IHST - Inter-High School Tournament: Natsu vs Hinata

Description: As the Inter-High Tournament continues, two best friends are pit against each other in their first fight for the honor of their respective schools.

Gorin High! Home of the future class of sports stars, olympic athletes, and physical trainers! The school often gets a bad rap as a haven for people who have more brawn than brains, but the private school prides itself on its rigorous selection process. And the parents of the school body also contribute a pretty penny for their darlings to learn from the best and brightest -- and it's most obvious out here on the area known as the "Green," overlooked by the massive Gorin Dome towers off to the southeast.

The weather ended up being exceptionally nice this afternoon! The scenic Green has been designated for the Inter-High School Tournament, with a large section of interlocking mat grids providing the fighting surface, marked off with ropes and temporary barriers. Banners marked with the school's five-ring logo are posted all around the Green, a tasteful complement to the ring of trees.

In fact, the only blight on the affair is the Atelier Pavilion, erected not very far from the Gorin Dome. A large white tent structure with the logos of the Atelier Group, its purpose is unclear -- as are the motives of some of the staff. One of their targets stands head-and-shoulders above the crowd: Natsu Ayuhara, one of the competitors in this afternoon's competition. The Atelier medical staff would probably have difficulty reaching Miss Ayuhara, though, as she's surrounded by the entirety of the Gorin High girls' volleyball team. And also their parents. If it weren't for the camera crew, though, who knows what might happen?!

Natsu Ayuhara should be -thrilled-. In one sense, she is, really -- but needing to lean on her friends and their family to keep the medical staff from hassling her is trying her patience. She's decked out in her red volleyball jersey, and carries her gym bag over one shoulder as she strides out to the designated fight area.

Lightly clasping her strap in one hand, she looks around with a detached smile upon her face. Being lined up against her childhood friend was a mixed blessing -- she knows she can count on this being a good fight, to be sure, but can she actually bear to raise arms against one of her closest friends? In front of parents and friends?

COMBATSYS: Natsu has started a fight here.

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Natsu            0/-------/-------|

Of course the weather is great! This may not be a traditional sporting event, but everyone knows that anytime Hinata Wakaba, the Sunshine Girl of Taiyo High, shows up the weather is going to be perfect. While she may not put in the predictions herself, it's well known by all the clubs at Taiyo (and beginning to spread to clubs at other schools) no meteorologist is more accurate than that Hinata Forecast.

Another important thing to note when it comes to events with Hinata Wakaba, the energetic Taiyo girl always brings a ton of classmates with her, so even if the Gorin field is officially lined with plenty of the school's symbol, there's a massive section of upbeating Taiyo supporters lining the opposite side.

It's a good thing that it's pretty well known that both fighters have been friends for ages, otherwise the friendly sporting atmosphere that has managed to surround this event might have the violence spread out of the ring. It also helps that Taiyo and Gorin have always, for the most part, been more interested in a rivalry on the field than in the streets.

Coming along with this upbeat atmopshere is the upbeat Whirlwind Schoolgirl. Looking for all intents as happy as if she'd been offered an all-you-can-eat cake buffet, Hinata hops up over the ropes into the ring (which, quite honestly, she might have been able to get past more easily by crouching given her height.

"NAT-CHAN!" She cries out at the top of her lungs, waving enthusiasticly to her friend as she calls out at a volume more appropriate for calling attention across a crowded cafeteria than across a fighting ring occupied by only two high school girls and, for the moment, the fight officiator. "Good luck! I'm looking forward to seeing how good you are after all the work you've done with Saku-chan!"

COMBATSYS: Hinata has joined the fight here.

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Hinata           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0            Natsu

There is no doubt about that -- no matter how dark and gloomy her mood, Hinata's exuberance is always enough to bring a smile to Natsu's face. She'd spotted the diminutive Sunshine Girl just a few moments before she'd hopped over the ropes, but held her welcoming cry for until she'd entered the ring. "Hina-chan!" Mostly because her booming voice would be loud enough to scare people if she'd cried out with the same intensity Hinata showed just then -- yowza!

Unslinging her gym bag from her shoulder, she pulls out a volleyball and sets the bag just outside the ropes. "I might just surprise you! But don't hold back against me, okay?" she answers, with a confident smile. Palming the volleyball in one hand, she tosses a look over to the fight official. "Best of luck to you, Hina-chan!"

