Description: Have you ever wanted to be an anime? Of course you have. And what better way to celebrate being an anime than with Christmas, and through a true anime system. Two figures, chosen by the gods to reshape their world, have become Exalteds. Makoto is a Solar Exalted, who have the potential to be masters of all they put their mind to. Mian is a Lunar Exalted, wily shapeshifters, use guile and trickery. And together, you need to play out the nativity scene of the very first Christmas. Now we can't get you to Israel after that one UN declaration, but we can get you to Jordan! Close enough! You can recreate the nativity scene at Petra. Like Mian, you can be baby jesus. Or Makoto. I dunno, you sort out who wants to be baby jesus. <Winner: Mian>
There are certain images that come to mind when a person thinks of Christmas. The jagged edges of a pine tree's tapering greenery, thin branches laden with shimmering ornaments and flashing multicolored lights blinking to the tune of traditional carols being chirped out in an electronic warble by a cheap synthisizer. The view is entirely white outside, every square inch of grass and road coated in a thick blanket of freshly fallen snow that, for a brief while, drives the bustling inhabitants of city and suburb into the comfort of their warm homes. Stockings hang over a lit fireplace, stuffed to the brim with tiny knicknacks and goodies, ready and waiting to be plucked by their lucky owners once the light of day finally crests the frozen horizon. And there is, naturally, the presents. Boxes and bins and packages and parcels of all shapes and sizes, each neatly wrapped in festive paper and bows to conceal the surprise of what lies within. It is a day of giving and joy, of family and friendship.
Which sort of sets the tone behind the mood of the young girl standing at the center of the large pit. Petra has never had a white Christmas. Infact, she'd be surprised if its ever had a Christmas at all. The middle of the desert is hardly an ideal place for any sort of celebration, ancient theatre or not, and yet here she stands ready to engage in yet another ludicrious mockery of the art of fighting at the behest of SNF's corporate sponsors. Apparently, no one bothered telling them that.
The broad 'bowl' of the former performance stage is practically choked with all manner of ridiculous props, most of which aren't entirely familiar to the young Japanese girl. While Christmas is a thing in Japan, it's a different beast than what Westerners would expect out of the title. Dozens of presents and decorated trees are present in copious amounts, the former heaped into big piles near the center piece of the stage while the later encircle the area, almost like the outer markers of a gladiatorial pit. The towering pillars entwined with shimmering lights are a bit less out of place, but she can't help but feel that they clash with the dull reds and browns of the dry stone and dirt.
It is the thing at the center of the strange arena that confuses her. A large trough made of wood rests on top of a large pile of hay. She had mistaken it for some sort of animal feed container at first but upon closer inspection she had been surprised to find the doll of a small child wrapped in blankets within. A quick question directed at one of the many interns flitting about the set had gotten her the basics of the story behind it, but rather than make her more at ease, she felt almost sacriligious at the idea of using something so symbolic as a cheap set for a tv-broadcast fight. Regardless, she wasn't about to back out now. Surely if it was such an issue, a public company such as SNF wouldn't be willing to risk the ire of a huge portion of the world.
Her attention quickly became consumed by something else entirely when the director got around to speaking with her. A large man with looks that she would describe as 'intentionally rugged', the director wasted no time with pleasantries, clearly rushing to get everything into place as the deadline approached for the fight. He spoke at her in hurried English, which went past way too fast for her to understand with her weak grasp of the language. She interrupted him, which annoyed the man, but a few snaps of his fingers brought a young man rushing over and he quickly conveyed the messages to her in her native language.
As it turned out, things were even more ridiculous than she'd first guessed. Not content to defile a religion with blatant commercial exploitation, they'd felt the need to cram yet further ad revenue into their pockets by dressing the entire thing up in the trappings of some table-top board game. Makoto had seen a few of these in action on occasion but they'd never been something she had any interest in. Her art was her life, even more so after her father passed away and left the legacy of their family in her hands. Unfortunately, gaining fame had proven more challenging than she'd anticipated, and as with every other one of these silly events, she'd been forced to simply grin and bear it as the details were laid out.
That had been atleast two hours ago. Once he'd finished delivering his brief description of the event and how it was to be played out, the director had left, presumably to give the other contestant a similar briefing, leaving her at the mercy of a small swarm of costume and makeup artists. Now, Makoto stands next to the wooden box, a manager so she had been told, her arms crossed over her chest with a sour look on her tomboyish features.
Her usual attire of a simple karate gi is gone. She'd been given a look like he had bitten into a rotten lemon when had told the costume artist it was what she planned to wear. Apparently the man had...other ideas. In it's place, a long flowing robe of white silk with golden embroidery drapes from her broad shoulders, curving with an elegant swirl about her waist until it comes to an end only a few inches down her thighs. Her arms and legs are bare save for a few pieces of golden jewelry about her biceps and ankles, each a lovely hand-crafted piece of art inlaid with shimmering gemstones. The long yellow length of the hachimaki which typically adorns her neck like a scarf has been replaced by something much more fitting to the name, a thick golden length of cloth which flutters behind her in the gentle breeze, sending ripples of light shimmering down its reflective length.
