Neo League 892 - #897: Alma vs Ingrid

Description: An unexpected reunion amidst all the glory of Rio fashion: Angel and Goddess, knight and princess, meet in a contest to crown this unusual show at the Theatro Municipal. Yurika Kirishima may regret coming all the way to Brazil to see what is not, in fact, an opera at all -- but neither Alma nor Ingrid will regret that fate has brought them together once again. The audience, for their part, regrets nothing. For when two spirits of such radiance collide-- what can one expect but an exceeding of the limits of passion? (Winner: Alma)

Combat is not what the designers of the magnificent Theatro Municipal had in mind for their world-class creation-- and neither was this.
That has not prevented thousands from showing up en masse to witness today's Fashion Show Rio, a fabulous display of the creativity in Brazil's burgeoning fashion scene. All the top designers from Sao Paolo to the villages of the Amazon -- needless to say, there are some eclectic designs being offered here -- have turned up to showcase their creations, and the frequent short intermissions have occassioned all manner of lively debate and analysis amidst the audience.
Alma Towazu simply basks in this utterly stress-free environment, still much more relieved than he would like to admit that his responsibilities as head of the YFC4 tournament are almost past, and only states his educated opinion when solicited by the patrons that have invited him. He is seated in the front row, not only because he is something of a celebrity guest here -- though, of course, he will not be taking the catwalk this time -- but because he too will be performing, albeit in a very different matter.
Of course, the Radiant Angel is as ever possessed of the peculiar mentality that allows him to see competitive fighting as 'stress-free'. Not knowing who he shall face is an all the more pleasant thought. All that is at stake for him in this new season of the Neo League is encountering new faces and renewing bonds with old friends, friends that he has for too long been pulled away from by the tides of fate and the call of his own ideals and, in a sense, ambition.
Fortunately, this particular world needs no savior.
The lights begin to dim for what might be called the half-time show, and that is his cue. Smiling widely, the beautiful and gentle-eyed youth inclines his head respectfully toward those adjacent to him before stepping forth to the stage, the applause beginning as his highly recognizable form ascends the stairs. In full splendor, the tall youth's dusky skin complemented by his slim-fitting Studio Giorgio ensemble, he gazes up through pale, ruby-tinged locks at the marvelous ceiling above, his mind clear and his spirit renewed.
Yet something in his heart is stirring even more than usual. He feels very good indeed.
He cannot see the future, but--
Alma knows to trust his intuitions.
What now, in this much-needed intermission from his all-consuming, messianic quests, awaits him-- what will be his destiny here?

It would be quite a lark to walk out onto the stage wearing one of the Brazilian designers flamboyant creations. Unfortunately high fashion is often not compatible with athleticism. It might also be poor taste to attempt to steal so much of the spotlight; and besides, aren't models usually quite tall?

So as much fun as it would be to saunter out from backstage wearing something as enticing as it is thrilling Ingrid contents herself to her usual fare, helping to inject classical elegance into the show to contrast the shocking and impractical. Her usual fare and an always-fashionable smile that is, aimed directly at her partner in this entertaining intermission, "It a pleasure to see you again as always, Alma."

Though it is trademark for her to arrive early, this time there was no mistaking that she would be there before the start of match, quite eager to catch the fashion show as well- though in seats understandably further back than the front row, being much less of an international figure than the proprietor of their own combat tournament. Though it was to be a double blind contest, with each fighter finding out who their opponent was just before the match began, Ingrid had an unfair advantage. Able to feel the emotional presence of those around her, the talented tended to have more of one, a feeling amplified by familiarity. This combined with his unique eccentricities Alma had shown to her like a flame amongst a sea of darkness- impossible to miss, even among this crowd of designers.

And so it is that when she steps forward there is only that knowing smile upon her face and her pleasant greeting, looking pleased but not surprised at who her opponent for today will be. Her smile widens fractionally and she dips in a small curtsy, "I hope you will not be to disappointed with me as your rival for today."

