Trouble in Paradise - TIP - Week 1 - Bogard Bros vs Team Maginot Line

Description: To appease or not to appease, that is the question. Hitomi and Alice butt-battle for supremacy; Ash and Testament attempt to slaughter each other. Who will win, who will drown, who will... propitiate the God of Fertility, 'Boo Tee'? Why did anyone think it was a GOOD idea to let a murderer join a tournament? (Winner: Bogard Brothers)



Alice Nakata likes Zack Island.

To people who know her, this isn't really a /surprise/; of course she'd like any vacation place that she gets to hang out with and doesn't have to pay money to visit. She gets to show off, she gets to fight a little, she gets to have some fun... if all fighting tournaments were like that she'd never even consider taking up another career.

Right now she is at the pool, because the pool is where the god (goddess?) Boo Tee hangs out. Or so Zack says, and she's willing to play along to keep having fun on ZACK ISLAND. Of course, she had some time to burn before the match...

...which is why Alice started off tanning. She has a different bikini than she did before: this one is red and gold and does not have a star on her chest. It has a (gold) star on her butt instead, because you need to mix it up some, and part of this match is showing Hitomi that the Nakama butt deserves a gold star.

She is really getting into this, apparently.

It is currently midafternoon, and Alice finished tanning a little bit ago, though. Now she's waiting for her partners in crime. Alice has a drink (looks fruity, and also mostly empty) and is busily texting someone. Finishing her message, she sets the phone on a table next to her lounge chair, stands up, and stretches, arms raised above her head as she arches her back. /She's/ warmed up, at least.

It's Mid-afternoon but Hitomi was already starting to wish the match had been scheduled for earlier in the day. A day spent playing around and running the length of the island with the goal of trying as many of the activities as she could find. A full lunch and then the discovery that the island had JETSKI'S! Hitomi runs up into the pool area taking the steps two at a time still in a three colour wetsuit in pink, yellow and a rubberised black with long sleeves, yet bare legs.

She flops down in a free spot in the shadow of one of the poolside table umbrellas. Having made it before the match was scheduled to begin she reacts with a relieved sigh and throws opens the little satchel she has with her; a bright sunflower embroidered on the front of an otherwise drab looking field of green; rummaging through it for some more sunscreen even while interestedly looking around the Pool. Squirting out a handful she dabs it onto her baby-faced cheeks and starts massaging a coating onto her face. She is starting to turn a slight shade of pink already with all this time in the water and out in the tropical sun, if she wasn't careful she'd wind up a lobster red.

She wasn't sure she was even going to come to the match but wasn't leaving it to the last minute to arrive, nor was she absolutely sure who she was even supposed to be fighting! But the setting and the atmosphere were all grand. Still sitting on one of the lounging chairs she resolves to sit in the shade to avoid getting any pinker until the match is called. Relaxing as she cools off and sipping regularly at a still half full yet tepid bottle of water that's been traipsing all over the island with her since morning.

"...Ugh."

That about sums up Testament's feelings on the matter. He's very much not getting into all this as much as his teammate. It's too bright, too hot, and there are scantily-clad humans all over the place. Gross. He's originally from where it's cold most of the year. His toughness thanks to not being completely human anymore will keep him from passing out, hopefully. But there's nothing he can do about the brightness.

He's currently sitting underneath a large umbrella to protect himself from the worst of the sun, in the outfit he'd been wearing when he first showed up to the island. And he looks thoroughly unhappy. Which might have something to do with the fact that in the last hour he's had to run off a couple of guys thinking that he's a woman at first due to the glimpse of leg and the fact that his fce is mostly hidden by his hair.

In contrast, his companion-- the girl with the blue skin-- is lounging quite happily on a lounge chair next to him. She seems to be taking advantage of the opportunity to get some little-seen sun. And from her 'cat that got the canary' expression, seems to be enjoying herself!

Of course that might have nothing to do with the sun...

Alice seems quite keen to dominate the ridiculous butt-bumping contest, but SOME competitors would prefer not to appease Boo Tee, the made-up God of Fertility.

While I can't speak for everyone (Hitomi), Testament is one of them.

Ash Crimson is another.

He arrives late, as is his wont. It is ten minutes after the official starting time. The others have sought shade from the sun overhead while they wait, nipping away under umbrellas and sipping fruity cocktails or tepid water. In Marilyn Manson's case, he drinks from his own spite. The lackadaisical French teen doesn't bother to find shelter when he shows up; they'll be starting now. Ash wears a pair of pale blue shades perched high on his freckled nose, platinum blonde hair drawn back into a ponytail. Fitted jeans cling to slender legs and proper shoes adorn his feet. A cotton long-sleeved shirt of white reaches mid-thigh. Back home, audiences are warm just looking at him.

All of this clothing suggests Ash doesn't want to play along simply because he hates fun. And water. The truth, Crimson can't swim, and he's got some weird aversion to showing skin. Both of these facts are not common knowledge, but he's sure one of them will come to light. Someone is gonna figure it out, his aquaphobia. Maybe not the voluptuous Alice or Hitomi -- his bet is on Testament.

That does not sit very well with Ash.

But it is unavoidable. At least, no one will ever understand WHY, even if they learn the truth.

His sleeves are longer than his arms, requiring shaking back whenever he wishes to make use of his hands. He runs thin, delicate fingers through his blonde bangs that were too short to be bound, disturbing their careful arrangement. Ash can't resist the urge to toy with them for long; he soon wraps the strands around his digits so tightly, they begin to cut off circulation. Then he looses the silken threads and starts anew. Smallish eyes of clear blue scan the pool area, but not the pool itself, pointedly ignoring it. His half-smirk at the sight of Hitomi is followed by a sharp laugh, "I thought I told you not to bother?" asks the Frenchman rhetorically, rolling his shoulders, hardly invested in the girl one way or the other. "Since you're here, stay out of my way and try not to lose too badly."

To the other blonde, there is nothing but a slightly perverse acknowledgement of her attributes, his gaze lingering in a way that is... undeniably creepy and unsettling, but graduating onto Manson for the first true look at him. The effeminate flamewielder blinks. They say /he's/ a weirdo? Why is... his companion blue? "Mon ami, ahaha~ You should really audition for a horror movie." He reminds Ash of someone. Someone that he can't quite place, not anymore...

Whatever.

"Since we're all here..." A pause, Ash's attention wanes. He admires his nails and how the slight shimmer of the polish catches the sun's rays, turning purple to blue. "Saa, I didn't think it would work out so well." A lovely smile graces his broad slash of a mouth, pleased that his experiment yielded positive results! Uh... He's probably not gonna apologize for tardiness, and doesn't seem to care. Don't bother reprimanding him, just accept it and get going.

COMBATSYS: Alice Nakata has started a fight here on the left meter side.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Alice Nakata     0/-------/-------|


COMBATSYS: Testament has joined the fight here on the left meter side.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Alice Nakata     0/-------/-------|
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Testament        0/-------/-======|


COMBATSYS: Hitomi has joined the fight here on the right meter side.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Alice Nakata     0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Hitomi
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Testament        0/-------/-======|


COMBATSYS: Ash has joined the fight here on the right meter side.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Alice Nakata     0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Hitomi
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Testament        0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0              Ash


Of course Alice is into playing along with Zack. She will appease Boo Tee or fall in the water trying. That's how this works, right?

Alice has mostly been letting Testament (and his girlfriend) do their own thing when it's not match time. She's not going to get in their way, but Testament really is a big stick in the mud and Alice doesn't want to get her mood dragged down by dealing with him.

Of course, that goes out the window when it /is/ match time. She needs a partner! She's pretty good, but she doesn't want to be stuck in constant two on ones, not even so she can end it quick and get back to her vacation. That's no fun for her - and worse, it makes her look bad.

Alice doesn't have a watch on (or very much else) but her phone, set down next to her, beeps once. That means she should probably check on the other competitors... and there they all are! One in the pool, Testament with his girlfriend (?), and one chilling out in a full outfit. Alice has already guessed why Ash might be dressed up like that and unwilling to get in the pool.

Of course, her guess was 'he's practically albino and probably burns if he dares wear short sleeves', so she might not have gotten the right answer. But she tried.

"He~y," Alice calls, finishing the remainder of her drink and flipping her hat back onto her head, where it remains. She does not appear to mind being looked at by Ash, at least for a few moments; he only unsettles her near the end, and /that/ gets a challenging look right back. "Guess what time it is?" She pauses.

"Match time! C'mon, everybody up! There are cameras!" There are.

Alice lets people file over to the more cleared region that is apparently where the fight is supposed to /start/, if not necessarily finish. Why Zack put a fighting ring next to the pool would be a mystery if it wasn't self-evidently here for exactly this, judging by the carved idol of... well, Boo Tee. It's pretty much what you think it is. She does add to Testament en route, very quietly, "Good luck!"

But pretty soon it's time for the actual announcements. Alice lets them go by without paying much attention to it, except for her own name - which gets her to blow a kiss at the camera before she adjusts her hat.

The sign for the beginning of the match is a lifeguard's whistle, because of course it is - and as soon as it blows, Alice is off like a shot. Not at her opponent, though, but first, up - Alice jumps into the air, forming a red-yellow ball of chi as she does, and descending while moving forward, she throws it downward at a sharp angle at Hitomi. Surprise!

Ah. So there's the last one. Ash's appearance draws Testament to stand, though he gives a wince as he stands out from under the umbrella. Zio sits up in the same moment too, and watches as he heads towards where Alice is. And he does think to reply to Alice's wishing of luck. A smirk pulling at his mouth, he offers, "May your... assets carry you to victory." Behind him, Zio giggles.

Ash's statement of a horror movie, however, gets a raise of a brow. And now he's looking at Ash, blood-red eyes narrowed slightly. Want more weird? This guy's PUPILS are red too. "Once we leave the island... I can show you horror, if you really want."

...Okay thaaaaaaaaaaat was creepy.

Anyway, with Alice starting with Hitomi, Testament realizes that keeping Ash off of her is probably the best thing to do. He doesn't even have the decency to wait 'till Ash is at the ring, either. There's a strange gust of wind that ruffles Testament's kilt and hair. Ash might want to watch his feet. Because when he takes a step, he might end up stepping on a dead tree that suddenly SHOOTS INTO FULL GROWTH! And it might end up doing that right underneath his feet.

COMBATSYS: Hitomi dodges Alice Nakata's Power Shoot.

[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Alice Nakata     0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Hitomi
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Testament        0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0              Ash


With a smudge of sunscreen still on the end of her nose Hitomi is brazenly looking around for the competition. Her attention fixated for a brief instant on the blue skinned girl and wondering if that was body paint or something like it before looking away very deliberately and pointedly not taking a second glance in that direction least she offend. There was a weird atmosphere hanging over that couple lounging over there and she doesn't want to be caught staring or make them feel uncomfortable, though more than a few other people at the pool seem to be looking that way or likewise trying not toc

Her back and shoulders stiffen gradually as Ash Crimson fails to turn up at the appointed time, she begins to think he had just been looking for an excuse to not have this match! She is but certain of the fact right up to the moment of his unrepentant late arrival. If she were appearing relaxed and cheerful before now she was decidedly uncomfortable now that her 'partner' had arrived. The cameras take great pains to capture the hurt on her face as he once again heaps such derision and low expectations down upon her. Stowing her water bottle and satchel down beside the seat with a bit more vehemence than necessary she moves to her mark -- but stands with her body pointedly turned away from Ash Crimson; arms folded beneath her breasts and only interested in checking out the fighters taking up marks opposite them.