The overall effect is somewhat dazzling and flashy, though she supposes that was the point. She /is/ supposed to be some sort of sun god or something like that, as evidenced by the final touch of her costume. The wild cap of her rugged hair has been combed back and pinned down into something far more elegant than she would have suspected possible, mostly for the purpose of getting it out of her face so the painted disc of the Dawn Caste's sun-like anima is visible on her tanned forehead. Half a dozen squiggly little lines poke outwards from the hollow circle in equidistant spacing around its outer surface giving it the appearance of some kind of ancient heiroglyph or rune. The paint too has been inlaid with some manner of reflective substance adding another source of golden glint.
As if being half naked and dolled up like some kind of pre-historic stripper wasn't bad enough, the desert is rather chilly despite the presence of the sun high in the sky. The gentle breeze that drifts through the amphitheatre bites into her exposed skin with a constant grating touch and her mood quickly begins to shift from nonplussed to annoyed as time drags on.
"Hey, can we get this crap started? It's not like I don't have better things to be doing than freezing my ass off in an ancient ruin dressed like some reject from Indiana Jones!"
Of course, there was a corporate angle.
Gigs, as they are, were lucrative. And when they weren't, they were promotional. Fortunately, this was going to be both. How Makoto was approached was... up to the directors of this event. But for Mian, it was simple business. Of the fighters easily accessed, there was two individual open for this role. The first was Jezebel Failblesse, the former Lightning Spangles actress. The other? Mian, with two public fights under her belt. Jezebel had called them, researched the role, held a reddit event to get more information from it, and finally called the director again. Mian did not have to go to such lengths, because the team had spoken to her and decided to hire her on the spot for it. THis was, apparently, the role that was made for her. And while Makoto stood there, half naked, exposed to the elements, it was just a matter before her opponent would come.
And that's when Mian walks in from the interior.
The other woman was garbed in rich fabrics, bearing the full costume for the fight. For some reason, they did not find a need for her to change out of it. Mian was dressed in ornate robes of gold and green, she was almost as Chinese nobility of yore, bearing the regal presence of a princess rather than an actor. Around her neck is a red scarf, and upon her head was a crown, bearing three red pom-poms with long antenna. Upon her face was a mask. The mask bore an expression of a lunar symbol, in the vein of classic serene expression, almost out of character with the chinese opera garb. But it looked matching quiet well with the figure reading the book in And in her hands, was a book, as she walked upon the clay earth delicately, crossing both Makoto's path and the manger. A shimmering light dances around her, like the surface of a bubble with every step. It was peaceful.
And then she spoke.
"What is this garbage!" She blurts out, snapping the book shut and holding it high above her head with one hand. She, too, had to be explained of how this would work. And while the mask concealed her features, one could know the expression she must have on her face as she shakes her head furiously. Turning towards her opponent, she looks over her twice, and then exclaims again furiously, in a gruff voice. "None of this makes sense!"
"Why are you dressed like that?"
As if on cue, the person lined up to be Makoto's opponent steps out from whatever corner of the set she's been hiding in, likely dealing with her own mob of fussing professional primpers. The young karateka turns her head to regard the new arrival, taking in the extravagant costume and strange mask with a curious stare. After a moment, she mutters something dark under her breath, mentally making a resolution to get all of the details about a fight before agreeing to anything in the future.
The sudden outburst of annoyed shouting actually takes her off guard. Makoto jumps in place a couple of inches as the serene image that the masked woman projects pops like balloon, taking an involuntary hop backwards, her combat instincts instantly keyed up. However, rather than some sort of cowardly surprise attack, it turns out that her opponent is simply unleashing some outrage at the ridiculousness of the entire ordeal.
The girl lets out a sigh of annoyance and lifts a hand to run it through her hair out of habit before a sharp glower from the woman who had spent a fair bit of time shaping it into something presentable freezes her hand in midair. Her teeth grind a little but she lowers the hand down to her side, her fists clenching. She can totally understand the sentiment being expressed by her faceless competition. Everything about this fight is frustrating.
"Don't ask me," Makoto grumbles in response to the sharp-tongued query, reaching down to tug the hem of her garment down, mentally willing it to grow about three inches longer for atleast the dozenth time. "I just hit things."
Of course, Mian wasn't cold in the least.
As her opponent makes it clear what she does, she nods her masked head. A moon a was fine. As long as it wasn't something awful like a Jack O Lantern, it would be fine. But Mian continues her outrage, flailing the book around. "Nothing is this book makes sense!" She barks curtly, slapping the back of her hand on the book. "It's ridiculous fantasy! Escapism! None of this sounds real!" She snarls, as she throws the book to the ground. "Women who are pregnant without men? Magic stars and three wise guys? Why you give baby gold, frankincense and myrrh? The editting is so bad, the genealogies don't even match in two different chapters!" Striding past Makoto to the manger, she looks over the cradle. Hovering over it, she sweeps her arms to the doll within, lifting it high up.
"And why is baby Jesus dressed in cowboy clothing?"
Mian holds up the Life Sized Real Life The New Lightning Spangles Adventures Official Baby Spangles Doll, with real Pepper Spangles outfit and Baby Spangles Cowgirl Action for a positive role model for Real Life New Lightning Spangles Adventures fans. Mian holds the baby up, as one of the producers steps out. The man was... slick. Hair was slick. Body was slick. He was wearing a slick black suit, with a slick smile on his slick lips. And as he comes to the woman, he... takes a moment to turn his head to Makoto.
And gives her a wink.
