IHST - Inter-High School Tournament: Rock vs Athena

Description: Taiyo High's Blonde Heartthrobe, Rock Howard, battles Justice High's popular Rising Star, Athena Asamiya. But can Rock prevail against the intensely focused Kung Fu artist when also being threatened by the Living Legend that is Hulk-sensei?!

The match between the two skilled fighters had been scheduled for over a week and a half ago; right after the annoucements went out. The day before it was supposed to happen, Rock would have received notice that it had been postponed. At the same time, word began circulating about some kind of disaster at the Justice High campus. Official word was something about a catastrophic gas leak that destroyed the girls locker room. The gossip among students reported something more horrible - a violent attack on one of the school's elite students.

Over a week would go by before Rock would receive an invitation with an actual scheduled time to appear for the Inter-High School Tournament he found himself in. Taiyo would be hosting this match between their own Rock Howard and one of the most well known Justice High students around, Athena Asamiya.

Even a cursory understanding of the girl's reputation would make it known that she had only been fighting in public venues for six months but in that short amount of time had completely blown past the rookie ranks to begin fighting people who were veterans several times over compared to her. Her stage presence was reputedly phenomenal, her speed incredible, and the power of her energy attacks clearly one of the reasons she has had such as successful career so far. She has also been the main Justice High representative at all school related fighting events, where it is rumored even the elite, stuck up students of the intense academy have taken a strong liking to the outgoing girl.

Finally, there was that video floating around on the internet of Athena singing the Japan National Anthem before a fighting exhibition event about three months prior. Considered a smashing success, the buzz about her potential career outside of the fighting circuits was still going around even if it seemed there had been no verified follow up that she would ever be pursuing the change in focus from fighting to performing.

The auditorium is packed. Other than the anticipated match between Kyo and Hyo, this promises to be one of the higher end student battles of the whole event. The entire floor of the sports center has been cleared out to leave room for the two fighters to show their stuff while the stands have been filled to capacity on both sides. Filming equipment is setup and even the Taiyo High cheer squad is out doing a routine to rile the crowd up for the night's event.

Perhaps out of deference for the tension between the schools, the Justice student body in attendence has been seated on the left stands while Taiyo's own have been seated in the right. The left stands are filled with the quiet, reserved, uniformed Justice students, each wearing their military-orange and black uniforms. No amount of effort on the part of the cheerleading squad seems to be able to get so much as a polite applause from the students.

Though she is representing Justice tonight, Athena is not clothed in their colors when she finally steps out onto the floor. Only when she is announced, entering from the north side of the auditorium, do the students from Justice begin clapping. It would be wrong to say that they were the bastion of exuberance, but they do at least seem to be giving the girl their support in their own reserved, quite way.

The successful fighting teen is dressed in a light blue blouse with short, poofy sleeves over her shoulders. A small navy blue vest matches the navy blue skirt at her waist, and even darker blue tights over her legs. Buckled shoes cover each foot and navy blue fingerless gloves cover each hand. Her hair is shorter than the publicity images prepared ahead of time for the match but still reaches down to her shoulders. At first glance, it seems perfectly black, but in the bright lighting of the auditorium it becomes evident that it is really a very dark shade of violet only noticeable when illuminated so brightly.

The girl strides in with confidence and energy, coming to a stop on her side. A ready smile and wave is offered to the students of Justice first, and then to the Taiyo side of the room. Following that, she bows in both directions, one after another, then toward the side of the room her opponent would be appearing on. Violet eyes sparkle with a personality every bit as warm as her reputation suggests. Leave it to Rock to be stuck fighting the nice, cute, popular girls. /Again/.

Could it be? Is it really her, Athena Asamiya, the rising star of Justice High and singing sensation? N..no, it can't... But! As her dainty feet carry her across the threshold, Taiyo supporters must believe their widening eyes. Eventually, gradually, there is a loud welcome and acceptance from the stands. Cheers and yells of marvel drown out polite applause, because she's just so cute with her floofy sleeves and leggings. In the presence of a pretty girl, her opponent is entirely forgotten... He has been here all along...

Considering that he was scheduled to fight the Idol of Justice, Rock Howard was relieved at the postponing of the match. He doesn't think himself better than Athena, it was due to the fact that yet again he would be fighting a woman. It always put him on edge. It could've been forgotten, lost to the sands of time, and the Howard scion would've been perfectly okay with that. He'd take a forfeited victory, if it meant he wouldn't need to punch a girl and make her cry. Rock probably has nightmares about this sort of thing.


Okay, he doesn't, I'm lying.

In the end, he received an invitation to appear, and he is there at the appointed time, at the appointed place... cornered by the Rock Howard unofficial fanclub (only girls from Taiyo are permitted to join.) Everytime he tries to sneak past them, more join the chattering mass that seals up every gap, surging upon him like some horrible beast out of a fairytale, fangs beared and ready to swallow him whole.

He doesn't scare easily, he doesn't quail in the corner and stare up at them with doe eyes, but the kid's hands ARE raised to ward off any advances. Some of the girls whine about his polite, bowing opponent, fear that the heart of their beloved Rock may be won over by the teen idol. This draws a sharp red-eyed gaze, but does little to deter the horde. The announcer calls out his name, looks to where the young wolf should be entering the fighting arena... and sighs at the sight.

P..please help! Rock's expression screams, the top of his head just barely visible above the crowd of at least ten shorter, darker haired ladies.

"All right, enough of that!" That was the announcer, his voice booming throughout the auditorium. He is a wrathful storm, stomping over to the gathering and reaching right into the midst of it, grabbing the blonde by the scruff and literally dragging him from the clutches of witches. They shriek and swear and threaten, but this teacher is roughly 7' tall, so uh... Yeah.

Set down on his own two feet, ruffled and rumpled, Rock's face burns a crimson that rivals his scarlet irises. Geese Howard's only son tries to preserve what little dignity has been left to him by sorting the front of a maroon t-shirt and smoothing out a crease along the shoulders of his black regulation jacket. The monster of an announcer goes on with his slow baritone to make clear the rules of this engagement before he trains a beady eye on the boy. Feeling threatened, the teen bristles and laughter goes up from the stands.

Pupils narrow, the mountain looms over the young man, "LADIES FIRST, am I right, boy?"

