Ayane - The Caprese Fountain! Thrilling Rooftop Battle

Description: One covert operative. Two ninja. One objective. One survivor.

Ibuki should be annoyed. Dressed in a tan dogi, the wind rushed through her long hair, as she idly tapped out an apology to her best friend and sole confidante on her dual life. TXT to Sarai-Babe: "Sorry, I can't make the concert tonight. Elders called me in for real deal ninja ninja stuff." Without another word, she turned it off, and took out the SIM card.

Instead she was actually rather thrilled. This wasn't a simple training mission, but an actual important clan mission. One that they were trusting her to go on alone, no training wheels, no backup. And it was just to steal a black box from a CEO. "What's a Caprese fountain anyhow?" She wonders aloud, as she put her half mask in place over the bottom half of her face. "Sounds like a salad." It wasn't though. It was something that she was asked by her clan to procure, which meant that it had to be important and not just a test. Right? She stood straight up, and got to work on her her infiltration of the office building.

Ninjitsu was the art of control, in particular controlling her environment. Disabling security systems was unnecessary, so long as they never even knew you were here. That was easy enough, since they were about as lax on their protocols as Ibuki was on her training. A good half of the cameras and sensors as she discovered were fakes.

It wasn't long until she dropped soundlessly into the darkened office suite on her bandaged feet, grimacing at the drab decor. In particular the office art, a gaudily framed reproduction of soup can popart by Andy Warhol that was out of style long before she'd ever been born. 'Really?' she mouthed in a muted fashion, as she picked open a desk drawer. Looking at the console of buttons within, she touches a button, and the painting behind the desk slides upwards with motorized whirring noises.

Shaking her head at how predictable this was, the safe cracking took her a while longer, as master Sanjou was a touch old fashioned when it came to his classes on this. Eventually it popped open, and Ibuki dared actually exuberantly whisper her words of triumph, "Ha! Behold, the Caprese Fountain! The elders will have to recognize me as a master kunoichi after this!" That was all too easy! She feels a surge of pride as she reaches towards the black box within...

Unfortunately for Ibuki, the young kunoichi is not the only covert operative interested in the Caprese Fountain. Not in the least. Shadaloo, though its primary monetization vectors are the drugs, guns, and human trafficking operations it absorbed as it grew in power as an organized crime syndicate, /also/ sometimes deals in rarities. As such, Satsuki has been deployed to retrieve a valuable object currently under low guard.

As such, the young lady has been sitting neatly above the safe, practically nestled into the ceiling. At first, she'd been waiting for an opportunity to slide down and start poking around with absolute certainty she wouldn't be spotted... but now, she's got a much better chance to take. Someone else has done all the work for her!

No sooner has Ibuki finished her sentence than the Doll says, quietly, "Target acquired," dropping from the ceiling and handily snatching up the black box inside. There's no inflection to her voice, no malice in her expression -- just the neat grab and immediate run of a tool crafted for a purpose.

COMBATSYS: Satsuki has started a fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Satsuki          0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Ibuki has joined the fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Ibuki            0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0          Satsuki

Poor Ibuki isn't even the only /kunoichi/ here for the mysterious item. Genra, master of the Mugen Tenshin Hajimon, has diverted his heir from her other missions to strike at a target of opportunity. She is standing in the expansive panoramic windowsill, shrouded in black and purple, her short hair marked with its signature bowed-bandana headband. Who knows how long she's been waiting, hidden in plain sight?

"Sorry," Ayane says by way of hello, not emotionless but cold, cold as the last nail in a dangling sign that's flapping in a snowstorm. "I'll be taking that."

Two fingers held in front of her face as sharply as a bisecting blade, she dashes forward, her knees as high as her feet are soundless, to try to run straight up Satsuki, from toe to head, and kick her in the face -- across the room, out the window, and into the high-rise night. Her own midair trajectory would follow.

Oddly enough, this is professional courtesy. Better to have it out away from that building's security systems, not to mention professional reinforcements. While she doubts they'd pose a serious threat, who wants to deal with such annoying interruptions?

COMBATSYS: Ayane has joined the fight here.

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Satsuki          0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0            Ibuki
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ayane            0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Satsuki blocks Ayane's Suiranbu.

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Satsuki          0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0            Ibuki
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ayane            0/-------/-------|

'Target acquired.' Snatch. "Target? Hey w-what!? Thief!" Ibuki realizes that that is the pot calling the kettle black the moment it left her lips. She might have stood there gaping if not for her own considerable reflexes. She makes a short hop to the desk, "Oh no you don't! That's mine!" From her position, she took in the features of her new quarry. If not for the severe military look of her uniform, she'd be almost positive she was a ninja herself. She hadn't ruled that out yet.

That's when she noticed she definitely wasn't the only kunoichi in the room. "Stupid, careless!" She curses at herself. And they just sent Satsuki flying, a fate which she realizes would have been reserved for her if Satsuki wasn't here. While she doesn't recognize Ayane, she recognizes her for what she represents.

Springing towards the window, she presses her legs together, and folds her arms across her chest as she rotates through the air, directing her aerial pursuit after Satsuki. Her wrist lashes out, expertly sending a kunai that glints within the light of the Tokyo skyline through the air towards Ayane. "Stay out of my clan's affairs!" She yells her warning over the rush of air during her controlled plummet after her other target.

COMBATSYS: Ibuki successfully hits Ayane with Kunai.

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Satsuki          0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0            Ibuki
[       \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ayane            0/-------/----===|

Unfortunately for Satsuki, Ayane's feet beat mighty upon her; every step of the way, she successfully lands her blows -- but it's when it comes time to go out the window that Satsuki takes control of the situation. Rather than limply falling onto one of the high-rise buildings, she manages to take control of her trajectory in midair, amid a flash of indigo light, and neatly slide across the roof with one hand.

