Honoka - Twilight Star Challenge 4 - Alexis!

Description: Some things don't translate well into a circus setting, and a Japanese one at that. But while "Killasaurus Orphanage" doesn't make the cut cleanly, it's clear that the power of rock transcends all language barriers. (Winner: Alexis)

Due to inclement weather, the Twilight Star Circus had taken a brief vacation from its scheduled Southtown performances. But now with its headline performers fully-rested from their brief vacation, the circus is back in full swing! This is the second night of the revitalized schedule, with new acts, new shows, and a return of the "Twilight Star Challenge" audience participation event.

There are several cast members who hold the Challenge, but as judged by the decibels of the audience, the performer who holds the most sway over the crowd is, by and far, the juggler extraordinaire Honoka Kawamoto. She's currently standing upon the center platform, spinning two flaming diabolo through the air without any looks of concern upon her face. Why should she be concerned? It's not like the wooden planks that lead away from the center platform are flammable, nor is the paracord safety net strung up from said planks... Oh. Right. They -are- flammable. Well, whatever! Honoka's a pro, and the whirling diabolos aren't showing signs of escaping their cruel and vicious manipulator any time soon. A rope ladder seems to be the only way to reach the raised planks leading to the center platform, about eight feet from the ground level of the big top.

"WHO WILL RISE TO FACE THIS EVENING'S TWIIIILIIIIIGHT STAAAAAR CHALLLLLENGE?" calls out the ringmaster, while Miss Kawamoto plays up her mute act, overemphatically leaning to different segments of the packed audience seating in order to catch the slightest hint of response, as if certain fiery doom weren't spinning just inches away from her sensitive ears. It -would- be rather hard to hear from all the cheering, though... good thing there are also spotlights roaming throughout the crowd for any -visual- sign of a challenger.

The Killasaurus Crew has been on a rampage.

Which is to say, they've been making the rounds of as many clubs, bars, and birthday parties as they could manage during their stay here in Japan, with the prospect of a supporting tour for the legendary death metal icon Zabel Zarock on the horizon. What, then, might bring them to the circus tonight?


"Dude, stop killstealing, eh!"R
"It's not killstealing when I do all the damage, Benny!"

"Screw you Lexi, I'm the carry! I need the gold!"

"You were halfway down the lane, Benny! Besides, I need the items to tank up for mid game!"

"I was gonna ult!"

"I saved you the cooldown, then! You should be thanking me!"

As the two guitarists of Killasaurus Orphanage scowled at their computer screens, bassist KimPenetrable popped in through the front doors of the internet cafe, her snow-white ponytail bouncing. "Hey, guys! I got us some tickets to the circus!"

"Whatever, Kim!" the other two bandmembers grumped in unison, not looking away from their game.

==*== NOW ==*==

"You know it's totally staged, eh? They already planned which audience member is gonna be the contestant," Benny "Benny Lava" Lavoie insists with his usual cynicism before popping some peanuts into his mouth.

"No way! That's why it's so cool! It's like, totally improv!" Kim replies as she sips on her own soda, from an extra large souvenir cup bought for her by sound guy Steve, who sits beside her and hasn't been able to keep his eyes on the ring all night, despite the performers' antics.

"I think I agree with Benny. From a business perspective, including improvised fights as part of the act - especially with the inherent risks involved in the performers' fighting styles - is probably too risky for a circus to afford these days," Matt the drummer replies from his spot next to Benny as he taps his fingers on his knee.

"You guys are no fun! It's the circus! Anything can happen here! I bet Steve agrees with me!" Kim huffs. Steve acquiesces with a silent nod and thumbs up as he sips his own drink before his eyes turn back to Kim's face. When she smiles at his agreement, he smiles back.

"Fine. Lexi, I guess you're the tiebreaker. What do you think?" Benny asks, turning to Alexis, who's sitting between the two groups and chewing her lip.

"I think this is a stupid argument," Alexis replies before rising up from her seat.

"Come on, Lexi!"

"You're not leaving, are you?"

"It's not that stupid of a-"


The other members of Killasaurus Orphanage freeze and go silent when Alexis screams her challenge. Even over the cheers of the crowd, Alexis' voice carries - not only powered by the (considerable) strength of her lungs, but bolstered by her control of sonic energy. At the same moment, a spotlight comes over the members of the band, illuminating the girl bouncing on her boots, fists raised over her head in challenge, the skirt of her schoolgirl outfit fluttering with the motion.