"Y..yes, that's fine." Rock stumbles over his words and the lumbering teacher withdraws like a wraith to the sidelines, nodding in approval. Exhaling a sigh, rushing a hand back through his disheveled locks of fair hair and sending them into further disarray, he adopts a stance meant more to defend, not attack. "Like he said, Miss Asamiya. Whenever you're ready." Is he going to look terrible for beating her up? He worries doing so might incite a riot, because Taiyo starts cheering for the girl... And his fanclub looks about ready to kill them all. Brrr.

COMBATSYS: Rock has started a fight here.

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Rock             0/-------/-------|

With the warm reception on both sides of the auditorium, Athena's smile warms even further, taking some time to turn one way or the other, pandering to the crowd with waves, winks, curtsies, bows, and even a few blown kisses. She would hear no end of grief from Master Gentsai if she was caught being guilty of showboating during a fight itself, but beforehand can't possibly hurt, right? These students are happy to see her and it would be inconsiderate of their feelings to not play to their expectations. And the young rising star seems to be a natural at it considering she has had no actual experience in show business.

Through it all, she can't help but notice her opponent's own predicament. At first she's confused by the small throng of additional bodies flooding out onto the floor with him, a flicker of a frown threatening her otherwise radiant expression. It would be easy to misinterpret the sight - an aloof, handsome, blonde teenage heartthrob, playing aloof and indifferent, toying with the hearts of any girls he thinks he can manipulate into building his own high school harem out of...

But she only needs one glance at the Howard scion to realize quite well that it is nothing like that. Well. Except for the part about being a blonde teenage heartthrob. He definitely has that going for him. But the only influence he seems to have over his rabid fan club is his complete inability to deter any of them in the slightest. Her right hand lifts over her mouth as the antics continue, Rock's pleading expression eliciting a soft giggle of amusement from his opponent. There's just something irresponsibly adoreable about the whole scene.

But then the faculty member provided by the hosting Taiyo High decides enough is enough when it comes to such antics and rises up like a leviathan from the sea to take control of things. The towering teacher is definitely a man among men. Southtown High School teachers tend to be a cut above anything you'd find anywhere else in the world, given their rambunctious, often fight-obsessed student bodies, but even still, this guy cuts an incredibly imposing figure amid all the shorter students he's plucking Rock from.

Now that order is slowly being restored by the undeniable presence of the teacher Athena can only imagine is from the athletics department. The crowd has to be tuned out. Their excitement, their energy can be intoxicating to the young empath, and she wishes she could continue to enjoy it further... but Chin would know. Even if he wasn't here, even if he never even watches the match, he would still somehow know that she had let herself get distracted by the audience instead of focusing one hundred percent on her combat skills.

Sucking in her breath, she bows her head, violet eyes closed for a moment as the girl concentrates on the focusing techniques taught to her by the aged master psionic, putting up some walls in her psyche while also tapping into other areas of her mind normally kept passive. When she opens her eyes and snaps her face up to look across the arena, there is no denying something is different. Her glowing smile from before has become more subtle though still present. The waving, the winking, all of that is gone now. Aside from her cutesy outfit, she would appear to be much like any other dedicated martial arts student in the school district.

The other change is sensed rather than felt or seen, an overwhelming presence emanating from the young fighter, a silent insistence on being noticed, an impression of power and potential, the girl seeming approachable yet so impossibly removed from her surroundings at the same time.

Breathing in then exhaling again, she lifts her hands, left hand out and forward, for quicker strikes and defenses, right hand drawn back, bent at the elbow, for harder punches where possible. She rises and falls on her toes with a consistent rhythm. The pressure is on Rock to give the visiting Justice student the chance to engage at her convenience, and Athena's smile warms further once again, a slight dip of her head in acknowledgement. "Thank you. But please," she has to raise her voice to be heard over the escalating fervor of the stands, "Do your best." She has put a lot of effort into becoming the fighter she is... she isn't about to be taken lightly!

When she moves, it is with the speed she had trained for, closing the distance across the open floor, taking to the air like she was born to be there. "Phoenix-" Only at the apex of her ascent does the young fighter tuck forward into a ball, her body encased in a shall of brilliant, rose hued energy as she dives right back out of the sky, aiming to crash bodily into Rock. The unorthodox assault might seem harmless at first glance - afterall, how much can the teenaged cruise missile possibly weigh, anyway? But that shell of power around her spinning form? That's going to sting.

And if she manages to connect cleanly, she'll slide into a hand standing kick with both legs to follow it up, attempting to take Rock's legs clean out from under him.


Okay, maybe a /little/ showboating is okay, right?

COMBATSYS: Athena has joined the fight here.

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Rock             0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0           Athena

COMBATSYS: Rock endures Athena's Phoenix Arrow.

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Rock             0/-------/-----==|===----\-------\0           Athena

Nope, not the athletics department. That mountain among midgets, he teaches math and statistics.


Think you're surprised, just imagine when he applied for the job and the face the principal must've made as he stared, gawking, all the way up at The Hulk. Imagine his expression when he glanced at the résumé. SUCH SHOCKU!

After he was hired after the shortest of interviews, the name received a callback. The Hulk. The students of Taiyo call him 'Hulk-sensei'. Sometimes they crack jokes like 'ALGEBRA SMASH!' It is not known by the kids what his birth name would be, but that does not bother the imposing man in the least; he is well-suited to his moniker and he currently does little in the way of announcing. He stands on a small podium raised above the makeshift fighting arena, his arms like two tree trunks, folded one over the other. Bushy caterpillar brows furrow as Hulk-sensei glowers at the pair, particularly at Rock. Athena offers her opponent words of encouragement, his baritone booms out over the cacophony in reply, "Howard better do his best, or else there will be extra homework for all of class 2-B."

What! Rock... winces. His classmates groan in unison.

The unofficial Rock Howard fanclub (TAIYO GIRLS ONLY, DON'T YOU GET ANY IDEAS OF JOINING, ATHENA!) rallies to his defense with a whiny cry, "Rock-chan, don't listen to hiiiiiim!" They flock closer to the ropes, but a stern glare from The Hulk sends them scattering like leaves. Southtown's teachers truly are a cut above the rest, and do not tolerate antics that may get their students injured. He barks at them to find seats, and calls the lot a bunch of rowdy, rambunctious rabble-rousers!

