Neo League 570 - #572: Hotaru vs Arika

Description: It's time for the punk princess to grab the reins and get back on the horse (so to speak), and so a challenge has been issued to a certain Kenpo artist. Round and round they go, trading blows while the tinny music of the carousel hovers in the air around them. (Draw Match)

Music filters through the many speakers throughout the Dream Amusement Park. There's not anything specific or special about it, just the typical carnival stuff that flows about the crowd that typically fills the area. Tonight, things are a little different. The music is really the only noise that's going on, the crowds having left hours ago. A voice crackles to life over the speakers, spewing something about new rides, new games and a new food vendor.

Someone's left the sound system on, but no one's home!

Most of the lights in the park are off, except for a ride near the middle. Blinking lights around the outer canopy keep the carousel from being drowned in the darkness of the night. Flood lights from several television cameras further bathe the area; but it still tends to give off an eerie glow like something in a horror movie.

The sound system finally dies with another loud crackle, leaving the buzz of white noise to fill the air.

The carousel starts up.

Tinkling, tinny music begins as the wooden horses begin to 'gallop' upon the rotating platform.

Leaning backward in the saddle, against one of the poles, the punk princess stares out into the night. She's trying her utmost to get back into the swing of things after Jinchuu, but so far it's been slow-going. Arika's not even really certain she fared all that well against the bloody ninja in her comeback match, considering he blew up half the street and nearly took her with him.

But maybe, just maybe her issued challenge will be a tad better for her. She doubts it, but then, she's been doubting a lot lately.

The Amusement park makes for a frequent venue for the young Kenpo artist. From ball pits, to giant pendulums, to rollercoasters... But none of those prior appearances were quite like this. If anything, it reminds her more of her appearance at a graveyard around Halloween to fight most rotten kid she knows - Kurow Kirishima. But this time she isn't out to fight some spaz with claws, so that's definitely a plus.

Hotaru enters the view of the floodlights from off to the side, covered mostly in an ankle-length blue long coat with gold, ornage trim. A little something to keep off the chill before the fight is going to get going. The last season of the Neo League saw her finish in the top ten, a feat that took a lot of effort on her part. But she can't rest on her laurels. There's always a new challenge, a new goal, a new height to climb toward. And so it is that she's back at it again with the new season.

Hotaru reaches up to her neck to unclasp the coat before slipping it off her shoulders and drapping it over a fence around the idle teacup ride. Living proof that size isn't everything, the small fighter doesn't look like much at a glance. Her blue and white outfit looks more like varying shades of grey in what lighting is available.

Stretching her arms out at her sides, she brings them up to the side of her head next to retighten a hair ribbon slipping loose as she approaches the carousel. Hugging herself a little to keep of a chill, the slightly younger of the two glances around the amusement park one last time before focusing on Arika. It's weird how a place all about having fun during the day can seem so creepy when draped in silence and bereft of people.

A quiet bow of her head is offered toward her opponent. It won't be long before it'll have been a year since she first met her. To think Arika was just getting started in making a name for herself back then... "I never got to tell you in person how relieved I was to find out you were okay after the last time I saw you." Hotaru states quietly. She had been unable to stop that frightening woman from Rugal's carrier from taking off with Arika Fade, but it seems her friends pulled through for her in the end.

Though she's watching the park, the punk princess says nothing as Hotaru approaches or unclasps her coat. She says nothing as the smaller girl tightens her hair ribbon or comes upon the rotating carousel base. If one didn't know that Arika Fade was a living, breathing human, they'd likely believe her to be part of the carousel fixture. In fact, even in the chill of the night air there's almost a lack of visible breath.

Either she's a statue, she's lost in thought, or she's extremely controlled in her actions.

As Hotaru speaks, the diva lets her legs slide to either side of the wooden horse. Hands are placed on the back portion of the saddle and she pushes herself up and off.


Seems she's going to be quite tight lipped about the entire thing. That is, until she stretches her arms up over her head.

"Perfectly fine," she says, voice even and somewhat cool. Perfectly fine, that is, in the sense that she wasn't physically harmed. Psychologically though? Perhaps that's a different story. "Nice to know someone was concerned," she adds, in an almost off-hand manner. Something about her seems off, but not entirely so. The same haunted look still resides in her eyes, so whatever she was just mulling over has obviously left her troubled.

"You ready, or did you want some time to balance yourself 'ere?"