Disappointed? Never.
Except maybe by the lack of Amazonian fashion, but that's--
"In... Ingrid."
How could he have missed her? The Hero of Taizhou's mind was much too relaxed, having allowed the distinct spirits of the audience to blend together into a single inspiring mass. Perhaps it was for the best: for this is a more pleasant surprise than he could have even imagined. How long has it been? Was it not just before the battle for Southtown that she disappeared? How fitting that, at the culmination of a tournament meant to celebrate their triumph then and reawaken that fighting spirit, she should now return.
"You're... back."
Alma's smile swells, warm and bright, his eyes shining in the lights above.
"I'm so glad."
The Eternal Goddess has returned.
The friendships he forges serve as the tethers that bind together his heart, but he nevertheless is sometimes surprised by what, in his surety of those bonds' strength, fades from his mind: the affection and the loyalty he feels toward this young woman. Perhaps it is their kindred power; perhaps it is easy enough, both being amiable people; perhaps it is something less spoken of, the respect for strong and confident women that has stayed with him since childhood; or maybe it is just the knight-and-princess dynamic they form so well, in all its glorious tension.
Whatever it is, it is real, and he feels it now.
His lips part to speak, but Alma hesitates: his sincerity is clear enough from his expression, and there is too much else to be said than can be said upon this stage. Instead he just smiles again, tilting his head slightly as his eyes soften. "Let's put on a good performance," he says softly. "Once we finish-- I hope you're in no hurry." His smile becomes a grin. "I've missed you, Eternal Goddess. We--"
Music begins to play.
Unnoticed in his fixation upon the enchanting sight before him, Alma only now realizes that an orchestra has filed in and begin a dramatic trill of strings, signalling better than any accounter than this fashionable fight is about to begin. A velvet backdrop rolls down from the tiers above, framing this encounter in royal hues. Cut off, Alma's grin only widens as he adjusts his stands and nods to the girl, raising his fist in salute.
They'll talk later.
He'll show her how he, now a leader of men, has grown--
And how he has remained unchanged.

COMBATSYS: Alma has started a fight here.

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

Ah, so it was a surprise for him. That pleased expression, the sudden rush of feelings- she couldn't have orchestrated it better herself even had it been intentional. Were she unable to relish his astonishment so much, and in more ways than one, then she might feel quite envious that it she couldn't feel it for herself in this moment.

"Yes, I have returned. I must apologize for my extended absence, but I see that you've done quite well for yourself without me. You'll find me much impressed." Before she can continue in great detail the fighting model speaks again and the music begins to play. At his use of her most divine title her lips curl into a much-humored smirk, seeming to enjoy hearing it spoken aloud by someone other than herself.

To his raised salute she gives a most regal nod of her head, showing ascent and agreement. Without time to speak the tension of this reunion will be entwined with the passion of battle, which already she feel well inside her. And, were she to reflect upon it any further, wouldn't that be exactly as it should be? Because for people such as Alma and herself isn't the truest form of expression that which can be greatest shown amid the heat of combat?

Just as the orchestra plays a sudden flair the Norwegian lofts into the air, leaping high above the stage and sailing quickly towards Alma. So quickly, in fact, that it's plain for all to see that she's going to go right past him, perhaps for a rearward attack- quite the surprise at the beginning of a fight. But rather than that the moment she's overhead the impossible happens- her momentum ceases to exist, the white haired fighter pausing midair before beginning a slow and graceful decline. Her arms cross over her chest and she spins as she drops, golden energy sparkling about her form. Ingrid has returned, and now the Eternal Goddess descends- directly atop her most ardent disciple.

COMBATSYS: Ingrid has joined the fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Alma             0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0           Ingrid

COMBATSYS: Alma blocks Ingrid's Sun Dive.

[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Alma             0/-------/------=|==-----\-------\0           Ingrid

Ardent indeed.
The vision rises before him, gliding like an ethereal spirit, as though emerging from his dreams. Yet his soul is attuned to hers, and even if his sense of emotions is more nebulous than her own, he does not react prematurely, appearing almost enraptured as it seems as though Ingrid will simply pass over him-- and then raising his guard immediately as she spins downward, his own resplendant aura manifesting against her own, a flash of white and cherry-blossom pink against sparkling gold.
Even if he were wont to speak, his heart has swelled such that words are choked off. Emotion reaching a crescendo even as the orchestra does, Alma may only express his feelings through the power that they share. A surge of Soul Power creates some space between the two, and then the beauty leaps, his leg tracing a calligraphic design. Igniting and twisting, he scythes through the air in an acrobatic feat, aiming to angle a kick in past Ingrid's guard toward her side and with the impact open her up to a follow-up powerful kick to the side of her head, Alma torquing at a yet more extravagant angle before, most likely, spiralling away and toward the opposite side of the stage.
The hot lights above illuminate them both, as the music rises to match the roar of the crowd.