"What's a 'rabble-rouser'?"

"Shhhhhh, don't make The Hulk angry! You won't like him when he's angry!"

Rock isn't often distracted, but it's hard to maintain focus on the pretty girl with her purple hair who the crowd cheers for, their excited screams peppered with indignant shrieks from the ladies sworn to worship him as though he were some sort of Adonis and even fewer declarations of love. Considering a number of those voices are male, they're probably not meant for the Taiyo heartthrob and he is thankful for that...

Until, you know, a dude thinks it's funny to imitate the annoying chick in front of him, "Kyaaaa kyaaaaaaaaa, he's so dreamy!" he yells, hands cupped around his mouth to act as an amplifier.

It's right then when the Howard scion wrestles his attention away with an exaggerated sweatdrop and a grumble about being born this way. He can't help it. Athena should take that into consideration and not giggle at him, too! He... Oh nevermind! The American teen's stance hardens, the front of his maroon t-shirt ripples as he shifts his weight from foot to foot. Lifting a hand, the fist could shield Rock as much as it could bring harm to the psion.

Even though he intends to pull his punches, it is obvious that Athena does not feel the same. Why should she? The cute idol hones in like an irate hornet, quick and flashy as is her wont. Crimson eyes follow the rise with shrewd scrunity and her descent following, tucked into a ball and encased in iridescent energy. Rock pivots to offer his side, not even defending as everything about his posture and the set of his jaw suggested. He allows her to cut straight down the length of his svelte frame, the empowered shell searing him through his jacket, before she unfurls and kicks out his feet...

Or maybe that's only what it looks like.

Instead of falling, both feet are pushed back across the auditorium floor while his upper half tiiiiiiiilts forwards, threatening to topple him onto the girl entirely by accident. The audience gasps, Rock grimaces, his handsome features shifting as he concentrates. He launches from the point just before the fall, blitzing into counterattack with what he hopes is the element of surprise. Normally he would lead with his elbow, but there isn't the time. The distance between them is miniscule. Geese Howard's true heir thrusts his palm forward, arm wreathed in amethyst chi. A shockwave burst of energy erupts from his fingertips, the aim to blast Athena away without physically striking her... Much. From his back, angellic wings explode into being, spread wide, violet, and dissipating in an instant. "Haaaaaaaaaa!"

Meanwhile, The Hulk marks off 'excessive showboating' on both of their surveys. STATISTICS ARE EVERYTHING.

COMBATSYS: Athena instinctively blocks Rock's Hard Edge.

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Rock             0/-------/----===|=====--\-------\0           Athena

The stipulation laid down by the decree of Hulk-sensei is certainly intimidating. Not only is Rock trying to fight in a tournament, but he's also got the fate of an entire class resting on his shoulders? Isn't fighting stressful enough already? From her perspective, Athena could see that his fan club is in constant danger of spilling back out into the battlefield. This isn't recess time, and the auditorium isn't a playground. Someone could get hurt wandering into this match! Someone is already GOING to get hurt in this match! That's pretty much how these things go, even without a bonus fan-club!

But Hulk-sensei's glare seems to keep the tide at bay. For now at least. Rock should really try looking less adoreable. That would help things.

The students on the sidelines can make all the shouts, all the taunts, all the teasings they want. In the heat of battle, Athena has tuned them out. Her focus is squarely on Rock. Though for a few dizzying moments, the diving girl can't even make HIM out, closing her eyes to the world as she commits herself into the attack. She hits like a bowling ball laced with a burning sensation that is hard to repel through pure aura exercise alone, yet it doesn't actually scorch, burn, or otherwise cause any noticeable physical damage, so there is that at least?

Feeling the confirmation of a successful hit, she extends her legs into the handstand kick, synchronizing leg, torso, and arm muscles into the blow intended to sweep Rock to the polished wood floor and buy herself time to recover and plan her next attack.

Only the Taiyo High Dream seems to have other plans in mind, Rock falling forward, his palm slamming out in dangerously close range. He couldn't have timed it better. Asamiya's legs are still extended, her hand planted against the floor. It would take a miracle to escape out of the path of his swing, so narrow is the gap between them.

In fact, there's no time at all to even think about her situation. That the young man's strike doesn't connect cleanly and smack the Justice High challenger against the ground is truly a marvel to behold, as the dexterous girl pulls her hand up off the ground, twists in mid-air so that he is swinging for her stomach instead of her exposed rib cage. Her own arms move to intersect, bracing herself as the blow happens, effectively smashing the girl against the wood floor beneath his combined topple and strike, causing her to come to rest at last.

On her back looking up, violet eyes take in the outburst of excessive chi behind the young man. "...beautiful," she murmurs, blinking up at the display. A family trait? She knows that for some, visible manifestations of their chi can take on forms reflecting their personality or other aspects that might have otherwise remained hidden... Rock does not strike her as one to create the effect intentionally just to show off. So... what caused the awe inspiring pennon to burst into existence like that?

Of course, the brief exchange, Athena on the ground at Rock's feet, staring up into his crimson eyes, witnessing his energy manifestation first hand, is a moment that is likely to instill a spark of jealousy in the more interested parties just barely kept at bay by Hulk-sensei.

From the other end of the spectrum, there can't help but felt a tinge of interest in seeing the idol fighter nearly pinned beneath the athletic Taiyo High fighter. But any envy some might feel for Geese's boy might fade fast when Athena retaliates. Arms out at her sides, throbbing a little from the impact they just took, Rock would have precious little time to react as bright energy the color of a rose surges down the girl's limbs.

"Psycho-" An upward swing of both hands has her slamming the gathered psychic energy into a single powerful sphere of convulsing energy sent flying at Rock at practically point blank range. "Ball!"

COMBATSYS: Rock overcomes Psycho Ball from Athena with Double Reppuken.

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Rock             0/-------/----===|======-\-------\0           Athena

Come now, a little pressure is always good for a growing boy, especially when said growing boy is known to hold back against women. With the threat of additional schoolwork looming over his head, it is the hope of Hulk-sensei that Howard will quit playing patty-cake and throw a real punch... OR SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES.