Hotaru nods her head to the side just slightly as Arika speaks up. The distant response is interpreted as being a token appreciation combined with a signal to not really dig into it too much. Which is something she is happy to comply with. A lot of what transpired back then is uncomfortable ground for her anyway.

A step up is taken onto the turning platform without a moment's hesitation. "I'm ready," comes her reply. It occurs to her that she's never really been able to identify Arika's style fighting, even though they've fought /around/ each other often enough. A homebrew style, perhaps, the young martial artist muses.

But there's no mistaking her own method of combat as the girl balances on the outter ring of the spinning platform, turning her shoulder toward Arika to provide a more narrow target for any straight shots. "You-" she opens her mouth to speak before clamping it shut, eyes blinking as she decides against voicing whatever it was that she was about to say. No sense in touching on the past anymore. This should just be a fight like any other, right?

The Kenpo artist bounces on her toes a little, shivering a little at the breeze. But she knows she won't notice it in the slightest once the fight gets going.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru has started a fight here.

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Hotaru           0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Hotaru takes no action.

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Hotaru           0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Arika has joined the fight here.

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Hotaru           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0            Arika

The past is best left in the past, at least for now. There are things Arika won't even discuss with those closest to her about what transpired the night she was taken off of the Suiryuu, or what happened afterward. She's still got the nice little collar-bomb, brought home as a souvenir. It's really more of a reminder that no matter what or how good your intentions are, you can still be forced to do things against your will.

They may not have gotten her mind, but they manipulated her in a way that she'll never be able to forgive.

When Hotaru mentions that she's ready, the punk princess wastes no time. She pops her head from side to side, narrowing her eyes upon the narrow target she's been given. Normally she'd take the given target, use it as a bit of a warm up. Normally, she'd play nice and let the other person come at her first.

Only, she's recently been reminded of something - survival.

It's all about survival.

Which is why, when she notices her opponent bouncing on her toes, she smirks. She lunges forward, corded fist slamming forward. Before the fist can impact, she twists her entire body away from Hotaru and swings her foot up, aiming to lodge it at the small of the shorter girl's back.

COMBATSYS: Arika successfully hits Hotaru with Light Kick.

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Hotaru           0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0            Arika

She takes the bait, leaning back from the slamming fist, no doubt fearing a punch to the face. The end result has her stepping back into the kick that catches her from behind, knocking her back the other way, her shoulder bumping against one of the poles of the carousel, eliciting a small squeak of surprise.

She heard from some of the others about the bomb collar. Just one of many tragic events during the siege on the Suiryuu. Who, she wonders, does Arika blame for all that? The pirates who struck or the ninjas that had placed them all in a position that would be hard to escape from. Still not trusting the Ryouhara in the slightest, the girl wonders if the actual tournament participants feel similarly. "I should've been more careful," she admits beneath her breath, blue eyes widened slightly now that she's been struck a bit.

Pushing her elbow out against the brace, she's back on the offense quickly however. With little distance seperating them, Hotaru's hands slam forward, close together, as if intending to deliver a double palm strike. But it proves to be a feint of her own as both hands snap out for Arika's forearms at the last moment, aiming to keep her from defending herself...

For if Hotaru gets that grip, a rapid flurry of rising kicks will be delivered as the girl uses Arika's arms as the fulcrum to give herself the leverage she needs. In the end she'll backflip away in an attempt to put distance between them afterward.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru successfully hits Arika with Shin-Jou Tai.
- Power hit! -

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Hotaru           0/-------/---====|====---\-------\0            Arika

The squeak causes a small grin to develop upon the diva's face. She doubts she hurt her opponent very much with the surprise kick, but the fact that her technique actually worked as intended has her feeling a little better about things. Not much, but a little. She's still doubting her abilities as a fighter, and after the very weird conversation at Christmas about -why- she took up fighting, she's been struggling internally over her choices.

Dropping herself back into a defensive position, she keeps one hand close to her face the other hovering just above her chest in order to stop anything that Hotaru may decide to send her way. Positive she can keep a fist from her nose, she lets her guard down momentarily and it's just then that her opponent gets that death-grip on her forearms.

"Wot the bloody..."

The rest of the statement is lost as her body is bombarded with the kicks. As soon as she's released, she doubles over and inhales deeply, attempting to catch her breath and keep herself in the game. It's far too early for her to be signalling an out just yet.