That dark haired person from earlier reveals himself to be a rather handsome guy up close, something of a surprise initially as he was walking up, and partnered up with him a really pretty and fashionable looking blonde lady in a baseball cap and brightly coloured red-gold bikini, unlike Ash's ogling or indifferent attitude the German-Japanese karateka actually offers a polite yet overly rigid bow to their opponents as her greeting. She only even looked in the direction of the cameras when Alice had pointed them out, shading her eyes to better look that way and offers an obligatory wave as her name is also announced and they openly swivel toward her.

Raising herself her arms and sinking into stance she awaits the blow of the whistle that will signal the matches start.. Cautiously eyeing both opponents she hangs back, making no move that would expose her to attack by both opponents she focuses on both. As Alice leaps into the air and flings a ball of energy down at her Hitomi starts running forward, she arcs her path closest toward the poolside edge of the as she tries to dash under and close distance with the blonde before she can even fall safely back to the ground.

Hopping into the air she spins in the air drawing a barefoot leg up until it points straight up vertically and scythes it down at the collar bone of the other teen descending with a crescent heel kick. There is seemingly no team work at all with Ash Crimson, she hardly even takes note of him other than he and that the raven haired beauty of a man have started trading shots, and that meant she was free to fight one-on-one with her opponent; Honourable contest and combat.

COMBATSYS: Ash fails to slow Hitomi from Testament with Ventose.

[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Alice Nakata     0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Hitomi
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Testament        1/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0              Ash


Oho, his pupils are red?

Big whoop.

His--

No, I don't want to spoil the surprise.

Eyes that are not red but cerulean, like clear skies, have trained themselves on Testament. Ash's fair head cants curiously to the side, a pup who heard a strange noise. The strange noise is words, forming a sentence that leaves him... Mildly confused. Almost as confused as he is about the blue girl...

And then the French flameslinger pounces, figuratively.

He intentionally misinterprets everything Testament says, a sly smile twisting the corners of his mouth. Pencil-thin brows lift as he angles himself in a way that he can lean forward almost provocatively. Ash slides a hand over the protruding bone of his pelvis, the tops of his jeans hidden beneath his shirt, and stops once reaching his thigh. Bright metallic nails dig into the material, gripping flesh underneath. "Careful, you might excite me~" he purrs, tongue passing over teeth and braces the way a predator licks its lips before leaping onto prey.

I see your creepy and I raise you extra creepy.

"Be gentle, it's my first time."

Ash, go back to your pen.

The effeminate flamewielder manages to get close to the 'ring' by the time Alice challenges him with a look and announcements start, calling the pool to order and the cameras to their match. Before he can cross the line, Testament begins. Oddly. Strangely. Surprisingly.

Crimson has no idea what just happened, because he steps and it's on a dead tree, which springs to life quickly enough that he is glad he doesn't have a weak heart. Ash yelps in alarm, reacting with fire because that's supposed to burn wood, right? A snake of brilliant green flame coils around his arm, gathers at his fingertips. Spluttering gouts crank up the heat all around him as he tries to set the tree ablaze and...

Is on his ass, his sleeve smoking and torn, a gash in his arm seeping through the fabric and dripping, eyes wide behind the shades. The Frenchman needs to process this for a moment, but when he does, his lilting trill fills the air, "Ahaha~ M'a fait tres peur!" Why Ash is apparently delighted about this is anyone's guess, the lazy teen bracing himself as he gets to his feet elegantly, brushing dust from his clothes and patting dirt from his rump. "Maybe you won't disappoint me like she does."

Harshing on Hitomi, his new favourite pasttime.

Or, well, it's hard to tell, because there's weird detachment between what he says and the lack of emotion to accompany it in his eyes. They're empty, bottomless, gates to nothing.

COMBATSYS: Alice Nakata blocks Hitomi's Shingetsu.

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Alice Nakata     0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0           Hitomi
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Testament        1/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0              Ash


"I'm sure they will," Alice responds to Testament.

But that was then, and this is now. Now, her partner is summoning weird-looking trees out of the ground to smash into Ash from beneath (any tree is weird-looking when it shows up in one second flat and the fact that this one is dead does not change much). She may think Testament is strange, but she can't fault his skill.

She can't fault Hitomi's either. Hitomi goes up and strikes downward in a heel kick. Alice knows her heel kicks, though, and this one is no exception. She manages to bound backwards on her landing, raising one of her arms to take the blow across her lower arm instead of across her collarbone - a much safer route, she figures, even if it does leave her arm tingling momentarily from the force of the impact.

"Nice kick," she has to admit, shooting Ash a look as he continues to spar, both verbally and physically, with Testament. Creepy, she thinks, and is kind of glad Testament is the one dealing with him right now; they can go weird each other out and she can handle this the normal way.

Alice decides to go low. She drops down low, pivoting her entire body with the motion. What comes out at Hitomi is a sweeping kick below the knee but above the ankle, combined with an almost yanking hook of her knee to pull Hitomi off balance; she uses drawing her knee in to get her legs back under her and rise almost immediately after the assault, apparently preparing to keep Hitomi close and not let her escape to elsewhere in the ring. Especially if they're going to throw trees and fire around, she wants cover.

COMBATSYS: Hitomi blocks Alice Nakata's Spin Kick.

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Alice Nakata     0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0           Hitomi
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Testament        1/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0              Ash


"Nice block!"

If anything the fight going on over here is civil bordering on friendly, quite unlike the fight going on almost adjacent to them. She can hear 'Him' still despite trying to tune him out and trying not to pay any attention to the fight going on alongside. Trying to tune him out of existence and focus on her fight with Alice. Ash and Hitomi give every appearance of a pair of fighters merely fighting beside one another instead of employing any kind of team work or concern for one another. She doesn't even lose her focus when she he begins to laugh though there is a momentary hitch in her movement as he barbs her yet again by calling her a disappointment.

The time taken between withdrawing her own foot and Alice's sudden sweep leaves her little room to recover her balance, Hitomi thusly doesn't even try moving out of the way; she takes the hit across her calf and lets her foot slide in as she throws her weight back onto her other leg and the steps over the attacking hook as it draws away rather than allowing herself be pulled off balance. Quick footwork on behalf of both ladies involved though there was no real chance Alice would have lost Hitomi as the girl is already coming back swinging for the fences with a bare knuckled punch.

"SEI-YA~aaaaaa"

The rush of emotion and force pushing her forward as she twists her torso to the side and leaning back at the waist to balance that arm thrown back for balance tightened into a fist and arm primed with muscles bunching -- she suddenly lunges forward with her raised foot slapping down into the tiles vehemently and beginning her own reprisal.

She almost appears to float as rolls forward an speed and then violently lunges all the while spearing her thrusting fist right dead centre at the breast of Alice Nakata.

The smirk at Ash's words remains, even though Testament doesn't reply himself. He's going to be just ever so slightly limited in offensive options due to not using his scythe. He only uses his scythe for killing, and he's promised Zio he won't kill anyone here if it's within his power not to-- his is not a body that cannot hold back very well. But he has a few other options.

The tree withers and rots away in seconds following that, leaving not even a crack in the surface under it as proof that it was ever there. At least he has the decency to save further attacks for the ring. Though that may be because he's finally speaking, replying to Ash. "I think you'll find me... quite different." Ash's French accent is probably much thicker than the light Germanic accent in Testament's speech. What's really odd about his voice is the metallic grain. Speaking of dead eyes? Testament's are too-- a glassy, glazed look of simmering madness.

And then he tries to pick Ash up and toss him unceremoniously into the ring! Apparently he wants to dance! Shouldn't hurt too much, he's just trying to throw the Frenchman off his guard at the moment. But if Testament can manage this, it might be clear that the odd black-haired man doesn't have a bit of trouble with Ash's weight.

COMBATSYS: Ash just-defends Testament's Quick Throw!

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Alice Nakata     0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0           Hitomi
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Testament        1/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0              Ash


Now /that/ is interesting. The husk of wood he had tread upon, the tree he couldn't seem to ignite with his bloodline flames, returns to dust, which the Frenchman must suppose it came from. Ash has never quite seen anything like it before.

Then again, Crimson wasn't lying when he said this happens to be his first time. There's a lot about the world of professional fighting that he'll need to learn, should he continue along the violent path. He's still ever so curious about the blue chick.

Alice thinks that the battle between Testament and the flamewielder is decidedly creepy, bound for a weird destination that can only end in horrible fanfiction written by adolescent girls. He doesn't care. Ash thinks that punching a woman in the boob is pretty strange when there are plenty of other areas to hit!

Ah well, whatever.

"Ahaha~" His musical, trilling laugh rings out again. The other man has a voice like steel scraping steel and is possibly German, which means that the joke of his team name has become strangely fitting in yet another way. Testament crosses the Maginot Line and comes straight for Ash, intending to haul the lithe blonde from his feet and chuck him around like a rag doll... Or throw him into the 'ring', where he's supposed to be. No thanks.

He... takes a moment to examine his nails in spite of the danger, relieved to find that there are no chips in the polish. Ash had been concerned that after receiving a hit to the wrist and arm that was enough to tear his sleeve, perhaps his most treasured thing in the whole wide world would've been damaged, as well.

Yes, he cares that much about his stupid fingernails.

Lazily, leisurely lifting his head, it is right as Marilyn Manson is practically on top of him. Lips curl back and reveal a Cheshire Cat-like grin. Blue eyes of nil meet glossy red of a madness barely contained. He's shorter, he's light; Testament would certainly not find trouble lifting Ash by an arm and supporting him with a hand under the slight curve of his hip to throw, but it doesn't happen...

Ash rolls in the other man's grip with a springing step, still in control of his body and as slippery as an eel. The hold breaks. He twists his limb free and lands on the outside, dragging his fingers suggestively over the swell of Testament's wrist and along his palm before the invasive touch is gone. "Saa, you think that'll deter me?" Likely the flamboyant young man's melodic cadence does his opponent no favours, especially not when Crimson lunges into his personal space. He roughly thrusts aside any obstacle to do so.

There's a hairsbreadth of space between their noses, only due to a slight difference in height. Ash needs to angle his chin upwards a little. He could... actually kiss Testament, being this close, but there's a flutter of the effeminate weirdo's platinum blond bangs as he pulls up short, threatening it without followthrough. Hitomi might find it to be eerily familiar, although in no way was her experience quite so intimate.

His breath smells like sweets as thin lips part.

A spark of merriment passes through his eyes before it is gone in a blink, full lashes brushing against the tips of his pale, freckled cheeks.

