Rumble In The Streets - [Rumble W5] Maki vs Ayame

Description: Neither Maki nor Ayame have sustained a loss yet, so they're on to the finals of the W Bracket over in Osaka. They'll be fighting on the top deck of the Umeda Sky Building, their performance broadcast to those on the ground level via large-screen displays. Each competitor will have a five-minute warning to get to the fight location and a key to the express elevator to the observation deck they'll be fighting on. It's high stakes on a high building -- good luck, fighters!

The nation of Japan brims with tension and threaded through it all is an increasingly suspicious tournament that has somehow served as the backdrop or stage set for a number of riots, protests, and acts of violence. But in spite it all, the tournament continues on, as if carried by its own inevitability.

The floating gardens of the Umeda Sky Building serve as the venue for the Winners Bracket finals. Five minutes prior, the message went out to the two participants. Four minutes later, the express elevator to the rooftop field of battle opens, allowing Ayame Ichijo to step out. The miko in red and white carries herself with a certain imperious air though perspiration beads along her hairline from the hurried trip there.

With a faint frown, she drags her left hand over the wall adjacent to the elevator exit, leaving in its passing a small, inked paper talisman, before striding out onto the circular walkway that overlooks the city around and the tree-filled square in the center of the building below.

Armed with a rune-carved wooden staff, the priestess stops after several steps and turns to face the elevator, clearly anticipating the arrival of the other to make it this far in the questionable tournament. Her expression has a certain distance to it, as if her thoughts are elsewhere even while her gaze finds its focus on the elevator doors.

Her clothing appears to be the traditional attire of a shinto priestess, though the extra ribbons and adornments seem to be an exception from the norm. Her right hand lifts, brushing a lock of her long, strawberry blonde hair back over her shoulder as wind rushes by quickly enough to keep blowing it back into her face.

Five minute warning? That's more than enough for Maki, who happened to be close by to the Umeda Sky Building. What was she doing there? In spite of the rioting and unrest going on in Japan, Maki had found a relatively quiet place that specialized in tapioca, and Maki was enjoying some tapioca, something she hadn't done in awhile. But then came the notification that she had five minutes to get to the building and get into the express elevator. Quickly finishing her snack, Maki dashed off to the building, getting into an express elevator, and suddenly feeling glad she only had a small amount of tapioca as the elevator begins to zoom towards the top of the building.

Once the elevator arrives, Maki steps out with her tonfa in hand and her equipment ready. She still can't believe that she's made it this far, a true testament to her fighting skills, as well as the abilities she's been mastering throughout her battles.

After getting settled, having shaky legs from that turbo speed elevator ride, Maki looks to find her opponent and nods a little, a neutral look on her face. "So you're the other person who hasn't been beaten yet." She closes her eyes briefly then opens them. "This is going to mark the first loss for one of us today, so let's fight with all of our skill, shall we? Let's show the viewers what a true fight is!" She twirls her tonfa a couple of times before pointing it at Ayame. "I'm ready for you whenever you are!" Meanwhile, the official stands by, waiting to start the fight.

COMBATSYS: Maki has started a fight here.

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Maki             0/-------/-------|

"Indeed," comes the priestss's reply when identified as the member of the tournament winner's bracket. Her tone suggests a certain indifference to the idea but she does nod in slight acknowledgement of one of them needing to lose now. "I care not for the viewers," she answers, gripping her staff with both hands and planting one end of it against the walkway.

"Their vicarious participation can only happen because of the sacrifices others have made to make it this far... if they wish to truly experience what it is like, the onus is on them to put their own blood on the line."

She lifts her staff up slightly such that the end is an inch off the platform's surface.

"To be certain, this will be a test - I must see what talent you have that has brought you here. Show me these skills you spoke of so that I can see what it means to be this good."

The end of her staff drops with a wooden thud and suddenly behind Maki, the paper talisman Ayame had left behind bursts into a narrow, precision stream of bright, white energy bolting from the talisman toward the upper end of Ayame's staff. At the moment, Maki occupies a space between the two, which means she is about to face her first test - the attack from behind coming with no warning!

COMBATSYS: Ayame has joined the fight here.