COMBATSYS: Ingrid blocks Alma's Rising Fury.

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Alma             0/-------/------=|===----\-------\0           Ingrid

Yurika arrives from elsewhere.

As the powers clash it is as if for a moment their souls make contact, the brilliant spectacle of light viewed by the audience not revealing to them the raw feeling involved as passion and passion collide. Were she not expectant of this Ingrid might be overpowered by the response it creates within her, this connection between the two manifestations of self.

She was, however, expecting this reaction- and even anticipating it. And so even though her mind is sent swimming it is not so much that she loses presence of mind, her own guard ready to meet Alma's kick when he sends it towards her side. Though she is forced a step back her defense remains intact, both arms reacting quickly to catch Alma's legs between them, the audience giving a cheer as his leg stops short, just a fraction of an inch from her head.

As Alma moves to spin away the cross block proves to serve a dual purpose, suddenly trying to close around the leg and become a trap, holding it place as she too begins to spin, her body making a half twist while she bends backwards nimbly, trying to force her model opponent violently to the ground upon his back. It is perhaps not what has come to be expected of her, but then with one such as her can you ever really know for certain?

COMBATSYS: Alma interrupts Quick Throw from Ingrid with Quick Throw.

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Alma             0/-------/-----==|=====--\-------\0           Ingrid

Well, this has gotten interesting fast.
Too committed to his spectacular leap, Alma, for all his intuition, never imagined that Ingrid might seek to trap him in place. Their natural athleticism complemented by that unusual mark of their power, greater or lesser control over their movement through the air, makes for a intricate dance indeed as the two of them revolve about one another, the music swelling as the audience gazes transfixed. Suddenly too close for anything but infighting, the modern-day paladin quickly finds his own movements controlled as well, unable to bring to bear the usual knees or elbows instead as Ingrid spins violently.
But while one leg is captured-- the other remains free.
As she is about to hurl him to his fate, Alma's other leg lashes up and -- in a move that would also not be expected of /him/ -- wraps about her body, pulling her close as she releases and instead using that momentum to twist /with/ her, plummeting down and then spiralling to slam her onto the ground instead. The reversal is more stunning than it is damaging, but the young man has also managed to place himself in an advantageous position: half-seated atop her due to the aftermath of his leg-grapple, he frees his fists and raises them to guard, not attacking his prone opponent immediately. Even a striker knows that the ground game is a delicate one.
That or he's hesitating because he's sitting on Ingrid.
His expression is very carefully mild, so it's a bit hard to tell.

"We're late.."

"We're very late."

"We are -extremely- late.."

Cue two young, academically-troubled Seijyun students and Yurika Kirishima upon the scene; the assignment certainly couldn't get any clearer; it was an introduction to the art of opera in perhaps the fanciest and expensive way possible. The two students were to write a report on what they would see today. The thing was, the pair were being a particular pain, drawing out things as long as possible until finally -finally- Yurika had managed to drag the two to their destination: the theatre.

The doors are drawn open by the doorman, a quick sweep through a corrider and the elegant musician is brought in for quite a shock. She stands there jawdropped toward the display of not the art of music and theatre, but rather the art of combat.

"Woah! Opera is great!" cries the first student.

"I didn't think it was going to be like this, lets go get the best seats!" and the pair scramble away from a stunned Kirishima toward the front row.

The turnabout comes as quite a shock to the enigmatic blonde, looking very surprised indeed as the free leg wraps about her in the moment she releases him. Try though she might the shift in momentum is too great for her to overcome, and she's brought down by her own designs, mutedly hitting the ground, though it is a mite more painful than it looks, Alma landing atop her as he does.

It would be unacceptable in any other situation, to be sat upon in such a way. Indeed it would normally be a most gauche and undignified display, but as it is Ingrid can allow it- at least for the moment. And still she cannot help herself, disadvantaged though she is, she looks up to Alma, her face uncharacteristically straight. "Why, Alma," she comments while sounding slightly surprised in a voice low enough not to be heard over the orchestra, "I had no idea you were so eager to get on top of me."

