Description: In effort to help support the ASPCA, Corporal Minal Panesh and Lightning Spangles participate in a fight at a candy drive (that happens to feature new Lightning Spangles-themed candy even though it's certainly not a crass marketting ploy). What happens when you bring a hard-fighting Marine and a children's entertainer together to battle for a amusement of a preteen crowd? Someone is probably getting fired. <Winner: Mint>
Mint stares down at the cellophane-wrapped candy in her hand. It's peppermint. Because of course it is. Concern etches itself into the features of her dark-skinned face as she patiently peels the wrapper open and pops the treat into her mouth, striding towards the area designated as the "ring" for this encounter.
Interlocking rubber mats fit together like a jigsaw puzzle, allowing a relatively soft "floor" to be moved to any location, such as right here in the middle of Fremont Street. Traffic is cordoned off at either end of the fight area by two large vans, each marked as customary for the ASPCA livery. Banners advertising the "ASPCA Candy Drive" hang from tall poles. Las Vegas restrictions are strict about event security, so each of these poles is firmly anchored to the ground by numerous weights and guy wires.
And the people -- oh, the people. Las Vegas is not exactly known for its family-friendly atmosphere, but there are -undoubtedly- families living in the area -- as shown by all the screaming kids. Apparently, it's okay to challenge the traditional bedtimes of many of the children here when certain stars are present.
Minal isn't that star. The pressure is on -- she doesn't -want- to have to wreck a beloved child actress's face. But, considering her opponent's notable performances in the recent Rumble tournament, the Marine corporal knows better than to underestimate someone based on their physical characteristics.
The double amputee stuffs the cellphone wrapper into her pants pocket. Candy wasn't her thing -- she looks into the satchel hung about her shoulder and fishes out a handful of atomic fireballs instead. She tucks those inside a different pocket.
The pint-sized pugilist slips under the barrier marking off the 'ring' from the audience. No one will be reaching for the Marine -- not with the forty-pound gauntlets swinging at her sides -- though they definitely show surprise at such a small fighter to be able to wield such large weapons. Though, a marked change comes over Mint as she enters the ring -- her sullen expression turns to a much more ebullient smile, as she pops another candy down the hatch.
"So is Las Vegas ready to rock?!" The Marine has volume -- she was clearly -heard- by the crowd, but even with the change of mood... Corporal Panesh doesn't seem to have affected the audience much if at all. Huh.
COMBATSYS: Mint has started a fight here.
Whoever said Las Vegas wasn't a family friendly environment clearly missed the memo, because the Walt Disney Corporation was in the process of opening up a big event hotel on the strip that was going to be built to look just like the famed Sleeping Beauty Castle that sat at the center of Disneyland! Families would be able to come and enjoy shows from family-friendly Disney talent (like Disney's LIGHTNING SPANGLES), interact with costumed mascots (Like Disney's DONALD DUCK), and see sponsored fights (like this one, involving Disney's LIGHTNING SPANGLES).
Of course, everyone knows that LIGHTNING SPANGLES loves animals, so the young star showing up to a family friendly event that would help support the ASPCA in taking care of man's best friend? Well, clearly that didn't have anything to do with the fact that Disney was soon going to be opening up their own attractions here in Las Vegas. It was pure coincidence.
And, of course, LIGHTNING SPANGLES had to be there for the fans.
If the crowd was mild on Mint, it went five alarm as soon as the theme song of DISNEY'S LIGHTNING SPANGLES' SHOWUP HOEDOWN hit the loud speakers. From all directions, the SHOWUP HOEDOWN PARDNERS came pouring out through the crowd. Including favorites like the Hoedown Dillo, Anthony Conda, Jamboree Jack Rabbit, Buckaroo Bronco, and Horse-Feathers Hound Dog! All of the mascots had even had a pair of fake dog ears slipped on top of their heads (including Horse Feathers, for whatever reason).
The young audience was swarming at the Pardners non-stop right up until a figure let out a sharp, "YEEEEE HAWWWWW!" from on top of one of the ASPCA vans. All eyes immediately swung about to see LIGHTNING SPANGLES herself, in her sparkling cowgirl getup. A pair of perky auburn mutt ears sticking up from the top of her white hat, with a waggly tail hanging from her hips. In her hands... a two-handed cannon marked with a giant "LS" tin star on the side of it.
"I HOPE YA'LL ARE READY TO HELP OUT THEM DOGGIES BY ENJOYING A SWEET TREAT!" With that, the cowgirl hits the trigger on the cannon and brand new (in stores soon) LIGHTNING SPANGLES GOOD TIME GUMMIES come flying out in snack-size packets, scattered all across the crowd, eagerly snatched up by greedy young hands as the children hoot and holler in excitement.
With a quick flip, LIGHTNING SPANGLES drops from her position down to the ground, making her way toward the ring and brushing hands all along the way. A quick hop is all it takes for LIGHTNING SPANGLES to get into the ring, and once there she aims her candy cannon out to the crowd, letting off a quick succession of blasts that reach out to all her fans.
"NOW LET'S START THIS RODEO!"
COMBATSYS: Pepper has joined the fight here.
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Pepper 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Mint
Apparently the formula to win over the crowd is one part stage presence, one part flat-out bribery! Mint's eyes widen in amazement as the crowd suddenly shifts from total ambivalence to an enthralled fervor for the internationally famous starlet. For a moment, even the Afghanistan-hardened veteran breaks into applause, though the dull metal clank of her gauntlets isn't quite as... well, -appealing- as normal human hands clapping.
Minal smiles eagerly (out of politeness, mostly -- she's far past the point of personally falling under Lightning Spangles' spell), giving the eager Hoedown Partners plenty of time to distribute candy to the cheering masses. Once Lighting Spangles herself enters the ring, she raises her gauntlets -- specially adorned with a stylized logo of mint leaves for the occasion -- before curling her right fist within her left palm.