While on the whole, Hinata was going to keep this as a fight between friends (which to some people might seem strange, but made perfect sense to Hinata whose list of friends included quite a few other fighters), she did have one more concern: She was the last representative of Taiyo High still in the competition. She owed her to her school to give it her all.

Of course, she also owed it to her friend Natsu not to hold anything back. That would just be rude.

Despite all of the pressure on her, Hinata couldn't help but be excited for the match. This was her first chance to get to see how much of Natsu's considerable volleyball talent translated to fighting. Well, at least from the perspective of an opponent.

And so, as soon as the officiator signals the start of the match, Hinata is off like a lightning bolt, quickly clearing the open space between her and Natsu and then starting off somewhat simple as she swings her leg up in a high kick aimed for Natsu's chest, with her obscenely oversized trainer leader the way.

COMBATSYS: Natsu blocks Hinata's Medium Kick.

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Hinata           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0            Natsu

Hinata's enthusiasm is definitely contagious -- the perfect antidote to the sad melancholy that tends to accompany the winter months. Natsu can't help but smile in reply to her friend, even just watching her bob from one foot to the other while waiting for the fight to start.

And when the signal is given, Natsu's eyes widen -- for even though she'd been expecting a sudden surge of activity, she didn't expect one of those shoes to be flung her way -- and so high! The Gorin athlete wasn't crazy about the style of shoes, but she can definitely appreciate how fast Hinata burns through shoes -- anything less meaty probably wouldn't be able to keep up with the Sunshine Girl, after all!

Her reaction time certainly seems to have improved with her experiences in the Neo League, though -- just a few short months ago, Natsu would probably have been clobbered! Now, though, she's quick enough to hop backwards, presenting her upper left arm and the side of her elbow for the attack to clash against. "Heh, I should have guessed..."

Natsu lets the volleyball drop behind her for a moment -- a possible hazard, to be sure, but the chance just can't be missed. With Hinata still rather close, the volleyballer surges forward in an attempt to capitalize, her hands making a grab for the Taiyo student's shoulders. If she manages this she'd aim to pull her back, keeping the nimble Taiyo student close just long enough to bring her knee to bear for one quick strike to the side. It's an unexpected move -- but just enough of a wakeup call, she hopes. "Hyaa!"

COMBATSYS: Natsu successfully hits Hinata with Combo Grapple.
Glancing Blow

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Hinata           0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0            Natsu

From most perspectives, Hinata would be at a huge disadvantage here. Natsu's got a substantial height advantage, which also lends itself well to reach and leverage. It's not often you expect two people to have nearly a foot height difference in a match. What advantage Hinata does have, however, is the fact that she doesn't have a whole lot of weight holding her down and she's full of energy.

In otherwords: she's quick.

When Natsu grabs hold of her smaller friend, Hinata should be pretty much caught, but at the last second, as the knee is coming in, the smaller girl manages to twist her body around, throwing her legs out to the side and managing only to catch a grazing hit from her friend.

"That was a good one, Nat-chan!" Hinata cries out after having fully extricated herself from the hold, hopping back and forth a few times to regain her rhythm. It really is impossible to get her to stand still for too long. Maybe if you left some cake for her to eat.

"Now let's try fancier stuff, okay?" It's somewhat of a rhetorical question, obviously the whole fun of fighting someone is to see their special fighting techniques, and Hinata has no qualms about being the first to start raising up the level of fighting complexity.

The smaller girl suddenly lunges forward to start up a quick combination of four punches (aimed at Natsu's stomach purely due to height difference) before jerking both hands back to either side and thrusting them forward in a double fisted blow with a sudden surge of bright blue chi exploding off her knuckles.

COMBATSYS: Hinata successfully hits Natsu with Rengekiken.

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Hinata           0/-------/-----==|===----\-------\0            Natsu

Natsu had hoped to be able to capitalize with her SLAMFEST knowledge, but she's still got a lot to learn about the wide variety of opponents she'll need to keep hold of -- Hinata is pretty squirrely to keep hold of!

Against others, she might be frustrated, but it's hard to stay mad when her friend's over there beaming encouragement right back at her! An appraising grin is flashed back at her friend as her knee is evaded. "Ack... did you get Kiko-san's Special? I -knew- I wouldn't have time to make it down that way..." So in other words, that's what Natsu's attributing the speed boost to: cakes.

