Nagase - Privacy Not Guaranteed

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Description: Nagase is a ninjutsu prodigy, but she's been hitting a wall lately. Sometimes you just need to branch out in order to reach new horizons -- and if that means starting a rivalry in the Southtown Mall, so be it!

Ah, the blistering heat of summer brings many things as people of all ages try to beat the heat. Some do so by heading for cooler climates. Others do so by eating ice cream. Still others head to the beach.

And then others try to do these things, but have obstacles to conquer first. One such individual is Mai Shiranui, who is presently at the Southtown Village Mall ... bathing suit shopping. She is presently dressed in a red t-shirt and blue jean shorts with sandals, and she has a pair of oversized sunglasses perched atop her head. Judging from the big paper bag hooked around her arm, she has already done quite a bit of shopping. Her other hand is presently occupied with some variety of ice cream bar, which she licks idly.

"I'm sorry ma'am," says a clearly distressed clerk in khakis and a polo shirt. "I don't ... I don't think we have that size?"

Mai frowns. "Can't you check the back?"

"Pretty sure they'd need to get something custom for you. There's an urban outfitter down the way though, they might have some tent canvas big enough."

The voice comes from a young woman perusing the discount racks just a short distance away. The young woman seems like she has -some- sense of style, in that her short chestnut-hued hair is swept high, tinted orange and white at the tips. And her amber-lensed glasses are perched precariously upon her nose. She's quite pointedly looking at the clothing rack in front of her, flipping through one hanger after another. Which is to say, she's not talking -to- Mai, but her words and her timing clearly suggest that the sass was aimed at Miss Shiranui.

The 5'3" ninjette pulls a black tanktop with spaghetti straps from the racks, stepping back and away to get a better look. The garment isn't -totally- compatible with the shorter woman's current clothing choices, considering she's wearing a baggy, long-sleeved dress and leggings in the middle of all this heat.

"Or, y'know, tablecloths might could work. They've got some pretty patterns that'd fit you nice, would bring out your inner charm. I'm thinkin', like... what's that breed with black and white spots? Holstein? That'd be a good look for you."

She peers at the price tag, and then drapes the garment over her arm as she moves along to another rack. Through it all, her expression doesn't really exhibit any sign of emotion at all as she moves to the next rack. And then -- only then -- does she turn her amber-lensed gaze to address Mai directly, the barest hint of a predatory smirk crossing her lips.

"Maybe you'd have an easier time shopping if you cut back on the ice cream a bit, hm?"

Mai's eyes roll toward the sound of the voice when someone speaks up. The effect is almost comical, as Mai is in the middle of licking her ice cream when it all happens. At first, Mai's expression is of mild annoyance--curiosity, even--before she turns her attention back to the clerk.

But then the barbs continue, and Mai's lips curl into a grimace. It's a grimace she quickly conceals by sticking the ice cream into her mouth and taking a very aggressive bite. She chews it slowly.

"Are you okay over there?" Mai asks, "I think the heat has gotten to your head." Mai replies to the ice cream jab by taking a very aggressive bite of it, chewing it slowly. "You seem to be seeing things. Boys like a generous figure!" She turns to the clerk, thereby catching him mid-escape. "Don't they?" Mai asks, giving the man a wink. He somehow looks even more flustered than before.

"Maybe you'll understand better when you're older," Mai says, sticking the remaining ice cream in her mouth before pulling out the bare popsicle stick. "And more developed, of course."

Mai's eye twitches just slightly. Brain freeze reminds her that was not the brightest idea.

The flame-haired kunoichi scruitinizes each minute aspect of the taller Shiranui's face, carefully gauging her level of agitation. It's a delicate balancing act, after all -- the Iga-ryuu ninja wants to get Shiranui -irritated- but not quite -enraged-. It's a lot easier to take advantage of someone when they're just -mildly- frustrated, after all...

Case in point -- the shorter ninja's half-smirk grows once the big ol' bite of ice cream disappears.