The other, meanwhile, goes for the sharp, steel blade that is the hallmark of her fighting style. She loses the box in the process, unfortunately; Ayane has managed to knock it right out of her hands.

This is a strange situation -- one of Satsuki's first situations with multiple problem variables, as well as an entirely non-combative objective. It makes things... difficult. As the trio of stealth experts head onto the Southtown skyline, Satsuki gets ready to intercept the first one she saw; in spite of everything, that's how her target prioritization goes, for now.

As she draws her blade, she slashes up with it, toward Ibuki, as her flip through the air brings her closer; a wave of indigo energy -- and behind /that/, a wave of existential dread -- approaches, threatening to knock her off-balance in midair. There are no words, no pithy retorts -- just the ruthless power of Vega, as channeled through the young swordswoman.

COMBATSYS: Ibuki blocks Satsuki's Psycho Slash.

[    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Satsuki          0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0            Ibuki
[       \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ayane            0/-------/----===|

It's in midair that things go very badly awry for Ayane, indeed. She nods grimly when Satsuki flips and seemingly teleports, or some other effect not blatantly dissimilar to the Mugen Tenshin techniques, away from her -- it's disappointing that she couldn't get the full impact of the final blow, but unlike her initial opponent, she is extremely used to prioritizing 'get the thing' over 'sustained combat', and most of what she feels is satisfaction.

Cartwheeling, her feet find purchase standing horizontal to the rooftop, alighting soundlessly onto the side of a billboard. Her knees flex, and she leaps, aiming with perfect speed and precision towards the falling box--

--when Ibuki's kunai lands right between her shoulder blades, knocking her completely off-course, not to mention momentarily out of her mind with the unexpected sting of pain and of pride.

Her eyes narrow at Ibuki, red as the fires of Hell, as she tumbles more wildly through the air. But she stays focused on her goal, and, ricocheting three more times like a cross between a pinball and a parkour master, she eventually collides with the box, then falls towards a lower rooftop.

She doesn't stick the landing, recovering as she is from Ibuki's perfect strike, instead forced to go into a roll that becomes a triple one-handed-handspring. When she rises, it is once again with her hand splayed in front of her, but palm in, instead of palm out; a defensive stance. The other hand holds on to the box, balancing it like the world's most graceful waitress.

COMBATSYS: Ayane focuses on her next action.

[    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Satsuki          0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0            Ibuki
[       \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ayane            0/-------/----===|

The silent type. Ibuki had fought a lot of ninjas in her time that were quiet, but even then most of them had some aura of haughtiness, or at least pride about them. The sheer coldness and dread she feels about Satsuki is disquieting, especially as she channels that seemingly familiar yet completely foreign indigo energy into her blade. What was she?

She had little time to consider the implications, twisting around in mid-air she brings out another Kunai out of her sleeve and rushes downward to meet her. The smaller throwing blade meets the empowered katana, and the kunoichi feels her arm rattle from the sheer power behind the blow. As the blade is knocked out of her hand, lost to the ground, she is thrown backwards, towards the office building they came from, several floors below. Instead of smashing through a window, she meets the frame between windows, and presses into it with both feet.

Focusing her ki into her legs, she leaps desperately she's throwing herself back at her, and tries in mid-air to stomp upon Satsuki's shoulders, using her like a springboard to take her towards Ayane's position on the opposite rooftop. If she sticks it, then she lands gracefully atop an HVAC unit, balancing on one leg as she faces down those intense crimson eyes. The girl pales a touch as she stares into the eyes that she's certain must belong to a demon. What sort of kunoichi exactly did she just piss off? This mission was becoming incredibly complicated!

COMBATSYS: Satsuki parries Ibuki's Hien!!

[    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Satsuki          0/-------/----===|==-----\-------\0            Ibuki
[       \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ayane            0/-------/----===|

Now that Satsuki has had the time to breathe, she has a better sense of where the problems she faces lie; her current assessment, based on Ibuki's behavior in achieving the objective, is that Ibuki -- while very much a problem -- has some gaps in her training that can be exploited. As such, she's on guard, looking for exactly that as she waits for one of the others to aggress at her.

Sure enough, it comes -- and while she correctly identifies the gap, she very nearly doesn't. She reaches up toward Ibuki as she comes in, grabbing her neatly by the shoulders and pushing off, taking her trajectory toward Ayane as her own while leaving Ibuki with a slightly more precarious perch at the edge of the rooftop.

Landing with a spin on the HVAC unit, she wastes no time in setting her sights on Ayane, her own cold eyes meeting those bright reds for only an instant. Drawing her blade, she whirls it around toward Ayane, wreathed in indigo light. "Combat... not the objective," she murmurs. "Relinquish target object. Do not resist."

COMBATSYS: Ayane counters Axle Spin Thrust EX from Satsuki with Kogarashi EX.

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Satsuki          0/-------/--=====|==-----\-------\0            Ibuki
[       \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ayane            0/-------/---====|

Ayane continues to meet Ibuki's gaze for an endless moment of electric connection. Despite their furious color, her eyes are far too chilled to communicate something as sloppy and crude as rage. Ruthlessness, certainly; frustration, definitely; in the end, utter focus and determination. A centricity of self, ready to move in all directions and none.

Anyone thinking that she was solely focused upon her fellow ninja, however, would be making a mistake. Her palms come up to intercept Satsuki's sword, clapping the blade in between them, a scant inch from her face. She strains against the overwhelming strength of the covert operative, then, at the last possible second, manages to deflect that momentum, flipping herself up and over the sword and its wielder. Landing behind her, Ayane's leg blurs in a vicious hook kick likely to send her opponent high into the air.

