Honoka - Twilight Star Challenge 5 - Himeko!

Description: The roar of the crowd, the thrill of the fight! Hurricane Hime and her... entourage(?!) are here to challenge Honoka to mmmmMORTAAAAA... well, something. A fight, maybe. (Winner: Honoka)

In 2014, the Twilight Star Circus toured all around the island of Honshu. Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Sendai... all over the place. But so far this year, the circus has remained stationed outside Southtown, retooling and preparing for the upcoming tours, set to resume any week now.

Despite a downturn in attendance, recent weeks have shown an upward trend. The reason is clear: the star juggler is back on stage after sustaining an injury from a brutal darkstalker. She's avoided top billing at all costs, but longtime followers of the circus know their facts -- Honoka is the heart and soul of the circus.

And the heart and soul of the circus is standing on a circular platform at center stage. "LAAAAAADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BOYS AND GIRLS... It's now time for the TWILIGHT STAR CHALLENGE! This is where one brave, brave volunteer from the audience will have the opportunity to win a cash prize -- but it's not as simple as it sounds! Not only will this brave volunteer be stepping on stage to confront our juggler HONOKA... but they must also defeat her in martial combat! That means fighting, boys and girls!"

Honoka looks intimidating -- the juggler is spinning two diabolos, that are each ON FIRE. And she's standing atop a circular platform, eight feet in the air. WHICH IS ALSO ON FIRE. Two planks extend either way to meet two additional circular platforms, which, yeah, fire! A safety net hangs about two feet below the deck. This is not on fire, but it's springy and bouncy enough to provide means to get back onto the platforms if an unlucky fighter was to fall off.

Spotlights snap on, scanning the audience for anyone who might be standing and waving, or otherwise voicing their intention to challenge! "So, ladies and gentlemen... are any among you brave enough to face the one, the only HONOKA on her home turf?"

Himeko Kashiwagi hasn't really been keeping tabs on the goingons of the Twilight Star Circus; for someone who enjoys being amused, she's actually gone to -any- big top show a grand total of one times. Perhaps something went horribly.. Horribly wrong.

Whatever event that may have been gets the back seat though, once the martial artist catches word about the Twilight Star Challenge. Man, that's just cool. Even the name of the challenge is cool! However she isn't entirely driven by the cash prize; she sees it as a fantastic (and very very free) opportunity to give the Saikyo Dojo some exposure and for that she is willing to even confront the dreaded terror that are clowns for the cause. And so at last the announcement is made and Himeko had already gotten herself in costume. The bad news though is by the time the spotlight lands on her pink and grey schemed outfit, she has four kids hanging off of her, one jamming cotton candy in her hair, two on her arms and one hanging off her neck, "H- Hey! Quit it you litt--- Uh..."

They're not even her kids. Who's kids -are- these? But more importantly she has to shake her arm violently to remove one of the brats, then point directly to the sky as she proudly declares, "mmmMMMMMOOOOOOOOOOOOORTAAAAAAAAAAA-- *glmmmph*" and that's another kid sticking his hand in her mouth. Gross.

One of the many roving spotlights, predictably, swoops over to the sound of the voice. Four more spotlights swoosh in to cast even more light onto the challenger. And her entourage.

"AHA! Ladies and gentlemen, it seems that we have a challenger after all! ... Though, miss, you're going to have to come up here by yourself, assistance from minors is, sadly, -not- allowed up here." Amidst peals of laughter from the audience, the ringmaster looks at a small notecard he's handed by one of his assistant clowns. Meanwhile, even more clowns make their way through the aisles, clearing a path for Himeko to walk down to center stage, and climb the rope ladder leading up to the raised platforms upon which Honoka waits.

"Aha! We have a special treat for you tonight! Our challenger tonight hails from the SAIKYO-RYUU DOJO right here in Southtown! The Twilight Star Circus now presents you with a battle between our best and brightest juggler, HONOKA KAWAMOTO! VERSUS! HURRICANE HIME!"

