SNF 2014.12 - SNF: On the Catwalk.

Description: It's a Design fiesta for the upcoming Prom spec-tac-ular!! Affordable dresses of questionable taste and design, a showy night out and chance for two young amateurs to strut their stuff because this is no ordinary event. It's a Saturday Night Fight and these lovely ladies have to change dresses should one of their outfits suffer enough damage for it to fail. This is an fashion endurance test! Even more so thanks to the organized special Guest Judge.

Hitomi twists and turns under guidance and the careful ministrations of her costumers; this was getting to be something of chore given how much they kept readjusting her bows because they weren't /sitting quite right/ or she had /taken too deep of a breath/ in the last few seconds. Designers and assistants fussing around her have kept her from having a chance to actually take a peek at the crowd or event so far. She knew there was a catwalk, The idea of fighting on a narrow plane of a catwalk wasn't appealing much to her, it was like fighting in two dimensions instead of three where she could freely move.


Everyone falls away and Hitomi turns left and right to inspect the dress, skirt twirling around her as she does and several of the assistants are smiling and patting one another on the arm, were they hiding smiles? They certainly seemed to be pleased with the result of their handiwork. Hitomi is just grateful they leave her hairband alone, it goes with the pink roses she thinks.

She is guided to the edge of the makeshift curtain and the designed takes her hand to aid her climbing the steps onto her starting position. He smiles up at her as she gives her a reassuring nod, whatever was going to happen out there she would give it her all.

The buzz of the crowd rising as the start time of the event draws near has her a little nervous, butterflies pulling /G-force/ turns and tricks in her stomach. Despite it she swallows hard and takes her step out onto the catwalk right on cue.

'Here we have Hitomi! Wearing? ... *ahem*-A piece of the Maurice Ravel's 'Spring of love' collection : The ensemble is a gentle sky blue and white two-colour Lolita dress-'

One with pink fabric roses flowering down the front. A thick dark blue ribbon circles her waist as a belt and is tied into a large bow at the small of her back; Another ribbon is tied in a classic bow at her collar, precisely squared by careful hands, a white band circles the dress and there are is a border of frilly white lace decorating the knee length hemline white ankle socks folded down, and black dolly shoes that are polished to a glossy and sparkling finish.

She twirls once for the people watching and carefully plucking at the dress, performs a poised and graceful curtsey to the crowd while the features of the dress are still being recited to a somewhat bewildered crowd. She looks awfully young in the dress.

This whole week, Ibuki had been giddy with anticipation at the thought of attending the prom. Just because noone had asked her out with them, didn't mean she'd lost any of her hype. All the cute boys were likely just shy when coming face to face with her girlish charms. She had her dress picked out, her shoes, the right jewelry and makeup. She had appointments for getting her hair and nails done. She certainly had her tickets, as she wasn't about to ninja sneak into this one.

In fact her planning had gone almost too well. So well, that she wasn't surprised when Master Enjo called her into his audience chambers. She was certainly angry though, which was quite apparent when she roughly shoved aside the sliding doors and stormed inside on the all too calm master ninja. "Enjo-sensei! It's the day before the prom. /And/ my birthday! Why can't I..." Suddenly he raised a hand, for silence, and the teenager fumed as she shifted from one foot to another, before finally reluctantly settling into seiza in front of him. Remaining so silent one would swear he was carved out of granite, it was startling when he finally did speak. "You may have tomorrow off, but I can't allow you to neglect your infiltration training tonight."

Ibuki's whole posture just slumped, dispirited by the revelation. Beneath the veil that her master always wore, he might have even cracked a smile for just a moment before he offered the reveal. "You'll be participating in a fashion show." Ibuki's cheer of "YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!" echoed throughout the entire glade, and into the forest, startling an entire flock of birds.


With her hair down, Ibuki looked like an entirely different person, as it extended far past her waist when it wasn't up in a top knot. For added precautions, she was wearing violet contact lens, and her clan had provided her with completely legitimate credentials as 'Naoko' which meant 'Obedient Child'. Ibuki swore that Elder Sanjou was trolling her.


Ibuki had already selected her outfits from the supplied wardrobe for the night. Trying her first on in particular, she turned to one side, then the other to inspect every part of it, before smiling and winking at the mirror. "Those boys just don't know what they're missing." Putting a hand up to her ear, she whispered, "Begin the Operation."

~Up in the Lighting and Sound Effects Booth~

Two high school boys nattered away about how incredible it was going to be for two girls to tear up each other's clothes for their benefit. ~HISS~ Both of their necks snapped to look behind them, where there was a very real and very angry looking Tanuki right there, with foam and flecks of spittle dripping from his mouth. Both of the boys ran out screaming. Don-chan squeaked in amusement as he pushed the door closed, and smacked the latch with a paw. Wiping away the toothpaste from his mouth, he began to turn knobs and button mash the console at random. He'd be gone long before the animal control 'fuzz' got here.

The lights dimmed around the rest of the hall, as the runway lit up like the Vegas strip, with all of its vaunted glitz and glam. The spotlights were all on her, as she lifted her chin, and moved her shoulders backwards. As she made her start down the catwalk, she came in real tight from her core, and just thought 'murder'. The rest happened naturally, as she felt like she was walking like a Queen, no, an /Empress/.

The announcer started late, having a note of anxiousness in his voice from the conflicting reports he was getting on what is going on with the effects booth. 'And here's N- Naoko? Tonight she's chosen a piece from the Ashida, 'Rhapsody in Pink'..." He found his rhythm and began to drone on at that point.

As glitter fluttered in the air around her, Naoko, as she was known as for the night was dressed in a pink vintage kimono for her top with a handmade collar and elegantly fluttering sleeves. She was wearing a modified dark jumper skirt that began above her waist and ended just at her knees with a lacey hem. Beginning just above the hem, and vanishing into her black leather boots were a pair of white stockings. Her long, free hair was decorated by pink floral ribbons that didn't bind it, but appeared to accentuate the freedom.

Coming in behind Hitomi, she decides to be different once she reaches the end. Instead of twirling, she puts a hand on her hip, and the other behind her head, winking at the audience as she delicately bends a knee with toe pointed down. So maybe not 'quite' an Empress. Like Hitomi, she looks incredibly young for a fashion model.

Ash Crimson loves gel nails. It is his single joy in life to paint several layers of some kind of chemical combination onto his sanded nail plates and leave them for ten minutes under a UV light to cure. He often sits with a little Chanel makeup bag nestled securely in his lap, but instead of filled to the brim with moisturizers and concealers, there's polish, art brushes, files and dotters. The Frenchman would carefully shift through them all, selecting colours at random or based on his mood, which can be mercurial and prone to change as fast as it takes to cause whiplash. Today, he has chosen black.

Dipping the fine bristles into a small tube of white varnish, the teen is bent over the judging table and entirely committed to their decoration. There is another judge, with official looking paperwork that he shifts through at random. The flamboyant flamewielder splays his hand across the dossier reports -- is that crayon? -- a splotch having already globbed up the pages of Hitomi's. Ash hums a nonsensical tune.

Announcements boom on the overhead speakers, the flicker-flash of spotlights whirl in a dizzying foray before finding focus and centre on the very girl whose file he so coldly disregarded. The teen doesn't look up. The brush is drawn over the lacquered surface of his nail, adding accents to an intricate design that Ash is rather proud of. He could probably charge money for this, but that would lead to far more effort than he has ever been capable of in all of his years of existing. Work is terrible, anyone who works should feel terrible.

An elbow nudges him; it is fortunate that the stroke was finished. Regardless, eyes like the clear sky direct a look of the deepest loathing to his co-judge, but the man is too pompous and a veteran -- he won't take any of Ash's shit laying down. Nodding to the catwalk, time to begin. The slender French flameslinger caps his bottle of polish, lounging back and shaking out his hand. Lips pucker and he blows gently, attempting to dry his nail designs quickly so that it is possible to start on the other set, or maybe dock a million marks for fashion violation. "Ahaha, what's that supposed to be?" What's... what supposed to be, he hasn't even yet seen further than one foot in front of his face! Is... is this person a man or a women. His androgyny is throwing everything off.

"Lolita? Is this a thing?" The question is rhetorical and a sly smile curls the corners of his mouth, white rows of teeth and braces revealed. Pale brows lower over half-lidded orbs that dart to the page before they settle on the first girl. "Country ruffles, more like. I'm sure my grand-maman had that same dress. You look like a housewife." Or a fetish maid. He's got something to clean~ "Combien pour la fillette?" WHOA! Microphone privileges are immediately revoked for the interim because that was not a very nice thing to say, Ash. NOT NICE AT ALL.

However, raucous laughter from the male members of the audience fills the air. Yay for misogyny, and the three people in total who understand French!

After what amounts to a polite but charged criticism from his co-judge, they are left to make ticks on the first sheet... But why bother. Ash resumes tending to his lovely fingernails that shine like justice. Or maybe they're painted black to reflect the colour of his heart. Minutes pass by when another light show causes more seizures than that one episode of Pokemon and now it's Ibuki's turn to face the wrath of judgement, her tanuki pal wrecking havoc in the lighting and sound effects booth.

Common sense dictates that the microphone should in no way be returned to the freckle-faced weirdo, but he was invited here as a special guest from Pacific High, "With legs like that, I would've chosen trousers. Each thigh is like two of me. Do I see cellulite?" Merciless, cutting and scathing! How his tone can be so pleasant, speaking with melodic cadence, but his words are physical blows aimed right where it's most sensitive! DICK! "I can spot your split ends from here and have you ever tried to exfoliate even once? Unhealthy skin!" Right, right, the clothes.

Thin shoulders lift in a helpless shrug, "It's a nice combination, but I'm certain it would look better if I wore it instead." That really throws his gender into question.

I mean, seriously.


"Mon ami, are they really supposed to fight in those outfits?" That's not a good smirk of interest, head canting to the side as he addresses the man who must suffer with such insufferable company. Both girls are wearing skirts/dresses. I see London, I see France~! Ash giggles behind the back of his hand, the twinkling lilt earning startled stares and nervous shifting.

When Ash's commentary begins, on Hitomi, there's a look of incredulity on her face. 'Naoko' is no stranger to competitions with this sort of commentary, but there was no reason to be so... mean to her! Having a rudimentary understanding of French was just enough for her to get the gyst of it, and the look on her face wavers, marred by shock.

It's when Ash starts evaluating her that her lips begin to press together to hide the gritting of her teeth. It was a good thing that she was thinking 'murder' during her walk. She was contemplating it right now. He begins by insulting her thighs, and she blinks repeatedly, her eyes watering. The very reason she exposed them in her dogi was because of how proud she was of them! This turns into a small choked sound as he moves on to her hair. Her pride and joy, which is why she let it grow out so long in the first place! Then her skin. Reflexively she looks at her feet, glad they're in boots. Up here on the stage she feels so small, and in the midst of a breakdown.