With two k-CHAK! that sounds more like a shotgun chambering than a sound an artificial hand should make, the counterweights on the aft end of her gauntlets pop to their outward positions. Just then, a fluttering ASPCA banner catches her eye, and she's reminded to pop another candy into her mouth -- oh. It's one of those 'Lightning Spangles Good Time Gummies' she's heard about. Silly promotions, ugh.
Minal's smile shifts from pleasant to determined as she balls her fists before her, in a typical boxer's stance, orienting herself towards her opponent. "I won't... do the accent..? No good at that sorta thing, I hope that's a'ight!"
And now comes the very strange standoff at the start of the match. The Candy Cannon is left to hang at LIGHTNING SPANGLES' side for a moment as she walks up with the friendliest of smiles. "It's real nice of ya'll to come out here and help support all them pups. I guess you could say that doin' something like this we're 'dog's best friend,' huh?" It's quite a small joke, but perfect in that inoffensive children's entertainment sort of way.
The notably taller, younger girl reaches out as Mint puts her hands up and gives a quick fist bump to the boxer's metal hand before settling back, working her hips with just enough of a sway that the false dog tail looks almost like it's genuinely wagging.
As LIGHTNING SPANGLES waits for the announcer to signal the start of the fight, she reaches into a pouch at her side and pulls out a LIGHTNING SPANGLES TONGUE TWISTER TIN STAR, tossing it into the air and catching it in her mouth.
And the bell rings.
With a suddenly surge of rapid-fire motion, LIGHTNING SPANGLES has hauled up her Candy Cannon even before the bell has finished resonating, locking the weapon dead on at Mint's face and pulling the trigger, sending a shotgun burst of delicious LIGHTNING SPANGLES themed treats rocketing into her oppenent's face as she bellows. "DON'T YA'LL FORGET, LIGHTNING SPANGLES GOOD TIME GUMMIES CONTAIN A REAL BLAST OF FLAVOR!"
COMBATSYS: Mint endures Pepper's Large Thrown Object!
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Pepper 0/-------/-------|==-----\-------\0 Mint
Minal laughs as Pepper tells one of her carefully-curated jokes -- if nothing else, Corporal Panesh can certainly appreciate the value of a well-placed pun. She returns the fist-bump to the new and improved Lightning Spangles -- because that's just what you -do- in those situations. Though, with Pepper blocking the view of her doggy tail, Mint isn't really sure what to make of the hip gyrations. The girl's 11 years her junior gyrations, and it just doesn't look... right? What are they -teaching- kids these days? "A-hehe..."
Once Lightning Spangles pops the star towards her mouth, Mint realizes that while a good deal of the candy in her satchel is wrapped, all the stuff unloaded upon her by the Disney crew is... not. Which may be good or bad. She starts to reach for another piece of candy--
And then the bell rings.
And Mint finds herself without a Candy Cannon in her hand. The boxer tilts herself forward and starts to close the gap formed between herself and her opponent, hoping to take the girl's distance advantage out of the equation.
She launches herself mouth first.
There's just one thing -- the wrapped confections which comprise the ammunition of the Candy Cannon. Mint grimaces as she gets a face full of wrappers, the momentum of the sugar-rushed blast diminishing her forward velocity somewhat. Some of the candy ends up inside her mouth as intended. Other wrapped confections slam into her face and upper shoulders -- it's powerful enough to snap the Marine's head to the right.
Minal is quick-witted enough to use the unintended turn to her advantage though. Planting her leading foot, she pivots upon it, taking a moment to... chew the candies. Even with the wrappers in the way, she can still taste the rainbow, after all!
But the pivot continues -- as Mint twists herself about, slinging her off-hand gauntlet at Lightning Spangles with every intention of rocketing a punch into her forearm. It's more than powerful enough to leave a mark -- but the real question is whether it's powerful enough to knock that Candy Cannon right out of her opponent's hands!
COMBATSYS: Mint successfully hits Pepper with Hook Punch.
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Pepper 0/-------/----===|==-----\-------\0 Mint
In a situation like this, there's a very easy solution that should give every advantage to the person holding a candy cannon. The candy cannon is a solidly constructed device designed to dispense candy to excited children, and as such it's engineered of some high quality materials to help withstand the necessary pressures to dispense packets of candy over distances up to 100 feet or more (depending on the candy in question). The weapon is already in LIGHTNING SPANGLES' hands, and as Mint comes flying at her, she hauls the cannon up in front of her like a shield.
Interesting fact, from your old pal LIGHTNING SPANGLES: Most people do not have fists made out of metal that are built like steam engines!
With the unpleasant sound of metal shearing metal, Mint's fist goes straight through the the cannon. And while the material might be enough to slow down the hit a little bit, the pierced air canister suddenly exploding in LIGHTNING SPANGLES hands more than makes up for it as candy packets are shredded, launching their contents up into the air, and the cowpoke is knocked flat on her back.
The crowd looks on in disbelief as their hero, LIGHTNING SPANGLES, lays mortally wounded on the battlefield.
...with her mouth hanging open, allowing her to catch a gobful of LIGHTNING SPANGLES GOOD TIME GUMMIES as they come raining down.
The genuine gummy flavor kicks ol' LIGHTNING SPANGLES back into gear as she pops back up to her feet, quickly chewing up the gummies and swallowing them dramatically. "Well, shoot, them pig iron punchers of your's sure do pack of whallop!" It's a fight for charity, and LIGHTNING SPANGLES can't let people start thinking bad things about someone here to help out.
"I guess I'll have to kick things off another way!" America's sweetheart, LIGHTNING SPANGLES thrusts forward, launching herself into the air as she starts to turn, sparks of glittering energy bursting out from the heel of her boot as she takes on the properties of a twister, sending a rapid-fire, supercharge series of kicks in on Mint.
