Kunimitsu - The Circus Heist

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Description: While Honoka is busy stealing the show at the Twilight Star circus, the 'Devil Cat' Kunimitsu is looking to steal... whatever she can get her hands on, really. Lingering too long during larceny is bad practice, as Kunimitsu is firmly reminded when her pilfering is perceived by the none-too-pleased performer.

Tonight's final show of the Twilight Star Circus is nearing its grand finale. Here in Kanazawa, the weather is scorching hot even at the late hour, but it's tough to hawk overpriced goods to impressionable people when they're drowning in sweat. Monolithically large air conditioning units are positioned outside the big top at regular intervals, powered by a series of gas generators at similar spacing. It's all a very loud affair, but the thick canvas tent itself prevents the heavy machinery noises from interfering with the dynamic show inside.

Unfortunately, the noise also means that the cast and crew have been having a much harder time keeping track of their cues. Earlier in the show, the lead trapeze artist had completely missed the ringmaster's shout calling them into action. Ten seconds of the audience waiting is practically an eternity in show business -- there's no chance of the trapeze artist getting away without at least some gentle harassment for the mistake, even if the increased noise -is- bothering all the performers equally.

Luckily, the show has been able to recover from that slip-up in the time since. Their star juggler, Honoka Kawamoto, has more or less gotten the audience to forget all about the earlier delays with a riveting performance. The parents were shocked by the juggler's utter defiance to the deadly flames, while the children were amazed at the feats of balance and dexterity on display. The onlookers are so riveted by the performance, even the noisiest kids have settled down to watch.

Literally all of the audience's eyes are focused on Honoka. The crew has to watch too, this show -- for if they aren't straining their eyes and ears to make sense of the calls, they'll miss the cues to send the next performers running in.

It's unlikely that the audience would notice anything awry. And it's even more unlikely that the crew would be able to hear anything else over the roar of the air conditioners unit. The wardrobe trailer is unmanned for the moment while the makeup artists catch up on the dinner they had to skip; the vast majority of the crew is on call for the ending finale. The lighting trailer and its backup lights and control devices were left similarly unattended. The only force left to contend with is the Twilight Star security, who has been making regular patrols around the perimeter of the circus. But they, too, would be affected by the noise of the air conditioning units.

Discomfort from excessive heat also makes it more difficult for a thieving ninja to do her work. Luckily for Kunimitsu, her preferred garb when she's on a job - a short and sleeveless purple robe made of breezy material - is well-suited to the temperature.

Unluckily for her, the set of mechanic's coveralls that she's wearing over them as a disguise? Not so much. She also has a ball cap pulled down low over her eyes to conceal her identity to some degree in a manner less conspicuous than wearing her usual fox-mask while she's out in the open.

Even with the disguise on, she's being careful to avoid direct notice by Twilight Star's security and the circus staff themselves as she makes her way toward the air conditioning units near the trailers. The disguise is meant to fool circus-goers who might happen to look her way; there's nothing especially out-of-place about a mechanic on duty around the air conditioning units on a night like tonight, but getting questioned by people who could verify whether or not she should be there would put her on a timer at best and blow the whole plan at worst.

Once the coast seems clear enough, Kunimitsu sets her toolbox down and pops it open. Inside are a set of the sort of tools one would expect for a mechanic; when she pulls out the top bin, though, a set of completely different ones lie underneath - ones more suited to the kunoichi's primary profession.

Once she's equipped herself, Kunimitsu takes a moment to gauge the distance to the top of the trailer she believes to be the one for costumes, checks once more for onlookers, then darts into the air. The ninja clings momentarily to the side of the air conditioning unit opposite the trailer before launching herself backward in the opposite direction, flipping over before landing on the roof of the trailer in a crouch.

Quietly, Kunimitsu starts searching the rooftop for the best way to get inside...

The Twilight Star security staff holds itself to high and exacting standards, but even they are not able to keep an eye on everything at once. Nor is it really feasible for the circus to create an impenetrable surveillance network for the multitude of sites the circus travels to. Compromises are made; when 100% is financially unworkable, 95% is a comfortable reality.

A normal miscreant or con artist would not stand much of a chance against Sudo or his security team; the sweeps are thorough and exhaustive, and they know everyone who has a right to be present. No one is selected to work on the big top without passing extensive background checks and without notifications crossing three different sets of eyes.

