Neo League 951 - #951: Amy vs Miu

Description: Amidst the torrential rain surrounding an ancient temple, the erstwhile champion of the Neo League - fresh from the aftermath of her first defeat - meets with a challenger who is vastly unproven on the same terms. What transpires is an entirely different kind of test for Miu Kurosaki. How will she prevail when a fight stops being merely about strength of arms, and becomes a question of oneself?

There is a storm.

Miu had her wish, in some ways. Rendered unconscious by the unstoppable force that is Raiden, she had awakened en route to Japan. Twelve hours had passed, allowing her body to recover at least a little from the constant punishment she had inflicted on it, but, now, the memories of that fight can be ... considered. She knew where she had gone wrong, of course. Towards the end, she had panicked. It was only natural that if she panicked, she would lose. She knew that. Ruling the heart with the head had been at the center of her fighting since she first decided to step into this world.

The storm above rages unabated. Thunder and lightning crashing around the ruined temple that she had been asked to come to. Neo League cameramen look quite miserable, working in the pouring conditions under tarpaulin. It is not, exactly, ideal. But surrounded by this raging natural fury, Miu hasn't decided to take shelter in the temple, she has instead turned her gaze on the ruined altar remnants which, even now, are being soaked outside this ancient monument.

It is sad, and even though the rain has soaked Miu through to the very bone already, she does not seem concerned. There was, so much sadness like this in the world. Perhaps she could spare a few moments before the fight to just... reflect, on that.

In the path of heroes and kings do such places lie, the scattered and decaying remnants of wonders left far behind. It is well that the melancholy bites Miu Kurosaki deep, for it is women such as she who are destined to leave the destruction in their path; a budding young warrior whose name will be legend in years yet to come. But on this day, she shares her sadness, as her opponent approaches through the torrential downpour, similarly soaked to skin and to bone as she slips through the foul-weathered haze.
If her aura does not give her away - and it creeps so naturally, seamlessly, through the storm that it well may - then the scuffing of a boot against the abandoned altar certainly will. Amy calmly inserts herself into the picture, lifting one leg as she braces herself against the ancient stone, leaning over her extended knee to regard the dimunitive psion from beneath the sodden shelter of her beret. Eyes that echo the dark depths around them affix to Miu, as the rain drums an arrhythmic tattoo against the stiff material of the Templar's jacket. It is a jarring sound, though perhaps no less than the clear-cut tone of her voice as it slices the air.
"This was a magnicifent place, once, but everything falls apart. It's just a matter of time. And in the passage of that... well," A sad and distant smile brushes her lips, "Soon enough, you and I shall join the fallen. It's today that we must live for; today that we must fight for." Drawing herself upright, Amy begins to remove her boot, leaving a toe barely settled against the altar as she cants her head to one side, the intensity of her gaze deepening. "Kurosaki Miu, I presume? It's an honour."

"Amy Johnson." Miu replies, nodding her head to the European woman, even though the name... has to sound at least a little funny, on Miu's lips. "And to you."

She lets out a long breath, spreading her arms out. The chill of the storm is held at bay as feathers begin to drift from her outstretched arms. Amy's presence is, impressive. There is something about the woman which suggests incredible power, though, she can't quite put her finger on what it is. The point of throwing herself into the Neo League with such forcefulness was to run up against competitors exactly like this, though, wasn't it? Raiden had not been 'the limit of her soul' not because he wasn't strong... he'd proven beyond any doubt that he is ... but because brute, physical force is not an arena in which Miu Kurosaki cares to compete. She is, above such things. As arrogant as the claim sounds.

Why she decides to speak is a mystery, but, perhaps Miu is in a more contemplative mood than normal. (If that is even possible). But, she does speak, quite clearly, too. Despite the distance between them, and the raging storm, and the crash of thunder. Amy has her thinking, and, well, Miu has something to say.

"Thy soul shall find itself alone, 'Mid dark thoughts of the grey tomb-stone; Not one, of all the crowd, to pry, into thine hour of secrecy."

The snippet of Poe spoken, the ghost of a smile threatens at Miu's lips, but does not quite break through. Ah, it had been a long time since she had been able to just sit down and read... in truth, she would be quite glad when all this is over. She certainly doesn't seem to be in a hurry to start the fight, to the vexation of the tournament officials.