Rising once more to her full height, her feet begin to bounce along the moving platform. Each slight movement beneath her feet is counter-acted with the rhythmic dancing she seems to be doing to the tinkling, tinny music. As her body weaves in and out between the wooden horses, she advances upon Hotaru. The steady movements continue until she's a mere two feet away. The dance slows, becoming a little softer until her body is pirouetting about with alarming speed. Her right leg is chambered, her hip twisted in such a way that the very second the tinny music begins to repeat itself, her foot snaps outward in a sharp roundhouse kick aimed for Hotaru's chest.

As for her own feelings about the Ryouhara, they're as carefully guarded as her mood seems to be at the moment.

COMBATSYS: Arika successfully hits Hotaru with Rhythmic Roundhouse.
- Power hit! -

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Hotaru           0/-------/-======|====---\-------\0            Arika

The rapid attack was successful and Hotaru lands, feet sliding a ways along the surface of the platform before she extends her arm to grab hold of a pole and keep from slipping any further. Stopping short, she starts to watch Arika carefully again, trying to do a better job of predicting her attacks. It's not hard to tell she can't take hits well, so being just fast enough to get out of the way of them is fairly key to her getting by.

Arika's motions are in time with the music as she moves in closer. The smaller fighter holds her ground, deciding to try and wait until she is more sure what her opponent intends to do to avoid getting tricked again... But that becomes hard to tell when Arika spins into a pirouette - is it going to be a punch? Nope! A solid kick instead, powered by the momentum behind Arika's windup, slams directly into Hotaru's chest.

The impact is enough to send her falling until her lower back hits one of the horses and the girl ends up flipping right over it - quite unintentionally, taking a hard landing on the other side, eliciting a bit of a gasp. Well, she certainly fell for that one, Hotaru chides herself as she rolls onto her side and kicks up to her feet.

There is a moment that passes as she catches her breath before she hops up on the very red plastic mount she fell over, touches down with one foot, and swings out with her other foot in an attempt strike Arika in the shoulder. Not with her foot, but with the blue swath of chi that follows in the wake of a high leveled kick. She doesn't wait there for long, hopping down to the platfrom right after if possible.

COMBATSYS: Arika auto-guards Hotaru's Kobi Kyaku!

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Hotaru           0/-------/=======|====---\-------\0            Arika

With such an impact, Arika's momentum carries her around in another pirouette. The diva is still spinning around as she hears her opponent flip over the horse. This elicits a small wince once she realizes she's the cause of it, and it's nearly on the tip of her tongue to apologize.

She presses her lips tighter together to refrain from doing so. An edgy punk rocker isn't going to apologize for something like -that-.

It's just another part of her doubts - she's lost her edginess due to the fact she's beginning to trust people again, and it's making her weak in her fighting. The Ryouhara helped to prove that during her previous Neo League match, so it's something she's got to watch.

Deep blue eyes seem to stalk Hotaru's movements. The moment the other girl's foot lights upon the carousel horse, Arika prepares. There's nary a movement until the other foot is swung out in her direction. Without realizing that there's going to be any energy involvement, the diva begins to move with the foot in order to avoid being kicked in the face. She really doesn't want a boot to the head, they tend to bruise. Upon spying the blue energy that's following the foot, she squeaks in surprise but the energy comes just short of reaching her, thanks to the way she's curving her back over a wooden palamino.

"Doin' everythin' with your feet, are you?"

Two can play at that game. Reaching up behind her, Arika takes hold of the pole which holds the palamino in place. Using it to hoist her feet off of the revolving platform, she pushes her legs forward in an attempt to loop them about the waist of the shorter girl. If she locks on, she simply hoists her opponent off of the platform and shoots her feet skyward while launching Hotaru toward one of the small wooden horse-drawn carriages.

COMBATSYS: Arika successfully hits Hotaru with Quick Throw.

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Hotaru           1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0            Arika

The energy expands outward before dissipating entirely, the blue glow it cast on the otherwise mostly dark location going with it. It's right as she hops down that Hotaru finds herself landing right in the scissoring leg hold on Arika's part, eyes widening as she's given precious little time to defend herself. One hand lashes out, trying to grip hold of a nearby pole but it isn't in time as the pig-tailed girl is hefted up and into the carriage where she lands upside down before sliding to the platform with a grunt.