"Mian, sweetie, please put Baby Jesus back into the cradle. And we need you to come in on that side, coming in at Makoto please? We need to get a kind of Madonna/Whore complex going here, it's perfect, just perfect for Christmas." The producer clicks his fingers, as Mian, indignantly, tosses the baby back in the cradle, and strides back to the section she was- what is she behind right now. She is in fact out of sight. Maybe, maybe, maybe she was behind the path of god. A path that only the faithful could see. Or maybe there was an... off... screen. In any case, the producer looks back at Makoto. "Okay sweetheart, now, can you run some lines off? Cameras on, and..." He holds up three fingers, beginning to count down as the camera keeps fixed on Makoto. "Three. Two..."
And he holds up one finger, as the camera goes live.
Makoto's dour expression doesn't lighten even a shade in the face of the upbeat producer's slick smile. Whatever enthusiasm he has for this debacle, it isn't infectious. Atleast maybe they can get started now, though. The faster they get to the part where she can hit someone, the better. The teen actually blanches at being called sweetheart by this slimy man but she starts to nod in acquiescence until he calls for the cameras to start rolling.
"Wait, what? Now?!"
But she hasn't been given any lines! No one showed her a script or anything! Do they expect her to just make something up?! Her eyes go wide for a moment in surprise and panic, staring at the tiny red recording light on the nearest, like a deer caught in headlights. A frantic surge of motion to one side catches her eye and she glances over to see one of the interns waving their arms and pointing towards a large blue screen a few feet to the side. She turns her head to look at it and is relieved to find words appear on its glowing surface. A teleprompter.
Makoto focuses on the text, which is naturally in English, squinting as she tries to wrack her brain for the lessons she took in school. After a moment, she nods, as sure as she can be and clears her throat.
"Many years ago, the one true God descended from his throne to grace the world with his presence. He granted the gift of life unto young virgin girl, Mary, and she gave birth to His son, so that all might be saved from sin."
Makoto does her best to sound like she isn't simply reading off lines that she's never seen before, but the combination of struggling with a language she isn't super familiar with and a story she's never heard makes it somewhat difficult to say the least. Her eyes dart back to the prompter every few seconds to make sure she's getting it right, leading to awkward pauses.
"To mark the special day of his birth, the Lord put a bright star in the sky." She lifts a hand in the air and points dramatically with one finger, as instructed on the screen, and on cue a massive fixture dangling from cables above the manger bursts to life with a brilliant flare in the shape of a star. "To the shepherds and wise mans he say, follow this star and bring gifts, for this night the son of God is born!"
There is a long pause as the prompter goes blank. Makoto holds her pose, unsure of what to do, but fortunately the text returns in short order and she quickly moves to follow its next instructions. She lowers her hand and continues to read.
"But, the forces of Darkness were afoot that night as well. The magi of the evil King Herod had warned him of this night and told him that this child would be his doom! The Lord knew that wicked man would attempt to slay the helpless baby, and so he turned to his most trusted ally, the Unconquered Sun."
Overhead, the star dims slightly as another object comes to life, a brilliant golden circle swinging down into place at its side.
"Oh great Sun, said the Lord," Makoto continues, holding her hands up towards the lights. "Evil has risen up from the Darkness and seeks to destroy my work! It has contracted the Moon and its servants to seek out my son and destroy him. I beg you, lend me your aid!"
The girl lowers her arms again, placing her fists on her hips and giving the camera a haughty look as she tilts her head back and laughs. "Ahaha! How foolish that the Moon could think that I would not respond to this challenge! I shall indeed aid you! Behold, I send forth one of my greatest Champions of the Dawn to do battle with this terrible fiend!"
Several spotlights click on at this prompt bathing Makoto in blinding light from several directions. The golden filigree inlaid in her costume, the sparkling jewelry about her limbs, and the glittery paint upon her head all burst into radiant twinkles that fills the air around her with a faint haze of shimmering glow. She squints and fights hard not to lift a hand to cover her face against the glare of the lights. Fortunately, she has no more lines to read. The rest is now up to her opponent.
Mian doesn't walk in this time.
As Makoto finishes her dialogue, there is a rustling sound. Descending from high above (how did SHE get there), feet together like an arrow, Mian's clothing flutter as a shimmering light weaves around her. Landing with both feet, she sweeps her arms, quickly regaining her footing as she suddenly begins to walk. Or... dance. Walk dance. The style was theatrical than rhythmatic, following a hidden beat only in Mian's own ears. The chinese opera dancer hops and steps, moving in smaller circles as she comes towards Makoto. And Mian moves closer, closer towards Makoto, the dancing enduring with the grace of a chinese maiden. And finally, she lunges in slightly...
And she recoils to make another pass.
Turning around, she sweeps her arms, her long sleeves drawn past her face. And in a blink, the mask changes. A singular fierce visage cascades on her mask, of grey and blue, vaguely sharing the picture of two bug eyes of a moon with a toothy grin. A terrifying mask. She continues her footwork, striding side to side, silently continuing the ornate dance. With a hop, she spins in the air, landing in a squat. Slowly, she rises back into a stand, the dance stopping.
And she finally speaks.