"We're born in union."
Breathing deep of the sweeping winds, Amy pulls her boot away at last, dislodging a forlorn shower of damp, dead stone. Flakes of the past. She continues to watch Miu levelly, with the wary air of a predator matched - rather than prey in fear. The billowing mist seems to seep forth from all around, reaching for the woman as she makes her way to the temple steps in even, measured paces.
"Body and soul..."
And there she stops once more, again with one leg raised. A hand lifts to her brow, pulling away the soaking material of her cap and allowing it to to drop with a limp slap to the bottom stair. The rain begins to course through her raven locks, but as she continues speaking she draws her fingers back against the dark mass, deftly pulling it to the nape of her neck.
"'Til by the decree of fate, we are separated from the tortures and pleasures of our earthly forms, torn from good and from evil, to dwell in eternity."
She allows her hair to fall against her back, now caught in a loose, elaborate knot. That dismal smile returns to her lips and suddenly gains warmth as she brings her second foot upward to match the first, looking up at the much younger warrior with chin raised, stormy blue eyes alight with an inner fire.
"But not alone, I think."
The Templar's palms drift to a point just before her chest, pressing together even as the waters of heaven stream around them. Yet unmindful of the downpour, she bows to the girl, the bright silver of her crucifix catching in the reflection of light spilling from the workings of the camera crew above. She seems as careless of their prescence as the crow maiden; she is here for something other than the fame and the money. As she straightens, her hands find her hips.
"At the end of all things, there is as much glory as there is in life. More, perhaps. You must surely realise this, with a soul such as yours..." Another curious tilt of the head, as though she were acting on a hypothesis. "Then why do you seek to climb such a pedestal now?"

Miu gives the slightest shake of her head. Though she listened carefully to what Amy said... she did not have that faith. Who could say what lurks beyond the veil of death? Whether it would be a glorious new beginning, or, simply, oblivion. She could not bear to think of her brother simple ... ceasing. His life has been brief, and filled with pain. It is not *right* that he should have to take that step. It is not *fair*.

"I do not know what awaits us at the end." The girl murmurs, though her voice still cuts through the background swell of thundering rain. There is a flash of lightning that, momentarily, casts both in stark contrast. Miu, head down, her face cast in darkness. Amy, standing taller, looking down at her, with her curious look made brilliant by the sharp electric light.

"There is another relying on me to bring him back. I, will not fail him."

Miu's senses are sharp, particularly as they relate to energy - this is, after all, what she has been trying to gain knowledge of more than anything else. The mists are not part of the storm. They are, something else, something she has not seen before, and they rouse her curiosity.

The girl's eyes lift, slowly, to meet that crucifix, and she regards it with the cold, dispassionate look that she regards almost everything else. It would be nice, if she could surrender her fears to a belief in a higher power. But, she cannot let herself believe it. With so much weighing on her shoulders, it would be a horrendous betrayal to let that slip from a hope that what came after for her brother would be better than what went before. Even if it was true... could she really live with herself, knowing that she could have made a difference, bought him a few extra years, a chance at a normal life, if she had only pushed a little harder? She couldn't. There is no real question, there.

"Shall we begin, Amy Johnson?"

COMBATSYS: Amy has started a fight here.

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Amy              0/-------/-------|

