast of psychic energy that is unleashed to both batter the woman's body and disorient her mind.
His wordless exclamation says it all.

COMBATSYS: Alma successfully hits Foxy with Self Expression EX.

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Alma             1/---====/=======|=======\-------\0             Foxy

Precision is not a virtue to be underestimated - it may even hold the key to ultimate perfection, a single precise strike carrying all the will-born power of a warrior. Such is Alma's attack. Foxy may have believed herself prepared, her gaze meeting his own and a flicker sounding in the deepest scarlet depths of her eyes. Resolve, passion, call it what you will... the youth has it in spades, and proves this as he moves a moment later, true to everything he could possibly be. With a sharp jerk of her arms, the Venezuelan prepares to weave aside and around that extended finger, but her evasion is not to be.

Experience is not lord among assets. Struck with all the power presented, Foxy cries out as the psychic energy assails her, feeling in truth for the first time that electrocuting effect upon the brain. Memories flood back in confused droves, causing her desperate step away to be staggered at best, her body far ahead of what coordinates it. Her outfit may be slightly heated, but she feels exactly where the damage is done - and knows now that Alma Towazu is as special as hints have led her to suspect. Casting her gaze sidelong toward him as she moves, there's a sudden acknowledgement in her eye that might clue him in to her revelation, though how surprising should it be? It merely took time to place the curious feeling welling within her. To him, it is nothing new.

"You're an interesting person," she offers, Hispanic lilt muddy while she fights to restore her wits. It is a brief battle. Dipping her head down in a manner of bow, she is swift to retreat further, half stepping and half leaping away from Alma and lifting her hands up to her breast. Rapier held across her vision for a moment, it is a weakness she hopes to use as distraction for the fiery young fighter, to goad him into taking an advantage that is not there. A heartbeat later, her form uncoils in a serpentlike lunge, long legs carrying her into a full three hundred and sixty degree spin, bringing her at once into Alma's personal space. The rapier is out and brought to bear yet again, this time in a less-than-precise assault - rather, the keen edge is lashed out in a wide arc with foremost intent to cut deep into her opponent's stomach. Whether this falls true or not, she adds in a low tone, "But to what end will that carry you?"

COMBATSYS: Foxy successfully hits Alma with Memory of Noah.

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Alma             2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|=======\=------\1             Foxy

Burning with fighting spirit after the success of his psychic release, Alma does indeed seek to take advantage of his opponent's moment of shock. Weaving forward gracefully, Alma draws his hand across his face as though preparing to lash out again while Foxy's rapier is held across her vision--
He should have been paying more attention.
Well, that's not really fair; the fact is, even Alma's powerful intuition didn't prepare him for her surprise counterattack, and his own bodily reflexes are not enough to make up the difference. The preparation for his own attack leaves his lower torso open, and he grunts loudly as the slash cuts through his abdomen, sending him reeling back and away from her dangerous weapon. He gracefully recovers mid-stumble, making his staggering look almost planned, but he doesn't have the focus to spare to make his bleeding fade completely this time. The handsome youth can only quietly grit his teeth, swept bangs hanging in a partial curtain over his intent hazel eyes, and lunge back into a battle stance -- his reaction becoming his action.
"I'm not so interested in the results, per se," he manages to murmur back even as he draws his fist back, gathering power there. "But to be passionately engaged, whether in conflict or in cooperation, so much so that the difference between conflict and cooperation doesn't even matter-- now that..."
His eyes blaze again, and with the proud roar of a raging lion his fist blurs to impact with the ground. The punch itself seems undamaging and the floor is unharmed -- what /is/ damaging is the fountainous explosion of Psycho Power that results, a geyser of energy that blasts upward and aims to carry Foxy away with it.

COMBATSYS: Foxy interrupts Full Confession from Alma with Poetry of Cygnus.
- Power hit! -

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Alma             1/---====/=======|===----\-------\0             Foxy

NESTS-forged steel bites deep, drawing forth a soft, nearly inaudble grunt from its creator as she absorbs the impact. Foxy's was a considered gamble which has paid off admirably, though she is aware that under different circumstance her blood could now be seeping out through crushed vessels. Metal or flesh, sword or energy, the end result differs only in its manifestation - an internal wound every bit as potentially lethal as a visible cut. Far more uncertain is whether the woman would have handled herself quite so well undertaking a similarly jarring assault. Alma's recovery is almost flawless, execution beautiful enough that it garners admiration from those trained fighters in the crowd, and from Foxy herself.