When he moves on to her fashion and actually compliments it, that fades for a moment, until... she's told that the same judge, a boy, would look better in it than her, insulting her very femininity. Ash, having finished his evaluation, causes the announcer to awkwardly stammer as he starts anew, "I-Introducing our /very/ opinionated guest judge, Ash Crimson, a recent transfer student to Pacific High as of..." He checks his sheet, "...two days ago? He's joined by senior judge Bellamy Ramsden, who needs no introduction as a veteran of..." As the announcer continues, and Ash starts giggling over what all he's going to see with the two of them wearing skirts, suddenly kunai sprout up from the judge's table, like flowers that bloomed right there, just between the gaps of the fingers of one of Ash's hands. Another shatters his nail polish bottle before pinning itself in the table and reverberating.

What's most unsettling about this, is how hard it would be to track Naoko throwing them. To most, she appears only looking at the judge out of the periphery of her vision, fists clenched up into balls at her sides. Her shoulders sag as she composes herself slowly, before whispering something into her ear piece.

Taking another shuddering breath, she eventually looks up. The only hint of how close she'd been to sobbing in her eyes, 'Naoko' offers Hitomi an easy grin, pointing at her, and speaking good-naturedly, "You look gorgeous in that, no matter what that gap-toothed jerk or anyone else says! Ganbatte!" Placing one foot in front of her, she tries to remain mindful of the limited room they have on the runway. The other hand she places in front of her, moving it around to keep her guard looking deceptive with those voluminous, fluttering, sleeves.

And then winning the initiative roll, likely because of the fact she's a 'not-so-secret' ninja, she suddenly, leaps startlingly high into the air from in place, spinning into a glorious pirouette with her pink sleeves fluttering with her. The spotlight remains on her, as she corkscrews towards her opponent with her legs pressed together. At the last moment, they move apart, as she attempts to double kick against her shoulders, and if all goes well, use the momentum of the leap to spring backwards and away.

COMBATSYS: Ibuki has started a fight here.

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

COMBATSYS: Hitomi has joined the fight here.

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

COMBATSYS: Ibuki successfully hits Hitomi with Hien.

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

Quirking her head at the use of French Hitomi doesn't follow any of the turn of phrase. luckily for the events organizers; though the laughter form the crowd doesn't sound particularly friendly. At first she thinks someone is heckling the proceedings it's all too apparently (and surprisingly) coming from someone seated and the judges table. The thump and squeal of someone placing their hand over the microphone rings in the background but the uncertain Hitomi is already turning to watch the other girl enter and somewhat awed by the rather elaborate entry, light focusing on her and glitter falling form the ceiling. She can already feel the designer back at the curtain tossing their Berets to the ground and cursing in frustration.

Aha, this wasn't the best of starts-

And then The Judge lays into the other girl, but this time he doesn't veil his language and Hitomi's eyebrows climb higher and higher with each insult directed her way. W-what was this? They were asked to help showcase outfits, to have a fun match and now --

Shaking Hitomi offers the judges table a formal bow and moments later another one to her opponent. Now face to face with the other girl Hitomi smiles plainly though she notes the brightness of her opponents eyes, those cruel words had had an effect and she is even more grateful that the other girl offers her name and a few words of encouragement.

"I liked your entrance, that looked like fun. Let's do our best!"

The clack of her shiny black buckled shoe setting down hard, assuming her own stanc; ready to do battle with- eh? Naoko shoots away and up, Hitomi raises her head to track Ibuki but the lighting is overhead and the shadow coming down at her is distressing hard to identify, where was the attacking limb?The twin strikes to both shoulders throws her backwards and down sliding along the polished catwalk floor, the skirt flips as she draws her legs back to her chest, flipping back to her feet at speed and already back in form.

The front row or two getting a brief glimpse of leg as she snaps back upright and comes right back at Naoko running. She shoves with both arms without slowing trying to unbalance Naoko for the rising knee, and the step in and hard punch that follows.

COMBATSYS: Hitomi successfully hits Ibuki with Tenchi Kaibyaku.

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

Crap, it's 'Naoko', I forgot. Please accept my apologies.

NOTE: My apologies come packaged in more insults from Ash.

He's not usually this catty, maybe it's his time of the month. Maybe his classmates are to blame for his cruelty, filling the Frenchman's head with the wrong idea of how to conduct himself. Maybe Shen punched Ash in the head this morning and for that, everyone deserves to suffer.


A gentle note of curiosity rumbles deep in his throat, lowering the young man's voice by a full octave. His baby blue eyes are drawn to the paper, to the kunai that have stuck them to the table, eventually moving on to his shattered bottle of nail varnish. The Cheshire Cat grin grows, the girl's got spunk. Crimson finds it fascinating. "Saa, how unladylike! Did you see what she did? At least those mammoth clodhoppers were kept to the stage!"

"Actually, I wish you'd been stabbed."

"You're so thoughtful, Monsieur Ramsden. I completely understand why you're judging a high school fashion show instead of showcasing your creations in Paris~"


Ash's laughter is a sing-song, quick to wear thin and fray any nerves. The hand that does not possess nails with undried patterns threads through his (healthy) platinum blonde hair, twisting the strands all around his delicate fingers. He's got more venom to spew, but only after a very important concern is addressed, "Her name is Hitme?" He asks, sounding earnest even after Naoko refers to him as a gap-toothed jerk and the girl with the headband flashes her underthings. The fight is already underway.

Sorry, taking over the announcer who glares at Ash and is quick to correct his horrible massacre of the name, "/HITOMI/."

A blink, "It says here that grand-maman Hitme is German. Should I be concerned?"

/OH/! Now we getting bad.

Naoko can only marvel at the other girl's recovery time. Even as she starts to spring back, she's already up and rushing her. Her boots clack against the ground so repeatedly one might swear she were tap dancing, with how fast she was moving. This causes her to actually look down at the 'mammoth clodhoppers' comment at her feet, making a disgusted snort which was anything but ladylike. She keeps up the backwards pace, so fast that after-images of her movements were being created.

And yet it wasn't enough.

As Hitomi moves in quick enough to almost match, she switches tactics, suddenly shifting forward to try and flank around to her side. That's the moment both hands touch her abdomen, just above the waist line, and shove her backwards. The counter-momentum shoves the breath right out of her, but not as much as the knee, which causes her to double over with an audible 'whoomph' of breath and striking ripping noise as the sash where her kimono and skirt meet is ripped.

The final punch strikes with marvelous force to her chin, sending her backwards through the air her mass of hair billowing everywhere. She flips end over end, until she hits the runway and skids down it, with pained noises with every roll. Stunned by the motion and wheezing from the abdominal strike, it takes her a moment to make it back to her knees, wiping with a hand at her stinging chin, and rubbing her abdomen. "T-That was really good!" She points her way, "Karate practitioner?" She questions aloud.

Ash's introduction of her opponent is perhaps the best part of his commentary, in her opinion. She tries to drown him out, a pained grin touching her expression, far more good natured to her opponent than the judge. "Hitomi sounds pretty Japanese, not German. Mind if I call you Hitomi-chan?" Taking up her stance again, she tries to fall into the rhythm of her opponent's movements, moving forward a tad more warily this time. Her expert footwork is somewhat hampered by the boots, even if her trainers had her practice in them from time to time, an audible squeak forming as she shifts traces it back across the ground.

This time instead of rushing Hitomi, she stays just outside of her range, intending to use the superior reach of her legs against her. Feinting with a palm strike to try to draw her in, one of her legs whips up into a guard position against her chest and... the audience only catches sight of gym shorts, under the skirts. That same leg suddenly strikes out, in a series of whirlwind kicks, both strength and speed enhanced by chi which trails in their wake in the form of azure streamers.

Meanwhile, Don-chan's button mashing finally sets the lights to automatically track both competitors, the rest of the arena dancing with almost epileptic lights. Pounding starts at the door, followed by the sound of a key in the lock. It's at this point he abandons his post, as he moves through the low ventilation duct at the back of sound booth. He crawls out of it, chittering in amusement. Once out of there, it doesn't take him long to find what he was looking for in the storage closet which was housing so many fire hazards that it's a wonder the Gedo invasion didn't burn the school down. After all, it was December, and besides the prom... there were a lot of celebrations to come.

COMBATSYS: Ibuki successfully hits Hitomi with Tsumuji.

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

Hitomi nods in response to Naoka's question; her stance even retracts as she exchanges pleasantries, like they weren't in the midst of competition or striking blows against one another. The barbs rising from the judges seats don't let up, her attention drifts towards the judges seating again as her name is mispronounced and then worriedly as there is some curious mention of her nationality. Why?

"Mhmm! I would like that. May I call you Naoka-chan?"
Enthusiastically using the pseudonym Ibuki had given herself for the fight. Smile re-igniting Hitomi assumes her stance, there is a deadly seriousness and efficiency to how she holds herself but eye eyes dart back and forth, trying to evaluate Ibuki's style. It's another one completely foreign to her. That just meant it has some surprising tricks to show and be wary of --There is a shriek from Hitomi as she is battered away by the spinning kicks, the ripping and tearing of the bodice of her dress scatters pink flowers and a few falling and fluttering pieces of blue fabric and frilly white lace, raining about her.

Hitomi having landed hard sits up quickly but in her position a few feet away from her opponent she is more astounded by how poorly the dress fared than injured. As she stands the dress hangs off and about her shoulders, one shoulder completely bare though she shows no outward concern for just how much skin is on display nor the view of the plain white bra visible through all the damaged and hanging scraps.

Remembering the rules of the match she bows to Naoka, still smiling and turns her back to return to the curtained area. Maurice and the others quickly dissect the remainder of the dress, scissors deftly cutting it away as he stands kneading his beret. Hitomi nods and smiles to try and alleviate his fretful worrying. Her head is tugged as the new dress is pulled overhead and they begin buttoning it up around her, drawing her arms left and right as new accessories are fitted and she has to step out of the little buckled shoes and into some high heels.

Probably not the best idea for fighting in but she sure it looks fantastic

As she steps back out onto the catwalk she takes more time walking, careful walking in the higheels. The announcer picks up while she walks

" Here we have /Hitomi/ wearing for us-Also by and part of the Maurice Ravel Collection, 'Li Feng': A Sky blue, sleeveless cheongsam, with hand rendered gold phoenix design painted on the fabric, gold trimming, and gold lining on a dyed Sky Blue, Multi layered China silk-'

The bracelets on her wrists were also in blue and gold, tightly fitted so they didn't move on her arms, matching colours with the dress; the absence of her hairband on her head did make her feel somewhat more naked than anything else, strappy sandals glinted with gold also. It was perhaps the most expensive dress in the collection.

COMBATSYS: Hitomi gathers her will.

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

"Of course you can!" Was what she stated, just before Hitomi went flying. There's a wince at the sound of her bodice ripping, and Naoko puts a hand to the nape of her neck, just as her leg lowers back to her side. This may be a fight, but it's also a fashion competition. Laughing awkwardly, she says apologetically, "Gomen! I think I went a little overboard!" She's glad Hitomi is such a good sport, as her opponent gets to her feet and bows to her, she returns the gesture, putting a fist to a palm, and bending at the waist in a bow more formal than one might expect given how casual she is.

