Description: A Neo-League match between a pair of up and coming fighters near the top of the ranks becomes an emotional quagmire when the self-styled bully Mitsuru springs a Spangles-shaped trap on an unsuspecting B.B. Hood.
Osaka was a decent place for a fight.
The Shinsekai district had a kind of cult appeal in the fighting world. The main street was a neon-lighted spectacle, bringing pachinko parlours, cinemas, gift stores, and so many restaurants. Right at the intersection of the foot-traffic distract was where a Neo-League fight was going to take place. With lanterns, neon signs, and the gaudy Tsutenkaku hanging over it, food carts form a kind of barrier, leaving the center-way clear for a fight. Anybody could walk around, of course, but with the crowd building, the judge and camera crew in place, it was just another facet of entertainment.
And Mitsuru was excited for her fight.
Oh, yes, she hated her last fight with Franco. She was so angry; the other members of the fight club at Seijyun High told her that a win was a win. But it wasn't a real win. It was a disgusting pity win; it was like if somebody's daddy was rigging a contest in their daughter's favor. It was pathetic, and Mitsuru felt pathetic. And yet, another Neo-League opportunity came up. There was a girl on the leaderboards. She challenged her. And while Mitsuru wasn't exactly the brightest fighter, the rest of the Fight Club was another story. They didn't actually fight. But they researched their opponent, Mitsuru's opponent. She was a young girl, like Mitsuru. Belt holder, a real professional fighter.
But she had an open secret.
That's why Mitsuru was standing in between the food carts, avoiding her gang of 'hooligans' who were lounging around a Kushikatsu kiosk; the other members of the fight club, all five of them. They weren't even looking at her, but they had little satchel bags on the side. There was a prank here, a prank that was brewing. A trap. And Mitsuru was standing in the clearing, where the Neo-League fight would take place. She was clad in her delinquent garb, a black longcoat, black slacks, and large wooden sandals. Her top was open, of course, but bound with white bandages flat as a board. On her head was her black commissar cap, which was dry cleaned after her fight with Franco. Between her teeth, she was gnawing on a piece of straw. She had her arms crossed, and she was staring into the crowd. Waiting. Watching. Eagerly rolling the piece of straw between her teeth.
Ready to crack her opponent like an egg.
A real professional fighter.
A belt holder.
A young girl.
Mitsuru (Seijyun High; 1st Year) did her homework, but she'd be forgiven for missing her opponent as she scans the audience.
SOME TIME AGO
Mitsuru and Ayane (Gedo High; ??? Year) fight and cry and /fight/ until teachers from their respective schools team up to separate and punish them. Every eye in the room's glued to the spectacle, but only one mouth remains still throughout. /Mostly/ still: a placid little line becomes curious, quirked pursing now and again, but that's about it.
Her name is Bonnie Beatrice Hood (Seijyun High; 3rd Year) and she's very good at disappearing in crowds when she wants to be. A sweet, kind nothing of a girl, the most notable thing about her's that it never really seems to matter all that much when she stops attending classes for weeks - months - on end. Sometimes, she's there; sometimes, she isn't. Life goes on regardless; so it's been over the years she's spent at Seijyun.
Mitsuru's a strong, sensitive girl with a hair trigger. B.B. Hood has certainly seen /her/ swaggering around campus once or twice, pushy and insistent, but her research time's been limited. Even with this fight on the horizon, it's been limited. Normally, she'd take her time: she'd watch every fight Mitsuru's ever had on tape, scour the girl's social accounts, and maybe even make a point of showing up at school to shadow her for a day; every fight in Neo League is a money fight, and she doesn't play when it comes to money. But she's been /busy/, digging for real estate oddities and making plans to further uncover Jedah Dohma's bizarre ambitions; chasing rumours of the dark matron Renard. She doesn't play when it comes to monsters, either, and when it comes down to it:
Darkstalkers are /much/ more dangerous than schoolyard bullies.
In lieu of proper research, she's got to content herself with seeing how Mitsuru responds to a simple stimulus: waiting.
So B.B. Hood watches, tucked a few layers deep into the audience with her hood and mask down. She slips between the bodies spoiling for a fight, pacing the edge of the clearing to study her quarry from as many angles as she can manage. The outfit says delinquent, but more than that: it /screams/ 'CONFIDENCE!'. Big, wooden sandals in winter; a stylish hat; a longcoat open to flaunt muscle and-- not much /else/, save for a white exclamation point on the thesis of her garb. It all dovetails with the swagger, the /attitude/...
It's all so familiar /she/ could scream. At least Mitsuru runs more 'JoJo' than 'Black Lagoon'.
Several minutes into the wait, there is a tense blonde standing /just/ beyond the crowd's edge, trying not to shiver as she clutches a satchel and looks-- almost a /foot/-- up. Loose red hoodie; baggy jeans; red and gold mask...
"S-sorry for making you wait, I..." Apple cheeks redden as she flicks her eyes down and grazes a hand over her stomach. "... thought that maybe if I ate something first, it'd settle my nerves a little, but I got a tummyache instead, and then I had to go sit down for a while, a-and I-- I..."