"Generous, sure, but most boys get tired of sloshing around in bouncy-houses after they start growing a pair. I mean, you practically need warning labels."
Eyes widen, as she scratches her cheek in mock concentration.
"Or maybe you get around that by handing out snorkels."
And then, Nagase takes another step forward, clapping one hand to the other and dipping her head forward in an approximation of concession. "Eh, I'm sure you worked out a procedure after your first dozen customers, haha! 'Must be this tall to ride' and all..."

Maybe she'll understand when she's older? And more developed? Nagase just shrugs faintly. "Eh, if I was as old and flabby as you I'd get a discount at McDonald's -- which you seem to be making good use of -- but I'll pass, thanks! I -am- kinda curious though..."

Her earlier hand gesture was more than a simple expansion of her pestering mode of speech though. The expert reverse psychology move of goading Mai into eating a large amount of ice cream, coupled with a liberal sprinkling of gradeschool insults, culminates in a perfect blend of distraction into thinking that Nagase is just some annoying brat.

She's not -just- an annoying brat.

No, it was a setup -- one which becomes more obvious when her right hand slides forward across her left palm.

A blur of silver whistles out from her hands, and a moment later, the weight on Mai's arm lessens. Both of the paper arms of her shopping bag are bisected by a shuriken, which helpfully ricochets off to the side once its job is done. The bag, for its part, obeys the pull of gravity -- right up until the point at which the bag lands upon Nagase's extended foot.

The impish Iga-ryuu kunoichi winks back at Mai as she retracts her leg, wrapping her arms around her newly-claimed prize. "But hey, thanks for the free stuff! Maybe I'll grow into it!" She gives just enough time for Mai to catch on, before abruptly vanishing backwards, leaving behind only a faint shadow of herself.

Some twenty feet back, the ninja thief's form reappears, arms still wrapped securely around her ill-gotten gains. "Catch me if you can, oldie!" She hops once, onto a two-foot-high planter -- and then takes off running in the opposite direction. It might be a good thing Mai just ingested all those sugary calories!

Mai is clearly annoyed. As someone used to be showered with praise, her irritation grows with the childish sleights. While the elder kunoichi may have unshakeable self-confidence many times, she seems unable to deflect Nagase's insults, at least, not entirely.

"What!" Mai objects, puffing out her chest instead of trying to hide it. She is starting to redden a bit. "Bouncy houses? Snorkels?! What a rude little --"

Thump. Mai's may have not detected the shuriken with her brainfreeze, but the definitely catches the change in weight as her bag drops. When the smaller ninjette takes off in a flash, Mai blinks with surprise.

"Oh," Mai says, "another kunoichi, is it? This should be interesting..." Mai kicks off, dropping into a low run at fantastic speed after Nagase. She hits the planter with the tips of her toes and doesn't even pause as she vaults over it without ever losing momentum. As she goes, the popsicle stick goes flying in a deadly spin that sends it soaring past Nagase until it embeds itself in a display like a kunai. Perhaps it's a warning shot?

So much fun... The nimble Nagase flashes a smirk back at her pursuer as she flits through the crowded shopping mall, bounding from one display case to the next. From the way in which the displays bounce, it would seem she's carrying quite a bit more weight than someone her size and stature might suggest -- and from the "clank" sound she makes when her long-sleeved shoulder checks against a wooden signboard, perhaps she's wearing some sort of armor underneath that baggy outfit?

As soon as Nagase sees a popsicle stick fly past her and embed itself in a display, the Iga-ryuu disciple realizes that it's game on! Laughing, the kunoichi bounds to the top of a decorative lightpole, sitting cross-legged upon the top of it as she looks down at Mai. One hand darts into the bag, plucking out a pair of red lace panties. "Oh, hey, this actually -fits- those fat hips?" Tentatively, she tests out the waistband, amping up the melodrama with raised eyebrows. "I'm impressed!"

