Description: A fight which should have been a run up a mountain of great religious significance soon takes a veer into bad territory when Gertrude becomes a bully and menace to the elderly, and Natsu chooses the exact wrong words to take issue with her over it. Thrills, spills, and exploded trees abound ... also much shame. SHAME. <Draw>
Each member of the Buddhist and Shinto pantheons has a different location they'd prefer, so each shrine is different. Some shrines in Japan can be found in the hearts of cities, living breathing focii of activity which people consciously route themselves to, fro, and around. Other shrines are located far from the cities, isolated and secluded to allow the devout time to properly focus themselves.
Konpira started off isolated, halfway to the top of Mount Zozu. But then the shrine complex grew to become the largest on the island of Shikoku. And the town beneath it grew, prospered from all the attention. ... But it's still on a freaking mountain, so what you have here is this amalgamation of buildings built on a very slanted surface, all clustered together in a jumbled mess.
It looks fine at street level, where the SNF crews are hurriedly trying to make final preparations. Steadicams are ready, the officials are ready, and the 300m-long, 785-step walkway up to the main shrine snaking up to the shrine complex is clear, aside from a few stragglers who get barked at with SNF-crewed megaphones.
Natsu Ayuhara is here. She's wearing her Gorin High volleyball uniform, consisting of a red jersey and red shorts. Standing near the fight start, she checks the fit of her elbow pads and knee pads while a fight official is talking with her. Tightening her gloves, she seems copacetic with the requirements, until one statement brings about a raised eyebrow. "... You want us to... -what?-"
It's pretty impressive, how the official manages to speak without even parting his lips, like he'd spent the past week watching nothing but Peanuts videos and thought, hey, the parents are cool role models.
One corner of her mouth curls in dismay "... Fight. While running to the top. You people are -insane-."
"Last week, I fought atop a collapsing building." Gertrude says, with a faint hint of amusement in her voice, "I don't know about running, but fighting on a staircase? Yeah, I'll take that over demolition derby any day of the week."
The German woman smiles as she shrugs her shoulders, waiting for Natsu to straighten before she'll bow - because that's just the kind of girl she is. When she straightens back herself, and actually has to look UP at Natsu, that gets an appreciative whistle. Gertrude is tall, but Natsu has her beat, and she's only a teenager. Laughing, Gertrude shakes her head.
"Wow. You are TALL!" She says, and then, immediately, feels like a jerk for pointing it out. "Uh, not that that's a bad thing. I was pretty tall when I was your age too!" Which, means exactly nothing, and doesn't exactly help make her feel better about pointing it out right to Natsu's face, in front of the cameras. For no good reason.
"... Aaaanyway, I'm Gertrude. Nice to meet you... Natsu, right?"
Natsu... tends to keep to herself around strangers. She knows she has a strong temper, and as such she'd prefer not to inflict it upon people if she can avoid it. But it's pretty difficult to keep from being exasperated at the thought of running up stairs and landings while -fighting-. And then Gertrude is suddenly talking with her, starting in with the small talk. Tall talk. Whatever! She... finds she doesn't really have much to say about collapsing buildings. She'd like to, honest! But without any real experience, Natsu just gives a light chuckle in reply. Politely.
The volleyballer's cheeks turn a fair shade of pink as she looks back at the German woman, rolling her shoulders about. She's not terribly -embarassed- by people pointing out that she's tall -- it's a pretty normal thing. But then she just keeps trying to dig herself out of a hole, and... yeah.
Rubbing the nape of her neck, she gives only a polite laugh. Pausing to get a better look at her opponent -- silently pleased to be able to look someone directly in the eye -- she stammers, "N-Natsu. Yes. A pleasure to meet you," she says, bowing at the waist to her opponent.
The fight official is young. And nervous, considering Natsu had just more or less snapped at one of his associates. "L-Ladies, I think it's about t-time to--" He has a starter pistol in his hand, and as he walks up to Natsu and Gertrude, from the downhill side, he fumbles with the pistol, nearly dropping it. But as he regains control... well. His finger trips the trigger.
P-POW! The starter pistol fires its shot harmlessly into the air, but the official wasn't ready for it. He drops to his knees, cowering!
But Natsu? She was a bundle of nerves. And as soon as that pistol fires, she's launching forward, her left wrist whirling upwards her opponent's midsection. She'd follow up by slamming her shoulder into Gertrude as well -- attempting to keep her stance so as to knock Gertrude downhill if it connects. After all, this isn't just a fight to the finish, but also a race to the finish!