She swallows hard while lifting her gaze and-- try as she might, she just can't /help/ it when a tremor runs through her. Mitsuru's so-- so strong-- so /powerful/, so /brazen/-- and she /kept Mitsuru WAITING/--! It's written all over B.B. Hood's wide eyes and tightly bitten lip, she-- she's--
"... I have to FIGHT you, I-I-- I STILL, /SOMEHOW/ have to fight YOU, and it's-- it's just so-- s-so-- I mean, god, your RECORD... three wins? No losses...? NOBODY'S as strong as you-- nobody but that giant ABIGAIL, anyway...! You're as strong as HE is, and /I/, I-- I have to fight YOU?!"
Her eyes go back down after that outburst, and in spite of her fear... she slowly walks into the clearing until she's posted the League approved distance across from Mitsuru. Her breathing's slow and erratic the whole way. She's /trying/ to get herself psyched up, to push through the wholly understandable effects of being bathed in Mitsuru's aura... but it's rough.
She's as strong as /Abigail/.
"I-- I'll do my best," she promises. "I won't waste your time-- even if I can't BEAT you, I'll try not to make you resent me for making you come here...!"
COMBATSYS: Bulleta has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Mitsuru has joined the fight here.
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Bulleta 0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0 Mitsuru
Mitsuru was strong and sensitive, and didn't want anybody to realize the second.
Of course, it was an open secret; everyone who knows how bullies like Mitsuru work could see it. But Mitsuru didn't want people to see it. She didn't want anybody to see her weaknesses, even when they poured out in the open like against Fumiko, or Franco. That was the costume, it was the facade of confidence. It was just like those badasses at Gedo High who did whatever they wanted and nobody could make them do anything not even adults or their daddies. It was raw toughness.
Toughness that Mitsuru did not truly have.
When Bulleta comes forward, she didn't even realize she was Seijyun High. She knew her as B. B. Hood, yes. And when she saw the mask, the nervousness, she couldn't contain her grin. SHe was excited, because she had just the thing to push her around. And when she was coming forward so scared and frightened, it was like raw chum dumped before a shark. Mitsuru mimes sympathy, as she tut tuts tuts. "Yeah, that's -three- wins. I'm unbeatable!" In the Neo-League, and the hardest opponent forfeited. "Yare yare daze.... you've already wasted my time! But it's too late to run away, you're here now, so you gotta fight. Get out here! Gosh, you are pretty pathetic and sad." She shakes her head, glancing at the camera. Uncertainty flashes across her face a second. She didn't like the cameras still. But the judge makes the signal, eager to get it started, and Mitsuru gives a shrug. This wasn't the plan, the girls were supposed to have signs and everything. But Mitsuru couldn't wait. "I guess I have to take it easy on a..."
The sneer that stretches across Mitsuru's face was dripping with mockery. It was the purest form of schoolyard bullying, in the crudest and directest form. She cracks her knuckles, feeding off the perceived insecurity and weakness of her opponent. "Yeah, I know you. You're that -SPANGLES- girl that she tried to kiss! Yeah, real cool job getting a belt and making ranks. You don't think I researched you before we fought?" Mitsuru points to the girls at the food cart. "They made some cross checks, and they got your history! Don't you know that Lightning Spangles is for babies?" Mitsuru strides forward, the arrogance boiling off of her as she stamps at Bulleta.
"But where is she now, huh?"
Bulleta's pitiful facade was eaten up, yes, but Mitsuru's own bullying offense was coming in strong. It looks like she was feeding off Bulleta's weakness. And it was some comfort that it was making Mitsuru reckless. When she makes the first move, it wasn't a punch, it wasn't even a squared away attack. It was shoving. She was stepping forward and trying to shove Bulleta to the ground. One. Two. Three attempts, at most. "You're just a My Size Spangles loser! What, you are gonna do some high kicking cowgirl moves? What are you gonna do? You gonna cry? Or maybe you are gonna reach for the heart of Spangles, and inspire yourself to fight back?"
"You're a gosh darn baby!"
COMBATSYS: Bulleta blocks Mitsuru's Strong Throw.
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Bulleta 0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0 Mitsuru
SOME TIME AGO
"Th-they-- they dumped my FRUIT CUP into the garbage'n dumped BABY FOOD all over me 'cause they said I'm just-- just a BABY, Granny!" a little blonde girl sobs into a big, strong shoulder. "An' they were EVERYWHERE, it was EVERYONE they were PUSHING me and, and calling me NAMES, i-it was-- it was-- G--God, it was HORRIBLE and you said I can't use Princess Gem*Star on anyone at school so I'm NOT GOING BACK I'm NOT I'm STAYING HERE after the weekend I don't CARE I d-don't-- I--"
"Shhhh," Granny soothes in her sunbeam of a voice, stroking the girl's head as she dissolves into heaving and tears, "B.B., there /there/-- it's alright! Listen-- listen, darling! Those children are just /bullies/, and lucky for /you/, Granny's met an awful lot of bullies in her time."
B.B. looks up, blinking through tears, still sniffling at high speeds. "Y-y-you /have/...?"
"That's right! And Granny's /learned/ a thing or two about how they work-- oh! This reminds me of a ~story~, about a brave little girl and a scary, spooky witch, in fact! Maybe you'd li--"
"Tell it!" B.B. chirps with a clap. "Tell it! Tell it, tell it..."