Kunimitsu, though, is taking a very non-standard attack vector, and any noises she would make are masked by the loudness of the air conditioning equipment. So when a man in a black polo shirt, baseball cap and earpiece walks by the costume trailer, he hears nothing, and sees nothing.

The top of the trailer has its own pair of air conditioning units, as well as a small aerial. But Kunimitsu will be more interested in the small hatch, at just under a meter square, which is secured only a thin metal strap. As the wardrobe trailer is usually manned, security is less of an issue here.

Inside the long shipping container is a wealth of costumes. Fanciful outfits for clowns and animals are in one section, while formal and performing attire is organized elsewhere. Accessories are stored in clear plastic lockers for easy access. And from the sound of the audience cheering in the adjacent tent, Kunimitsu is likely to have a few more minutes of private shopping time.

A thorough search of the wardrobe trailer is made by the ninja - in particular, she seeks out and rummages through the belongings of the performers that would have been left behind after changing into their stagewear: wallets, watches, jewelry, and whatever else she can find that looks loose and valuable and collecting it in her overturned cap, which has been replaced at this point by her fox mask. She works quickly, having familiarized herself with the process of looting many times over.

Her attentions turn next to the costumes themselves. Most likely they would be too bulky and noticeable to be worth stealing, so she's prepared to write off the idea at first - but then, the collection of masks for the performers' costumes catches her eye. She picks one up with her gloved hands and turns it over, gazing at it thoughtfully from behind the mask she's wearing. It wouldn't hurt to try out a few of them...

While the Twilight Star security team is top-notch at their jobs, they haven't been able to get through to the performers. Not all of the cast and crew have their own trailers, after all; many leave their keys and their wallets with their street clothes here in the wardrobe trailer, tucked away inside cubbies. The hammer of justice drops swiftly upon those who take advantage of the lowered interpersonal barriers of the tightly-knit circus community; there's generally no need for locks.

Kunimitsu will have a couple minutes of relative silence to pick out the juiciest and most obvious of personal belongings, and a few of the masks and costumes.

She would then hear the unmistakable sound of a key sliding through the tumblers of the wardrobe trailer's lock, along with the muffled sound of three women talking and laughing just outside the corrugated container's door.

Moments later, the heavy door would swing open, and the shadowed forms of two makeup artists and a knife thrower will be seen, silhouetted by the floodlights bearing down onto the crew area.
One of the makeup artists turns her head to the side and calls out over the roar of the A/C unit: "Oh, hey, good job out there, Honoka!"

Kunimitsu is just in the midst of trying on a theatrical mask she's found amongst the clothing when she hears the key turning in the lock. It's the face of a man with a comically jovial smile that turns toward the door as it jostles - a slight tilt of her head causes the expression to appear as one of shock instead.

By the time that the door is pushed open, the mask has been swapped back with the kitsune mask that belongs to Kunimitsu, now hanging inverted from the ceiling as she squeezes her hips through the hatch originally used as a point of entry. A couple of purloined knicknacks clatter to the floor of the caravan from the pockets that they've been hastily squirreled away into as the and red-ponytailed fox head disappears through the hole to the roof above.

Of course, the lights now flooding the crew area present another problem for the ninja as she emerges legs-first onto the roof of the trailer, laying flat to try and minimize her profile to those who might be viewing her from the ground. She cranes her neck to assess the area for the best way to make a getaway; the logical thing might be to try and escape quickly to the edge of the encampment, but it might be better to try and escape into the tent and try to leave amongst the crowd...?

The makeup artist who didn't look away quirks her head to the side at the noise, mouth beginning to hang agape for a moment. Is she hearing things? Or is it just disorientation at the unusual light patterns inside the trailer? She puzzles that out for a moment while her co-worker continues hollering back and forth to the star juggler, returning from her successful set in the big top.

"Gosh, thanks for opening back up for me, I really gotta hit up the Circle K..." mumbles the apprentice knife-tosser. She's still in costume: a shiny gold lame blouse, oversized and billowy over top of an equally billowy pair of black pants. And not long after Kunimitsu shimmies her way out through the hatch, the knife-tosser has made her way over to the cubbyhole which contained her things...

"Michi, you just gotta know what the crowd -wants-. They don't wanna dwell on the mistakes -- they wanna be entertained. Dial up the effects, throw 'em a little razzle dazzle..." Honoka is still in costume as well, a harlequin outfit with flashy, metallic purple on fields of dark greys and blacks. Her wands are held in one hand, two dark crimson diabolos dangling from their string, as she walks up to 'Michi.'