"I have come for Baby Jesus!" She announces gruffly and loudly, the stage voice filling aloud. Drawing from inside her flowing robes, she pulls a fan. Pointing it squarely at Makoto, she continues her bellowing. "For slaying the first born, to bathe upon their blood is the will of the Fierce Demon Lord Herod. The duality of the truth has come! The light and the dark!" She begins to pace side to side with short hops, keeping her mask transfixed on Makoto. "The incredible transformation powers of the Mooon fill me. I will stop the higher spirit, the truth essence of the higher god, descending through the quantum strings, to enter into little Baby Jesus to lead men into self-improvement and enlightenment! For ye! Fierce Demon Lord Herod decrees it! And no Guardian of the Sun will stop me! In the name of the Moon!"
"I will punish you!"
And she begins her dancing again.
"Uh, boss?" One of the cameramen said, keeping the camera on Mian's third circular pass around. The producer stands by, licking his lips and nodding eagerly, but not responding otherwise. The cameraman, growing braver and braver, finally speaks up again. "Isn't this... offensive? Like, offensive to most Christians?" The producer shakes his head. "Nah, see, I got ahead of this. I figured out the perfect way to get the masses at home to shovel it right in their heaving, gaping maws. Okay. Show the message.... NOW."
And for the audience at home, a message flashes underneath the scene before them.
***THIS IS WHAT GNOSTICS ACTUALLY BELIEVE***
The producer wags a finger.
It is perhaps better that Makoto is of the variety of Japanese who still cling to the old fashioned traditions and beliefs. While she isn't a particularly devout practitioner of shinto or buddist customs, she still has enough respect for their cultural influence to offer the occasional blessing or participate in the yearly festivals in their honor. Had she been raised a Christian, there would have been no one left alive to tell the tale of this sacriligeous abomination, cheesy disclaimer or not.
Instead, this is all just another awkward dress-up fight, as she has come to expect from her forrays into the SNF arena. She's done some pretty weird things in these things before. She's been tossed into the middle of a riot and had to fight her way free. She's been a Roman soldier holding the gates of Troy against foreign invaders. She's fought a man wearing only his underwear with an ally wearing only a bikini. But this is still by far the most absurd thing she's been forced to endure.
But, endure she shall. Ah, the price of fame.
Now that things have shifted fully away from the core story and into the realm of tabletop fantasy, it's a little easier for her to figure out where to go next. While she isn't some basement dwelling nerd that spent her youth reveling in escapism, she's still a pretty average high school student, which means she watches movies and reads manga. The correct response to this sort of overt villainy isn't hard to grasp.
Taking a step forward as the twirling moon dancer circles around to her front once more, Makoto lifts a hand towards Mian, fist clenching tightly in challenge. The spotlights follow her movement, staying affixed on her face so that the golden anima painted on her forehead continues to sparkle, forcing her to continue to squint, but she delivers her riposte with as much zeal as she can manage regardless.
"Hah! Your Lord is weak and foolish to believe that you could defeat a champion of the Dawn! You are but a pale shadow of the Sun's power and I shall drive you back into the dark! Let all who witness this battle cry out to the one true power! Praise the Sun!"
Having delivered what she hopes is an appropriately epic counter to the far more talented and skilled actor's call out, Makoto shifts the scene from exposition to action. She drops into a slightly crouched stance, one hand held loosely before her in an open palmed and loose angle, ready to defend or attack as necessary, while the other balls into a tight fist near her shoulder, already wound up and prepared to strike. She gives Mian a second or two to prepare herself, seeing as they lack a proper announcer to declare the start of the fight, and then lunges forward in an aggressive hop. Her trailing hand, the one balled up into a fist, swings up into the air as she rises and when she comes down it follows suit, unfurling into a brutal knife-handed karate chop at the Lunar villain's torso.
COMBATSYS: Makoto has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Mian has joined the fight here.
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Makoto 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Mian
COMBATSYS: Makoto successfully hits Mian with Oroshi.
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Makoto 0/-------/-----==|==-----\-------\0 Mian
It wasn't bad.
Oh, the whole thing was schlok. But it was schlok that she was being paid for. Makoto wasn't a profession actress, but she didn't need to be. She just had to fight, and make some decent dialogue. And she had a good read, even. Her figure wasn't really filling into the role, mind you. But what could you expect from such a young girl? As the girl erupts out, Mian had not finished her dancing yet. She was expecting an attack. She wasn't expecting a human rocket. The girl explodes at the actress, first with a a rising upper. The blow connects.
And she goes flying.
The initial hit is enough to send her right up, spinning. Up close, Makoto might feel something like the wind surging around her, bouncing against her as a shimmering light flickers. But as she falls back down, she attempting to deflect and disengage. Instead, Mian gets a hard chop to the chest. A groan of pain bursts out as she disengages in the worst way, spinning as she is blown away. But as the spin comes, she eases herself out.
She wasn't going to lose control of this.
Deftly, she lands on both feet, taking delicate steps as the recoil still comes. Her arms spin, keeping her balance in spite that she was quite sure she had broken a rib. One arms sweeps to tuck the fan back into the heart of her robe. The other moves counter against it, sweeping. An arm passes over her face, as the mask transforms once again. This time, it was a singular crescent moon, a smug expression on its face as it leans in recline. Arrogant. Behind the mask her real expression was hidden; only the moans of pain had revealed what is really happening under her robes. "The only star you will follow is the morning star! The sun shall fall, and the moon shall rise!" Her foot twists at the ankle, telegraphing what was to come.