He leads with his fist in a debilitating, targeted strike, hard enough to bruise the stomach. Like, actual stomach, the internal organ. Does Testament have one of those? Success means that the hit develops into the first of a nasty combo: a swift knee to the solar plexus; palm thrust to the sternum. Last, his hand zips in beneath the long-haired man's jaw, rising in an open-handed uppercut, his entire arm like a scythe attached to his body. Afterwards, provided that he's not interrupted, Ash remains in full extension briefly, for a heartbeat, allowing his gaze to flicker in the direction of the other battling pair. Ugh. Playing it nice AGAIN, Hitomi? "So boring." The yawning sass gap opens with venom to spew, the teen releasing a sigh while sorting his shirt and smoothing out wrinkles from it.

COMBATSYS: Hitomi successfully hits Alice Nakata with Fierce Punch.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Alice Nakata     0/-------/--=====|==-----\-------\0           Hitomi
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////////     ]
Testament        1/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0              Ash


Fortunately for Ash and Hitomi, working alongside each other rather than as real team players is pretty much what Zack Island supports. You gotta show your stuff, Alice figures, team or not!

Alice bounds back to her feet almost immediately after finishing her kick, which is why she hooked her leg in at the end. This means she's at least able to react to Hitomi's punch, but not fast enough. Alice leans well back and takes a hopping step to try to get the punch to pass over her chest; all this means is that Hitomi hits the underside of Alice's chest instead, causing a distinct ripple and a wince of pain from Alice.

Actually, a bit more than that; unbalanced from leaning back, Alice actually falls to her butt in an awkward pile. She recovers from the impact quickly, though; it only takes her a little longer to readjust her bikini so that she's 100% sure everything is in place (it was anyway, but best to be sure).

"I didn't know you were into that," Alice says as she kips up, with a slight wink. She circles around Hitomi, trying to put Hitomi between her and the pool, because she has a plan. It also means she has a pretty good view of Ash and Testament being creepy at each other as well as brawling pretty hard. For someone who cared about his nails so much, Ash is certainly punching like his life depended on it, and Testament is a lot stronger than he looks. Abs or not, Alice was guessing he was pretty ... well, not strong enough to one-hand toss Ash, which certainly seems like what he was going for.

But that's not dealing with Hitomi, and she has to bring herself back to /that/ fight before Hitomi smacks her again. She has another boob, after all. There is another target! Raising one foot so high it's almost even with her head, Alice brings it down in a sharp motion, trying to impact Hitomi's shoulder and, with her heel, back - and she uses it as a lever, pushing herself off with her other foot to throw herself over to the pool! "C'mon with me!"

Whether she manages to hit Hitomi or not, she gets to the shallow end, though if she didn't connect with Hitomi's shoulder, her jump isn't nearly as neat and she's a lot more likely to land on her face instead of her feet...

COMBATSYS: Hitomi blocks Alice Nakata's High Heel.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Alice Nakata     0/-------/-======|===----\-------\0           Hitomi
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////////     ]
Testament        1/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0              Ash


Recovering into stance Hitomi straightens and relaxes her guard as Alice straightens her bikini top without threat of her exploiting the move. The girl shows absolutely no repentance for her hit, she considered it a blow fairly struck, only reacting to the 'quip-up' and wink with a display head tilting bewilderment as to the intent involved in saying that. The girl innocent of everything except launching an attack at her opponents chest and ignorant of the accusation, even while the crowd is whistling and hollering in response to the moves affects.

Backpeddalling around she meets the kick with both arms upraised in defence; aiding Alice's kick off her own guard by pressing back into the blow and just a little caught off guard by the acrobatics. No chance to for a counter attack or reprisal in there she had settled on giving chase event as the blonde girl calls for her to follow.

Left standing at poolside Hitomi looks left and right before taking a /running leap/ into a deeper portion the pool with childish glee and a large cannon-ball induced splash. Entirely immersed and disappearing beneath the waters she reappears laughing and combing her hair out of her face, she has to sweep a couple of the foam like square pool toys out of her way to wade back toward Alice but she appears to be having tremendous amounts of fun.

"Are you sure -- fighting in the pool is all right?"

Aside form a slight splutter and combing stands of hair out of her face the girl appears thrilled at the idea, the only thing that concerned Hitomi was that thus far her opponent has used a lot of acrobatics and kicks, which would surely be harder to pull off in a swimming pool. Here, she might even have an advantage.

COMBATSYS: Hitomi gathers her will.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Alice Nakata     0/-------/-======|=======\-------\0           Hitomi
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////////     ]
Testament        1/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0              Ash


COMBATSYS: Testament blocks Ash's Vendemiaire.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Alice Nakata     0/-------/-======|=======\-------\0           Hitomi
[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////////     ]
Testament        1/-------/=======|===----\-------\0              Ash


That close, Ash has the pleasure of seeing surprise on Testament's face. Clearly he didn't expect Ash to get all touchy-feely on him, or get so close to him. What his clue is that pain is incoming is unclear, but he brings his arms down to cross them over his torso just in time to get a hard punch to them.

He still emits a "...Guah!" that's just as much of surprise as it is of pain. He hadn't expected the slight-looking young man (his opponent WAS male, right?) to hit QUITE that hard. He goes with the rest of the combo as well, blocking the hit to his chest. The uppercut pushes him back rather than up, thankfully. Still hurt, though, even if he took it on the underside of his arms.

Ash seems distracted by Alice and Hitomi. Well, that won't do. Testament says quietly, "Maybe I can entertain you?" Then he... bows. Like a ringmaster. But uh... Ash might want to watch his feet. Because there's a red, toothy-mawed beast rising from the ground behind him. One that rushes at him, trying to bite at his ankles!

COMBATSYS: Testament successfully hits Ash with EXE Beast.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Alice Nakata     0/-------/-======|=======\-------\0           Hitomi
[    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Testament        1/------=/=======|======-\-------\0              Ash


One pencil-thin eyebrow quirks high as he slowly rolls his shoulders, turning away from watching the girls battle it out as they take to the water. He smiles in a saccharine sweet, irritating way, "Maybe you can~" Ash simpers.

Back at home, already at least a dozen stories have been posted to the Pit of Voles, pairing the effeminate Frenchman with his morbid-looking opponent.

And yes, he's a guy. With a chest that flat, there's no mistaking his gender no matter how pretty his face may be.

Testament seems to have fared well in the exchange, which was meant to be far more brutal. Putting on airs that it costed him not one bit of effort, hands find his hips and rest there, fingers curling over onto his thighs. Ash shakes back his bangs, attractive freckled features revealed for just a moment before the hair settles back into place. He... starts humming to himself, and it is awful.

Can't even carry a tune, this one.

Does he simply not care at all?

Whether he acknowledges the looming presence behind him or not, whether he even knows it's there, it's hard to tell. There is a slight narrowing of his pupils behind the thin-framed shades, calculating and scrutinizing Marilyn Manson and his actions all at once, but it is easy to miss. The cameras certainly don't pick up upon it. At the very last second, Ash deigns to move, to step to the side as though he were avoiding a bumbling and slow child. His movements are distinctly lacklustre and languid, almost even serpentine... And he pays for it.

"Mon dieu!" The lower teeth of the beast trip him up by his trailing leg, swallowing it and clamping down. The pressure on his knee draws from the lackadaisical Frenchman a cry of pain, the wrinkle of the freckled bridge of his nose. Ash tries to wrench himself free, but whatever the red creature may be, it has no intention of letting him escape. Not until he feels the crunch right in his bones, panicked and worried that they may break.

He's lucky, because his leg remains intact.

This spills the blonde French teen into a roll, and as he somersaults along the, uh, marble, I guess, Ash manages to turn himself around, presenting his back to Testament as opposed to his front. He giggles. His heel ignites with those same verdant flames from before, that he had tried to use against the dead tree. Crimson needs to use his hands to push off, but as he kicks up, his intention is made clear: It's to send that flaming foot crashing directly into Manson's chin and knock him into the air, maybe the pool (quite a feat, it's not close by), soaring up in an arc as he does so. Should nothing hinder him, he completes the move that would make a gymnast jealous and lands lightly, making nary a sound, his hairtie severed and platinum blonde strands spilling onto his thin shoulders, reaching as far as his collarbone. "Now then..." Fingers toying with his bangs, he feels a little thirsty! He's a very unorthodox fighter, as well as a dick.

Alice Nakata gets splattered by cannonball.

There are worse things.

"I don't see why it's /not/ all right, they put it here," Alice points out, jamming her hat further on her hair to make sure it doesn't make an unauthorized escape. That would be the worst hat of all. "What, worried you can't swim?"

Truthfully, Alice can swim but she isn't really all that sure how to fight in the water. While Hitomi splashes around, apparently trying to figure that out herself (or wait for Alice to demonstrate if she knows how), Alice shifts her weight, trying to get a feel for her movement in the water. She also spectates the rest of the fight for a few long moments.

Where the hell is Testament getting all of those? Alice thinks to herself. That's weird chi. She doesn't like it. The dead tree was creepy and this is - she doesn't even know. Nothing natural has teeth like that. As for Ash, he really can't whistle, apparently. He's also ... /giggling/ about being bit by the monster?

Oh yeah. She's just going to... stop thinking about that. Maybe she can pretend she's not involved with their fight? She's fairly certain the cameras like her better than them... or at least fairly hopeful. She wants nothing to do with something like /that/ over there.

Alice stops shifting her weight. Everything's slow. She can't kick or jump for sure. But there are a few things she can do, and Alice tries one of them. Stepping forward, she tries to hook one arm around one of Hitomi's and drag her several yards - and if she manages that, she ducks low for a moment, mostly underwater, before popping up to propel Hitomi towards the Butt Battle(tm) platform with both hands! Of course, she might not get there, or she might land nicely.

Either way, Alice herself clambers up onto it, smacking her gold-starred rear (literally; there's a gold star on her bikini bottoms). "Time for the challenge~!"

COMBATSYS: Hitomi blocks Alice Nakata's Medium Throw.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////////     ]
Alice Nakata     0/-------/-======|=======\-------\1           Hitomi
[    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Testament        1/------=/=======|====---\-------\0              Ash


Still wading through the water Hitomi squawks when grabbed by the arm and falls off balance, being dragged along behind Alice in a fit of burbling protest and eruption of bubbles each time her head dips below the waterline.

"What? Wh-urrrgle-is this?"

As her upper torso lands on the giarnt floating disc she rolls and swings her legs up onto it expecting it to be somewhat solid and stable, immediately feeling the effect and leans as the light disc adjusts to all of that weight close to the edge. Throwing herself into a crouch she sweeps her arms out to either side for balance at the same time that Alice starts pulling herself up onto the disc, balancing it out more evenly but only as the close in toward each other.

"R-right! The..challenge."

Completely against her better judgement she slowly turns her back towards the other girl, how did this kind of thing even work?

Logically if this was like jousting or something.. or sports, jockeying for position and using your body to throw the opponent off balance. Humph! Hitomi had her inspiration -- even as the crowd were getting worked up at the pair of them squaring off against one another Hitomi glances over her shoulder at Alice, alternating glances and shoulders to look at her positioning and jockeying for a counter-position.