Stretching high above the trailer is one of the air conditioning conduits. A coiled aluminum airflow tube is reinforced by hastily-constructed aluminum struts as it hugs the curved contour of the big top. About 2/3 of the way to the tent's peak, the airflow tube pokes into the tent via a flap, held in place with grommets and plastic zipties for easy and cheap breakdown later.

Honoka -- a gifted psychic -- can tell that something is awry though.
Moreso, when the apprentice knife-tosser screeches out: "IT'S GONE!"
Honoka frowns, pulling the door the rest of the way open and looking inside at the knife tosser.

"My wallet! It was right here with my purse, and now it's -missing!-"

That's when Honoka looks inside the trailer a bit more closely -- and sees a hatch hanging open.
"Let Sudo know we have a thief on the premises."

Honoka doesn't even stop to think before dashing outside. She springs, planting one foot on the inner hinge of the door, and vaulting upwards to the top of the door. One more step later, she's kneeling on top of the container, and looking around. Whereas a moment before she wore a look of concern, she wears a more feral smile, now that she's out of the view of her co-workers.

"Come out, come out, wherever you are..."

The sight of someone lying flat on the top of a trailer in a mechanic's outfit and kitsune mask may seem a bit ridiculous, but Kunimitsu wasn't expecting someone to just jump up there - perhaps an oversight, considering that the thief had chosen to burglarize a demographic specifically known for their acrobatics. Kunimitsu's head tilts up slightly as she spots Honoka, and she quickly throws her heels over her head to roll herself backward and up to her feet.

"Nice outfit," the red-haired ninja comments as she dusts herself off quickly, a couple of yen coins tinkling incriminatingly along the trailertop. "Heard you have a thief to catch. Good luck with that!"

The kunoichi's lips curl into a faint smile below her mask before she takes off in a sudden dash, throwing herself into the air to latch onto the air conditioning unit, intending to start scrambling her way up the tubing.

COMBATSYS: Honoka has started a fight here.

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Honoka           0/-------/-======|

COMBATSYS: Kunimitsu has joined the fight here.

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Honoka           0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0        Kunimitsu

Honoka's head cocks slightly to the side at the manner in which the kitburglar seems so... -nonchalant- about being caught red-handed. Her brow wrinkles, as her lips turn into a frown. "Oh, there's no luck about it. Practice makes perfect, here."

The juggler rises to her feet at roughly the same rate as Kunimitsu does. But when the thief leaps out, Honoka whips her hand to the side. Three things fly out...
The first diabolo, which arcs out over Kunimitsu's head.
The second diabolo, which aims to hit her squarely in the back.
And the wand tethered to its mate in Honoka's hand, aiming to coil around Kunimitsu's leg.

If the latter catches her, Honoka would jerk back sharply, with what can best be described as a wave of force well beyond the strength of a lithe acrobat like her.

"What's the hurry, Miss? We're just getting to know one another!"

COMBATSYS: Honoka successfully hits Kunimitsu with Kohumumatki.

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Honoka           1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0        Kunimitsu

Kunimitsu can sense the diabolos sailing through the air on the periphery of her vision in spite of the rumbling of the air conditioning equipment that she's clambering up. The solution seems obvious - get out of the way! It's a time-honoured tradition amongst ninja. The muscles in her limbs coil for a moment as she braces and bounces once before shooting up the side of the aluminum apparatus like a pouncing cat.

It might have been a great plan, too, if it weren't a predictable one. While the rapid displacement of her person puts her out of the reach of the diabolo aimed at her mid back, it doesn't account for the one flying overhead that might have otherwise missed her. The diabolo crashes into her as she's in mid-flight, sending the ninja into a downward spiral before the cord wraps around her ankle and yanks her back toward her pursuer.

Tumbling along the metal roof of the trailer with the expected accompanying clanging, Kunimitsu curls into a ball for a moment before kicking up to her feet.

"If you insist," the kunoichi says as a large kunai knife slides out of her sleeve and into an underhand grip in her right fist. "You can call me Devil Cat." Her tone holds more depth and sincerity as she speaks again, her lips pursing below her mask.

Then she's lunging forward, aiming a solid left handed jab at Honoka before feinting a kunai slash into a right elbow smash aimed at the diabolo artist's face, each accompanied by a cry of 'Hut!' The quick combination is only a setup for the spinning side kick that she follows it up with, though - aiming to smash her left foot into Honoka hard enough to knock her off the trailer and give the thieving cat-fox-ninja some space to make her escape before security backup can show up in earnest.