Ibuki finds herself marvelling at how masterfully Satsuki finds the gaps in her attack and exploits them. While she ends up where she wanted to, she didn't manage to do any serious damage. Stranger still is her way of speaking. "Why are you talking like that..." An epiphany suddenly hits her, and she finds herself pointing right at Satsuki with an outstretched finger, "Wait! Are you some kind of robot!? Or even just a cyborg!?"

Ninja vs. Robot sounded like something straight out of the manga collection she once had, before she gave it up for being /too mature/ for that hobby.(Reality Check: Actually confiscated by the elders when they caught her skipping training to read it.)

"That's so incredibly cool! Wait until I tell my clan all about this!" Exploiting the fact that the two were locked in combat, she leaps towards Ayane's back. She plants her feet and makes a grab for Ayane's back trying to spin her off balance to face her. The skilled kunoichi she's attacking would feel the gathering ki energy for the ninpo technique. "After I report my success, that is!" She declares brashly and likely prematurely as her opposite palm tries to lash out with a strike towards her, her hand trailing azure streamers of energy as it erupts into a small explosive burst. The falling box she would try to catch on it's fall, with the same outstretched hand.

COMBATSYS: Ayane fails to counter Raida from Ibuki with Aya Tsumuji EX.
- Power fail! -

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Satsuki          0/-------/--=====|====---\-------\0            Ibuki
[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ayane            0/-------/-======|

Caught completely off-guard by Ayane's interception, Satsuki nearly loses her grasp on her sword; as she flips around her and gives her a kick, Satsuki sure enough flies high into the air. It's a nasty hit, and one she's not exactly eager to repeat; her mental 'picture' of the fight updates slightly, and she decides to change up her offense again.

Besides -- if she doesn't go for Ayane, she thinks as she flips through the air from the kick, she can make a better go for the box. Yes -- everything comes back to the objective. Her gaze rests squarely on Ibuki again, just in time for her to get addressed by the ninja.

"Negative," she says, flatly, planting a gauntleted hand and landing neatly on the ground. Pulling herself back into a standing combat position, she elaborates, "No mechanical parts. Psycho Power would weaken." That's a bit more than she should let on... but the fact that that's the case doesn't really register, either.

Moving toward Ibuki, Satsuki draws her blade again, this time slashing out toward Ibuki's hand with a maneuver that starts low and slides up; her other hand, meanwhile, likewise heads toward the falling box, trying to snag the object before it hits the ground. There's none of that nasty indigo energy from before, this time -- Satsuki's attention is too split for that.

COMBATSYS: Satsuki successfully hits Ibuki with Medium Strike.

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Satsuki          0/-------/-======|=======\-------\0            Ibuki
[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ayane            0/-------/-======|

Once again, Ayane is wrecked by Ibuki while she's busy fighting Satsuki. She feels the ki energy, and spins to intercept it, but is a crucial hair too slow. The azure explosion sends her flying off the roof, crashing through an atrium's glittering glass roof, and into a more literal fountain many floors below.

So much for catching her juggled box in midair before it hit the ground, her original plan.

Shaking water out of her feathery bangs, she explodes out of the scenery like a rocket, flipping upwards and further upwards with blinding speed, bouncing from rafter to rafter. On her way up she has some time to reflect on the mysterious Psycho Powered operative and the unknown kunoichi. Both pose a far more serious threat than she'd initially read.

Also, one is really annoying.

She lands on the far side of the roof, despite being softly spoken, her barbed comment cuts through the air as sharp as any kunai. "You have some skill, but you talk too much." Her eyes flick between the two of them, looking for the box.

Suddenly overcommitted by trying to attack Ayane 'and' grab the box, she's blindsided when Satsuki suddenly slashes upwards at her arm. She recoils, trying to use her expert footwork to avoid it, but she finds the blade slashing right through her arm guard, and some of the flesh beneath. A yelp of pain erupts from her lips, and she loses her immediate chance for the black box. With one hand, she suddenly shifts the bandages on her arm to constrict it enough to control the sudden flow of crimson. "Psycho power? Really?"

While she was knowledgeable enough to be in the know that such a thing 'exists' and was fundamentally different from any mystical ninpo techniques, she'd never actually seen it used. She tries to remember briefing after briefing on what organization it was associated with, coming up short in the immediate sense. "Well if you're not a robot, why would you speak like that!? It's creeping me out!" For certain, fighting someone like Satsuki and Ayane. Both distinctly different in their cold, focused intensity at the same time was rattling her, disrupting her inner calm despite her brash exterior.

Keeping up the rhythm of her footwork, she tries to keep Ayane within the periphery of her vision. It's Ayane's barbed gaze that cuts harder than the words, as she grins despite herself beneath the mask, "You're really good yourself. But you sound like one of my clan's elders! You're only about my age! What gives lecturing me like some old woman?"

Having seen what that sword could do up close, she's wary and tries to keep out of her range. Planting her right foot suddenly, she slides forward just inside of her range, her left foot a blur of motion as ki enhanced whirlwind kicks leave trails of azure energy. She lashes out repeatedly, trying to catch her within it.

COMBATSYS: Satsuki blocks Ibuki's Tsumuji.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Satsuki          0/-------/=======|=======\-------\1            Ibuki
[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ayane            0/-------/-======|

Pulling the box in tight with one hand and keeping her sword up to block with the other, Satsuki brings the flat of the blade to bear against each successive kick. It requires careful timing, and it still stings when the raw force of the attack manages to drive the sword into her leg at one point... but it's better than eating all three dead-on.

Perhaps the most eerie part of it is that the Doll shows zero sign of distress at the pain. There's blood, and there's the reflexive crunching-up of one's face that happens with pain... but that's it. There's no actual worry there; Satsuki fights like she's in someone else's body.