As soon as a whistle is blown she hops backward and thrusts with her bum in a rather silly feeling contest figuring her bodyweight should be hard to avoid or defend against, there's just a lot of guesswork going on in her head.

Spoilers: Alice has never butt battled before.

She doesn't have any idea what to do any more than Hitomi does, and though she throws herself (backwards) into it with vigor and energy, it's maybe just a little /too/ much vigor... or at least a little too much momentum. THe platform is a little precarious, after all, and Alice's all-out attack is a little unsteady.

The net result is that the impact with Hitomi is significant, but Alice is the one off-balance enough to slide right off the platform, dousing herself in the water with a splash! She's also lighter, which doesn't help.

A couple moments later. Alice's hat comes out of the pool, followed by the rest of Alice as she pulls herself back onto the platform. She may have lost, but she's laughing.

Likewise laughing embarrassedly Hitomi kneels close to the centre of the ring, at the centre of the wavering platform she waits without moving until Alice has regained her feet and gives the other girl some time fix her hair and hat before raising her guard as the fight is set to resume even in this precarious position.

Lunging in once again she cuts a path straight across the width of the platform hopping up with a knee strike which causes even more wobbling and instability leaping about like this, thrusting out with a straight fierce punch immediately chasing that first blow she hasn't dialled back the power she's using despite the terrain being so difficult to fight on.

COMBATSYS: Testament interrupts Nivose from Ash with Nightmare Circular.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Alice Nakata     0/-------/-======|=======\-------\1           Hitomi
[       \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Testament        0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\0              Ash


Thankfully also, the beast let go of Ash's leg after the initial chomp. So even if it was quite painful, it wouldn't have done serious damage. That and most of the thing's teeth were flat. And as the thing lets go, like the tree before it, it merely disappears into the ground as if it had never been there.

There's something for everyone at this fight! If you like bright and pretty, bouncy girls in bikinis, you can watch the lovely and aesthetically-pleasing Alice Nakata and Hitomi in their BATTLE OF THE BOOTY! And the regular battle, too-- they're both pretty tough girls! Pretty AND tough! And from the looks of things, Alice is enjoying herself!

...Aaaaaand if you prefer darker, more morbid goths; scary supernatural-seeming constructs of blood and chi; skinny, nonchalant young men? Why, you can watch Ash and Testament in their rather unorthodox struggle! Speaking of their fight...

Ash's back is to Testament? Purposely? No one leaves their back to an opponent during a battle. Not unless they have an attack strategy that involves it. Which also usually involves the enemy not REALIZING that nobody purposely leaves their back open, or not realizing that the leaving-open is purposely. It's a trap, baiting the opponent to attack and then slamming them with a vicious attack when they think they have you right where they want you.

Unfortunately for Ash, it works in Testament's favor this time. Works beautifully, in fact. From nowhere, a wind kicks up around Testament, his hair and skirt fluttering with it. He raises a hand into the air, clenches that hand into a fist, and then brings it down against his chest, bending a little at the waist as he starts to speak. His voice has an unnatural echo to it. "NIGHTMARE CIRCULAR!"

Ash will have an upside-down view of a large purple portal appearing in the air in front of Testament... and then a massive HUMAN SKULL, along with a PAIR OF CLAWED HANDS, both of which are as crimson as Ash's name, red like blood. These exit the portal with a demonic roar, slamming right into the flipping Frenchman. Liable to hurt a little, too. And the smell... oh GOD the SMELL. It's blood, that smell is unmistakeable... coppery, bright, caustic. And something else, a cloying undertone that smells a great deal like something poisonous.

Okay, so there's no landing. No words or feeling thirsty.

Testament is a jerk. >:(

Right when Ash reaches the apex of his acrobatic kicking-flip, Marilyn Manson interrupts him with by far the nastiest thing ever.

And I don't mean nasty as in it's painful, at least not right away. I mean it's nasty because it's... blood.

The bloodied skull and clawed hands slam into the effeminate flamewielder as he hangs suspended in air, upside-down. Eyes like the clear sky widen to their limits, his mouth forms an 'O' of shock but no sound escapes. Still his hair becomes loose from the tie, wind-swept and whipping around his face as though stirred by an angry storm, and Ash can taste that horrible smell that invades his nostrils on his tongue.

He is blasted into the 'ring' and beyond even that, crashing into those fancy chairs that you can stretch out upon, sending the inhabitants scattering in search of cover. Ash nearly throws up, his stomach rolling over, curling in on himself to prevent the bile from rising in his throat to his lips. He is successful, but it leaves him with the absolute worst taste lingering on his palate and the Frenchman isn't able to smell much else, not for a minute.

Hitomi rises magnificently to the challenge of the butt-battling contest, even managing to best her opponent, rear-ending Alice into the water. Their fight resumes on the platform and he's thankful that it does, because Ash still has no intention of appeasing the God 'Boo Tee' for anyone's entertainment. He'd drown. As long as the girls hog it up, he won't be expected to...

But he needs to get back into the fight with Testament, the unpleasant churning in his belly still threatening a sudden upheaval of its contents.

Was he... poisoned?

Instead of taking off at a run, Ash holds his ground. He levels the morbid-looking Testament with an eerie glare, the lean teen's aura suddenly palpable. It's like it extends all the way out from the 'ring' and applies this sort of crushing, suppressing effect to his opponent. He does nothing else, but the intensity increases, more and more until Crimson sweeps up a chair and hefts it over his head. "Catch!" He yells playfully, but the expression worn is anything but.

No, there's a distinct seriousness to him - he's clearly annoyed - and Ash lurches one step forward to provide leverage before hurling the wooden object meant for lounging in Manson's direction, showing yet more strength that is surprising for one so thin. Yet it's powerful, and if it hits, it's going to hurt.

COMBATSYS: Hitomi successfully hits Alice Nakata with Tenchi Kaibyaku.
>> Decisive Hit!! <<

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Alice Nakata     1/-----==/=======|=======\==-----\1           Hitomi
[       \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Testament        0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\0              Ash


Alice Nakata is almost aggressively trying to ignore Testament and Ash now.

The platform isn't really very big. There's not a whole lot of room for Alice to maneuver - and yet she tries anyway because that's what her instincts are, to keep moving and make herself hard to hit and otherwise not get her ass kicked quite as badly as she otherwise might. She wasn't sure of Hitomi's skjill before they started; she's still not, but at least it's enjoyable.

Alice keeps shifting around on the platform, trying to take an evasive stance despite the limited amount of room she has to work with. That's when Alice fails her attempts to not watch Ash and Testament - because she turned just enough that she saw the /huge wave of blood and chi/, and while Alice is not close enough to smell it over the pool itself, she can sure tell when something is disgusting like that.

"What the hell!" she yells, suddenly, breaking her fun-loving attitude. "At a time like this?!" Who uses chi like that? Who /has/ chi like that? Alice wouldn't touch that stuff if there was any hope of avoiding it. No way, not her.

Hitomi comes in with a blow strong enough to knock Alice off. In fact, it's not just strong enough to knock Alice off: it actually does, putting her right back in the water with the strong punch. Alice actually stays under long enough that it looks like might be a hazard. Maybe she's avoiding stray Nightmare Circular even though it's aimed nowhere near her. Maybe she's trying to make sure Ash doesn't start throwing things at her too (though how it would get this far in one go is a good question, unless it was like a frisbee).

Having gotten her hands under her at the bottom of the pool, though, Alice rockets up from her submerged position - she's thrown herself literally all the way out of the water at an angle, her entire body revolving and using her feet as a drill to try to slam into Hitomi! "RISING DRILL!" she yells.

She has lost her hat. It floats, forlorn, behind her. There's a reason she doesn't wear her /real/ hat to fight, only replicas.

COMBATSYS: Hitomi fails to counter Rising Drill from Alice Nakata with Yamase.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Alice Nakata     1/-----==/=======|=====--\-------\0           Hitomi
[       \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Testament        0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\0              Ash


Surprised at Alice's reaction she turns her head to look at the other fight for the first time, whatever had-

"..What is that?!"

That was? Was - something red and Ash Crimson seemingly disappearing into the furnishings with a crash and clatter as her neck trails his path and impact, a rising hubbub form the crowd who seem taken aback by the display and are leaving in part because of it or in not wanting to get caught up in the suddenly very real to them violence and objects flying around.

He could handle himself.

Hitomi tunrs her attention back to the surface of the water and there was still no sign of Alice emerging, she takes one step closer to the edge worried if something had happened or she had hit the other girl to hard.

When Alice rockets out of the water at her feet first Hitomi; wide-eyed still sets her feet and closes her hands together trying to catch the missile like woman's foot, throwing her up into the air, instead she is struck in the abdomen and hurled back with a girlish squeal.

"Waa-Au!"

Propelled off the other end of platform she sails into the water with a fountaining splash and emerges quickly, coughing and wiping at her eyes. Her mouth and nose filled with the taste and tang of chlorine, drawing a hand across her face and flicking some of the excess water away giving her head a shake to scatter droplets form her long fringe, she even has to start swimming on the spot as her feet barely reach the bottom of the pool for a toehold.

Swiming freestyle with her head above water she starts moving further up the pool to reach a depth in which she can find her feet rather than hopping in some ungainly fashion.

COMBATSYS: Testament negates Large Thrown Object from Ash with Phantom Soul.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Alice Nakata     1/-----==/=======|=====--\-------\0           Hitomi
[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Testament        0/-------/---====|=======\-------\0              Ash


The chair comes at him, and Testament... holds out his hand? Is he TAUNTING Ash on top of that? No, it seems not. Since, with a sound like space compressing, something appears in his hand. Befitting all the other CREEPY-ASS STUFF he's done thus far? It's a SKULL. Not only a skull, but a skull whose teeth are nothing but meedle-sharp fangs, surrounded by a fiery black aura.

It travels slowly, but it's aimed at the chair. And as it reaches the thrown furniture, it tries to CHOMP the thing right in half with its mouthful of fangs. It chomps the chair in half, destroying it. The skull also disappears, however, so Ash is spared whatever further wrath the construct might have taken out on him had it reached him.

Ash bends double, his chest heaving, sweat beading on his brow. "I'm not cut out for this sort of exertion..." he wheezes softly. Supported by the hands on his knees, arms tremble like a reed in the wind, but the slender young man's eyes remain focused and his expression keen. Will the chair crush Testament, or is he capable of smashing through it? Shen would, but Shen Woo is back at home and not his opponent. Perhaps the self-styled 'God of Battle' is watching this very match!

...

Hi, Sheeeeeeen!

Okay, back to the pose.

There's... something going on with Manson, in that he's summoning more freaky deaky things from the great beyond, or perhaps his chi just manifests as cryptic crap because he watches too many slasher films, I don't know. The skull gets its chomp on, but the wooden chair is a little much. In the end, both have ceased to exist, but there's still evidence of one in the splinters and broken shards no larger than his finger. Ash clicks his tongue off the backs of his teeth, drawing himself up to his full height -- he's tall only when compared to the girls.