Whew. So far she's finding her opponent's techniques to be very difficult to work around. Maybe it's the dark, or the spinning ride disorienting her. As she slides up to her feet using the carriage for support, the girl glances over her shoulder toward Arika, giving her a wary look. Everything with her feet, Arika had asked. Well, no, she can use her hands too!

As if feeling obligated to prove it, "Only so far," she states with a faint smile. While Arika seeks to find her edge, the Kenpo artist seems to pursue no such agenda. She simply tries to be who she is, always. The next attack comes somewhat directly as Hotaru pushes herself into a small hop, slamming both of her hands out in opposite directions while in mid air in an attempt to strike Arika solidly, high on her chest with a palm strike the moment her own feet touch the platform.

COMBATSYS: Arika fails to counter Strong Punch from Hotaru with Diva Allegro.

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Hotaru           1/------=/=======|=======\-------\0            Arika

Once Hotaru has been dispatched to the carriage, Arika lets her feet find purchase on the rotating platform once more. It takes a moment to regain her balance properly, but once she does it she starts to back away. Though she's been lucky so far, she's still got doubts about her capabilities. Perhaps this is only natural after one finishes with a tournament, or perhaps it's just natural for her to begin doubting everything when life is looking up.

After her comment, she's expecting Hotaru to launch at her with fists. As hands slam out to the sides, the diva pops her right fist up in the hopes of catching the girl and knocking her off balance. Unfortunately, her fist never makes the target. Instead, the loud, resounding smack of palms striking the skin above her breasts can be heard, ringing out loudly over the tinny carousel music. The shock of the palm strike has the diva letting the energy flow off her left hand in an attempt to swat the hands away from her body as she backs up against another horse, and winds up losing her footing and dropping onto her rear on the moving platform.

Well, that strike landed. Maybe she should've been swinging fists the whole time instead of sticking to the kicking that she's so used to! Hotaru doesn't feel too strongly one way or another about it. So far Arika has proven herself to be every bit the fighter she is, which is what she would expect from a tournament finalist. Arika didn't face off in the final match by luck. She fought her way there, round after round after round, and the Kenpo artist was audience to nearly every bit of it.

She had extended herself a bit to land the blow, but connecting with the hit let her push back and catch herself quickly rather than tumble forward any further. Both hands shift to gripping a pole at her side, the girl spinning around it once as she works off the momentum of that aggressive, forward strike.

Arika is down on her seat for a second and while Hotaru isn't one to kick someone while they're down, that doesn't mean she's going to let up either! While normally a striking styled fighter, the wirey thing does okay in other styles of combat as well, as she tries to demonstrate by lunging forward, dropping to her knees to slide along a little ways with the spinning momentum offered by the carousel.

Her trajectory will take her past where Arika is seated if the Diva isn't quick to get up, whereupon she'll reach out to try and snag a hold of Arika's left arm with both of her other hands while springing the rest of her body around Arika's back in an attempt to hook her /right/ arm with her own legs. If successful, she'll have the fighter tied up in a double arm lock, pulling the limbs backward in an attempt to apply some pressure. Even if successful, she'll only maintain it for so long, nor would she ever go so far as to try and tear muscle or ligaments. The girl just doesn't have it in her to fight that way, for better or worse.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru successfully hits Arika with Quick Throw.

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Hotaru           1/-----==/=======|=======\=------\1            Arika

One thing about rotating platforms is that it doesn't matter how -slow- it's going, once you're down you're not really going to be able to scramble up to your feet with perfect precision. After several attempts to get back to her feet and balance herself as carefully as she was when this match all began, the diva finally manages to lift herself partially.

The small lift actually makes Hotaru's attempt work like a charm. The arm lock puts enough of a strain on the Arika's muscles, causing her to grit her teeth, but it's not as though she hasn't been in worse holds in the past. Drake -does- tend to rough her up quite a bit during training, and so she knows just what to attempt to pull herself out of her opponents grasp.

Dropping her chin forward onto her chest, she slows her breathing down so that it's nice and steady. Lids fall closed over her eyes and she struggles just enough to enable her body to wriggle and twist in the direction of Hotaru's head. With her body in position, she grits her teeth again and then peeks her eyes open so that she can wink at the camera. She's not acting, but she's obviously got something up her sleeve...

... or, well, since she's not wearing sleeves...

Suddenly, she rears her head back and attempts to slam her skull against Hotaru's forehead to force the release of the hold. Whether she hits or misses is not really the aim, the aim is to break free so she can get back up to her feet once more.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru dodges Arika's Medium Punch.