B.B. Hood knows how bullies work. That's why she's alternating between frantically rubbing and slapping her blushing cheeks as Mitsuru berates her: she HAS to fight, she has no CHOICE, and she's desperate to dig up whatever strength she can to push herself through the mortal terror of facing a bonafide Neo-League machine like Mitsuru. Bullies like to project strength; bullies can do /terrible/ things, given even half the chance.
And if a bully feels confident enough, they won't even notice it before they're tripped into their own bubbling cauldrons. Figuratively speaking, of course.
"I-- ... I know, but I'm doing my /best/..." she whispers when Mitsuru points out how pathetic she is. Just enough hesitation to avert her eyes and scuff the ground with a red sneaker. Someone read a letter detailing the awful circumstances of her life during a title match, once; she /knows/ she's sad and pathetic, just like the world does. Mitsuru says she'll take it easy and B.B. just-- /barely/ looks up, smoothly sliding into giving the bully a little hopeful desperation to let her know she's got her victim completely under her power.
"Thank," she whimpers before Mitsuru changes the game on a dime. It's not-- it's not /entirely/ unexpected; both of her title matches featured her undying love for Jezebel Faiblesse.
"You," she finishes after a beat, quiet and clenched so the 'bitch' doesn't fall out. After another beat, it's swallowed, and-- Mitsuru's sneering; still /going/. Conjuring bile in B.B.'s belly and locking her in place. Her eyes are wide because this is getting increasingly shocking and harsh and /painful/-- where /is/ Jezebel now?
Just the wide eyes; no little flinches or shimmering tears, no wringing the satchel's straps, nervously adjusting the hoodie, fumbling for a stance worthy of a titan like Mitsuru... all those little bits of bait are held at bay because she has to /think/ because this is getting increasingly problematic. She knows what she-- what B.B. Hood would do, here; how B.B. Hood should react to having her beloved heroine's mysterious disappearance spat into her face so callously. She knows it. She /knows/. Fuck. /Fuck/.
/Fuck/--! Mitsuru's /strong/ for someone who's barely trying. B.B. Hood twitches her whole body towards those incoming hands so they slam against the wicker-coloured satchel dangling by her side and stumbles a few steps afterwards. The place where the satchel was roughly driven in against her side will probably bruise. This would not have been a problem with the basket; /another/ regrettable character choice--
"I-I-- I--" she stammers before shuddering-- sniffling, /sobbing/. "-- I'm NOT A LOSER, I'm NOT! I'm NOT I'm NOT, I'm-- I'm a SHOW-UP HOEDOWN DEPUTY, and-- a-and--"
A tear rolls down her cheek as she twitches away from the bully, gathering balled and trembling fists towards her chest.
"-- and LIGHTNING SPANGLES /IS/ watching me, RIGHT NOW, you-- y-you-- you BULLY!"
The girl /explodes/ into action then, balled fists seeking to hammer against Mitsuru's belly in a desperate frenzy. These are not punches; they're a flailing tantrum meant to treat some small part of the bully's midsection like a vertical table.
COMBATSYS: Bulleta successfully hits Mitsuru with Medium Strike.
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Bulleta 0/-------/=======|====---\-------\0 Mitsuru
Mitsuru doesn't even seem to recognize the threat.
'You need to be careful, Mitsuru' Her team told her. 'She acts weak, but she packs a lot of power. Don't let your guard down.' But Mitsuru didn't -see- any power. She just saw a little pipsqueak that was just about ready to wet her bloomers. She even got to milk a tear from her, the little wimp. Yes, she was able to keep her balance on the shoves. But the moment she says she is a Hoedown Deputy, Mitsuru actually snorts. When the fists come, she almost half-heartedly tries to shove the fists aside. IN a flash, she realizes that no, she needed to put her whole heart in it.
And there is a moan.
Mitsuru doesn't seem to quite recognize it in her head. But her body does. A clean and precise, penetrating punch aimed right for her organs. Her liver, in fact. The impact was stunning, slowing; Mitsuru actually couldn't move for a moment. She doubles over, grabbing her organs. Grimacing in agony, she stumbles. Was it over? Was the fight done?
"You dumb bimbo!"
Mitsuru sputters the words out, as silver energy floods over her. "Dumb dumb bimbo!" She was dazed, groaning as she staggers back, giving B. B. Hood more space to manuever. Confused, she belts out more insults. "I bet you liked the Lightning Spangles Christmas Carol! I bet you screamed about that Kanko Ainu idiot Spangles that was a waste of time online! She sang like a crow! You probably have so many loser Spangle otaku opinions! You stupid stupid bimbo! You dumb Spangles bimbo! I bet you wanted to kiss her you dumb bimbo!"
Mitsuru's insult creativity left a lot to the imagination.
Giving a last shriek of pain, she seems to yell her way out of her stunning blow. Twisting into the air, she bounds up. And there, she flails her arms wildly. The square is bombarded with formless bursts of chi, as she hurls out the imperfect silver energy blasts around wildly. Unpredictable, inefficient, but unpredictability in combat was not pleasant to be on the other end. But like in her fights before, there was a pattern, there was a flow. For all her strength, she lacked training and finesse.