COMBATSYS: Mint blocks Pepper's Keep On Moving.
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Pepper 0/-------/---====|====---\-------\0 Mint
Mint has, admittedly, been a bit scared of Disney's lawyers. Like, what if she -does- mortally injure a beloved role model for the impressionable youth culture? Does she get a bonus for fighting really well? Would Disney's rivals offer her a superhero sponsorship? Or, worse, a supervillainess sponsorship?! The mind boggles!
But thankfully, Minal breathes a sigh of relief as Lightning Spangles begins to stir -- revitalized by the power of gummy candy. The corporal grabs a couple out of the air herself, popping them into her mouth and chewing thoughtfully.
That's... that's a new name for her gauntlets, Mint notes with a smile, as she draws said punchers into punchuation posture. "Heh heh!" answers Mint -- too tickled by the fancy of "pig iron punchers" to come up with anything substantially interesting on her own. And besides, there's a flurry of kicks coming right at her.
Mint hops backwards with widened eyes, gulping down the half-chewed gummies. Part of her alarm is at the kicks. An equal measure is her wondering if that was artificial sweeteners she just tasted, blegh. Her metal gauntlets shudder and creak as each powerful kick slams across their surfaces. Mint backpedals to keep each strike from delivering its full impact, but it's clear that between these strikes and the welts of earlier candies pelting her face that she's not going to escape battle without regretting at least part of it...
"Mint smacks her lips as she recovers her guard, waiting for an opening. "Gosh, I sure could go for something to drink..." she mumbles -- though it's not sure whether she's talking to Lightning Spangles, or just thinking aloud. It... probably won't matter in the long run. Because she lunges forward, hoping to tag Lightning Spangles with a left jab, then follow up with a crushing right punch to the stomach -- and then she doubles -both- of her massive gauntlets for a rising axehandle blow aimed at blasting Pepper upwards!
COMBATSYS: Mint successfully hits Pepper with Knuckle Dragger.
- Power hit! -
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Pepper 0/-------/=======|===----\-------\0 Mint
There is something important to remember about LIGHTNING SPANGLES. Despite the fact that Pepper Green, the actor behind the character, is only a 14 year old girl, LIGHTNING SPANGLES is something special. LIGHTNING SPANGLES isn't afraid to face down danger head on. It's okay for LIGHTNING SPANGLES' deputies to get scared sometimes, because LIGHTNING SPANGLES will always be there to help them stare fear in the eyes and refuse to back down!
LIGHTNING SPANGLES is also slammed in the gut full force by metal hands as she attempts to weather the storm to make her way to the eye. Metal hands are beginning to be a real problem, because they hurt a heck of a lot, and she's not quite able to deal with them, it seems. She's left completely unprepared for the follow up hits as she's sent flying up into the air, her hat knocked clean off her head.
And then she face plants into the ground.
The way her limbs are splayed out, you'd half expect her to stand up with her face squished flat, or for her to have cut a clean LIGHTNING SPANGLES shaped hole in the ground.
Instead she just lays there as her hat miraculously flops back down on the back of her head. Which apparently is enough to jumpstart LIGHTNING SPANGLES back into it!
The cowpoke pushes back up to her feet, slipping a piece of LIGHTNING SPANGLES LICORICE LARIAT out as she readjusts her hat and takes a big bite our of the twisty black rope. "Ya'll sure do pack a whallop!" shouts LIGHTNING SPANGLES as she appears to completely ignore the fact that her body is in a lot of pain. "I guess if I'm going to tangle with the iron horse, I'll need to bring a lasso!"
LIGHTNING SPANGLES throws her hand up into the air, whipping about as if holding an imaginary rope, but as she swings, crackling electric chi starts to escape her from her grip, writhing about until it forms a proper lasso made out of energy! With a quick flip of her wrist, LIGHTNING SPANGLES throws her LIGHTNING LASSO at the metal masher Marine, Mint, aiming to catch her like a wild bull and then wrench the energy rope to slam her into the barricades.
COMBATSYS: Pepper successfully hits Mint with Reaching Out.
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Pepper 1/-------/=======|======-\-------\0 Mint
Mint's metal KNUCKS each weigh about as five gallons of water -- which means there's enough strength in the both of them to knock Lightning Spangles' ten-gallon hat into the air. Among other things. Minal chokes back a sympathetic cry at the notion of how much that -had- to have hurt -- but reminds herself that her opponent wouldn't be here if she just couldn't take the abuse.
Even still, gosh, her throat is dry. She opens up her satchel, poking around in it in hopes of finding some Gushers or something, while trying to keep an eye on her opponent.
She doesn't find the Gushers. And when the hat lands, Mint just grabs the first thing she finds, tears off the wrapper, and tosses it down.
That's when Mint encounters the hard, moisture-absorbing demon called 'Bit-O-Honey.' Mint's eyes cross in stoic anger as her jaw defiantly attempts to soften up the virtual brick of candy.
And yet, Lightning Spangles stands. Good for her, Mint nods with the vaguest hint of a smile -- she can't help but respect the young woman's get-up-and-go, even in the face of someone who hits as hard as the pewter pugilist.
But just standing around and gawking isn't really a plan. Minal sees what's coming, and getting lassooed isn't her idea of a good time! She tries to throw her fists forward and get out of the way, but instead she just finds herself leaping into the center of the lasso in a spectacular feat of misjudgment. Snared by the Licorice Lariat, her momentum is wielded against the Marine, and she finds herself slamming into the wooden barricades -- nearly cracking one in half.