Of course, Hulk-sensei doesn't want the kid to absolutely decimate the teen idol out of desperation -- that's why The Hulk didn't curl a lip and menace Rock with promises of a month-long detention for failure to perform. To him, more homework is fair. Enough of a hassel and an inconvenience. Plus, learning is good for you! MATH IS EVEN BETTER. If you argue, prepare to be sat on and he will make you complete ordinary differential equations... WITHOUT A CALCULATOR, HO HO HO! This teacher may be the devil, or Jackal. Probably Jackal.

Whether or not there is to be an injury between the two combatants has not yet been decided, and hopefully won't be the case, but for certain Athena likely hurts, shielding her middle from the rough blast of chi with her forearms, his palm thrust deflected by her guard. Rock isn't... entirely disappointed - he's glad she's all right - and he draws back in a recovery step. He straightens to his full height, shaking back the long sleeves of his regulation jacket and noticing that... his skin isn't burned, despite the scorching heat he had felt when the pretty girl turned herself into a human pinball. "Huh. Weird." he says, rotating his wrist to get a better look before dropping his arm.

Just then, a strange moment occurs between the handsome heartthrob and his pretty opponent, without warning or provocation. She's fallen and lays supine at his feet, almost beneath him, staring up in awe or something akin to it. His fair hair is disturbed by the remnants of his power, the wings that are nothing more now than nodes the size of fireflies and smaller still wisps of purple chi. He moves to offer her a hand... But changes his mind. Athena calls his cursed birthright beautiful, and Rock shifts with obvious discomfort, his ears reddening and barely visible beneath his tousled mop of blonde. Perhaps as a nervous gesture, he ruffles his flaxen fringe and rocks from one foot to the other.

It isn't his intention to look so awkward and adorable, and his fanclub would coo in appreciation of his efforts and skill, but they're all too busy seething with jealousy, plotting revenge, creeping closer to the ropes. Girls can be so cruel for no reason -- it's not like Rock has shown a modicum of interest in any of them, only the desire to run as far as he possibly can and not look back.

From the stands, there are also some inappropriate, lewd comments from a few, because Rock does happen to be standing in a position of dominance, over the singing sensation of Justice High. Embarrassment gives way to a quick fury. Thankfully, The Hulk is already raging at the jokers; he brandishes his pen and several pink slips of paper. Those are official notes, a black mark on a permanent record. One-way tickets to whatever university Gedo kids hope to attend, which is probably none of them. Even those who don't care clam up as they see Hulk-sensei's expression. His eyes shine and it is terrifying.

Rock's arm snaps out again in a display of showmanship and chivalry, lower lip tugged between rows of white teeth and the inside of his cheek used for damage control, but too late. She retaliates against the Howard scion, as quick as lightning. Practically point blank, but not quite.

He isn't as experienced, but the American boy makes use of the scant few seconds that have been allotted to him, responding to the rose-hued energy with another flare of amethyst chi. It coils down each arm, surging to hands with fingers splayed. Athena begins her upwards swing, but the deeper timbre of the young wolf eclipses the pretty idol's cry, "DOUBLE..." Rock waits until the orb is almost upon him before he cleaves it in twain, the twin hemispheres spinning off track and smashing into the lacquered floor of the auditorium. He is protected by his power, his bane. "REPPUKEN!" A second swipe follows moments after, a bright blade rolls off his fingertips and charges. Rising up like a wave and then crashing down. On Miss Asamiya, if she's unlucky.

On Hulk-sensei, should she spring out of its destructive path. Er, crap. CRAP!

COMBATSYS: Athena instinctively dodges Rock's Double Reppuken.

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Rock             0/-------/---====|======-\-------\0           Athena

One thing should become abundantly clear to Rock in the moment he tries to extend his hand only to find himself menaced by Asamiya's next attack. The Justice High student intends to do fight him with nothing less than absolute dedication to the fight. She isn't interested in hands up, punches pulled, options withheld for the sake of propriety. While she will not sink to techniques that would tarnish one's honor, there is a fierce resolve in the way she is fighting that suggests she is treating this venue as more than just an opportunity to seize a morsel of fame or simply promote her school's name in the tournament.

She is fighting as if everything was on the line.

Prior to a week and a half ago, she thought she understood what fighting was about; what it could be, what it was used for.
Her encounter with Krizalid in the heart of the one place she should have been safest changed everything.
Now she knew.
Fighting was a weapon. Either to defend. Or to defeat.
And the only way to get better at fighting for the things that really mattered was to treat every fight as if her life was on the line.

Someday. It would be. Perhaps it already was.

Windsheer chi carves right through the sphere of crackling potential Athena had hurled at Rock with almost no space to spare. That he found that narrowest of windows to respond speaks to his talent, whether it stems from purely innate gifts or has been honed by his life beneath two fighting legends.

But the overpowering wave of energy will not catch her this day.

Already wary of her position, the swift fighter had begun to escape the instant the rose hued energy had left her fingers. Hands and feet slam down as she pushes herself into a backward roll with enough force that she actually goes slightly airborn, landing on her feet a few meters beyond.

But her evasion doesn't stop there. Without even looking, she sensed that his attack would not stop short at the spot she had occupied an instant before. She never even comes to rest, never stops moving, before she takes to the air again, this time in the opposite direction, taking her in a high arc over Rock himself, the toes of her left foot just narrowly escaping the surging chi ripping along the smooth auditorium floor.

From the view of the audience, what transpires might be easier to see. For Rock, caught in the epicenter of it all, it might happen too fast for him to fully read the danger he is in.

The two hemispheres of Psycho Power the Reppuken cleanly sheared never hit the floor. It was by extention of his opponent's will that the stopped just shy, hovering just over the surface of the auditorium, a half meter behind the young man. His eyes might instead be on his acrobatic opponent, the girl taking to the air like a natural, "Psycho~"

Arms are raised over her head, more of that shimmering energy answering her call readily to surge down toward her hands, her body arched backward. And then she launches it, swinging her arms forward and downward, propelling another crackling sphere of energy toward Rock.


Yet the projectile of Psycho Power descending upon him would not be the worst of his worries. He might be concerned about those two hemispheres of previously defeated psychic resonance. Because right now, they're both launching toward his back at the same time. There is enough time for the audience to cry out. Maybe it will help him?

Or maybe they're crying out because his amethyst hued projectile that rips along the floor is on a collision course with Hulk-sensei and the thought that the Taiyo Heartthrob might have actually gone after the infamous teacher of legend is more than any of the cringing students can imagine?