As the ringmaster speaks, Honoka wordlessly paces through her routine. The diabolos swirl up, they swirl around -- the flaming objects are mere playthings for her, following her every whim, seemingly heedless of gravity in the service of their mistress. As Himeko approaches though, the flames on the platform die down to candle lights -- flambeed fighter is not the main dish on the menu tonight.

Honoka bows quietly to Himeko as she makes her arrival. An acrobat assistant hops up, allowing Honoka to trade her two red flaming diabolos for similar, purple ones. As soon as the acrobat is clear, Honoka begins her routine anew -- though it looks to be one of challenge, instead of mere pomp.

"RULE ONE FOR THE FIGHT: Get the other fighter to yield! RULE TWO: Sorry, folks, that was the only rule! Fighters... BEGIN!"

COMBATSYS: Honoka has started a fight here.

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

".. Gllph?" Himeko's cheeks burn red in response to the announcer's comment, then she spits the kid's fist out of her mouth, "H- Hey! I- These... They're not my partners!" though her cries are, sadly, lost in the amused laughter of the crowd. She doubles her efforts to shake the laughing kids (whom are having far too good a time in the spotlight), and manages to push them off back to their parents whom apparently had just been taking pictures the whole while. SHEESH.

She's so desperate to get away and down the stairwell that she doesn't notice until far too late just -what- company has decided to assist her toward her opponent. Her face goes from red to some shade of pale brown- "G- Grrkk.." Clowns.. Clowns! Everywhere! They're to her left.. They're to her right! They're under her feet, my god they're EVERYWHERE! If her entrance wasn' embarrassing enough, the self proclaimed Saikyo-heiress loses her balance and takes a very painful looking tumble all the way down to the rest of the stairwell. Of the assitants, they try to get her to her feet, but her paniced shrieks somehow send her sailing over the barricade, though she's saved by to workers passing by with a trampoline which she bounces off of, then finally comes flying face first toward the juggler, arms and legs flailing about like a maniac, "WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGHHH!!"

COMBATSYS: Himeko has joined the fight here.

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

COMBATSYS: Honoka interrupts Random Weapon from Himeko with Quick Throw.

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

The audience is here, and the audience is riveted to the impressive stage presence of Miss Kashiwagi. The kids -- excellent touch, whether intentional or otherwise. The crowd is eating it up -- and that means Honoka is -totally- grooving on it. Any fighter that can speak to the audience through simply being themselves -- that's basically a license to print money!

So while Himeko flinging herself at Honoka just after she's switched to her less-fiery diabolos is certainly a -surprise-, it's not an unwelcome one, per se. The crowd certainly telegraphs the attack well enough for her to react -- oohs, ahhs, and gasps will do nicely. When Hurricane Hime sails up and into the air, arms and legs windmilling to either side, the juggler stares back at her.

Until this day, Honoka believed she had seen every fighting style known to man. Whatever that chick just used? /Hopefully/ there's not a style based on that.

The Twilight Star performer decides to help Hime out. With a pop of her diabolo cord, she sends the diabolos into the air. With a flick of her wrist, one of her diabolo batons whips out, coiling itself around her opponent even as she draws near. When the two fighters collide, the trained acrobat finds herself taking a few steps backwards, wincing in pain to even more oohs and ahhs from the crowd.

But when she twists sharply to the side, it becomes a bit clearer that she'd managed to effectively ensnare her opponent with the diabolo cord -- clear, as she flings her into the springy net, unwinding her cord just as easily as one might let a kite ascend higher.

Saikyo-ryuu, ladies and gentlemen! That's... that's Saikyo-ryuu for you. Honoka lets out a breath as Hurricane Hime is flung into the net, which is sure to send her bouncing back into the air momentarily. Hopefully she hasn't overdosed on chili dogs prior to this fight.