When Hitomi returns, 'Naoko' marvels, dazzled by her choice of her stylistic choice on the Chinese dress. She would almost swear that she was in the presence of a goddess with how sweet Hitomi was acting. She truly didn't deserve Ash's barbs, out of the two of them. Her own gaze trailed down to her own legs and feet self-consciously, clutching her skirt with her thumb nails as she evaluated her 'clod hoppers.'

She knew more of them would be coming from the judge, so she tries to tune it out, turn it into white noise, if only it were so easy. She smiles at Hitomi. "You're dazzling in that ensemble! So elegant!" Falling back into her combat stance within her own tattered dress, she tries to focus on Hitomi's stance, her movements, how the fabric would fit against her form in combat. Hitomi's movement might be hampered a bit in that outfit, but with the power in those limbs... she shouldn't underestimate her. Nevertheless, since Hitomi was being a good sport, she would do the same with an uttered challenge while she focused. "Come at me! I want to see more of how you fight!"

COMBATSYS: Ibuki focuses on her next action.

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

Blushing slightly with the compliment Hitomi inelegantly scratches the back of her head, bangs bobbing and perhaps a little curious as to why Naoko is looking at her own feet. She bows again before assuming her own stance but the bare leg stepping forth and landing with a clunk-click as the heel and toe flattening out against the polished wooden catwalk. She is anything but hindered; In fact Hitomi is glad to have her full range of movement back, even if the last dress had met a sad end it hadn't done anything for her except hide a portion of her legwork.

"Thank you. I'll give you my all so I can see your next dress."

The compliments were nice but she owed the people standing behind her, the challenge is delivers with a smile but it's also a statement of her intent. The people putting her in such nice dresses in front of this crowd.

Her heel whisks against the catwalk as she slides forward, twisting the foot to ground it searching for even more grip and turning that into power as she launches forward.

"Ei! Sei! - YAaaH!"

Her left leg comes up quickly, a flashy glinting golden heeled double tap, kicking at waist and head height, Chongsam floating around her as she transitions into a backspin and kicks out with a back heel kick, the twirling fabric trailing in her wake And hair swirling to match the movement.

COMBATSYS: Ibuki blocks Hitomi's Nami Gashira.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Ibuki            1/------=/=======|=======\===----\1           Hitomi


That is the bell, it's time for another costume change. The teen's head swivels on the axis of his neck, staring around for the source of the obnoxious clangor. He's... amused. Is the premise of this fight not a bit ludicrous? Hitomi was gone, leaving only a substantially more clothed Naoko behind. Leaning forward in his seat, the Frenchman drops his elbow onto the smooth surface of the table. "Gym shorts, I'm not surprised. Hard to display the womanly attributes you obviously lack so why bother?" Better late than never! Ash's English strikes an awkward chord, but it doesn't lessen the impact.

He continues to absently toy with his fair-coloured fringe, which does nothing to dispel the audience's confusion. Although the freckle-faced fighter's gender was revealed earlier by the announcer, it is still a hard fact that is difficult to accept given his effeminate behaviour. Ash doesn't care overmuch, venting a gleeful snort of laughter through his nose.

When she finally returns, the sixth coming of the Ice Age has passed. The description of Hitomi's new attire is both appreciated and provides him with much needed fodder to strike again. Ash jumps, exclaiming sharply, "Chinese silk?!" before he slaps his hand down. "Mon dieu, painting on Chinese silk, that's a great disservice. It should be embroidered. Vous devriez poursuivre votre tailleur en justice. I'll give you a zero~" He's very passionate about his fashion!

Oh, one more thing. Ash turns up his straight nose at the pair after they resume trading hits and ridiculous small talk, "Wear flats next time, grand-maman Hitme, you've all the grace of a tripped buffalo."

Bellamy Ramsden hates the fact that he is forced to agree, to an extent. The brunette isn't incompetent or anything, but there's just a highly apparent ungainly quality to her movements, especially as she aims to kick at the other girl in heels.

Cupping his hands around the sides of his mouth, "Hyuuuuuuu hyuuuuuuuuuuuuu!" Believe it or not, Ash Crimson cannot whistle. It's the braces, so this must suffice. "Yes, let's see the next outfit! One that hides those turkey drumsticks, s'il vous plait!" Cruisin' for a bruisin'. The biggest bruisin'. If She's not charging over to knock his block off, Naoko deserves props for having such thick skin!

Just like that, the bell tolls once again. While ninja-kid may have blocked the kick, her time is up. He's so ready.

'Naoko' just wants to scream. This judge found criticism in everything. She harshly replies with a frown on her face, "Maybe I just don't want a /creep/ like you to see everything! I swear, the way you act, your tongue will probably be hanging out if your teeth weren't in jail!"

Her frown turns upside down into a grin as the challenge is answered, though she's following every single movement of Hitomi's with her eyes. The catwalk is narrow, and not ideal for being evasive. In that sense, Hitomi has quite an advantage on the kunoichi in disguise. As her opponent launches herself forward, she falls back into a guarded stance.

One step back, the first kick comes, and she moves her palm to try to bat it aside. The sheer force of it causes her palm to sting and throb, just as it grazes her side, ripping apart the rest of her skirt's sash from being thrown just a touch wide. It flutters loosely, hanging on by a thread, before falling down, revealing the bottom half of the pink kimono which peeks just above the top of the gym shorts she's wearing to prevent any unwanted shots on film.

Unable to walk much, with her skirt around her knees, she twists to the side, and tries to knock the blow aside with her forearm. Pain shoots through her arm, which she knows will be aching later just as she sees the spinning heel kick coming. Instead of trying to dodge with her skirt now falling to her ankles, she instead lifts a single leg out from beneath the loop of fabric, raising it high just as Hitomi's kick strikes it, and rocks her backwards. Losing her balance, she catches herself with her knuckles rather than her palm, and spins herself back upright into a wobbly standing position.

"Well!" 'Naoko' says while waving her throbbing hand and arm in the air to try to ease the pain. "You're definitely going to get to see all of them if you keep putting on a showing like that!" Bending over, she picks up the tattered remnants of the skirt, taking it with her than allowing it to remain littered on the battlefield, and walks towards the back stage. She stops along the way, glaring murder at Ash, as her eyes water again. She liked her legs! She knew they looked good. Why did he have to be so mean and deny one of her best attributes!? "You pompous ass..." She cuts herself off, biting down to prevent more 'unladylike' insults to come out of her mouth, "...Fine. If that's what you want, I'll give you exactly what you want!"

Trying to shake it off, she waves at Hitomi casually, the tips of her fingers wiggling rather than bowing as Hitomi. And yet, she doesn't actually go back stage.

The crew in back was ready for her, waving for her to keep coming, and 'Naoko' just grinned at them as if she were privy to some inside joke that they were not. "Your services won't be necessary." Puzzled, they're all shocked when a tiny circular object at her feet starts to emit an obfuscating haze of smoke. The crew in the back stage begins to cough and hack, while the audience whispers and murmurs about the obvious use of dry ice. When the haze clears, there stood the kunoichi, in her new attire.

Starting with her back to the onlookers, she turned in one fluid motion, showing a pair of white high heels. The floral pink ribbons were out of her hair, now it was entirely unadorned. Wearing a sleeveless white gown with a plunging V neck, a knotted waist, and a floor sweeping skirt, it looked like she was going for the look akin to a classical Western goddess. The only accessory she had with her was a checkered wrap of crimson and white, whose end she tossed playfully over her shoulder, as she began to tread back down the catwalk just as the last wisps of smoke dissipated.

The announcer started anew, "And Naoko has decided to... change?" He whispered to his assistant, "She did change right?" He ahems, then continues again, "....into the 'Goddess' gown from the Matsui collection's 'Western Classics' line..." He continues on in regards to every small feature.

With high heels in such a long gown, this is perhaps the 'least' ideal attire for the kunoichi to combat Hitomi in, but she didn't care. She was having fun with the fashion show and this fight, and she'll be damned if pragmatism was going to enter into the picture at all. She has a mild limp in her step now, from the vicious strike Hitomi gave her to her left leg, but she tries to act like it doesn't exist.

Walking on heels is hard though, especially injured, so she's moving slower than before. Once she reaches the end, she tilts her head to the side with a smile, one hand finding it's way to the side of her head, she plays with a few strands of her brown hair between her fingers, while her other hand rests on her hip.


Something colorful is quietly placed under Ash's seat. There's a faint hissing sound just a few moments later, and sparking as a fuse starts to count down and a 'strike anywhere' match is dropped on the ground. Whatever did it however, is already scampering back into hiding.

COMBATSYS: Ibuki takes no action.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Ibuki            1/------=/=======|=======\===----\1           Hitomi

Hitomi's cheeks are stained with a faint tinge of embarrassed pink, both from compliments and also from the unflattering commentary on how well she moves in high heels. There was a reason she usually stuck to sneakers or boots, it does nothing for her confidence to have it pointed out but.. it's the outfits on display here, she had to do her best. The whipping and spinning flurry or moves terminates with her slipping away backwards ready for a counter attack but instead gently eases back upright, Naoko's outfit displays enough damage and falling apart it was clear it was time for an outfit change.

Hitomi waves in response to Naoko's own departing wave and turns back to the judges table and the crowd, she glances at the curtained area where employees are furiously fanning Maurice while he lays, concealed from the crowd. The German girl turns a rather stern glare towards the judging table, her entire focus on the cruel judge who was so harshly and improperly judging the girls and outfits, the dress itself was beautiful, light and airy, though perhaps a little bit cold.

She's not too sure what to do while she waits for her opponent to change costume, she considers maybe she should walk up and down some, maybe do some twirls, not that shes anxious to move around so much or be in front of the judges alone. But-

Naoko re-enters the catwalk, in a bedazzling new ensemble so quickly it catches her completely off guard, awestruck Hitomi claps a little in spite of herself. W-was she a professional at this? It would explain the lights and the ability to change so fast. She focuses on the long evening gown, admiring it but at the same time wondering how they expected Naoku to fight in such a dress, a misstep might even tear the dress herself, especially in heels.

"That's beautiful! really amazing. But.. you're okay to fight in it?"

Genuine concern, Naoku had already displayed some pretty incredibly acrobatic prowess, and attacks! But that dress might make any kind of manoeuvring ridiculously hard.

She raises her arms into guard, she is eager and willing to continue but at the same time concerned.

COMBATSYS: Hitomi takes no action.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Ibuki            1/------=/=======|=======\===----\1           Hitomi

Hitomi's fears are a very well founded. How /could/ anyone fight in a gown like this? 'Naoko' looks over her shoulder at her, the facade of elegance fading as she cracks a grin, and turns to face her in one quick motion. "Probably!" That didn't sound too confident, but she follows it up with an actual answer as to her motivations, "Part of the fun is the challenge!"

Given the overall lack of mobility, a gown like this would remind her of exactly how small her arena was. She couldn't perform any leaping movements, thus... she'd have to get creative. Fortunately for her, she did at least know one thing that gave her a leg up. Those high heels? They weren't coming off easily. She'd tried out the modeling trick of putting a few dabs of wig glue in there.

Extending one leg forward and bending it just slightly, she assumed a playful, sensual pose with one hand on her knee. "The rest is looking good while doing it!" The foot clacks down suddenly on the wooden runway, the sound echoing throughout the room as she assumes a pose. And... dashes straight at Hitomi, moving slower than before given the care she has to take than heels.