Half a beat passes, and she makes her move, arching her back and lifting her hips and lower back, angling to wrap her ankles about Alma's neck to pry him off and, if possible, reverse the situation, hoping to twist him around so that he is face down on the stage. And should she succeed? Why an ample dose of psionic power, of course, her hand pressing to the small of Alma's back while a burst of chaotic energy forms in it, tendrils of barely controlled power lashing out from the center of the mass.

The audience, Yurika and her two young protégés included, would get an almost scandalous sight as she attempts to grapple with her legs. Scandalous, that is, if not for her vast petticoats. How useful they can be, in times like these.

COMBATSYS: Alma blocks Ingrid's Sunburn.

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Alma             0/-------/----===|=====--\-------\0           Ingrid

You had no idea? Some psychic!
No, as usual, Alma's opponent is more than able to exploit the one realm in which his otherwise resilient heart has no clout: where passion meets romance. He's perfectly comfortable interpreting the world as a spirited combatant, wherein his current position is simply a result of the intensity of their soulful struggle. But there's no room in his mind for that perspective and the realization that, also, he just so happens to have planted himself atop the Eternal Goddess, in an odd form of worship indeed.
Alma's come a long ways since his stuttering days, but--
--not quite that long a ways.
Mercifully, the Radiant Angel's comical dearth of eloquence is interrupted by two dainty ankles crossing around his throat, the young man's bright eyes widening beneath stray ruby-tinged locks. This snaps him to awareness just as his second sense surges a warning, and instinctively he makes his choice: ignoring her counter-grapple, he crosses his arms behind to parry her burst of energy instead, bracing his well-trained will against it and meeting it with a flash of auras that once more announces the true assault.
Not being stunned by her psychic blow, it's not possible to twist Alma around entirely, but Ingrid is nevertheless able to pull him down and reverse their positions, with the still vaguely flustered model now looking up at her. Still, his hands are free and he is facing her, so he is more than prepared to strike back.
"Speak for yourself," he responds, sounding more self-possessed than he feels.
And then his hand snaps up to her front in an effort to thrust her away entirely, bringing to bear a burst of Soul Power at point-blank range, a sizzling and scintillating impact of spiralling flame. Rarely does Alma wield this technique at such close quarters. And with his passion at such a pitch--
Who knows what will result?

COMBATSYS: Alma successfully hits Ingrid with Sacred Wave.
> Determined Hit! <
~~ Alluring Hit! ~~

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Alma             0/-------/-======|=======\-------\0           Ingrid

A teasing trick it certainly was, but whether the comment was made to pry forth an opening by making the model hesitate or whether it existed for it's own sake can only be answered by Ingrid herself. But whatever it's cause for creation, the little jibe does not cause Alma to hesitate enough for the true potency of her assault to strike true, the flare of energy stifled by the Alma's own, the two energies meeting and conflicting for a second time and once more causing much awe amongst the members of the audience.

If it were left only at that perhaps Ingrid would find herself advantaged- but were Alma to not retaliate she would be most disappointed. Even if she is now the one sitting atop him there is very little in the way of maneuverability offered to her, and as anyone might know such is the one of the keys to her success. It is much to her detriment when the energy inside of him builds up to attack, the blonde attempting to flip off of him to escape, able at least to recognize what was to happen this time. But this aerobatic maneuver is not enough, and her feet do not clear the ground before the flames take her, powering her away with even more strength than she had intended and sending her flying across the stage while letting out a high pitched shout of pain, only to land clumsily and fall upon impact.

And so it was that after the nimble blonde switched places with and sat upon the fighting model that he let loose his power and sent her away while crying out. Well, at least the audience is getting their moneys worth!

Getting back to her feet, Ingrid takes a moment to steady herself, the overwhelming force of the power of Alma's soul, along with the earlier assaults, overwhelming her senses. It crosses her mind to refocus herself, but the thought is quickly dismissed. Because fighting this particular person is about passion. It is about bearing your soul and giving everything you have. Playing coy might be fun, but it is contrary to the point.

With a breath she strides forward firmly before pulling her arm back and swinging it forward, a glittering arc of energy sparkling through the air, a large ball of shiny golden psi rising high into the air before arcing downwards to where Alma is still laying, her determination to be felt within it.