A moment later, she returns the undergarment -- and the shirt she'd stowed on her arm earlier -- back into the bag.

"Like I said before, I'm curious. So we're throwing down, right here, right now. Or else I keep this stuff and Megslist it to your fans at a 5000% markup, a'ight?"

Nudging her glasses upon her nose, she tosses the bag onto the top of a nearby rectangular sign, silently assuring herself the bag won't fall in the midst of the ensuing battle. And with a *poof* sound, she disappears from view -- only to reappear an instant later with her two ninjato drawn and ready.

A half-dozen shoppers in the immediate vicinity suddenly make plans to not be in the immediate vicinity. After all -- those blades are live steel.

"So we're on! Come at me, Shiranui-chan~"

COMBATSYS: Nagase has started a fight here.

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Nagase           0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Mai has joined the fight here on the right meter side.

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Nagase           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0              Mai

If Mai notes the oddity of Nagase's movements, she does not verbally note it. Instead, she keeps up the chase! Even as Nagase scales the lightpole and takes a seat, Mai's still closing the gap until eventually she slides to a stop near the post.

And Mai's cheeks redden when the lacy undergarments come out of the bag. "Those are private!" she says, clearly frustrated. "--but if you wanted a fight, you could have just asked!"

Mai grips her shirt and spins, promptly disrobing to reveal her traditional Shiranui style ninja garb underneath. The heavy ball of the tails clunks against the ground behind her, and then Mai pulls a fan from her cleavage with a bounce. As if by instinct, she shifts into a dramatic pose, one fan opened and pointed at Nagase in challenge--the other hand planted firmly on her hip.

"I'll be happy to show you the power of Shiranuiryu!"

And so, Mai takes the brandished ninjato as her invitation to hurl the fan she was holding, which sends it spinning toward Nagase like a shuriken! It whizzes through the air with precision, threatening to remove Nagase from her perch if she's not careful.

COMBATSYS: Nagase blocks Mai's Kachosen.

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Nagase           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0              Mai

From her high vantage point atop the lightpole, Nagase can see the crowd responding to her taunt. Some people gawk, others recoil in horror, and undoubtedly -someone- caught the event on a cellphone camera.

In the end, though, it's little more than a precursor for Mai's flashy costume change. Apparently Mai's reputation precedes her -- and on no face is this more evident than Nagase's. The disdain is obvious, from her pinched brows to the curled lips. Everything -about- Miss Shiranui turns Nagase's stomach -- her spoiled, smug expressions, right down to the perfect dimensions that -- in Nagase's mind -- everyone seems to be capturing on their cellphones.

"I guess I =could've= asked," concedes Nagase as she twirls her ninjato around in an attempt to reclaim the attention of the audience. "But I need your undivided attention!"

The flame-haired kunoichi's glasses flicker with the reflection of Mai's fan whipping towards them. Nagase's nose twitches. And with a flash of silver, the ninjato lash out to intercept the fan. Slashing the fan out of the air would've been pretty cool -- but that's not what Nagase does. No -- she slams the panda-head pommel of her black ninjato into the fan, blunting its impact. Even still, the fan continues to whirl before she's finally able to stop it, loosing a fine spray of red mist from Nagase's left cheek before the junior kunoichi is able to fold the fan back into a benign state.

Her look has turned into determination. There's a reason for this fight, and the pain is an integral component.

She continues teetering backwards -- some bystanders (who had the presence of mind to turn away from Mai) begin to gasp out at the notion that Nagase might fall. It's a feint, though -- Nagase hops off of the lightpole at the last moment, bounding backwards. A *shink!* sound is heard as she re-sheathes her ninjato, in the process of gaining a foothold on a suspended power line, using its springiness to propel her downward at Mai in a blatant mockery of one of the scarlet ninja's signature attacks.