It also catches the expressions of Killasaurus Orphanage. Kim appears jubilant. Benny appears suddenly nauseated. Matty appears stoic, or perhaps resigned. And Steve has completely failed to notice the spotlight, his eyes fixated on Kim's smile.

As luck would have it, Honoka had turned away from Killasaurus Orphanage a moment before Alexis had cried out. The juggler had been tilted over in an exaggerated lean towards the opposite audience stands, so it takes her a moment to discern that the voice actually came from behind her. Her arms flare out to the side, propelling her diabolos into the air as she twirls about, the flaming props apparently forgotten about as she gathers both batons into one hand, raising a hand to her ear as she overemphasizes her 'I can't hear you?' gesture once more.

While spotlights converge upon the members of Killasaurus Orphanage, some in the audience seem to be paying more attention to the effect of gravity reasserting itself onto the flaming diabolos. Straightening her back, Honoka snaps a baton back into her empty hand, pulling the string taut for just one moment, long enough to ensnare the falling props before they can ignite the net on fire.

Honoka's eyes trace to Alexis. As an aficionado of the recent batch of Neo League fighters, the lead vocalist's face is somewhat familiar to her. Moreso, perhaps, due to her onstage notoriety. Kawamoto can tell she'll need to extend some professional courtesy to the singer.

But not until the fight starts. Confidently, she pops the diabolos into the air once again, raising her open palm and beckoning Alexis closer, mouthing the words 'come on down!' in lieu of an actual lavalier microphone. Those clip microphones are so annoying...

A circus clown and a regular circus staffer in an unassuming button-down shirt approach the stands, gesturing for her to follow the spotlight-lit path down the elevated stairs, down across the big top floor, and up the rope ladder to the raised platform where Honoka awaits.

One would hope that Alexis is not subject to motion sickness, for with the plank flooded in light, the undulations of the safety net below start to resemble the waves of the sea. The gaps in the net look intimidating, but the fact remains that, should one fall off the forty-foot-long plank or any of the platforms, the net would provide enough bounce to resume one's footing -- presuming balance can be maintained, of course.

As Alexis approaches, Honoka catches her diabolos, snuffing the flames with a rapid hand gesture, and trades them off to an acrobatic circus staffer for a pair of shiny metallic diabolos. Ones that -aren't- meant to hold a flame. She curtsies in greeting, and then gestures for the challenger to take the first move -- to thunderous applause.

COMBATSYS: Honoka has started a fight here.

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

Though twenty seconds of spotlight is enough to leave Benny breathing into his empty peanut bag, Alexis follows the illuminated path with the confidence of one born for the stage. Most in the audience don't recognize her - not that that keeps them from cheering the arrival of a new challenger - but a few do, whether it's as 'that new girl from the Neo League,' 'that singer from that one band,' or 'that hooker who fought a dragon.' The ringmaster, though, doesn't know her from Eve, and thus a brief off-the-mic exchange occurs between them before Alexis begins scaling the ladder to the platform upon which Honoka is standing.


Unfortunately, Alexis' Japanese is still a little on the rough side. Apparently none the wiser, if her expression is any indication, determination visible in her eyes as she takes up a position across the plank from Honoka, testing the steadiness with her heels and holding her hands up with her fists clenched. A faint high-pitched hum can be heard in the space around the Canadian as she starts to bounce on her feet in a loose fighting stance once she's more confident in her footing.

"So, the goal's to knock the other person into the net? I guess this isn't too different from hockey. Except it's vertical. With people." The words are mostly there to psych herself up as Honoka invites her to kick things off - something she makes a literal attempt of, stepping in toward Honoka with a whirling motion, swinging her left leg high and then bringing it down heel-first in a melodic axe kick. Melodic, because the sonic vibrations surrounding her leg as it chops through the air produce a musical trill - not loud enough to be heard in the stands, but enough to be audible to her opponent. Should the kick connect, the energy in her foot would be released with blasting force!

COMBATSYS: Alexis has joined the fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Honoka           0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0           Alexis

COMBATSYS: Honoka blocks Alexis' Hammer-On.