And she was dealing with another professional.
COMBATSYS: Bulleta dodges Mitsuru's Flash War Dance.
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Bulleta 0/-------/=======|====---\-------\0 Mitsuru
There is a moan; the smile it conjures is safely tucked behind red and gold.
That salty, juicy treat trickling down her cheek; the stammering anxiety; the strap wrenching; the awkward approximation of a boxing stance she falls into during her fights... weakness isn't just a mask for B.B. Hood, it's a whole outfit, accessorized down to the last sniffling detail. It doesn't always draw precisely the kind of attention she /wants/, nor does it always hold that attention fast, but it does get attention and that's what matters: catching the eye and occupying the mind so neither has much time to consider why a fighter - even a soft, helpless one who doesn't /deserve/ to be here - would risk wearing loose, easily grappled, bulky clothes like hers to a bout.
Mitsuru might have an inkling as to why, now; ditto the club members who warned her: the jeans and hoodies are just more accessories. It's /much/ harder to play weak if the audience sees evidence of obsessively forged strength; at least this way, there's a degree of deniability when she panics and ~accidentally~ punishes someone's liver. Especially when she follows it up by snapping her hands up to cover her mouth and shows Mitsuru big, blue eyes that can barely contain the /horror/ of what she just let herself do--!
"O-oh, god, I didn't mean to-- y-you just-- you were really coming AT me--"
Those eyes manage to get a little bigger once the sputtering begins. She remains rooted while Mitsuru backs off, both because that energy flare is ominous and because each fresh, blunt jab makes B.B. tense and shudder. Sh-she IS a dumb bimbo...! Just a dumb, lucky bimbo who's about to be FLATTENED by a silver giantess. "I-it was a g-good special in its own way, i-it... Ai-Ainu Spangles wasn't th-the same," she sniffles, muffled by clamped hands, "and Aus-- Aussie Spangles was s-so-- so-- sh-she was so d-d-dis/tracting/..." She managed a lucky shot, sure... but Mitsuru is /undefeated/ and all that lucky shot did was make her /mad/. More tears roll down her cheek and over the edges of her hands. "... but they tried s-so-- so HARD," she protests amidst Mitsuru's offense, "and--"
And Mitsuru's flailing, panicked barrage of insults finds just the right thread to pull.
The crystal blue flash of raw, incredulous rage she reveals doesn't go with /any/ part of B.B. Hood's outfit, but Mitsuru will probably appreciate it just the same. She did. B.B. Hood-- did-- want to kiss Lightning Spangles--
Thank /god/ Mitsuru picks /now/ to try and blow her up. Dive-rolling from formless destruction, regular-rolling to her feet, then sprinting and weaving her way through the square to keep a step ahead of silver explosions and concrete shrapnel are excellent problem-solving aids. Some of her's fixated on surviving the assault unfolding around her, which leaves the rest of her free to work the other, more Canadian problem looming. She manages to give the cameras a decently panicked look while she flees from Mitsuru's might, but again: that's about /all/ she gives, because the rest means threading a needle she'd rather leave in its basket.
"Sh-shut UP!" she eventually spouts, because Mitsuru's onslaught eventually /ends/, which means she /has/ to say something. Because B.B. Hood wanted to kiss Lightning Spangles. The teary dagger of a girl skids to a stop beside a smoking concrete scar, pivots towards Mitsuru and stamps her foot, because B.B. Hood wanted to kiss Lightning Spangles so badly that her face is as red as her hoodie now that it's being thrown in her face. "You don't understand, you DON'T! You CAN'T-- NOBODY understands what we have, what-- what we-- what we... ..."
B.B. Hood wanted to kiss Lightning Spangles so much that she's got her fists balled at her sides while she shivers in the cold of a world without her. It's been so, so /long/ since the last time anyone saw Lightning Spangles. B.B. Hood tips her chin towards her chest as she tries and fails to hide the fresh tears this fact brings.
"... she made me feel like I belonged, l-like-- like I could just be MYSELF, a-and not have to pretend, /fake/ like I'm h-happy all the time, like I'm not s-scared, and alone..."
B.B. Hood wanted to kiss Lightning Spangles. That's probably why she charges across the clearing when her mewling trails off; why the satchel slips from her shoulder so it can whirl by her side along the way.
"You don't know what it's LIKE, Mitsuru! You're so STRONG, you're CONFIDENT-- /EVERYONE/ must be afraid of you...! NOTHING can hurt you, nobody'd DARE! You don't know what it's like to be ALONE j-just-- WISHING you were STRONG enough to go out and GET the love and respect you deserve...!"
It's /definitely/ why Bulleta snaps laser-precise eyes to Mitsuru's liver a split-second before she twists at the waist and SWINGS the satchel towards it like a wicker hammer.
"Nobody can TOUCH you, but I'm-- I'm not LIKE you...! I NEEDED her!"
COMBATSYS: Bulleta successfully hits Mitsuru with Shyness & Strike.