Her lips are pressed into a firm line as she hurtles forward. It would seem like she's heading in a direct bee-line to Mai's face, but at the very last moment, she would invert herself, aiming to wrap her arms around Mai's wrist, using her arm as leverage to whip Shiranui around -- ultimately sending her chest-first into the mall floor.

COMBATSYS: Nagase successfully hits Mai with Quick Throw.
Glancing Blow

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Nagase           0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0              Mai

Mai's eyes narrow as Nagase blocks the fan. Lofty attitude or not, she seems to be watching Nagase and trying to get a feel for her. It's rare to see another ninja so brazen, and Mai may have her moments, but she's not dumb enough to not realize someone rarely starts a fight that they aren't confident in. Reaching into her top, Mai draws out another fan but leaves this one folded as she drops into her bouncing, forward-leaning neutral stance.

And as she does, Nagase descends toward her with the counter-attack. There seems to be a moment of surprise when Nagase imitates Musasabi no Mai, but it gets complicated when Nagase transitions into a wrist-lock throw instead. Mai is pressed up against Nagase as the elder kunoichi is whipped around and sent airborne!

But as she goes, Mai changes direction, twisting in a way that her dimensions should probably not allow. She lands on her open-palm and springs before crashing heavily onto her knee instead of chest. There's still a heavy impact, but one not quite as severe as being laid out flat. She doesn't wait long, however, before hopping back into her combat stance.

"So what's your name?" Mai asks, standing upright and pointing a fan at Nagase accusingly. "It seems rude that you know so much about me when I don't even have yours." But even as she speaks, Mai goes on the offensive again, she spins forward and snaps open a fan, swinging it upward in a dance-like, downward sweeping strike.

COMBATSYS: Nagase dodges Mai's Sayo Chidori.

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Nagase           0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0              Mai

As Mai deftly maneuvers herself to safety, Nagase springs back to her feet, bouncing nimbly on the balls of her feet. A brief glance is spared towards the gawking masses. Self-confidence tells the Iga-ryuu ninja that they're watching -her-. But jealousy insists they're staring at the ninja who seems to have a limitless store of fans tucked away within cleavagespace.

"=Rude?=" asks Nagase through narrowed eyes. A hint of mirth pulls at her lips as she curls her hands before her in a defensive stance.

That's about all the time she has before Hurricane Mai comes whirling towards her. With a roll of her eyes, Nagase slaps her hands together, then slides one palm to the left...

Fans whistle through the shadowed air left in the junior ninja's wake, and a moment later she reappears a good ten feet to Mai's right.

"Haha, so this is rich..." She's broken into a full-on smirk now! "You strip down to =that= before prancing around in front of the cameras, and then you act all surprised when people want to find out a thing or two about you?"

Hands curl around one another -- and then Nagase slams her right palm downward into the floor. A twin helix of flame erupts from ground zero, coiling upwards and then crawling towards Mai like a two-foot-wide inchworm. As the twirling double helix bounds towards Mai, Nagase backflips to relative safety, once more nudging her spectacles up along the bridge of her nose.

"Name's Nagase. If you survive, be sure to remember it!"

COMBATSYS: Mai dodges Nagase's Unrelenting Fire.

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Nagase           0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0              Mai

Mai's fan cuts through the void, whistling through the empty air as Nagase deftly manuevers out of its path. Mai clenches her teeth and backsteps with another dance-like spin to get herself clear of immediate rebuttal. Regardless of Nagase's mixed feelings, Mai seems to thrive with the crowd watching. She practically beams at them, giving them a brief wave and a victory sign before slipping back into a proper fighting stance. She flips her hair hair confidently.

"I'll have you know that this is the traditional uniform of Shiranui kunoichi!" Mai protests, aghast at the suggestion that she is somehow being /intentionally/ indecent.

And then a helix of flame erupts from the ground in pursuit of Miss Shiranui. Her ninja tabi slide across the floor as she narrows her stance to spring up, up and over the incoming flames. Executing a double flip before transitioning into a downward dive kick!