[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Honoka           0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0           Alexis

Honoka steps back onto the near plank -- labeled with a big number '1' -- as Alexis ascends to the platform. While the circular landing is technically big enough for the both of them, a truly close-quarters fight isn't really where the Twilight Star performer excels -- nor is it quite as easy for the audience to tell, as they're scattered all around the big top.

Many Japanese women place their hands in front of their mouth to conceal their giggles. Laughter is often discouraged in public as it can make the target of the laughter uncomfortable, sure, but placing one's hand in front of one's mouth is enough to evidence concern, thus saving face. Thing is, Honoka's kind of -using- her hands right now, as the diabolos have whirled into motion, so it's plain to see that, yes, she's snickering like crazy at the mistranslation of the name she knows well. Dinosaur Daycare, indeed.

Feigning a cough to cover her laughter, she reflexively hops backwards as her opponent's foot comes scything downward at her. It's fairly fast -- too fast and too close for a flashy defense, but she'll have to please the crowd in her followup actions. The diabolo pop into the air once again, as the Ainu descendant snaps both batons up to deflect the kick. She's forced to one knee, but that also allows her a moment to coil up, release the pressure, and hop backwards with a grin. "Not bad..."

The crowd oohs and ahhs at the repercussions of the blow, a musical aftershock enough to set the foot-wide plank twanging like a guitar string. But what might be less obvious, are the sounds of four release latches being thrown open remotely. These would be four large pendula, each drum roughly a meter across, falling from the ceiling at relatively normal intervals. It will take a while for them to reach the platforms, but they may pose a small logistical challenge...

Honoka's landing demonstrates her previous acrobatic experience, her arms held wide as she plants one foot directly in front of the other, as graceful as a swan.

"It's an honor to meet you in person. I'm kind of a fan." The words come softly -- almost like whispers. It shouldn't even be possible to -hear- the words, but Honoka's good at projecting her voice when the situation calls for it -- though, like Alexis' strike, the audience won't be able to share in this. But the juggler does not leave room for a rejoinder, as she lunges forward, lashing her diabolo cord out like a whip, aiming to check Alexis' reflexes with a crack against her shin -- a crack that -is- loud enough to be heard up in the stands.

But what -isn't- clear... is exactly what happened to the diabolos that were tossed into the air. Perhaps Alexis will find out!

COMBATSYS: Honoka successfully hits Alexis with Large Thrown Object.

[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Honoka           1/-------/=======|=======\==-----\1           Alexis

A fan? Here, under the big top? The idea catches Alexis a bit off-guard as she steps back from impact point of the kick. She's not yet accustomed to being recognized, especially outside of her own shows. It brings a fierce grin to her face - appreciative of the acknowledgement, but nonetheless challenging, unreserved in the aggression of the fight.

"Cool! Maybe later I'll give you an auto-"


The sound that comes from Alexis' leg when the diabolo smashes into it is much less pretty than the one previously produced. An attempt at shifting to protect from the impact results in the weapon cracking across her knee instead of the shin, the force spinning her around while simultaneously pulling the leg her weight was on out from under her, resulting in a brief corkscrew before she flops over the side of the plank, plummeting down to the net below. The crowd oohs as the net sways with the girl's weight before tossing her back aloft to land on one of the platforms.


For a moment, Alexis is silent. Then, through clenched teeth: "FUUUCCKK!"

More sensitive parents nearer to the above-ring action are forced to cover the ears of their children as the punk rocker's voice resounds through the tent. Pressing her elbows against the platform beneath her, she forces herself up to her feet, the injured knee wobbling unsteadily beneath her for a moment.

"That... hurt," she breathes as she glowers at Honoka, any trace of the grin from before now absent. There's a bit of a hobble to her gait as she attempts to bound across the plank toward Honoka, a resonance building around her before she throws herself into the air. Swinging herself sideways in flight, she takes the precarious approach of trying to crash into the juggler in a perpendicular pose. Should she collide, a small dissonant burst of energy will be released before she attempts to wrap around Honoka, lock an arm over her head before falling backward. The intent would be to drive her headlong into the platform - though a miscalculation could easily put one, the other, or both over the edge!

COMBATSYS: Honoka endures Alexis' Stage Dive.

[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Honoka           1/-------/=======|=======\==-----\1           Alexis

Ow. Just... Owwwwww. Honoka winces, clasping one hand over her mouth as the diabolo cracks against Alexis shin at roughly the same time as her baton. Maybe that was a bit overkill, she realizes. Still... it could have been worse: one of the drum-shaped pendula could have clobbered into Alexis as well...