But when Hinata talks about shifting tack... well, what's this? Natsu backs away, hoping to observe this so-called fancy stuff from a safer angle -- but it doesn't seem like that's in the cards, as Hinata's advancing machine-gun punch catches her off-guard, chi-augmented punches more than compensating for the dimunitive fighter's size differential. "Nnngh!" Staggering back, Natsu's grin had faltered, but she covers for it by squaring her jaw, breathing out through her nose so as not to tax her lungs overmuch.

At this point though... she's withdrawn past the point of her volleyball. "Okay then, Hina-chan!" With one nudge of her toe, she's tossing the ball into the air. And with a sudden leap upwards, Natsu is airborne as well. "Here it comes!" One balled fist scythes overhead, as she brings the hammer down, her volleyball distorting into an oval shape from the impact, as it flies towards Hinata at breakneck speed.

COMBATSYS: Natsu successfully hits Hinata with Tokkun Spike.

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Hinata           0/-------/<<<<<<<|=====--\-------\0            Natsu

Mmm... cake... after this they really should go get some cake. Hinata could really go for something sweet right about now.

...In fairness, that's pretty much always true. Hinata seems to have a whole lot in common with a hummingbird, such as the fact that both consume tons of sugar and never seem to stop moving.

Another thing that she has in common with a hummingbird is that neither of them does particularly well when they suddenly have a volleyball spiked into their face. Hinata does her absolute best to get out of the way, but it's soon obvious there's no hope of even her incredible energy and speed managing to pull her out of the path of that meteor.


The distinctive sound of volleyball meeting face rings out as Hinata gets knocked flat on the ground.

And she just lays there for a moment.

Is she done this soon?

Short answer: No. Long answer: Suddenly Hinata pops up in a manner that seems completely out of place on someone who isn't a cartoon character and then grins. She looks more energetic than she did before, somehow.

"Wow, that one hurt a lot, Nat-chan. Your spike is intense!" Despite the fact that there are some faint volleyball lines imprinted on her face, Hinata doesn't seem to be all that concerned.

The sunshine girl does say a good distance back, however, suddenly cupping her hands together as all of that extra sugar-powered energy starts to flow into a spark between her fingers, rapidly growing out to the size of a volleyball before the incredibly energetic young school girl launches the blue chi orb straight at her friend. As soon as it's nearly on top of Natsu, the orb suddenly explodes outward into the shape of sunflower petals.

COMBATSYS: Natsu blocks Hinata's Kikou Shoutei.

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Hinata           0/-------/<<<<<<<|======-\-------\0            Natsu

Natsu... winces, one hand bracing against her kneepad, her other going up to her mouth as she stares back at her friend. "Hina-chan...!" is the muffled exclamation of the volleyballer as she looks back at her friend, concerned. She knew she had a powerful spike, but she also knew the fleet-footed Hinata stood a pretty good chance of avoiding it...

Luckily, Hinata's not -too- put out by it, bringing an uneasy smile back to Natsu's face as she drops her hands back to a ready stance. Hyperextending and then closing her fingers, she offers a mild smile in response to the compliment -- but not without offering her own. "Maybe, but I'm still learning..."

And it's not long before Hinata's rushing forward again -- and instead of offering another series of rapid-fire punches, she's presenting an orb of chi, roughly the size of--

The volleyball captain's already got a defense in mind, and it's pretty simple: placing her hands forward, her fingers and thumbs overlapping in a rough diamond shape as she plants her palms into the orb. When the sunflower petals sprout forth, Natsu finds herself shutting one eye from the exertion, straining to keep the blossom from overpowering herself. The loose sleeves of her jersey flutter in the sudden breeze, and she's forced to take two steps back, but when she does -- it's with an exuberant smile.

"Okay, that? You gotta teach me how you do that..." She flashes a quick wink back at her friend, as she shakes the numbness out of her fingers.

But she doesn't need her hands right now, for she's twisting sideways slightly, aiming one of her more less outlandish trainers at Hinata in a straightforward kick. "Hyaa!"

COMBATSYS: Hinata interrupts Medium Kick from Natsu with Shouyouken EX.

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Hinata           1/----<<</<<<<<<<|=======\=------\1            Natsu

There are a few important things to note about Hinata's martial arts training. The first one is that there is no reason why she should be able to do half the things she does based on the Saikyo Ryu tapes she's received. That thing she does where she somehow kicks shoes without losing shoes? These flowerballs and such?