"Nagase, hmm? I will try to remember that."

COMBATSYS: Nagase fails to interrupt Strong Kick from Mai with Hyperdrive Nagase Spiral.

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Nagase           0/-------/--=====|===----\-------\0              Mai

Normally, Nagase -does- thrive on the feelings of the crowd. Mostly because she's confident enough that her skills are -badass- and they're -in favor- of her. But with Mai bouncing around like that...

The tech-ninja's response to traditional Shiranui uniforms is, as one can expect, ascerbic: "Oh, sure, I believe it! It pays homage to the -oldest- profession, way before ninjutsu was even a thing!" Nagase hops backwards, one hand snaking back to steady the panda-pommelled ninjato swords bobbing about on her hips, while she raises the first two fingers of her other hand in a ninjutsu guard.

While Mai double flips into the air, Nagase's Battle Disc System overlays an extrapolation of her trajectory onto her amber spectacles. Hands curl up as she drops to a low crouch, firing back: "Yeah, might be hard with the impending brain damage. Maybe I won't be too rough on you!"

She uncoils rapidly, hands unfurling to her side as she rockets into the air -- a dramatic launch that draws a collective gasp from the onlookers. But just as she's about to collide with Mai, Nagase kicks in midair, changing her orientation dramatically. If the maneuver goes off as planned, she'd have her arms wrapped about Mai's waistline, with the elder kunoichi's battle options severely curtailed by the arrangement.

That... that would be when the materials pre-entered into the Battle Disc System are proven wrong. In a few hours, when Nagase goes back over the data, she'll realize that the material worn by the "real" Mai creates much less wind resistance than the one in the computer model.

Accordingly, Nagase's course correction is executed too late, catapulting the bulk of Mai's momentum right into her abdomen -- a necessarily lighter portion of her concealed armor. The tech-ninja jacknifes around the extended foot, her own momentum working against her for one nauseatingly long moment...

And then gravity takes over, pulling the two ninja ladies back towards the ground. Nagase, thankfully, is not -completely- incapacitated by the grievous blow to her middle, ekeing out a forward flip once she's free of the midair entanglement with Mai, and landing on her toes and one palm. Doubled over, and coughing violently, she... Well, she's not smirking at the moment, so there's that. It's more of an irritable -glare-, considering.

Mai scrunches her nose in consternation. Oldest profession? What does she mean by--

Mai turns bright red, put off by the accusation. "How rude!" she says, even as she does her anger is appeased by the feeling on her tabi-clad boot finding purchase in Nagase's midsection due in part to an unseen miscalculation. Mai rides her own momentum for a moment, digging her heel in before kicking back off and away from Nagase once more.

With her stance resumed, Mai flips open her fan and half-conceals her face as she fans herself. "Your reflexes are quite good," Mai says without irony, "but we Shiranui Clan pride ourselves on our speed!" Mai keeps her expression hidden by the fan when she talks. "It seems like even this...cow...," Mai struggles to say it, "is quick enough to keep you on your toes, hmm?" The elder kunoichi snaps her fan closed, pointing it at Nagase again. "So maybe it's best if you respect your elders!"

But without skipping a beat, Mai kicks off toward Nagase in a low run. She slips her fan in-between her teeth to free up her hands, falling forward as she gets close. Her palms impacts the tile flooring heavily to guide Mai as she falls forward into a downward flip kick aimed at catching Nagase atop the head. If it connects, Mai contiues downward to cartwheel back onto her feet and then spring forward into a mighty elbow striked that's braced against her other palm.

COMBATSYS: Nagase counters Hissatsu Shinobibachi from Mai with Nagase Stomp.

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Nagase           0/-------/----===|=====--\-------\0              Mai

When confident, the cornered Nagase talks a big game. When she's -actually injured-, it seems like she wants to talk even more.

