Description: The third notable Twilight Star Challenger is one with a great deal of prior history with Honoka, both in this world and in another... (Draw Fight)
The Twilight Star Circus is a showcase of the improbable limits of human performance. Acrobats, knife throwers, death-defying trapeze acts, you name it! Fighting has taken the world by storm though, and the audience wants MURDER.
Okay. Maybe not 'murder' per se, but fighting is definitely a thing the audience is keenly interested in.
The call goes out to the audience for challengers. Most nights, the call is answered by a staff member in disguise, to save the audience from an awkward three-minute long silence as much as anything else.
But tonight? Tonight may be a different story, as Honoka stands atop the highest of four raised platforms, each about 30 feet long and 10 feet wide, placed at various heights under the big top. Each platform is four feet higher than the last -- enough to present an interesting logistical challenge, if nothing else. Each platform also seems to have some kind of unique hazard associated with it -- it'll be up to the fighters to discover just what lies in store! There is also a long pole, about a foot in diameter, erected horizontally like a balance beam to provide a fifth fighting surface for the competitors.
And true to form, Honoka is whipping three flaming diabolos through a series of tricks while waiting for someone to rise to the challenge. She won't =fight= with the three, of course... but it makes for something interesting to watch in the meantime!
The call goes out, and a single man stands up. Honoka might recognize Captain Zach Glenn, USMC. He has a faint grin on his face as he does so, wearing street clothes and Fatal Fury ball cap. He waves once to the diabolista before leaping up towards one of the platforms. He lands lightly in a gentle spray of motes of gold and purple light. He tilts his head to one side.
"You know," Zach says in a quiet, but conversational tone of voice, "I'd like to offer you a wager."
Honoka had her reservations about opening up the circus to audience participation. It's a friendly fight, nothing high-stakes, but the chance of someone absolutely -demolishing- the nimble fighter are... well, nonzero.
She was eventually convinced to start the challenges anyway, because anyone of sufficient skill to pick the diabolo-wielder apart wouldn't need to wait till she was ready for it. Sound logic, in a sense.
What Honoka had -not- considered, though, was the chance of Zach Glenn showing up. She'd already met him offstage here, after a show -- well before the audience challenges began -- so she'd figured she was off the hook.
Considering that she just about drops one of her flaming diabolos, it's clear she didn't expect the psion here -- and certainly not so soon. She immediately jerks the diabolo strings to the side, slinging the diabolos into a triple excalibur genocide. It's very showy, and... a good way to cover her mistake.
Clamping down her jaw, she reins the excalibur in, launching the three diabolos into the air. She holds out her palm, and stacks the three flaming diabolos one atop each other, sufficing to neatly snuff out the flames.
"So long as you recognize the unfairness inherent in calling me out in front of a few thousand people, yes, I accept." Her smile is abbreviated, and her voice is soft -- it doesn't carry, as she's not wired with a mic. But it's plenty loud enough for Captain Zach to hear.
She drops two of the diabolos to her other hand, and tosses them to an assistant, before slinging the diabolos into another wide loop. That's enough of a cue for the ringmaster to take over... announcing the challenger! Who ... apparently already knows the good Captain's name. How did he know? Everyone remembers the Captain after the encounter at Shitennoji...
COMBATSYS: Honoka has started a fight here.
"If you don't want to take the side bet," Zach says with a grin, "Then we can still do the fight with the usual bet." Zach slides into a fighting stance that might remind Honoka of an aggressive boxer, with one exception. His right hand hovers in front of, and centered on his chest. The grin, though, is still there. Honoka might feel more than a little excitement washing off the Marine.
"If you win this fight, I'll let you ask me one question that I have to answer completely and truthfully." Zach's grin widens as his body sheathes itself in more of that gold and purple light. "If I win, though? You and I go out for a night on the town."
That ought to make things interesting enough for both parties. It seems like a good chance to figure out some of what is going on here, given Elise Harkness' conversation.
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn has joined the fight here.
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////////////////////]
Honoka 0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0 Zach Glenn
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn gathers his will.
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////////////////////]
Honoka 0/-------/-======|====---\-------\0 Zach Glenn
It doesn't take long for Honoka to agree to Zach's terms. "Deal." Her smile grows -- but only a smidge. Her on-stage persona is practically a mime, anyway -- she can communicate with the crowd much better that way, using body language instead of futzing around with an awkward mic that's liable to drop out and whatnot.