She winces again once the f-bomb is dropped from its bomb bay, detonating in midair and nearly silencing the big top entirely. Uncomfortable, nervous laughter fills the void as Alexis hobbles forward... and ending the fight -too- soon just doesn't make -anyone- happy.

Honoka's not -that- mean, really. "Eesh, looks like I overcorrected... sorry 'bout that..." she apologizes in a harried stage-whisper.

When Alexis leaps out at her, Honoka takes a step backwards and to the side. It looks like her foot slips off the plank -- but in actuality, she's doing it on purpose, stomping on the net to send her fallen diabolos back into the air. When Alexis actually crashes into her, the strike is enough to force air out of her lungs; she doesn't have any particular way to break -that- hold, especially considering the burst of energy that accompanied it.

What she -doesn't- expect is for the momentum to continue, as she's twisted around by the punk rocker's momentum. Her head clunks against the wooden platform, and from the way she's gritting her teeth, it takes a good deal of focus to keep from screaming out in pain.

But, in actuality, Honoka now has Alexis where she wants her. She grapples onto the vocalist, twisting sharply with an attempt to roll backwards, -off- the platform and onto the net -- and grab Alexis by the arms, slinging her away a fair bit down the net. The springy surface should be enough to make the simple throw look a lot more dramatic than it really is -- but Honoka's used to dealing with the surface. She's also used to negotiating the pendula without getting hit by them.

COMBATSYS: Honoka successfully hits Alexis with Medium Throw.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Honoka           1/-----==/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2           Alexis

Having committed so fully to her own attack, it's difficult for Alexis to avoid Honoka's grasp - she squirms, trying to wrench herself free before she can be tossed, but ends up flipped away in spite of her efforts. No big deal, she thinks as she sails through the air, skirt and blouse fluttering: she'll just hit the net, bounce off, tuck her legs and arms and land with a roll -


- and completely fail to account for the pendulum swinging down toward her. It smacks into her, and her body folds around it as the instinct to ball herself defensively is transferred from the anticipated landing to the impact. The pendulum carries her upward and outward before swinging back down...

==*== DOWN BELOW ==*==

In the meanwhile, the workers and ringmaster below have been accosted by one of Alexis' bandmates - Kim "Kim Penetrable" Steele. She's holding a red guitar, previously pried from its case, and insistently gesturing up toward the battle overhead.

"She forgot it! She needs it to fight!"

==*== BACK UP TOP ==*==

Alexis slips off of the pendulum to land on the platform on her backside. She grits her teeth and inhales sharply, clasping her hands around her injured knee, which is already starting to swell up. Pursing her lips with determination, she staggers up to her feet and takes in a deep breath, trying to regain the air driven from her when she was smacked by the pendulum.

"Sorry?! I don't need your sympathy for what happens in a fight!" she yells, brushing her hair out of her eyes before clenching her fists at her sides. More humming, like before but increasing in volume, emanates from her hands. "And don't expect me to apologize for this!"

Throwing caution to the wind once more, she goes straight for the juggler. Launching herself into the air, legs slightly apart , she attempts to tackle Honoka and pin her down. If she can manage to get on top of Honoka, she'll start raining down punch after punch, sounding off a series of differing tones as her fists fly, the report of each an echoing sonic crash.

COMBATSYS: Honoka interrupts Beatdown in Three Four from Alexis with Sarak Kamui.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////                     ]
Honoka           1/-======/=======|>>>>>>>\>------\1           Alexis

The audience went 'whoa!' as soon as Alexis flung herself at Honoka. The takedown was pretty impressive! The audience went 'ooh!' as Alexis was hurled into the net, and bounced upwards. The audience had a pretty good grasp of the ebb and flow of this fight thus far.

Until the rather -loud- drum of the pendulum as Alexis' body slams into it.

Honoka fights back the urge to smile. The controlled chaos of the big top really is what sets this particular fight venue apart from others, and the young performer is perfectly within her element. She spends a moment looking around for her diabolos, before the sound of Alexis' shouting catches her ear. The young juggler is a bit more brutal than her slight build might suggest, but the ends justify the means as it seems to be drawing out a much more empassioned showing from the challenger -- music to her ears.