COMBATSYS: Natsu has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Gertrude has joined the fight here.
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Natsu 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Gertrude
COMBATSYS: Gertrude interrupts Medium Punch from Natsu with Tomoe Nage.
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Natsu 0/-------/-----==|==-----\-------\0 Gertrude
It is indeed a race to the top! Say what you like about Gertrude, she does have a tendency to fixate on the objective rather than, perhaps, the spirit of the rules.
The punch to the blonde's midsection lands cleanly, and the German woman grunts with it as she leans into the blow. Partly, she's surprised by the speed with which Natsu was coming at her from the off; partly again, by the skill. It is still shocking to her that so many kids know how to throw such good punches these days. Perhaps it shouldn't - they weren't too unusual in her own household, after all, but ... her house wasn't exactly a beacon of stability and a model she hoped to see replicated throughout the world.
As Natsu leans in to give a firm shoulder, though, that's when Gertrude shifts her weight. It just feels... natural, somehow. Grabbing Natsu's shoulders, she uses the teenager's momentum against her, bracing her to her body with a knee, and rolling backwards - before letting go of Natsu at the top of the roll, and fling her away.
Which, of course, just leaves her to complete the roll, and then break into a sprint. She hadn't actually considered what it might look like to the fighting community if she just... maintained her lead; she's not exactly an expert at fighting at range, but... hey. She's got options. Maybe if she makes it up this hill really quickly, she can secure a spot in Germany's next marathon team or something?!
Natsu is used to hitting volleyballs. Volleyballs don't hit back, at least not in unexpected ways; it's safe to say that the Gorin team captain is well-versed in just about any way a volleyball could conceivable be used to hurt someone, insofar as it can be done without deflating.
But hitting people? That, she's still getting used to. Sakura and Hinata said it would be fun. They were right, of course, but if they hadn't convinced her, she wouldn't be finding herself used as a vehicle for an exhibition of Gertrude's masterful experience in Shotokan Karate, now, would she? "Uwaa?!" states the tall Japanese student as her shoulder -- her -shoulder- of all things! -- is interrupted, leaving her as easy prey for the momentum shift that causes her to fly head over heels, sailing right over Gertrude and landing hard on the concrete stairway/walkway.
Natsu flips back to her feet, and is all set to rise back up with an uppercut.
But Gertrude isn't there. ... She's nowhere close.
Natsu snaps her head up the path, and =there= she sees Gertrude. "Mattaku..."
The Gorin athlete breaks into a run, her hands flattening as she runs like any member of the track team might, in this situation: quickly! She vaults up the first stairway, having quite a bit of ground to cover to catch up with Gertrude. Can she catch her? No?
But it's right then that she catches sight of the SNF support staff just up the hill from her. She sees the young boy, and calls out, "Service!"
It might seem out of place. But Natsu has a contract rider.
And as she runs, the SNF staffer throws a volleyball to her, properly accounting for her run. She bumps it into the air with a wrist -- and then =leaps= into the air, slamming into it at a high rate of speed.
The volleyball rockets forth, distorting into an oval from the sheer speed imparted onto it by Natsu's spike -- aimed right at Gertrude's retreating form!
If she can't catch up with her by running, then perhaps she can use her range to good advantage...
COMBATSYS: Gertrude blocks Natsu's Tokkun Spike.
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Natsu 0/-------/----===|====---\-------\0 Gertrude
They say that when you are a true master of the martial arts, you obtain a kind of 'danger sense', an ability to know instinctively when you are in danger, and perhaps even how best to react to the many varied and unusual manners in which physical harm can be invited to your frail, mortal shell.
Gertrude does not have such a sense, so it is a good thing that Natsu shouts 'Service!'
Looking over her shoulder, Gertrude's eyebrow raises sharply at the incoming projectile. For all the strength in her foundational technique, Gertrude really doesn't have a conventional answer to the humble spiked volleyball, and as she realizes just how swiftly it is coming in for her, she really wishes she did. The anti-volleyball serve is an area of Shotokan Karate which clearly requires development.
"YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF!" Chimes in a priest, helpfully. "Desecrating this sacred place, I spit on you!"
And as the outraged Japanese man prepares to spit on her, Gertrude brings both hands clapping forwards in front of her. Catching the volleyball still numbs her palms, and the force behind it sends her stumbling back a couple of paces up the hill. "G-Geez, that's some technique..."