Gaze rocking back and forth between her two potential targets, Satsuki declares, calmly, "Precision," to Ibuki; there's nothing further that needs to be said. Her expression remains carefully, firmly neutral as she starts backing away across the rooftops with her newfound prize. The argument between Ibuki and Ayane about ninja decorum is of no concern to her.

COMBATSYS: Satsuki focuses on her next action.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Satsuki          0/-------/=======|=======\-------\1            Ibuki
[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ayane            0/-------/-======|

Unlike Ibuki, Ayane isn't smiling, though, actually, some part of her wants to at Satsuki's comment, which she agrees with wholeheartedly. The tiniest, most subconscious dip of her chin acknowledges it.

Ibuki's comment, on the other hand, gets a faintly dismissive shake of her head. "We may be similar in age, but only one of us is a child," she murmurs, right in the other girl's ear, on her way past to Satsuki.

Her feet are also on their way past, when they're suddenly at neck-height, trying to grasp Ibuki's neck, then flip the ninja further away from Satsuki, down the roof. If she can, she'll kick off in midair to launch towards the Doll. Maybe for once she'll be able to attack the stranger of the two girls without interference.

Either way, their closely proximate, midair bodies cut a fine, shadowed silhouette against the moon for a single, long moment.

Then, one way or another, there will be a landing.

COMBATSYS: Ibuki fails to interrupt Midare Tsubaki from Ayane with Kazekiri.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Satsuki          0/-------/=======|=======\==-----\1            Ibuki
[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ayane            0/-------/-======|

'Precision.' The word resonates strongly within her. Not because it was something she valued, but because it was something that many ninja clans did. Raised in a different environment within her ninja village than most, she only had an inkling of what it could be like growing up amongst harder, more ruthless ninja. What sort of environment did this girl come from, to become what she was? She feels a chill in the pit of her stomach.

However, she's fleeing. And so she takes off after her into a full tilt run, as Ayane dismisses her, anger bubbling up as she's called a child. She drops low as Ayane comes close to her, her ki propelling her upwards in a rising kick. "Who do you think you a...!" That's the sound of her getting cut off as Ayane's skilled hands find purchase around her neck, and she's kicked halfway across the roof, smashing right into one of the HVAC units.

Feeling stunned from the impact, she rises only gradually. On wobbly legs, she starts to run, though she sways from side to side with her equilibirum off from her head still spinning. Cursing again, she tries to catch up to both of them. "Damnit! She's making me look like a complete amateur!"

Her two enemies start to fight each other, allowing Satsuki time to breathe; for an instant, she considers just bolting. But Ayane, at least, is too fast, and Ibuki's ranged options have been demonstrated to have enough long-distance precision to stop her; she can't just bolt without jeopardizing everything.

She'll have to eliminate at least one of them to make a credible go of running away, and she knows it. Hastily shoving the box, at an awkward angle, into the strap that keeps her sword attached, Satsuki comes in toward Ayane, the more aggressively-pursuing of the two ninja.

For an instant, she draws her blade and moves /backward/, seemingly trying to protect herself against some perceived offensive maneuver, remarking, "Enemy skill in excess of expected parameters... offer: join forces?" That is, in itself, a feint, though; within moments she's back in, rolling forward and slashing at Ayane's legs. If she can slow her down, she /might/ be able to do something about the situation as a whole...

COMBATSYS: Ayane blocks Satsuki's Spiral Slasher.

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Satsuki          1/-------/=======|=======\==-----\1            Ibuki
[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ayane            0/-------/=======|

Ayane's ears are as sharp as a shinobi's, and she is absolutely mean enough to give Ibuki's comment the rejoinder it deserves. However, she is too /busy/ fending off Satsuki's assault, so she is forced to content herself with her first smile of the evening.

Well, the first smirk. Sometimes the best insults don't need to be said.

Her eyes flash dangerously, though, as the full force of her intensity returns to bear down on Satsuki. She blocks the sword on her outside right wrist, once, twice, taking the hits on her beautifully crafted, Muramasa-made bracers. The force behind them renders her hand momentarily numb, and her expression fades into a wince.

"No thanks," she replies, too coolly to be truly polite, but, at least, professional. Then she swings in between Satsuki's legs and behind her, trying to land a simple, spinning roundhouse kick to the back of the Doll's head.

The hand that isn't abuzz with the aftershocks of Spiral Slasher reaches low, hoping to catch that box if it drops.

COMBATSYS: Ayane successfully hits Satsuki with Light Kick.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Satsuki          1/----===/=======|=======\==-----\1            Ibuki
[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ayane            0/-------/=======|

Just thinking she's being looked down upon by Ayane is enough without even the rejoinder. The fact that Ayane just knocked the wind out of her adds injury to unspoken insult. Ibuki certainly has her pride and it was gravely wounded. As she rushes towards their position, the sway in her run disappears. She hears the offer for the two of them to join forces, but she doesn't believe any ninja in their right mind would accept that offer, unless they were a nukenin that is, and this kunoichi... didn't strike her as the type to even betray the smallest precept of her clan's law.

It's no surprise when Satsuki reveals it to be a feint, nor Ayane's offered kick. Grasping ahold of three Kunai under her sleeves, she flings them at Ayane's feet. That is merely a feint though, misdirection as if she were some street magician to try and control Ayane's gaze. "Don't look down on me!" She sputters, sounding even more like a petulant teenager as a result.

The true attack comes when she tries to plow through her from one side with an elbow strike in a complete blur of motion, using her ki enhanced speed to bring her to the next level.