A small group of young Lightning Spangles fans gets a jarring reminder that this battle is -live- and -in person-, as the battered barricade teeters over backwards -- thankfully, the childrens' parents were present to draw them back from the crowd before they got a lesson in how heavy Mint's KNUCKS are.
Mint pushes herself back to her feet with a grin. Dusting wood fragments off her arms and legs, she bobs and weaves over to Lightning Spangles. "Handy trick, but... I'm not just horsin' around here!" snaps Mint, lunging forward with a series of left jabs. She steps forward, juking left at first, but then dropping her right shoulder and lunging in for an uppercut at Lightning Spangles' jaw in a second attempt at knocking her hat off. It won't be as -hard- a hit, but after shattering that barricade, Mint has to build up her momentum again!
COMBATSYS: Mint successfully hits Pepper with Rapid Combo.
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Pepper 1/----===/=======|======-\-------\0 Mint
There is something to be said for Pepper Green when it comes to taking abuse. The girl behind the hat hasn't exactly had a fairytale life, and at age 14 already feels so trapped by what she believes people want from her that she wouldn't dare throw it aside. The sullen mimic that took place in the Rumble wouldn't seem to have much in common with the upbeat Lightning Spangles, and yet they are one in the same.
And if she's going to be Lightning Spangles, she's going to be LIGHTNING SPANGLES!
As another quick series of punches comes flying at her, she does what LIGHTNING SPANGLES would do, and that's go for it, attempting to leap back out of the way in a stylish roll that would allow her to pop back up to her feet, greeted by the cheers of the entire crowd as she let's them forget about the troubles life brings, if only for a moment. An opportunity to give the /families/ a chance to be happy together because of LIGHTNING SPANGLES!
But those fists are just too fast. She doesn't count out the timing quite right, and instead the metal fists clean her clock once more, sending her flying up and back, her hat flying away...
...But LIGHTNING SPANGLES needs the hat. It was core to the character for her to wear the white hat. Even as a freshly opened gash in her lower lip dribbles blood down her chin, LIGHTNING SPANGLES stretches with all her might to catch the hat before coming down to the ground with a thump.
It hurts... metal fists aren't for fun, they're for making damage... but LIGHTNING SPANGLES isn't allowed to just lay down. As she pushes back to her feet again, clapping the hat back down on her head and wiping away the blood on the back of her hand, she reaches down into her pouch and pulls out a LIGHTNING SPANGLES CARAMEL CACTUS and pops it into her mouth, disguising those few moments where she forces that smile back across her lips.
"Hooo-eee, you dance a heck of a two-step, but I think we'll just have to make this a chorus line!" Kicking forward, the cowpoke drags her heel on the ground, as if using the friction to light up the energy that comes sparkling into existance the moment her boot leaves the ground. Twisting around in a wide, upward sweep, her boot heel burning with sparkling flames as she aims to knock the boxer off her feet and knock her back.
COMBATSYS: Mint dodges Pepper's Heavy Kick.
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Pepper 1/------=/=======|======-\-------\0 Mint
The Marine relents for a few moments as Lighting Spangles makes a grab for her falling hat. It's a part of her stage identity -- Minal understands just how much that can mean to a fighter. The pint-sized pugilist does not, however, withdraw. Giving up entirely would be an insult to any professional fighter, even one with corporate sponsors. (And it would also mean some small financial penalty to Mint as well, not that it's even in her mind at the moment...)
Mint takes the opportunity to fish about in her satchel again. Didn't she remember to bring a water bottle? Oh well... out she pulls the next candy for her parched mouth.
Laffy Taffy. If there's one thing she's going to do after this fight, it's drink an entire two-liter -- and the second thing she'll do is give the fight promoter what for. As she tears the wrapper open, the wrapper splits badly -- sticking undesirably to the chewy taffy. Grumbling, she pops the half-unwrapped morsel into her mouth, intending to work the candy loose through process of elimination.
"Chorus line? Haha, that's..." Mint actually has nothing intelligible to say to that, as Pepper seems to be lighting the very -air- on fire with her foot.
And her eyes go wide as the half-wrapped candy lodges in her throat. Staggering sideways, she narrowly avoids the kick, nose wrinkling up at the ozone-scented afterwash of the sparkling boot whistling into the air just inches in front of her. She drops backwards to both hands, the sudden jolt being just enough to dislodge the candy from her throat -- and that just puts it back into her mouth. She coughs it into her hand, springing back to her feet. "Chorus line, huh? That... reminds me some of the films we used to watch with mom and dad!"
So Mint -was- driven back -- but upon her own terms. Digging up another Good Time Gummy from her satchel, she pops it into her mouth, and comes springing back at Pepper. She aims high with her fist, hoping to give Lightning Spangles the impression that she's missing her mark -- but that's only because she's -actually- aiming to grab hold of the young woman with her two gauntlets, instead of just punching.
And drive her knee into her abdomen, repeatedly and with fervor. The boxer -does- attack with her legs from time to time ... just not often!
COMBATSYS: Mint knocks away Pepper with Lock and Load.
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Pepper 1/--=====/=======|=======\-------\1 Mint
As Mint comes in at LIGHTNING SPANGLES again, the cowpoke does her best to try to handle a new situation. Well, she's doing her best to handle a situation she's had no lucky with thus far, is more like it.
With Mint suddenly lashing out to grab, instead of merely punch, LIGHTNING SPANGLES gets ready for what most certainly will end up being a throw, loosening up to tuck and roll. Instead she gets hit in the gut hard enough by Mint's knee that she flies right out of those robotic clampers the boxer calls arms and slams right into a barricade hard enough to crack it. Thankfully she instinctively hooks her arms over it and slumps down, preventing it (and her) from tumbling over onto her fans.