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Hotaru           1/-----==/=======|=======\=------\1            Arika

While Hotaru isn't a careful follower of Arika's career, she is vaguely familiar with the fact that the Punk Rock fighter has spent some time in some wrestling matches. Which is why she knows better than to think she has the Diva beat just because she managed to cinch a nice armlock maneuver. She probably doesn't even really have the upper arm strength to beat Arika in a test of force on this level anyway...

Which is why when the response comes, she's ready, releasing her hold in an instant and rolling backward with a huff of breath, starting to feel the effort of keeping up with Arika taking its toll. "Whew," she breaths out between inhaling for a deep breath of fresh air.

She doesn't spin up to her feet immediately though, for now that Arika is free of her armlock, Hotaru swings her left leg out in a sweeping, horizontal strike aiming for her side while still lying on the ground. Only then does she attempt to move with the motion to hop into a crouch then pull herself back up to standing. Something tells her she doesn't want to go toe to toe with Arika 'on the mat' as it were.

COMBATSYS: Arika dodges Hotaru's Light Kick.

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Hotaru           1/-----==/=======|=======\=------\1            Arika

There are times when a simple armlock can defeat the diva, but not when she's still got a bit of energy left. She's not entirely thrilled that Hotaru managed to roll away from the bonk to the noggin, but it got her out of the hold, so she's happy. Arika -will- admit that the lock-up was an ingenious move on then Kenpo artists part though, and so she acknowledges that with a brief, curt nod. A move like that may not be part of Hotaru's usual repertoire, but it seems the other girl isn't above a bit of adaptability which is really the key to survival.

The sweeping strike falls short of connecting with Arika's side, as with her freedom the punk princess simply hops up onto the nearest wooden horse and perches. A frown tugs at the corners of her lips when her opponent lifts up into a crouch, but it doesn't seem as though it's going to stop her from doing what she intended. Feet press down against the wooden construct, and she pushes herself off of the horse. Her body angles downward, elbow extending past her body as she begins her descent directly toward the back of her foe in the hopes of keeping her down on the platform just a wee bit longer.

COMBATSYS: Arika successfully hits Hotaru with Jab Punch.

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Hotaru           1/----===/=======|=======\==-----\1            Arika

And down goes Hotaru with an elbow to the back and an accompanying squeak of surprise. She knew her foot hadn't connected with anything, but she hadn't expected Arika to be able to turn that fact around on her so dang fast. Floored again, she catches herself with her hands before she face plants.

"Ermph," the girl grunts. Her whole intent was to get /away/, not get stuck on the floor again. Retaliation doesn't come swift but it does come hard, as she drops to her knees for a second, bends her arms a little, then kicks up backward with both feet first and pushes off with her hands, launching herself back at Arika with both feet aiming for her stomach. Hit or miss, it might buy her some time to get situated for a moment!

COMBATSYS: Arika dodges Hotaru's Heavy Kick.

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Hotaru           1/----===/=======|=======\==-----\1            Arika

Well, Arika is sometimes sneaky like that. She's had a bit of experience in an actual ring when she did those few promo fights with Domino at the AIW. It might not make her a pro when it comes to wrestling, or wrestling techniques, but it gave her quite a bit of insight. However, when Hotaru doesn't meet the rotating platform like the diva was intending, she begins to struggle for her footing again.

A very good thing she does, too, since her opponent is barely even taking time to breathe! As feet launch toward her, Arika ducks under the belly of the nearest wooden horse and pops up on the opposite side. Sadly, this will give Hotaru time to get situated which means that the punk princess needs to keep a wary eye upon her.

While doing so, she grasps the metal pole securing the horse down and flings herself upward. Swinging her body in a curve around the pole, her feet point outward as she attempts to take Hotaru down once more by slamming into her and pushing her toward the outer edge of the carousel.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru interrupts Medium Kick from Arika with Tenshin Shou EX.

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Hotaru           1/--=====/=======|=======\======-\1            Arika

Hotaru is back on her feet, which is really a much better place for her to be compared to rolling around and trying to make swift attacks on the ground. But the moment Hotaru lands she isn't pausing in the slightest. Arika is proving to be fast and if she's going to keep up, she has to be too. Which is why as she comes out of her hand spring she immediately drops into a crouch, arms out at her sides, her feet split apart, adopting a very, very low stance.