Still, for a teenager, there's a presence to Ash that makes him seem a lot bigger than his slight stature. Something that crushes and suffocates the moment he drops the cheery facade... Which he hasn't, not yet.

His delighted laugh rends the air, gathering his hair to one side and turning it into a French braid. It's actually quite impressive, because to do so at the speed his fingers twist the strands over one another and in the midst of a fight, suggests deftness and great skill in-- You know what, I'm not finishing this thought. Crimson is pretty damn fast at braiding his hair nicely, deal with it. I'm lazy. The flamewielder quirks an eyebrow, but otherwise moves in a manner that suggests he is unhurried and taking his time. Unlike how important it was to fix his mop of blonde immediately.

There's a huge eff off ball of fire that just... appears, without warning. The sphere does nothing, hovering, the Frenchman performing yet another count of his nails and a check of the polish, smoothing the pads of his fingers over the tips of his freckled cheeks and muttering that they feel a bit warm. I think I totally forgot that he was wearing sunglasses, right? I guess they fell off at some point and OBVIOUSLY WEREN'T MISSED or else I would've remembered them!

Distracted from her own fight, Alice goes down with a splash, then drill kicks his 'teammate', who emits a girlish squeal. Makes sense, Hitomi is a girl. At least the Bogard fangirl doesn't mimic her idol to the point where she has called the move a Rising Tackle (or Taco), because it has no relation to tackles (or tacos.) Why do people shout out the names of their attacks? Ridiculous.

He does a pretty good job of tuning out the battling babes, but only due to the fact that his bout with Testament... isn't so friendly. There's a hard edge to the fighters and while it may seem sporting, perhaps they are also barely restraining the urge to severely hurt the other... But Ash is going to start pulling out the bigger guns, because he's a primadonna who is losing his patience and, well, losing in general.

The ovoid continues to increase in size; a swelling, glimmering sphere of green, empty and transparent. Some of the audience have grown unnerved by the fact that it has remained motionless for this long, reminding them of that stupid Angel from Evangelion that did NOTHING for days. A few have the audacity to boo at Ash or threaten to throw their fruity drinks, but that would be a waste, Jim, don't be stupid. He takes it in stride with his pleasant smile, lovely braid and too many layers. "Good job~"

The orb contains an explosion of emerald flames, brilliant flare startling those who thought it safe to draw close. The conflagration burns through the barrier, envelopes it, but it maintains the shape. The flamboyant weirdo shoos it off, flicking his wrist as though Ash were dismissing a begging child. "Adieu! Time to turn into ash~" he sings, stiffling giggles with fingers splayed across his thin lips.

Testament (I almost typed 'Yeastament', do you know how hard I am laughing?!) can magic up blood, or dead trees... But this, the verdant conflagration twisting and boiling; the ball gathering speed as it barrels forward like a bat out of hell; Ash Crimson's flames are the real thing. They will sear, scorch, and burn if Creepy McMyGirlfriendIsBlue can't drag his ass out of the way.

The bloody wave was really there. Alice didn't make it up even if Hitomi missed it. She thinks. She's pretty sure she wouldn't have imagined /that/... she didn't drink that much before the fight. It's the same with the skull; that's fairly obviously there, she just wishes it wasn't. The (big) green fireball is a little harder to ignore. Alice is very glad it's not aimed at her!

Alice's feet don't touch the bottom of the pool very well either. That's why she threw herself out of the pool ASAP. She ended up landing on the platform, though because she didn't have as much distance to drop as usual when she performs the maneuver - when, of course, she ends up back at the height she started - she actually touched the platform with her hands first and ended up flipping forward.

Of course, Hitomi moving /away/ from her means that her position on the platform isn't going to be worth much unless she wants to stay there and throw balls of chi all day (she does not). She's sore and breathing hard but not willing to give up either.

This may explain why she backs up as far as she can go on this particular platform - and then throws herself with wild abandon toward Hitomi's back! Of course Alice is coming down foot-first. It's actually a (slightly) more controlled attack than it looks; Alice isn't diving straight at Hitomi or entirely wildly attacking, but instead modifying a whirling butterfly kick. She ends up landing moments after her kick impacts (or doesn't), smacking her back against the water's surface hard enough to sting like a poorly done bellyflop; Alice keeps pushing on toward the edge of the pool, swimming more than walking. If Hitomi can't touch, she certainly can't! Her main goal, though, is to get out of the water - she'll fight poolside some more.

As an additional final bonus, Alice being in the water is likely to save her from stray accidental fire. She hopes. Probably?

COMBATSYS: Testament blocks Ash's Thermidor.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Alice Nakata     1/-----==/=======|=====--\-------\0           Hitomi
[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////                  ]
Testament        0/-------/---====|====---\-------\0              Ash


COMBATSYS: Hitomi blocks Alice Nakata's Strong Kick.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Alice Nakata     1/----===/=======|======-\-------\0           Hitomi
[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////                  ]
Testament        0/-------/---====|====---\-------\0              Ash


Still swimming away Hitomi rolls over to meet the descending kick with a barrier created by her arms, driven immediately beneath the water in a tangle of limbs and bodies as both of them dissolve into a bubbling foam of white water only for Alice to emerge first, striking out for the pools edge before her opponent emerges.

Floating closer to the of the bottom of the pool Hitomi flips around beneath the water and rights herself, the mass of her hair swimming around her head and obscuring most of what is going on; even as she parts it by swimming forward a little and spies Alice swimming along the surface for the pool edge. Not yet! Kicking off hard the karateka stays low close to the pool floor, swimming powerfully hard and skating along the bottom ever closer to and passing under Alice.

Without reappearing at all to the crowd only the cameras in the pool itself can follow her movement precisely, a strangely predatory move Hitomi might only make when playing. That rubberised black of the wetsuit undulating and suddenly gliding directly at Alice like a striking shark, all before the explosion as Hitomi erupts out of the water mid grab at the back of Alices neck, with a vice like grip and grabbing at one of her free arms with her own

"RA~R!"

An oddly cute and loud cry(?) Kiai(?) Hitomi descends upon Alice like it was indeed her attempt at emulating the ferocity of a shark attack. It's a savage full body throw she tries rolling right overtop of Alice intent on centrifugally throwing the other girl straight up out of the water into a painful and full-bodied belly flop, preventing her retreat to higher ground and keeping the fight going at full speed.

Ash isn't the only one whose energy is starting to flag. Testament visibly slumps following the obliteration of the chair. Yeah, someone's probably going to be mad about that, but he wasn't about to catch it gently with his face if he could help it. Though another hint of tiredness starting to set in is the fact that all the while Ash gathers his fireball-- while meticulously checking his nails, mind-- Testament doesn't move. He doesn't even move when the fireball is flung in his direction. Instead he raises his arms and leans INTO the fireball

Ouch.

Testament has quite a lot of skin on display. Like... a LOT. Thanks to that, a lot of it gets burned. Like REALLY BADLY. And yet... he just laughs. And laughs harder the more it hurts. And now there's even more of a smell because BURNED SKIN HAS A LOVELY AROMA. That said, once the fireball finally dissipates, the damage almost instantly begins to regenerate, the blistered and red skin visibly beginning to return to its normal pale tone. It doesn't happen instantaneously, but it's still visible.

"Gloves off, then?" Pause, and he looks at his hands. "Literally, it seems." Since his gloves have quite literally been burned off, he kind of does have them off. Permanently! Fortunately it seems his skirt is mare of tougher stuff, and the garment merely smolders rather than catching fire immediately. So no glimpse of Testament in his underwear for the ladies.

Instead of giving an impromptu peepshow, he raises a hand to his face, long fingernails settling against his cheek... and ripping a line into the skin there. It's a sudden tearing motion, and the spray of blood curves up, into an arc that solidifies... into a scythe.

...Uh-oh.

"If the gloves are coming off, then..." Testament releases the scythe and it floats before him for a moment. And then he thrusts his hands forward and the scythe goes flipping at Ash as if it had taken off of its own volition!

COMBATSYS: Ash blocks Testament's Medium Strike.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Alice Nakata     1/----===/=======|======-\-------\0           Hitomi
[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////                   ]
Testament        0/-------/---====|=====--\-------\0              Ash


Don't worry, Alice. Hitomi may not be very bright, but Ash knows the bloody skull was there.

After all, he had to smell it, and the vile fragrance bothers him still in a small, irritating way. His stomach twists itself into knots, the taste in his mouth is a bit unpleasant... But Ash doesn't let it show, not during the conjuring of the massive fireball as he fussed over pointless things such as his appearance, not when the vibrant conflagration smashes into Testament and burns away so many layers of skin.

The Frenchman eases back onto his heels, collecting his arms around his middle, folding them and holding himself. His lazy expression, the half-lidded eyes, directly contradict the sharpness to the teen. An acute awareness and understanding of the situation. Pupils narrow to regard his strange opponent warily. Ash... vents a snort through his nose, nostrils flaring gently.

Surely the audience is aghast as Marilyn Manson finds pleasure or enjoyment from pain, even moreso that the man begins to regenerate. Surprisingly, this is something Ash has seen before. Experienced personally, even done. He had...

The silence the consciousness had maintained for so long... breaks. It laughs at him in the back of his mind.

'Gloves off, then?'

He is spoken to, and Ash flinches as though struck. For a moment there, the flamewielder was back in the clearing, laying in a pool of his own blood and dying in agony. Crimson squares his shoulders, pushes away the memory and bares his teeth in a grin. The same Cheshire Cat grin from before. Lids shutter closed over eyes like the clear sky. "Isn't that convenient," he intones in his musical way, chuckling. It's not a question. "You might be taking our game of patty-cake a little too seriously, oui?"

-- Hang on, he just-- ASH WTF!

What remains of the sphere are wisps and bubbles, burning themselves out harmlessly. As Manson has the power of regeneration, clearly no harm, no foul. He thinks the gloves are off, though. With eyes closed, Ash misses the smolder of the skirt, or the blood magic that brings forth a scythe into existence. Ash does nothing, not until the curved blade heralds its arrival, cutting through the wind, whistling...

He catches it. His arm wreathed in emerald, the flames of his birthright protect him as much as they can injure another. Great gouts issue from his fingertips, and Crimson sets the scythe ablaze. Faintly freckled lids lift slowly, a strange flicker passing through them as he drops the ashes of... blood, essence, chi... It's all the same, once it burns. The young man twirls a lock of platinum blonde hair, "How rude~"

Because he is also a rude sonuvabitch, though... There's more green fire. This one is just a crescent of flame, and it's quick though nothing in comparison to the sphere that Ash had tossed around just before. Clearly he relies a little too much on his power, quite possibly. The flamboyant French ponce has the audacity to yawn afterward, the combination of sun and effort making him sleepy... Or maybe now even Testament bores him.

COMBATSYS: Alice Nakata dodges Hitomi's Kogetsu.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Alice Nakata     1/----===/=======|=======\-------\0           Hitomi
[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Testament        0/-------/---====|====---\-------\0              Ash


Alice spots her floating hat en route to the poolside. Poor hat. But it doesn't really suit her when it's waterlooged like that; it's not even floating all that well anymore.