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Bulleta 1/-------/=======|>>>>>>>\-------\0 Mitsuru
Mitsuru was devouring the weakness, like a fish chasing after a worm on a hook. She didn't realize she was the prey. SHe imagined herself as a predator. She didn't even realize the depth of what she was making fun of. As B. B. Hood spits back, telling her to shut up, because she -loved- Lightning Spangles, how she didn't understand, how she made her feel belong and how special Lightning Spangles made her feel, something seems to pass over across Mitsuru's face. A flicker of empathy? Swiftly devoured by anger, rage. There was a wince of pain from Bulleta's words, like she was drawing -blood-. Where you didn't have to pretend, where you didn't have to fake away being scared and alone. And she calls her strong, and confident, and Mitsuru's pain becomes confusion.
And an opening.
"Excuse me?" She sputters. The satchel comes, and -bowls- hard under her guard, nearly knocking the wind clean out of her. Two body blows, and she was having trouble standing. But something surges in her. Bile? Spite? Pain? Oh, it was something far more personal. She was shaking, as her entire body tenses up. She looked around, the cameras, the audience, the team mates who weren't- they weren't there. THey were gone. They ditched her. Where was her- where was the mockery. She was alone, and everyone- she looks back at B. B. Hood, as she sees that poor weepy pathetic Lightning Spangles fan who was being picked on and had hopes and dreams and ambitions and-
"Are you making fun of me?"
The words come out flat and sincere, and shocked. Mitsuru's eyes were twitching, as a dawning outrage takes over. "You're making fun of me! You think I don't know what you're doing?!" It may not be immediately clear what B. B. Hood did; or it might be all too clear what the predator had revealed in her prey. "You are making fun of me! You DUMB BIMBO! You stupid, stupid BIMBO! You think this is funny? You think I am funny? You are just like Ayane, you are just like those stupid students! You think I'm some pretty kissy face girl!? You think I am not a real tough girl?!" No, B. B. Hood was perfectly in character. Mitsuru didn't doubt the sincerity. But the moment she started praising her... Mitsuru was convinced: She was making fun of her.
Just like before.
The roundhouse kick comes wild and recklessly, slamming forward as Mitsuru stampedes at the smaller girl. A second kick comes around on the other side, Mitsuru trading finesse and skill for raw power. The third kick comes crashing down as a heel drop of sorts, as Mitsuru attempts to stomp, stomp, stomp B. B. HOod to the ground with her finishing kick. "You think you are special? You think you are so special? She didn't even come to your birthday! SHe didn't even come for that! She didn't come to -any- of your parties! You came to her!" What was Mitsuru saying, why was she saying it. She was confusing even herself, as she grows more and more frantic.
"You think you are funny, you dumb bimbo?"
COMBATSYS: Bulleta blocks Mitsuru's Dragon Killing Spiral.
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Bulleta 1/-------/=======|>>>>>>>\-------\1 Mitsuru
B.B. Hood wanted to kiss Lightning Spangles.
B.B. Hood wanted to kiss Lightning Spangles.
B.B. Hood wanted to kiss Lightning Spangles.
She knows the role by heart. She researched every angle she could find, /immersed/ herself in the world of Jezebel Faiblesse so she could become a part of it. Her motivation drifted powerfully in her first minutes on stage, but once it settled she committed herself to playing the part as best as she could. It was easy in some ways: the scars probably bothered Jezebel more than they ever did her; the desperate hunger for affection made Jezebel eager to please, if no less selfish; Jezebel was an better fighter than she was an actress, with the highly-tuned athleticism one would expect from a champion.
It was much easier to want to kiss Jezebel Faiblesse than she's ever admitted aloud, and the middle of a battle hungry crowd, opposite a sputtering, spiraling schoolyard bully is /not/ the place she'd have chosen to confront this fact.
Bringing up Ayane and harping on the bimbo line rolls right over her because after she follows through, the satchel just-- slams to the ground while she stands there, trembling. This is--
-- Mitsuru's /reeling/. It was /easy/, just like Granny taught her: if being ignored isn't an option, find the crack and detonate; no razors necessary. Mitsuru's FLAILING and giving up critical intel on herself as she does it; she can see it. She can hear herself saying the magic words:
'but you ARE pretty, WAY prettier than ME!';
'you're almost as tough as a GEDO boy!';
And she just-- stands there, breathing way too hard, way too /fast/ for someone who's only just getting started in the fight. It's /entirely/ in character for B.B. Hood, and yet...
Mitsuru gets another taste of the satchel's hardness when her leg slams into it repeatedly. Whatever awful thoughts are running through her head, B.B. Hood grits her teeth and swings that heavy wicker bag into the path of each kick. Despite its sturdiness and sheer weight, each blow that lands spins the little red lying Hood a few steps past wherever her feet plant to receive it; by the end, she's stumbling back from Mitsuru and weaving on her feet, dazed. It's not the kicks-- not /just/ the kicks; she feels Mitsuru's wrath settling in a shoulder that's still taped up from Valentin, the /last/ would-be bully she ran into, but the fight is only just getting started for her.
She'd wanted to kiss Jezebel Faiblesse. It's not an easy truth to recover from.
The hyperventilating huntress is still crouched after Mitsuru disengages, having been driven towards the ground by the force of her final strike. "Sh-she would've... she would've...!" is blurted a beat later, since-- even on a /good/ day, Mitsuru's birthday detour would be a curveball. The taller girl's /tilting/--!