And she leaps.
A short hop comes, lifting her in the air. And the shimmering soap bubble light flashes around her. The oily sheen billows around her as she glides back down. ANd the moment she hits the ground, she gives a second hop, twirling in the air to drive her fist into Makoto's own partially covered chest. Whether she makes contact or not does not matter, as the strange shimmering energy would suddenly reverse momentum. Like a riptide, Mian would counter-spin, bringing her OTHER hand to bear, attempting to strike Makoto squarely with a thunderous sweeping blow to the chest a second time, this time ready to blow her away with a billowing blast of swirling chi.
It seems that the moon has tricks of its own.
COMBATSYS: Makoto fails to interrupt Houyokuten from Mian with Fukiage EX.
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Makoto 0/-------/---====|===----\-------\0 Mian
Makoto's initial blow lands solidly, the dull thud of flesh meeting bone sending a familar reverb through her arm. It has been several months since she's had a proper fight. With the momentous occassion of her first official student came the realization that she would have to redouble her efforts to restore the dojo to its original glory. The roof was still full of holes and leaks, the old-fashioned shingles worn and cracking. She'd spent a good week trying to replace those herself and very nearly fell and broke something important, like her neck, atleast half a dozen times. Her school work also took up a lot of her attention and between that, the repairs, and her training schedule, she'd just been too busy to spar.
So it felt good to hit another person again. Not because she liked hurting people but because it meant that she had managed to survive the withering storm of chores and distractions that had beset her and finally returned to the place where she felt most at home - on the battlefield.
Perhaps it was that sudden surge of emotion that distracts her when Mian recovers from the first strike and dance-hops in for her own attack. Or perhaps it was the freaking incredibly bright spotlights still being shined directly into her damn eyes. Makoto squints, crouching slightly as the opera dancer comes in for her attack, fist held at the ready as she tries to guage the proper distance for her rebuttal. Her aim is off by just a hair, when she explodes forward into motion once more, her fist driving upwards in an attempt to catch the agile Lunar square on her smug moon-faced chin, but it is enough to make a difference.
Her fist whiffs through the air and Mian's energy laced strike thunders against her chest, rattling the girl's ribs through the thin fabric of the fancy robe. She lets out a sharp exhale of pain that is echoed by a second as the spinning assault drives yet another smashing punch to her torso. Makoto staggers backwards several feet as the energy of the final blow sweeps around her, flopping backwards onto her rear with a grunt.
She might not have an opportunity to stand.
Mian was already taking to the air after her second blow connects. Makoto's landing was rough. Mian's was slow, her antenae bouncing as she glides at Makoto, robe billowing. Speed was meeting with power as her graceful dance endures. Both probably had messed up ribs right now. But momentum was in Mian's favor, as she descends like a hungry locust, both legs forward to drive Makoto down before she could rise.
Except she wasn't, actually, attacking her.
Not yet, at least. The feet land squarely in front of Makoto, and she leaps again. Flipping over the other girl, Mian twirls. Strands of iridescent light cascade around, distorting the air around herself AND Makoto. Landing Makoto's opposite side, she continues her spinning, her hands sweeping around her as the smug moon endures. Turning on the land, she dips low, squatting on one leg as both her arm and leg lashes out.... aiming to catch Makoto both on the low and center (If she has gotten up.) An attack that is far more flash than substance... but as a swirl of shimmering energy sweeps up with her arm and leg, the flash may bring a substance of it own.
To flood up and over the poor, lightly dressed opponent.
COMBATSYS: Mian successfully hits Makoto with Aggressive Strike.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////////////// ]
Makoto 0/-------/-======|====---\-------\0 Mian
The landing is complicated by the awkward design of the robe, the thing managing to be both embarrassingly short and yet wrapped about her in such a way that it manages to impede her movement. Makoto lets out a growl as she struggles to push back to her feet, only to be foiled by one of the flowing streamers dangling from her waist. The delay costs her. Mian's double strike plows into her and only by twisting away at the last second does she take it on the arm instead of in the chest again. It hurts but not as much as it could have.
The Solar Exalt rolls with the impact using it as an aid to flop to the side and get her feet underneath her. She simply rips the loose bit of her garment away as it further tries to entangle one of her arms, tossing it aside with an annoyed snarl. Stupid bloody costumes, never designed with any sense of practicality in mind. She quickly gives the other side of the robe a similar treatment to avoid any future problems leaving her with little more than a toga draped over her body.
"Your tricks won't save you, Moon fiend," she calls out, trying to salvage something from the debacle. She might not be into the whole setup but she's found that it's just easier to go with the flow and make the people up top happy when it comes to getting her name around.
Dropping into her fighting stance again, Makoto takes in a deep breath and lets it out in a sharp kiai as she lunges forward yet again. Both of her fists explode forward into a powerful double punch at Mian's chest as she closes in, her momentum and unusal strength driving them forward like a pair of sledgehammers.
COMBATSYS: Mian dodges Makoto's Fierce Punch.
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Makoto 0/-------/--=====|====---\-------\0 Mian
And she was still moving.