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Ayame            0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0             Maki

COMBATSYS: Maki dodges Ayame's Bridge Beyond the Twilight Dim.

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Ayame            0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0             Maki

"My talent, you say?" Maki now smirks a little bit. "I'd be more than happy to show you the talent that has brought me this far. Without it, I would never have made it this far!" She grips her tonfa tighter. "This is going to be more than just a fight. This is going to be a talent show. A show of talent against one another, to see whose talent is the superior of the two!" She grins. "I like it already!" She drives her foot into the ground and says, "Have at you!" With the signal from the official, the fight is underway.

Before Maki even knows what's happened, though, there's something behind her. Maki can sense these things thanks to her 'sixth sense' of fighting. She turns her head and sees what's going on just in time to perform a backwards flip over the incoming energy, which doesn't hit Maki, but it does meet the staff. At the same time, Maki finishes her backwards somersault and lands on both feet firmly. "That was truly an exceptional style of talent. I have to say, I would never expect to be attacked from behind like that." She chuckles a little. "It shows that maybe I need to step up my game a little!"

The smile fades a little after she makes that comment. "But now, it's time to show you my type of talent!" She rushes towards Ayame quickly while saying, "Let's see how you fare against this!" She abruptly plants one foot into the ground instead of continuing to run, and then literally thrusts towards Ayame with her foot outstretched, almost like she's flying across the area!

COMBATSYS: Ayame blocks Maki's Hassou Kyaku.

[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Ayame            0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0             Maki

The priestess is quiet once she launches her attack, the energy of the talisman bridging the gap to connect cleanly against her staff where it crackles for a second before vanishing as suddenly as it had appeared. The talisman itself is nothing more than ash which drifts away from the wall from the perpetual air currents that rush throughout the walkway.

Maki's evasion is observed, the first demonstration of her legendary speed provided for the miko's enlightenment. "Truly, there is talent you are born with..." She slips her left foot back, snapping her left hand forward, staff gripped tightly to join her right as she uses the lengthy weapons to brace against Maki's attack. The force sends her sliding back slightly before she recovers her balance with a soft grunt.

"Then there is talent you forge, through sweat, blood, and tears - years of uncompromising effort and focus... I wonder what it is you possess exactly."

Her transition from defending to attacking is smooth, the staff whipped up to the side to swing toward Maki's torso, the weapon suddenly bursting to life with a crimson sheath of chi as the polearm whistles through the air toward the agile blonde. "Let us find out!"

COMBATSYS: Maki dodges Ayame's Random Strike.

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Ayame            0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0             Maki

Apparently, Ayame is on top of her game as well. Maki's attack gets deflected by Ayame's staff and her body. She rebounds off of this and lands on the ground in a crouch, her foot feeling a little bit of that deflection, but not much else. She looks at her foot for a moment before looking at Ayame and nodding in response to her words. "Indeed, there are those types of talents. Some we are born with and some we must acquire. Each talent is unique in its own way too. How we use them is also a uniquity."

Wise words from Maki, considering her usual street fighting attitude. Then again, she's pretty wise to consider how well her opponent is using her staff, as well as how she can control it. And indeed, Maki is quite agile! She drops into a crouch, meaning that the staff whistles above her head harmlessly. "You have potential, I will give you that. But you must learn to work with my speed if you wish to win!"

As Maki comes up, she attempts to catch Ayame by surprise and grab her shoulders. If this works, Maki will attempt to throw Ayame over her shoulder and onto the ground of the observation deck. No throwing anyone from high places here, folks!

COMBATSYS: Maki successfully hits Ayame with Quick Throw.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Ayame            0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0             Maki

A sort huff escapes Ayame's lips at the remark concerning her potential, "Thank you." There is something about her tone and perpetual faint frown that suggests she means anything but that. An instant later, she finds herself contending with Maki's close quarters combat skills as the dextrous blonde slips in past her staff defense and manages to secure a tight enough grip on her shoulders.

A soft exclaim of suprise accompanies Ayame's flip to the deck, followed by an exhale as she curls up to a crouch then pushes herself up to standing while using her staff as a lever to accelerate the recovery. Whirling around, she adopts a defensive posture, bracing behind her weapon as she watches the swift girl, ignoring for the moment the dust on her white kimono styled top.