Most of that isn't actually explained anywhere. One day there was a tape that explained what chi was and had Dan Hibiki himself doing the worst explanation of how to summon chi that has ever existed... and how Hinata seems to quite easily summon flames and orbs without a second tought. The shoes? There was a tape once that talked about using unusual tactics so that your opponent won't know what to expect. The shoes aren't even there on the ground when people look later! It's like they disappear the moment people stop thinking about them.

Hinata enjoys spending freetime teaching martial arts to some of the younger kids in Southtown, and the lessons are all quite solid and full of great fundamentals. Right up until she decides to try explaining her special techniques and suddenly nobody can understand how any of what she's saying actually works. I suppose that's what happens when you learn martial arts from Dan Hibiki's home DVDs.

Anyway, there isn't really time for Hinata to offer any explanations, because when Natsu comes flying in with an attempt to kick her, Hinata has suddenly crouched down in preparation, and when she clenches her fist her arm is suddenly sheathed in flames and she rockets upward, flying in past all of the extension that Natsu's long legs give her to slam an spiralling uppercut of flames into Natsu's jaw.

It would stand to reason that Hinata went over and above her Saikyo-ryu training, because Natsu sure never got -anything- that cool out of the videos -she- had watched. Sunflowers? Nah, just plain old orbs of energy that looked like they were made out of blue flame, no flash, no panache! Surely, the Sunflower Girl has put her own spin on the techniques.

And it would seem that 'spin' is clearly the operating word here. For one thing, Natsu had to spin, slightly, to twist into her kick. And another, Hinata is spinning as she corkscrews a fist right up into Natsu's jaw, easily making up for the height differential! There's a noticeable 'clack' as the bones of Hinata's fist crack against Natsu's jawbone, but it's more noticeable that the leggy volleyballer flies upwards, spinning like an umbrella with her numbed hands whirling around to the side from the sudden blow.

It's worth mentioning that Ayuhara hasn't -fought- Hinata before. So the notion that her close friend was capable of power like this is... well, it's interesting! Natsu learns something new every day. It's something to consider as she finds herself falling back towards the ground -- she's able to twist about in midair, and catch herself -- albeit clumsily -- so as to avoid taking the -full- damage of landing on the fight surface.

She doesn't stay on the ground for long though, springing back up to her ready volleyball stance. "Heh... that was pretty cool! Your take on it's a bit different than Saku-chan's..."

She doesn't spend much time patting Hinata on the back though: while she isn't quite as nimble as Hinata, she is good at making a dive for a volleyball. Or in this case, she's good at dropping low into a slide, snapping into a crouch so she can try to dig Wakaba's legs out from under her. "Hraaaa!"

COMBATSYS: Hinata dodges Natsu's Sliding Receive.

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Hinata           1/----<<</<<<<<<<|=======\=------\1            Natsu

Style is important! Hinata has long had a facination with fighting and all of the effort and talent that went into it, but she never really got into practicing martial arts until Sakura had decided to become a fighter. At first Hinata mostly just wanted to keep up with Sakura and have something else to talk about with one of her best friends, but once she started to learn about really strange and unusual moves that were more than just punches and kicks, Hinata got incredibly excited to be a fighter.

This is also part of why Hinata has no interest in joining any one club at the school: why would you want to do the same, straightforward thing over and over again when you have the opportunity to expand and explore? No reason to join the Karate Club or the Judo Club, because they don't really get to go around doing fun stuff like throwing fireballs!

"Sakura decided she wanted to fight like the guy from World Warrior, I wanted to just learn how to fight, so I had to make up at least a few of my own moves!" Hinata shouts as she leaps up over Natsu's attack. Quite honestly, she probably put too much jump into things, considering Natsu was going for ground level and right now Hinata looks like she could have cleared Natsu's standing height without much trouble.

When those oversized trainers finally make their way back down to the ground, Hinata goes for something quite a bit simpler than she'd been using before, whipping out a quick kick toward Natsu's leg to try to throw her somewhat off balance.

COMBATSYS: Hinata successfully hits Natsu with Light Kick.
- Power hit! -

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Hinata           1/----<<</<<<<<<<|=======\===----\1            Natsu

Natsu likes style. Really! But between her, Hinata, and Sakura, Natsu is probably the -least- inclined to follow someone else's style -- the headstrong volleyballer is determined to do things -her- way, which is why she's putting tried-and-true volleyball techniques to work in the fighting arena. And against some, well... it seems to have worked!