Honoka -is- confused as to why he'd chosen now to show up -- but that matter will have to be addressed later. For right now? She senses an immense outpouring of psychic energy. It's enough to force her to take a step back, though the impact on her juggling is not so abrupt this time. No... instead, she makes an overblown 'snap' gesture with her hands.
At that moment, four explosive pins can be heard firing overhead. Four trapdoors open. And four -huge- pendula swing down from above, one alone easily weighing as much as Zach, following long, sweeping arcs. They're easy to predict, but the time which they take to fall through their arc is such that it'd be easy to forget about them.
Honoka wastes no further time in following through. Tossing her diabolo into the air, she charges forward, aiming to collect both of her diabolo wands together, swinging them like a baseball bat into Zach's ribcage. She's eager to test the young Captain's skills -- and his situational awareness!
COMBATSYS: Honoka successfully hits Zach Glenn with Medium Strike.
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ///////////////////////// ]
Honoka 0/-------/=======|=======\-------\0 Zach Glenn
Zach's eyes narrow as Honoka comes in fast, as a pendulum comes crashing in. Zach takes a chance; the pendulum will more than likely hurt more. He hops forward to avoid it, and it leaves him open for the baton strike to hit cleanly. He lets out a explosive grunt. "Nice," Zach says honestly. "My turn."
He attempts to clamp down on the batons with his arm, hopefully trapping them against his side before lashing out with a right cross, augmented by more of that gold and purple energy drawn forth from his soul!
COMBATSYS: Honoka blocks Zach Glenn's Medium Punch.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ///////////////////////// ]
Honoka 0/-------/=======|=======\-------\0 Zach Glenn
Immediately after her batons gain purchase on the Marine's ribcage, the juggler is already retracting her wands -- she'd expected him to zig when he instead zagged, and retrieval of her diabolos is of the highest priority. Lashing the baton like a whip, she snares her diabolo out of midair, already spinning about in a flashy pirouette to the thrill of the audience. At some point the diabolo hopped off the string again, disappearing up into the bright lights of the big top...
When that right cross comes in, she snaps the batons high, crossing them in an 'X' pattern, centered right on the fist. The lighter fighter is forced backwards a step: Marines know how to throw a good punch, who knew?! "Heh."
But she's not about to waste her close proximity to the Captain -- already moving forward, she lashes out with the wands, hoping to crack the batons into Zach's guard, wearing him down. Left, right, left, right -- it's a simple rhythm, but the fifth stroke would be the change-up, as Honoka lashes the string of her juggling prop down and around the Captain's foot. Should she snare it, she'd jerk upward sharply, plummeting the psion down to the painted plywood platform.
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn blocks Honoka's Shitumbe Marapto.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > /////////////////////// ]
Honoka 1/----===/=======|=======\=------\1 Zach Glenn
Zach parries lefts with the arm on that side before stomping down hard on the batons before the strings can start to tangle up his legs. He winks once, glancing aside before hopping across the pendulums, timing his footfalls with the swinging almost precisely to make them seem as if they are standing still to him.
After he clears the fourth pendulum, Zach spins and and sweeps his open hands towards the young woman and flings a wild spray of gold and violet sparks!
COMBATSYS: Honoka dodges Zach Glenn's Scatter Barrage.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ///////////////////// ]
Honoka 1/----===/=======|=======\==-----\1 Zach Glenn
The Twilight Star juggler had expected some sort of block -- that -usually- is how it works after all. But she'd also expected to gain the advantage of surprise -- but Zach is a bit faster, and he's able to step onto the baton for the one moment she'd let go of it. Mild problem -- and from the smirk, she clearly -did- notice the wink.
He's spiriting away before she can follow through with that, though -- jumping -on top- of the pendula? That's -her- trick! But since he's the one taking advantage of the timing, she'd wear herself out trying to jump on the pendula after they've separated.
So instead, she catches the airborne diabolo and pirouettes about, as if she were -completely- oblivious to the swinging dangers. She isn't, of course, but the audience doesn't know that!
And when Zach unleashes a barrage of fireworks at her, the performer deals with that as best she can -- cartwheeling to the side! The performer -was- once on the acrobatics team, after all...