Oh this is the worst.. This is the absolute worst. Himeko had been planning this for days, the perfect entrance, the perfect speech, the works! And it's all gone down the toilet. The surroundings have thrown her for a complete loop! It's all just collissions and spinning for the next several seconds, but once she hits the net and takes the air once more (perhaps with greater force than intended), that's when the everything suddenly clicks. And we're not just talking the multiple camera flashes!
% "Ahh! Right!" One can almost see the mental lightbulb light up as she flips upside down. "Honoka!! My name is Hurricane Hime and I challenge you! For real!" she decends upon her foe once more, with her ribboned fist drawn back, then thrust forward as she races down like a heat-seeking missile, "This is -not- a drill!" As she goes closer, the ribbons untwist and unravel, taking the shape of helical screw about her fist and forearm. The ribbons then erupt into flaring, twirling, white and blue energy. "GADOKEN!"

COMBATSYS: Himeko successfully hits Honoka with Irony Punchuation.
- Power hit! -

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

Honoka steadies herself upon the platform after releasing her hold on Hurricane Hime. Lazily, she lashes her cord out to one side in what seems to be a careless gesture, until the two airbone diabolos snap right into their proper marching order along the cast line. The audience claps, impressed that she's able to keep her calm through that series of chaotic, haphazard strikes -- and still manage to proceed with her juggling act.

That calm lasts right up until Himeko inverts herself in mid-air, showing that, far from being an idiot savant with a flair for the dramatic, she actually knows what the heck she's doing in a fight. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice...

Well. Yes. Honoka isn't quite ready for someone actively encouraging cognitive dissonance by saying this is not a drill, when it is clearly a drill. Her diabolos should have been raised, her cord whirling about in a shield, however she is -clearly- not prepared for the incoming strike. She raises her arms, about a half-second too late, and *WHAM*, the chi-borne attack strikes her dead in the solar plexus, causing a -really- pretty impact wave as it lands true.

The juggler, she gets knocked clear off the platform, which would be enough of a problem in itself, even if her heel -hadn't- gotten caught on the edge, sending her to topple down head-first. Her back arches like a thin tree, the net giving way -- and sending her springing back awkwardly into the air.

But those diabolos... they stay in her control, oddly enough. And what's more, the sound of relays firing overhead signals that something else might be in store soon.

Like Himeko, though, she's quick to regain her bearings once free of the shackles of standing. "Ow," she monologues, in a voice too low for the audience to hear. That's part of her schtick, she's never equipped with her -own- microphone.

When Honoka comes soaring forward, it's courtesy of a large pendulum swinging from the rafters. That was what the relays had let loose, and the spotlight operators had made sure to avoid casting their light onto the tools until it's much, -much- too late.

Honoka's extending her foot to boot Himeko right off the platform, and right back onto the net. But should she get any more bright ideas -- there's three more pendula, each a drum about four feet across that, also, have not been illuminated by spotlights. And there are also two diabolo, curiously unaccounted for ever since the arrival of the pendula...

COMBATSYS: Himeko dodges Honoka's Strong Kick.

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

One of the things Honoka has going for her is that her weapon is -very- unique; Himeko can't get a very firm grasp of how the weapon is used in intense combat and, as such, is uncertain how to counter-act it; not to mention the very venue is almost a puzzle, leaving too many possibilities for her to consider. Thankfully the flying kick of sorts is not one of those things- Himeko crouches for just a moment then leaps straight upward with a flip over her opponent, "Hup!" then lands upon the platform; first with a bit of an arm windmill, but then with her hands upon her hips, "Ha-HA! Fight a hurricane in the sky and you'll get blown away!" she declares to the juggler with a grin.

There's a part of her that really -really- wants to jump after and perform some sick arial acrobatics, but instead she takes a moment to observe her surroundings once more, taking in every bit of information that she can so she can figure out how to move around without hampering her own agility.

COMBATSYS: Himeko focuses on her next action.

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

Honoka isn't quite sure how to take being taunted as having the advantage when she's -clearly- in her own home court here.