COMBATSYS: Honoka blocks Kunimitsu's Flash Kick Combination.

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Honoka           1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0        Kunimitsu

Honoka's smile only grows wider as one of her diabolos slams into the thief. She doesn't mind the second one flying in a high arc overhead; as expected, it grinds along the aluminum strut upwards until gravity gently pulls it back downward. Once the rolling diabolo hits a joint (It's late, and I'm not rewording that) it comes back to take a second pass at Kunimitsu.

Who, by this point, is already back atop the metal roof of the trailer. With security alerted, it will only be a matter of time...

With a swipe of her diabolo cord, the expert performer brings her other diabolo back into her control, along with the free wand; the juggler's a professional at keeping these things in the air, after all.

Now armed with both wands, she raises her right wand to ward off the Kunimitsu's leading jab. She raises her left wand to deal with the kunai feint, frowning as she played into that gambit -- the elbow smash that follows is enough to educate her of the folly in falling for the low-hanging fruit. The lithe acrobat takes it under advisement in dealing with the spin kick that follows, however, dropping to one knee and doubling the wand against her forearm in absorbing the brunt of the blow. The corrugated metal container creaks and groans in complaint as Honoka shoves back against the kick, mild irritation showing on her face.

"Devil Cat," she repeats, as redness creeps into her elbow-afflicted cheek. "Honoka of the Dancing Flames. Y'might wanna consider a new line of work."

She doesn't waste another moment, wheeling a kick at the kitburglar's knees. Advancing forward, she delivers a followup of three wand strikes in classic Escrima fashion -- left wand striking downwards, followed by the right wand rolling down afterward, and then the left wand looping around again for a sideways strike. It's a blindingly fast sequence of attacks that's intended to keep Kunimitsu off-balance -- something else the circus performer excels at. In contrast to the shinobi thief, Honoka's expression is calm and controlled -- and she makes no further attempt at speaking in mid-strike, no less silent than she is on stage.

COMBATSYS: Kunimitsu instinctively blocks Honoka's Armed Combo.

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Honoka           1/------=/=======|>>>>>>-\-------\0        Kunimitsu

Kunimitsu's knees shift as the kick is thrown at them, but she doesn't move out of the way - the kick smacks into the right knee of her coveralls, but impacts something more solid beneath them, and the lady ninja manages to stay standing to face the oncoming barrage of whipping wands. Her forearms twist and turn rapidly to catch the incoming blows, her feet slipping to give some ground as she defends herself. Again, there seems to be some extra protection beneath the sleeves of the ninja's suit - something that deadens the impact of the sticks, though they do keep her driven back.

"Oh? Any suggestions?" Kunimitsu asks, her voice more intense, near a growl as she withstands the barrage. "Perhaps the circus?"

The moment she perceives an opening, though, Kunimitsu is back on the offensive, spinning forward with surprising speed and extending her right fist. Pushing herself up on her toes and whirling like a tornado, she aims a backfist at Honoka's upper body - and then follows the motion through again and again, making six full rapid revolutions before she starts to teeter toward an off-balance stop.

COMBATSYS: Kunimitsu successfully hits Honoka with Slap U Silly.

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Honoka           1/------=/=======|=======\-------\1        Kunimitsu

Honoka had expected the thief to flit off into the night rather than face down a cadre of circus performers well-versed in combat. It's a small surprise to be proven wrong in this regard, as not only does Kunimitsu stick around for the exchange, she manages to ward off her succession of strikes with impressive defenses.

"You wouldn't make it far there. Coveralls and kitsune masks don't really gel. Even for clowns."

It seems that her words are the opening though -- all the more reason for Honoka to save her witticisms for after the end of a fight. For while Honoka realizes that Kunimitsu is moving in for an attack, she is again more concerned about the point of the kunai than a backhand.

On the ground, the acrobat would have no problem cartwheeling away, but the limited footing atop the corrugated trailer causes her to hesitate a moment too long. Consequently, the first backhand hits her left shoulder, spinning her around a quarter turn. The following strikes spin her around further, forcing even the professional performer to lose her sense of direction as she steps awkwardly backwards, sideways -- any way but out of the tempest's wrath. The diabolo she had kept on its string swings precariously about in the spinning. Meanwhile, the airborne diabolo clanks down behind Kunimitsu, saved from the brink by one of the rooftop corrugations.