"But you do have a point."

She will need to find a way to keep up with that speed, she will need to put everything into her attacks...

"You do your teacher proud... whoever that might be." She pauses, head canting to the side slightly. "Just who did you learn your arts from?"

COMBATSYS: Ayame focuses on her next action.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Ayame            0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0             Maki

"My teacher?" Maki replies. "My teacher is my own grandfather! He is the master of the Bushin-Ryuu style!" She speaks this with a firm tone to her voice. "And I intend to become his successor when he passes away! I will prove that women are just as capable of being martial arts masters as men are!" She stares at her tonfa while then adding, "I have done a lot more than most women in martial arts do. I have fought to rescue Metro City from the grip of the Mad Gears gang! I also helped rescue my grandfather from them. I've done a lot more than you might think."

Maki watches her opponent carefully, anticipating another attack. But instead, Ayame chooses to pause while she's delivering her speech. Maki would stand there and listen, but the fight must go on. She watches carefully, waiting to see what her opponent does next, knowing that a sudden attack can come at any time in any way.

COMBATSYS: Maki focuses on her next action.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Ayame            0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0             Maki

"Hm," comes the answer, the frown giving way to a thin line that almost seems to border on a smile. "A family art then." Her right foot slides forward, left foot slipping back as she grips her staff tightly at her left side. "It is rare that a woman is asked to teach the next generation... But is your goal enough? What else do you want? Is there anything besides inheriting the dojo?"

She tenses, her body winding up for another attack, her staff glimmering a persistent crimson, small motes of shimmering energy drifting off one end of the weapon to fall to the platform's floor.

"Why have you come so far in this tournament? What is it for?"

She leans forward then, before finally bolting from her readied position. She moves swift, leaping into a spinning strike from the left, swinging her staff with both hands as she aims to land following the first attack, rotate into a second attack, and then finally whip her weapon up over her head and bring it crashing down right where Maki stands with a punishing overhead blow!

COMBATSYS: Maki interrupts Requiem For Fallen Blossoms from Ayame with Tengu Daoshi.

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Ayame            0/-------/---====|====---\-------\0             Maki

Maki plants her feet into the ground, almost like she's anticipating something to happen at any moment. Still, she continues the conversation at hand. "In this day and age, women are considered inferior to men in many situations. I wish to prove that is not the case! But..." She trails off as Ayame asks the rest of the question. "I..." Maki is at a loss for words for the time being.

Then Maki's asked why she's come so far in the tournament. Her eyes narrow as if she's struggling to realize why even she, herself, has come so far in the tournament. Is it almost like something else was controlling her? Was she trying to prove a point. "Why I've come so far..." Maki stutters. She tries to think of the right words, but the words don't come right away. Instead, Maki finds herself being lifted into the air by Ayame's staff, but Ayame's got another thing coming as Maki grabs her shoulders, and literally does a one-eighty flip before throwing Ayame to the ground from the air.

Landing on the ground, Maki gasps for air a few times before speaking again. "I want to prove myself... in any way I can! To prove that women are just as strong as men!" She narrows her eyes and grits her teeth. "And what better way than by fighting in a tournament like this? To show my skills are strong, while possibly improving them even more?!"

Knocked to the ground again, Ayame is forced to scramble back to her feet, starting off crouched then rising up again, staff already in position to ward off a potential follow up attack. Though for the moment, she has a chance to gather herself as Maki considers the magnitude of the question posed to her. Piercing, brown eyes study the tonfa-wielder as she considers what this has all been for and why pushing herself to excel in this tournament is so important to her.


The girl glances toward the wide open sky above as if weighing the answer in her mind for a moment before finally focusing back on Maki, her expression softer, somehow, though still bereft an actual smile. "I think that... you are right. That is a good purpose to dedicate your talents and efforts to..."

Sliding one foot forward to ready herself again, she nods again as she continues to consider, "Your successes can champion your cause, and your cause is... appropriate for your talents."

She tenses then, eyes narrowing slightly, "But successes always come at cost - your skill as a fighter, your strength, your speed... what did you sacrifice to get here? What price did you pay?"