'H-how-- how could ANYONE be as special as you...?';
'N-nobody EVER comes, you wouldn't UNDERSTAND...!'
"... sh-she would've, she WOULD'VE--"
B.B. Hood shudders--
"-- b-but she-- she beTRAYED me...!"
-- and then she /EXPLODES/, launching herself into Mitsuru's midsection with a scream. There's nothing precise about it, on /any/ level: she wants to tackle Mitsuru to the ground and is willing to throw brute force into the effort without giving the first shit about a deceptive, or even /good/ angle. B.B. wants to pin this loudmouthed bully to the ground and just-- /SLAP/ her across the face, over and over, palm and backhand until she understands-- --- what?
The purity of a fan's love?
"I gave her everything-- EVERYTHING!" Incandescent blue eyes vibrate and boiling tears trickle. "I TRUSTED her! I LOVED her with everything I WAS, everything I HAD! I SUPPORTED her, no matter WHAT! I LISTENED to her-- I told her she'd be OKAY when she was SAD because everyone ELSE hated her because she had ME. She HAD me, she /HAD/ me, and she just! FUCKING! //LEFT! ME!//"
The fury of a scorned woman?
"How DARE you, you BITCH?! HOW /DARE/ YOU THROW HER IN MY //FACE//?! What the FUCK do YOU know about being ALONE?! What do you know about being IGNORED?! What do you know about NEEDING someone to LOVE you and having them THROW YOU AWAY like you're GARBAGE?! WHO EVER FORGOT TO GO TO //YOUR// FUCKING BIRTHDAY PARTIES??!"
COMBATSYS: Bulleta successfully hits Mitsuru with Crushing Strike.
- Power hit! -
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Bulleta 1/------=/=======|=======\=====--\1 Mitsuru
Mitsuru tries to smash through the satchel, to no avail.
Mitsuru was crude, and exactly the kind of brutish thug that opponents like Bulleta could pick apart. Peel away the layers, pierce to those flickering weak points. As the final stomp comes, she is slow to recover. She didn't even try and contain her guard. She felt confident, brutally confident. That smug sneer was spreading across her lips. She had her little Spangles baby on a hook now.
When Bulleta explodes back, Mitsuru is caught completely off guard.
The emotional outburst stuns her; she- this had never happened to her. Even when bullying in middle school, nobody did this. If they stood up to her, they did it normally. The weirdos never snapped. Not like this. Mitsuru is utterly flatfooted, and that was very, very dangerous in a real fight like this. When she rants about how Lightning Spangles betrayed her and loved her, Mitsuru was dumbstruck, even as she was being tackled. Knocked to the ground, she was slapped across the face, again and again. The mask of rage, or fury, of strength was fading with every slap. And by the end, by the time Mitsuru could finally shove Bulleta off? There wasn't a grizzled thug.
But a hurt young girl.
She forces Bulleta off, rolling away. She doesn't stay there. She rolls away and turns around. Back to Bulleta, she runs. Hurrying towards the sidelines, she keeps her head down. She didn't want anybody to see her, even as the cameras were on her. She was done. She was done. She was angry and disturbed and- she didn't want to bully B. B. Hood anymore. She would just forfeit and let her win and then she could go away and hide. She might go into the neighborhoods and sulk. She might go home, if daddy would let her. She had all these plans swimming in her head as she keeps her back turned to her opponent-
Her escape route is cut-off by five, very familiar faces.
The rest of the Fight Club of Seijyun High. Mitsuru didn't want to look at them. She tries to move around them, but they would not let her leave the fight. Four were focused on her, while the fifth was watching Bulleta. Their faces were blank, dead stoic. Mitsuru stops, and gives a heaving whimper.
"I quit, I don't want to fight anymore."
The Seijyun High girls don't change their expression. One of them, a smaller girl wearing glasses, just shakes her head. Mitsuru wipes her eyes. "I don't want to fight. I want to quit. The Italian Jerk quit, so I can too." The other girls shake their head. There is no words from them. "Get out of my way, I don't want this! I don't want to be Seijyun High, I don't want this, I -hate- her! I hate her so much! I want to go back to School!"
And still, silence.
The judges look on the fence on this; it wasn't interference, the girls weren't saying anything. She wasn't forfeiting to them; but they couldn't hear Mitsuru. Something was uncomfortable. Mitsuru was shaking her head. She was stamping her feet. And the girls at the sidelines were just shaking their heads. Mitsuru turns bright red, as tears runs down her face.
And then she screams.
"HATE! HATE! I HATE YOU! I HATE YOU! DUMB! BIMBO! STUPID!" Mitsuru was ranting and raving, throwing a full force tantrum in the middle of the square. But she was back away from the sides. She was facing back at B. B. Hood, flailing her limbs, letting the chi energy flow over her. "HATE! HATE! YOU BABY! YOU DUMB BLONDE BABY! YOU SICK DISGUSTING AMERICAN PERVERT! YOU SLUT! YOU PERVERT! You bad, bad, bad girl!" Stamping tantrum, full force. But she wasn't attacking. She was having her moment of outrage. That in itself was both non-threatening, and quite threatening. But that wasn't the change in the fight that was important.
It was the rest of the fight club.