Honoka collapses to her knees, irritation now plainly obvious in her expression as she places her palm on the roof. She may be woozy -- but the slight stumble from her opponent didn't escape the perceptive psion. She can't help but tempt fate with another sarcastic comment, in this case. "Also, your balance sucks."

With Honoka being nice and low, she's perfectly poised for a strike at Kunimitsu's legs. She tosses both of her wands into her right hand, and spins around in a half-circle, aiming to crack the thin metal rods at the ninja's overall-clad shins. Partly to bring the nimble thief down to her level, and partly to test whether her legs are as thinly armored as her forearms.

COMBATSYS: Honoka successfully hits Kunimitsu with Crushing Strike.

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Honoka           1/---====/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>--\1        Kunimitsu

Kunimitsu is still teetering on the verge of collapse as Honoka's metal wands swing low for her legs. She's opened her mouth to protest the accusation at about a split second before she realises that it's the time to show rather than tell. She bends backward to start to flip away, but isn't quite fast enough for the agile circus performer in her dizzied state; the metal rods smash into her shin, and though they seem to strike something harder than flesh, the fact that her feet have already left the ground means that she's not nearly as well braced for the blow as before. The kunoichi spirals in the air before landing on her chest and palms.

"Very well. I'll leave the clowning to you, then," she grunts as she wriggles momentarily on the corrugated metal - an uncomfortable place to be, given the all-day heat that's afflicted the area.

When Kunimitsu rolls backward to her feet, her arms have disappeared inside her jumpsuit, the front of which has been mostly unzipped. "You're right, though. It's much too hot for this." Another backflip leaves the coveralls billowing emptily in the air for a moment before they drop to the metal rooftop in a heap, revealing the kunoichi behind them now dressed in slightly more traditional ninja garb. The protective white forearm, knee and shin guards over black leather wrappings are now clearly visible, as is the sweat from heat and exertion glistening on the ninja's pale skin under the floodlights. The cloth of her purple robe flutters lightly from the motion.

"Oh. Is it getting warmer now?" The tips of Kunimitsu's left index and middle fingers rise to her red lips as if adopting a pensive expression - but as she blows on them, an enormous gout of fire bursts forth as if from a flamethrower, directed toward Honoka with the intent of leaving little haven to remain on the rooftop!

Hopefully, /that/ would be distracting enough to give the ninja another opportunity to escape...

COMBATSYS: Kunimitsu successfully hits Honoka with Katon.

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Honoka           1/---====/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>-\1        Kunimitsu

Honoka rises after her successful strikes, allowing the cord to bounce the trapped diabolo into the air. A wide sweep of her wands slings the cord back into an undulating motion. With another blur , the diabolo is caught and practically hovers in place, spinning rapidly. The notion that she should be clowning is a mere amusement; not only is she dressed as a harlequin, but she had, in fact, -begun- her circus career as a clown. In the circus, it's the lowest echelon of performer, and one that gets to interact most closely with the audience. The juggler may have used the word as a slight insult, but it's anything but when wielded in similar fashion against her.

In lieu of a performance role in the ongoing stage narrative, the juggler's demeanor to the crowd and press tends to be one of humility and deference. Her Hokkaido accent is thick and memorable, even while dealing with this thief off-stage. When her pale opponent begins to tear the coveralls off, Honoka is in the midst of whipping her diabolo around for a followup strike. "If you can't take the heat..." she starts to say, before realizing that Kunimitsu has an attack of her own lined up.

For a second time, she hesitates. The diabolo flutters in anticipation.

She decides to raise her leading wand to ward off the kunai attack she expects, only to be greeted by the kunoichi's flames.

Honoka shuts her eyes and mouth as she braces for the superheated air, as she is engulfed in flames. Fiery tongues ripple outward, insinuating their way all up and down the shimmery costume, while Honoka is taking great pains to stifle the scream that wants to erupt from her mouth. Breathing out would just invite the flames to enter her throat, after all...

The diabolo clacks down onto the corrugated roof as Honoka curls her hands about her, struggling to beat out the fire from her body. Her face is turning a bright shade of red from withholding the scream of agony...

But then, just like a switch, her face goes neutral. And she explodes forward, hoping to grab hold of her opponent by the front of her ninja garb. If she manages to grab hold of the ninja, the quite combustible juggler will start to fall backwards, planting her heel into Kunimitsu's abdomen. But there's more: Honoka has condensed the agony of being burned alive into one single spike of psychic energy. The spike of agony would lance through Kunimitsu as Honoka falls onto her back, using the leverage to catapult Kunimitsu in the direction she's facing -- which might just result in her being flung over the edge of the trailer.