As if to punctuate her sentence, Ayame bolts forward again, this time sweeping her staff low toward Maki's right shin, before snapping it up, possibly catching the girl in the chin with the chi-infused weapon if she isn't able to escape it!

COMBATSYS: Ayame successfully hits Maki with Medium Strike.

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Ayame            0/-------/---====|======-\-------\0             Maki

Sacrifice? What did Maki sacrifice? The first instinct would be to say some timing and some common sense as she finally gets hit directly by Ayame finally during the entire fight. But that's looking at things from the direct perspective. Instead, one must look deeper into Maki's achievements. As the blonde ninja picks herself up off the ground, she dusts herself off and begins to wonder what kind of sacrifices she's made. Has she sacrificed herself? Has she sacrificed great opportunities?

"What have I sacrificed?" Maki drops to her knees, struggling to figure out the question. "What am I sacrificing?" She begins to feel tears welling up in her eyes. "What have I done? What am--" She shakes her head and gets back onto her feet. "What I have sacrificed will be dealt with later. Right now, I wish to finish our fight!" She approaches Ayame with one foot, then the other, then literally drops onto the ground, but doesn't hit it completely. Instead, she's propped herself up on the tip of her tonfa and is spinning around like a whirlwind!
"What am I sacrificing? A lot of air!" She yells out sarcastically while spinning nonstop, her foot extended in a strong looking kick that might hurt if it hits Ayame.

COMBATSYS: Ayame blocks Maki's Bushin Senpuu Kyaku.

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Ayame            0/-------/--=====|=======\-------\0             Maki

"Nn," Ayame answers with a sharp nod of her head, faint smirk of amusement tugging at the corner of her mouth as Maki recovers from the previous attack. Exactly what has provoked her reaction would be hard to say, but perhaps the words that follow offer the slightest clue, "That is probably the best answer. Well then,"

She braces, her staff coming up into position again, the girl deflecting the powerful chi-laced foot with no small amount of effort on her own part, grunting as she's driven back once more, arms trembling against the force of impact she finds herself weathering.

"May you discover the extents your sacrifice has earned you." Right hand deftly slipping into her sleeve, the miko snaps out another paper talisman - pale white with black ink inscribed glyphs. "This tournament is a good anvil to test your potential. I wish it had been..." she catches herself, glancing to the side then, losing focus for a fleeting moment before shaking her head.

A step forward, her right hand whips forward, the talisman hurtling toward Maki with remarkable speed for a paper ward. If it hits, it will explode in a brilliant, bright white of flailing strands of chi that will latch on and seep at strength for as long as they are allowed to persist!

COMBATSYS: Ayame successfully hits Maki with Binding of the Condemned Soul.
- Power hit! -

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Ayame            0/-------/=======|=======\-------\1             Maki

What are sacrifices? What are they good for?

No time for questions now. Maki is finding herself on the receiving end of that attack from Ayame, and despite her attempts to deflect the talisman away, she fails miserably. She now has those weird things attached to her and seeping her strength away slowly. Still, Maki's not about to give up the fight just yet. "An anvil, you say?" Maki comments, struggling to recover from that awful hit. "That's an interesting way of looking at things, but there's more to it than just that. It's more than about winning or losing. It's more than about being a champion or going home a loser. It's different for everyone!"

Struggling to get back into her fighting stance, Maki wipes her brow a little. "I don't care what sacrifices have been made along the way. At least not for now. Once I've realized them, I'm sure I'll figure out a way to deal with them... That is, if they're worth dealing with." She steps towards Ayame again, trying to ignore the weird things seeping her energy away. "Some sacrifices are for the better if you know what I'm saying. You have to decide if it's worth making the sacrifice for or not. If you make it, then odds are it's for a good cause!" Maki attempts to literally strike Ayame with her fist instead of her tonfa, bringing her tonfa away from Ayame while using the knuckles of her hand to punch at Ayame.

COMBATSYS: Ayame dodges Maki's Medium Strike.

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Ayame            0/-------/=======|=======\=------\1             Maki

"Out of everyone I have faced in this tournament," Ayame considers while Maki struggles with the effects of her chi-infused talisman, "You seem to have the healthiest attitude of them all." She whips her staff out to her side, gripping it with only her left hand for now. "I have seen some enter it for capricious amusement, another for investigative mischief, and a third to satiate a craving for answers that will kill him if he continues..."