Rather than going for a strike however, she leans down low, trying to slip inside of her guard. A hand attempts to grasp right at her right bicep, tugging forward in an attempt to throw off her stance. Her other hand lashes out in a palm strike that would stop short of actually hitting Hitomi, right at her abdomen. Suddenly the hand closes into a fist, releasing a spherical burst of azure chi. If all goes well, then the small blast of inner power would be meant to throw her back down the cat walk.

COMBATSYS: Ibuki successfully hits Hitomi with Raida.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Ibuki            1/----===/=======|=======\=======\1           Hitomi

There is a brief cry as Hitomi sails back, the Cheongsam flapping behind her as she sails back and falls lightly; a glancing hit on the catwalk, she continues rolling, coming to a stop in a three pointed grouch. Whatever the move had been she hadn't seen only the flare of light before the 'kick' to the chest that had sent her tumbling. Hand to her chest, where she had felt the blow Hitomi can already feel where some of the decorative pattern has been blasted clean off the dress, tiny gold thread and leaves litter the path she had flown.

Climbing back to her feet she inspects the dress to see whether it had been pierced or damaged badly enough she would have to change again, but the multiple layers of silk have held together admirably; failing -only- to hold together the decorative pattern and dye, the whitish blue splotch in the midst of the phoenix pattern ruins the decorative image but the dress itself holds together. She's fit and able to continue.

Starting her run her heels skitter and scrape on the spot before finding the purchase necessary to begin her running forward, arms pumping at her side and focus entirely on Naoko, leaping a full half dozen feet before she reaches naoko she starts a spin at the same time as she raises one leg vertically, held pointed to the ceiling, her thigh pressing against her abdomen, the front and rear halves of the Cheongsam spinning either side of her torso like propeller blades.

The One hundred eighty degree revolution complete she starts dropping the axe kick, already falling toward Naoko, while cameras flash in the audience and a few marvel at the dress in flight.

COMBATSYS: Hitomi successfully hits Ibuki with Shingetsu.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Ibuki            1/=======/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2           Hitomi

Ibuki says, "What we need is a successful interrupt non-counter so we both have to change at the same time."

Ahaha, his teeth are in jail? Is that supposed to hurt his feelings? This ninja says the most interesting things! At this rate, he might start to like her. Ash has always been fond of women who were willing to stand up to him~

She marches off in a huff with watery eyes. Like the rest of Taiyo's captive audience, Ash awaits her return with bated breath. What does Naoko slip into next? Will it be a hideous monstrosity on par with grand-maman Hitme's initial outfit, or something even better? Something... light and breezy, or slinky and sexy? Doubtful she even knows how to appeal to a man in any sense.

Hitomi paces the catwalk during the other girl's absence, her every step earns a tic of the blonde's right eye. "Must I get up there and show you how to walk in heels?" Don't ask me why, but for some WEIRD reason, this receives cheers of encouragement, mostly from women, "Take smaller steps. The taller the heel, the shorter the step. Walk heel to toe. Keep your back straight, tu es completement debile. Watching you lumber around like an orangutan is offending me." Especially when she's still wearing that ugly /painted/ cheongsam. Ash can only hope the brunette's following costume change yields more favourable results, and that it comes sooner rather than later. "What an eyesore." He really is the worst. If Shen is the cause of this judge's extreme disapproval of everything today and his nasty remarks, the self-styled 'God of Battle' did something truly terrible. Maybe he pissed directly in Crimson's cornflakes.

Ramsden pipes up, "Who knew you were so educated on how to walk in stilettos. Practice often?"

The Frenchman giggles, stifling it with slender fingers splayed across his lips, "Wouldn't /you/ like to know~" He replies coyly.

A stern glare is directed at them, but the look is wasted. For it to have any impact, both Ash and Bellamy would need to care about what Hitomi thinks. Even Naoko's remarks that the flamewielder is a creep and a pompous ass earned little reaction, so what chance does this chick have? Nothing, that's what chance. "Saa, shouldn't you be more concerned about the fight?" The effeminate French fighter wonders aloud, blithely waving her off. As promised, he writes a big fat ZERO on her scoring sheet.

So it is that Naoko's arrival is heralded by fog, dry ice fog. She sweeps back onto the platform and there are oooooooos and aaaaaaaahs, but Ash sneers gently. He's looking down at the crayon dossier, stamped with a paw, the true sign of authenticity. Says here that the other teen is 120 lbs. That's 10 pounds under him and she's only 5'2". Yeeeeeeeeeees. The platinum blonde head snaps up. Faintly freckled lids seal themselves shut over blue orbs and he is positively foxlike in appearance, "La femme grosse, oui?" Jesus Christ on a pogo stick.

The French flameslinger has his microphone privileges revoked a second time.

Women in the audience change from expressing their support to screaming in outrage, those able to understand him. That white dress does NOT make Naoko look fat! ABSOLUTELY NOT! HOW DARE HE! The teen rolls his shoulders in another shrug, "I might not be able to see those gym shorts, cherie, but I can still tell they're there." His voice projects, even without the mike to enhance it, "Je pense que la robe est trop petite pour vous."


As the wimpy contest picks up, finding rhythm and momentum, a strange thing happens at the judging table. Ash, pressing the pad of his finger against each nail to see if the patterns have dried, suddenly starts in alarm. He rockets off his seat and upends the table in the process, sheets of paper and detailed reports spilling to the ground. Leaping away from his chair, baby blue irises snap to it while a hand reflexively covers his bottom. A, a...! "Roman candle." The teen observes, his fellow judge shrieking obscenities at him.

Let us describe his attire for the first time: Crimson wears a jacket of deep green over a white poet's top. The buttons are fastened to hide it. His collar is overlarge and secured by a silver lanyard acting as a chain. The ends reach the backs of his knees. On his legs, Ash wears a pair of black dress slacks. What looks like a wallet chain is actually three strips of fabric and measured eyelets for asthetics. Wrapped around the other thigh is a satin ribbon. His fair flaxen hair is worn sans headband and parted in the middle -- it's long, almost masculine. The flamewielder adjusts the belts around his wrists, the zippers on his sleeves, chuckling softly. "Cute," he says, "very cute."

It's on. On like Donkey Kong.

Hands placed akimbo on his hips, the stylish teen carries on with his commentary while a hole is melted through his seat, even without the microphone. "What would you say is your most attractive feature? Is it the ability to grow a mustache? How about the rocky road of your skin or the weird bumps in your figure? That's the lumpiest woman I've ever seen. How am I supposed to critique this when it's obvious you just pinned a bedsheet to your coltish body?" Ash wrinkles the bridge of his nose in disgust. He's lashing out and targets Naoko specifically -- Hitomi doesn't have enough spine to do anything, so surely she isn't to blame for magicking a firework under his ass! The only thing that prevents him from climbing up there is simple common sense... And the fact that he controls sickly flames that would up the ratings of this fashion show in ten seconds flat.

Fringe falling into her face, Hitomi turns away from her opponent: from Naoka: from a girl in distress and hurting, but not from a blow fairly struck. Eyes completely obscured by her long fringe and now swaying bangs as she walks; horizontally crossing the width of the catwalk and only stopping when she is standing, overshadowing over the toppled judging table.

Lips quiver and move but produce only silence; the fists at her sides are trembling, quivering with a barely contained rage. She tries the word again but it sticks in her throat, the crowd is far too loud and roaring it's disapproval at the lightly seared Ash Crimson for anyone to have even heard or noticed her presence. He had stolen the show, away from everyone it was meant to be about.


The word explodes in the packed room, her entire body leaning into the yell, fringe and hair parted by the shouted delivery, right from the bottom of her soul and delivers by a girl yelling draw out her power and focus. The crowd is largely silent in the wake of the shout, Hitomi can hear only the fluttering of some papers and a hissing and popping from somewhere. It's feels like such a weight off her chest to confront the biggest obstacle and threat in the room to an enjoyable fight; and that makes her feel guilty because right at this moment she doesn't care about nor should it be even remotely about herself.

It's wrath, righteous fury directed and levelled at just one target.

Apologise to the designers who slaved to create these dresses! Apologise the people seated beside and all around him! The fellow judges! The people looking forward to this event. But especially, -- Apologise to Naoko. Apologize to her for everything!

Hitomi drops from the catwalk with limited grace, advancing across the floor; purposefully walking toward Ash and staring up at him when she walks toward and into his personal space.

There are tears welling in the corners of her eyes, lips pressed firmly together and biting back any further comments or demands. She doesn't attack him, she doesn't speak, she doesn't even comment further. She just closes the distance, staring resolvedly and without blinking to stop quietly, accusingly staring with her bright blue eyes and baby face. If she had to look behind her, at the faces around her? it might've broken her heart.

COMBATSYS: Ash has joined the fight here on the top side.

                 [ |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| ]
                 Ash              0|-------|-------
[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Ibuki            1/=======/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2           Hitomi

COMBATSYS: Hitomi focuses on her next action.

                 [ |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| ]
                 Ash              0|-------|-------
[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Ibuki            1/=======/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2           Hitomi

Ash is saying something in French. Given her concentration on the fight, she doesn't make much of it out. Until the women in the audience start jeering the judge's evaluation. That's when she realized, he was insulting her by calling her... fat. The very absurdity of anyone considering her overweight catches her off guard for just a moment, before her self-consciousness kicks into overdrive. Had she gained a few pounds, by not adhering to the traditional dietary plan her elders had given her? Was it showing? What did Ash see!? The very thought drove her up the wall mid-swing at Hitomi. She needed a mirror, right now. And yet, such thoughts are temporarily banished into falling down some mental well when the blow connects.

There's a goodly amount of satisfaction that surges within her at seeing Hitomi fly backwards. Ninpo techniques that called upon chi were still massive crowd-pleasers, even if they didn't have hand signs or a mantra. Maybe she'd add improvise some in the future. Tiny wafts of smoke sizzle off of her hand, as she withdraws it, posing again for a camera flash from the high school paparazzi, by placing her opposite hand move behind her head, and trail through her long, flowing hair. This felt good. Wearing a gown like this, letting her hair down like this on occasion, she could feel girly while being a ninja at the same time. The two did not have to be mutually exclusive.

Hitomi's recovery time impresses her again, 'Naoko' gives her a chagrined smile as she sees how the stitched pattern was marred. However now was not the time to lament the suffering of her cute cheongsam, as she was coming right back at her, leaping into the air with towering resolve and follow through. Seeing the one hundred and eighty degree revolution, she makes a split decision of trying to slip inside of her guard again, moving half a step forward out of where she believes the strike will land, and bending down low with her knees, believing herself ready. Unfortunately, she didn't anticipate the nature of the kick, as she finds the heel dropping down upon the crown of her head. Realizing her mistake, she tries to compensate for it, by suddenly weaving to the side, and lifting an arm to try to bat aside the blow. To give credit to her speed, it misses her head, grazes by her ear, but when it strikes her shoulder, she realizes just how much she had underestimated her strength.