Faith and darkness each come in many forms, but neither simply is. Faith must be built, forged, or fostered; and the dark must come at the cost of light, insidious and creeping 'cross all it finds. Whether the height of evil, or the slumping depths of doubt, it is a thing that can only exist at the behest of another. The minds of man can only contain so much. But power comes in other forms -- it can be enough simply to know oneself, or to have drive and purpose. Miu's response tells that she has both.
"Good answer."
It's spoken simply, quietly, as the Templar nods her head, sending a gathered scatter of raindrops from her eyelashes. The thunder rumbles behind her, an insistent purr from the very heart of nature itself. As if commanded, the mists begin to writhe against the temple steps, inching higher, tendrils dim and transparent within the artificial light. For several seconds, Amy does not move, breathing calm as she watches the girl.
"Then avoid tomorrow's failures," her voice is raised now; and though she does not shout, each syllable seems to ring from the broken walls of the temple. The mists reach the top step, and brush against the stone as they breeze toward Miu's feet, their motions ostensibly slow - but how does one stop what is transient, without proper form? "By succeeding today."
The bound tendrils of her raven hair whip through the lashing winds, as Amy shifts her stance most abruptly, sinking into her heels and darting both hands to the fore. An exhalation sends the grasping fingers of the Dragon's Breath tumbling and billowing toward the crow maiden, seeking her slender ankles before that eerie energy solidifies and hauls back, mirrored in the roll of the Templar's shoulders, in the closing of her defensive stance. There should be little strength in the attack; but the vision of the mist belies itself well. It will be enough to bring Miu to her knees.
"Defend yourself, and show me what you will leave behind!"

COMBATSYS: Miu has joined the fight here.

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Miu              0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0              Amy

COMBATSYS: Amy successfully hits Miu with Quagmire.
Grazing Hit

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Miu              0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0              Amy

It would be fair to say, by this point, that Miu has probed the very depths of what her power is capable of. She is no longer such a mystery to herself; she has grown comfortable with her abilities, and it is this which enables her to respond so swiftly to Amy's attack. The girl's ankles are snared by the mist before she is quite sure what is happening, but, rather than be entirely caught off guard by it, her backwards motion is instinctive, and it gives her the momentum she needs to roll with the attack.

Coming up again swiftly, feathers of burning white flow freely in her path. She had thought that there was more to this strange mist than there had initially seemed; it seems that she was correct! This woman is very strange, perhaps she would really learn something in this fight. She already had the nagging sensation that she was being tested in some way. That, alone, is a good feeling. Justification for her effort.

One hand aims to grab Amy's outstretched arm. Miu's attacks may not be quite so cloaked in mist and mystery as Amy's, but they are certainly surprising in their own way. One wouldn't expect Miu to have so much strength in her, from looking at her. But, if she can snare the outstretched arm, the unmistakable, numbing tingle of psychic force will burn out of her, into Amy's wrist...

And she'll wrench forwards and around suddenly, aiming to rudely flip Amy over and send her crashing into the ground. A trail of pretty sparkles left in her wake. Because for all that Miu is rather gothy and dark... she can never quite escape the beautiful elegance of her pretty style.

COMBATSYS: Amy blocks Miu's Quick Throw.

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Miu              0/-------/------=|==-----\-------\0              Amy

There is a division of power between these two women, as Miu's sterling performance in the much-vaunted Neo League suggests. But the Templar has been improving at her own steady rate of progress, unlocking her own secrets - and perhaps even more pertinently - those of the world around her. She is beginning to gain knowledge of her own standing, what the implications of her power are, and what heights she might aspire to reach. This challenge is part of that learning process, an attempt to understand and grow against one who possesses a more unerring power.
No further words are traded as battle is joined, and Amy meets the grasping hand with just a faint grunt as she shifts her posture, her centre straying expertly to one side and her athletic form bending just so. Miu's psychic energy gives her a jolt, almost unbalances her, but she manages to execute a tight flip, leaving her wrist captured until she lands upon her feet with a sharp hiss as she absorbs the impact. It is not without pain - but she is well placed to counter.
Twisting her seized arm, she snatches numb fingers upward, striving to reverse the grip as she simultaneously slides closer to Kurosaki. The movement sees her left leg push outward, the top of her boot trapping the girl's ankle, making her prime prey for the sudden explosive polar shift that follows. If her gambit pays off, it will be sufficient to stagger, allowing Miu to stumble across the extended limb with the disengaging of her grasping hand. But this is just the beginning.
With the momentum reversed, the Templar's arms turn in a smooth windmill as she drops to a broad horse stance, setting her posture in perfect time to thrust outward with the previously inactive arm, sending the smaller warrior on her way with a powerful thrust of a calloused palm. It is far more forceful than such complex grace has any right to be.

COMBATSYS: Miu dodges Amy's Strong Throw.