Or maybe that's actual music -- the lines are blurred. All Honoka knows is that among the previous attacks Alexis has landed, the sonic waves seemed to hurt her most of all, the shuddering in her bones masked with careful, practiced motions, but present all the same.

"True enough! The crowd do deserve the best we have to offer!" To say more might be deemed condescending, and that's -really- not what the cheerful circus personality wants to known for. No... as the audience's fervor reaches a fever pitch, Honoka smiles all the more, resonating with their energy.

As the punk rock fighter leaps in, the circus performer still has on that aloof smile. She can tell the audience is rooting for the underdog, they want Alexis to get those few hits in. Honoka takes an uncommitted step backwards, hedging her bet -- and Alexis is able to scissor her legs about the juggler's torso, the pair plowing down against one of the circular platforms.

And Alexis gets to channel her sonic rage for a moments, playing do-re-mi onto Honoka as if she were a koto drum. Her head snaps back with each blow, the smile replaced with gritted teeth.

But what Alexis may have missed would be the subtle charge of energy growing in Honoka's left palm. It starts as a mild pink glow, but as Honoka brings it closer, the glow blossoms into a basketball-sized flower. As it grows, it sheds petals in a whirlwind of energy, waves of force rippling off and halting the onslaught of punches from Alexis -- a necessary consequence of the fighter being blasted away from the prone juggler. The glow from the blossom hangs in the air like a spirit in the wake of the counterattack, suffusing Honoka's features in pink light as she begins to recover from the attack, to thunderous applause.

Wincing as she pushes herself back to her feet, she rubs her jaw tenderly. "Your song is everything I thought it would be and more... got a good beat to it," she comments, catching sight of her diabolos. A baton snakes out from her right hand, the rope snapping taut an instant before the diabolo itself is snared in its grasp. She twirls the diabolo around on a finger, hopping back and forth from one foot to the other. It's a nice distraction from the pain lingering in her face and upper torso -- bruises are sure to form, undoubtedly, but that's something she'll deal with -after- the challenge!

Focused as she is on unleashing her fury on Honoka, Alexis is blindsided by the blast of floral energy - too busy seeing red, as it were, to notice the pink glow before it's too late. The energy lifts her and sends her hurtling away to land in the safety netting, the screen sagging lightly before returning her to the wooden surface. Clambering up to her feet, already barely able to remain upright from the punishment, Alexis sways, one arm across her gut as her eyes lose focus briefly to wander down to the crowd below, her weight shifted to the less battered leg.

Is that...?

It is.

Alexis raises her eyes to Honoka's, the fire in them reigniting. "I'm glad you like it... but I'm just getting started. Now it's time..." She holds her left hand up and out to one side. And then, as if on cue, a whirling blur of red comes spinning up from the ring floor to land in the punk artist's outstretched glove, her fingers curling over the neck of the guitar as she spins unsteadily around, slinging the instrument on by its strap in a single motion.

"To ROCK!"

The mere act of catching the guitar after it was hurled by a strongman on the ground level is enough of a spectacle to elicit even more applause from the audience. Even her band members remain divided on whether it's staged - that Alexis was somehow, unbeknownst to them, involved in planning this battle. The truth is that the flashy move was simply the result of a glimpse of the strongman being handed the guitar by her bassist, a guess, and a lot of luck.

A flick of the switch and a strum across the strings of the instrument sends a rippling wave out to the stands, the chord somehow audible throughout the tent despite being amplified - at least, to those who can't perceive the manipulations of chi energy - by the internal amp of the guitar itself. And then, as her fingers fly, chords and notes form a song. Soon, they're joined by vocals.

It's heavy. It's key-shifted. It's uptempo.

And it is, unmistakably, Britney Spears.

o/~ I feel the adrenaline moving through my veins!
Spotlight on me and I'm ready to break!
I'm like a performer, the fight ring is my stage!
Better be ready, hope that ya feel the same! o/~

Pounding waves of sonic force emanate from the guitar as Alexis channels the energy into a tangible assault, attempting to blow the juggler away in equal retribution for her own earlier attack. She finishes the bridge with a power chord flourish, apparently completely unabashed of the display.