COMBATSYS: Athena successfully hits Rock with Psycho Shoot.

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Rock             1/-------/=======|=======\===----\1           Athena

Maybe Hulk-sensei is a man forged by fire and flames. Perhaps he walked off the pages of a popular comic book. He could be the vigilante hero Southtown needs, if not the one it wants...

Or his fantastical origin story is non-existent. It was genetics, simple genetics. The bond between an ordinary man and woman created a math-loving behemoth. In this case, fact is more frightening than fiction.

When he sees the rip-roaring tidal wave of amethyst chi, Hulk-sensei stares it down, unmoving, lips set in the thinnest of lines. The audience curls in, expressing sympathy pains, or they yell out. It's hard to tell whether the screams are directed at Rock or The Hulk because they all blend together into one long, unintelligible note. Athena clears the path, rolling back first before she leaps overhead, the blonde ducking lest she clip him in the forehead. His attention is swiftly stolen by the stern-faced mountain of a teacher, who grabs the crescent as it nears with his BARE HANDS.

"Holy sh--" Rock almost lets the word slip. Bad Rock.

The violet chi sparks in his grip as the veritable Titan lifts it from the floor, as light as a babe, and brings it to his knee. Grunting with effort, The Hulk tears the energy blade right in half. A flash and a BANG fill the room -- even Rock starts with surprise, his crimson eyes as wide as saucers. Hulk-sensei drops each severed piece unceremoniously and without flourish; they are gone before they reach the ground. His bushy caterpillar brows weigh in heavily above beetle black irises, pupils narrowed to a pin-point. The large man sucks in a deep breath while the Howard scion finds he has none for the moment, and his voice booms as he says two words that chill directly to the bone...


I... I can't even.

Rock pedals backwards, stumbling as The Hulk maintains his vigil over the fight, but he jabs a sausage-like finger in the teen's direction and bellows, "Garbage duty. One year. Every overnight trip. No assistants!" Hell. On. Earth.

Whispering to her friend, the girl from earlier mutters, "See? I told you that you wouldn't like Hulk-sensei when he's angry. He's not even speaking complete sentences!"

Immediately there is a bombardment of offers from the unofficial fan club to relieve Rock of his burden, of the cruel hand the gods have dealt him. It was totally a mistake! Some boys on the Taiyo side laugh out loud. Squaring his shoulders and ignoring the ladies who wish to gain his favour for their own nefarious purposes, scarlet orbs meet black and the American firms his jaw, "Fine by me." If he refused, it would probably be him next snapped over that terrifying teacher's thigh. The young wolf's Adam's apple bobs in the slender column of his throat as he swallows thickly.

He pays the ultimate price for not tending to his pretty opponent, a harsh unspoken reprimand curbing the sudden onset of attention-deficit. She treats the battle like a fight for her life because she must -- Rock would do well to show the same respect. After all, how else will he ever grow stronger, even when doomed to forever punch girls? The two hemispheres he THOUGHT he had sent to ruin return, ploughing into his spine and lower back, sending the lithe blonde fighter pitching forward. It is very ungraceful, the youth gasps softly and cringes. With a single windmill of the arms, Geese Howard's only son manages to regain his balance, but in doing so, he cannot erect a defense quickly enough to stop the rose-hued ball of psi from barreling straight into his head.

Hitting the lacquered surface of the auditorium with enough force to crack it, the handsome heartthrob crashes down onto his knees. His vision is temporarily stars and psycho balls. A headache the likes he has never known, well, makes itself known. There's a nasty tingling sensation that spreads all the way to his collarbone. He doesn't go so far as to clamp a hand over the tender spot of his skull, but from Rock's laboured breath and bruising on his neck as blood vessels just beneath the skin rupture, he's been hurt.

Commence horrified outcry.

Deaf to it all, the Taiyo High 'Dream' is no longer willing to accept any more disruptions. Nothing will deter him, he will not lose focus. He is a capable fighter, and determined to dedicate himself to the fight. Rock doesn't lash out, per se, but he whirls around on the balls of his feet and if Athena is only half of a metre away, she may find herself trapped. His hands snap to the floor to support his weight, body in full, fluid extension as legs seek to catch the idol by the ankles, betwixt a scissor kick that could drop her like a ton of bricks.

COMBATSYS: Athena attempts to interrupt Medium Kick from Rock with Super Phoenix Infinity EX.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Rock             1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0           Athena

In a single evasion, Athena has given the towering monster of a Math Teacher the chance to demonstrate why you don't take Southtown High School teachers lightly. Some have claws. Some can twist your spine in and out of alignment at will. And some are meat miracles who don't care what you think you know about energy attacks. You're wrong.

The Taiyo Legend probably shouldn't even be able to do what he just did. But does he care? No. He does not. Manhandling a crackling swath of chi like it was less dangerous than a projectile hurled in a pillow fight is a sight few will ever get to witness in their life. One can be certain, students in his classes will be even more on notice now after that display of combat mastery. Just how many hidden badasses ARE there in these schools anyway?!

Already airborn following her evasive roll, Athena is only vaguely aware of the shortest trial in history that just got played out, with Rock being tried, convicted, and sentenced all in the space of a few seconds. His is not to debate or argue, only to accept. Protesting would only yield further punishment from the Towering Taskmaster who's ire he has drawn.

Unfortunately for the young man, for all the distractions, pressure, and offers of selfless sacrifice being hurled his way, his fight here and now is with Athena Asamiya, who has, since the moment the fight started, given him nothing less than her full and undivided attention. And as he pays the price with the triple assault of Psycho Power, the gulf between them is widening.

She lands from her airborn bombing run, sliding to a stop. Her spin to face Rock is as graceful as nearly every move she makes. Even when she isn't focusing on putting on a show, she can't help but catch people's eye, the whip of her violet hair, the swish of ribbons and skirt, her leather soled shoes slipping over the wood with a soft squeak.

Whatever her motives are, they seem to have lit a fire in the girl. She is fighting with a passion and resolve that seems more about proving something to herself than anyone else. Only the outcry from the stands following her last super-charged attack gives her pause. Did she go too far? She was attacking Rock as a peer, someone she could fight her best against without any regrets.

Did she misread him? Maybe she should stop. Maybe the fight is already over. Maybe his heart and soul have already been consumed by Hulk-sensei's punishment.