Moving through her position, she does a complete 180 turn, before repeating the attempted strike on her other flank. Her footwork then brings her to her back, where she tries to drive into her from behind. If all goes well, then she was moving swiftly enough that it will feel like all three blows struck nearly simultaneously. "Even if I'm still in training, my clan has high standards!"

COMBATSYS: Ayane dodges Ibuki's Yami Shigure.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////                  ]
Satsuki          1/----===/=======|-------\-------\0            Ibuki
[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ayane            0/-------/=======|

Cringing from the blow as that roundhouse kick hits her neatly in the back of the head, Satsuki goes flying; the box is out of her grasp almost immediately. She doesn't curse her fate or mutter or swear; she just scrambles up one of the air conditioning units, trying to get a tactically optimal position for whatever comes next.

The other ninja seem to have once again gotten into a dust-up with each other, which means Satsuki can /hopefully/ use their distraction to her advantage. The question, though, is /how/... She can feel the power inside her -- /his/ power -- surging, crying out to be put to use toward /his/ ends.

Attacking Ayane with everything she has seems to have worked out poorly so far; she /wants/ to redouble her offense, but there are other important considerations -- like the /other/ kunoichi. Her petulance makes her a prime target -- as does her distraction.

Taking to the air, Satsuki aims her legs for Ibuki's back, then launches straight toward it; if she lands clean, she rather unceremoniously slashes once to either side, riding her back all the way to one of the other rooftops before kicking off of her.

COMBATSYS: Ibuki blocks Satsuki's Cannon Slasher.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////                       ]
Satsuki          0/-------/-----==|===----\-------\0            Ibuki
[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ayane            0/-------/=======|

Ayane doesn't move an inch from the feinting kunai -- she's very familiar with their operation, and can tell within that blink's span of perception that they will land at her feet.

Instead, she conserves her motion for what's to come, and it's a good thing she did, because with one iota less of momentum she wouldn't have been able to keep up with Ibuki's attack. She ducks under the elbow smash, then lunges to the side, falling forward to plant her hands on the ground. Flexing her own elbows, she propels herself high into the air, launching herself above the final strike, and just out of reach. She feels space warp beneath her, concrete rupturing where she once stood from the sheer might of Ibuki's final strike.

Higher and higher she rises -- before drawing a kunai from her own belt, and sending it down, /past/ Ibuki, at /Satsuki's/ feet.

If the Doll decides to emulate Ayane's own inflappability at such a 'feint', she may be surprised when the delicate violet flower attached to the handle explodes into a massive burst of violent Chi.

COMBATSYS: Ayane dazes Satsuki with Small Thrown Object!
Glancing Blow

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////                       ]
Satsuki          0/-------/-----==|===----\-------\0            Ibuki
[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ayane            1/-------/=======|

It turns out that Ibuki was the one who underestimated Ayane. The Master Kunoichi shows her the difference between a ninja still in training and one who is the best of the best, marvelling at her ability to evade her when she was moving as fast as she is. Even her masters had a difficult time avoiding that technique!

Perhaps it proves she's a child, the fact that she took her eyes off the prize. She tries to justify it to herself, over and over that she believes the Kunoichi is the greater threat, but the 'not-a-robot' Samurai girl not only had the Caprese Fountain, but she was giving her just as hard a time. This is evidenced by her gets blind sided by Satsuki's feet planting in her back the moment she skids to a stop.

Arms flailing, she tries to recover by reaching an arm back to grip one of her jackboots and twisting her own body one hundred and eighty degrees so that Satsuki is riding her front instead. It's perhaps more painful, but it gives her more control over the situation, and that's important., but the sheer force and momentum has her sailing through the skyline of skyscrapers.

The true danger comes from the sword strikes, which she sees a fraction of a second prior to them landing by the glint of light on metal. A Kunai flickers into her hand. The first slash resounding with an audible clang which flings it away. With her arm spread out wide, and lacking a bracer from sacrificing it to save her arm earlier, she instead uses her other, chopping it upwards as the blade slashes again to try to throw the blade wide. Before she hits the roof, she tries to twist again, so that Satsuki doesn't stomp her right into the roof.

She still lands hard, in a three point stance, that crumples beneath her as she does so. Instead, she's momentarily on her hands and knees, ashamed at what her distraction had nearly cost her. She allows herself to grow calm, still, drawing deeply within her personal reserves of inner strength. While Ayane follows up with an attack on Satsuki, she takes her time rising. Timing it right, she waits for the thrown Kunai from the veteran shinobi to explode, before aiming a quick kick with her bandaged foot towards the back of the dolls knees.

COMBATSYS: Ibuki successfully hits Satsuki with Light Kick.

[                      \\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Satsuki          0/-------/---====|=======\-------\1            Ibuki
[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ayane            1/-------/=======|

The kunai hits the ground in front of Satsuki; sure enough, she tries to just hang out in front of it... and then, for her trouble, is rewarded with a concussive blast and a whole lot of metal. The world spins, and Satsuki spins with it; she has no idea where she is, for a moment, or really much of anything. Her body quakes a little, and she instinctively hurls herself to one side when she feels something coming for her...

... and promptly throws herself /into/ Ibuki's kick, that forceful foot putting her down for the count for a few moments. For a few seconds, she just lies there, staring up at the sky vacantly, trying to find some semblance of normalcy in the world.

Rising up out of the vicious knockdown, Satsuki closes her eyes and lets herself simply /feel/ for a target. The instant she hears movement, feels body heat, or simply senses a presence, the Doll hurls herself at it, drawing her blade and spinning wildly.

COMBATSYS: Ibuki dodges Satsuki's Heavy Strike.

[                      \\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Satsuki          0/-------/---====|=======\-------\1            Ibuki
[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ayane            1/-------/=======|

Ayane was at the apex of her leap when she threw that kunai. It takes some time for her to come back to the rooftop, time that she spends watching the fight, astounded by Satsuki's instinctual viciousness, Ibuki's tenacity.