"... I gotta ask you, why are you spouting 80s sitcom dialogue? No wonder your clan's..." Nagase's followup thought is delayed by a wracking cough, but she springs back to her feet afterwards. "Mmm, whatever. Ninja clan, speed, check... " She holds up her finger for a moment, backpedaling as she tries to regain her equilibrium in the face of the brutal abdominal kick. "Sorry, don't mind me -- keep going! I'm trying to win 'Ninja Stock Phrases Bingo.'"

The signals Mai is giving off do not go unnoticed, or unappreciated. Grandstanding from the opponent just gives the injured Iga-ryuu disciple time to recover, after all. "... Ooh, right. Respect your elders!" One side of her face wincing at the pain, she brings both hands up for a golf-clap. "That's a good one!" she adds, voice dripping with insincerity.

As with most of the fight thus far, leaving obvious openings is just part and parcel of Nagase's deceptive fighting style. Sure, the tech-ninja's face shifts from mockery to alarm -- but as Mai commits with the handspring-flip kick, Nagase slaps her hand to the right and shadow-steps neatly out of her path. Though, instead of skipping -far- out of the way like before, it's only a small adjustment -- two feet.

When Nagase emerges from her shadow-step, it's with her knee lifted up into Mai's abdomen. Pain shoots through her face from the sudden contortion, but this too is part of her self-imposed training regimen -- for she then leaps into a nearly-vertical backflip. As Mai continues to sail forward from her own momentum, Nagase adjusts her trajectory in mid-flight -- and uses Mai as a springboard! Both her boots stomp down onto Mai's shoulders, transferring the impact through the elder Shiranui and allowing Nagase to backflip once more -- this time to relative safety.

She steps backwards, one hand cradling her stomach, while her other index finger brushes along the curve of her cheek. "Elders, elders... Huh, now that I think of it, I don't think that's on my board. What else you got for me?"

Mai huffs in response to being called out for 80s dialogue. Some lines are classic, even if Nagase is too young and immature to appreciate them (clearly)! The ninja stock phrase bingo elicits a second huff, but by then Mai is moving in with the Hissatsu Shinobachi.

But to her chagrin, Nagase is also on the move, first sidestepping, then kneeing. Mai wheezes as the wind is knocked out of her, then staggers forward and falls over when Nagase kicks off her shoulders into another flip. In fact, Mai slides across the tile briefly before rolling over and rolling back onto her feet. Injuries aside, she bounces back onto her feet and adjusts, reassuming her fighting stance while nursing her injured ribs (and dignity). By this point, she can help but roll her eyes. "Is everyone from your ninja clan so chatty?" Mai asks, "or is this unique to you?

But then Mai closes the gap again, moving as if she's going to go for a strike to Nagase's injured midsection. Toward the end of the strike she feints, flipping up and over instead--to try and grab Nagase by the shoulders, complete her own flip, then hurl Nagase overhead with her forward momentum!

Mai may have aimed to dunk Nagase into a trash can out of spite.

COMBATSYS: Mai successfully hits Nagase with Medium Throw.

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Nagase           0/-------/--=====|======-\-------\0              Mai

"Nah," answers Nagase, brushing off the front of her dress. All that dirt from Mai's sandal earlier... "It's just me. Most of 'em are lifeless sacks of regret and baby powder. Had to leave the rest of the Iga-ryuu behind before they discovered the new and strange magic of MySpace for themselves."

By this point, the audience has nearly doubled in size. To have not one but -two- famous martial artists duking it out in an apparently friendly match is a special treat, after all! There is, naturally, little doubt that footage of this fight will be hitting the internet before long...

And Nagase's only barely paying them any mind, because her chosen opponent is much faster than her -- though she'd only admit it under duress. As the kunoichi closes in, Nagase just shakes her head at the obviously telegraphed move. Her Battle Disc System confirms that Mai isn't a hundred percent committed to attacking her in the midsection, but both the advanced AI heuristics and the ninjette herself agree that Mai will be zigging down, rather than zagging upwards -- which means that Nagase's pre-emptive hop just sends her flying into Mai's outreached arms.
"Ulp!" ulps Nagase, as she's plucked right out of the sky, no hacks required! And after a dizzying spin, she's hurled into a trash can, certainly under no influence by Mai...