Against someone like Hinata who has more training in other sports, well... Natsu doesn't have the breadth of maneuvers to keep up. She doesn't bother looking up to track Hinata -- turning to look that high would probably force her to keel over! Instead she just uses the sound of Hinata's voice to give her a rough estimate where the girl is, and spring back to her feet.

Doing things 'her way' also puts her at risk to what would have been a basic strategic move from a martial artist -- watching the center. Volleyballers don't have much chance of a stray ball pegging them in the leg as they stand -- if they've been knocked over, the play is probably done, after all. So when Hinata kicks at her leg... well, it was the precise -wrong- moment for Natsu to have started shifting her weight onto that leg, and Natsu keels over -anyway-, her leg flying up out of the way as she crashes to the fight surface. Timber!! A hiss can be heard as Natsu sharply draws in her breath, doubling over like a jackknife from the pain of her back landing flat against the floor.

She log-rolls off to the side, the pain starting to catch up to her as she springs back to her feet. One eye is screwed shut a bit more than the other, as she tries to stave off the pain, but she still manages a tight smile. "Well... me? I just wanted to learn what all the fuss was about!"

But she wastes no more time chatting about it -- she leaps forward with a quick one-two punch, in slight mimicry of Hinata's machine-gun punch from earlier, but instead of finishing with a double-fisted punch, she collects her hands together into an axehandle at Wakaba's stomach, forceful enough to blast her right off her feet if it connects. Again -- doing things -her- way!

COMBATSYS: Natsu successfully hits Hinata with Aggressive Strike.
Glancing Blow

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Hinata           1/--=====/=======|=======\====---\1            Natsu

Okay, Hinata hadn't really intended to knock out Natsu's leg when she was just standing up. It certainly worked out well enough, but she didn't want to hit Natsu too hard when she wasn't ready for it. That's how people get serious injuries, and Hinata wouldn't want to do anything to risk Natsu's volleyball career over a simple fighting tournament.

Apparently, however, it doesn't actually do anything to keep Natsu down, considering how quickly Natsu is up on her feet. There's a brief moment where Hinata is watching Natsu, when suddenly a flicker of awareness goes through her and she violently attempts to throw herself out of the way.

It somewhat works. Only one of the punches actually manages to get any ground on Hinata, but it's enough to knock her back and put a real wince on her face.

"Wow, Natsu... you were putting it all in that one," Hinata pants out as she manages to straighten back up. "I guess I should really pull out the stops about now if I want to keep Taiyo in the tournament, huh?"

And with that said, Hinata suddenly ducks forward stomping her feet down right in front of Natsu, then whipping up her leg... in a feat of sheer coincidence, she manages to be standing on her shoe lace and actually yanks her foot up out of her shoe without noticing it.

What isn't hard to notice is that as Hinata brings her foot up in a whirlwind kick, her flame is suddenly sheathed in flames of chi. Not blue, like her flowerball or red like normal flames, but in fact a rainbow of colors running the entire length of her leg. She also doesn't just stop at one spin, now rapidly moving like a top, she becomes a whirlwind of whirlwind kicks! A whirlwind that happens to suck up her now displaced shoe into it as Hinata rises up off the ground, higher and higher, kicking Natsu over and over again with not just her foot, but now the completely independent shoe seems to be getting in on the fun!

COMBATSYS: Hinata successfully hits Natsu with Rasen Enbukyaku.

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Hinata           0/-------/------=|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2            Natsu

Natsu's taken a few bad spills on the volleyball court before. She may have been knocked flat but that wouldn't keep her down for long -- not when such a friendly opponent is there waiting for her to get back up again. It's just for fun, right? This match is just for fun.

At least, that was the thought running through Natsu's head until Hinata mentions Taiyo. And a tournament. ... "Taiyo...?"

Right. Natsu, Sakura, and Hinata always had been inseperable, but this year, Natsu's -not- going to the same school. She can't afford to just sleep on the job here, she can't just lie over and ask for a rematch -- the honor of Gorin High is on the line! And she can't lose here, in their home court of all places! Clenching her hands into fists, she agrees -- even turning a bit red in the face. "R-right! We should -both- fight with all our hearts!" Okay, maybe she was a -bit- embarassed for not keeping her eyes fully on the prize here!