And a little astounded at herself that throughout all of this chaos, she forgot to keep track of the Caprese Fountain. There it is, on the ground, in the mix.

With the sublime impossibility of a ninja in flight, she begins to spin... winding up momentum like a spring. When she lands, it's directly in between the two combatants. One, two, three, four, her palm strikes come straight for Ibuki's face, sharp as razors -- and finished off with a brutal, sweeping knee, designed to knock her off balance.

This leaves her back facing Satsuki -- a dangerous weakness?

COMBATSYS: Ibuki dodges Ayane's Combo Grapple.

[                      \\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Satsuki          0/-------/---====|=======\-------\1            Ibuki
[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ayane            1/-------/=======|

"W-Wait hold on a..." Suddenly a vicious spinning slash is aimed at Ibuki, and she finds herself bent over completely backwards feet and palms both on the ground, to the point where she's in a yoga-like pose just to avoid them. Ibuki feels several of the hairs of her extraordinarily long bangs floating through the air in front of her. Her eyes cross just looking at how close that had been. Bringing herself upwards into a handstand, she flips back upright.

Only to see her face to face with Ayane. The Kunoichi had landed right between them. And multiple palm strikes come right at her head. "Come on!" She complains aloud at her misfortune of the two capitalizing on her weakness, even if it could sound like a challenge in a different context. Unable to just get out of the way, she has to rely on her reflexes. She's nearly found wanting. Bobbing her head to one side, the first palm strike flies past, clipping her ear lobe with stinging pain. She ducks down low to avoid the other. The third she shifts her stance with expert footwork to avoid the blow, twisting from one side to the other just as it flies past her nose. The final one she has to leap into the air, doing the splits aloft just as the last palm strike passes beneath her.

"I can't believe this..." Using the evasive maneuver to spin around in midair like a top, she raises her foot to attempt to drop her heel upon Ayane's upper body. "...If you two hadn't interfered..." She tries to land close to her and flip backwards in an attempt to get away from any subsequent attacks. "...then I would have been able to catch the end of that concert!"

COMBATSYS: Ayane blocks Ibuki's Medium Kick.

[                      \\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Satsuki          0/-------/---====|=======\-------\1            Ibuki
[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ayane            1/------=/=======|

At this point, as Satsuki's head clears and she starts to see slightly fewer stars, the Shadaloo operative accepts the fact that both of these two are going to need to go down if she wants to make any headway on the box whatsoever. She takes a second to assess each kunoichi in turn, trying to get a feel for how hearty and healthy each of them are feeling. It's not exactly a great position to be in... mostly because she knows she's the least.

And, accordingly, she has to switch to a distinctly more guerrilla approach to combat. Ibuki's pretty wounded -- Ayane has her beat on raw speed, in the estimations of the Doll. As things currently stand, she's most likely to come out of this on top.

Slumping against a roof access door for a few moments, Satsuki considers her remaining options -- and ultimately decides that the smartest maneuver is simply to hope that overconfidence kills the kunoichi. Leaping forward, she commits with gusto to a heavier kick than Ibuki's, hoping to force Ayane to deal with too much at once.

COMBATSYS: Ayane dodges Satsuki's Strong Kick.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Satsuki          0/-------/---====|=======\-------\1            Ibuki
[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ayane            1/------=/=======|

Ayane misunderstands Ibuki, taking it for a challenge. All things considered, this is ultimately complimentary -- despite her big mouth, the other ninja has shown considerable ability tonight, not least in avoiding all those ferocious strikes by speed alone. She crosses her forearms over her head to bounce Ibuki's heel off and away -- though not without having to take a few twirling steps back.

Back, into Satsuki's kick. No! Next to Satsuki's kick, alongside it, if only barely. For having her back turned to the Doll, she seems to have exceptional awareness and ability to fight. This is confirmed as she spins in place to face her -- and then sends a ferocious knife-hand strike at /Ibuki's/ face (coupled with an incredulous violet eyebrow-quirk at the complaint about a concert), which ultimately turns her a full three-sixty, back to Satsuki.

"Get out of my way," she warns the Doll, fiercely. Is that an oblique offer to finally team up? A warning? Both?

(Spoilers: It's just a warning.)

COMBATSYS: Ibuki blocks Ayane's Jab Punch.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  //////                        ]
Satsuki          0/-------/---====|=======\=------\1            Ibuki
[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ayane            1/------=/=======|

As the jab comes, serpent quick, all Ibuki can do is cross her arms. Even the light punch against her guard nearly rocks her back on her heels. Ibuki is in trouble, and she knows it. And this Kunoichi was taking on both of them at once. However, her pride was on the line. And not just her pride, but her clan's pride as well.

It can't be said that Ibuki has as much as resolve as Ayane, not by a longshot. And while she often disappointed her clan by her slacking off, she absolutely did not want to do so now, not when it counted. Suddenly tapping deeply within her reserves of inner strength, she backs off, increasing the gap between them as she takes a moment to warn Satsuki, "Your exploding kunai is a neat trick. The flowers are a really nice touch. I wouldn't mind figuring out how you do it but..."

Suddenly leaping high into the air, she does a complete flip, her arms crossing over into each of her baggy sleeves. "...I think I can make do without it. Niinnnnjiittttsuuuuu...." Suddenly Kunai are flying, two at a time. She doesn't just fling them though, she flicks her wrist to put spin on them. As she descends, more pairs of spinning kunai flicker out, all aimed at Ayane. "...Kasumi Suzaku!" She lands upon one foot, just after the fourth pair is launched.