*CL-CL-CLANG!* The aluminum trash can topples over, and a moment later Nagase falls out of it, plucking a banana peel off of her amber lenses. "A'ight, playtime's over. Hope you're not out of Shiranui tricks to show me, 'cause you're gonna need 'em!"

Hands clap together, and then twist in opposing directions -- and then with a rapidly-forming cloud of shadow, Nagase disappears.

Two seconds later, she reappears thirty feet over Mai's head, and descending rapidly! What could the tech-ninja have in store next?

COMBATSYS: Nagase calculates her next move.

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Nagase           0/-------/--=====|======-\-------\0              Mai

"Oh," Mai says with surprise. "That sounds...sad, actually." Mai frowns, tilting her head.

But the crowd has grown, and Mai's focus quickly shifts back to the fight at hand. Mai seems to have noticed Nagase's attempt to outsmart her feint, so she's watching the technie ninja more carefully now. Her eyes stay focused, looking for signs of hidden weapons, diversionary tactics, feints...nothing happens right away. But then, without warning, Nagase is high above her! Mai looks up with surprise as Nagase descends toward her rapidly. But even as she does, Mai is already moving to react.

She snaps her fan up and back into her teeth. As her hands are freed, she works her hands in front of her, executing a series of intricate ninja handsigns. As she completes them, the kunoichi surges with chi. Enough chi that her robes suddenly billow upward--accompanied by a great pillar of fire that erupts from underneath Mai's feet! The tower climbs rapidly, threatening to collide with Nagase if she doesn't change course!

COMBATSYS: Nagase fails to reflect Kagerou no Mai EX from Mai with Nagase Spiral.
- Power fail! -

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Nagase           0/-------/--=====|=------\-------\0              Mai

Sad? ... This... kunoichi is feeling -sorry- for her?!
"I don't need your pity, Shiranui."
The words fall from Nagase's mouth quickly, unhindered by reservation or forethought. Mai had inadvertently(?) struck a raw nerve, a weakness the tech-ninja didn't even mean to reveal.

But that was then. Right now is a different matter -- as not only is Nagase hurtling downwards at Mai, but in the midst of her fall she has also wreathed herself in chi-borne flames. The ancient practice of her Iga-ryuu forebears, adapted from the ground-spanning helices she'd tossed out earlier. The fiery meteor-ninja rockets downward, indomitable against all but the mightiest.

And yet, quick-thinking Mai has a counter-strategem.

While most of the camera-wielding observers would be zooming in to get an upskirt shot of Mai, the saner folks with functional self-preservation instincts raise their arms to shield themselves from the riotous conflagration erupting from the Shiranui scion. That is to say, some people realize that fire burns. Gasp!

Nagase, though... is a falling star. And thus, she's pretty committed to continuing her attack -- even if it means plunging right through the center of the rising tower of fire. Her own flames blaze a brilliant yellow -- but even the quick adaptation is not enough.

And it even -backfires-, as Nagase howls out in agony -- even her own mastery of the chi working against her. Engulfed by both her own traitorous flames and Mai's volcanic eruption, Nagase's trajectory is knocked off-course, forcing her to flounder helplessly against the facade of the nearby boutique, colliding in a shower of sparks and shattered fluorescent bulbs.

The tech-ninja hits the ground hard enough to leave spiderwebbed cracks in the pavement. Curling up, she wraps her arms around herself, convulsing heavily for what seems to be an eternity.

The eyeglass display of her Battle Disc System goes blank -- and then reboots, slowly painting a string of amber circles across the front of the display. And only then do Nagase's eyes open, dully.