Maki speaks of the trade being worth it to get to where she is and Ayame finally smiles faintly, a rare expression for the grimly serious girl, "Yes... I think I do know what you are saying..." As the distance between them is closed, the miko demonstrates her own speed, slipping out of the path of the attack while twisting to the right, adjusting her footing to end up a couple meters away while seeming to have barely taken more than a single step.

"So many do not actively think about that decision and for that you should be proud." She dips her head to the side in acknowledgement, her brief smile fading, her expression serious once more. "You are showing everyone your worth as a fighter, and your power as a woman. Thank you for that."

But greatness is only great if tested, and Ayame intends to continue putting Maki's skills to the test, as she rushes forward, staff gripped tightly again. She leaps from one meter out, the weapon raised over her head before she brings it crashing down with punishing force - if she misses the agile ninja, it will definitely put quite the dent in the floor!

COMBATSYS: Maki avoids Ayame's Heavy Strike.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Ayame            0/-------/-======|=======\=------\1             Maki

"Healthy? Me?" Maki asks, seeming a bit incredulous, though that could easily be because of how she's feeling from all those blows she's sustained over the course of the fight. "Oh give me a break!" She starts to sneer, but the sneer vanishes when Ayame makes her point clear. About how she's a worthy fighter and a powerful woman. She smiles a little and says, "I appreciate that. Thank you. It's good to know that I've made the right decision after all." But then her mind shifts back to the fight at hand. "Of course, I should try to prove that too, shouldn't I?"

Maki watches as Ayame attempts to hit her again, and despite her injuries, Maki shows that she is still a capable dodger. She moves back and out of the way of Ayame's incoming attack, before stepping back towards Ayame again. "Even an injured opponent is still capable of winning if they know how to adjust their skills to adapt to their current situation!" Maki attempts to emphasize this by attempting to kick out one of Ayame's feet from underneath her.

COMBATSYS: Maki successfully hits Ayame with Light Kick.
- Power hit! -

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Ayame            1/-------/=======|=======\==-----\1             Maki

The end of her staff crashes violently against the walkway, leaving a very noticeable dent in the surface as Ayame rebounds backward from the missed attack. She lands on her right foot, twisting into a defensive posture once more rather than trying to follow up with another fluid staff strike - it seems Maki has proven too swift for more brute aggression tactics to suffice.

"I certainly would not count you out," the miko replies softly, responding to the incoming attack by jabbing her weapon down, atteming to intersect the sweeping leg with the sturdy staff. But she isn't fast enough, Maki's foot connecting cleanly, taking the priestess's feet right out from under her, leaving her to fall hard against the walkway with an audible grunt and visible wince of pain.

Grimacing, she rolls to one knee, pushing herself back up to standing after a moment. There is no doubt at the ninja's speed and striking potential. "Well then..." Ayame states, slipping her right hand into her sleeve to draw out another talisman - a pale blue one, with fire red ink. But this one doesn't get hurled Maki's way. Instead, the girl wraps it around the middle of her staff, cupping it in her palm and closing her eyes for a brief moment of concentration.

The crimson chi illuminating her staff becomes sapphire in color, an aura building up around the girl of potential waiting to be harnessed.

"You asked that I do the best I can... I should take steps toward that, I believe."

COMBATSYS: Ayame gathers her will.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////             ]
Ayame            1/---====/=======|=======\==-----\1             Maki

"Indeed, we should do the best we can," Maki says, waiting for another attack from Ayame. But again nothing happens. Instead, she's just resting once again, and Maki nods a little. "Sometimes, the wisest course of action is to do nothing." She looks at her tonfa and wipes it a little before looking at Ayame again. "I know not what happens after that, but it's just as well, since anything can happen in a fight, and we must be ready for anything and everything."

Maki looks around and wipes her forehead again. "This fight has been quite informative to me. It has taught me a bit about myself and others. It's shown me a new outlook." She grabs a nearby bottle of water and pops it open, gulping down the water quickly. "Perhaps I shall continue to fight with this new perspective in mind."