Only one of these parties is then immediately most interested in the cocked fist, keen mind absorbing the sensation as destructive power surges out from the ready being who serves as vessel. Not to say that the youth's words go unheeded, and as the swordswoman slides back on her heels, spreading her legs and setting feet firmly to the floor in preparation for the impending assault, her ears are pricked for the murmured reply to her query. 'To be passionately engaged'. It draws a chuckle, though one which is short-lived, killed off by the sudden surge in motion from her opponent. Worth fighting for? He backs his words with action. Enforces his resolve through skill and strength. Foxy speaks as she moves to greet the psychic surge.

"Belief is important, /passion/ is important..." Energy wracks her being, coursing through flesh, through sinew, and through the all-important psyche. Still she moves forward, hair and coattails billowing behind in a dramatic display as she proves her own resolve. "To believe in passion is perhaps your greatest strength." Observation, intuition, conjecture... it does not matter, the words come unbidden and effortless from between her lips, which are - in most unlikely circumstance - pulled into a pleased countenance. A second later, through the raging inferno, the damaged woman soars. She flies. Her body becomes that of a warrior pure and true, bending through the air as she lands to deal the first of many strikes, that swishing blade cutting a shallow groove across Alma's torso.

"Poetry in motion..." a merest whisper on the air, it may just reach the young model through a torrent of pain as Foxy leads into a fearsome series of strikes, each cutting deeper and further than the last. Precision is present in the nuance, but to the onlookers it is a hurricane of agony. Slashes, stabs, slices and cuts rain down upon Alma Towazu, most directed about the arms and torso though one or two are directed to the legs by way of slowing his future progress. How much of a future can he have in this bout? A pause, as Foxy considers the situation. Leaving her blur, she appears to relax for a moment, leaving her opponent wrapped in agony, in contemplation of his own situation. Three times her rapier swings loose through the air, a hand setting gently to her hip as it sways the last.

Then, a final slash falls, cutting from shoulder to hip.

"Your attitude is as beautiful as your style, Mr. Towazu."

She descends through the light, like a falling angel. Alma can only watch, lips parted and once-burning eyes slightly widened, as she comes through his psychic blast with sword drawn, a smiling Valkyrie descending from a pillar of light to take his hand and guide him to heaven--
Pain explodes his reality, but he feels only amazement.
~ She's... she's beautiful. ~
That thought, that awe, that respect, that love of the fight and of the meeting of their spirits, is the only thing that maintains his resolve while her merciless avenging sword tears at his flesh. It is as though his mind is transported, his will kept somewhere safe away; yet not by avoiding the pain, rather by finding beauty in it. His body slumps, even one of his strength unable to withstand this bloody onslaught, his knuckles brushing the ground as his knees buckle from the strain-- but he seems strangely relaxed. Stunned, certainly, and unable to react-- but his face is not a mask of pain.
He, too, looks almost strangely pleased.
He crumples completely, falling to his knees before her, his head hanging. Lines of blood are traced all over his back and chest, his arms and the parts of his legs where his pants have been torn by the hissing blade. His blond, red-tinged bangs dangle over his closed eyes, hiding his expression-- as though shielding his beautiful face with the most feeble of final defenses.
Is he even still conscious?
He breathes out his words in a whisper. "I have faith... that good results issue forth naturally... from passionate living. From... truly being committed... to being one's self. And t-that's why..."
He begins to get to his feet.
"That's why, though I pursue victory with all my might, that's only a tool, a tool to be able to thrill in the challenge of the fight... so whether I win or lose... whether my passion leads me to victory or defeat here..."
His chin finally snaps up, and his eyes burn with the fury of the righteous.
"...I salute you!"
He lashes out, with a hand bathed in light.

COMBATSYS: Alma successfully hits Foxy with Absolution.