The popping noise it makes, as 'Naoko' thuds to the floor with a shriek leaves little doubt as to whether it had been dislocated or not, the wrap she was wearing falling onto the edge of the catwalk, then fluttering to the floor below. The tortured cry is quickly muffled, as she bites down, making a pained noise every now and then, as her opposite arm lifts the limp looking one straight up. Assessing the situation, she checks how the dress was ripped on the shoulder, how loosely and lopsided it will hang from henceforth. With eyes watering, there's a quick motion, and another audible pop, which could be heard by the audience even from here. Naoko smashes a fist into the runway, trying her best, and failing to stop herself from yowling in agony, her breathing quickening at first, then deepening.

During all of this is the commotion, the judge's table upends, and the place where it once was suddenly lit up by small flares of prismatic color showering upwards. And then come the insults, when she's at a physical low, a moment of vulnerability, every single insult starts to hit her in a chain like some hellish combo. She slowly turns to looks his way, her vision blurring from the tears, as she gives him a look of genuine hurt. Her voice sounds a little broken as she speaks at him, "H-how could you be so..." She stops. The word 'cruel' never comes.

There's no attempt at a verbal riposte right now, no recriminations. Her uninjured arm, while it should be holding her other, moves to her face to stifle a single sob, this blow to her confidence too much to bear. 'Of course I look horrible.' 'I was a fool to think I could do this.' 'I can't. I can't. I just can't.' Her whole body shivers under the weight of these thoughts combined with the genuine physical pain she is in at the moment.

'If Hitomi-chan weren't such an honorable sort, then this would already be over,' she thinks. Her mind whirs to make assumptions on how pathetic she must look to her, how even such a nice yet formidable person must be disgusted by what she looks like right now... Which is when she hears the clarion call of righteous wrath from Hitomi '-APOLOGISE!-'

She looks up, she sees her storming off the cat walk, right at the judge. She sees that she couldn't be more wrong. She doesn't see the tears in Hitomi's eyes from this angle, the tears in her own welling up again from how touched she was, once she processed what she was doing. She wipes away her eyes, dabbing them hastily with the back of her hand, and she rises to her feet, perhaps a touch unsteadily with the glued on heels.

"E-Even..." She stops, takes a breath, composes herself. Start again, "...even if he did. I d-don't think I would..." From her good hand, something flicks towards Ash, aimed at his shin. Through the air sails a blunted kunai, more traditional than edged ones. In a sense, it was more merciful, but in reality it was insurance. To make certain her gut instinct that only someone with fighting skill would be so unconcerned, so unphased by six kunai sprouting out of his table. Her voice takes on a sudden dark edge, "...forgive him!" Perhaps it didn't make her the better person, unlike Hitomi. Instead it made her positively spiteful. But this small measure of petty vengeance felt good. It felt really good.

COMBATSYS: Ash blocks Ibuki's Kunai.

                 [  |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| ]
                 Ash              0|-------|-------
[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Ibuki            1/=======/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2           Hitomi

He is a monster. The biggest jerk in the history of the world, the /universe/! Every word that escapes from his lips is suffused with unfettered brutality. A saccharine sweet smile alights on his freckled features, sparking immediate contradiction. His hand leaves the generous curve of his hip and he sheaths it in silken platnium blonde locks, tucking them behind a smallish ear. Ash does nothing else, makes no other movements. Within a few moments, the female populace catcalls and rages about misogyny, and one of the combatants breaks. It's just as planned.

Unfortunately, Hitomi wasn't the girl he was expecting or even wanting to react first.


Her shriek rends the air, silences the cacophony of indignation (and even some laughter.) Half-lidded eyes widen a fraction, expressing a modicum of real surprise. Then pupils narrow sharply as she storms from the platform and marches forward with purpose. In the back of his mind, he notes, his honest advice had not been heeded. Ash stares down the length of his straight nose, the difference in their heights immediately apparent as he stands almost a full head taller. Hitomi glares up at him, the gaze met with cold insouciance, a distinct carelessness that even the enmity wafting off her thin frame is unable to shift. "Oho, I didn't think you had it in you." The Frenchman says without sounding as impressed as he should.

The longer the old-fashioned standoff persists, the greater his window of opportunity to take in the woman's appearance from up-close. He pegs her no older than 15, not realizing that Hitomi is actually his senior. She's got an attractive, if childish, face. Her hair is too long to suit his preferences, but not awful or entirely unappealing. Quirking corners of his mouth signify what is the start of a smirk. Ash wonders if a swept fringe would enhance her looks, maybe another style of dress. How about mature and form-fitting? Mmhm~

"Are you just going to be in my way?" He can invade the teen girl's personal space just as well as she can his. Leaning in so suddenly that it may startle Hitomi, Ash halts the pressing advance when they're a hairsbreadth apart, his cerulean eyes boring into her own. His breath is pleasantly scented with mint. "If you want an apology," It starts off musical, speaking with a French lilt, but when the tone changes, his voice drops to a mocking whisper, "Make me."

Shots fired.

Let us not forget Naoko, she's still around, right? Her teary-eyed visage and genuine pain goes without acknowledgement, even the sob stifled by the crook of her arm. Owing to the brunette presence, Ash's attention has honed in on Hitomi. A shame, because he might've had more barbs to share at the sight of the ninja's ruined dress. One thing he isn't about to miss, however, is her stuttered reprisal. The freckle-faced flamewielder snaps up. His hand shoots out to... guide the obstructing woman to the side? This is not a shove or a push, but a gentle touch on the shoulder, provided that he is allowed to do so, his finely manicured fingernails catching the light. If he didn't, the kunai would strike the wrong target. What the...?

Soft footfalls make no noise; he strides past the (likely shocked) girl with an easy, leisurely gait. The trajectory of the kunai is higher when there's less distance to separate him from the wounded Naoko, now the blunted tip could pierce him straight in the heart... If he weren't able to whip an arm around in a blur at the very last second, snatching it from the air. THWAP! It wasn't fast enough. Slender digits close, wrapping the little projectile in his fist. "This is where things get entertaining..." Ash muses aloud, letting loose derisive snicker. Comprehension dawns on one or two, who are quick to pass along the information to others in the audience, the truth behind his motivations spreading like wildfire.

But Naoko and Hitomi, can they read between the lines? How Ash has manipulated them from the very beginning? Welcome to his wheelhouse, enjoy your stay. "Again." The flamboyant young man encourages either or to strike, waiting.

COMBATSYS: Ash takes no action.

                 [  |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| ]
                 Ash              0|-------|-------
[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Ibuki            1/=======/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2           Hitomi

Hitomi glares up into the nonchalant appearing guest judge's face. This close to him there was absolutely no denying the beauty, she was up close and personal enough for an intimate study of the dark full eyelashes, the generous lips and straight nose - and near perfect symmetry. Freckles across the top of his cheekbones and the bridge of his nose added charm, even his eyelids are lightly freckled, as well but even they do little for spoiling an aristocratic beauty she could not even properly quantify.

All of it marred by the expression of a haughty disdain for either the girls themselves, her actions or the entire proceedings?

Responsively Hitomi doesn't relent or give an inch as he steps closer, even though the pressure generated by an overwhelming stage presence or star power; even as she feels it increases tenfold alongside the magnification of features and the brief deep look into his eyes. If she weren't furious with him it were most likely she might go weak in the knee and step back to avoid the confrontation and intensity contained in the exchange between them. The sudden movement right into her face had forced an involuntary blink, only the thin veil of hair seeming to separate them had felt rather insubstantial. His movement had felt aggressive, but the whispered taunt results in the girl being struck dumb with astonishment. A complete freeze.

The hand laid gently against the unresponsive girls shoulder sweeps her aside enough to make his way by her easily. It's surreal, there's nothing but the pressure vanishing and him sliding away by her, the touch on her arm disappearing. Leaving her, mind still whirling and horrified at the thought that he was picking a fight. Right here? Right now? WHY?

Staring now at his back, having failed in her first attempt to end this now her eyes drift up to Naoko still on the catwalk, concerned and having missed some kind of exchange between them. If at first you don't succeed! firming her resolve she starts after him, closely she chases after him moving to his side, she's not done yet!

COMBATSYS: Hitomi takes no action.

                 [  |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| ]
                 Ash              0|-------|-------
[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Ibuki            1/=======/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2           Hitomi

'Naoko' couldn't be angrier. Even with her eyes watering with tears, her cheeks stained with them, there's a sharpness in them which states one shouldn't mistake the fact that she's emotional for weakness, if anything, it's strength. Even so, her rational mind, one honed by years of training and school work had evaluated the situation and figured out a few things. The first was that Ash was a skilled, and competent fighter by the fact that he'd caught her kunai so easily. The second was that she had been baited.

She didn't mind, if he didn't.

She rolls her injured left shoulder with a pained wince, testing it further, before she puts her hands together, cracking her knuckles in a gesture which shows she's not in reality half as genteel or refined as she would want one to believe she is in this gown. The whispers of the crowd turn to considering how she's even intending to function right now with the handicap of the length of her skirt and an injured arm.

Stalking up to Ash, the anger on Naoko's visage is twisted enough that she looks like a demon on heels. "Again? Sure! Why not!?" Although somewhat androgynous, his features are beautiful enough to look like they'd have been cut out of skin-colored marble. He'd seem cute if they had met in another setting. That fact, if anything, intensifies her rage.

Taking up a somewhat less than ideal battle stance given the length of her gown, the heel of her right shoe clacks down upon the stage. Her right arm sets her guard in front of her. Ducking down low, she lashes out suddenly with a rising strike, a feint that's purposefully wide. "You claim to know a lot about walking in heels! Let me show you how a real lady..." Using the momentum, she spins into balancing on one leg, while her other lashes out, overextending in a side kick aimed at his abdomen that tests the stretch of the fabric in such a way that a faint ripping noise can be heard. "...fights in them!"

Naoko has no idea if Hitomi will continue to attack her, or if she'll join in against Ash or neither. She does feel like she's 'on her side' even if she didn't join in this flagrant example of fashion police brutality. Because of this, she does try to aim her kick in a way that won't send Ash careening into her if it connects. If all goes well, it may even send him teetering past her position, exposing him to an attack of oppurtunity by her as well.

COMBATSYS: Ash blocks Ibuki's Medium Kick.

                 [    |||||||||||||||||||||||||| ]
                 Ash              0|-------|-------
[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Ibuki            2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2           Hitomi

Now now, don't think of Ash's beauty as marred, that's awfully judgmental. Are you the sort of person who discriminates, Hitomi? Haughty disdain just so happens to be an established expression of the French nobility, the official expression. The secrets of it are passed down the aristocratic line from parent to child. He is proud that he has perfected the look. She only needs to show her appreciation that she has seen it. Is that so difficult?

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: What makes you think I have time to write out a long answer, I am a busy adult with many important things requiring my immediate attention!

Trailing after him in his wake like a lost puppy, the flamewielder is rather good at reading people. How else could he have orchestrated this, carefully laid out events and set himself up as the villain, entirely for their benefit? Because he knew it would work, because it's interesting. Hitomi doesn't clue in, thinks the flamboyant teen looks to pick a fight, but she's not perceived as a threat, allowed to draw even with Ash after his awe-inspiring catch of the kunai. At this moment, he transfers the blunted dart to his right hand, leaving the dominant left free to... Defend? Attack? Hard to say. Stay tuned!