COMBATSYS: Maki gains composure.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Ayame            1/---====/=======|=======\=------\1             Maki

A slow exhale follows Ayame's preparation, the girl gathering strength for whatever she intends to execute next. Her right hand slips into her left sleeve, drawing a pale, ghostly blue paper talisman free, gripping it between two fingers. "Winning this tournament... it means a step forward toward your goal," the strawberry-blonde considers. "What you learned, and how you were tested, and now what you can prove."

Holding the talisman up, she flicks her index finger across it, causing it to glow brightly as if being consumed by light blue fire, leaving a sphere of churning energy over the girl's hand.

"What is next then, for you, I wonder?"

Her right arm bends, the girl flicking the energy into the air with what seems to be a casual backswing of her hand. But when the chi parts, still burning around what remainds of the talisman, the speed with which it bolts toward Maki's torso is anything but relaxed!

COMBATSYS: Ayame successfully hits Maki with Reliquary of Lost Time.

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Ayame            1/--=====/=======|=======\====---\1             Maki

"Those are all good things to remember," Maki comments, but then there's also the thing to remember about not being hit. Maki finds another projectile coming at her, and this time, she's not lucky enough to avoid it. It hits her dead on and she drops to the ground like a sack of potatoes. "Unngh... why?" Maki grumbles, feeling like a whole ounce of her was just knocked out of her body. She puts her hands in front of her and pushes up a little, using her tonfa to get her back up. Once she's back on her feet, she looks to Ayame, hunched over a little, then shakes her head. "What happens next? That depends on what becomes of this fight!"

Maki takes another gulp of air, almost like her lungs can't get enough after that last hit. "You may think you have me on the ropes, but a weakened opponent is also the most dangerous! They will always try to find a way to come back when you least expect it!" Even in her weakened state, Maki still manages to step towards Ayame with her tonfa swinging in the same motion, as if she's trying to incorporate the movement of her step to add momentum to her tonfa strike!

COMBATSYS: Ayame counters Genkou from Maki with Final Solstice.

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Ayame            0/-------/----===|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2             Maki

"I agree," Ayame replies, that same faint smile tracing at the edges of her mouth, "The last thing I would do is count someone of your spirited nature out... You have made it this far, afterall, and your goals are realistic and right before you."

Her right hand grips her staff, meeting her left in the middle as Ayame turns her right shoulder forward. "I have enjoyed our discourse." She leans forward, hands holding her weapon tightly as she begins to channel power into the weapon. The azure energy coursing along its surface errupts into brilliant crimson, returning to its earlier hue, as Ayame pulls her right hand away from the weapon the same instant Maki swings in with the tonfa.

"Ah-" the miko replies, twisting her wooden weapon into the shorter weapon's path, a resounding echo throughout the cavernous space within the middle of the building.

"I was wondering when you would get to using that."

The murmured observation comes while she bunkers down behind the weapon, her right hand drawing away, holding a second staff - one of pure sanguine hued energy.

And then she swings, attacking with the energy shaft as if it was a traditional staff, wielding it with all the control she had demonstrated with her runed one as she strikes one blow after another in a bid to defeat her opponent with one of her most dangerous, practiced techniques. And of course, once she sets in, her left hand joins, striking with the wooden weapon alongside her energy staff.

"You came far... I am sorry this journey ends here," the priestess murmurs with calm confidence as if she's already certain Maki will be unable to fight after that... after all, most of her other opponents were defeated by this very technique!

Maki can see why many opponents would be defeated by that technique. It hurts quite a bit, and Maki is finding herself in a world of pain on the ground now. She's feeling like she's reached the end of her journey for real this time. "I... I..." She lacks the words here, not because she can't believe she lost, but because she feels like all of her will to fight has left her. Or so she thinks. Because just as she's about to close her eyes and give up, a small spark ignites within her. That spark begins to glow brighter and brighter as she slowly pushes herself up, almost like her body is pushing down entirely on that will to get up.

Maki gets to one foot eventually, then the other, and that spark has turned into something more noticeable. "This isn't entirely the end of the line. I've still got one trick left up my sleeve!" There's a glow in Maki's eyes as well as an aura around her. "I usually save for this for last! And it looks like it's almost the end, so I might as well pull out all the stops and show what I'm REALLY capable of when I'm at maximum power!"