Fans who are looking extremely worried that their hero might now win this. A little girl reaches into her half-eaten bag of LIGHTNING SPANGLES GOOD TIME GUMMIES and pulls out a grape-flavored HOEDOWN DILLO gummy. "Lightning Spangles, eat this! You said it will make you feel better."
With the faint twinkle of a tear in her eye, LIGHTNING SPANGLES takes the gummy and eats it, pushing back up to her feet as she suddenly seems to surge with new resolve. "Thanks, little deputy. Just knowing I got ya'll in my corner makes me feel like I could take on the world!"
And then the crowd erupts in cheers and chants for LIGHTNING SPANGLES, the young audience unwavering in support for the girl from the TV.
"Ya'll are pretty good with them post pounders, but ya'll will have to stand up to all the little deputies I got backing me up!" LIGHTNING SPANGLES shouts at Mint. Providing barely enough room to slip in a quick quip, she draws both hands back and them slams them forward, pulling out a burst of shiny silver chi that forms the shape of a star in a shield and rockets down on Mint like the long arm of justice.
COMBATSYS: Pepper successfully hits Mint with Superstar.
-**- LUNATIC HIT!! -**-
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Pepper 0/-------/--=====|=======\=====--\1 Mint
Lightning Spangles Good Time Gummies are the real star of the show here. The demand from these little guys is gonna be -huge- when they finally hit the stores in a few weeks, and marketing experts will have -this- fight to thank.
Mint lets go of her grip on Lightning Spangles as her final knee slams into her. Did she overdo it a bit? She's used to fighting Marines who weigh about twice as much as her opponent does, so it seems like Mint maaaaay have kneed her a little too hard. It doesn't sink in until she sees the fourteen-year-old smash into a barricade -- forcing Mint to wince in commisseration.
But, that's what friends and fans are for. Lightning Spangles has them, and the Indian-American from Clifton NJ still has to get her own entourage. "Man, your fans are the -best-..." she stage-whispers back with no lack of admiration. Her words will likely get lost in the cheers and shouts from the crowd, though -- which only gives Mint cause to bring up her guard again.
The gearhead wiggles her fingers in a specific pattern -- notable only because immediately after doing so, the secondary fuel lines to her gauntlets begin filling with a orange-tinted liquid. The Marine smiles brightly, and starts hopping from one foot to the other as anticipation builds. And when she sees the shield coming forth, Minal just hops towards it with both hands extended in front of her face. She aims to rush right into the attack.
It just so happens that her adrenaline-soaked approach caused her to weave to one side. The aim of the sheriff's shield is unerring -- but with Mint's last-instant adjustment, the shield glances across her right gauntlet.
The point of the star digs into her arm -- the most tender part, right on the inside of the elbow.
The star whips around behind her, a second point jamming into her ribcage. Check that -- =between= two ribs.
The star continues to whip around further, though by this point it's taken Mint off her feet.
The third point slams into her spine, forcing Mint to howl out in pain.
In the very next second, Mint is able to perceive everything happening in slow motion -- but without being able to see the star, she can only feel the multiple points of the sheriff's star prodding into her.
And then, mercifully, it comes to a stop -- as she too slams into one of the few remaining barricades, smashing it into scrap wood -- and plowing into one of the really, -really- expensive camera trucks. As Mint collapses to her knees, there is the sound of glass shattering, metal crumpling, and electronics frying, as the sheriff's star shield spins to the ground. It will be a costly hit...
And yet, as Mint picks herself off the ground, she actually... laughs! (Because it's either that or crying, and she's not much for crying.) "Hahaha, that was -awesome!-" She drives her fist into her satchel -- and just grabs a whole fistful of candy, dumping it down her mouth. "< That's just great! >"
The last bit will have to be subtitled. There's no way anyone can actually understand it when she says it live.
At this point, though, Mint finds herself in a peciliar situation. The orange fluid is still coursing through her. And despite the fatigued state of her body...
Well, she's now got an adrenaline rush -and- a sugar rush.
Minal squeezes her fists closed, and with a sudden flare of orange, she thunders forward, locking her elbows at her sides. She doesn't aim to connect with Pepper directly -- but rather to thunder -past- her.
That is, except for sticking her arm out, with an attempt to lock her less-injured arm about Pepper's windpipe. It's a restrictive hold -- but one with the intent of giving her the worst case of noogie-hair ever, bringing her heavy metal knuckles to bear right -through- that silly white hat of hers. "< Haha ha ha haaa! >"
COMBATSYS: Pepper blocks Mint's Violent Clinching.
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Pepper 0/-------/-======|=======\====---\1 Mint
There was one major mistake that Mint made in her attack: she threatened the white hat of LIGHTNING SPANGLES!
There is no component more core to the brand of LIGHTNING SPANGLES than the white hat, as is easily noticed by the fact that it's the only component of the original LIGHTNING SPANGLES costume to stick around (even if it has been made more sparkly). The white hat of justice proves that LIGHTNING SPANGLES fights for what's right!
And so while Mint manages to get the initial grip on LIGHTNING SPANGLES, there's a sudden flash of insight as LIGHTNING SPANGLES' six sense kicks in. One hand lashes out, intercepting the boxer's threatening fist at the wrist while her other hand slips in and leverages the grasping hand away from her throat before it can cut off her air supply.
And as LIGHTNING SPANGLES rights herself back up, adjusting her hat dramaticly, a man in the audience sees an opportunity for his business. A local candy shop, formerly in the humorous erotic candy business, has felt the need to clean up it's act. Erotica Edibles is in the process of changing it's name to Sweet Tummy Ticklers (which is a terrible name, but it comes from a man that used to make chocolate thongs).
Tommy Tiggler (proprietor of Sweet Tummy Ticklers) suddenly shouts out from the crowd at the currently candiless LIGHTNING SPANGLES, "Lightning! Take this, it's a, uhh, jelly rattle snake!" And with that he tosses a massive gummy right to LIGHTNING SPANGLES herself.