And Gert does the only thing she can think to do - probably ill-advised given Natsu's mastery of the technique but... she HURLS the ball back down the hill overarm, sending it bouncing and wheeling madly about, whilst she turns on her heel and resumes fleeing as fast as she can!
COMBATSYS: Natsu blocks Gertrude's Thrown Object.
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Natsu 0/-------/----===|====---\-------\0 Gertrude
Natsu Ayuhara could not agree with the priest more. They -should- be ashamed of themselves, using a sacred place like this as the site for martial combat. But there are loftier matters at play here, like... Okay, nah. Just the money.
The first-year Gorin athlete flashes a smile back towards her SNF opponent. It may be sacrilegious, but at least she got Gertrude to stop running for a couple seconds, allowing her to catch up just a smidge. And... as the volleyball gets lobbed back her way, Natsu leaps up to slam her hands into it, setting it forward. With a furrowed brow, she compensates for the backward momentum of the ball, shifting her trajectory mid-flight, and resumes running as soon as she lands. A hand snaps up to catch the ball as it falls, and she casually tosses it over to the next of the SNF staff along the path. Better than letting someone trip on it, after all.
With her gain in speed, she's able to make a dashing leap for Gertrude's back, extending her long legs in a kick aimed at Gertrude's shoulders! "Haaaaa!"
Sure, Sakura and Hinata might complain at her for not saying something cooler, but -you- try running up a few hundred steps and see how well you do.
COMBATSYS: Natsu successfully hits Gertrude with Medium Kick.
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Natsu 0/-------/---====|=======\-------\0 Gertrude
Gertrude is hit square between the shoulders, her attempt to just keep running and maintain her lead on the younger woman proves woefully inaccurate. Thankfully, whilst Natsu might have hangups about sacred places, recent events have caused Gertrude now, more than ever, to cease even pretending to have any patience with spirituality. Gods, demons, monsters... the world is full of people who claim to be them, represent them, or fight them.
This might be a nice staircase, but that's all it is!
Still, taking a heavy kick on a bunch of stairs is not a pleasant experience, and Gertrude thumps into the stone with a grunt. She does not stay down for long, though! Back up in a burst of speed, the woman brings one leg around - ordinarily, it'd go for the face, but with the slope of the hill, she aims to connect solidly with the younger girl's knees...
And if she gets her hit, she'll bounce off, and in a shocking display of athleticism and momentum, bring her other foot around to hit the girl's shoulder. "I don't know what they're teaching you kids in Japanese schools..." She huffs, because she, being an experienced fighter, is well-trained in the art of continuing casual conversation mid-attack, "But we need to get more of it in Europe, I tell you that!"
COMBATSYS: Gertrude successfully hits Natsu with Double Spin Heel EX.
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Natsu 0/-------/-======|=======\-------\1 Gertrude
Natsu shifts her weight after landing her kick, landing a bit unsteadily on the stairs. It's a bit of a balancing act, of course, as one wrong step could lead to a broken ankle -- that was something she -hadn't- considered before tossing herself headlong into the kick. Something to consider!
It's that unsteadiness that leaves Ayuhara wide open for a kick to the knees. Her legs get swept out from under her, allowing her to get socked in the shoulder as well. The double attack is enough to send her flying back, catching the corner of a step right in her shoulder as she lands.
"Unh!" is Natsu's intellectual response to that, as she barely manages to brace herself with a hand to prevent herself from rolling all the way down the stairs. "... They teach us sports and English," comments Natsu, either not getting Gertrude's joke, or providing her own wry commentary on the educational system. But the point is, as she gathers her legs beneath her, she aims to surge back upwards at her opponent, slamming both palms at her. It'd be enough force to blast Gertrude into the air -- a perfect setup for the volleyball star to leap into the air and spike Gertrude as a followup -- which would knock the karateka off the stone path and into the trees!
COMBATSYS: Gertrude dodges Natsu's Set and Spike.
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Natsu 0/-------/--=====|=======\-------\1 Gertrude
Gertrude is actually starting to enjoy the challenge. Not the run, or even the view, really; certainly these things would be great in their time and place... but not here. Here, she has to fight, and fighting demands her full concentration. But the challenge of fighting on a relatively steep slope is throwing up all manner of new things to worry about which she just ... never normally considers. Last week, gravity had been a constant threat; here it could be an ally as well!