The combination was not ending, as she swirls away after the two-point blow. Piece by piece, she was grinding her down. But not for free. Makoto was tracking her, was trailing her, was following her. But Mian was not stopping her dance. As she continues the motion, twirling and twisting, she rises up to a stand... in time for those two fists to come roaring at her. Mian dips. carefully moving the whole of her body barely in time to slip beside it, her hand forcing upwards. If it was anybody else, she might have redirected the fists. But the young lady had so much power, so much spirit, that it was Mian the one who would move. Pushing away from her arm, she glides away, the momentum carrying her only a few meters. "Big words from Sun Girl!" She exclaims, sweeping her arm before her mask. And like that, another change. This time, a full-faced moon, cheeks blown with a look of narrow concern. "But soon Baby Jesus will be fed to jackals and snakes! Not one, or even two Wise Men could save him!" She bounds again, the martial artist's technique becoming quite apparent at this point. She glides, leading with both feet. This time, she would not come short. She would connect with both legs aiming right for Makoto's shins, still aiming low. And should she make contact, there wouldn't be a follow up wave of energy: she would grab her by the shoulders, and pivot over her. To land her feet on the ground, and with a heave, toss her where she wanted to truly be.
Right by Baby jesus's cradle.
COMBATSYS: Makoto dodges Mian's Medium Kick.
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Makoto 0/-------/--=====|===----\-------\0 Mian
The satisfying crunch of her knuckles pulverizing yet more of the weird masked lady's ribs eludes Makoto's grasp as her opponent continues to dance and spin in an annoyingly elegant fashion. She always hated fighting these showy types. It wasn't that her own art lacks a sense of grace and style, but it it is the grace of efficient motion and the style of economic movement. There are no wasted steps in her attacks, every step and thrust a means to deliver the maximum amount of damage. The person she was fighting now, with her masks and her dancing, is just trying to look cool and that kind of pisses her off.
Aware that her failed strike might leave her vulnerable to a counter, the karateka immediately leaps backwards and her swift thinking saves her from what would have likely been an unpleasant pair of kicks to the shins. Her legs are made of iron, forged in daily practice by kicking the trunks of trees and shattering blocks of concrete, so it isn't the potential pain that concerns her but rather the possibility that her foe might aim for a joint or some other weakpoint that she could do little about. The human body is an amazing thing but there are simply some things that no amount of training can fix.
Having cleared the immediate danger and avoided one of the weaker aspects of her style - defense- Makoto immediately puts herself back to where she's comfortable and lunges to strike yet again, offering no reprieve from the onslaught of her deadly fists. While it may lack the fancy footwork of Chinese opera, her powerful hops get the job done of putting the girl where she wants to be in short order. She capitolizes on the speed of the lunge and spins, driving the back of her fist towards Mian's head. Maybe if she can ring her bell a little, it might slow the woman down.
COMBATSYS: Mian wards against Makoto's Aggressive Strike.
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Makoto 0/-------/-======|====---\-------\0 Mian
Style vs substance.
Mian's style was teasing and eluding the belligerent Makoto's powerful fundamentals. Agility against pure power. Though as Makoto proves, agility was not exclusive here. The brawler makes a singular evasion, leaving Mian driven down into the clay. She was not getting a follow up strike, and now, she was off-balance. Her rhythm was broken. And already, Makoto was firing straight back at her. She makes her spins, she changes her directions. She wasn't going to let herself get slowed down.
And she fails, in a way.
An explosive hop comes in at just the right time, and the back swing comes with staggering force. Mian goes for the same 'catch and redirect' she had relied on before. This time, the angle is wrong; she DOES catch the slam. But where to direct is... nowhere. Her footwork is off, her momentum isn't ready to send her hurtling alone. The blow is shifted across her arms and body, hitting her across the chest long-ways instead of a clean, direct hit. A broad blow still comes like a baseball back, and Mian is knocked off balance for a moment. Her chest hurts worse, the broad blow reinviting the memories of the last hit. Mian was far frailer than her opponent, that was beginning to become more obvious. A delicate grasshopper against a mighty ant. "Baby Jesus will be mine!" But there is a flash, a shimmer.
And then, an eruption.
Streams of the incridescent light pour around her, dancing like tassles as she sweeps her arms. The bursts of light flash from her hands as she sweeps straight back at Makoto. The woman's hands are hammering, as she unleashes a string of whirlwind strikes. She was turning with her swirling arms, the energy shimmering like the wings of butterflies around her. Each strike was intricate, each blow was precise.
Much like how a haughty heiress would deal with a temperamental schoolgirl.
COMBATSYS: Makoto endures Mian's Karin.
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Makoto 1/----===/=======|======-\-------\0 Mian
Even with her explosive bursts of speed, Makoto simply can't seem to get a solid hit in reliably. The Lunar fighter is simply too quick, too elusive to pin down. Whatever else the girl might think about her opponent's showy fighting style, she had to admit it was serving her well in that regards. The fight is far from over but a skill that any long-time fighter develops over the course of their career is the ability to understand the flow of a fight and it's likely outcome. As it is right now, she's being worn down, the energy of her blows deflected while the spinning energy-laced strikes of her opponent kept slipping past her guard. Unless she can change the flow of the battle, it's just a matter of time until she is worn down.
And so, she does what usually comes to mind in such scenarios - something equal parts brave and stupid.
As the flowing streams of energy erupt from Mian in billowing streaks of colored light, Makoto grits her teeth and takes a deep breath, reaching down deep for the discipline and training that has been the focus of her entire life. She draws it up and blocks out all distractions, narrowing her eyes on the dancer with predatory intensity turning the entirity of her world into an empty space occupied only by herself and the target.