COMBATSYS: Alma dodges Ingrid's Sun Shot.

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

Ah, the ecstasy of release.
But Alma has all too little time to relax, for he takes his time getting to his feet -- his composure still a bit ruffled from their close contact -- and is all at once the victim of a whole different brand of afterglow. That orb of psychic energy barrels towards him, and it is only the radiant sense of Ingrid's own heart that stirs him to action in time.
That rising passion, within him, within her--
He can feel it from here, just as though they were still entangled.
That he is able to evade her strike is only half reflexes: even though it was he that thrust her away, an inexorable pull draws him back toward her. The clash of souls demands he return to the melee, and unable to disobey, he hurls himself to the task, quite literally throwing himself forward and rolling as the spectacular blast denonates behind him, fireworks to delight the audience. His momentum is incredible, carrying him most of the distance between them, and even as he untucks he is sliding across the floor in a controlled skid, his right arm charging energy from the boundless sea of flame that continues to rage within him.
He says her name despite himself, not knowing quite why, that fond intensity engulfing him completely as he slashes out his arm with complete abandon just as he nears range-- and abruptly a blade of flame explodes from his fist, suddenly covering the remaining distance between them in a surprise attack to cut diagonally through the lovely Norwegian's body, shearing through with illusory flame to strike with all-too-real ferocity.
Fragments of power trail in its wake, like so many fading pale blossoms.

COMBATSYS: Ingrid endures Alma's Blaze of Glory EX!

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

Well it took a few minutes, about five or so before Yurika manages to return to earth and get over the shock of this very.. Very not opera. Under the normal situation, the silver haired woman would be very inclined to deliver a very formal complaint but there are two reasons why she does not:

The first being Alma Towazu; a very respectable man, with admirable charisma, whom she honestly hadn't spent quite enough time getting to really know.

The second of course would be Ingrid whom for the most part is like the sister she never had, so there's no real need for explaination there. And yet somehow she can't help but feel a little jealous, as she had naturally assumed battling in theatres was 'their thing'. A foolish, selfish thought, but her feelings nontheless. Taking a small breath she makes her way toward her now very very interested schoolmates whom are scribbling this and that in their notepads. Unfortunatly they're not desireable notes, instead things like: 'Call me, Alma XXX-XXX-XXXX' and the other 'MARRY ME ALMA!' ".. Oh god."

Ingrid says, "If you write the lyrics I'll sing the verse, Alma."

He's coming to her. Even before he begins to stand the decision had been made. The orb of her power is bypassed- but in the end wouldn't that have only impeded his progress? For some intangible reason Ingrid can think of nothing she would like to see less, and so as he moves towards her there is no sense of loss as her attack fails to strike true.

There is undeniable passion in Alma as he charges towards her, and even as she can feel it within him she can read it in his eyes. He is coming to once more engulf her in his feelings and emotions, to contact her with his truest self in a way that cannot be surpassed. She strides forward to meet him, confident in her movements.

And rather than put up the shield of her soul to shunt away the Soul Power that he lashes out with she embraces it fully, opening her arms as the flaming blade slashes in. It moves through her like a hot knife through butter, rending her to the very core of her being.

And she does not falter.

As the flames reduce to wisps she smiles, "You have grown so much since we last met, even more than I had already known. I see this now. Thank you for sharing, with me, your progress." As she smiles to him her extended arms raise above her head and sweep down, the fading blossoms replaced with the fresh blaze of shining gold. Where she should be writhing on the ground from the assault her acceptance of his psychic assault weathers her against it, her arms coming down near instantly after his sweeping motion is complete, the blonde seeking to bathe him in her own potent essence, so that he may feel her expression as fully as she just had his own.

COMBATSYS: Alma endures Ingrid's Sunbeam.