With all the grace of an elephant, Naoko deigns to join them. The catwalk stands empty and the announcer is flummoxed. What is he supposed to do to restore order, somebody tell him! Ash icily regards the anger, takes it in and her tear-streaked cheeks. His own face warps in contempt. She hurls her words at him, Crimson biting back a bark of mirth. Teeth capture his lower lip, as if it will help, chewing thoughtfully.

Her stance is somewhat unorthodox, no doubt owing to the cumbersome combination of slim-fitting dress and heels. The ninja should've stuck to the original outfit, but that would defeat the purpose of a fashion battle show. Ash rolls his blue eyes. It might be meant for Naoko, burning with fury over his attractive features and general awfulness, or this entire farce. Who thinks of these things? A lonely man with no friends, amirite!

Perhaps his nonchalant and relaxed posture is provoking, or his utter lack of empathy. She did say she would acquiesce to his demand, so it is without surprise that Ash reacts and scrutinizes her closely. The clack of her heel is as loud as a clap of thunder. Naoko ducks and feints. "Saa, I'm not seeing any 'real ladies' here," he cuts in, before the ninja teen can finish. "Hurry up." It's just... so mean. Blithely waving off the rest of the cry, his only focus now would be the shift of balance to one leg, the other spun in a kick at his midsection. His muscles flex in reflex, but for no reason. The flameslinger has a use for his empty left hand, interposing it between heel and his willowy frame.

The stiletto digs into his palm, awkward and uncomfortable, and then Ash pushes back. His strength becomes somewhat apparent as the European may wind up throwing Naoko to the ground. If so, if she's that clumsy that this will knock her down, it was truly an accident. "Again, and try not to rip that bedsheet anymore, oui?" Twirling the dart around his fingers, the young man who controls bubbleflame returns the dart by tossing it at the ninja girl's feet. Pick it up, leave it, doesn't honestly matter to him.

"How do you like being my shadow?" Ash addresses Hitomi, soft and sudden, "Fun?"

COMBATSYS: Ash takes no action.

                 [    |||||||||||||||||||||||||| ]
                 Ash              0|-------|-------
[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Ibuki            2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2           Hitomi

Hitomi Is already half a step into the lunge at that right arm; the one closest to her and still completing the flippant and casual return of the blunted kunai; still in its tumbling and spinning trajectory to Naoko's feet. The dart sails still through the air yet Hitomi had not so much noticed the object so much as the intended target. The fish were leaping into the boat rather than rising to the bait he was using.

Reaching for that exposed arm with both her own she travels straight as an arrow toward it, stepping in diagonally across his front with one decisive click as the heel sets down and a secondary clack as the toe comes down, bare shoulder and bicep brushing against the fabric of his coat and a -vwip- sound as both her long trailing hair and the silken dress snap-to and begin to follow her through the sudden move.

The moment Naoko had been pushed away she had begun to move, trying to forestall any kind of counter attack with a singular focus on that free arm. Her body acts on her concern for Naoko before even her mind can catch up with the fact this new opponent had successfully fended off Naoko-chan when she herself had not even really managed it.

COMBATSYS: Hitomi successfully hits Ash with Weakened Komon.

                 [     ||||||||||||||||||||||||| ]
                 Ash              0|-------|------=
[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Ibuki            2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2           Hitomi


Closing her hands around the target she half turns and draws the entire arm sideways, passing beneath the offending limb (while keeping hold) she pulls hard and rotates sharply flipping Ash Crimson across her back to the ground where she can then stand over him; still strongly gripping the arm with one hand in a hold that slackens quickly. Laying face up on his back with a clear view of the fist, poised and drawn back to strike him in the face; but also the too wide eyes staring down, the blow never falling.


Maybe close to the verge of tears, she displays the lip tremble and the eyes sparkle with big watery drops but she is supressing it. The effort can even be heard in her voice; it's choked up but the fist she holds back to strike unclenches and starts to fall away. This wasn't a competition, nor was it a fashion show, or a tournament!

It was just a strangeness; A beautiful man, filled with ugly words and darkness that was eating away at them. The crowd turned when they agreed with him, they turned also when disagreed and hated what he said. An atmosphere that spread through the room was suffocating, and painful!

"Aha... ahaha!"

He cracks. Ash is totally losing it.


Crimson had only meant to discard the kunai, but the brunette intervened at that precise moment and coiled her arms around his. There was a split second where he thought that maybe Hitomi was trying to stop him, that she believed his intentions would do harm to /HER/ opponent, then he's hauled off his feet. The illusion was dispelled with a jolt.

The Frenchman landed on his rear, a sharp sting of pain at the location of his tailbone caused him to flinch, but it was the worst he sustained. Leaning back onto his elbows, he glanced up to see the teen's fist levered in front of his face, a lip-trembling young woman behind it. Ash cracked a broad smile; it spread from one side of his lovely visage on over to the other.


"Ahahahahaha!!" His laughter continues to build and fill the air, finding his predicament so hilarious that it leaves him breathless. Ash pulls his slender legs underneath him, but is stalled as he begins to rise again by a question that begs a response. 'Why!!?' Eyes like the clear sky disappear, lids closing over them. He reins in his amusement long enough to say, "Why not?"

Look at the crowd. The same crowd that gave him both their support and condemnation in turn. A pack of sycophants subject to his whims, gobbling up the twists and turns like the first meal of the day. They sit on the edges of their seats, anticipating the next move, drawn to the drama as a moth would be to flame. Does he need to say it, does Ash need to point them out? It's so painfully obvious if she just turns around.

Whether the contempt in Ash Crimson's posture, his actions, his words is real or a mummer's farce intended to provoke them is irrelevant at this point, at least to 'Naoko'. Still, even in the midst of her anger, she has to admit that she admires his skill at blocking her attack. However... he isn't even deigning to fight back. To her it's an indication that he might believe fighting back against them is so far beneath him that he isn't even going to bother. That he's even telling them to 'Hurry Up.'

As he shoves back against her heel, sending her backwards, she doesn't lose her balance. She instead skips backwards a single pace, balancing on the same leg even then, before her outstretched leg curls backwards against her body, her whole form straightening just as the kunai lands by her foot. It's at that moment that Hitomi joins in, grasping her foe and throwing him to the ground. Seeking answers. Naoko's leg falls down, the heel landing with a clack. Hitomi on the other hand, pulls her strike, merciful even now. Or perhaps she is simply confused by his motivations.

And then Ash is mocking Hitomi, laughing at her just as brazenly as before, smiling, rising. 'Why!!? Why not?' As his gaze sweeps through the sycophantic crowd, buying into his act, Naoko's follows. Something soft can be heard from Naoko's lips, "I've had enough." The next sound of ripping fabric is cacophonous as the crowd and the announcer are bewildered into tacit silence that is quickly broken by murmuring.

There's a kunai in her hand. The entirety of the skirt below the waistline flutters away, leaving just the black bike shorts. She does exactly what Ash had told her not to, reverse psychology perhaps being a 'thing'. "I don't get boys sometimes. If we don't like cosmetics or fashion then we're just not pretty or stylish enough for a lot of you. When we do, we're either superficial for enjoying it or shamed for doing it 'wrong'." Ash gets a pointed look right there, at that moment.

Wisps of azure light rise off of her whole form. "You know, I don't care if you're just trying to bait me anymore. If you really even believe what you're saying or you're just trying to win yourself an audience." With the heel of her foot, she kicks the other, blunted kunai, which spins upwards before she catches it in her opposite hand. Both vanish in an instant, and the crowd likely wonders 'to where'. "Today, I'm going to teach you something. A real lady..."

She stalks up towards him, still in the heels. She turns her back to him for a moment, in what appears to be a gesture of contempt, in truth, a gathering of further power between her hands. " whatever she wants to be. She doesn't define herself..." It starts with a stunning chi-enhanced spinning backfist aimed at his mid-section, as she begins a dizzying ground combo of movements. The kick is lowered as fast as quicksilver, as she moves into a ducking position, then leaps into a rising kick that trails azure energy at his chin, intended to launch him in the air if it connects. " the expectations of /men/!"

COMBATSYS: Ash endures Ibuki's #Hashinsho#.

                 [                |||||||||||||| ]
                 Ash              0|-------|-======
[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Ibuki            0/-------/-------|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2           Hitomi

The momentum of the kick flips her backwards, as she turns a full circle in the air. If all goes well, then she lands upon her heels. Without missing a beat she presses down upon the ground, redirecting herself to spring upwards, rocketing towards Ash. "Since you like playing with hearts of innocent young maidens..." One of her feet tries to kick him in the face, the other aims for a shoulder, as she springs backwards, turning a flip in mid-air. Her long, luxurious hair that most certainly did /not/ have split ends billows everywhere without anything to bind it.

Two blunt kunai appear to be in her hands, but as she spreads them out in a fan like motion, it's apparent the true number is closer to ten. "....take my ultimate heart-breaking attack for good measure!" She throws them all at that point, taking great care to put no audience members in the path between him and the floor.

Like rain, they descend upon him, trying to crush through any defense he might put up. Just behind them, 'Naoko' curls into what looks like a human cannonball, azure streamers moving in her wake as she descends upon Ash. She uncurls at the last moment, a fist drawing back, before she sends a haymaker punch at his forehead.

Even then she's not finished, using the momentum of her descent to blur past him, moving behind him, to grab at the collar of his jacket to make an attempt at flipping him around and driving her knee into his back to attempt to drive him into the ground. "HASHINSHO!"

Surprise, it's almost Get-Your-Ass-Kicked o'clock, Ash! He has steadily been chipping away at Naoko's self-esteem for far too long and gone unpunished. The other brunette's say on the matter of discipline amounts to a measly slap on the wrist, ineffective and a waste of effort. They'll need to do more, together. Break out the big, showy techniques, their specialty moves. It's exactly what the audience wants to see, and he intends to deliver it post-haste.

Well, not 'intends', because that sounds like too much trouble, more than the situation warrants. How about a 'half-assed handover'?

The effeminate Frenchman reaches his feet, slouching and lazily staring straight ahead, but the blue eyes are bright. There's a hungry light to them, an unfathomable intensity. Ash pats dust from his backside before sweeping out his arm in a broad, all-encompassing gesture, "Let's see the power you possess," he breathes, lips barely apart and the soft French timbre of his voice rich and lyrical. She rushes in like a storm to meet him. "Bien. Don't disappoint me, cherie."

'I've had enough.'

Ash gives free rein to a sudden expulsion of air, nostrils flaring gently. Naoko tears her dress from her legs, allowing the strip of fabric to flutter to the floor and be forgotten, ruined. They're not so coltish, not like he said. Her legs, I mean. He won't admit to that, however. His insult will stand, because it must.