The ribbons of scintillating power crash into Makoto's robed body, the chi tearing at her spirit and flesh with hammering blows. She registers them only as brief spots of white within her focused demense, tiny flashes of lightning amidst distant clouds. They hurt but she doesn't feel them, not yet atleast. Her attention is focused on one single instant, one of the brief but glaring openings left by her opponent's acrobatic combat style. The strikes keep coming, Mian driving forward while she slowly gives ground, but she endures.
The moment she had been waiting for does not present itself until near the very end of the elegant onslaught. Sweat pours down the girl's face as she struggles to maintain her focus through the mounting heat of the pain as it claws at her mind. Her training and resolve are rewarded, in the end, however. Seeing her chance, the Solar Exalted, chosen champion of the Unconquered Sun, makes her true power known.
"Raaargh!", comes Makoto's witty retort to the bantering and she lunges forward with an explosive and sudden surge of energy. Her fist draws back, a faint halo of the golden light projected by the spotlights overhead seeming to linger about the deadly bludgeon, and with speed born out of fury and thousands of hours of dedication, she unleashes the hammer of the gods themselves.
COMBATSYS: Makoto knocks away Mian with Seichuusen Godanzuki.
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Makoto 0/-------/---<<<<|=======\===----\1 Mian
For a brief instant, Makoto's fist becomes a meteorite, a streak of fiery color as it dives from the heavens to smite the foolish creature that would stand in opposition to the very Sun itself. The punch crashes into the soft billowing fabric of Mian's flowing robes but they pose no obstacle to the justice which she is about to deliver. The thrusting strike continues forward until it meets the soft flesh underneath, hammering home into perhaps the most viscious gap in any human's defenses.
The blow folds her opponent in half, raw power and physics going to work as a freight train disguised as a teenage girl slams into the opera singer's crotch without even the slightest hint of mercy. Makoto lets out another fierce cry of primal triump as she strikes a telling blow on her opponent but it is only the precursor to the true pain which she has in store. The fist withdraws after a subjective eternity but it is quickly replaced by a trio of rapid-fire punches to Mian's chest, each as strategically aimed as the first to inflict maximum pain and damage on the softest things in the target zone.
"I told you," she says, pausing for a moment, though only to wind up for the final and perhaps most telling strike of the deadly combination. "You're just a pale shadow. Have a taste of the real thing!"
Makoto pivets her hips, putting every bit of momentum and leverage she can muster into the act of violence that follows. Her fist explodes upwards into the sky, a pillar of raw force as hard and unyielding as iron. It crashes into the woman's chin like a volcanic eruption and the sheer power behind the blow lifts the poor dancer clean off her feet, firing her into the air like a rocket on a direct impact course for the massive glowing circle of the Sun hanging overhead.
It was very slow.
See, the strikes connected. That was clear. Every blow was precise, destructive, correct. Every hit was in its place. But as the waves of energy washed over, every strike connecting, time was slowing down second by second by second.
Because Mian realizes that Makoto wasn't getting knocked flat.
She was holding fast, standing her ground. Because she was going to hit back. The realization hits hard. It doesn't hit as hard as what comes. She tried to break away from this. To escape. To flee. To run. To survive. She could feel the surge. She needed to change her mask. She had to. She needed to. But she wouldn't. She couldn't.
Because that first hit comes.
Mian feels herself returning home. Her father is sitting on out front, fanning himself. Her mother is cooking food in the kitchen. Both are so happy to see her. They stop everything, to greet their daughter. Their daughter, who was gone for so long. Who was so tired. Who was working hard for her family. She should be happy to see them too.
But her expression was blank.
They knew something would be wrong. Sitting her down at the table. There was news. Was it the money? No, the money was fine. They would show her what they were saving for. That it was silly that she kept sending them money. That it would be better that she stay home. Stay home, find a good man, start a family. And then Mian would break her tea cup. The emotions too great.
"I cannot, mama. I cannot, baba."
Because she was sterile. Sterile from the fighting, she worked so hard to earn money for her family. But she would never be able to find respite, never find time to stop, to find a family. She could see it in their eyes, their only daughter failing them, failing her family in the one thing she was good for them. Because she was sterile.
Sterile because a tiny girl was punching her in the ovaries.
The rest of the punches were a battery. She stops. She couldn't move. She wouldn't move. It only stops, when Makoto allows it to stop. And how. The finishing punch breaks the spell as Mian is sent hurtling. No twirling, no energy, nothing. It was nothing, pure nothing, absolutely oblivion. She would be dead, or unconscious, or broken, or nothing. Time speeds up as she flies upwards. And then, downwards. But in spite of time growing faster and faster, it goes nowhere. It takes too long into a crash. She couldn't breath. She couldn't even feel.
Until she hits the cradle of Baby Jesus.
THe baby Lightning Spangles doll lays underneath her. It didn't break her fall. It broke a coccyx instead. The robed form of Mian lays in a heap. The mask was broken. For a moment, there is nothing. And then, a jolt. A spasm. And then, a sound.
Not a very feminine sound.