The girl with the glasses was looking at B. B. Hood. Her expression was blank, but she was adjusting her glasses. As Mitsuru continues her rampage, the other members of the Fight Club were all lining up, directing their attention on B. B. Hood. One of them reaches into their satchel, and pulls out some dot-matrix printouts. It looks like as Mitsuru works herself into a frenzy, they weren't worried about her.
They were very interested in B. B. Hood now.
COMBATSYS: Mitsuru gathers her will.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////// ]
Bulleta 1/------=/=======|=======\======-\1 Mitsuru
Bad, bad, bad Hunter.
Bulleta scrambles to her feet as soon as she's shoved away, but remains hunched and hyperventilating while Mitsuru flees. The girl's IMPLODING, just like she's supposed to-- just like Bulleta PLANNED it. Just a few words at-- just the right level of shrieking despair, easy as popping in a fresh clip. The tears are a GREAT touch; even better than normal! Going method gets hacky if you overdo it, but it's okay in small doses; it's okay if the situation REALLY calls for it. Why can't she catch her breath? They've barely /fought/, Mitsuru was so transparent-- look at her! LOOK at her!
The line of smoking, black scars running down the concrete in front of Bulleta's more interesting. Bang; bang... bang; three to the spine to clean up her stupid, stupid mess. Between the hood and the flaxen tresses spilling out of it post-slapfest, her eyes are hidden from most angles while the streams trickling from them plainly roll down her cheek and chin. The cameras like shuddering sobs barely muffled by red and stinging hands, right? Good; /great/. She's feeling /very/ generous right now. /Still/ feeling generous as Mitsuru whimpers through a forfeit, because she doesn't hear it. The bully ran off to confer with her club near the edge of the crowd; Bulleta's got a foot back in Boot Hill. Back to wondering how someone could just about beat her at her own game without even trying.
It's a long way for pleas to travel.
The hand that isn't clamped over her mouth hangs taut at her side, steadily clenching and unclenching. She doesn't want to be here anymore, but she has to fight Mitsuru today, she HAS to--! She can't /run/: B.B. Hood consistently does not run from difficult situations, because she'd be harder to root for if she did. She swallows her weeping fear and obvious incompetence to bravely face champions and superheroes and schoolyard bullies alike, because people /like/ underdogs. She's B.B. Hood; B.B. Hood's the one who wanted to-- who did-- -- who got too close to Jezebel to /see/ her until it was too late. These are B.B. Hood's tears soaking into B.B. Hood's sweatshirt.
When a scream finally brings her back to Osaka, Bulleta's thankful that it isn't hers. At least, it isn't her voice; not her words, not /exactly/. Not today.
She doesn't even know she's being watched. Not filmed-- /watched/.
That last outburst must've really drained B.B. Hood, because she's still teary and gasping as she shuffles towards the ranting, flaring squall that is Mitsuru, but she seems less terrified of the bully's might than she is /resigned/ to whatever might come of approaching it. Her pace is deliberate; the first couple steps come with deep, breathy shudders. The third...
"... ... haha...
"... ha... hahaha... hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha...!"
Maybe Mitsuru can't tell /now/, even if she's probably primed to notice the difference through sheer necessity, but there's no mockery in the jagged stabs of laughter bursting from Bulleta's lips; there's no mirth in her voice or her eyes, which jitter with a boiling soup of anger and dismay as they lift towards Mitsuru. Beneath the mask, there's a brittle smile inches removed from an anguished circle. If anything, there are /more/ tears, now, as her hand slides up to cover the rest of her face.
"... hahaha-- ha-- god-- ... god... g-/god/, I-- you..."
"... you remind me of /her/," the hooded blonde whispers once she's close enough to be heard, peering through her fingers. Mitsuru's /wildly/ unpredictable and full of fire; getting close is a gamble, but some things aren't for crowds or cameras. "/She/ got mad when /she/ couldn't get her way too, then it was everyone else's fault. She /hated/ herself... she told anyone who'd listen that she /didn't/, but you could tell. She was so /sad/..."
When she lunges, she goes for Mitsuru's hands, hoping to capture them so the would-be tyrant's stuck with her when she starts to circle through the clearing.
"... all she had was Lightning Spangles... and /me/," she softly adds if she's able to grab on and steal a moment of increased closeness. More than a moment, if she has her way: several, each of them spent whirling faster and faster until chi-blasted concrete and food debris can't help but spin around them. "Until she-- /ran/, and-- -- it doesn't matter anymore, right? I'm just the stupid little /moll/ she left behind..." Thanks to the howl of vigorously stirred air, Mitsuru'd the only one to hear the sniffle after that. Ditto a final whisper:
"It's so /hard/ being /alone/, Mitsuru... isn't it?"
before the spinning dance comes to a hard stop that sends one of them flying.
COMBATSYS: Mitsuru fails to interrupt Sentimental Typhoon from Bulleta with Rumbling Death Spiral EX.
~ Cruel hit! ~
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Mitsuru can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
Mitsuru does notice.