COMBATSYS: Honoka successfully hits Kunimitsu with Wakka Pururuse.

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Honoka           1/=======/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2        Kunimitsu

It had been Kunimitsu's hope that Honoka might dive off of the trailer to escape the flames, or at least stop, drop and roll long enough to create more of an opening for the Devil Cat to make good her escape. When Honoka stands tall and advances on her, though, Kunimitsu considers her options briefly before opting to throw herself forward - aiming to sail over the circus performer's head. She doesn't get enough height quickly enough to elude Honoka's grasp, though - as the unexpected lance of pain shoots through her before she's launched into the air, Kunimitsu lets out a gasp through clenched teeth before inhaling sharply.

The gloved fingers of the ninja's left hand snag on the edge of the corrugated rooftop as she goes over, barely avoiding a fall down to the ground. For a split second, she hangs there, glancing down at the space below her and considering whether it would be best to let go. She can see that security are gathering in wait of such an opportunity, though, and decides to opt for the devil she knows one more time.

"Why don't we make a deal?" the kunoichi's voice carries over the side of the roof before she pops back up into view, landing on the roof on her feet before standing a bit unsteadily. "Everything is in there. Let me go, you can have it, add it to your collection maybe," she says, gesturing at the pile of fabric lying now on the other side of Honoka.

It's true - mostly. There might be one or two things that the kunoichi managed to secret away who-knows-where on her person, but...

TThe ninja has no intention of letting the loot go if she can avoid it. A moment later - seizing a moment of opportunity if it presents itself, but otherwise striking to create one - she lunges forward, aiming to smash her right fist into Honoka's jaw hard enough to launch her into the air. Should she succeed, she'll follow up by immediately backflipping with her right leg extended to kick Honoka further into the air before leaping up to catch her, spinning in a wheel before dropping her headfirst toward the trailertop, kicking off of her prone form as she hits the roof and, if all goes to plan, snatching the bundle of clothing and ill-gotten goods on her way up to the towering air supply structure.

COMBATSYS: Kunimitsu successfully hits Honoka with Chakra Drop EX.

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Honoka           2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|>>>>>>>\-------\0        Kunimitsu

As this battle has taken place, the makeup artists had both ventured into the trailer to find that they, too, had been victims of the kitsune-masked kunoichi. They didn't stay in the trailer for very long though, with all the thumping and banging going along up top.
The apprentice knife-thrower, though, managed to borrow a card from another circus employee, and had run off to the Circle K as she said she would. Urgency was the order of the night for her, after all -- and she couldn't wait until the battle itself was resolved.

So no, Honoka wasn't about to flee. She's already on fire -- and she's -used- to enduring the heat of flames while under the blindingly bright floodlights. So while fire definitely -is- hot, and it -is- burning her, it's a small price to pay for exacting some sort of retribution upon the nimble thief.

Plus, as soon as Kunimitsu disappears (mostly) over the edge, Honoka has the opportunity to pat out the rest of the flames with her palms and feet. "Y'know, you're really startin' t'tick me off..." she drawls out, narrowed eyes tracking the kunoichi as she flips back atop the trailer. Honoka raises her wands in defense, not trusting the diversion for a moment. She doesn't look in the direction she's been pointed -- that trick's not going to work.

"How 'bout I just beat it out of you 'nstead?" The psion can sense deception, even if it's not overtly communicated, and besides: "This ain't no catch-an-release program we're runnin' here. Arsonists, thieves -- they get sent to prison!"

The juggler was already on edge; she'd expected some form of guile or subterfuge. She was prepared to hop back out of the way of whatever the kunoichi is planning -- or so she thought. Her speed and degree of commitment, though -- that comes as a surprise.

And since she was preparing to cartwheel out of the way, she wasn't really anchoring herself in place from a punch to the jaw. The lithe acrobat goes sailing backwards, drawing gasps of surprise from the dozen Twilight Star employees now assembled below. Expressions of shock can be heard as the entire trailer shudders from Honoka being whirled around and then dunked into it -- the very metal crunching and groaning in the process. Honoka, for her part, has some groans of her own to offer.