The positioning pays off as Arika spins in around the pole and Hotaru lunges up to meet her. The motion is one of the hardest hits the small fighter can muster, combining leg, torso, and upper body strength into a single, solid slam, shoulder first, into Arika's body, pushing off with enough force to carry herself up into the air.

Following with the momentum, Hotaru twists around, hands reaching up to grab hold of one of the horizontal support beams overhead, which she uses to stop her ascent, spin around one more time, and drop down to the spining platform, exhaling as she lands. As she does, her arm comes up to rub her ribs. She was a little slow, she tells herself. A bit faster and maybe she wouldn't have gotten clipped by Arika's kick...

Expecting her feet to connect with no issues, Arika's death-grip on the pole loosens. It's as she's preparing to let go entirely that Hotaru lunges, and it's all the diva can do to regain her grasp before impact. Her opponent may be small, but she's certainly able to pack a lot of power into the solid slam. Sent spinning as the shoulder cracks into her ribs, she twirls around the pole several times before releasing it, the momentum carrying her to the middle of the carousel where she slams against the mirrored centerpiece with a groan. Her eyes become slits as they narrow upon the Kenpo artist, but she doesn't waste any time.

Rushing along the moving platform as best she can, Arika uses a wooden horse close to Hotaru as a vault. Leaping over the girl once more, she lands behind her and slams a hand out to a carriage to keep her balance. Stabilized, she shoots her right leg forward and tries to lock it around her opponent so as not to allow the girl to move out of reach. Her right arm rises up to wrap about Hotaru's head furthering the attempt to lock in the hold. Should she manage any of this, sore ribs may just be the least of Hotaru's worries. Forming a 'claw' with her left hand, she makes a grab for the area just below the ribs so that she can apply extreme amounts of pressure - enough to hopefully force the girl down to the platform once more.

COMBATSYS: Arika successfully hits Hotaru with Dominant Diva.

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Hotaru           1/=======/=======|======-\-------\0            Arika

That was a solid hit, Hotaru realizes as she lands back on her feet, rising back up to standing herself and trying to slip back into a ready stance. But she barely has time to turn toward Arika before she realizes the other girl has her locked up again, this time with her leg. Hotaru erks, hands extending to try and grasp hold of something, anything, to pry her free, but to no avail as Arika cinches in the hold around her neck too.

Flailing a little, the girl is wide open for the clawed press to her side, the pressure debilitating her ability to stay standing, slowly getting twisted down to the ground. It seems that she might be stuck in a lock that she's not going to be able to get out of at first and but for her flexibility, that would have likely been the case.

But just before her feet start to slip against the floor, Hotaru stomps them both down, bracing for an instant as she drives her back against Arika, hoping to pry her neck just loose enough to twist around...

And then it's a flurry of blows, all palm strikes, as Hotaru attacks from in real close as swiftly as she can. Individually the hits aren't much, but they'll add up. "Ya, ya, ya, ya!" comes the cacophany of exclaimations if she's able to pull it off, before she finishes with one final double palm strike to force Arika back as hard as she's capable of.

COMBATSYS: Arika just-defends Hotaru's Ten-ren-ge!

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Hotaru           0/-------/--=====|======-\-------\0            Arika

Demon that she's attempting to be, the punk princess has no intention of releasing Hotaru quickly or easily. She's quite content to just continue applying pressure, to the point where she's begun to twist her hand.


The double-footed brace has Arika releasing the clawing pressure hold in startled surprise. Figuring that this means she's about to have a heel embedded in her foot, she begins to edge the locked hold away as well. She's prepared as Hotaru begins to drive back against her, and she slides her feet along the pedestal in order to gain a bit of distance.

It's not enough, though, as the flurry of palms begins even before she can blink. Turning her body to the side, she begins to weave and bob as each swift little individual hit is sent her way, moving in the same direction as the thrusting fists to avoid them. Though the double palm strike never actually connects, the force of the attempt has her tripping over a wooden hoof and sends her staggering along in a haphazard manner as she seems to lose balance once more.

This could not be further from the truth, for while the sudden little trip did send her back, she's using it to her advantage. In a drunken manner, she begins to sway her way back to Hotaru, her head dipping forward as she swings it to the right in a circular motion. Twice she does this, and then her body shifts to the left and then stops abruptly in front of the other girl. This is when the head slams forward with all of the built up momentum and she tries simply (and almost barbarically) to crash her forehead into Hotaru's face.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru dodges Arika's Harmonic Headbang.