Mian rises up, her face exposed. Her soft features were gentle, smooth, unblemished. Even in her frustrations, her face wasn't contorted in rage. More hurt, than angry. "You broke my skeleton, you..." She seethes as she tries, very very gingerly, to raise herself back up. "My... guh..." She weezes hard, struggling to get back up. Or -together-. She couldn't look at people, or the camera, or Makoto. She shields her face behind the sleeve of the robe, peering over it with her eyes. Her cheeks were red. She wasn't comfortable with this. She needed to fix it. She reaches into her robe, reaching around. A fan comes out. And there, she opens it, covering her face. And then, shuts it.
A mask was there.
It wasn't a moon. It wasn't even lunar. It was the face of a fierce demon, red and black. Mian raises the fan up. "The..." She trails off. What was this. "The... The SPIRIT of the Fierce Demon King Herod Fills Me!" And with that, her energy comes back. The shimmering energy floods her, flashing, billowing, building. The splendor of chi was cascading over her, spreading around. She reaches down for the doll, and lifts it high by one hand. "And with this baby..."
"I will destroy you!"
And she suddenly spins. She spins, faster and faster, spinning like a top as she rushes straight at Makoto....
COMBATSYS: Makoto fails to interrupt Zesshou Shisen Enbu from Mian with Hayate.
[ \\\\\\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Makoto can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\\\\ <
And the energy swirls.
The energy floods around Makoto, as the actress blazes past her, spinning. The world around was pastels, painted and swimming with the shimmering lights. The place was washing out, distant, far. Mian wasn't there. And then she was, another spinning rush as she blazes past Makoto. And then, again. It was a beautiful place to be, until her spinning stops as she stops right before Makoto. She opens her fan before her own face, and closes it, her face revealed for a peek as she looks at Makoto. And she states gruffly. "I will not forgive you." Before reopening the fan, and shutting it, the mask showing the crude painting of a rabbit with a pestle, white and pink.
And Mian back flips away with a staggering kick, the chi world shattering with the faintest sounds of tinkling.
A cocky grin had spread across Makoto's face after unleashing her ultimate technique upon the unsuspecting woman. There are few who had suffered its direct wrath and walked away to tell the tale. It's one of those things that kind of ruins the rest of your day. The spotlights on her seemed to intensify as she unleashed the devastating final strike and for a moment she felt a surge of relief that this fiasco of a fight was over.
Turns out, she was almost right.
Makoto lowers her hand cautiously from its upthrust pose as the woman flops and scrambles out of the manger. Her mask is broken, shattered and cast aside, giving the girl a brief glimpse of Mian's elegant features. Being gazed upon seems oddly troubling to the woman and Makoto winces a little out of sympathetic embarassment as her opponent struggles to regain her bearings. She's knocked a few people loopy before but this is pretty bad.
She opens her mouth, words half formed on her lips when Mian changes. Her frustration takes the form of a much darker and more aggressive visage and even a simple girl like Makoto can tell when something looks like bad news. Frowning, she drops back into her fighting stance, wincing as the bruises from her brief heroic stand quickly start to catch up with her lost focus. Well, it worked before, maybe she can make it work again.
Taking a deep breath, the karateka hunches down, drawing in power towards her arms in preparation for a lunging straight punch. It's not nearly as horrific of an attack as the one she used before but it should be enough to knock her opponent out of whatever this spinning nonsense is leading up to.
And then the drug trip hits her. The dull browns and reds of the desert theatre suddenly swim and shift into kaleidescopic patterns of glimmering light. The girl actually staggers backwards from surprise, her built-up energy vanishing in that moment of lost concentration. "What the...?!" Mian darts in and out of view, slipping between the blotches of distorted color in a maddening swirl, until suddenly the masked dancer is right infront of her.
Makoto has the presence of mind to draw her fist back, preparing to drive it square into the weirdo's crazy mask for a second time, but the actor is faster. The kick smashes into the girl's chin like the cracking of a whip and the strike brings with it something beyond the physical impact, the world of twisted colors shattering into a thousand tiny pieces that shred into her spirit like shrapnel from a grenade.
There is something that sounds like an attempt to cry out in surprise and pain but it becomes little more than a muted grunt as the Japanese teen flies into the air and lands with a hard crash amongst one of the many large piles of present boxes scattered about the set. She twitches a couple of times, thrashing wildly in protest, but after a few moments she goes still, too dazed to continue.
Mian lands on her feet again, her mask returned, her expression concealed. She... was in pain. With the rush of her counter attack wearing off, everything was a blur. A big, sore blur. She stumbles, her rhythm broken, clutching her abdomen. She was tearing under the mask, but she wasn't crying. She wouldn't cry. She couldn't cry. She had to be strong. She rises up, craning her body in a defensive stance. If she keep the appearance, she could keep herself there. She could keep control. She could keep calm.
But it seemed she didn't need to.
Her opponents writhes. She wiggles. And she stays down. The producer starts clapping. "Looks good ladies! Looks good! HooraH!" The man claps slickly. Mian looks in her own hand. In it, was the broken remains of baby jesus. She drops them on the ground. The remains scattered, she sweeps her arms, concealing her face for a moment, to reveal a photo-realistic moon on her mask. And there, facing the camera, she speaks.
"The sun sets..."
"And the moon rises!"
And with that, Mian takes to the air, leaping out of sight in... where?"
Log created on 18:56:01 01/03/2017 by Mian, and last modified on 14:32:07 01/09/2017.