Natsu has to run uphill, and that gives Gertrude the time she needs to gauge what her opponent is doing and, at the last moment, lean backwards. Natsu strikes upwards, her palms passing within inches of Gertrude before the woman straightens up again.
"I hope they don't neglect science as well." She says, with a smile. This time, her approach is almost gentle. One hand moves to try and find Natsu's shoulder again, whilst she steps backwards a pace with one leg and braces the other against the step below. If all goes accordng to plan, Natsu will find herself being rolled gently across that leg...
And hopefully gravity and many, many steps will keep the roll up after that! "Because what goes up, must come down!"
COMBATSYS: Natsu fails to interrupt Graceful Fall from Gertrude with Knock It Off!.
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Natsu 0/-------/-======|=======\=------\1 Gertrude
In stark contrast to Gertrude, Natsu is -not- enjoy this challenge! It might have to do with the fact that Natsu is wholly, totally, used to fighting on level surfaces. It can be concrete, it can be wood floor, it can be tatami mats, or it could even be sand.
But not stone steps. The running... it is aggravating! And Natsu doesn't have a track history of dealing well with changes to the routine. She'd missed the set, having overcommitted slightly, and Gertrude punishes her for it!
Trying to make the best of a bad situation, Natsu lurches forward, trying to get her hands snagged around Gertrude's flannel shirt. But the patterns make her eyes cross, and she misjudges the distance, her hands swinging shy. The fact that Gertrude is already slinging her down the steps is... well. Icing on the cake.
Natsu finds herself losing a -big- part of the lead, here.
The stairway has taken a mild, lazy turn to the left at this part of the trip. It might be hard for Gertrude to see the priests. Or the obstacles they've placed in the path to attempt to protect the historic and religious symbology. She might also miss the blue-and-white striped plastic barrel that one of the more vengeful priests is rolling downhill at her. Stop desecrating their home with this televised fighting nonsense, gosh!
Gertrude has fought hundreds of battles across her career; but most have been in very strict conditions. The usual array of mats, rings, cages... rarely anything with a truly significant impact on the ability of one fighter to punch another in the face. The Saturday Night matchups have, so far, proven to be ... a dramatic shakeup of that formula. Last week was dreadful, this week is just different - at least, until she blunders into the priests.
Leaping over the barrel, it is at least relatively large and thus easy to avoid. She comes down next to the priest, and frowns. "Hey." She says, "Don't do that."
The priest, a very old man, responds by raising his shinto stick and rapping it firmly against Gertrude's skull, which takes the young woman by surprise. "Don't you dare desecrate this holy land any further!" The old codger bemoans, "You have no respect! No respect at all!"
"... Don't do that."
The elderly priest raises his stick again, and presumably by now, Natsu is at least starting to catch up. Which probably means that when Gertrude defends herself with another perfectly-executed Tomoe Nage, an old dude in heavy religious robes, waving his stick with wild abandon, is hurtling down the steps towards her.
Gertrude pauses for a moment to find the nearest SNF camera, and look right into it.
"... He hit me first, everyone saw it."
COMBATSYS: Natsu blocks Gertrude's Large Thrown Object.
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Natsu 0/-------/=======|=======\=------\1 Gertrude
Natsu's caught herself on the stairs. In her state, stopping her roll took a good bit of doing -- but somehow she'd managed to. Her uniform is still in good state for the time being, but her skin is going to be mottled black and blue from all the bumps and bruises she's taken. But right now... adrenaline is a powerful enabler. She charges upstairs: while fighting an uphill battle (literally) is a challenge, negotiation of a pure physical challenge is something the athlete can handle.
Even if it comes down to barrels acting as randomized hurdles. Natsu saw Gertrude hop over it, but considering her legs' shakiness now, she opts to stride aside the barrel instead.
And then... she finds a priest thrown at her. Gulp.
Natsu stops, bracing herself by planting herself low against the stairsteps. The priest is... caught, much like one would try to catch a bag of rice tossed down from the back of a tall truck. Natsu frowns at this turn of events, carefully setting the priest down. "Gomen nasai..." she apologizes, drawing in her breath as she resumes running up the stairs.
This will not stand, she resolves. Gertrude was simply an opponent before. But now she's proven herself... to be a meanie.
Natsu pours on the speed. "... You..." She =finds= a way to run faster. "... Are... " And when she catches up with Gertrude, she doesn't even try to pull that punch, throwing just about =everything= into the bid to just flatten the young woman with one. Massive. Punch.