Oh right. She doesn't -have- to respond, since the audience is -loving- it. Himeko's voice projects -way- more than hers, after all, and the sound crew is doing a bangup job of slipping some boom microphones closer to the action to catch every bit of Hurricane Hime's badgering repartee. Even if Honoka's still, more or less, mute in response.

Another lazy swing of her diabolo cord recaptures the airborne diabolo, a mere moment before she alights onto another of the circular platforms, one expansive foot-wide plank connecting her with the platform Himeko stands upon. Cocking her head to the side, she takes note that the Saikyo-ryuu fighter is... not charging in. Every time she thinks she has Himeko figured out, something changes.

And Honoka's about to change the game yet again. She does not leap. She does not shy away from her opponent.

She simply strides forward, continuing to twirl her diabolos off to her left side. Some people chew bubblegum while they walk -- Honoka manages to keep two three-pound diabolos from falling to the ground while she walks.

And in the blink of an eye, Honoka suddenly closes the remaining ten feet to go, not giving Himeko the moments she expects to prepare. Her hand would be at the front of Himeko's costume. And a sudden jerk would haul her forcibly off her feet, for Honoka to then pivot ninety degres to the left and slam her into the platform.

Should all -that- happen, a bolt of lightning would strike from the big top's ceiling, with ground zero being Hurricane Hime. There's no eye in -this- storm, seems to be Honoka's tacit response, with the numerous pendula still swinging by -- easily avoided, if one isn't distracted by the juggler -- or the fact that, again, the diabolos seem to have left the cord somehow...

COMBATSYS: Himeko fails to interrupt Niwen Horobi from Honoka with Stop! Grammar Time.

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

This is more like it! Hearing the crowds response to her antics sends her confidence soaring- Not that it was in much danger anyway, but it does make her feel she can relax a little. Everything is going to be all right! "By the way, that is the beauty of the Saikyo Ryuu martial art! It is so versatile it can improve upon any style- Oop.."

Himeko has no shortage of tricks up her sleeve, she has another surprise once Honoka comes at her and manages to get her grasp, but Hime's grinning like a madman, both her fists raised to reveal a 'stick' of paper in each hand , mimicing her foes diabolo wands. "Even a simple juggl-ERK."

Ok so.. What was supposed to happen was that the two were to be entangled in a massive, ribbony mess. Instead something just doesn't go quite right- It's hard to say really but upon slamming upon the platform practically head-first, the girl is thrown for one hell of the loop. She scrambles to make a grasp for the platform edge, but the lightning shock puts an end to that in a hurry, sending her plummeting to the net yet again with a completely dazed expression on her face. If Honoka chooses not to follow after, the girl does somehow end up being slung back up and smashes face-down onto the platform one more.

Reviews of camera footage will show that Honoka had only thrown herself forward, with creative lighting techniques making it -looked- like she'd blinked into existence ten feet ahead of where she ought to be, right at the exact moment that the diabolos cracked into Himeko from behind, throwing off her intended course of action -- the force applied but a small wrinkle in a confluence of conflicting actions. But... how could someone coordinate with the lighting crew in advance to plan something like that? It boggles the mind...

As a pendulum whooshes by Hurricane Hime's falling body, MUCH too close for comfort, Honoka rises back to her feet. One baton snaps from her wrist, recovering the diabolos from their successful mission as she passively takes note of where the young Saikyo-ryuu prodigy has landed -- and subsequently sprung back up to the platform.

Honoka shakes her head, smiling broadly back at Himeko. She makes a wide, sweeping gesture to Hurricane Hime -- playing it off as if she's already defeated the young Saikyo-ryuu practitioner. In her heart, she -knows- this isn't the case, but having her opponent face-down in front of her is an opportunity she'd be loathe to NOT sell, at least for a moment.

But to attack a face-down opponent, that's just not sporting. Instead, she appeals to the audience, backing away from her opponent -- and using the opportunity to pull off some daring, behind-the-back motions of her diabolos. Smiling back at Himeko, silently daring her to make another fly-by attack, to show her what Saikyo-ryuu is -really- made of.