Alice is a strong swimmer but she's not /that/ fast. Hitomi catches up to her, and suddenly SHARK ATTACK. She sees it coming, though, or maybe hears Hitomi bursting out of the water behind her. Alice can think of only one direction to go to get away from Hitomi, and she takes it.

Diving, Alice pulls herself along the bottom of the pool, scooting away from Hitomi before she manages to get a good grip on her; Hitomi brushes fingers on Alice's neck and back, nothing more. She stays down for a few long moments, slipping through the water toward shallower ground.

Sputtering, Alice surfaces again - she must not have gotten a great breath before she suddenly had to dive to get out of Hitomi's grasp. She's going to have to take Hitomi out if she wants to win, and she knows it, which means it's time to go on the offensive. Hitomi isn't going to let her get out of the water, though, so she settles for shallow water instead, kicking off Hitomi to accelerate herself forward quite a long way in one push.

Standing up in the waist-high water, Alice shifts her weight. This will do - it has to, as she doesn't have much of a choice in the matter. "I hope you're ready," she calls to Hitomi, her tone of voice making it a taunt and a challenge more than anything else. She leaps, pushing herself out with a shower of water, spinning her body through the air.

Alice raises her foot in midair. She descends with a rather arcing strike, extending her leg in a manner familiar to anyone who has seen Terry Bogard fight. But instead of a simple physical kick, white-red chi gathers along her entire leg as she flips, creating a crescent in the air - and on impact it explodes into a bright flash and a sudden shockwave, spraying water everywhere and turning some of it into mist! There's a little rainbow in the air for a few seconds afterwards, and the spray of water makes things a little confused and hard to see through for a few moments.

Touching down, Alice lets out a breath and then shoots a glance over at - "Holy shit," she says, to nobody in particular, "he's got a scythe!" She didn't know her partner had one of those. He certainly shouldn't be using it, testing it against Ash's green flame!

COMBATSYS: Alice Nakata successfully hit Hitomi with Skysplitter Kick.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Alice Nakata     0/-------/-------|=======\=====--\1           Hitomi
[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Testament        0/-------/---====|====---\-------\0              Ash


COMBATSYS: Testament dodges Ash's Rapide Ventose.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Alice Nakata     0/-------/-------|=======\=====--\1           Hitomi
[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Testament        0/-------/---====|====---\-------\0              Ash


Diving over and likewise starts circling back around to chase Alice, Hitomi surfaces only to have Alice kick off her body and dive away further into the shallows. It's fun playing shark anyway so Hitomi dives under and resumes her chase even if she pops up out of the water a good few feet from Alice and enough that she can straighten up and begin to walk.

Stopping in her tracks with alices provocative call she halts and assumes a guarded stance, wondering what is coming. Alice hurtling herself right at her only causes for her to raise her arms in defence on realization of how hard it would be to try and dodge, waist deep in water. The bright flash accompanies her being struck down, her neck and spine crashing and whipped into the water and then rebounding as everything goes white around her. The water comes rushing back in lapping at her sides, All the pool toys are scattered about and sailing away from such an impact even as waves rush back toward the epicentre of the blow and the water buoys the German girls weight so she doesn't fall even after taking the hit.

"Ngnn! ... ha-AAAAH"

Pushing on back to her feet Hitomi struggles on forward; she has something to prove in this fight even if she had been enjoying it. Casting off rivulets of water like she was dropping ballast she keeps picking up speed like she very well intends to run Alice down, not even the water is slowing her down that much and every stride gets easier and faster. She starts running the short distance between the two fighters with a whistling straight right at Alice's face, intending on pushing the pair of them further into the shallows with weight and momentum, Spinning her body to throw an elbow directed into the upper chest, left and a right sharp swings, bang-bang! And drops into a low stance, one fist pointed at Alice the other wound back behind her, elbow pointed to the sky and fist cocked and straining as the muscles tighten.

Time dilates down to a crawl as she aims the final blow, as she is swinging so hard the water droplets lift off her skin with each blow and become sparkling points of light that move too slowly to escape her own follow-up strikes and pressing forward.

She charges through like a steam engine intent on cleaving clean through Alice and out the other side.

Catching a scythe made of blood? That's maybe not so good of an idea. Because once removed from Testament's control? The weapon collapses into a mass of blood, right in Ash's hands. Burning said blood scythe is also not a good idea, because now that awful smell of Testament's poisonous blood burning is right in Ash's face. Eeeeeeew.

Alice's spray of water and the subsequent rainbow it spawns is a very cheery-- and probably welcome-- addition to the scene with Gloomy McBlackSkirtMan over here. However, the part of that spray of water also heads RIGHT FOR TESTAMENT, forcing him to break off the attack for a moment and get out of the way. Yes he was indeed THAT concerned about getting splashed with water. It would mess up his hair. Ash would probably agree if he was privy to Testament's thoughts at that moment. However since he is not, Testament merely trains his gaze on Ash again.

On the other hand, while Alice's spray of water did distract him from attacking Ash, it got him to jump back out of the way of that crescent of fire, and probably put it out in the meantime. However, it also sort of broke his focus. He needs to fix that. Testament draws in a deep breath... and exhales it slowly, training an unblinking stare on Ash.

...That's weird. Is Testament... glowing? Because it looked like there were blood-red wisps coming off of him for a moment there. Trick of the light?

COMBATSYS: Testament enters a trance-like state.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Alice Nakata     0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0           Hitomi
[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Testament        0/-------/-======|====---\-------\0              Ash


Well sheesh, you could've told me that like an hour ago, before I spent all that time typing! Ugh, I am so... SO UNBELIEVABLY MAD. All I'm going to write about is how mad I am! I could destroy the universe RIGHT NOW, but instead I went to get a glass of water to CRUSH IT!

... Yeah, I'm full of shit. Moving on!

He sets fire to a congealed blob of gross, because what the Frenchman catches is not the scythe LIKE I SAID IT WAS; it's blood. "Ew." The freckled bridge of his nose wrinkles in disgust as the acrid smell hits him. Ash whips his arm through the air, splattering the ground with burning bits of nastiness before he wrings his hands to rid himself of the rest. That mostly does the trick, but the only way to banish Testament's ick entirely is probably to dip his whole arm into the pool...

Leaning over to do so would likely earn the flamewielder a swift kick in the ass, pitching him in head-first.

Nope. All of the nope.

Ash... is a little perplexed at Marilyn Manson's attempts to avoid the spray of water as Alice and Hitomi thrash about like a pair of little whales headed for the beach. He doesn't think that the taller man is afraid, per se... But maybe Testament is like the Wicked Witch of the... West? East? I'm pretty sure they were both horrible, but one was susceptible to water and the other got flattened by a house. Either way, perhaps Gloomy Gus will melt and that's why he's so adamant on keeping his distance from the waterlogged pair. In no way does the effeminate Frenchman assume it is because of vanity.

That's like, his forte.

While many would be unnerved by such a penetrating stare, there is no such disturbance in Crimson. Either he is largely unaffected due to his overwhelming air of apathy, or he's just an idiot. The thin French fighter smiles pleasantly, keeping his hands away from doing things like toying with his hair. Ash starts forward as though he were invited to do so. Testament isn't the only one who can glow...

Each step may be a threat, poorly concealed, or perhaps the flamewielder is simply threatening in general. He sways as he walks, sashays, his strides measured. The angle of his feet are pointed inward, the material of his jeans whispers as his thighs touch. Ash moves like a woman -- better than most, even. Female models walk like this, at an easy, graceful pace. The swing of his arms isn't excessive, and he is illuminated by a green aura. Licks of green flame trail behind him, little bubbles rising into the air.

His energy output swells like a crescendo, because once he has left the 'ring' proper and returned to where Testament happens to be flickering like the butt of a firefly, Ash spaces his fancy shoes about shoulder-width apart. "This is it..." he whispers, but it carries over the roar of the blaze surrounding him, "Show me what you're made of~"

COMBATSYS: Ash gathers his will.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Alice Nakata     0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0           Hitomi
[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////                   ]
Testament        0/-------/-======|>>>>>>>\>>>>---\1              Ash


COMBATSYS: Hitomi successfully hits Alice Nakata with Moen.

[                          \\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Alice Nakata     0/-------/-======|=------\-------\0           Hitomi
[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////                   ]
Testament        0/-------/-======|>>>>>>>\>>>>---\1              Ash


Alice Nakata is not a whale. She is a delicate (?) beauty.

Regaining her feet after her attacks is always the most difficult part of Alice's combat style, and this is certainly not helped by the fact that she is fighting in a pool; it probably looks good on TV, but it's not exactly the easiest thing in the world!

It also doesn't help that she was momentarily distracted with the rest of the battle. They seem to be busy having a stare-down, though - a flaming staredown on one of their parts, but a staredown nonetheless. She's not sure how that's going to end, but it doesn't appear to be immediate.

Hitomi closing, though, is a more direct threat. Hampered by the unfamiliar fight location and Hitomi's sheer speed, she fails to raise her guard in time; having started to sway out of the way, Alice does indeed dodge the straight aimed at her face, but ends up moving backwards and following Hitomi's plan nonetheless. The elbow connects with her chest, causing her to reel backwards, and the follow-up punches strike with inevitable impact.

This /does/ get a yell from Alice - along with the blazing-strong final blow, which impacts right in Alice's stomach. It literally picks her up off the ground, lifting her out of the water and trailing droplets behind her. The rainbow comes back. It is very picturesque.

In midair, Alice lobs another one of those energy balls - and then a second from her other hand, wild and almost uncontrolled. They hit the pool and explode, causing more plumes of spray and eruptions of water and chi; Alice is just hoping one or both of them catch Hitomi in their blast radius! This is about the best she's going to do, though, as Alice impacts mere moments later.

She doesn't hit the water. She lands on shore - right in the middle of a huge pile of inflatable toys that were left sitting around, whether for use in this battlefield or afterwards. A couple beach balls go flying as Alice vanishes somewhere in the heap. One rolls right into the pool.

Two seconds later, Alice manages to stick a thumbs-up out of the pile despite being otherwise completely buried, bruised, and too exhausted to keep on. She's not badly hurt! Just... not in the fight anymore.

COMBATSYS: Alice Nakata can no longer fight.

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


COMBATSYS: Hitomi blocks Alice Nakata's Power Shoot.

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


Hitting her stride, as well as Alice; Hitomi has to adjust her strikes as the first blow misses and continues the barrage of blows. As the final punch knocks Alice away she slumps forward, arms hanging loose if still up in something /approximating/ a guard. The muscles in her legs are burning after charging down upon Alice so the water only lapping about her bare thighs at this point she views Alice sailing away with relief that quickly vanishes as she spots the red projectiles forming and thrown in her direction. She turtles up behind her guard and endures the buffeting one-two of detonations and water throwing her form side to side, still standing in the wake of the blasts she is slow to unfurl her guard and peek out at the world.