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Miu              0/-------/------=|==-----\-------\0              Amy

Miu has no intention of letting Amy reverse that grip. The girl slides backwards, and Amy's fingers meet nothing but air. The girl completes three graceful hops backwards, taking herself further up the steps into the temple proper, and, at the very top of those stairs, she lets her hand whip out.

Three of those ever-present feathers result, joining her in her quest to strike back against Amy. There might be a gap in power between them, but Miu was quietly impressed that Amy had managed to defend herself against the initial strike, intending it to be a way to probe her defenses and decide how to proceed... it seems that the Templar isn't just skilled in the use of energy, but also close-quarters fighting. Which is an intriguing fact. Able to fight with equal proficiency at any range, Miu was going to have to be on her toes if she was going to have much luck against this foe.

The three feathers carve a dark trail through the night, aiming to splash across Amy in a diagonal pattern. Another bolt of lightning, close by, helps to make this clear; their dark forms highlighted against the storm by the flare of natural power. As though the world itself is responding to the tempo of the warrior's battle. And who is to say that this ancient, neglected place does not exult to bear witness to such a clash?

COMBATSYS: Miu successfully hits Amy with Kakure Amagakeri.

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Miu              0/-------/----===|======-\-------\0              Amy

The word is barely hissed out, with a slight widening of the eyes and the quirk of a chagrined smile as Amy watches the slender girl escape her clutches. Fortunately, her motions do not leave her unbalanced; and she begins to ascend her steps herself just a moment later, watching intently as the psion summons her powers. From the apparition of feathers, to their impact, it seems there is a scant instant in which to react, and the Templar springs off toned calves as she twists her upper body, aiming to brush past all three parts of the assault with similarly beneficial movements.
But the best-laid plans are oft overestimated in their efficiency. Perhaps she tries too hard, strives to be clever when she could merely retreat; in any case, all three feathers find their target, driving the raven-haired women back down the temple stair. She lands upon one knee at the base, impassive but for the flame in those stormy eyes. It's painful - almost unbelievably so - yet this is a sensation she came prepared for. She is up in an instant, teeth gritting in silent determination as she hurls herself at the steps.
Her boots shriek leathery protest as she pounds the stone at full speed, parting the rising swathes of mist as they strive to flock around her. Her body remains controlled, though doubtless the mind is still breaking free from Miu's assault - as there is a delay between intent and action. Still Amy comes, sprinting up to the floor of the temple, covering the last two steps with a leap that sees her land in a crouch, whipping one heel outward and around. Striking for the back of Miu's legs.
The gray-white fog that trails behind does nothing to assist - merely billowing outward from the point of impact. Amy's aura shows the fraying edges that her physical form does not.

COMBATSYS: Miu dodges Amy's Light Kick.

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Miu              0/-------/----===|======-\-------\0              Amy

Amy strikes out, and Miu goes up.

Leaping into the air, the girl spirals, and touches down gracefully on the other side of the woman. The strike would probably have been far more menacing were it not for the hesitation in Amy's motions; slowed, no doubt, by the painful impact she had suffered mere moments before. It is, impressive, really, and to an outsider it would look rather bizarre. Amy leaps up to strike at Miu's back, and then Miu leaps up and aims to come in from behind Amy. Like a martial arts equivalent of leapfrog.

The psychic has a rather simple aim. Her foot comes up sharply, aiming to strike her up, and bring her into reach of her hands. The girl's energy is ever-present, of course. Spilling out of her with every punch and kick as though it were as easy for her as breathing. Which, when she's fighting at least, it is.

If all goes according to plan, poor Amy will finish up being tossed back down the stairs she has just climbed. Miu, still standing at the top, looking down at her. The rain hammering all around her, and those steps looking all the more like a rain-slickened mountain.

COMBATSYS: Amy fails to interrupt Charged Combo from Miu with Mist Guardian.