But it's that determination that keeps her going as Hinata kicks things up a few notches -- well, particularly her shoe. "Hina-chan, your--" She doesn't have time to complete that thought, and in fact, it doesn't seem like Hinata even -notices- her shoe has fallen off. Oh no!

That hesitation costs Ayuhara a precious second, however -- enough time for the newly-determined fighter to miss her chance at raising her guard. The fiery feet whirl about, a tornado of flame searing through, buffeting the Gorin athlete's jersey about as she's driven backwards. "Nnngh..."

Her jersey could likely catch fire, if not for Natsu's determination -- and the fact that Natsu's knocked off her feet into an immediate stop-drop-and-roll against her will. As it is... the volleyball captain shakes the dizziness out of her head. Blackness creeps into her field of view, and she's brought right to the brink of both consciousness -- and the ring.

But only one thought keeps her going. "S-sorry, Hina-chan. I might have some bad news for your school..." She reaches for the volleyball that had bounced over to the edge of the ring. And with nearly all her remaining energy, she shakes off her unconsciousness and vaults into the air -- bringing the volleyball up into the air.

"This is for the pride of Gorin High!" She slams her fist into the back of the ball for what seems like it would be one single spike -- and a quite impressive one it would be, if that's all it were. But from the sheer speed with which it blisters out, the overwhelming abundance of chi provides the confusing afterimages of what looks like over -ten- volleyballs all blazing their way towards Hinata at breakneck speed.

Sure -- she had chi. She could have channeled it to light the volleyballs on fire like she has for other opponents. But this is about showing Hinata her /best!/ "HRAAAAAA!"

COMBATSYS: Hinata blocks Natsu's Thousand Spikes.

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Hinata           0/-------/---====|>>>>---\-------\0            Natsu

That was a hell of a lot to put into the fight, and Hinata, despite it all, still seems to be completely ready to go, still energetic... although somewhat surprised that Natsu is still standing. She can just tell that her friend is right on the edge after that attack.

It does take her a moment to realize her shoe is off. Perhaps that's a moment wasted, because she's rather busy looking to find where it is (somehow it lands down in her corner, but not quite yet, at this point in time it's still miraculously floating in the air).

When Natsu starts shouting, that's when Hinata's attention is pulled right back into the match. Okay, hopefully this doesn't cost her the fight! When she notices Natsu beginning to gear up for a seriously big blow, Hinata locks her feet on the ground and brings up both arms in front of her to defend herself. She simply puts her all into weathering the incredible blow...

...From the welts on her arm, it certainly looks like it really hurt.

"Wow, that was incredible, Natsu," Hinata shouts, then suddenly goes right back into looking for her shoe (this is the part where it somewhat comically lands in her corner). "Ah, there it is." She says as she rushes over to slip her shoe back on. She has to be in proper fighting condition afterall.

COMBATSYS: Hinata gains composure.

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Hinata           0/-------/-----==|>>>>---\-------\0            Natsu

Natsu lands in a low crouch. She's been pushed to her limit -- forcing her body well beyond its practical limits, all out of the need to give Hinata, and Gorin, the best performance she could possibly muster. She'd been inspired by Hinata, the young prodigy who could easily be the -most- proficient wielder of Saikyo-ryu, and in a moment of inspiration, had managed a feat she'd not yet done before.

And Hinata seems to have taken it full on, and brushed it off so effectively that she can go looking for her shoe rather than keeping her full attention on the fight, as Natsu has.

Natsu frowns, nostrils flaring. Her wounds are adding up... but she doesn't know what's going through the shorter fighter's mind right now. She came to fight, right? What difference is one shoe going to make, with how quickly Hinata goes through them?

Natsu looks over at the volleyball, as it has almost returned back to her after its trip to Hinata. Winded, and nearly about to tip over, she shakes her head. Now's not the time to get bogged down: even if she were distracted, she wouldn't expect the Sunshine Girl to let up. This isn't just a playground fight -- their two schools are watching!

With one arm snaking low to snag the ball, Natsu hops into the air -- nothing fancy, nothing flashy. Just one solid serve hammered off in Hinata's direction.

The red-faced Natsu may have aimed a little high in her frustration.