But when she rights herself, she slings the batons to her side. It seems like a harmless gesture, nothing more than show -- unless one is fast enough to see that she'd re-snared the diabolo, instead sending it flying towards Zach as a simple projectile, accelerated by the angular momentum of her cartwheel and its preceding pirouettes.
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn reflects Large Thrown Object from Honoka with Soaring Dragon.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ///////////////////// ]
Honoka 1/----===/=======|=------\-------\0 Zach Glenn
Zach's foot touches on his platform, his eyes flickering around and noting the path of the diabolo. He continues the landing, bringing himself down into a crouch. Energy spins around his left fist even as it surges through his body. He grins, clearly enjoying the fight, as he jumps explosively towards the roof of the bigtop. "SOARING DRAGON!"
The energy-mailed fist collides with the incoming diabolo, and the energy flows off of Zach and into the projectile. The two clash and sparks of light spray off from the collision of energy and matter before the prop is sent screaming back at Honoka.
COMBATSYS: Honoka fails to reflect Reflected Large Thrown Object from Zach Glenn with Tokap Chup Kamui.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ///////////////////// ]
Honoka 1/----===/=======|===----\-------\0 Zach Glenn
Honoka watches Zach as he uses her dramatic platforms against her. She idly wonders if he'll accidentally trigger the spring-loaded trapdoor he's -about- to step upon -- but she supposes she'll find out soon enough. She is somewhat intrigued by the energy swirling about the Marine's left fist -- it's enough to get the audience psyched up, from the sound of things.
Especially when his fist collides with the diabolo in a shower of sparks. He might note how -heavy- the diabolo is, for him to need that much power to send it flying back at Honoka. It would -have- to be to manage some of the feats she pulls off, after all.
But every weapon thrown is a weapon that can be flung back at her, and Honoka grimaces somewhat. In anticipation, she twirls the batons into a frenzy, keeping the rope spinning like a jumprope. At the last moment, she raises her arm, loosing one of the batons from her grasp and commanding it upwards, hoping to catch the returning diabolo within her scything gesture. She misjudges the speed, though -- and takes it full in the stomach, reeling backwards -- narrowly missing a swinging pendulum in the process. One hand curls around her stomach, while the other snakes out and grabs the diabolo out of the air.
"Well done, Zach... but you'll need to do a bit more than that to earn your date." She laughs, good-naturedly, and springs up to the platform with a light pirouette, no longer needing to worry about the swinging dangers. Just the spring platforms and their deceptive pattern -- not -all- of the indentions are trapped...
Zach grins as he settles back down, and that grin disappears quickly as he starts to feel the platform go out from under him. He lets out a slight yelp of surprise even as he almost impropably springs into the air once more from another spray of multicolored light. Zach might be changing the colors up to make for a better show; he wants this to look good no matter how this plays out.
"I do like to try," he says agreeably. "And I try to do everything to the best of my ability." Zach flips once, and then aims a diving kick at Honoka's midsection. More of those rainbow colored sparks trail in his wake as golden energy wraps around Zach's left foot as he sails towards the woman!
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn successfully hit Honoka with Meteor Kick.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////////// ]
Honoka 1/---====/=======|===----\-------\0 Zach Glenn
Honoka grins as Zach goes flying. Her grin fades a few notches as he manages to make the best of it, twirling around and making a rainbow-colored show.
The pre-teen girls -love- that, for the record.
But she does not -- because while she'd shifted her stance, swinging her batons high to deflect the blow, she misjudged his target -- he'd managed to crack the kick right into her hip rather than just a few inches higher. Honoka finds herself spinning out of control, landing ungracefully on top of an untrapped indentation. Legs and arms splayed to either side, she manages to keep grip on her batons as she spins back to her feet, kicking the diabolo into the air as she does so.
And that's when the lights go out.
The diabolo has a bit of glow-in-the-dark paint -- it wasn't obvious before with the lights on, but that might be why it shines a bit more brightly -now- in what may be the only bit of light present. The diabolo goes up -- and then it goes down, seating itself in what seems to be a cradle made by her diabolo batons.