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Miu              0/-------/---====|=======\-------\0              Amy

Miu knows herself, that even in the thick of battle there are moments wherein a warrior should seek to compose themselves. Amy did not strike purely in frustration - but she did so without the full faculty of her united being, that kick straying almost inevitably through empty air. There is nothing she can reasonably do to prevent the immediate follow-up, drawn to her feet with a grunt of suppressed pain, turning on instinct to face what remains of the combination.
An arm raises as if to repel a blow, only to find itself scattered. The mist flows toward the fighting pair, again, doing so now with an intent that is broken a moment later as a sharp swathe of residual Psycho Power erupts to meet it, slowing the closing tendrils long enough that the psion is able to complete her violence. A moment later, Amy's back strikes the sodden ground with more a splash than a thump. Her elbows come down, pushing her upright enough that she can peer up the peak, toward her opponent.
"I..." She begins to speak, forced to pause to draw in breath, before starting to regain her footing. "I didn't think I'd underestimated you," she offers once she stands, making no move to advance further, simply assuming a loose, relaxed stance in the mist of the rain. "I know I haven't. Which must mean you're simply this talented. That person," her chin cants upward, as rivulets stream down her face, "They have nothing to fear, Miu."

For a few moments, Miu is silent.

Then, she nods her head. The girl has no idea what to make of Amy's words. She, was being very kind. Most fighters in the league had responded to her power either by boasting that they could do better, that she was getting 'lucky', or with furious, and ultimately impotent (unless you are Raiden), anger. It actually means a great deal to Miu, to be recognized, unconditionally, in the midst of battle.

But she still has so far to go before she could help her brother. She knows this. As powerful as she has grown, there are still countless fighters who could render her helpless... such as her own mentor, Rose. She needed to grow stronger even than them. Learn everything there is to know about her power, and the power of others. And then, maybe, she would be able to purge that strange disease from her poor brother...

For the moment, though, Miu accepts Amy's words for what they are. They renew her confidence, and her eyes focus ever more intently on the Templar through the pounding rain. Miu has grown mildly famous for saying almost nothing during her fights. She had dispatched most of her opponents without so much as a word. Now, though, she is compelled by a force higher than her own silence to speak, two words.

"Thank you."

COMBATSYS: Miu focuses on her next action.

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Miu              0/-------/---====|=======\-------\0              Amy

There is little honour in being a mere stepping stone. But to humbly accept one's fate as the measure by which another is judged, and improved; there might be some nobility in that. So long as every effort is made to ensure their fellow is tested to their utmost. Amy did not come here with a view to snatching victory, proving herself more formidable than one who had already toppled so many others. The perceived hierarchy is unimportant. What lurks beneath the veneer, beneath the /skin/, that is where understanding lies, and it may yet prove to be the path to a truer, greater power.
A path that does not involve trampling the hopes and dreams of others.
'Thank you.'
And that alone makes the pain worthwhile; it makes defeat worthwhile. It is the Templar's pleasure, though she does not say it, merely bowing her head forward for an instant before the mists suddenly close around her. It's a subtle change in tone, for all that it happens quickly, her body dimming into a near-silhouette through the grayish mass. The illusion of camouflage is aided by the rain, and by the dark colour of her attire. Miu will see her move, an indistinct blurring shape approaching the temple steps before Amy seems to fade from view, only the sounds of her steps remaining.
She closes in, /fast/. There is a blur of motion from Miu's flank, and then a heavy double footfall from behind as the Templar emerges from her deception - from movements no doubt aided by more than the obscuring visual - sunk down with those blue eyes directed back over her shoulder, past the settling sweep of bound raven locks. If Miu turns, she will be just in time to meet that gaze before the true nature of this motion shows itself.
From outside, from out of the deepest depths of the mist, a storm of lashing tendrils approaches in the woman's wake. Enough to strike the psion from head to toe, each tap light but insistent, unrelenting as they number into the dozens. The whole, a greater sum than the parts.

COMBATSYS: Miu fails to interrupt Stormwitch from Amy with Chou Hissatsu Amagakeri.

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Miu              0/-------/----===|=======\-------\1              Amy

Miu narrows her eyes as Amy approaches. It is hard to see her, but, she can sense that growing energy. It is not easy to see what is going on... but it is easy to know that she is in danger. Which has her on edge, even more than the fact that Amy's form has blurred into nothingness.