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////                    ]
Hotaru           0/-------/--=====|======-\-------\0            Arika

Swing as she might, Hotaru is unable to land any of the rapid flurry of strikes she was going for. At least she isn't getting twisted down to the ground anymore. As she pulls back from her double palm strike, the girl winces, feeling the ache in her side from where Arika had applied pressure. She can't really take much more of this...

And when the Punk Rock fighter spins around, this time Hotaru is smart enough to just hop back, putting herself well out of range. Trying to predict Arika's angles of attacks has proven especially hard for her to do. A weakness in relying on identifying styles of techniques in others for the purposes of staying one step ahead, perhaps. Arika's strikes seem almost random to the girl, leaving her slow to react time and time again.

Landing from her hop, Hotaru's hand comes up to rest against her side, just below the rib cage. There's an exhale as the girl tries to get her breath back under control, but she doesn't aggress for the moment. Blue eyes glance over her surroundings, trying to compensate for the spinning carousel mentally. There's definitely no taking anything about Arika's ability to fight lightly. After a moment, Hotaru's mouth curls into a faint smile. It's just as she would expect from the one who nearly finished first in the craziest tournament in history. Gradually, she slips back into a ready stance, preparing herself.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru gains composure.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////                    ]
Hotaru           0/-------/---====|======-\-------\0            Arika

Damn! Arika had been hoping on confusing the Kenpo artist and getting in at least another good blow before she had to give up. It would seem that Hotaru is learning to watch for subtle random movements and compensate for them. Good for Hotaru, bad for the diva. When her head slams into a solid wall of air, she clenches her teeth tightly and gives a growl of frustration.

Bracing herself for another onslaught of hands for feet, the punk princess is quite surprised to watch her opponent simply hop out of the way. Less than a second passes before it dawns on Arika just what the smaller girl is up to. Her own lips curving into the tiniest of smirks, she slides herself up onto one of the wooden horses. One hand grips tight to the pole as she leans her back against it, once more sitting backward so she can keep an eye on Hotaru. Nicely situated, she intakes a slow breath which is then exhaled in a similar unhurried manner while she takes a moment or two to catch her breath.

COMBATSYS: Arika gains composure.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Hotaru           0/-------/---====|====---\-------\0            Arika

No counter strike to worry about, Hotaru muses. Makes it easier for her at least. Or so she hopes. Arika decides to take a breather too, but as she started second, it gives Hotaru the chance to try and strike first. Leaping up onto the nearest horse with her feet, the girl keeps her balance, hopping over to the next horse, and the one after, zigzagging back and forth as she slips around the supporting poles, carriages, and other obsticales.

Finally she has a straight shot for Arika and that's when the girl takes to the air, leaping up, using another horizontal bar to change her trajectory right back down into a sharp angled, knee first dive toward the Diva, aiming to land knee first against her shoulder.

If she connects, the girl finishes by swinging around with her other leg for a follow up kick to the side of Arika's head. Considering the soft shoes she wears, it isn't the worst hit in the world, but she's got some leg power behind those strikes of hers!

COMBATSYS: Hotaru successfully hits Arika with Rengeki Shuu.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////                    ]
Hotaru           0/-------/---====|======-\-------\0            Arika

It may not be the worst hit in the world, but it unbalances the diva. Though she's kept her eyes on Hotaru, and her arm pops to the side to stop the knee from slamming into her shoulder, the fight has begun to wear on her. While she can easily mask her breathing, and make it seem as though she's got more fight in her than she does, her defensive movements aren't as fast or as fresh as she'd like. Head snapping to the side, her entire body slips right off of the wooden carousel horse hitting the platform with a thump.

But she's not going to let a thing like falling off a horse keep her from riding - that's to say, she's not down and out yet! She's not got many options from her position on the ground, so she does the first thing that springs into her mind. From under the opposite side of the horse her arms come flying outward. Each hand attempts to grip onto an ankle of the Kenpo artist and yank the feet right out from under her. It's not -entirely- a dirty move, and it'll hopefully give Arika enough time to get herself on her feet.