[                       \\\\\\\  < >  ////                          ]
Alma             0/-------/------=|=======\-------\1             Foxy

The explosion of Psycho Power is greater than any before. Though it doesn't emit as a fierce geyser like his last attack, the same amount of pressure is applied to a more precise area, and the result is a devastating close-range blast of purifying soulfire that flings his opponent away, searing her mind even as the audience flinches back from the blinding light. It's difficult to see during that flash, only the two fighters' silhouettes visible -- yet no one can look away.

Beauty is a very relative thing, one man's wondrous muse so often another's foulest monster. Foxy Arreaza is certainly not born of the heavens; her character and demeanour are all her own, even untouched by the organisation with whom she claims allegiance. Fuelled by her own beliefs and driven with a deeply burning resolution to see the world molded into something perfect, something beautiful, it is the perception of these beliefs that will - for most - judge her physical and spiritual aesthetic both. Who is to judge? Everyone. Each being upon the earth will draw their conclusions and make them known in some manner. It is a tiresome reality that has hounded the woman throughout her life, though perhaps the fox will at last become a hound herself. Being judged so brings a more valid claim to her own to decide...

And in this case?

She has spoken all that needs be spoken. Leaving her blade outstretched, angled down and to the right from her final bloodletting, Foxy draws in a long, deep breath and turns her gaze downward upon the falling youth. Style is one thing. He has so very much more than that - qualities she highly doubts the gaggling admirers will ever come to truly know, his purity and grace lost upon a shallow world. Her smile widens, but also softens, as she takes a step back, beginning to turn away from her whispering opponent. Faith, passion, commitment... victory or defeat - there is a difference, and perhaps here they disagree for the first time. Victory must be achieved; the other option is too painful to consider. So many lives to lose, an entire planet at stake.

Foxy frowns. Turning back toward Alma as he stands, her smile dwindles away in uncertainty, gaze slipping to the floor in a moment of hesitation that costs her sorely. Does he really not care? His words run deeper than this engagement, both their words have, and now the youth makes a claim she can hardly quantify. A gasp sounds as she takes in a breath, looking up only to meet a glowing hand. Shifting back to the battle, to conflict away from philosophy, the Venezuelan hastily throws up a guard. A guard which is thrown wide, scattered by some force either bidden or not. Her rapier clatters to the floor at her side, steel ringing out a clarion cry to meet the woman's guttural scream. Head thrown back, her body convulses as the psychic energy assails its every atom - and in her mind's eye she sees the hideous future of which she has dreamed, formed from the disintegration of this society. The children in this theatre, rendered meaningless, helpless. Alma, coloured as a possible messiah who will do nothing through apathy. Then the others, her comrades and friends... those two she calls dear family.

That moment lasts an eternity.

Staggering, falling away from the blast, Foxy lands upon her knees at the stage's edge, looking out over the gathered schoolgirls with eyes momentarily unseeing. Unwilling to see. As sudden was the transition is her jerk back unto reality, a second gasp breaking her throat before she sucks in heavy breaths. A quick glance goes back over her shoulder, placing Alma Towazu. Beautiful, stylish, young. As with so many here today. The hope for the future. What good is that if left unchallenged? Foxy bows her head, chin dipping almost to her breast as she acknowledges some inner commentary - and then, in a blur she moves, flowing around and lunging forward in a direct collision path with the righteous model. Sliding toward him across the polished boards, only at the last second does she slow her approach long enough to scoop up the crimson blade lying nearby, gripping deft and firmly in preparation for one, final cut.

"A time will come when you'll have to choose!" She gasps, swinging out a foot to stagger Alma before whipping the rapier out in a lightning quick slice to his midsection - that areas she has targeted so many times already. "Victory, defeat... those can never be attained together..."

COMBATSYS: Foxy can no longer fight.