The raven-haired psychic's eyes go wide as she sees those tendrils. Naturally, tentacles are the bane of every schoolgirl, and Miu is no different. Once again, she pays for the foolish decision to listen to her emotions rather than her head. Her /head/ tells her that she should try and leap up to the roof of the temple itself; there's no way Amy could control her power well enough to guide those tendrils that far...

But Miu's instinct is to attack power with power. Without thinking about it, she throws her arms forwards, and all of the feathers gathered around the girl roar out in a silent onslaught, cutting through the air and aiming to shatter the manifestation. It is likely a nervewracking moment for Amy, as, no matter where she is, those feathers are everywhere, and if she isn't stopped...

But she is stopped. The tendrils slam into Miu, and although one by one they are not much, they are not even slowed by her attempt to overpower them. She is left slumped, on one knee, panting to try and catch her breath. Still very much in the fight, but, the scary momentum she had been building over the other girl... is very much broken.

From her ponderous placement, the Templar sees and feels everything. Her eyes widen as she shifts her footing, turning to face the ravaged psion with a graceful stepping turn. She is raised upon the balls of her feet for a moment, breath caught in her throat and every muscle poised for immediate evasive action, before the spark of psychic power dies. Her posture immediately sinks, and she draws in a gasping lungful of air, expelling it through rounded lips as she watches Miu for a moment. But for no longer.
There are moments for composure, but this is not one of them. Her every fibre of being tells Amy to seize this shift in momentum, not for the sake of victory - not for the spoils of war - but because it is right. Because this is how their battle shall unfold. Not lingering on her thoughts, she tenses her legs and then unleashes her coiled form in another forwards charge, closing in upon Miu's kneeling back, the expelled vestiges of the mist hearing her inward call and flocking to rejoin her.
'Twould be uncharacteristic for the woman to attack the rear, and so it is. She streams /past/ Miu in a beautifully controlled rush, beginning a sideward sway at the moment she draws level, and forming up with a leg stretched behind her. From this bracing point she throws her weight forward, one arm drawing back for balance as the other hammers forth, palm open and fingers quivering with tension. Stormy blue eyes seek out her opponent's in the moment that impact will come, driving calloused flesh deep into the tender space above and beyond the abdomen. The blow is driven home with a twist of the wrist, and then--
The shout is not telegraphed, but pure and instinctive as the Dragon's Breath lashes for Amy's outstretched arm, almost raising welts as it clings to her flesh. But from here it is already streaming upward, leaving her shaking hand in a spiral torrent, seeking to invade the very centre of Miu's being and then explode outward with the dying cry of the Templar.

COMBATSYS: Miu dodges Amy's Trembling Palm.

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Miu              0/-------/----===|=======\-------\0              Amy

Miu's purple eyes stare into Amy's for just a moment, as the strike comes in for her. There is a heartbeat where it looks like Miu is going to be treated to a second, painful, introduction to Amy's power.

And then, Amy's palm passes through nothing at all.

For the cameras, it is a confusing moment. One instant, Miu is sagging and Amy is about to drive her palm into her. The next, Miu is three paces behind Amy. For the pair, it is a /little/ more clear what happened. She had literally dived around Amy, everything that is the girl focused on the screaming necessity of /not/ being there any more. Miu would have to watch that tape again and again in the future... because she has rarely managed to reach such peaks of speed as she reaches in that one, shining instant.

Stepping backwards, the crow girl of Seijyun High does not press the attack. No, instead, she pulls herself to her feet, and lets her hands drift down by her sodden sides. Her fingers close around one of the drifting feathers in the area, and that white power is taken back into herself. Before, she asks. Because she must ask. She must know.

"What, *is* your style?"

COMBATSYS: Miu gains composure.