Violet eyes settle on the Howard scion, son of one of the most well known names across the globe. If he isn't going to go all out, maybe he should stay down. Lowering her arms at her sides, one might think she is resting her guard. That mistaken impression would get erased in an instant as violently bright energy courses down each arm, churning as the girl slides one foot forward.

She is preparing.

By no means is Athena the sort to attack an opponent while they are down or not showing signs of fighting further. But if Rock demonstrates he does have the will to continue, he will be moving into an already prepared attack every bit as potent as what she has been hurling his way the entire fight.

He moves, proving he's not unconscious. That's good, she thinks to herself for a fleeting moment. She didn't overdo it then. And then he's snapping out, his body responding with an attack even as he recovers, his feet flying out before and behind her own ankles. It's a precision move and, had she not already prepared her counter assault, he would have almost definitely taken the girl off her feet.

But she responds instantly. Perhaps she felt that resolve clicking into place in his own mind. Maybe she was even moving a moment before he attacked.

Her right foot stomps forward, the girl leaning into her attack, the Psycho Power coursing over her exploding into a huge plume behind her back with large swaths of it along her arms taking on the appearance of the wings and tail feathers of a great bird of fire.

His feet collide solidly with her forward shin as she moves fearlessly into the attack.

And then like a rocket prepped for launch, the girl explodes toward him in another full body tackle. The leading point of contact would be her right shoulder as she aims to dash into and then past Rock... and if that point of contact is made, much of the Psychic Phoenix of energy surging over her body will surge into the young man's body. The rest will finally fade, exploding into a thousand pink motes of lingering Psycho Power wherever Athena finally comes to a stop!

COMBATSYS: Rock reverses Super Phoenix Infinity EX from Athena with Raging Storm EX+.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Rock             0/-------/-======|=======\====---\1           Athena

Try it. Just try to tell Hulk-sensei that what he did should be impossible.

The Titan of Taiyo folds his thick stocks of arms, daring ANYONE to voice further protest to his prowess and authority, because there's always more homework and additional field trip duties to dish out. Sentencing Rock to a year of garbage disposal was nothing -- it could've been scrubbing the urinals in the boys' locker room until graduation; it could've been cleaning the bases after every baseball practice with soap and water; it could've been... leaving the Howard scion to the mercy of his fan club, and assigning him to food prep.

Honestly, Rock doesn't have it all that bad. Kid should be grateful, considering he attacked a teacher, even by complete happenstance.

The moment passes after the squeak of shoes on the ground, the fight resumes without further interference. The heir-apparent moves beyond watching the swath of amethyst chi being torn asunder, dedicated like Athena has been this entire time to closing what has become a sizeable gap between them. Rock can see it, as clear as day.

If he doesn't gather the strength to strike back, he might as well forfeit. Athena notices this, but there's something peculiar about the girl when she seemingly drops her guard entirely, arms at either side, perhaps waiting to see first-hand the results as he's already extended, seeking to catch her up by the ankles between the pincer attack of his legs.

She doesn't avoid it, not fully. Rock feels what cannot be mistaken for anything other than impact, his heel connecting with the shin of the pretty psion surging forward, ribbons and ruffles rustling. But that crackling energy that wreathes her arms, it alerts him that Athena has prepared for this all along. His crimson eyes take in the sight with dawning comprehension; she's not just another cute face. The trip-up never sees completion, for the young wolf brings both feet down to the floor, a muted thump ringing out. He lowers his thin frame of strong sinew and bone onto the auditorium floor for just one second before his torso twists, rising up, back in a perfect arch, his body a bridge. The American teen leads with his knee as he kicks over his head in a less elegant version of a back walkover, but effective nonetheless.

His entire fan club is rushed from the auditorium, all at once and during the proceedings. Some manage to leave by their own power, but others must be carried, their noses bloody messes. To have pictures of the blonde heartthrob shirtless is one thing, but to witness the creep of his maroon top along his lean form, resting against the bottom of his ribcage and revealing smooth and unblemished cream-coloured skin (there is a pretty angry mark on his side, but let's ignore that for now) and the defined abdominal muscles... Well, who could resist swooning? It's a good thing they're no longer around to intervene, too.

One less distraction is always appreciated.

When he lands, it is to be greeted by the rose-hued wings of a creature enveloping the Idol of Justice High, with tail feathers and a swan-like neck. Her supporters burst into both polite and raucous applause. Even before the beast is fully formed, he recognizes it. The Phoenix. A bird that is reborn from its ashes, representing... Rock isn't sure, but probably the unending cycle of death and rebirth. Maybe he'll crack open a book once this is all finished and read something that has nothing to do with martial arts or true crime.

Yeah, he reads true crime novels. He also watches CSI, or other homicide-based television programmes.

As a child, long before he could fight, Rock had dreamed of becoming a police officer and taking down Geese with the law at his side. He knows now that it was folly, but he didn't understand then the reach of that man's power, or the control he had over others, whether he purchased their loyalty or earned it through fear.

Still, the boy's fascination with cop dramas and crime books never abated, even though it is no longer his ambition to join law enforcement. Not since he was taught Kobojutsu, not when he will get better.

... Sorry, got distracted there. Hope you enjoyed this tidbit of insight into his character!

The taller teen draws himself up to his full height as Athena blitzes into his personal space, throwing her weight behind her shoulder and connecting... somewhere against his chest, maybe his side. As the Phoenix-invasion just begins, the psionic energy is completely blown off the singing sensation's fey frame. It's like the big bad wolf, knocking down little piggies houses with a huff and a puff, but in this case the huffing and puffing is a blinding flare of violet and some cerulean. "Raging..." Rock swings his arms down, slamming his knuckles against the lacquered floor. He... might wreck the place, at the epicentre of a web of small cracks and fissures rapidly expand, the ground cratering inwards, "/STOOOOOORM/!!"

A cataclysmic explosion follows, each scythe that erupts from the schisms piercing the bird of fire, leaving deep lacerations and rents in its wings before the violent energy devours the mythical being whole. It doesn't stop there. It seeks Miss Asamiya, as well. The pale hair lifts off his face as Rock wars with his darker half, the part of him that so desperately wishes to allow his curse to spiral wildly out of control, like the one time it already had. Sweat beads on his brow as he seals it into his right hand, bruising his wrist, gripping it as though his very life depended upon it.