COMBATSYS: Alexis successfully hits Honoka with Shredding Solo.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Honoka           1/=======/=======|=------\-------\0           Alexis

Honoka watches the guitar as it flies up towards Alexis. For a fleeting moment, the eagle-eyed might be able to spot a brief smile across the performer's face, before turning into a look to shake her fist at the strongman, pantomiming of utter anguish. How -dare- he interfere with a match, and all...! Of course, this is just part of the act, much less a true 'fight' and more about fighting entertainment. So when the fire reignites in Alexis' eyes, so too does it flare in Honoka's, as her expression hardens to an overplayed look of determination.

The diabolo drops like a pendulum, as Honoka weaves the batons about into a rapidly accelerating swing. In seconds, it's moving fast enough for Honoka to spin it sideways. It's an interesting sideshow as Alexis gets to shred through a wicked solo.

Honoka tries to place the song. She's heard it before... it's something about circuses, and undoubtedly they played it a -lot- in the circus at one point... right after she joined the Twilight Star, was it? Honoka is moved.
No, really, she's pushed back off her feet by the successive waves of energy. She had -thought- about cartwheeling backwards, but trying to place the song and whatnot seems to have distracted her... just enough.

Each wave sends her staggering backwards; the determination on her face gets more and more real with each strike. At one point it looks like she might keel over completely, but the diabolo she's twirling seems to be having a gyroscopic effect, keeping her upright (if not fully -standing-, at least).

The -audience- loves it, at any rate! They are -eating this up-, and those who know the words are totally joining in!

The juggler, though... is a bit nonplussed. She's just been attacked by the power of rock. This Alexis may be more than she'd originally thought...

Once there's a respite in the attack, though, she wastes no time. The diabolo is slung forward, and Honoka interposes the tip of her baton, weaving it together into an intricate pattern. The string forms a star pattern -- and starts to glow pink. "Just getting started, you say...?" she responds with a proud, albeit dazed smile.

The star flares. And a horizontal column of white-hot energy rushes out towards Alexis, threatening to swallow her up within its radiance as Honoka reaches out attempting to sway the audience back to -her- cause for one shining moment in the spotlights.

COMBATSYS: Alexis endures Honoka's Nochiu-o Kando.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >                                ]
Honoka           1/-------/=======|=======\-------\1           Alexis

Those who have borne witness to Alexis Lovell's exhibition battles thus far may come to the conclusion that, when the force of rock is unleashed, its power cannot be denied. The truth may lie more in the nature of her sonic barrage - an unusual attack like it may be difficult to anticipate - or that the spectacle is simply distracting.

In any case, the sense of clear - if not complete - victory of the moment, reinforced by the cheering of the crowd, is enough to bring the smile back to Alexis' face as she whips the guitar around to her back, taking a moment to bask in the applause and recapture her breath, her chest heaving as she stretches her arms behind her and inhales deeply, giving Honoka a moment to recover from the experience.

It turns out, perhaps, to be a mistake - with the window of opportunity left open, a retaliatory flare of energy is let in. Not only is she starting to flag, but the footing here makes the proposition of evasion difficult - she looks to the left and right, sees only the netting, looks back ahead, and finally clenches her teeth, throws her arms over her head, and tenses her body in anticipation moments before the white energy washes over her.

The pained cry that issues from the girl as the attack sears her senses can be heard throughout the big top - it's enough to draw a chorus of gasps, followed by a moment's silence, from the audience in attendance. Is this the end of the Twilight Star Circus' latest challenger?

As the brilliant column of energy dissipates, Alexis is still standing - barely - her arms still thrown over her head. The effects of the radiant burning are more internal than external, but the weakening impact on the girl is still evident from the trembling of her frame.

The positioning of her hands is not, however, purely defensive - which Honoka will learn momentarily as Alexis lurches forward toward her, hefting the guitar over her head by the neck as she unslings it like a battleaxe, the body of the instrument striking the platform as her body seems unable to sustain lifting its weight overhead. There's just enough in the tank, though, for her to drag it one step forward before whirling around with one final surge, a hum resounding as the 'axe' sweeps toward Honoka's side, accompanied by a wave of sonic power. As the pain sets in fully, the punk rocker stumbles with the attack, threatening to collapse at its conclusion...

COMBATSYS: Alexis has reached second wind!

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////                        ]
Honoka           1/-------/=======|-------\-------\0           Alexis

COMBATSYS: Honoka fails to reflect Tribute to Townshend from Alexis with Kamui Atemka.
- Power fail! -

[                        \\\\\\  <
Alexis           0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Honoka can no longer fight.