An Orca looking pool toy drifting over to her she drapes and arm over its back and dorsal fin to get a look as see whether Alice was capable of continuing to fight. With the raised thumb one of the lifeguards blows a whistle and makes a slashing gesture indicating Alice being considered out and then points to Hitomi like he were a referee.

Kicking her feet Hitomi paddles over to the shallows with the inflatable Orca and takes a knee in the shallows before throwing herself over the floatation device in a mix or relief and exhaustion, sending it spiralling freely. She won her fight! It's not over yet but she is thrilled and relaxed, hurting with wounds yet euphoric in victory she lies flopped over the back of the floatation device and just lets it carry her weight for a minute as she looks up at the clear blue sky above, swinging herself around she takes up a seated posture on the back of the pool toy, grasping the handles mounted in its back and fixes her attention on the other fight still in progress.

Things weren't looking so good over there - she slips off the pool toy and leisurely makes her way to the edge and climbs to the poolside, conserving her energy and not exacerbating any of her injuries. She might just wind up having to go a couple more rounds yet.

Kneeling and resting she makes no move to help her 'partner' in his battle, until she notices the scythe. Wha- what was he doing using an edged weapon against an unarmed man?

COMBATSYS: Hitomi gathers her will.

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


And so it seems that Alice has taken her final bow. Which means Testament is likely to find himself beset upon by two opponents at once. At least he was aware of the rules first, so something like that wouldn't come out of nowhere. That might get him a little mad, and he might break his promise to Zio not to kill anybody. Which would be unfortunate. So yeh, good thing he read the rules.

ANYWAY. Hitomi is quite right to fear, because as Ash approaches Testament, he tears into his face again with his fingernails. Like before, the blood arcs out improbably and then forms itself into a scythe. Seems he can quite literally use his blood to fight with. The gash he makes on his face closes up almost immediately though. A little... gruesome, maybe?

But if it's gruesome you want... well, Testament can definitely oblige. If anybody besides the combatants were left at the pool after that blood skull and claws came out of the portal, they're likely to immediately want to run in a moment... because for some weird reason, Testament decides to use his scythe.

TO CUT HIS OWN GODDAMN ARM OFF.

There's little more than an unceremonious spray of blood to show for it, and the arm regrows almost immediately. But nothing seems to have been thrown at Ash. However, the Frenchman might want to be careful as he approaches. Because he just MIGHT run into an area where... a net made of blood suddenly blooms into existence!

COMBATSYS: Ash just-defends Testament's Zeinest!

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


To be fair, what's Ash doing using real flames against someone who can only fight with stinky poison powers?

I'm totally five. 'Stinky poison powers' sounds like Testament has the WORST gas. BEHOLD, FLATULENCE!

I thought about changing it, or at least amending my statement with something a little more specific, but now I don't want to. It's canon. It explains why it smells EVEN WORSE when lit.

Shut, this makes total sense.

The other match reaches its conclusion, and the victor surprises even him. Ash hadn't expected much from Hitomi, only for her to fail miserably. Alice crashes into the pile of inflatable pool objects and noodles, but at least has the strength to notify the crowd that she happens to be all right. He doesn't care, not overly. There's still Testament to deal with as his 'teammate' drags her battered frame to the edge, hauling herself out from the water and doing a whole lot of nothing to assist him.

Fine, he didn't really want her to.

The fires continue to rage, encasing Ash in a pillar of green that reaches for the clear sky. Just before the wall loses its translucency, the French teen is privy to the sight of the pale man severing his arm at the elbow.

A note of discord rings deep within him. The void, drawing him in, twisting his limb and breaking the radius and ulna in multiple places.

Again, Ash finds himself in the clearing, the False God bellowing at him for not remembering something he never can... How he had killed Igniz, disrupted his dreams of divinity...

Colour drains from the freckled face that vanishes from sight. Within the column, he feels trapped, only his fear of death his companion. Platinum blonde hair lifts, stirred by the updraft, whipping around his attractive visage as his palms press to his eyes. It takes a long moment to dispell the image, longer than it had the first time. To remind himself that he's here on this frivolous waste of space, Zack Island. Ash Crimson is fighting in some goofy tournament for kicks. He need not take it seriously.

But Marilyn Manson is.

So be it, hope he is prepared for a show.

Ash leans back into the flames, wrapping his arms around his body in a twisted embrace, verdant plumes caressing what little skin is exposed. It pulls in, closer, he feels dizzy from the heat.

Then, it explodes outwards. The webbed net of blood isn't stopped, blocked or picked apart -- it is instantly vaporized, consumed by the crashing, hungry inferno that smashes into the ground, bounces, and rises again like a sentient beast. The emerald flame is a tidal wave, a wall. It doesn't matter, because when it descends on Testament, it is like hell on earth for at least one horrible, burning minute. Ash laughs, but the sound is lost, and the strange flicker passes through his eyes once again, as if the colour had shifted from something back to cerulean. "Au revoir!"

COMBATSYS: Hitomi gains composure.

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


COMBATSYS: Testament blocks Ash's Sans Culottes.

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


Shielding her eyes from the display of raging flames and stomach wrenching blood spraying that might even be out of control. Things over in this fight had escalated to a level even beyond her comprehension as she watches these two combatants hurling [obscene] powers at one another rather than fight on any level she actually understood.

Likewise the spectators were well aware now that this was not the best of places to be, many had taken to jumping into the pool as soon as the bouncing wall of flame ignited into existence. Drinks are tossed aside as swimsuit and khaki clad spectator alike leap to safety in the pool now it is combatant free and filled with pool toys that can be rendered into a hast shield one might hide themselves behind while still unable to look away.

Hitomi grits her teeth, willing herself to calm down and refusing to run away even if she could only wish her knees would stop shaking just watching this -- ridiculousness!!

More flames. It seems Ash likes green flames. Almost as much as Testament likes blood. More flames, though, means more burns. Though this time Testament is holding his scythe, so... Actually no, the scythe isn't much help against an explosion of green flames. Testament keeps his arms crossed before him to mitigate as much of the fire as he can. Doesn't do much for his legs, which are not covered well enough by the kilt that is pushed back by the force of the explosion. So he burns quite easily. But as before, the burns begin to heal before Ash's eyes.

This guy must be a sadist's dream-- stab him, slice him open, cut something off-- whatever! He can just regrow it! Though it's also clear that the regen is starting to take longer. Perhaps a sign of him losing strength? Very likely. Though the end result is that Testament is just not down yet. Damn.

But with Ash seeming to be going all out, so will Testament. The smile he gives... is not a nice smile. It's pure madness, poured over ice as it seeps through the cracks in his not very well held-together mask of control. "Are we saying our farewells, then?" Suddenly he crosses his arms, digging the long nails of his unarmed hand into his palm enough to draw blood. And suddenly he has a scythe in each hand! No, this can't be good.

But... the scene might be wavering a little in Ash's vision... the blue-skinned woman seems to suddenly be there before him, hands reaching out to him, trying to gently push him back onto a big, fluffy bed that's suddenly there. It's obvious what she wants! Besides, it's just a big fluffy bed, how much harm could it be? Though the question might be asked... why is there suddenly a big fluffy bed in the pool area in the first place...?

Of course, Ash is the only one seeing that, if he is. Testament's blue-skinned companion hasn't moved from her spot, and there's no big fluffy bed there. What's actually going on is, Testament's eyes are glowing red as he tries to distract Ash.

Just long enough to try to slice at him with those scythes!

COMBATSYS: Ash just-defends Testament's The Seventh Sign!

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


Despite the attempt to mitigate the damage, that is still... rather gruesome. Does the man in a skirt just have thin skin? Or are flames his one weakness?

Who knows.

The rip-roaring tempest of fire strips away the first few layers of epidermis, forcing his opponent to regenerate once again, but slower. The burns are gone in time and replaced with smooth, unblemished flesh. If a part of Ash weren't so deeply appalled by the display, considering what he had done in the 'dream' and its meaning, he might've found himself enticed. Lured in by something unique and equally dangerous.

Ash quells his birthright with the snap of his fingers, reducing the conflagration to sparks, verdant bubbles and faintly glowing embers that fizzle out into nothing. Such is his control. Absolute, final. Testament still stands as a testament (HA!) to his unkillability, not that the flamewielder had ever meant to test that theory in the first place... But perhaps he was playing a little bit rougher than he would have with a weaker opponent, because he might be sadistic.

But it is a sign of respect, to go all-out against a worthy fighter, isn't it?

Actually, the flippant Frenchman doesn't honestly have the energy to think about this, now or ever.

Icky, sticky yuck has been cleansed from his fingers, allowing him to tangle the slender digits in his length of hair, the colour of freshly fallen snow with a flaxen hue. Crimson brushes the ends against his freckled cheek. "You have the cadaver's sense of humour, mon ami," Which is a very strange way to say, 'I was joking' or 'I wasn't being serious'. Ash laughs softly, the twinkling sound filling the air and earning glares from those who have dove - literally - for safety. They bob with their heads above water like seals amidst a floating array of pool toys.

"If you're going to keep doing that, blech. Maybe you should first kiss your own derriere goodbye, ahaha~" He's so funny. A real comedian. But the digging of nails into arms makes Ash wary, his sharp blue eyes narrowed in fierce disapproval for the actions, knowing what will be drawn. The presence of two makes him even more unhappy, understanding just exactly what it means to defend against them.

Covered in putrid-smelling blood, that's not something he wishes to repeat.

He has no doubt that to be hit with those scythes means exactly what it would mean to be cut with any other blade -- unpleasant lacerations and bleeding. There is no desire to partake in that, and no vision for the French teen to see, because his mind is simply too strong to penetrate. The consciousness blocks all unwanted invasions. Testament lunges in with his eyes aglow and meets nothing but resistance.

His deflections are so practiced, one might mistake it for a choreographed dance. A blade swoops in; he redirects it by sliding his hand in underneath and simply forcing the slash elsewhere. Too high, almost reaching, off to the left. He pivots on the balls of his feet, but his shirt doesn't escape unscathed. There is a sizable cut... which reveals the muscles of his abdominals and the soft, supple skin stretch over them. Ash... reacts oddly, bunching the worst in his fist like he were trying... to hide himself, or protect himself a little too late. He's weird, that could also explain everything.

The very last swing is again burned away, because Ash really DOES like green fire, but he doesn't... touch it. Lesson learned, the attractive flameslinger even backs away before he can be assaulted with the nasty scent of burning flesh. He holds a sleeve to his nose. Eyes like the clear sky look Marilyn Manson up and down.

For a long moment, it's a stand-off. Same as before. For a long moment, Ash simply does nothing but take in the appearance of his opponent from head to foot, making little mental notes along the way.

Shoulders hike up. He heaves a sigh. "Ahhhh~hhhhh," he trills in his musical sing-song, "Really, I've just been wasting my time all along. What's the point of even trying? I have better things to do." Hang on, Ash.

"I concede to you. I'm exhausted."