COMBATSYS: Hinata fails to slow Jikkon Serve from Natsu with Kikou Shoutei EX.
-@- Dazing Hit! -@-

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

COMBATSYS: Hinata can no longer fight.

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

For some unexplainable reason, when Hinata focuses she is able to do some strange things with her shoes that mean she hasn't gotten rid of them. They are a powerful weapon at the right moment... at the wrong moment, such as the one where she accidentally slips out of them, her shoes are just like any other article of clothing that can be lost or otherwise misplaced. And there was a very real possibility that Hinata might need her shoe in the fight still.

Unfortunately, it would seem that letting up on her assault might not be the best idea, especially not when Natsu is quite focused on the volleyball in her hands.

By the time Hinata notices the volleyball, there isn't a lot of time to decide just what to do... not that there is usually a lot of time to think in a fight, but this time even less so. So Hinata reacts on instinct, summoning every last bit of concentration she can to throw out a ball of chi on her own, aiming to knock the volleyball off course.

She fails to do that.

Instead, what happens is the volleyball plows right through the center of the chi seed, causing it to collapse in on itself, then nails Hinata in the nose and knocks her flat.

Well, that happened earlier in the fight, all she needs to do is get back up, right?


...This time it takes the officiator coming into the ring to check on the Sunshine Girl to determine that she appears to be knocked completely senseless and out cold.

Natsu is... actually kind of envious of Hinata's shoes now, having seen first-hand what she's able to do with them, rather than simply watching from the sidelines or on internet replays. But she doesn't think she could become so attached to shoes -- or anything, really -- that she would stop in mid-fight to retrieve them.

Though... she clearly looked away for a moment to retrieve her volleyball. There's -that- much -- but even Hinata's trainer experience pales in comparison to Natsu's dexterity with volleyballs. Perhaps that's the key difference.

... Still. It's hard for Natsu to -stay- agitated when she'd just plowed through the attack of her prodigious friend to knock her flat onto her back. "Hina-chan..!" Natsu had started rushing over to her friend -- even before the officials declared anything -- and had kneeled down beside her. Is her nose bleeding? Worse? Exhaling sharply, she doesn't quite pay -too- much mind to the official saying that the fight's over -- she can see that plain as day. She's too focused on Hinata to worry about the cheering from the Gorin crowd, the mixed applause from the Taiyo visitors.

"Kimiko!" ... Who is Kimiko? That's not one of the nurses, it's one of the volleyball team members. "Get me a wet cloth... "

Already the Atelier Medical staff are starting to sweep in. But Natsu's hovering protectively over her friend, clasping her limp hand tightly in her own. "Hey... Hina-chan... c'mon. It's Natsu. It's over, okay? I'm... I'm sorry, okay? We both tried our best, right?"

Please, Natsu pleads. Please wake up. Before they get here.

COMBATSYS: Natsu takes no action.

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

COMBATSYS: Natsu has ended the fight here.

Another important aspect of being Hinata Wakaba, aside from the fact that she is full of boundless energy, is that she never seems to be able to overexert herself. Sometimes helping out multiple teams in a day, then running to go meet her friends for cake, then going home and doing homework and practicing more martial arts... then doing it the next day.

Hinata was certainly knocked completely senseless to the point where she couldn't really get up, but once her head clears it's almost as if none of that had even happened (although she does, in fact, feel quite sore at the moment). "...Wow, I'm guessing you won. That means you have to buy the cake!"

Natsu wipes her eyes on the back of her hand, cracking a smile. Kimiko, as asked, returns quickly with a damp cloth. And Natsu, matronly type that she is, is quick to dab it along Hinata's face and along the welts on her arms. Sure... Ayuhara's pretty wrecked herself... but one of the aspects of her life is tending to her friends, even at cost to her own well-being. That's just how she operates.

Even if the other aspect is a hair-trigger temper.

But as the Atelier personnel close in, Natsu flashes Hinata a tight smile. And nods. "It sounds that way, yes." And it looks like Hinata can stand, so... she flashes a warm smile. "Yes. My treat."

Paperwork can undoubtedly be filed later, she considers, slipping an arm around Hinata. Is it for the Sunshine Girl, or for herself? That's the question. But the urge is strong to get the heck out of Gorin, for pretty much -everyone- knows the two friends are inseparable whenever cake is involved.

Log created on 19:06:41 01/05/2015 by Hinata, and last modified on 13:07:32 01/06/2015.