COMBATSYS: Foxy successfully hits Alma with Tree of Wisdom.
- Power hit! -

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

Alma exhales quietly, the demands of his passion fulfilled.
He watches her fall, sees the last of her vigor drained from her by his overwhelming attack, and gazes at her, not without sympathy. He knows that his attacks induce great suffering. He would never will that suffering upon an unwilling opponent. But he knows, just as well if not better than anyone else, that from suffering can come a great change, a new perspective, a powerful insight. A fighter who has applied themselves fully to a battle has earned the right to see their mind torn out and unrolled before them like a battered parchment, to look at their own life from a more distant lens, to just for a moment absolve themself of their desires, their achievements, and their sins...
The young man begins to slump, his own energy fading as his soulful love of battle is satiated and the many pains that have been inflicted upon him begin to take their toll. He can see that she is struggling with something now, but he cannot see into her mind to know what it is -- she has her own perspective, and he has his.
Yes, everyone has their own perspectives -- but the beauty that they perceive, Alma thinks, though colored by their different backgrounds, must be the same beauty, the same truth. And he truly believes that if everyone acts as themselves, as maturely and as in tune with the laws of the universe as they can, though their many interpretations of those laws will surely clash, from that clash will issue forth that same beauty, and truly good results will be achieved--
Apathetic, possibly. If Alma's faith is wrong, then his passions may be leading him nowhere at all. But he knows what it is to live life conditionally, to require action of oneself; one's passion is stifled. Better to trust oneself and let that duty issue forth naturally, he believes, for from that passion will come the greatest of actions...
...he may just be a student and a model, nothing helpful, nothing special. But he is patient. He knows that someday, when he is older, when he is truly ready, he will use what he is learning now for something great. It will just happen naturally. He is convinced; he is confident. As long as his unconditional self-love remains, it'll happen someday... not now... but someday...
His eyes flicker in surprise as she rises, at her words.
~ That someday-- will it really come? ~
For a moment, the youth's unyielding faith, challenged, takes a blow-- and he blinks.
That moment costs him dearly.
But as he falls to his knees, eyes closing as he feels the darkness take him and knows no amount of resolve can save him now, knows that he should trust that his body desperately needs this unconsciousness and let it happen, Alma smiles softly, his final gaze traveling back up to the ceiling of the beautiful theater he had so been admiring.
"Victory," he whispers, "is achieving what you want... what you value."
He falls forward, the wooden floor his pillow.
"This... is what I value..."
He is finished.

COMBATSYS: Alma takes no action.

COMBATSYS: Alma can no longer fight.

"Victory?" Holding her pose, caught in the final moment of the slash, Foxy looks up at Alma before he falls, expression utterly unreadable - does she doubt, question, accept or simply stand confused by his final statement. Perhaps she fully understands. Certainly his final attack has given her an honest glimpse into what she fears, and what - and who - she values the most. Confusion springs only from the scale of her task, the seemingly insurmountable challenge before her should she seek to uncover her own victory. This elegant youth may possess wisdom and insight beyond his years, but that naivety still exists. He knows not how lucky he is. As he falls forward, the weary and broken Venezuelan cringes instinctively, realising she lies between man and his resting place.

Letting her rapier fall, Foxy brings both gloved hands to contact with Alma's bloodied figure, grunting with effort that should not be made when she takes the strain of his weight. Dropping to her knees, only partway through choice, she leans back, cradling his head in her lap. "Then victory is yours," a faint murmur is all she can manage, just above a whisper and barely loud enough to be picked up on the mics at stage front. "Curious to live each day thus... but your choices are already wiser than mine." There is no regret in her tone, only a silent resignation to her goals. The truest warrior here? Any judge would have a hard time deciding, no matter on what count. Foxy knows this. "Rest, warrior. You have earned it."

Still strong, the Hispanic swordswoman, but the human body is such a curious thing. Stable as can be under so much adversity, resilient beyond anything the most gifted inventor could ever design, a marvel of natural selection and evolution. Both these warriors are proof of what peaks can be reached through simple humanity - but when the final gasp is reached, that mighty form is so fast to crumble. Like hitting a light switch, mind and matter cease to function in tandem. That limit has been reached... Foxy's chin lowers to her breast, her final movement coming from a single hand's delicate, slow brushing of a stray lock from her opponent's eyes. Not the motion of a lover.

Closer to the caring touch of a mother.

Log created by Foxy, and last modified on 06:24:11 08/13/2006.