The diabolo begins spinning faster and faster, and in just moments, it's bright enough to light the whole big top -- as a lance of brilliant white energy (with just a tinge of pink) erupts outward, threatening to impale Zach right through the heart! No particular sensation is desired here -- just a very strong vision of a blade sinking through the flesh, between the ribs, and plunging straight into the heart, with all the lovely psychosomatic effects that might accompany that. Everything would be perfectly normal afterwards, of course -- down to, and including, the house lights coming back on...
COMBATSYS: Honoka successfully hits Zach Glenn with Ishirishina.
- Power hit! -
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////// ]
Honoka 1/-----==/=======|=======\-------\0 Zach Glenn
Zach's eyes narrow as the lights go out. Of course things are rigged. He's the away team, for all intents and purposes, and he /knows/ Honoka wants to win that side bet. The diabolos draw his attention, as is likely the purpose. He doesn't /have/ night vision to ruin with them, though. The flashes are just warning enough, though.
Zach folds his arms over his chest, and summons up his will to brace against the incoming lance. He doesn't stop it the attack however. He barely manages to blunt the strike, and he still lets out a surprised gasp of pain. He wobbles slightly before dropping to one knee just as the lights come back on. He looks across the way to Honoka, gasping for air. What the hell /was/ that? Feeding someone pure sensation... apparently that is a thing psychics can do, given that it just happened to him. His eyes stay on Honoka, but don't quite focus on her.
"Apparently you really want that answer," Zach says just loud enough for the young woman to hear.
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn enters a trance-like state.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > /////////////// ]
Honoka 1/-----==/=======|=======\-------\1 Zach Glenn
The diabolo is still spinning when the lights come back on -- Honoka has gathered the cord in her hands, keeping the string taut as the diabolo practically spins in place. It only lasts a moment, though, as Honoka pops the diabolo back into motion with an idle turn.
She chuckles faintly. The lights going out was just to show off that, yes, she =can= throw energy attacks just like the cool kids in the fighting circuits. The actual -damage- output, though... was lacking, and all of Honoka's fighting intensity has instead been devoted to making one really nifty-looking strike -- and it seems to have worked.
"Well, of course," she answers, as her diabolo spins about. Transferring sensation isn't the -limit- of what she can do, naturally...
But for the meantime, it seems to be all she's =going= to do, as she takes one step to the side. It's a simple step -- it doesn't -seem- aggressive -- but in fact she's stepping onto a trapped square.
And it sends her somersaulting straight at Zach, as she hopes to snap out of the midair tumble with a kick to the upper torso! "Hyaaaa!"
COMBATSYS: Honoka successfully hits Zach Glenn with Strong Kick.
- Power hit! -
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ///////// ]
Honoka 1/---====/=======|=======\=======\1 Zach Glenn
Zach still hasn't gotten his bearing back. The sensation of a sword in the heart is not something you simply shake off, regardless of any evidence to the contrary. He tries to shift left, and the attack catches him squarely in the jaw. He does not drop to the platform completely, but he definitely drops into a forced three-point stance. He grimaces as he wipes a trail of blood from his chin.
"So this clearly isn't working," he mutters as he staggers back into a standing position. "Let's try a different approach." Zach gathers power into an open left hand, spinning it into a sphere of almost pure sunlight for a moment for he flings it at Honoka as if trying throw a fast ball. There's more than a little bit of power in the precisely crafted globe, but Zach hopes that is not the thing she notices.
What Zach is /hoping/ to mask is the fact that he is forcing the flow of his psychic energies from a raging river that might try to simply drag someone under to a river behind a dam. Power restrained, focused.
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn successfully hit Honoka with Blast Punch.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////// ]
Honoka 1/---====/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2 Zach Glenn
Honoka leaps back from Zach, flipping back to a three-point stance of her own. Rising, she tosses her diabolo into the air again -- having collected into her hand in mid-kick. She tosses Zach a brief smile, cocking her head to the side as he speaks -- and crafts a reply in the form of a sunlight punch.
She notices the subtle flow of power, but being -aware- of a river just a second away from destroying everything you own does not translate into the ability to stop it. She holds up her batons, hoping to stay the assault -- but dealing with -actual- honest-to-goodness energy of Zach's caliber is still something she's getting used to.
She howls. It hurt.