[                        \\\\\\  <
Alexis           0/-------/-------|

Honoka shows no particular emotion as her barrage assaults Alexis' defenses, though she does note that the punk rocker has decided to take it head-on, making the best of a bad situation.

The audience definitely approves, throwing up their hands and screaming their approval. When two performers duke it out, it's not a question of which of the performers win... the audience is the clear winner, bar none!

As the light fades, though, Honoka can see Alexis is still standing. And not only that, still -moving-, advancing towards Honoka like the awakened undead, wounded shin notwithstanding. The juggler maneuvers her diabolos, fully prepared to fend off another volley of those sonic attacks, now that she has a better idea of what's up...

But it just wouldn't do to throw the same attack a -second- time, would it? Honoka takes a step back with an aim of slinging her whirling diabolo into the path of the guitar. She manages to do this, the weight of the diabolo pulling one of the batons around the guitar.

But, ultimately, it does not help. She hadn't been ready for the sheer -velocity- of the 'axe' as it's swung towards her. And without an appropriate estimate of the instrument of destruction, she can't properly account for the pendulum swinging behind her, either...

KABONG! Honoka's knocked sideways, off the platform -- and her uneasy trajectory has her flying into the last of the four pendula as well. *THONK* The diabolo, and the batons in her hands, fall to the floor below.

Dazed, Honoka reaches out in midair. Her acrobatic reflexes help her fall without getting hurt; she curls into a ball, impacting hard into the net and bowing the frame for just a moment.

When she springs back up to her feet, though... well, it's not long before she drops back to one knee, a broad smile on her face as she looks up to Alexis.

She extends a congratulatory hand to Alexis, and the audience -erupts-. The booming voice of the ringmaster can be heard over the cheering and clapping -- his words are mimicked by the performer herself. "LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! PLEASE JOIN ME IN A ROUND OF APPLAUSE FOR OUR CHAMPION OF THE EVENING... ALEXIS LOVELL OF THE KILLLLLASAUUUURRRRUS ORRRRRRPHANAGE!"
Sorry, Dinosaur Daycare fans, no misplaced publicity for you.

Honoka joins in the clapping as she rises back unsteadily to her feet. "Congratulations," she mouths, knowing her voice is unlikely to rise above the din of the crowd.
And silently, she resolves to hear more from this Killasaurus.

The follow-through of Alexis' swing sends her reeling toward the edge of the platform, the friction of wood on wood as the guitar's head scrapes against the platform arresting her momentum and giving her just enough balance to merely teeter and totter and not totally tumble over. She slumps down to a crouch, her arms wrapping around the neck of her guitar as she leans on it for support while she gulps for air. A few long seconds, and... slowly... she manages to push herself upright, still using the guitar as something of a crutch.

It takes a moment to register - the fact that Honoka, and, more forcefully, the ringmaster and crowd, are acknowledging her as the victor. A grimace slowly shifts into a smile, partially hidden by her disheveled bangs, and she offers a gesture back to Honoka to indicate that the crowd's applause should be shared with her opponent.

"Thanks," she breathes out a bit hoarsely as she shoulders her instrument, taking in one more breath before she starts limping toward the rope ladder to return to the ground. Win or lose, this would have been worth it.

Meanwhile, in the stands, Benny turns to Matty, popping another peanut into his mouth. "See? What'd I tell you, eh? Totally staged."

Come one, come all. Everyone can have fun down at the Twilight Star Circus -- that's the message that's coming through loud and clear tonight. Sure, Honoka will have some bruises for the makeup crew to deal with for the next few days, and sure, Alexis may be limping for the rest of the night, but that's a small price to pay for giving hundreds Southtown residents something to cheer about. Not to mention, a notable prize purse for the victor!

Twilight Star staff are quick to help Alexis back to the ground. Someone from Legal is at hand -- the band might not be making as quick an exit as they might have hoped, but it's... probably worth it.

Honoka shimmies down the rope ladder afterwards, one hand wrapped around her side. The side that was smacked with the axe, of course. "Hey, legal-type person," she chirps out, glancing at Alexis out of the corner of her eye: "Don't tie them up -all- night. I still need to get me an autograph, okay?"

Log created on 20:25:34 03/09/2015 by Honoka, and last modified on 06:52:11 03/11/2015.