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Alma             1/-------/=======|=======\===----\1           Ingrid

Like holding her heart in his hands.
That pulse, the coursing of spirit through her, through /them/, overwhelms him. Alma stands in rapturous awe, having cleaved through Ingrid's body-- and what little obstacle remained between them. This is more than a clash of souls. No, a clash occurs with the unfamiliar. This--
This is union.
The prospect of complete fusion with his Goddess beckons before him, and in the angel's impassioned state it certainly does not occur to him how unrealistic this is. In a moment of what is almost naivety, he feels nothing but the desire to be embraced by her, to feel her enter him as he has entered her.
Don't look at me like that, it's a beautiful thing.
In fact, it may be the heart of beauty: the shattering of boundaries, the carrying out of oneself, the transgression against mortality and the limits of the individual. In the moment that her offering rains down upon him, there is surely a part of Alma that knows their souls will not actually bond, that they will not simply fuse and disperse, scattering like stars. There are certainly very real and integral parts of him that would not seek such a fate were it offered, though it might be paradise. In this moment, it matters not. What heights of unity can they reach? There is only one way to find out.
He exhales sharply as he is consumed by light.
Eyes shine as he emerges, unfocused, seemingly blinded. Soulfire sputters and sparks about his hands, but it is beyond his own control. In this brief moment, Alma's consciousness is obliterated; the Goddess has lifted him to such heights. Yet this does not stop him; if anything, it makes him faster, as hands unburdened by fire but fast as lightning blur up to strike at his beloved foe.
A relentless stream of blows follows, a miraculous display of art and technique that seems to rise up from the endless well of the human spirit itself, a force of nature incarnate unleashing crushing blow after crushing blow in a silky smooth, sinuous chain.
With his heart completely bared before her--
Can Alma be stopped?

COMBATSYS: Ingrid fails to counter Stream of Consciousness from Alma with Sun Delta.

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Alma             0/-------/-------|====---\-------\0           Ingrid

COMBATSYS: Ingrid can no longer fight.

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

As much as Ingrid had embraced the spiritual power of Alma, he had embraced hers in equal parts. What more could she have asked for than this? And as much as it had made her more powerful, so has it done for him. A mutually beneficial exchange, then? Perhaps so.

The two are so in sync with one another that what the other intends is as plainly obvious to the other as their own existence. Even as Alma moves to release a stream of unrelenting blows upon her she is moving to intercept, a golden light surrounding her as her she draws from within herself, the power reaching a powerful apex. But as she does this there can be no doubt that Alma more than anticipated this reaction- for with their momentary connection he could feel it coming almost as easily as his oncoming strikes.

Though the actions were already played out in her mind and spirit her body must follow, the red eyed Norwegian bending forward and tapping gently at the air and producing the predictable result: a triangle of energy appearing before her and amplifying the remainder of her powers, a very large disk of swirling energy interposing itself between Alma and Ingrid. His first strike rushes forward and impacts the disk. This, normally, would seal his fate. But in the their current state the powerful disk is no more harmful to Alma then a fly. His fist presses into the energy, and it shatters.

The Radiant Angel, having been gifted a portion of her power, overcomes and sunders the shield of the Eternal Goddess.

Brilliant gold erupts from the destruction of the disk, fragments shooting off in each direction and fizzling out as those familiar white blossoms. The amplifying triangle meets a similar fate, offering even less resistance before exploding into fireworks. And then there was no distance between them at all, the blonde artfully beaten by the attractive model, the orchestra playing loud but deafened by the cheers. Blow after blow lands with crushing precision, and when it is through the goddess lies helplessly on the ground, leaving the angel to stand triumphantly above her. She has fallen, and is completely, utterly defeated.

But oh, what a way to fall.

What a thrill is blasphemy.
When Alma becomes conscious of what he has done, when he blinks the light from his eyes and the roar fades from his ears only to be supplanted by the roar of the crowd, his pulse quickens at the sight. There she lies, the Eternal Goddess, for so long so elusive, but never forgotten. Her devotee gazes upon her prostrate form and -- perhaps it is just his current state of mind, rended open along with his heart, but -- he cannot help but savor a certain sinful beauty in it, like a butterfly with an injured wing. If beauty is indeed a kind of transgression, as their pursuit of yet greater rapture may suggest, then Alma has surely transgressed.
Somehow, he cannot feel ashamed.
They know each other's hearts too well. The time that has divided them fell away as easily as if it had never been there. Of course, it is unlike Alma to delight in the grotesque, however he might understand its peculiar allure, and to see a fallen fighter as beautiful, well-- but no, he is immediately aware that a surge of affection, of protectiveness, underlies the warm feelings still enveloping him. Ignoring the final overture and the cheers of the crowd, Alma silently lowers himself to his knees: though the angel may have overcome the goddess, it remains inappropriate for the former to stand while the latter lies.
Gently, he lifts her head to cradle it in his lap, gazing down at her.
But when he lifts his eyes again to the crowd, he is smiling.
They are together again. And Alma has learned more lessons than the combative:
He won't let her go so easily, this time.