As the kunoichi snatches the bundle of clothing, the psionic performer grits her teeth and leans back. The diabolo wands are dropped entirely, as Honoka extends both palms towards the fleeing Kunimitsu, fingers splaying out as if playing with a cats' cradle.

"Hey, wait, you forgot something..."

Honoka narrows her eyes, as pink and purple energies begin to swirl outward from her fingertips. The threads of energy weave around one another, congealing together like a funnel cake. An instant later, their form resolves into that of a star shape.

The star shape erupts outward, as a solid column of purple light, lancing outward towards the shinobi. If it hits, she'd find just how painful the concentrated psychic energy can be -- and she'd probably be left with an overwhelming sense of vertigo, which might make for a particularly fun ascent up the side of the tent.

COMBATSYS: Kunimitsu parries Honoka's Nochiu-o Kando!

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Honoka           1/-------/<<<<<<<|>>>>>>>\-------\1        Kunimitsu

The particular length of metal tubing that Kunimitsu finds herself clinging to, while certainly large and sturdy enough not to crumple or buckle with her weight (then again, ninjas can run on tree branches without snapping them, right?), has pretty obviously been given structural support intended to keep it vertical on a temporary basis. In other words, it sways precariously, the struts holding it up seeming unsure whether they want to continue making the effort to do so. Her kunai has been tucked into her waist sash, while one hand clings to the ventilation unit and the other holds the coveralls. She's not too far from where the air tunnel connects to another modular section - a horizontal one that carries the air into the tent

Noticing the glint of energy out of the edge of her vision, Kunimitsu glances back, then tosses the coveralls up on top of the horizontal section of tubing just above her. As the attack beams toward her, she swings her body around to the opposite side of the tubing and throws her legs up to wrap around the overhead shaft. As the beam slams into the now-intervening metal tube, Kunimitsu swaps her hands up to the overhead tube and tucks her legs under it, then delivers an inverted mule kick to the vertical tubing. While the inanimate metal may be proof against psychic assault, the kunoichi's kick causes it to surge and groan in protest as it separates from the overhead pipe before collapsing down toward the top of the trailer where Honoka is standing.

This, of course, leaves the ventilation shaft Kunimitsu is clinging precariously to rather horribly imbalanced. With the anchoring point to the tent the only thing now supporting it, the vent shaft swings downward, sending the outfit atop it plummeting before the ninja catches it with her left hand, somebody's watch dropping out of a pocket to the ground below.

At the lowest point of the tube's downward swing, the kunoichi takes flight, the kunai flashing back into her hand as she spirals toward the side of the tent...

COMBATSYS: Honoka dodges Kunimitsu's Huge Thrown Object EX.

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Honoka           1/-------/<<<<<<<|=======\-------\1        Kunimitsu

Honoka grits her teeth as her psychic assault rockets harmlessly past Kunimitsu, and harmlessly through the air conditioning conduits. Grabbing her diabolo wands, and looping the one diabolo within reach, she starts to push herself to her feet, fighting back the urge to whine at the burns on her skin or the aches in her upper body. If she were more agitated, the chance of collateral damage would be higher, but as it is... well, she didn't want to destroy any more of the circus infrastructure than necessary.
As it is, it seems Kunimitsu is handling that just fine. As Honoka looks up to see the separated tube segment about to crash down, she lunges to the air conditioning unit with a cry of "Everybody, -move!-"

Survival instincts kick in amongst the Twilight Star employees, and they flee the immediate area of the wardrobing trailer. A mere moment later, the aluminum tubing crashes down with a clamor, the hard corner of the trailer shearing the segment into two heads, until the metal just refuses to part any further. Jagged metal presents a hazard to anyone else in the immediate area of the trailer's rooftop...

Honoka, though, has sprung off the side of the air conditioning unit and leapt on top of the hulking piece of metal. The air conditioner is nigh unaffected by all the hullabaloo, but it's happy to keep churning frosty air into the summer Kanazawa heat, now that the conduit has been broken. "Somebody shut this thing off," she barks out to the folks below.

Tink, tink. "... -- Hey, it's my watch!" cries out one of the makeup artists.

Honoka can't be concerned about the watch right now -- her eyes are narrowed on the blade glistening in the light. That's when the acrobat realizes she has only one moment to make her next move work before the knife is utilized to gruesome effect.
She leaps off the air conditioner.
She springs off the tent, taking full advantage of the springy material to rebound backwards, towards the still-serviceable section of pipe.
She springs off the pipe -- which sends her flying towards Kunimitsu's eventual destination.