With that, the aura seems to explode in a way, before Maki dashes at Ayame, attempting to strike her with her tonfa, followed by a few kicks, and then launching herself into Ayame with a flying kick almost like the one she did at the beginning. Only these attacks are happening at rapid speed!

COMBATSYS: Ayame blocks Maki's Bushin Gou Rai Ha.

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Ayame            0/-------/---====|>>>>---\-------\0             Maki

The attack completed, Ayame slides to a stop in a low crouch, her arms out at her side, her left gripping her trusty wooden staff - Absolution, her most prized creation - and her right hand clutching the crimson replica for a few seconds longer. Finally, the energy invested in the assault fades, collapsing into a thousand crimson moths that scatter in the stiff wind blowing past the two young women.

Exhaling softly, Ayame stands up straight, turning around, her guard almost dropped before she realizes that this fight isn't so decisively concluded as she had calculated. A narrow eyebrow arcs at the Bushin-ryuu artist's determination to keep going, her expression shifting from mild disbelief to a glimmer of outward, visible respect.

"All right, then." Her right foot slips forward, both hands gripping her staff tightly. Her own defenses will be tested - she will need to prove the results of her own arduous training in her staff arts.

And when the collision comes, the entire event transpires too fast for most people to even follow. The slow motion replays will be sure to be a hit as Ayame and Maki contest each other's abilities in an exchange of desperate, split second staff deflections and relentless, ongoing chi imbued kicks and tonfa strikes. As able as the priestess's blocks are, there's no denying that a few clean hits are struck, weakening her own ability to keep standing against the onslaught...

It's when Maki lunges with that last, decisive kick that the girl finally escapes, slipping to the side at the last second, her arms too weary to weather that final blow. Gritting her teeth as she redoubles her own efforts, Ayame slams her right hand out, aiming for Maki's upper back. "It is time to rest now..."

It would be easy to miss the talisman she has palmed there as she attempts to smack it into Maki's back - and should it connect, an ebony storm of chi would rush over the young woman, seeking to squeeze out the last of her fighting spirit for this match.

COMBATSYS: Ayame successfully hits Maki with Anchor Through the Endless Dark.
Grazing Hit

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////                        ]
Ayame            0/-------/-======|>>>>---\-------\0             Maki

The talisman is easily missed. Maki doesn't notice until it's too late, and now she's really embarrassed. She's struggling to stay on her feet, to show that true women can be strong. To show that she's not about go down that easily. But her legs are becoming heavy and her body is collapsing. It's not worth a last ditch attack either. She figures that Ayame has given her good advice, and being a runner up is a good exchange for this. She drops to one knee, gasping for air, but she looks up at Ayame and smiles a little. "That was the best fight I've ever had. I never thought I'd experience a battle like this before." Her head starts to hang a little.

"Perhaps, sometime, we will rematch. But for now, it looks like this battle is finished." She collapses onto her face, obviously out of the fight.

COMBATSYS: Maki takes no action.

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

COMBATSYS: Maki can no longer fight.

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

The priestess draws back after delivering her attack, bringing her staff up defensively, readying for the potential retaliation that Maki could be capable of. But there isn't one to come - not this time. The miko relaxes at last, lowering her arms to her sides, her left hand gripping her staff as she stands over Maki, her expression hard to read at first.

A furtive glance to the side has the girl looking almost uncomfortable at the thanks expressed, "I... am glad that my abilities could serve in such a way," she murmurs softly, before her eyes return to the fallen fighter.

"Yes, someday we will. I will await that time."

A twist of her wrist has her tucking her wooden staff beneath her left arm as he right arm busies itself with removing the Hitbit bands and camera she had dutifully worn for the difficult match.

"Do not feel ashamed," she continues quietly, "You may have given up a lot to become strong enough to come this far..." The bands are tucked away in the folds of her clothing. "I have sacrificed everything."

Quietly, Ayame Ichijo turns away.

COMBATSYS: Ayame has ended the fight here.

Log created on 18:23:17 03/06/2016 by Ayame, and last modified on 10:19:28 03/07/2016.