The jiggly object currently in LIGHTNING SPANGLES hands has a lot in common with a snake... it has a head, it's long and thin, and there's a bulbous bit on the other end that might be a rattle if you'd never seen a rattle snake. Almost every parent in the audience immediately recognizes that it is not a snake, and some start covering their children's eyes.
LIGHTNING SPANGLES, however, sees through pure eyes, and believes in her fans (even if they are kind of old to be watching a Disney Channel show for children). "Thanks, ya'll, but... I don't know how I could swallow somethin' this big." Doing her absolute best to be polite to what she believes to be a fan, LIGHTNING SPANGLES takes a quick bite out of the not-snake, then does her best to share with Mint.
LIGHTNING SPANGLES does this by rushing down the boxer and aiming to slam the long, jiggly object down on top of Mint's head like a flail.
...An an unrelated side note, Sweet Tummy Ticklers mysteriously burns down within the week, and Tommy Tiggler is never seen again.
COMBATSYS: Mint fails to interrupt Light Random Weapon from Pepper with Attack of Opportunity.
?!? Weird Hit! ?!?
[ \\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////// ]
Pepper 0/-------/-======|=======\====---\1 Mint
COMBATSYS: Mint blitzes into action and acts again!
[ \\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////// ]
Pepper 0/-------/-======|=======\====---\1 Mint
Mint still has a mouth full of candy. She's not even trying to eat it -- she's trying to mash the sugar out of it with her teeth and saliva. And that's not even the worst image in this scene thus far.
Minal Panesh is maybe just a little bit crazy right now, partly because the constant influx of sugar, but also because she's taken way more abuse than she probably ought to in a fight. And yet she wants to dial it up a notch, because she's kind of digging it. Or kind of was, until she sees the fourteen year old take a bite out of--
( Wow, do they actually -cut- to commercials in the middle of fights broadcasted live? Dammit, Martha, call the cable company again, those bastards cut our feed! )
When Mint saw Lightning Spangles approaching her, she just began shaking her head. "< No. No no no no no! >" she cries, shaking her head for emphasis. Her fists flare with a burst of orange. And she suddenly rockets out with the intention of fending off the gummy... thing with an uppercut.
It's a sound strategy.
But not against something so rubbery, something that can wobble around the raised forearm that Mint puts in the way -- and smack her in the face.
Mint snaps her face back -- only to get smacked the -opposite- direction by the gummy.
Mint spits out the rest of her candy. "BLEGH." Never try and mix Bit-O-Honey with -anything else in the world ever-
By this point, though, her fists rocket forward again -- as does the small exhaust turbine strapped on like a backpack. Mint's petite form accelerates forward rapidly, knocking the gummy thing aside as she gains altitude. And then she rapidly drives her fists down at Lightning Spangles, with the two counterweight pistons slamming down suddenly with the sound of twin shotguns firing. Their target -- the shoulders of her sheriffy opponent! "RRRRRAAAAAAAA!"
COMBATSYS: Mint successfully hits Pepper with BFH.
[ \\\\\\\\\ < > //////// ]
Pepper 0/-------/=======|=======\=====--\1 Mint
All of this mess with the not-snake jelly getting caught up around Mint's arms while slapping her in the face manages to cause the whole thing to wiggle just too much for the cowpoke to keep a hold on and the gummy gets whipped out of her hands, left to jiggle uncomfortably on the ground at their feet.
But there are more pressing matters than a discarded candy.
The pig iron punchers have been brought back into service in an attempt to touch the sky! Given just how much it hurt to get punched by those things when she only had to worry about them being a properly grounded punch, the idea of getting hit by them when they're flying down at her after being rocket powered...
Well, let's just say LIGHTNING SPANGLES would like to get out of Dodge!
She almost manages to achieve that perfect pun, hopping far enough back that Mint's fists don't even touch her! But they do slam into the ground (and the gummy on the ground) and send a scatter shot of debris flying in every direction. And LIGHTNING SPANGLES happens to be in a direction!
"Yowch, that was clo-" she manages to start before a rogue piece of jelly rattle hits her mouth (while the rocks mostly hit her all over the rest of the place.
After a quick emergency chew and swallow, LIGHTNING SPANGLES grins at the boxer and shouts, "You're one hell of a bronco, but let's see if you can bounce of this buster!" Surging back into action, the crowd favorite launches up into the air, aiming to catch Mint's head between her thighs while twisting with all of her body weight off to the side, the whole motion designed to flip the pair over and slam Mint face first into the ground with LIGHTNING SPANGLES sitting on the back of her head the whole way.
COMBATSYS: Pepper successfully hits Mint with Someone To Hold.
[ \\\\\\\\\ < > // ]
Pepper 1/------=/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2 Mint
Minal has had better days. But more importantly, she's had better -candy- than this. She should have packed the satchel herself. Bit-O-Honey? Seriously? She supposes it serves her right for stopping at the airport's duty-free candy counter, paying a 10x markup for inferior candy. But at least Lightning Spangles was hit as an incidental side effect of her riotous two-fisted ground pound - a small bonus for the plucky Marine.
The orange fluid has all been expended in the all-or-nothing exertion. Her body is flagging -- fun fact: lugging around forty-pound gauntlets can wear a person out!
Mint smiles back at Lightning Spangles as she rises back to her feet, delirious from the long and bitter-honeyed battle. Only now does she begin reaching into her satchel for another bite of candy -- only to find that there's only one more piece left. She pulls it out, and looks at the foil wrapping: the reds, whites and blues of a Lightning Spangles 'Where Eagles Dare' commemorative chocolate. Retailers were given an order to toss all of those when the last Lightning Spangles was forced into retirement, but Mint's been on active duty for most of the time since that debacle.