COMBATSYS: Ayane dodges Ibuki's Kasumi Suzaku.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  //////                        ]
Satsuki          0/-------/---====|-------\-------\0            Ibuki
[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ayane            1/------=/=======|

Getting a breather, Satsuki takes a few moments to just watch Ibuki and Ayane's fight. She begins to get the sense that Ayane could quite well beat both Ibuki and herself, given the right circumstances; that's nothing against Ibuki -- it's just that Ayane is on an entirely other level. When she seems to challenge the Doll, though -- when she tells her to get out of her way -- /that/ gets Satsuki's attention.

She takes it as the offer to team up that it isn't, though; as Ayane and Ibuki exchange blows to no real effect, Satsuki decides to commit to striking out at Ibuki. She can probably take her out, she thinks... and from there, perhaps, Ayane?

It's a little bit of a stab in the dark, at this point -- literally as well as figuratively. Once more drawing her blade, she lashes out at the young kunoichi, coming in for two quick, vicious slashes one after the other. It's risky, and she /very/ much overcommits... but if she can find purchase with that blade, it might well be curtains for at least /one/ of her opponents.

COMBATSYS: Ibuki parries Satsuki's Heavy Strike!

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////                        ]
Satsuki          0/-------/---====|=------\-------\0            Ibuki
[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ayane            1/------=/=======|

Kunai rain down. By some miracle, Ayane isn't hit by any of them -- she ducks and weaves and vaults herself out of the way. She never stops twirling, not for a moment, the eye of the storm of blades. It is an act of phenomenal skill. It has to be; otherwise, she would be dead or at the very least grievously wounded, by Ibuki's own phenomenal skill.

Her voice rings out afterwards. Despite the fact that she's facing all directions and none, it seems directed at the girl as precisely as an arrow from a bow.

"Ninpo are sacred traditions," Ayane replies, as blunt as a sledgehammer, as sharp as a katana, as cold as a glacier. Now she is truly angry, not just merely annoyed. "In my clan, they're more than neat tricks or even combat techniques. They are acts of philosophy. Elements of the soul. If you 'figure it out' without earning the right to be instructed properly -- I will show you the darkness of Hajinmon."

Alas for Satsuki's rather optimistic interpretation, she decides to visit a demonstration of technique upon the Doll, if she can. The kick snaps out fiercely, all her momentum coming to an abrupt and possibly painful end. Apparently 'get out of her way' didn't mean 'go fight the other shinobi'. Honor among ninja?

COMBATSYS: Satsuki parries Ayane's Medium Kick!!

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////                        ]
Satsuki          0/-------/-======|=------\-------\0            Ibuki
[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ayane            1/------=/=======|

Watching Ayane avoid all of her Kunai is breathtaking. Literally. It catches within her throat, the sight of her dodging so many all at once stealing it away for perhaps all of ten seconds. Is this what she could become one day? And if so. What would she have to sacrifice in order to /be/ her?

She's not certain she wants to know that answer given her hardened personality or what the darkness of the Hajinmon is, all she knows is that her admiration of Ayane's skill couldn't be higher, even if she'd be loathe to admit it. It's at that moment she sees the flash of a blade, just out of the periphery of her vision. She yelps, ducking and twisting to avoid the first one. The second slash descends. Shinken Shiradori. Not many members of her clan used a sword, but one had to be able to 'defend' against it in a tight spot. Both of her hands lash upwards, and clap down, grasping the blade within her palms. Her arms tremble from the strain, her eyes wide with terror. She feels like her strength just won't hold out against the cold and clinical doll in front of her. Ayane's kick however gives her an opening.

Forming a desperate plan, she suddenly lets go, sliding beneath her legs. She then attempts to climb up Satsuki's back all of a sudden, and tries to place her hands on other side of Satsuki's head. Twisting viciously, while at the same time spinning her own body to add force to it.

COMBATSYS: Satsuki blocks Ibuki's Kubiori EX.

[                       \\\\\\\  < >  //////                        ]
Satsuki          0/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0            Ibuki
[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ayane            1/------=/=======|

The two-pronged assault coming at Satsuki -- the neckbreaker from one side, the kick from the other -- puts her in the unenviable position of having to deal with a pretty critical mass of ninjutsu all at once. It rapidly becomes time to simply trust in herself, and in the power that fills her.

The neckbreaker is something she can't do anything about, save withdraw her blade from that successful grasp; she moves just slightly toward /it/, managing to let Ibuki get to her first among the two kunoichi, then moves her body with the attack, avoiding a /literal/ neckbreaker and instead just being in modest agony from having her back climbed up and hands put on the side of her face.

Whirling with the neckbreaker /also/ gives her the chance to do a much better job of dealing with that near-simultaneous kick, while also setting herself up for some brutal offense. Her neckbreaker-mitigating whirl closes out facing Ayane, and her blade comes up into a parrying stance for a split second; the kick meets only the flat of her cold steel.

For an instant, there's a glint of indigo in the darkness -- something unnatural in Satsuki's otherwise blue eyes. There's a consciousness in the fight -- an inescapable presence -- that isn't hers, as she says, "Initiating GW."

Springing forward, Satsuki slashes at Ayane with reckless abandon, completely turning her back on Ibuki and giving her time to do whatever she wishes. Her blade takes on the same indigo cast as her gleaming eyes as she comes in for a second -- a third -- a fourth! attack. She seems to intend to press her opponent all the way to a roof access door, if given the chance...

... whereupon she moves right back into form, slicing at Ayane with everything she has and much that she doesn't. For a split second, as she advances, a smile crosses her so-often empty face -- but it's not hers, not /really/; her lips part to show as much of her teeth as possible, and the way she wears the expression indicates it's almost painful to maintain.