Staggering backwards, she grimaces as she collects her diabolo to her once again. Exhaling sharply, she quips, "Looks like it." The diabolo is slung directly for him again -- this time for his face. And it seems that she's taking a cue from Zach -- massing a handful of purple energy into her hand, and interweaving a lighter, pink energy within it, carving a drill of energy around her fist. And that fist rockets forward sharply, aiming to hit Zach's chest with the energy at roughly the same time as her diabolo. "Hraaa!"
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn interrupts Sarak Kamui from Honoka with #Soaring Heaven EX#.
[ \\\ < > /// ]
Honoka 1/----===/=======|-------\-------\0 Zach Glenn
Honoka comes in hard and fast. Her fist slams into Zach's jaw, and she might notice that he gives just a little less than he had from other physical strikes. He's still grinning, somehow. "Good one," he rasps. "Gonna feel this one in the morning." Power is flowing through Zach's body as he slams his left elbow into Honoka's midsection, stopping her forward momentum cold.
"SOARING HEAVEN!" Zach roars as he slams power through his legs and his right arm even as he throws a right uppercut that launches Zach off of his feet in an explosion of violet spraks that scatter as they fall to the floor of the circus arena. Zach turns once in the air before landing once more in a three point crouch, gasping for air. He's got close to nothing left at this point. If Honoka has something left, the Marine could be in trouble.
"How's that," he says as he pants for breath.
There is -definitely- a reason that Honoka does these fights in the evening -after- her juggling performance -- elbow strikes like the one she takes from Zach are one of them. She flies upwards -- the audience gasps, and even the light music pumped into the big top is muted for the juggler flyyyyyyiyng through the air.
She's... hurting on an entirely different level than she -usually- is in fights like these. The impacts hurt, sure... and she -will- feel this in the morning... but in an odd sort of way, getting attacked by Zach's energy actually feels kind of invigorating.
This is, despite how it looks, a friendly fight after all.
Kicking out of her uncontrolled flight, she manages to sling her diabolo around into a wide circle. Flinging the rods around, it looks like she's managing to get them tangled up, but in fact, this is indeed what she's trying to do. Even the diabolo flying free is part of the act.
For when she lands, and spreads the batons apart, there's the shape of a star between them. The diabolo falls neatly into the cradle. And the big top is filled with light.
The stage crew doesn't even need to dim the lights this time: the pillar of light erupting from her diabolo is -that freaking bright-.
"Not... not bad..." she comments, collapsing to her feet shortly afterwards. The diabolo drops, and so does one of her hands. "Not bad at all..."
COMBATSYS: Honoka can no longer fight.
[ \\\ <
Zach Glenn 0/-------/-------|
COMBATSYS: Honoka successfully hits Zach Glenn with Nochiu-o Kando.
Zach Glenn 0/-------/--<<<<<|
Zach attempts to throw himself back from the strike, practically tripping over his own two feet from exhaustion, as the energy slams into his. He is sprawled out, his body torn in places and smouldering as he stares up at the roof of the circus. He can't move, except to breathe and blink. His breaths are slow, and somewhat ragged from pain.
"I..." Zach chokes out. "...Guess we call that a draw?" He chuckles roughly. "So how do you want to do this?" he asks weakly as he tries to sit up before flopping backwards. He might need a hand standing back up.
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn takes no action.
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn can no longer fight.
Already, Twilight Star staff are moving in. The chance of at least -one- of the combatants being too exhausted to move was, admittedly, nearly 100%. The chance of -both?- Well then.
Honoka smirks back at Zach, eyes half-lidded from pain. But in a good way. She'd been wanting to test herself against the Captain for quite some time, ever since their chance meeting left her with a distinct impression that he knows more than he's letting on.
While a male acrobat helps Honoka up, a female acrobat is helping Zach to his feet. Honoka's perfectly okay wrapping her arm around her longtime friend for support -- she's pretty exhausted after all!
"Well, first order of business, Zach... is chilling out backstage for a little bit with some chai tea." She flashes him a quick wink, adding, "I don't talk business without it."
Zach doesn't move to stop the lady from helping him up, but he doesn't press or take any advantage of it. He's also pretty well spent, even if some of his bruises may be starting to fade. Some of the swelling doesn't seem as pronounced. He grins back at the woman across from him, the smile showing in his brilliant green eyes.
"Make mine a beer, and you've got a deal," Zach says cheerfully.
Log created on 21:12:44 01/31/2015 by Honoka, and last modified on 21:18:54 02/01/2015.