She flips the commemorative chocolate 'coin' into the air, and calls out, "Heads." Sure enough, when she catches the coin, that's how it lands...
And with a quick flick of her thumb, the foil wrapping is discarded. The coin flips into her mouth. And one last burst of chocolate floods her senses. (Well, touch, taste and smell, anyway.)
But in the midst of flipping the coin, Lightning Spangles had some speech about bouncing off... busters... or something. It was way past the point where the gearhead could keep track. By the time she can think to bring her arms up to deflect, Lightning Spangles is already atop her shoulders. Mint wobbles around for a moment, but it's a mercifully short trip before she's flipped and slammed face-first into the ground.
Hopefully her parents aren't watching this fight. (Haha, no, they totally will be.)
With a cry of "AHAHAHAHA", the fallen and dazed Mint pulls herself free from Lightning Spangles. She doesn't try to fight it -- she doesn't try and attack.
Nope. She just wants to see if she can stand freely of her own accord. And if she -can-... oh, boy. She's gonna have some fun then.
COMBATSYS: Mint takes no action.
[ \\\\\\\\\ < > ///// ]
Pepper 1/------=/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2 Mint
COMBATSYS: Mint has reached second wind!
[ \\\\\\\\\ < > ///// ]
Pepper 1/------=/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2 Mint
It's a clean hit on a roughed up fist slinger that puts her in a rough patch. The crowd starts to cheer for their apparent winner, America's Sweetheart, LIGHTNING SPANGLES, but then the wounded bruiser starts to get back up to her feet... even if she is looking a little worse for wear.
Well, under circumstances like this, there really can only be one option, especially with the way LIGHTNING SPANGLES feels right now. She's taken a heck of a beating from the ferrous fisted foe, and the crowd is absolutely thrilled.
The only option left is...
(not to be confused with a SHOWUP HOEDOWN)
Reaching down into her pouch of sweets, LIGHTNING SPANGLES rummages for a few tense moments before a bright grin spreads across her face. As her hand slowly lifts out a Limited-Edition Hoedown Dillo Blowpop! The candy collectors in the crowd grow hushed with anticipation as the not-yet-released-in-stores collectible is revealed. LIGHTNING SPANGLES twists off the wrapper to reveal...
A perfectly crafted watermelon-flavored replica of Hoedown Dillo's head!
It lingers just long enough for the crowd to indulge their eyes (and the cameras to pick up the shot) before she slips it into her mouth, twisting the stick off to the side in a manner not disimilar to how they would have once shown a gunslinger twist a cigarette.
"Lookth ta me like it'th haigh nyoon," LIGHTNING SPANGLES slurs around the delicious treat (soon to be available at Disney stores everywhere). She tips the brim of her hat down as she narrows her eyes down on Mint, hands ready at her sides.
COMBATSYS: Pepper focuses on her next action.
[ \\\\\\\\\\ < > ///// ]
Pepper 1/------=/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2 Mint
Mint hops from one foot to the other. She draws in her breath, looking down at her hands -- and just like that, she starts grinning like an idiot. "Haha! C'mon, Lightning Spangles, we can't just go down like -that!- We gotta go toe-to-toe for one more super awesome punch, right?! Ahahaha!"
Mint keeps shifting her weight from side to side, circulating blood throughout her system and trying to get back in the groove of things. "You got this, you got this!" Though whether she's talking to Lightning Spangles or to herself with that statement isn't entirely clear.
All that's important is that Mint just -not acknowledge- any of the last three things that entered the mouth of the underaged Lightning Spangles.
"High noon!" echoes Mint, resting her knuckles onto her hips. She's still hopping from side to side. Just... just don't question her right now. She looks aside for a moment -- as if expecting someone else to say 'draw'.
No one else even knows what the hell they're going on about.
But whatever. Mint thrusts her left index forward, pointing it at Lightning Spangles. "BLAM!"
And then she follows up by launching forward with her right fist, as she aims to slam it into Lightning Spangles' chest so hard she blasts her into the side of the ASPCA van. "BLAAAAAAM!"
There's a reason Lightning Spangles is a popular and beloved children's star, and Mint is not. And it probably has to do with what happens if Mint connects -- which would be a rather -intense- symphony of jab punches, body blows, and knee strikes, culminating in a fierce uppercut.
COMBATSYS: Pepper counters Final Sacrifice from Mint with Touch The Sky.
[ \\\\\\\\\\ < > // ]
Pepper 0/-------/-----==|>>>>>>>\-------\0 Mint
An important fact about showdowns that is often overlooked in media is the fact that drawing first isn't a guarantee of winning. The most important aspect of any showdown is hitting your target before they hit you, and there's not a whole heck of a lot you can do about a bullet flying at you.
Fists are a lot slower, and also not putting all their force into a single point, which means that LIGHTNING SPANGLES just has to be smart on the draw. Rather then immediately rushing in to throw her fists around (haven't already experienced just how fast mechanical arms can move first hand) she instead thrusts her left hand forward, palm open as another sheriff's badge of energy bursts into existance in front of her. Each strike hitting the wall of chi, stretching it back like an elastic membrane, and then rebounding back into position until the flurry is all worn out.
There's a grin on LIGHTNING SPANGLES' face as she swings up with her right fist straight through the badge. Once more the chi stretches, elongating around the penetrating digits until it snaps into place like a rubber glove just in time for it to come colliding with Mint's jaw. With a sudden crunch of her teeth, both the candy layer of the lollipop and the chi shield explode in the very moment she connects, creating an incredible sight as LIGHTNING SPANGLES twists up higher, while Mint goes flying away in a perfect arc.
At the peak of her flight, LIGHTNING SPANGLES spits out the stick from her treat (into a trashbin by the side of the temporary arena, because LIGHTNING SPANGLES doesn't approve of litter), and then lands back on her feet, blowing a quick bubble from the recently freed center.