COMBATSYS: Arika successfully hits Hotaru with Quick Throw.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////                    ]
Hotaru           0/-------/--=====|=======\-------\0            Arika

Eep! Hotaru turns around to try and figure out what Arika might do next, expecting her to come from up and over the horse or slip around it... Only when hands grip her ankle does she realize she did neither and once again the smaller fighter finds herself getting yanked down to the ground with a bit of a hard landing, hitting her back with a grunt, her arms sprawled out at her sides. In spite the cool weather, the pacing of the fights and the hits she's been taking have been exhausting, leaving the girl perspiring as she gasps for breath. Arika sure can keep going for a long time, she realizes. And she needs to keep fighting too!

The retaliation comes from lying down, the girl deciding not to get up, remembering that she kept getting pressured back down the last time she tried. Both of her feet kick out, one trying to slip between Arika's feet, her other one behind them, kicking up and trying to strike her in the back of the knee to break her stance down and drop her to the ground.

If successful, Hotaru whirls around, reaching out to try and get a hold of Arika's arm and bend it back, attempting to wrench the limb a bit more just like earlier. At this rate, she isn't sure if she has it in her to get back up if this doesn't end up working out!

COMBATSYS: Arika blocks Hotaru's Ten Ranku-Tou.

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

Not having entirely been expecting that to work, Arika is a bit surprised when she watches her opponent's body disappear behind the body of the horse and reappear on the platform opposite her. Though Hotaru is not likely to find the situation funny, the diva has to clamp her teeth down into her lower lip to keep from laughing, and even then a small titter escapes.

Eerie though the silent, empty amusement park is, it's quite easy to forget that here with the haunting, tinny music of the still moving carousel and the bright flood lights from the cameras. And Arika is just -now-, when they're both becoming exhausted, finding amusement in it all.

The laughter is going to cost her, and she pays for it by the very unorthodox seeming kick sent to the back of her knee. She's able to slam her legs together to trap the Kenpo's one foot, which lessens the blow a little. This doesn't stop her feet from faltering or her body from sliding toward the ground. By sheer luck, she's able to grab onto a wooden tail nearby which allows her to stabilize herself enough so that she can send her own feet out toward Hotaru's stomach.

COMBATSYS: Arika successfully hits Hotaru with Strong Kick.

[                            \\  < >  ////////                      ]
Hotaru           1/------=/=======|=======\=------\1            Arika

The stomp to her stomach is crushing, Hotaru curling up like a ball on the platform as she releases another pent up gasp of air, rolling onto her side, one hand on her stomach, her other one stretching out in front of her as she attempts to push herself back up. "...ugh..." She shouldn't have stretched herself so far for the leg take down, perhaps, leaving her open to such a punshing retaliation.

Squinting her eyes shut, the girl struggles to push forward into a tumbling roll back to her feet on the same side of the horse as Arika. Huffing for breath and a little pale except for a bit of blush on her cheeks, she isn't sure what to make of the laughter. Maybe Arika's making fun of her? But that didn't seem her style.

All the same, she's going to try and deliver a final hit before collapsing, lunging forward with an attack used earlier, but faster and with more style this time, a flurry of windmilling strikes in a hop, trying to draw Arika's guard high, before landing and dishing out a solid, single palm press toward the young woman's stomach. It's all she can do before her legs give out and Hotaru drops.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru can no longer fight.

[                      \\\\\\\\  <
Arika            1/------=/=======|

COMBATSYS: Hotaru successfully hits Arika with Soushou Shin.
- Power hit! -

[                           \\\  <
Arika            1/--=====/=======|

Knowing that the smaller girl can't have much left in her, Arika simply tries to not be there when the attempted final strike is made.

She underestimated her opponent.

Each blow in the flurry of tiny, windmilling strikes lands on target, and while individually they don't seem to do much damage, the continued blows are definitely leaving their mark. As small red spots begin to appear, she shoots a scathing glare at the Kenpo artist. She's distracted by the attempt to keep the strikes from doing any serious damage to her face, and so the palm press hits and has the diva doubling over as she's sent backward against a wooden horse. The force she's sent with tries to send her -through- said horse, but thankfully the old-fashioned carousel is quite sturdy and her body simply causes a crack to form near the saddle.

After this, she too drops forward onto the rotating platform, her hands just barely holding her up from falling face first.

COMBATSYS: Arika takes no action.

COMBATSYS: Arika can no longer fight.

Log created on 21:54:00 01/15/2008 by Arika, and last modified on 15:29:03 01/21/2008.