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Miu              0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\0              Amy

With the full weight of her body behind her, Amy is unable to recover with any immediacy from her augmented palmstrike. She even falls to one knee herself, the length of her arm twitching and shaking as the last of the streaming energy escapes, falling from explosive force back to endless, eerie drifing through the air - almost as though it never attacked at all. But the signs show in the Templar, as she shifts herself to her feet, massaging at the forearm and fingers of her striking limb. And then, the question.
There is no simple answer to that.
"Kinomichi." She says simply enough, to begin, a roll of her shoulder not contradicting the pride in her tone - but suggesting this is only a part of the tale. "Or so it would normally be. But I've never been normal." Her lips quirk in a nostalgic half-grin, her voice falling somewhat distant as she paces around the waiting psychic, footfalls careful and even. "It's an internal style, focused around control of the centre, teaching the body to move as one - not without thought, but without thinking. With intent."
Her head cants to one side, stormy eyes watching Miu as she finally raises her guard, fingertips curling against the mist-wracked air. "But I knew this already, before I began my training. Because what you see around us has always moved with me, and through me. We draw together when urged. We part when broken. We are, to all intents and purposes, one." Her chest rises as she draws a deep breath, drifting to a halt and sinking into her heels. Rooting. "I call it the Dragon's Breath. You wouldn't believe me--"
Her hands cut sudden circles through the air, falling sharp and hard against nothing as the Templar's eyes flash. With intent. There is no further warning before the mists close in upon the temple floor, moving as though drawn inward by some mighty inhalation. The attack is nearly all-incompassing, approaching from all sides to bring swathes of gray-white fog crashing down upon the central focus of Miu Kurosaki. Like being caught in meeting waves.
"If I told you what it truly is!"

COMBATSYS: Miu dodges Amy's The Dragon's Breath.

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Miu              0/-------/-----==|===----\-------\0              Amy

Miu listens. She has always been a good listener, and this does not change just because Amy is talking about, strange things. She doesn't fully grasp what Amy means, she thinks. Amy is talking about some kind of, inner force? Addressing it as though it were sentient, or at the least alive. This is confusing. But it is not Miu's way to be disbelieving, not when the opponent has been faultlessly polite.

The girl is aware of those growing mists, and as they come in for her, she leaps into the air once more. Turning, and using her power to keep herself aloft for as long as she can. The rains hammer down around her, but when she lands, the mists have fallen apart again, and she is not injured. Her eyes seek to meet Amy's, once more, as she says, truthfully...

"You would be surprised what I am prepared to believe."

And with that, the girl comes charging inwards. One feather gripped tight in her hand, the glowing white knife substitute is thrust forwards, aiming to bury itself in Amy's midsection... before it explodes in a shower of pretty sparkles.

COMBATSYS: Amy interrupts Kirameki from Miu with Wyrm Waker.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Miu              0/-------/=======|=====--\-------\0              Amy

Though the mists may obey the command of a mortal, they do not move entirely unlike their natural counterpart - and once Miu is clear from the pressing morass she is more than safe, able to watch as the coming wave slams only against itself. There is not even any palpable impact, the unstoppable drift slowly coming to a close as the twain meets and nearly seamlessly blends. A short distance away, the Templar remains, tracking Miu's presence without care for the consequence of her failure. Their eyes meet as intended - though there is a dangerous flicker in Amy's own.
"Then perhaps..."
She does not budge an inch before that psionic dagger comes screaming toward her, nor more than barely when it strikes - piercing the spirit without regard for the concealment of flesh beneath tawdry material. She shifts fractionally, hesitating just long enough for Miu to realise that eight fingers and two thumbs now grip her extended forearm with a gentle yet firm strength.
"At another time--"
It cuts off in a hiss, as Amy falls into a deeper stance and turns from the waist, dragging Miu in close only to windmill her grasping arms. Her grip is ironclad until the moment it is suddenly released, throwing all that gathered momentum into something far greater than a Chinese burn - whipping Miu's entire frame into a sidelong spin that tears her feet from the floor. It is so strong that she is held for a second in the air, long enough to hear the sigh of the Dragon's Breath as it descends, becoming an eerie wail as the Templar thrusts her palms toward the floor, striking as she would a drum.
"It shall be told."
Her voice is a disturbing calm over the incredible force she brings to bear against the psion, the mist coalescing into twin columns that hammer her first downward then into the floor of the temple in a devastating one-two. The second may even be enough to further crack the ancient stone, a mark left as legacy to the ages, telling that here there lay one who would one day become great. Here lay Miu Kurosaki.
"But not here," the Templar straightens up and steps away, resuming a wary circling of the fallen girl as she sends a far less trusting look toward the camera, "Not now." Her guard is once more raised, eyes burning as she returns her gaze to her opponent; willing her to get up and continue fighting. "It's time that we finished this."