"... Unbelievable!!! "
COMBATSYS: Gertrude fails to interrupt Aggressive Strike from Natsu with Rising Knuckle.
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Natsu 1/-------/=======|=======\==-----\1 Gertrude
Gertrude looks faintly surprised by the turn of speed that Natsu puts on. Truth be told, she hadn't thought the girl was actually capable of it! When she really goes for it, and Gert is faced with the sheer determination in the younger woman's voice, she laughs, scratching behind the back of her head - but Natsu is really winding up the punch, here. Everyone, even the viewers at home, have to see the easily-telegraphed move coming.
So she intends to simply smash it aside with her rising fist! But... Natsu's raw strength comes into play quite surprisingly, and instead, Gertrude is flung further up the steps, bouncing from one stony outcropping and coming to a rest with a heavy 'oof'. When she gets back up to her feet, she adjusts her glasses, and... laughs?
"Hahah, well... thank you! You're, you're unbelievable too! I wish I had half your strength at your age. Oof!" And she gingerly touches her stomach, where she just took the blow full-on. That really did hurt!
... and she really was taking it as a compliment rather than an expression of shock and dismay ...
Natsu is ... not pleased, as she resumes her pace -- clearing to a little bit ahead of Gertrude. But not -too- much though, as she's still kind of mad, and has to vent some of it!
Jogging alongside Gertrude, she calls over her shoulder. "Y-you just -threw- someone at me! How... what kind of MONSTER are you? You could have killed him!" As someone whose team captain was taken out of the season by a minor throw, well... she takes these things seriously!
And this is the entire reason she suddenly sacrifices some of her forward momentum, leaping upstairs, digging her heel into a step, and using the effectively braced stance to wheel a massive kick around to knock Gertrude down the stairs again. "I've no patience for /bullies!/"
COMBATSYS: Gertrude dodges Natsu's Medium Kick.
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Natsu 1/-------/=======|=======\==-----\1 Gertrude
Gertrude looks genuinely startled by the anger she's provoked. Being called a monster, and then a bully, in rapid succession means that she actually drops out of her stance, "Hey, hey!" She protests, jumping backwards, and stepping around another startled priest - though this time, she's not aiming to throw him at Natsu, so much as she's trying to keep him between herself and the enraged schoolgirl.
"Don't be ridiculous! There's ambulances all over the place, and I'm good enough to know how NOT to kill a dude. Besides, he hit me first!"
She huffs, genuinely offended, and glares at Natsu from behind her glasses as she tightens her jaw. "If you think that's monstrous, kid, you better quit fighting right now! There's people who really would have killed that old codger for hitting them! What the hell do you call THAT but BEING a bully, huh?!"
COMBATSYS: Gertrude takes no action.
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Natsu 1/-------/=======|=======\==-----\1 Gertrude
"... I... " He hit Gertrude -first?- What difference does that make?! Natsu is incensed beyond the point of being able to frame a direct response to that, though, her cheeks and ears turning about as red as her jersey.
"Disrespect for your -elders- too?" Natsu frowns. Frowns big! "Oh! I see! It makes perfect sense! I call you a bully, and you say 'no, /I'm/ not, but just think of the bully I /could/ be if I tried really hard!'"
Natsu grits her teeth. And then she lashes her hand at Gertrude's shirt, aiming to pull her close. "Now, I'm not saying you're =wrong?= But that doesn't mean you're not still mean!" Listen, folks. Don't argue with Gorin folks. It's only going to make you angry too!
And should she manage to catch hold of Gertrude, she'd try and strongarm her into a tree!
COMBATSYS: Natsu successfully hits Gertrude with Combo Grapple.
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Natsu 1/-------/=======|=======\=====--\1 Gertrude
Okay, now Gertrude is actually pissed off.
The girl comes at her again, and this time, she winds up being swung around into a tree on the trail. That tree probably had an ancient and proud history behind it, but she winds up hitting it hard enough to splinter some of the bark.
Spoilers: Today is not a good day to be that tree.
"No." Gertrude says, and her voice is, very calm. Very calm and very quiet, in that way people can get when they are incredibly, incredibly angry. She'd been enjoying this fight, and now the girl had to go and spoil it with all this nonsense!?