The maelstrom of blue-purple chi, empowered by its meal, pulses with dazzling radiance, tendrils and wisps of translucent amethyst wafting off both him and the crashing, churning blades that catch Athena in their midst, barring her escape -- a raw, thunderous, destructive force imbued with pain and sorrow, anger and determination. It sears and burns until passing on, trickling off like water. The broody heartthrob's shoulders slump as he takes some time, soon climbing from the crater, which is only slightly not so big as the one he had left on the stage platform during the fight with Daigo, nor is the indentation quite so deep. Rock wants to ask if she's all right, but it takes everything he has to stand and continue breathing, for now.

At last, Athena wins a ticket to the front row seat view of what gives Rock his reptutation as a fighter of some renown. In that instant he attacked, she charged him without reservation. His foot glances off her shin with enough force that there will definitely be bruising there, but it isn't enough to slow the world of hurt she's attempting to bring to the young man. Even Hulk-sensei will have a hard time finding fault with her singular focus on trying to win this fight, moving, attacking with resolve beyond anything she had demonstrated in her public fights up to this point.

And in this moment, Rock answers that laser focused intent with force. The chaos storm of chi erupts up around the airborn Athena, the girl's speed taking her into a very short glide just over the auditorium floor. The shimmering pink phoenix takes the hit initially as crackling forks of chi surge up through it from the epicenter of the energy based outburst. The amazing swath of Psycho Power explodes outward, scattered into a million motes of glimmering energy that sets the entire auditorium aglow. The rose illumination then completely consumed by the far more brilliant, and at this moment, potent storming energy from the world famous Terry Bogard's apprentice.

Already caught in the typhoon of power, there is no escape for young Asamiya. She would be blind to the painful recovery of Rock as he seals off the incredible chi he dared tap into for the sake of his fight. Chi strikes her extended frame in multiple places, the violet eyes closed in pain from the thundering impacts that seem to last an eternity when caught within the cage of chi.

Many will say chi has no emotion. That feelings, sentiments, expressions of thought or extentions of soul is purely the territory of psychic powers. Many would be wrong. In that moment, encircled by Rock's raging storm, the young Phoenix can feel it all. His resolve, his ambitions, and his sorrows. A cry escapes her lips, overcome with the ferocity communicated through the exchange of powerful attacks every bit as much as the pain it inflicts.

Finally, she lands, upper back hitting the wooden floor well beyond the range of the crater. But even after that, the girl barely stops moving for more than two seconds to recover, twisting onto her side, knee slipping beneath her body as she turns to face Rock in a half-crouch. Both hands lift to brush lengthy, violet hair back out of her face and behind her ears, eyes blinking open in the same instant to return her laser-like focus on Rock Howard.

Slowly, she rises up to standing, her expression a curious mixture of serenity and excitement. There it was, she thinks to herself. Not only was his potential made manifest, but also his nature. Lifting her hands back to her defensive posture, foot sliding forward, the girl shows no signs of letting up in spite all of that. One of her puffy shoulder sleeves seems to have seen better days, scorched to cinders by one of the bolts of chi lightning generated by the Raging Storm. The right knee of her leggings is bare. Her hair disheveled some and definitely in need of care after this match.

But at this point, she is positively glowing. A decision is made. Time to put it all on the line. Another engagement with the young man in melee range might provoke an attack of similar threat as the one he just unleashed. She can sense it now - he had to cut it off in the end. In her mind she can feel what her eyes did not see - the necessary sealing of that dark potential, the painful grip at his wrist to contain it before it overwhelmed him.

The girl hesitates a moment. No. She didn't see his potential yet. Only a glimpse of it. But now she is going to demonstrate hers.

Asamiya's hands snap down at her sides as she gazes across at Rock. The rest of the auditorium is tuned out. The audience. Hulk-sensei, the roof, the stands, the lights. All of it fades from Athena's mind. In that moment, she and Rock are in an empty void, where only the two of them exist apart from all the world. He deserves to see her best and she needs to do her best, to prove to herself that she can fight to the end, holding nothing back. It is important. For the future.

Hands clench into dainty fists at her sides as she lowers her arms. Her feet slide apart a little, giving her a sturdy stance that is neither aggressive or defensive. And then it happens. A great swell of power as if a seal of her own was burned away, the girl tapping into her full reservoir of energy. A psionic storm errupts up around the girl with that same rose hued enegy of hers. The the manifestation is visible only around her, a long spherical shape of cascading colors and light, the girl barely visible in the midst of it as fierce currents whip at her hair and skirt, tousling ribbons and fabric.

But while it seems visible only there, it can be felt throughout the auditorium. For most in attendence, this would be their first time witnessing the young prodigy's full public fighting capability. It's one thing to see it on the fight streams, that surge of power, the brilliant lights, the swell of power. It's another thing to be in the same structure as the girl and sense its influence from dozens of meters away and feel that overwhelming presence expanding out from the radiant star. It is almost impossble for one to not simply hold their breath in awe and anticipation. It is moments like this that fuel the rampant rumors about the girl's mysterious background.

According to some, Rock is not fighting a girl.
He is challenging a goddess.


Her voice rises from a soft exhale to an increasingly loud cry. The Raging Storm of Rock's technique awoke something in his opponent. A fervent desire to respond in turn, to answer the escalating challenge with one of her own. And now as that psychic storm swells about her, he will readily realize that he has only moments to prepare.

Her hair is being blown upward now behind her, as if driven by a geyser of rising wind and power, her arms trembling to control it. Swirling up around Athena from the floor, making a direct assault incredibly unlikely, are two rich blue spheres of concentrated energy, their dark, rich color constrasting strongly with the rose hued enegy encasing his opponent. They join the storm before finally answering Athena's call, the girl's violet eyes open from behind her veil of Psycho Power.

She falls silent then, mouth closed, silent but for the swirling power around her, a swishing, churning noise. Her right hand snaps up, the spheres answering her call by circling up until they combine into a singular larger sphere. The nature of the storm shifts then, no longer a rising swell but rather a collapsing star as all of that psychic power is escalated up to a place just above her upraised finger.

The whole world seems to wait with baited breath. Hopefully Rock has had his peace with the fight. As in that instant, Athena swings her arm forward and the nuclear core of Psycho Power is sent hurtling at him like a Blonde Heartthrob seeking cruise missile. It's either going to hit him or blow apart the wall behind his back.