By the final slash -- a long, vertical slash right along Ayane's midsection -- that smile has once again vanished, leaving no evidence of its passing.

COMBATSYS: Satsuki successfully hits Ayane with GW EX.

[                       \\\\\\\  < >  //////                        ]
Satsuki          0/-------/------=|==-----\-------\0            Ibuki
[                         \\\\\  <
Ayane            1/--=====/=======|

Adjusted at the last second to keep her spin out of Ibuki's path, Ayane's foot impacts Satsuki's sword with pain that she can feel down to the base of her spine, smell in her own sweat, see in red miasma twinkling in her eyes like so many dark stars. She feels the wrongness behind the Doll's eyes bore into her, and where normally she would face it unflinchingly, in this moment her defenses are shattered. In such condition, she falls directly into Satsuki's trap -- falling back and back and back, away from that terrible indigo blade and right into the door.

Where, indeed, she has no place to run. More pain explodes across her as the sword finds its mark, slamming her straight through the door and down the darkened stairs of the closed department store.

Thus passes Ayane, heir of the Hajinmon. The last thing she saw was that horrible smile, making her death cold down to her bones as well as aflame with agony.

Or so it seems for a long and silent moment, before she explodes out of the darkness, giving every ounce she has left to an unutterably vicious, blindingly fast series of strikes -- spinning palms to the face, leap-spun into a kick towards the face, a second kick in midair, and a spin to a third, midair knee that could easily smash Satsuki right off the roof.

Whatever else happens, this ends with a smoke bomb, and when it fades, she is gone and the Caprese Fountain remains. The last thing Ibuki sees of her are her burning crimson eyes.

COMBATSYS: Ayane can no longer fight.

[                        \\\\\\  < >  ///////                       ]
Ibuki            0/-------/-----==|=------\-------\0          Satsuki

COMBATSYS: Ayane successfully hits Satsuki with Renjin Ten Ryugaku.

[                        \\\\\\  < >                                ]
Ibuki            0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\0          Satsuki

The relief from getting away from Satsuki's deadly attack and following up with her own is momentary, measured only in fractions of a second. Her mind seeks to process what Satsuki is doing in front of her, even if she knows it already, the level of relentless /violence/ is just beyond what she's experienced so far. Her clan had prepared her for the possibility of having to kill one day, but she never had. So while it seems strange, she calls out, "Stop! You'll kill her!"

Maybe honor amongst shinobi was a thing after all, or if not honor, then respect at least. However she already knows that Satsuki isn't going to stop. She's already flipping through the air towards the Doll just as her final strike connects, hoping desperately to prevent Ayane's death.

Anger floods throughout her, which is abated considerably when Ayane bursts out of the shadows, brutalizing Satsuki with her own blindingly fast assault. Ibuki's mind processes that too, and through the haze of smoke that follows. When she sees those crimson eyes disappear she wonders if perhaps Ayane will come on top after all. If she'll burst out of the shadows once more and finish her off too. In that moment she feels inferior to both of her opponents in every way. She doesn't feel like she could defeat either of them in a straight up fight.

Fortunately she's a ninja. She doesn't have to win honorably.

The lack of confidence in the fact that she doesn't feel she could win otherwise doesn't bring her shame, or remorse from what she does next. Having tucked into a ball at some point midflight, she releases it, both of her feet aimed at stomping down behind Satsuki's shoulders as hard as she can, with a vicious kick angled towards where she last saw the roof access door within the smoke. If it lands, then she immediately, uses the momentum of the kick to spring backwards, still thinking that the other Kunoichi might still be there, she immediately goes on the defensive, eyes scanning the rooftop. Ears listening for any sign of her presence.

COMBATSYS: Satsuki fails to interrupt Hien from Ibuki with Cannon Spike.

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

COMBATSYS: Satsuki can no longer fight.

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

Satsuki had been certain that Ayane was down for the count -- if not for the morgue -- when she landed her final strike; when she rallies for one last series of blows, Satsuki is totally unprepared for it. She sheaths her sword -- and then, as she's doing so, catches those palms neatly to the face. The kicks carry her up and away, nearly off the roof; she manages to recover in midair for one flash of a second, but she's fading /fast/.

Unnecessary systems -- vision, conscious thought, that sort of thing -- begin to shut off, and Satsuki operates exclusively on 'feel.' She can sense Ibuki's intent aimed at her, and sees her last opportunity -- a quick kick up, and then off of the jumping ninja, back onto the roof.

This, too, fails; Ibuki's feet meet her before she can even get her upward momentum started, and she goes off the roof, slamming into a lower window across the way. Glass shatters, raining on Satsuki with the impermanence of sakura blossoms.

All is still.

The shattering of glass brings her a measure of ease, as Ibuki lands in the middle of the roof. As injured as Ibuki is, the quickly fading haze of obfuscating smoke gives the rooftop an almost surreal atmosphere to her senses, which are swimming from the combat high she's in the middle of. The black box appears in her vision, and while she longs to just make a run for it, grab it, and get out of here her she actually exercises a measure of caution as her training teaches her to.

A kunai flickers out of her sleeve into her hand, which she grips and flings unsteadily towards the edge of the box suspecting that the other skilled kunoichi or perhaps the all too cold samurai might have laid a trap for her. It spins around like a top, before coming to rest on it's side.

Stumbling towards it with a limp in her gait. She picks it up, eyes flickering around her at all times in paranoia. A smoke bomb of her own hits the roof top, and then she's gone. She doesn't realize that she had been holding her breath until her side starts to burn, three skyscrapers over. She'd survived, for now.

Underneath a tree
A single petal tumbles
Ayane, KOed

Log created on 20:47:07 11/12/2014 by Ayane, and last modified on 22:59:58 11/13/2014.