Miu is hammered, painfully. Truth be told, she doesn't... quite remember how she got here, but as she stirs from the floor, there is only one thing on her lips.

"Very well."

The girl's power is burning inside her, and she summons all of it, now. Her body is screaming at her, but she knows that if she gives Amy a moment, she is going to be ready for what she has to throw at her. This fight has been rather testing, though, not, perhaps, in the same way as her fights against Ibuki or Alma. No, those had been fights where she had needed to bring everything she had to bear against a superior opponent, in order to defeat them with force and power. This, is far more like fighting herself. If she was going to finish this, she needed to do it swiftly. Before her nerve broke, and her power failed her.

It never had before, but she has been calling on it a truly astounding amount lately. Who knows when she will run into a hard limit through which she can not break?

Coming up as swiftly as she can, her power is summoned up, and flows out of her easily, as though it were a natural extension of the movement. A single, massive, focused lance of power flows out of her. Bright white and burning with energy, she aims to let it swallow Amy whole, drive it into her, before it will explode into a shower of those beautiful feathers...

COMBATSYS: Miu successfully hits Amy with Yomosugara EX.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >                                ]
Miu              0/-------/-----==|=======\==-----\1              Amy

Defeat is always waiting around the corner. It is a necessity of progress that steps be taken backward - or at the least, not taken at all, that a person is forced to stop and reassess themselves before continuing onward. Though it is important not to mistake a back-step for an opportunity to drive immediately forward, that tarrying is not done without good cause. For Miu Kurosaki, there needs not be any such care taken now. Her lance of psychic energy drives forward, feathers slicing at the soul of the Templar as she hesitates a beat too long.
It's a mighty expulsion that throws her against one cracked and crumbling wall of the forgotten monument, her spine arching as a shockwave runs through her body. And through her soul. It is the latter portion that overwhelms her senses, causing her to crash to her knees with a hand clapped to the side of her head, palm pressing against temple as teeth grit and heart thumps. Amy keeps her chin up through it all, forcing her body not to buckle through resolve alone. And then she smiles, though it is breathless and vague.
"Good answer."
She echoes her earlier words, tearing her hand away from her throbbing skull to part the now-turbulent mist before her. The other raises in balancing reply, her form moving as one at the bidding of the centre. Her fingers ease against the air, feeling the spark of two powers so very different, yet driven by something so similar. Warriors cannot hide themselves from their peers. As with Farah before her, the Templar knows that she shares so much with Miu, things this soul-burning energy cannot destroy.
But here is much more yet to know. About it, and her.
"Last question."
From behind the girl, there is a ripple in the mists. Amy's hands draw back toward her, as though beckoning something onward, and from the depths of the dimming fog comes an indistinct, wraithlike form. It wails with the voice of the winds as it travels, drawing a firmer, more recognisable shape. At the point that an outstretched tendril may impact with the crow maiden, it is an unmistakable simulacrum of the Templar herself.

COMBATSYS: Amy can no longer fight.

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

COMBATSYS: Miu dodges Amy's Preserving the Myth.

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

As it flies past the evasive girl, the ghostly form billows and breaks apart, soon joining the outlying swathes in fading gently, surreptitiously from view. Dropping to all fours, gasping to fill her lungs as the grip of adrenaline grows too tight around a body no longer properly responding, the Templar merely nods her head. Miu has answered, and explained herself well enough.

Miu looks mildly confused as Amy says the words 'one more question' but, no question is immediately forthcoming.

And then there's that awful noise.

Miu turns, and leaps into the air as the simulacrum comes at her. The thing passes underneath her, and when Amy sags and falls, Miu lands. Nimbly, and prepared for more enemies to come out of that mist...

But there are no more enemies. And no more mist, soon enough, as the rain slows to a drizzle, and then, clears entirely. Leaving nothing but a dark sky above, and a pair of soaked fighters below.

COMBATSYS: Miu has ended the fight here.

Log created on 05:30:40 01/15/2011 by Amy, and last modified on 12:36:07 01/15/2011.