Such are the risks of battling among the Gods of Battle, the master class fighters of the world.

Fortunately, Taiyo High's Combat Insurance is paid up.

COMBATSYS: Athena successfully hits Rock with Shining Crystal Bit+.
+ Epic Hit! +

[                                < >  ///////////////               ]
Rock             1/=======/=======|=------\-------\0           Athena

She will not see his full potential. Rock won't allow it, for a multitude of reasons...

Surely Athena understands why, because of what she can feel. Because of what the cursed energy communicates to her when it has her trapped in the cage of blue-violet chi that rips and tears, making a mess of her hair, one fluffy shoulder and burning away a half of her leggings.

His chest heaves with each ragged breath, shoulders hunched, curling in on himself. Still he is concerned for her well-being, but unable to say as much. Eventually, crimson eyes confirm the words Rock is incapable of forming. After her pained cry, she rolls and twists into a crouch. She rises from the remaining amethyst wisps of the quelling storm not like a Phoenix, but like a goddess reborn into this world, glowing with rose-hued energy. The American teen's pupils narrow in sudden scrutiny. It is in that very moment, his gaze alighting on her expression that mingles serenity and excitement, that the Howard scion is forced to accept one undeniable, incontrovertible truth: He won't close the gap between them in this fight, because it is over.

He sighs softly in acknowledgement. Rock rewraps the left hand around his right wrist in preparation. All of her focus is reflected with the same intensity, and a rare smile graces his lips as he intones gruffly, "Go for broke." She doesn't need his encouragement to unleash her full power, but it is truly offered without restraint.

It's a good thing his fan club was escorted from the auditorium earlier; they would misread his intentions.

Hulk-sensei, the Living Legend of Taiyo High, nods once in approval.

The floor thrums as vibration passes through it, even those in the stands start in alarm. Rock firms his jaw, watching the psionic sphere envelope the pretty idol, but he then raises his arms to show that he will at least attempt to defend himself. Perhaps he will be lucky, perhaps his haunch was wrong. The fluorescent lighting overhead seems dim in comparison to the vibrant orb condensing around Athena, the glow expanding to the point where the student of the Legendary Wolf feels as though he is looking at everything through rose-coloured lenses.

There is a strange beauty in the way the energy swells, and how the updraft catches her hair and her damaged clothes. He stares, his head quizzically canting to the side like a curious pup, all of his senses overwhelmed or shutting down save for the last, born and honed from years of training and from the few true fights Geese Howard's only heir has seen. It screams at him, 'NOW!'

Rock digs in his heels, his brow knits with concentration. In his mind, he pictures a wall. A wall strong enough to withstand the palpable flare of psi that the crowd is currently enthralled by, their silence telling of how each has their attention focused solely upon Justice High's rising star, who calls the circling blue spheres to her pointed finger. They combine together to form a nuclear core, or perhaps even a small sun. The blonde teen's muscles flex, but the image of the wall begins to crumble as doubt creeps in, the brilliant light bathing his exposed skin, his hair, and his winter regulation attire. It sears into the backs of his eyelids, but there is no warmth to it.

It is something he cannot easily nor readily discern, due to being so far from attuned to his own emotions.

The spherical missile hits him, blasts apart his crumbling defences and breaks through. He is hit square in the centre of his chest, the pressure allowing just a taste of what it must be like when your lungs collapse inwards. Surprisingly, his ribcage holds. Rock's stance does not.

Taiyo's heartthrob is not enough of a barricade, not enough of an obstacle to halt the small sun, his feet leaving the lacquered surface of the floor as Rock is swept up by the attack and carried, even forcibly thrown not into the wall, but THROUGH IT. A nasty crack rends the air on impact as he goes flying into an antechamber that serves the dual purpose of housing various knickknacks for presentations in the auditorium, from sound equipment to podiums. The blonde comes to a smashing halt at the base of a stand-alone coat rack, snapping it clean in half, a rain of jackets covering him like a blanket that smells of musty articles and moth balls.

He... tries to get up, once, for one brief second. Rock doesn't even know what he would do even if he did scramble to his feet, teeth tightly clenched and the word, "Ow." slipping through them. His arms give out, his energy is slipping away, and the last thing Rock sees before he just slumps back to take an impromptu nap are the student nursing aides climbing through the hole he had left behind and The Hulk announcing the winner of the match.

Also, extra homework, which causes the Taiyo side of the audience to groan again.

Nah, he's messing with them.

It was over.

By the time brilliant glow of her incredible psychic potential had faded, it was clear the match had been decided. Athena Asamiya had lowered her hands to her sides, her hair draped along her back, as she pants for breath, violet eyes gazing across the way.

She knew she had given Rock no quarter throughout their fight and the truth of that left her a touch uneasy, a strange feeling to blend in with her flush of exuberiance from victory. She had never been a ruthless fighter, and even her, attempting to treat this match with every ounce of dedication and focus she was capable of, she still would not have stooped to any dishonorable tactics... Is even that holding her back, she can't help but wonder.

Certainly the monster named Krizalid had known nothing of honor, no morals stayed his hand when he attacked her the week before. Would that mean she would forever be weaker than those willing to go to any length? The cheering from the north and south sides of the auditorium is lost on the girl for a long moment, as she lifts her right hand to rest over her eyes and bow her head. Perhaps the gesture looks like quiet relief at having won a hard fought battle, as student and faculty alike are oblivious to the silent battle waging in the chambers of her conflicted soul.

But the moment passes. She will think on this later. There will be time to reflect on the balance of right and wrong after the celebration party has run its course, she decides, finally lowering her hand, a warm smile working its way to her lips.

Turning, the girl lifts her hands to wave to the Justice students to the north before offering them a bow. The gesture of waving and bowing is repeated for the Taiyo students packed into the stands in the south. A final, more formal, dignified bow, hands pressed together, is offered toward her opponent. She may have eliminated him from this tournament, she thinks to herself, but a spirit such as his will not be set back long by that.

All she can do now is relax a little, let down her guards, set aside such grim thoughts, and begin preparing herself for whoever it is she is to face in the future...

Log created on 18:31:54 12/26/2014 by Athena, and last modified on 22:33:05 01/10/2015.