She pontificates and prattles instead of lashing out -- it is probably a grand little speech, but for all he cares, the ninja girl could be discussing something so inconsequential such as the weather. The flamewielder's interest wanes, his gaze travels. He spies the announcer, panicked and stricken. Hitomi still looks crushed, her accusatory and hurt glare is regarded with callous indifference. Ash cannot find anything more deserving of his attention, or less. With resignation, his fair head turns back to Naoko, a lock of platinum blonde hair sneaking into his vision. 'Are you done?' the young man asks with the incredulous rise of pencil-thin brows. If you're going to teach him a lesson, can't the lecture wait?

There is more talking, but here it comes, the time. It arrives /at last/. A blaze of cerulean chi encapsulates her entire form and is drawn to her hands. She spins and he considers. Should he dodge the blow, allow her backfist to slice through nothing, the space he had only recently occupied? Maybe... shut her down, for the third time? While each option has its own unique appeal, Ash decides on a final, less explored route: He braces for impact and her knuckles smash into the wall of hard muscle that defines his abdomen. The slender fighter utters a grunt, rocking back a step.

He doesn't ask if that is it, the best Naoko can do. He's not granted the opportunity. Whipping around again, her heel slams against his shoulder, the force enough to completely disrupt Crimson's sense of balance. The freckle-faced flameslinger stumbles and prepares to recover... But ninjas are tricksy, quick. Zipping in like lightning, her chi-infused kick cracks him under the jaw. It snaps shut, stars are born and die with supernova bursts, blinding Ash. He lifts, launched, and flies in an arc.

That alone is enough to please the crowd. They shriek approval, or gasp in shock and alarm. Their every emotion is determined by these moments, those lemmings, and then... Naoko springs after him, towards him. She commits the sin of booting the youthful European in the face, marking up the perfection of his sharp features with a nasty welt and a cut from her heel that bleeds freely down his cheek. Ash hisses, rendered powerless and annoyed. He mitigates the damage to his arm as best as he can; slowly gravity starts to pull the blonde teen back to earth.

A painful rain of kunai is introduced, her 'ultimate heart-breaking attack'. He's a skilled fighter, Ash can protect his vitals even if he can't properly defend against the hailstorm. His coat, on the other hand, may need to be replaced. Littered with holes and deep gashes, the forest green velvet material hangs awkwardly from his thin frame. The ninja girl launches herself at a point mid-air, soars in with a devastating punch and it smacks him down, not even allowing a moment to breathe. Before he plummets hard into the ground, Naoko flips the French nobleman to his front.

It would've been his chest, but he lands with hands splayed, arms drawn in to cushion his fall. Wrists protest, his knees collide with the floor and a tremor courses up the length of his spine. Or that might be because Naoko drops on him, forcing the wind from his lungs that begins as a cry and ends as a choked gag. Ash is left there to rot. Flaxen strands of hair spill into the crimson essence trickling down his chin, staining them red. Gasps for air disturb the fine layer of dust covering the flooring. As his eyes refocus, a thought springs to mind. That he underestimated her...

He didn't think she was quite so strong.

Naoko becomes infinitely more fascinating.

When his every inhalation is no longer punctuated by a stab of pain or a twinge, Ash shares a harsh bark of laughter yet again. He eases up to sit against his heels, fingers passing through the blood on his cheek. Eyes like the clear sky peer at the scarlet smears across his fingertips; the Frenchman can't help but sneer faintly, the bridge of his freckled nose scrunched and wrinkled. Using his tongue, he counts all of his teeth. "Saa." The crimson droplets evaporate in a vermilion puff of smoke.

Wait, hang on. /EVAPORATE/?!

"I didn't want to do this, you know." Verdant flames of his birthright burst forth, wreathing his arm in green. It boils into bubbles, which spark and pop as is their wont. Admiringly, Ash looks upon the brilliant conflagration, the colour of it reflected in his pale visage. "But I can't let you walk away without understanding that there are consequences to injuring my face, ahaha~" Don't worry, this is just a taste of his full ability, if it even reaches the speedy ninja at all.

Imagine he stood, because I don't feel like going back and inserting the description. Ash only needs to snap his fingers and the flames hasten to obey, rolling off his arm into a crescent, a fiery glob that surges forwards. It is like a charging bull, gaining speed the entire way before breaking across the girl's defenses or lack thereof. Meanwhile, the flamboyant freckle-faced is taking notes of damages, both to his physical person and his clothing. She did quite a number on him. He can't remember being this roughed up before, not in recent memory. In the back of his mind, a voice unlike his own speaks the contrary. Feh.

Hiking his shoulders up in a shrug, the teen officially gives up, at least in trying to find every single rip and tear in his stylish jacket. "Ahhhh~hhhhh, this is the thanks I get for saving everyone from dying of boredom." Not only did he show something of his power long before he had wanted to, CERTAIN WOMEN ARE HORRIBLE INGRATES. The flamewielding Frenchman stood in the way of, what was it, Hashinsho? That. He's just setting himself up as the victim. Christ, Ash, are you the devil?

Possibly yes.

COMBATSYS: Ibuki parries Ash's Rapide Ventose!

                 [                 ||||||||||||| ]
                 Ash              0|-------|--=====
[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Ibuki            0/-------/-------|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2           Hitomi

The adrenaline rush, the surge of her chi had not yet faded from the attack. Yet she could it feel it coming, she was worn around the edges, still feeling a little giddy from the After she had driven him into the ground, she'd sprang off him, allowing him time to rest and recover. Her intent wasn't to kill after all, it was just to teach him a lesson. A lesson she had rather certain he could take after his performance at blocking and catching their strikes.

Her satisfaction is somewhat dimmed by the fact that he was getting up so quickly after taking a hit like that. The startlement when she sees the droplets of blood evaporating is visible, before her eyes narrow. While there was some doubt as to whether her attack was excessive, it wasn't there any longer. As Ash reveals he was holding back, she jabs back. "Yeah yeah, you won't forgive me for damaging your perfect visage. It's a wonder you don't have an aureole with how heavenly you look!"

She rolls her eyes, but she wasn't dismissing the danger, just his ego. As the flames form, she narrows his eyes, "Whoa, whoa, whoa! Are you nuts!? There's a giant crowd in here!" A hand sweeps off to the side at the crowd. When she realizes that he's still going to throw it anyhow, she considers her options. Trying to dodge it completely, even if she could, might endanger someone behind her. Blocking it could put her down. She makes her choice in the fraction of a second, as she takes off towards Ash, legs pumping. Some of the crowd was murmuring whether she was crazy, others were just shouting.

None of them, especially not Ibuki knew what she was capable of. Well she was going to find out now. At the last moment, before she would be fully immolated, she suddenly leaps to the side, in a spinning aerial pirouette, jutting out a single arm which glows dimly with the fast fading aura of chi about her. It brightens into radiance as the arm chops right through the attack, cutting it horizontally.

The flames part in half, as they careen towards the catwalk, landing into a roiling cloud of death on each side. Unfortunately, the perception that the whole catwalk would soon go up in crackling flames was covered by the fact that on each side was a hidden fireworks display. Suddenly dazzling starbursts and pinwheels of color were everywhere, and sparklers were showering everywhere with sparks before the flames began to spread.

While she certainly recognized her role in this escalation, she put the direct blame on one person entirely.

The momentum of her pirouette sets her to landing right beside Ash, but she doesn't land balanced perfectly like a ballerina. Instead she allows herself to appear like she'd stumbled into a fall. The reality was that she was purposefully trying to slide through Ash's legs, to climb his back like a Tanuki might.

She tries to grasp each of his shoulders. "They'll be dying of something else if..." This was normally meant to be an attack to try to break someone's neck. She was a tad more merciful than that. Instead she tries to hold him, attempts to leap with the intent of taking him with her, spin him in the air, before attempting to slamming him back to the ground same as before. "...I don't stop what you're doing quickly!" Out of nowhere, a fire alarm starts ringing it's clarion call. A Tanuki who has had far too much experience with ninjas playing with fire ninpo just got ink all over his paws as a result. What a shame to reward his heroism by trying to mark him like he was some sort of criminal.

This is a moment of successive horrors that began with the tearing of fabric and it fluttering away to the ground; the battle had suddenly escalating beyond her comprehension with a sudden explosion of power; it was more than she had ever seen performed outside of Saturday morning cartoons. The offensive Guest Judge fairly struck and sent flying into the air! Only to be pursued further and relentlessly attacked over and over, it seemed it would never end.

The glob of flame hurled at Naoko in response is both alarming in that she hadn't realized she was dealing with a fellow fighter in the Judge, and because Naoko-chan wasn't holding back, at least Hitomi hoped she there wasn't even more difference in their levels, it was a small blow her fighters pride. The flames are parted, sliced in half, and the world behind and around the catwalk suddenly explodes in a spreading shower of ... light? This close to the catwalk she is dazzled by the sudden illumination, drawing a hand up to shade her eyes so she can still see the figures fighting against the backdrop, a curtain of sparkling lights that glitters and changes colour.

"Naoko-chan! ...You can stop now! I-I think you've lost. Your dress!"

Her voice is panicked, much like the crowd now is, whether they are watching this new match, the light show or the signs of fire! This match wasn't what it was meant to be. This shouldn't be happening! She starts to run towards them, eyes struggling to keep track of the slender figure moving about so quickly and instead on the silhouetted figure of Ash Crimson. Leaping and kicking with her dainty little gold high heeled shoes at Ash, aiming to use his height to aid in catching the nimble Naoko. Poking at the girl as with an open palm strike to the midsection, aiming only to separate them and end this, but she's running on adrenaline, throwing herself into harm's way to stop this only after it has gotten so far out of hand.

COMBATSYS: Ibuki successfully hits Ash with Kubiori EX.
- Power hit! -

                 [                       ||||||| ]
                 Ash              0|-------|=======
[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Ibuki            0/-------/-----==|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2           Hitomi

COMBATSYS: Hitomi successfully hits Ash with Combo Grapple.

                 [                           ||| ]
                 Ash              1|------=|=======
[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Ibuki            0/-------/-----==|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2           Hitomi

COMBATSYS: Hitomi successfully hits Ibuki with Combo Grapple.

                 [                           ||| ]
                 Ash              1|------=|=======
[                        \\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Ibuki            0/-------/--=====|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2           Hitomi

I tried to picture Ash with an aureole, it was damaging to my health.

He attempts to conjure the very same image, body aglow with holy light. The results are interchangeable.

Still, a compliment is a compliment, is it not? Her sarcasm aside, Naoko thinks he's pretty~

Although temptation to grin is great, perhaps lift his head and reveal an exaggerated sense of self-importance, Crimson refrains. They are spared from any blatant displays of his superiority, but just this once. Thin fingers coil inwards, the tips nestled in his palm. The viridescent chi fades, heat and bubbles vanishing along with it, returned whence it came. "A crowd?" As if for the first time, Ash glances back over his shoulder at the assembly and acknowledges them, faintly freckled lids fluttering dark lashes as he blinks repeatedly. "So there is," he muses aloud.

"It is your mistake to think that I am an amateur, however."