And not once letting her eyes leave the form of Hurricane Hime.

"Ladies and gentlemen... what will happen now? Surely Hurricane Hime isn't down for the count so soon... is she?!"

And that's when the audience starts. Calling. Her. Name. "HUR-RI-CANE! HUR-RI-CANE! HUR-RI-CANE!"

COMBATSYS: Honoka focuses on her next action.

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

".. Ergh." The pink-clad fighter twitches. She doesn't know what Honoka's got in store for her but for a moment she doesn't move. But then as the crowd starts to chant, she shakily raises her left hand. It clasps into a fist.. THen she's pushed up to her knees shaking both of her fists, "eeeeeEEEEERRRGH! AAa-A-A-A-A-A-AAAAAH!!!"

Tearing a page from the pro wrestlers handbook, Hime gets to her feet and stomps in place like an utter spazz for a moment until suddenly she POINTS to the circus star, burning with energy- both the spiritual and the fighting-type! "I'm comin' for you, brother!! ORYAA!" And so the Hurricane-ing intensifies as she dashes toward, twists, then thrusts herself backside first toward her opponent to send her staggering, "Flying Me!" dropping to her feet she winds up her arm several times then launches a follow-up haymaker punch, "Far Out Punch!" next she drops to a crouch, tumbles forward, and has to expend a cosiderable amount of effort to launch herself upward while twirling with her arms upward, to finish off with a flurry of fists, "Fishing Tackle!!"

THough wait.. Perhaps that isn't the finish after all! At the apex of the final strike Hime flips to upright herself once more, with both her hands raised to the sky, "RAGIIIIIING-" and drops to the ground into a crouch with platform shaking force, "STOOOOOOOOOOOOOORMMM!!"

Unfortunately, she doesn't actually know how to expend chi while doing that so it ends up just looking a little silly.

COMBATSYS: Himeko successfully hits Honoka with Saikyo Burning.

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

Attendance was down, last August. No one wanted to see the circus -- and EVERYONE wanted to watch a good throwdown. Honoka's side job allowed her for a lot of experience in fighting, of a sort -- but there was no way she could just bring that up in mixed company. Too much was at stake. But what she could do... was sell fighting as just another act. Win or lose... those stands would be filled.

She can hear the crowd calling out her opponent's name. Honoka smiles broadly -- the adage lives on, and the audience is LOVING it. It's unlikely that any of the audience members has a dedicating need to see either of the two fighters win -- so long as it's a good match. An exciting match, one that really gets the blood pumping. So it doesn't bother her.

They'll all want copies on Blu-Ray or DVD, after all, and plastic is cheap.

But Honoka has absolutely no idea what the heck Himeko is spouting at her now. Is that... wrestling tripe?

The words mean nothing. But the energy flaring up her opponent's form -- that means something. Her diabolos get slung, not up into the air, but into one of the passing pendulua. They bounce upon it with a th-thrum that sounds like an echo.

And that's when Himeko hits her with her backside. What the -heck- kind of fighting technique is -that?- Honoka flies backwards -- only to get socked in the jaw with a fiery punch. The juggler's head snaps against the plywood plank, her light acrobatic frame rebounding into the air afterwards.

And that's when the flurry of punches catches her, slamming repeatedly into her form, causing instant bruising and no small degree of pain.

And that would be right when a pendulum collides with her with a sickening crunch of bone against plywood.

The juggler is sent flying towards the big top's ceiling. But the familiar sound of her diabolo cord wrapping around the pendulum can be heard, the thick steel cable holding the prop aloft groaning with the strain of a sudden shift of momentum.

And that... is when the lights go out.

COMBATSYS: Himeko fails to interrupt Iomante from Honoka with Koryuken.

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

COMBATSYS: Himeko can no longer fight.