Her right fist is wreathed in a pink ribbon of energy, that rapidly begins to spin in the form of a cone. And she rockets her fist upward, hoping to lance right into Kunimitsu with the drill-shaped attack.

This ninja will pay dearly for making light of her today.

COMBATSYS: Honoka successfully hits Kunimitsu with Sarak Kamui.
- Power hit! -

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Honoka           1/-----==/=======|=======\======-\1        Kunimitsu

Kunimitsu is a mere few feet away from slashing a new window into the side of the Twilight Star's big top tent when Honoka comes flying in on an intercept course. The kunoichi twists in the air, the mechanic's clothes loosing from her grip in an attempt to impede the circus performer's course. To no avail, though - the weight of the belongings lining the pockets of the outfit drag it down before it can serve the intended purpose, instead only blocking the ninja's view in the moments before the attack drills into her side. Kunimitsu cries out as she's pierced by the force of psychic pain, slamming into the side of the tent before bouncing off and dropping toward the ground.

Plummeting freely downward, the 'Devil Cat' flails momentarily before thrusting a palm down toward the oncoming earth, as if to arrest her fall. However, it would seem to have... rather the opposite effect. When Kunimitsu hits the ground, the earth beneath her cracks and shatters, chunks of soil flying apart as she appears to crater into the ground - or perhaps even be swallowed by it? A pillar of smoke and dust rises from the ground, and for a moment, the ninja is nowhere to be seen, as if utterly destroyed by Honoka's assault.

In the next moment, Kunimitsu flies out of the floor inside the tent in a spiral uppercut, cracking the ground apart again as she re-emerges through the power of some strange mystical Manji trickery. Luckily for her, there doesn't seem to be anyone immediately on the scene, as she comes out of the spiral only to crash backward to the ground, hands pressing to the front of her mask as her teeth clench in pain. She sucks in a breath as she tries to fight off the effects of the psychic feedback in her mind while keeping as quiet as she can.


One hand slips into her robe as she props herself up, pulling out the remains of her loot - the chubby male theatre mask from before. As she holds it up in the light, it seems to frown down at her.

A sigh is scarcely audible from the dark corner Kunimitsu is residing in.

COMBATSYS: Kunimitsu takes no action.

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Honoka           1/-----==/=======|

COMBATSYS: Kunimitsu can no longer fight.

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Honoka           1/-----==/=======|

Honoka pulls her fist back shortly after her psychic auger makes contact. The acrobatic juggler had channeled all of her momentum into getting airborne that, like a curious cat, she hadn't given as much thought to getting back down. Not unlike Kunimitsu, the Twilight Star performer steers towards the convex side of the tent, bouncing slightly and sliding down across it to the ground.

It's doubtful that the audience even notices, considering the round of cheering going on both before and -during- the two fighters' collisions with the tent canvas.

As Honoka falls, she catches sight of the coveralls and their contained loot. Well, and her diabolo too, but it can survive the fall. With one quick fling of her hand, she sidearms her diabolo wands at the coveralls, nailing them in midair like a bolo and redirecting their fall.

Honoka's fall is a bit more controlled than Kunimitsu's; she may not be a ninja, but she has learned how to fall from great heights without turning into a pancake. When she gets low, she bounces herself forward, redirecting her momentum towards the air conditioning unit. Kicking off of that, she manages to slow her fall and lands without further incident -- just a few feet from the fallen coveralls.

One of Sudo's security staffers runs up to the bag, which had deposited some of its contents onto the ground in the fall. Sudo himself -- a tall Japanese man -- is staring at the hole left behind by Kunimitsu. He turns back to Honoka with an expression of alarm on his face.

"She's... around," notes the juggler quietly, as she leans upon the air conditioning unit for support. Her face and hands are still red; any further injuries are hidden beneath layers of spandex and silvered lame. With her actual adversary missing, her adrenaline levels ebb, allowing her fatigue to catch up with her.

The psion looks back at Sudo, a frown on her face. Without another word, the security chief barks out orders to the men to surround the tent in search of the kunoichi, while her victims begin picking through their reclaimed belongings. With the finale already beginning, however, the chances are high that she will be able to escape through the crowd.

COMBATSYS: Honoka takes no action.

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Honoka           1/-----==/=======|

COMBATSYS: Honoka has ended the fight here.

Log created on 16:32:27 08/16/2016 by Kunimitsu, and last modified on 21:43:48 08/17/2016.