"Y'see, this is why..." she begins to mumble -- but that, too, seems to have been a thought she hadn't intended to share, and she cuts herself off abruptly with a shake of her head. Still curled upon the ground, she notes quietly, "Nnf. I don't need your pity!"

One hand plants down. And slowly -- laboriously -- Nagase begins to push herself back to her feet.

"I can be just as good as you..." she states, in the face of evidence to the contrary.

Mai's expression sours at Nagase's snappy retort. By the time the conflagaration of her chi has subsided, however, she's had some time to cool out metaphorically as well. Only a moment, but still enough for Mai to regain her composure--at least for now.

As Nagase impacts the ground, Mai still has her fan clenched in her teeth. She reaches open and removes it with a practiced motion that makes it clear she has plenty of experience passing the weapon in and out of her hands readily. Her other hand goes back to her hip as she leans jauntily and rests the fan across her shoulder. Whether intentional or not, it makes for a perfect pose for another round of photos. If nothing else, Mai has turned showboating into a second nature.

"Is that what this is about?" Mai asks, her voice laced with curiosity. "Who are you trying to prove your strength to, hm? A teacher? Your family?" Mai leans in, both hands on her hips. "Maybe a love interest?"

Nagase feels like she's ten years old again, standing in the shadow of Mai Shiranui. A hand raises to the back of her neck, rubbing it sorely, and rocking her head from side to side. With Mai declining to put an immediate end to the battle, the Iga-ryuu ninja takes a moment to hop from one side to the other.

That? That right there? That's pity, and it brings out a sour face from the tech-ninja. Is that what this is about... honestly!

"Tch, no. What the heck, are you trying to start a psychology practice?" Nagase brings her left hand up, and presses a button on the wrist of her armored gauntlets. A small hatch lifts upwards, and Nagase shrugs faintly, as her sourness turns to some approximation of self-derision. "Was trying out some new HUD scripts. These are -obviously- no good."

The lid latches shut with a click, as Nagase glances pointedly off to the side. She can tell that Mai and her backside are attracting most of the photography, with Nagase little more as background dressing.

Nagase's ribcage heaves as she draws in a ragged breath. She could easily take a nap -- but not here. She refuses to show weakness in front of so many people -- part of the reason she's avoiding eye contact with the Shiranui disciple. Instead...

"Whatever. Good luck finding something to cover your wide load. Me, I got people to see, stuff to do and all that."

Hands turn over one another, and in the next instant, Nagase disappears in a shadowy mist.

Two seconds later, Mai would find that her shopping bag is sailing towards her in a downward arc, lobbed from the spot Nagase had placed it earlier. Metal groans in the wake of the toss; a fair distance away, the taps of boots on a rooftop would give one last indication of the tech-ninja's passing by. The rivalry may not be over, but this battle in particular probably is.

COMBATSYS: Nagase takes no action.

[                        \\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Nagase           0/-------/--=====|=------\-------\0              Mai

COMBATSYS: Nagase has left the fight here.

                                  >  //////////////////////        ]
                                  |=------\-------\0              Mai

Mai seems unaware of Nagase's struggles, for better or worse. Not unpleasant enough to be openly spiteful, Mai instead tries (and fails) at offering her sympathy. When Nagase mentions HUD scripts, Mai seems even more confused. "What?" is what she manages before Nagase takes off.

As she leaves, Mai crosses her arms and gives a half pout. "I wonder what's bothering her?" she asks herself quietly. "Surely she's not just a sore loser..."

But before she can continue, the bag drops down prompting mai to have to turn to catch it and it thumps into her arms. And, as the fight clearly ends, Mai suddenly finds herself dealing with the aftermath--a few autograph seekers, others wanting a photo op. ...Mai seems to genuinely contemplate dropping a smoke bomb and following Nagase's lead, at least for a moment.

Log created on 13:49:34 06/20/2017 by Nagase, and last modified on 19:54:14 06/22/2017.