"I'm not a bully, because I don't go around hitting people who don't want me to, or who don't hit me first." Shoving roughly back, Gertrude rounds on Natsu, and her eyes flash dangerously. She's talking as though she's speaking to, well, a little kid. Which she kind of is? But still! The contrast between this and cheerful-happy Gertrude earlier is... startling.
"I'm not a MONSTER." She shouts, "Because I didn't try and KILL anybody. I KNOW, WHAT I'M DOING, /DAMN YOU/. You want to see a monster, huh?! You want to see a monster? DO YOU?!"
She's... totally lost her temper, now. Blind, furious rage swells up within her and - ironically - she really DOESN'T know what she's doing when she raises both hands above her head, her entire body suffused with a gentle purple light.
The heavy axe-handle she aims to smash down atop Natsu's skull is definitely not a karate move. Hit or miss, though, it will be coupled with an explosion of bright purple power which rips out of her, and will - if nothing else - uproot and destroy the unfortunate tree.
Hopefully any bystanders have the wherewithal to back off before then, because if they don't, Gertrude's claim not to be a monster may have... somewhat more doubt cast upon it.
COMBATSYS: Natsu blocks Gertrude's Perfection Hammer.
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Natsu 1/----===/=======|-------\-------\0 Gertrude
Natsu... seems to have awakened something. She doesn't understand -what-. But -something-.
"I don't know why everyone else has a problem with simple decency!" retorts Natsu. She's... she's had issues, all stemming from the injury of her team captain due to the actions of, well, a bully. An unrepentant one. And the self-styled champion of the bullied just can't abide the exact sort of behavior that she saw in Gertrude -- regardless of what actually happened, of course!
And then Gertrude... hulks out, or something! Natsu stares back at her opponent, who seems to have completely given up all pretenses at running up the hill. "I'd =really= like to talk this over later!" shouts Natsu -- she'd escalated the situation, sure, but she didn't need Gertrude going -psychotic- on her or anything! ... But it seems she will anyway. Natsu drops down to one knee, raising both hands over her head. She blocks it -- like she would any suitably impressive volleyball spike.
But unlike any impressive volleyball spike, it would seem that Natsu herself is suffused with a glow of sorts -- but her aura takes on a fiery impression, blaze orange. Lit aflame with her internal store of energy, she stares defiantly back at her powered-up opponent.
The explosion sends her flying backwards, to say nothing of the tree. That poor tree.
But Natsu is still in control, otherwise -- dropping like a rock, she hits the ground at an angle. Heel digging into the soil, and still burning with the flame of justice, she rockets forward. The time for verbal negotation has past. It's time to get serious.
And Gertrude might be able to appreciate the axhandle blow that Natsu whips around, strong enough to send her purple infused opponent into the air. And then Natsu would be more than happy to follow it up by leaping after her, spiking her back into the stairsteps -- and possibly even -down- said steps.
Maybe sometime after their tempers cool, they can have a nice cup of tea and some cake?
COMBATSYS: Gertrude dodges Natsu's Rival Launcher.
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Natsu 0/-------/-----==|-------\-------\0 Gertrude
Later may well be a good time for talk - right now? No, not so much. Gertrude has her own issues she's dealing with - and whilst Natsu has unknowingly hit a nerve... the fact remains, that nerve has been struck very firmly indeed. Gertrude's expression is just, real hatred, and as Natsu continues to defy her after the detonation of energy clears, Gertrude's lip curls into a bitter sneer.
As Natsu rockets towards her, Gertrude slams her arms over her chest in a sudden resumption of her guard, and throws herself to the side. The blow would, no doubt, have been enough to finish her off - but as Natsu goes past her, the German woman's expression is set, dark and intense.
"Genug!" She spits, "UTOPIE! GEDRANGE!"
Lunging after the girl, the edge of Gertrude's palm leads the way, aiming to smash down powerfully on the side of Natsu's neck - right where her neck meets her shoulder. Gertrude leaps in, putting the full momentum of the movement into the attack - hoping she can follow her up before Natsu has successfully recovered her guard.
At least she's not glowing any more, though - even if this will come as scant comfort to the unfortunate tree.
COMBATSYS: Gertrude successfully hits Natsu with Utopian Crusher.
- Power hit! -
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Natsu 0/-------/---====|==-----\-------\0 Gertrude
Natsu frowns. This -was- going to be a friendly match. Then... well.
She never did learn much German. It was an option. She chose English. Everyone in her class chose English. It's nothing personal. But as the closest translation she can muster is 'rawr gertrude smash,' she figures that it will probably hurt.