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

The audience falls deathly silent -- quiet enough to hear two feet landing upon the platform. Hurricane Hime would know, at this moment, that the feet landed directly behind her. But her first clue would be that she's suddenly propelled about two feet forward by the forcible grip upon the back of her costume. The audience would see the brilliant pink energy emanating from Honoka's hand, adopting the form of a delicate lily -- a delicate lily that just happens to be suspending Hurricane Hime a few feet above the platform.

It would be difficult for the layperson to make out exactly what follows -- but it would be savage, as the batons are moving -way- too fast for the eye to capture. But Himeko would know -- the back of her neck, her shoulder blades, her spine, her shoulders, her ribcage -- all of them would receive a personal visit from the batons in Honoka's hand.

And through it all, the pink flower keeps growing larger and larger, blossoming as if immersed in pure sunshine... instead of the darkened big top.

And then Honoka backflips, kicking Himeko and the flower backwards. The flower petals explode outward, fade into obscurity, as the house lights gradually fade back to their usual intensity.

This is why there are nets on the -side- of the fighting platforms, as well -- to catch anyone who might otherwise have flown into the audience.

Honoka lands in a three-point crouch, breathing heavily as she looks after Himeko. She extends a hand to her right. And catches her diabolo.

Thunderous applause ensues -- and acrobats (and clowns) are sure to arrive to provide Hurricane Hime any assistance they can.

With those hard hitting blows, Himeko may not have knocked Honoka out of the picture, but she's for certain to think twice about trying to out-showboat her! At least, that was the theory anyway, and as her opponent is sent flying, she jabs out a thumbs up from her crouching position to the crowd. "That was for you, Rock!"

Of course this doesn't mean she's not paying attention to Honoka. SHe's confident she's prepared for the next attack- Until the lights go out.

.. Well fudge. Hurricane Hime has roughly two seconds to recall what her teacher had told her in situations like this.

XX Years Ago:

'Fighting blindfolded is an age-old tradition, Himeko! You just keep fighting that tetherball for the next, you know, twenty minutes!' Dan declares while catching up on his soaps. 'Remember, when you can't see your opponent, don't think!' ...


"... Uh." Ok then KORYUKEN! But it isn't her fist that launches her upward, and the world of pain isn't her doing either! Quite frankly, she hasn't the slightest clue what's going on, as all she can see is pink and feel the ridiculously fast strikes of- batons.. They must be batons! Sadly logic isn't helping her defend the attacks, it's like she's stuck inside a pretty, pink, flowery prison that eventually releases her with a fantastic explosion. Were this an anime, it would probably make for an incredible slow-motion death scene. Thankfully Hurrican Hime does not die, but the pain is so intense she actually ends up blacking out for a moment as her body goes limp and bounces off the nets.

There's no coming back from that one, but when she comes to with spinning vision yet again, she finds herself being assisted by the helpful crew to probably get some ice on those bruises. The problem is, though, that with vertigo, those clowns look even creepier! So as she's carried away, she goes out with a horrified, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooooooo......"

Honoka rises to her feet, as the audience is finally able to make sense of what the heck just happened. All throughout the big top, the folks who -were- cheering for Hurricane Hime -- that is to say, the MOST of them -- find themselves in utter awe. The four kids who were clinging to Himeko, surely -they're- upset. But for all the bluff and bluster -- they can rest soundly at night knowing that it took every bit of Honoka's reserves to match against the sheer ferocity of the Saikyo-ryuu soldier!

Honoka raises her hands, as the ringmaster goes through the announcements. She tones him out half the time anyway, really! The challenge isn't so much about the winning or losing -- as the ringmaster would make clear, Himeko's dazzling performance earned her a surprisingly sizable reward purse -anyway-, as well as a check made out to her favorite charity. Assuming, of course, she wakes up any time soon!

Honoka lingers about on the platform for the necessary period of accolades, before leaping down. She's quick to dash over and help shoo away -some- of the clowns. Wouldn't want any long-term mental scarring from that experience, after all...

COMBATSYS: Honoka has ended the fight here.

Log created on 20:23:27 03/14/2015 by Honoka, and last modified on 21:00:27 03/16/2015.