The bubble pops LIGHTNING SPANGLES offers a quick pair of finger guns to her opponent with a wink, "Ya'll are quick on your feet, but speed ain't enough to beat LIGHTNING SPANGLES in a showdown."
Corporal Panesh normally has pretty sharp wits about her, and she can tell when she's being made fun of. But right now, she's at wit's end -- overdrawn far beyond where she should reasonably have thrown in the towel. And on top of it all, she's got way higher blood sugar levels than usual, thanks to all this despicable candy.
But this ... barrier that's spawned up is something else. She's never encountered anything like it -- a semi-permeable membrane that just doesn't seem to be permeable to her own punches. She tries -- heck, she even angles her knuckles so that she can try to -cut- her way through with the sharpened corners of the individual joints, rather than relying sheerly upon impact. Irritated beyond belief, Mint bashes both fists into one another with a loud clang, glaring daggers through the sheriff-starred barrier. It's less of an attack, more pure frustration.
Unfortunately, this also left her open to an uppercut, punctuated with the powerful snap of a gum bubble. What a brat she is, Mint thinks to herself as she finds her flight describing a perfect pugilist parabola back to earth. Panesh attempts to flip herself back to a less painful angle -- but instead, just ends up bouncing twice upon her back.
"Rrrgh..."she mumbles, looking towards the crowd. Out of all the Lightning Spangles fans, there is one small Indian boy who is ... rather appalled at the intensity of all the fighting. He has a sad expression on his face, and a KitKat bar in his hand. And he breaks off a piece, extending it to Mint.
"Go get her, Miss." offers the pre-teen with a friendly smile.
Minal reaches out tenderly and takes the KitKat with her hand, even as a thin stream of blood runs down the side of her face. "Thanks, kid. I owe you one!" And dangling the KitKat bar from her mouth like a stogie, the pint-sized pugilist begins running towards Lightning Spangles. She's telegraphing what looks to be a ridiculously large brutally direct strike with her right hand.
The KitKat shrinks in degrees as Mint devours the confection bite by bite. "It ain't just speed, or strength, Miss Spangles. It's combinin' them with brains that counts!"
The straight punch is a feint, dropped at nearly the last instant. The real attack is a changeup hook punch aimed at clobbering Lightning Spangles in the side of the temple for a knockout blow!
COMBATSYS: Pepper fails to interrupt Hook Punch from Mint with Breaking Down Walls.
- Power fail! -
[ \\\ <
COMBATSYS: Pepper can no longer fight.
[ \\\ <
The thing about a feint is that it's a great way to deceive your opponent if they don't read you properly.
LIGHTNING SPANGLES fails to get a good read on just what Mint is planning to do.
Seeing the initial straight, LIGHTNING SPANGLES shifts to the side, trying to let the force of it carry Mint forward as the cowpoke clamps down on her shoulders so that she can take control in the moment.
What actually happens is that LIGHTNING SPANGLES starts leaning to the side... but she leans to the same side as Mint's incoming real attack and takes a hit that makes her head bounce in an uncomfortable way before her neck is able to follow suit. The chewed up gum is sent flying in a spray of blood and spit
It's at that moment that LIGHTNING SPANGLES is knocked clean out, and for a few brief flickers of synapse, Pepper Green is able to realize just how much pain she's in, without the veil of Lightning Spangles to help her work past it. It's an uncomfortable moment that fades as she feels as though she's falling in slow motion.
It all goes black before she hits the ground.
A deathly silence falls over the crowd as America's Sweetheart, Lightning Spangles doesn't move. A few small children cry out for their hero to get back up to her feet as the referee and the fight medics come over to check on the girl, forming a circle to help shield the young audience.
Already children are crying, and a few adults are starting to boo.
Mint is a nice person, really she is. She's compassionate, caring, and outside the ring, she would probably get along with either Pepper or Lightning Spangles just fine.
But this is a fight, a professional contest of skill versus skill. Pepper and her organizers ought to have known what they were signing up for, putting the fourteen-year-old Disney starlet against a battle-hardened Marine used to fighting matters of life and death for countries that barely want to acknowledge those realities.
When she feels Pepper's neck shift, there's a switch that fires inside Mint -- a signal that maybe she could have possibly taken the fight a bit too far. Remorse is instantly telegraphed upon her face, her lips curling back in a startled expression. She's battered and bruised, herself... and yet none of the physical pain she's experiencing holds a candle to the expression she sees in the face of Lightning Spangles.
In that one moment, as the momentum of her blow sends a limp and unconscious young woman flying to the ground , Mint realizes that the feint was both the right -and- the wrong thing to have done at that time. She doesn't press the offensive any further -- the win wasn't about vengeance, or a lust to prove which fighter was stronger.
It was just a contest of skill.
Mint draws in her breath, her face a stoic mask of sadness as she holds her gargantuan mechanical fist to the sky. Medics sweep in to tend to the fallen warrior amidst a chorus of disapproving boos. Not everyone is against Mint -- there's at least the one child who understands that it was just a fight.
Minal Panesh looks back down to the fallen fighter with a somber expression. She means no disrespect -- she lets the medics do their job without trying to get in their way. Her response is quiet -- so quiet it might be missed by the microphones.
"Good fight, Lightning Spangles."
After allowing the fight official to proclaim her the victor, the corporal wordlessly marches through the crowds to the medical tent. She is a soldier, after all; she is quite well used to receiving hateful cries as recompense for a job well done.
COMBATSYS: Mint takes no action.
[ \\\ <
COMBATSYS: Mint has ended the fight here.
Log created on 16:02:22 04/09/2016 by Pepper, and last modified on 13:52:11 04/11/2016.