She nearly manages to amaze the feminine Frenchman, foolishly daring to face the rip-roaring crescent of emerald energy. Only Shen would have been so stupid, he thought. Not anymore! Rushing straight for fire and flames and certain doom, the ninja darts to its side. Naoko the Chicken pirouettes to break apart the writhing, twisting mass, severing it in twain using a handy chop. "Oho~" he drawls, lips separating with a pop. Now that is something else, and the two pieces hurtle at different sides of the catwalk, sparking fireworks and setting the stage ablaze.

Before it transforms into a raging inferno, while the ear-splitting racket sends the announcer fleeing for his life amidst pinwheels and exploding bottle rockets, Ash asserts his mastery over his birthright, siphoning off the conflagration and luring it to him. Scarlet plumes revert to a lush green as flames wind around his legs, clawing up his svelte frame. The heated updraft stirs his hair, warms his blood-stained visage. The flamewielder wraps one arm around his middle in a warped embrace, in ecstacy as the destructive force flows through him. He leans back, blue eyes drawing to a close. It's... creepy. Deeply unsettling.

He commands the fire to his outstretched hand, collecting every last ember and snuffing them in a final burst of radiance. Thick tendrils of smoke rise above, yet he's not even singed. What person is this, this Ash Crimson? His name could be as fake as Naoko's moniker...

And she believes it wise, to scale him like a koala would a eucalyptus tree.

Sliding past, the teen girl latches on at the rear, a human tanuki climbing to his shoulders, gripping him. She'll find that even through the fabric of his coat, they're... actually quite broad, muscle, sinew and bone at her fingertips. Cerulean orbs reappear, a feeble flicker of something else there and gone in the depths of blue pools. Pupils narrow dangerously. Dying of...? Ash doesn't like the chord the words strike, but he has no time to dwell on such things.

Another express trip to the ground, he's yanked off the feet that he would much rather remain standing on, but there is no fight. No indication that he will even try. The freckle-faced flameslinger spins like a top. Somewhere during the attack, Hitomi seeks to intervene, and not in any way that bodes well for Ash. She... kicks off him to reach Naoko, to knock them apart. He drops, swift and sudden, onto the back of his neck, his shoulders. Legs curl over the young man's head and there's no movement. Just a stillness that worries the crowd; they clamor to see him, fearful that the unexpected series of events has become a tragedy. Imagine the headlines!

"Tch, that's loud." Sorry, he's alive, commenting on the fire alarm. The lower half of his body snaps out to full extension, elevated above the floor. His hips rotate, back in an arch, thrust and forward momentum helping Ash back onto his feet. It's a wicked supine kip-up. Hands locate the generous curve of his hips. "Monsieur, er... Hm, I forgot what he was called." Hitomi could be clobbering the other young lady elsewhere, the audience is torn between watching their aerial progress, a last bout of fireworks, or the 'judge' who just turned the whole show on its head for his own amusement. "Ah." Found him, a pleasant smile greeting the man hiding behind the table in fear.

"Go away!" Bellamy Ramsden wants NOTHING to do with this!

Pfft. Idiot. "Ahaha, tu es fou, we have a job to finish." It's like Ash is a completely different person, his act melting away. He played his part to perfection. These girls better not spoil all the hard work by playing patty-cake again for a few more rounds, or giving up entirely. Getting beaten, even on purpose, is not a thing the European enjoys. Oddly enough, he has a strong disliking for pain. Clicking his tongue, he corrects the position of the table with one hand, dropping down onto the corner of it to sit, "I'll leave the papers to you~" The strange and flamboyant weirdo jabbers in a sing-song.

Ramsden gawps at Crimson as though he had grown about eight extra heads.

COMBATSYS: Ash takes no action.

[                        \\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Ibuki            0/-------/--=====|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2           Hitomi

COMBATSYS: Ash can no longer fight.

[                        \\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Ibuki            0/-------/--=====|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2           Hitomi

Funny thing about attacking from this angle. 'Naoko' could hear the roar of the flames, the crackling of fireworks. She could feel the heat of the fire as it made contact with fuel to keep it burning. She could smell the acrid smoke. In the aftermath of parrying a fireball however, she had to keep her forward momentum going, unable to see more than the deeply unsettling sight of Ash... well. She really had no idea what to make of it, her instinct was to anticipate it as an attack. When none seemed forthcoming, she believed she'd made it in time.

Perhaps she should have anticipated Hitomi trying to seperate them, though her mind wasn't really thinking about that after her last attack on Ash. There she is though, sailing upwards like a dart towards her. 'Naoko' tries to evasively spin away and off of Ash, but the strike clips her as she does, striking at her flank and causing her spin to go off course, to lose any sort of control as the air leaves her lungs. When she hits the ground, she bounces once, just an inch or two, before her body rolls like a rod on it's side, before coming to a rest right near the judge's table.

With the edge provided by adrenaline and chi gone, she feels... drained to the point of exhaustion, and injured enough that she doesn't want to get up. Her arm even still has wisps of smoke rising off of it, to mark the attack she'd just blocked, reddened, even blackened in some areas. The chatter of Ash, the announcer, and the ringing of the fire alarm combined however are giving her one heck of a headache. Then there's the fire to contend to. Her eyes open wide in an instant, as she dares a glimpse at the catwalk. Nothing but fireworks. Then she tries to get up to her knees, gaze still sweeping the room and causing her neck to ache.

Internally she admits that she did in fact underestimate the judge's control for a moment, as she then rises up on shaky legs. And there he is, at the table, as a judge again. Her eyes instantly narrow dangerously, before she tears her eyes away from the sight to prevent her from doing anything rash. Instead she thinks upon her options for a while, examining each in turn, while looking down at the tattered remains of her gown. It was only hanging on on one shoulder, the skirt was completely gone below the waist, leaving just the bike shorts she was wearing beneath them. Her high heels were still there, but she'd glued them on with wig glue. Her feet in particular, perhaps, would suffer most of all for this.

Suddenly, as the crowd's murmuring in speculation over what was going to happen starts to die down, another smoke bomb is dropped at Naoko's feet as she makes another decision. "You're right Hitomi-chan." It billows out, giving her the cover she needs for a few moments. When it finally clears... she's wearing nothing more elaborate than a hot pink dress, with a sweetheart neckline, and a multi-tiered skirt that stops just above her knees. Overlaying that is a white sweater. The heels she was wearing are gone, instead she's wearing pumps. Where did she even find a solvent for the glue that worked so quickly!? The whole statement seems to be thumbing her nose at Ash in particular, as it's definitely not meant to win any fashion contests. "My dress /was/ ruined."

With as straight a back as she can, given her many injuries, she walks towards the stage, and up the small set of platform steps to the catwalk, not leaping up there as she might have in other circumstances. "And I've lost. Even if I haven't, I forfeit." Even if she could win the fight at this point, which she truly doubted, she couldn't even take credit due to her alias. So why should she keep fighting for Ash's amusement?

Walking towards the backstage, she ceases and looks over her shoulder one last time. With a smile she gives Hitomi, the audience, and even... Ash one last wave, "Sayonara. Don't forget about me!" How anticlimactic! Or was it really? As she moves backstage, everyone's favorite Tanuki possibly because he's the only Tanuki here rushes up the steps to the catwalk and scampers after her backstage as well.

In the midst of where the two fighters had been so epically battling Hitomi hangs is the air, having rebounded off the falling body of Ash Crimson and struck Naoko hard enough to separate them she lands in a crouch, having caught most of her weight with her arms she teeters her way back to her feet, wobbling while rising and glancing back over her shoulder at the Guest Judge lying so with his posterior in the air balanced on his neck and shoulders. She quickly averts her gaze because that had kind of been partly her fault; that and there was an attractive man lying with his-*ahem.*

Now facing Naoko she worries how the other girl might interpret the sudden attack and interposing herself between them; In no way did she want to defend him but this fight had no real reason to put up with him any further. Ha, it wasn't enough to stop Naoko! The other girl rolls to a stop; she looks weary and her arm, Hitomi can't help but be concerned by that. That once elegant dress is a shambles but -- Girls shine brightly when it comes from within! Hitomi holds off, there is no pursuit or further aggression; hands clasped together in front of her as Naoko examines the state of her dress.

The billowing smoke cloud concealing Naoko wafts away; revealing the quick dress change. Hitomi marvels at the spectacle. Was that how she changed so fast earlier? Was she up against a professional!? Astounded eyes turn down to study the hot pink dress and wonder if it was hidden somehow beneath ... There wasn't any way it was! It went really well with Naoko's long blonde hair, the bright colours were flattering. She is even more still envious of the change to pumps.

Watching Naoko draw herself up and make her way back to the catwalk Hitomi can do naught but watch the display of maturity. Her fists tighten at her sides, teeth gritted and turning to look away, incredibly frustrated that such a thing would prevent a match she now desperately wanted to finish, but grateful it was over

'Sayonara. Don't forget about me!'

"NAOKO-Chaaaan-- I'm sorry! I should have told you the things he was saying; (That I could understand) weren't true. Someday I hope I can be as strong and as pretty as you are."

It's a sincere wish, and delivered by boisterously calling after her opponent; Hands cupped around her mouth and shouting to try and be heard over the still ringing fire alarm. Another deep breaths.

"Until next time!"

She doesn't know what kind of power Naoko had unleashed when pressed in that fight but that was pretty clear evidence to her that she probably would have lost, she should have lost facing Naoko on equal terms and not knowing about it. Even so it's her brightest smile dialled up to eleven and directed at the backstage just for Naoko. With the fire alarm ringing and the crowd oscillating between beginning to make their way to the exits and watching the show still it's hard to hear anything else more than a few feet away let alone just one girl yelling in the midst of it. But, for Guest Judge Ash Crimson? She rounds on him pointing rudely, a far cry from the girl who stepped out on the stage a the beginning of this show.

"I deeeeespise you! Anyone who would trample on a young woman's feelings for amusement."

She stops short of sticking her tongue out childishly at him but the impulse had been there. The delivery is so exaggerated, like a hero drama or television show, pure and heartfelt. The similarity striking and yet enough that she would both not believe she had done it if confronted by video evidence or marvel at someone else's performance of the same bit and line delivered in a show. Glaring at him seated so casually at the Judges table she acknowledges his power if not his attitude or way he treated others.

Standing well away from the prematurely detonating fireworks stands Maurice and his crew of designers, holding what they grabbed and salvaged when the fire had seemingly started, one of them carrying an armful of denim jacket and jeans; and a certain pink hairband in hand. Oh, it looks like the fire stopped somehow, but she is still glad nothing got burned up or destroyed by it.

Later that day while walking home she has her face buried in a small sheaf of papers, nodding along and stopping occasionally as a particular comment sinks home or astounds her.

"Auuu, none of this matters I'm not a model!"

Despite that she can't bring herself to throw it into the trash, there something about the flowing scrawl of criticisms and pointers that challenges her and rather than casting it into the bin she starts re-reading it. Still standing in the middle of the street, blocks away from school and dressed in her usual clothes as the one of the fire engines finally cruises away on to other duties. The horn blares and some of the firefighters wave, she return the wave enthusiastically but hopes she doesn't cause them any more trouble anytime soon.

With these Saturday Night Fights; who knew?

Log created on 20:16:12 12/05/2014 by Hitomi, and last modified on 04:08:20 12/12/2014.