She's not able to do much about hurting, though, as she's still turning when Gertrude approaches. Turning... poorly. She gets slammed into the steps, her head making a sickly 'thonk' sound as it conks into the concrete, and she rolls down one, two, three steps.
By all rights, she -should- be knocked out.
But at Gorin High... they're not keen on teaching the meaning of 'give up.' In any language.
Natsu picks herself back up. She's expressing nothing but her determination now, not rage, not anger, definitely not smiles and sunshine. And if the blood trickling from her forehead is any indication, she could probably not use any more head trauma.
That's just all the more reason for her to hit Gertrude with her hard-capped elbow guards instead. She can hit as hard as she likes this way. And she likes to hit hard.
COMBATSYS: Natsu keeps on fighting!
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Natsu 0/-------/---====|==-----\-------\0 Gertrude
COMBATSYS: Gertrude interrupts Aggressive Strike from Natsu with Rising Knuckle.
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Natsu 1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0 Gertrude
'Rawr Gertrude Smash' is a fairly accurate representation of Gertrude's state of mind right now.
She's still looking fairly pissed off when Natsu returns to the fight. "Stay. Down." Gertrude says, seriously, eyeing the bloody head wound. But of course, Natsu doesn't try to stay down. She comes right back in.
If she were in a better state of mind, Gertrude probably wouldn't step -into- the blow, standing firm as Natsu slams into her stomach, and then HAMMER her knuckles upwards. The resultant crash of fist against chin is really... quite vicious, considering the head wound already in play, and Gertrude just aims to add another.
Gertrude repeats the two words of english with some effort, glowering at the girl from behind her glasses. All pretense of even trying to get to the top of the hill is now completely abandoned in favor of the drawn-out slugfest on the steps below.
She's not having fun at all any more. Later on, she may even feel like a bully for it - but right now, she's just watching like a hawk, waiting for the girl to make or move - or not. Gertrude's fingers flex by her side, a subtle, menacing motion. There's no softness in her. Later, perhaps, she'll look back at the girl's determination with some measure of respect, even admiration.
Right now, she just wants the teenager to stop annoying her.
This isn't very fun, not much at all.
Natsu had found an uppercut greeting her as she stepped into Gertrude's personal space. Karate's all about directing force to the opponent in as linear a fashion as possible -- it's never been about glitz or glamour, it's been about sheer practical application of ouchietimes.
Consequently, Natsu... doesn't really have many options, as she's flying backwards, tumbling head over heels, darkness creeping into the edges of her vision. When she'd first started, she'd equated fighting to a volleyball match -- each attack like the ebb and flow of a good, fast-paced match. But the more she's fought, she less relationship she sees. No one gets -this- irrational in volleyball matches (except for crazed helicopter parents).
And that's when a single word occurs to Natsu, even as she's twirling around in a flat spin.
It'd be hard to hear, but as the SNF officials had closed in for what must be the finale of the match-up, it only takes one person listening.
A volleyball is served Natsu's way. And as she has the presence of mind to kick one leg out, bringing her knee to her chest, she's able to stop her spin long enough to focus her will, her prodigous amount of chi... into one final spike. "No! You stay down!"
/You/ try thinking of snappy repartee when you're nearly unconscious, and the stone steps are rushing up at you.
COMBATSYS: Natsu can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Natsu successfully hits Gertrude with Blazing Serve.
The admonishment is just downright mean. There's no call for that sort of language at all! The attitude is the exact opposite of the kind of sportsmanlike spirit she usually tries to exude - but Natsu had succeeded in getting pretty firmly underneath her skin.
As she is nailed by the blazing volleyball, she grunts, and sinks to her knees. There's only a small amount of satisfaction to be taken in the fact that Natsu has hit the ground for good (well, for the next fifteen or so minutes at least) first.
It is only when both girls are down that the priests return to the scene. Peeking out from the places where they had taken shelter, they descend upon the hapless fighters with brushes and expensive, indelible ink - both girls had failed to reach the summit, and so any hope that this could be redeemed in any way is lost, lost forever.
Leaving only the kanji for 'shame' marked on their foreheads for all the world to see.
COMBATSYS: Gertrude takes no action.
COMBATSYS: Gertrude can no longer fight.
Log created on 14:12:39 12/20/2014 by Gertrude, and last modified on 19:21:36 12/20/2014.