COMBATSYS: Alma has ended the fight here.

Does the angel bend knee to a fallen goddess? While that question remains unanswered, the more important thing to view is that even should he be the one to create it he is there for her in her time of need. What beauty can be found in the delicate form of the fallen Ingrid can only be enhanced as her head is lifted to the lap of Alma. Still reeling from both the attack that finished her and the events preceding it, her eyes slowly open with a blink, and a soft smile replaces the mildly pained look upon her face.

"Well done," she tells him quietly, using a small voice to conserve her energy for the moment. "I now see that even my newest assessment of your ability was an underestimation. I can only hope that one day I can match your accomplishments and show you how far I have progressed." She closes her eyes again and rests for a moment. How easy it would be to simply lie there and rest her head so comfortably in his lap. Her lips curl with a twinge of amusement while she considers how long she could get him to stay like that.

It would be too rude, however, to hold up the fashion show for very much longer. Their fight was, though it might now seem impossible, only the intermission of the main event for today. And so she once more opens her eyes, lifting her head from his lap and sitting up. A gloved hand raises towards him, a silent gesture requesting to be helped up, even though she is perfectly capable of managing it by herself. "Now then, didn't you say you wished to talk, after we were through?" And there it is again, her quiet, vaguely amused little smile.

Alma, of course, obeys.
His smile widens as he takes her hand and stands, the assistance no less meaningful for being purely symbolic. To be certain, the battles he has fought in recent past have carried him to soaring heights, pushing the limits of his potential. But now that the warm surge of recognition and of contest have passed, Alma realizes now he is achingly curious about her real history, no longer just driven to experience their more timeless bond again.
"Please do."
He has proven himself worthy to the Goddess once again. For now, and for as long as they are together, this will fill him only with the warmest of sensations. It is only later that, perhaps, he will reflect back on the results of their battle, and wonder with some mild alarm at the appeal of the delicate deity that he so respects lying prone before him.
Maybe there's something wrong with him.
In some distant past fifteen minutes ago, Alma thought he might stay for the remainder of the show, if only out of politeness toward his host-- but now he can think of nothing but to excuse himself. "Let me treat you to dinner," he says, the usually mild-mannered youth betraying some earnestness. "The restaurant by my hotel is highly reviewed. I-- if you have the time, of course."
Alma grins, the applause about them continuing unabated.
Only after a moment does he realize he's still holding her hand.
Releasing her abruptly, he then, looking vaguely bashful, reaches up to rub the back of his head, absently mussing his carefully styled hair. But his grin only widens, and no awkward moment, it seems, will mitigate his sincerity.
"...I've missed you, Ingrid."

With her hand firmly enclosed by his Ingrid allows him to take some of her weight, pulling herself up by it and managing not to wobble as she does so, quite thankful for the assistance. Even if she had expected nothing less from him he still could have withheld help- it might have been a good way to get back at her for the teasing earlier.

There is much to stay at the fashion show for, for Ingrid. The feeling of the crowd now is electric, and she always enjoys speaking with the residents of distant locals and those who film these matches. Not only that but she can feel another familiar presence, one that is altogether a surprise- she might even have waved to Yurika had she arrived before the match started though once it was she was devoted to it entirely. It would be nice to go say hello now- but despite all this there is little hope of her turning down such an offer. "I would be delighted, Alma," she replies, unable to help yet another look of amusement from crossing her features as he retrieves her hand in flustered fashion- just imagine how me might feel if she wasn't wearing gloves!

"I have more than enough time to have dinner with you; I'm sure you must know that by now." How could he not after that fight, that experience they just had together? And so she sets off with Alma, exiting the stage and walking through the aisles after him as the fashion show starts up anew, following the young model all the way back to his hotel.

To have a lovely chat over dinner, of course.

Log created on 21:16:35 03/09/2010 by Alma, and last modified on 13:20:42 03/11/2010.