Part of the fight has just ended in total confusion. Ash just... threw in the towel because he's simply too lazy to continue, because he doesn't want to put in the effort for no reason, not if there's no immediate benefit or return. That's incredibly selfish of him, and leaves Hitomi, shaking like a leaf, to take up the battle in his stead.

It's an awful thing to do.

Even more dickish because Testament was finding enjoyment out of their fight and doing that 'fighting serious = respect' thing, but Ash decided honey badger don't give a shit and bailed.

Arms akimbo and waiting for announcements or for Hitomi to strike, instead the stunned lifeguard referee hops down from his point of vantage, stalking over towards the lackadaisical young man and jabbing a finger at him, "You're going to let that pretty girl fight /him/?"

Yet another shrug, Ash smiling mysteriously, turning away and wondering if there's a place here that he can lie down without getting sunburned. Oh, a cool drink would be nice, too.

He is literally the worst person. Like ever.

COMBATSYS: Ash takes no action.

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


Hitomi gapes through the display. Ash weaving his way between the blade slashes even as he turns them aside, or seemingly disintegrates the weapons that would have fallen on him as if he were choreographed and dancing all on his own; slapping away any intruding dance partners in an image that springs to mind all too quickly.

The lifeguard and referee just opens and closes his mouth wordlessly in response to Ash's attitude. The whistles hanging around his neck clutched firmly in his hand he turns his head to look at Testament and back toward the girl still kneeling over by the pool, wide eyed at everything that had transpired just now and most certainly right at this very moment where her partner had resigned.

Hitomi can't believe it, with Ash having thrown in the towel it was up to her to fight that guy next. She tries shoring up her courage as she climbs to her feet, opening and closing her fists a little nervously but still willing to fight on regardless of her chances. She wouldn't back down, especially not with him looking on like that and especially not willing to let herself down! The lifeguard shoots ash a nervous look, he can't quite bring himself to outwardly glare at someone who up until moments ago was hurling fire left and right but he can do one thing in his power in this situation. He calls it right here and now before anyone gets hurt, drawing whistle to lips he gives a shrill blast almost right in Ash's ear as he turns back toward the cameras and makes a gesture where she slashes left over right hand out to either side in a severing motion.

"Ladies AND Gentlemen! Due to a withdrawal we have our winner. T-Testament! -- is the winner for the BOGARD BROTHER'S TEAM!"

He draws the line at walking any closer to Testament or of lifting the attractive man's hand aloft in victory. You won there buddy, great fight! and now I'll be waaay over here with the spectators still perfectly happy in the pool! Almost right in front of him now Hitomi loses the last of the strength in her legs and drops to the ground on her rear.

That- wasn't so? They lost because Ash had just quit? He'd called her worthless and not to disappoint him and then this?! Her words are almost whimpers not wanting this to be really happening. There wasn't even a chance to prove herself here. This was just fruitless.

"Not.. like this!"

Screwing her face up like she might cry but hidden behind her bangs she slaps her empty palms into the ground and yells out at Ash, a voice filled with frustration and coloured with her emotions.

"IDIOT!"

You damn fool Ash Crimson, Hitomi picks herself up and runs over to her chair, she picks up her satchel in her arms awkwardly and vehemently; hugging it to her chest she runs right past Ash to reach the exit and descends the stairs at a run, running pell-mell without even thought of a destination in mind.

COMBATSYS: Hitomi has left the fight here.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Testament        0/-------/-----==|-------\-------\0              Ash


Ash doesn't seem swayed by his illusions. Proven when he nimbly dances around the double swing of scythes. It's only one X-shaped swing of both scythes, after which the second scythe disappears. Maybe he can't keep them both out for long. Or maybe he just doesn't see the need to. Though as he prepares for another round of action...

Ash surrenders? There's some ironic humor in that somewhere, but that's a dark, dark pit of humor that even Testament does not wish to plumb the depths of. As his now-former opponent points out, his sense of humor is usually more morbid than that, and usually references dead bodies and/or making living bodies dead. You know, fun stuff.

However, with Ash out of the fight... that leaves Hitomi still up. Testament turns a look to the girl... and smiles. He holds out a hand. "...Shall we?" Yeah, he... totally looks like he's going to fight her. But the lifeguard-slash-referee (..eheh... ehehehe... 'slash') makes the decision that he's not going to let the girl fight a reaper alone because her teammate is a... well, Hitomi says it best.

"...Well." Testament lets his remaining scythe disappear as Hitomi runs out of the pool area. Looking at Ash, he quirks a brow. "Making a little girl cry... and they call ME the monster..." He chuckles. Though he stops as something seems to occur to him. "Oh. Yes. That reminds me." He looks to his blue-skinned companion. "Tset? Be a dear and come over here."

The blue woman stands and heads in his direction, leaning on his side. Testament looks to her with a smile, and then turns his gaze to Ash. "I recall I was supposed to challenge you to some sort of... utterly ridiculous 'Arschkampf', wasn't I?

...Did he just say 'ASSFIGHT' in German?! He did, didn't he?

Oh but he's not done yet. "Strange. you fight well... for a human." ...What? "But even a simple thing like swimming seems to be beyond your ability. Are you... afraid?"

Testament's one to talk. Who was the one who jumped back from water splashed at him, like an agitated feline when a water hose was turned on him? Just because it was a rather large splash kicked up by his teammate's strong attacks... still. It was WATER.

Testament shrugs, opening his arms away form his chest, their palms pointed up. "Well... mustn't disappoint, I suppose. Tset, if you'd do the honors?" A look at the ref. It's a GLARE with those weird red-pupiled eyes. "The match is over anyway." Looking back to Zio, "And I think you may get the effect the organizers were looking for."

Zio winks. "Oh, of course~," she agrees, and sashays over to Ash. She's not an illusion this time. She sidles up alongside him... if he lets her get close enough, he can smell the cloying scent of roses...

Testament smirks at Ash, something dark in that expression. It's a promise-- this is not the end. "Tell me, Feuerjunge..." Testament drawls. "Will water dampen your flames?"

...Just before Zio swings her hips HARD, trying to hit him in the hip and butt-bump him. With luck? He'll land right in the pool.

Will there be no flinging herself haphazardly into the fight?

Pity. He knew Hitomi couldn't handle someone like Testament, but that doesn't mean Ash wouldn't have been delighted if she tried.

The flamboyant Frenchman would've stopped her, of course. If she started to rustle up the momentum to throw herself onto those scythes or whatever other horrors the other man could conjure out of sheer bullheaded stubbornness, Ash's hand would be there, chopping her down at the back of her neck. It would knock the girl out and save her life. Maybe he might respect her nerve, if just a little...

Nah.

It doesn't happen anyway, so it is never revealed that he's not as big of a bastard as he may seem. This suits him fine.

The referee calls the entire match over, names the opposing team winners. Surely if he had tried in earnest, or dogpiled Testament with Hitomi, they would be victorious, instead. Not that it matters. Ash yawns again, splaying fingers across his mouth and stretching one arm high into the air. He stands on the very tips of his toes, wobbling somewhat before regarding his balance. "I guess it can't be helped, oui?" The infuriating way he says it, does Crimson not think this is in any way his fault? The answer: Nope.

Hitomi collapses to the ground. He lifts an eyebrow at her outburst, particularly how disappointed she seems before his lips curve in a smarmy mockery of a smile. "Ahaha, but this is better," Ash flips his long fringe out of sight with the swift motion of his head, though his efforts to remove them for long are ultimately futile.

And then she just has to call him an idiot.

Not that there was any warmth to the flamewielder, the haughty way he stands, his expression otherwise appearing blas, but if there were... It would've drained from him. Ash follows her departure with a strange coldness, something like emotion passing through his eyes like the clear sky before they snap to the only one from the fight who remains, who deigns to speak now that Miss Drama has run pell-mell from the pool to go sob into her pillow or something. What a girl.

To say that he made her cry earns a derisive snort, his nostrils flaring. Ash grips his hip with one hand, turning properly and lifting his chin. It's a fairly arrogant angle. He gestures to Testament with his left hand, his dominant hand. "Think what you will, mon ami. You care as little for the truth as I do to share it with you."

There's so much going on here. Ulterior motives and diversions, manipulations and plans so carefully constructed that trying to figure out the French teen would be like picking pieces from 1,000 different puzzles and attempting to slot them together into one coherent whole.

Tset, the blue woman, approaches Testament as she is summoned to his side. Her entire existence still confuses Ash, particularly the pigmentation of her skin and the oddity of her in general, but he doesn't allow his curiosity to overwhelm him. The effeminate young man doesn't understand German, but he's able to tell that Marilyn Manson probably said 'Assfight' and that is... No. No no no no no no no!

The fight is over, and his abilities receive a compliment that Ash supposes is rare, but just as predicted, Testament knows. It's like a rod is rammed into the Frenchman's back, he stands that straight. Blue eyes widen in alarm before his teeth are bared in what might be a nasty sneer, or an animalistic snarl. Nothing escapes, no denial or confirmation. ANYTHING he says will just sound weak and pathetic, but Manson moves on and asks his companion if she would be so kind. What honours? She saunters over in compliance to the request and he's drinking in the scent of roses, feeling them cloud his mind.

'Will water dampen your flames?'

"Merde."

Yeah, Ash gets it. Too late, though.

KERSPLASH!

He had stumbled a bit, almost recovered, but the flameslinger topples into the pool with a gasp that fills his lungs with water. Panic. Drowning. If it weren't for his feet on the bottom of the pool, surface only a foot above him, Ash would freeze up... And need to be rescued.

Shooting up with an audiable intake of air, his arms wrap around the inflatable orca right next to him, his hold so tight that it makes that awful shrrrrrrp shrrrrrrrrrrrp noise when wet skin rubs it. The stupid smile on the thing's face bulges weirdly. It's hilarious because the height of the water only reaches the bottom of his ribcage, at least here in particular. His entire body trembles as the rush of adrenaline begins to slow, wracked by shuddering coughs that force the pool water from his lungs. Ash gags as chlorine burns his trachea. "V..vous allez... so..ouffrir!" he manages to stutter before dissolving once again into hacking fits.

Testament is right. This isn't over. Not by a long shot.

Testament isn't French. He doesn't really know what Ash is saying when he lapses into French. But in the end it doesn't matter. There will be time for exploration of the weaknesses inherent to Ash. And possibly to Testament. Hard to say which will be the case. However, without much understanding of what was said, Testament can't make a good comeback. So he does the next best thing.

The blue-skinned woman saunters over to Testament and leans against his side, and he places an arm around her back. He turns, taking her with him, and then pauses. Slowly his head turns, just enough to look at Ash over his shoulder. And then with an odd sound like air pressure displacing, both his and the blue-skinned woman's forms just sort of... fold in on themselves from the sides.

For a moment all that's left behind is a skull. It sits about the same height as Testament's head, and chatters for a few moments. Then it too fades away, and then both Testament and his blue-skinned companion are gone.

COMBATSYS: Ash has left the fight here.

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


COMBATSYS: Testament has ended the fight here.

Log created on 22:55:10 01/31/2015 by Ash, and last modified on 23:31:59 02/16/2015.