What she sees it as, may not be what she should have seen it as. But her tantrum was interrupted by the blonde bimbo seizing her by the hands. And then, up close, she could see directly under the mask so to speak. One illusion, for another. How she was just like Jezebel. How she was just like Lightning Spangles. How she was just like the Showup Hoedown Hero. How she only had Lightning Spangles and -her- the little teenage girl. The real Lightning Spangles fan. Mitsuru looks uncomfortable. But the fear that would come turns into strength. "You- you are... sick!" She mutters as she brings her leg up to break free from the spinning.
But Bulleta breaks it for her.
Mitsuri is sent hurtling away. Twisting in the wind, she lands with a hard crunch on the street. It wasn't a ring out, at least. But she was flat on the ground, the stringy teenager landing hard. One of her sandals had fallen off, the other was broken at the strap. She lays there for a moment, stunned. She gives a hard breath. "I am... not... alone.. I have... I have..." She rolls over, getting ready to rise up to throw herself at B. B. Hood again.
And she stumbles.
Mitsuru falls flat on her belly, giving a pained groan. It was hard to move. She had no strength. No power. She gives a whine, that becomes shouting. She tries to yell herself back upright. But she couldn't get up. "NO! NO! I WON'T- SHE IS- SHE'S HORRIBLE! SHE IS HORRIBLE! I WON'T LET HER- SHE IS CHEATING WITH HER WORDS! SHE IS TRYING TO- TRYING TO HIT ON ME! LIKE LIGHTNING SPANGLES! SHE DOESN'T KNOW! SHE IS CHEATING! I'M NOT LIKE JEZEBEL!" And then, in her frantic tantrum, as she struggles to rise up, the words just fall out. The little secret. The truth of little bullies.
"I DON'T EVEN PLAY LIGHTNING SPANGLES ANYMORE!"
And the hammer falls. The words just slip out, and Mitsuru collapses. The mask slips. And everyone, the entire crowd gets the glimpse of the pretty little Tokugawa princess who played jiggity jig at her birthday party with a real live Official LIghtning Spangles Approved Character Actress and there was a Hoedown Dillo and even a Wendy Wombat and a My Fishy Friend Nae Nae who was eating a lot of the food and might not have been a Official Lightning Spangles Approved Character Actress. But there were ponies that you could ride in a circle, and all her friends- well all her family friends were there with their kids and her cousins and they were all in costume because it was mandatory. It was all exposed, in a single slip of the tongue. The shame, the waves of shame exposed in front of her. She was just like her. She always wanted to be just like her, when she was little.
But she wasn't 13 anymore.
Mitsuru struggles to get up from all fours. She fights, and writhes. And tears come down her eyes. "I can't get up! I can't get up!" She admits, finally. And the judges shake their heads. Mitsuru wasn't KO'd. But she was effectively done. Alone, alone, alone. No fans for her, no applause, no students supporting her and throwing signs. She trembles in shame, as she pounds her fist on the ground. That was the last of her strength, squandered, as she falls flat for the final time, not moving. Her Fight Club members were finally looking at her again. Dismissive. Disgust. And then, they look away to ignore her. That's how it was when you made people ashamed of you. They ignore you. They all just ignore you.
Until you go away.
A small frame means that for all her strength, B.B. Hood can only do so /much/ with a throw, even one that sends her opponent skywards. She fully expects more silver fury to follow that hard crunch, but all she gets is panting and screaming.
Which is just as well, because she's-- /still/-- slow to capitalize after scoring a hit; once again, she's standing there slack as her arms heavily fall to her sides. She, too, is panting; the screams stay safely bottled up. Another, "Ha-- haaaaa..." softly escapes her, but the tremolo clearly marks it as a tragic note; the next time her shoulders shake, the next sharp, high-pitched breath... they're coming from the obvious place, once again.
Mitsuru tries to yell her way to her feet while B.B. Hood just sinks from hers, palms rising to give her face a comfortable grave. Mitsuru's... Mitsuru's not getting up. She's-- she's broken; she got broken, somehow, miraculously-- despite /everything/, B.B. managed to exploit the cracks and make her crumble. The fight is /over/, she's /done/. /They're/ done, it's-- she-- -- won.
So the tears don't have to be for the cameras, anymore; they can just be hers. They don't have to be big and loud and tantalizing and pitiful the way they usually are; they can come in tight, barely restrained gasps while she briskly, angrily scrubs her face and tries in vain to keep her ducts clear, because they're just. Hers.
She and her tears don't get much time alone together before the hammer falls, though, because--
-- did-- did Mitsuru just...?
The rage shining in her eye when she /stares/ through her fingers at the tantrum fades quickly; it's not for Mitsuru or the cameras anymore than the rest is. The disquiet that replaces it, though...?
/It's/ not for the cameras either; Mitsuru, however...
SOME TIME AGO
Stretched out on cold stone to soothe her aching back after a spar, Bulleta's already got her eyes on the lean, grey-furred wolf/man looming over her in the moonlight, so the sound of his clearing throat echoing through the French castle they're occupying just puts an arch in her brow.
"If you find yourself in a moment surrounded by those weaker than you," Jon Talbain says, "Do not show you are strong through striking them. Defeating a weak opponent is of little value. If there is none stronger, then turn inward and defeat your worst self."
"... oh my /god/," she shudders into her palm and mask while sealing her fingers. An incredulous smile ghosts across her lips, then her teeth sink against the bottom one and tear-filled eyes roll. She won! Holy /shit/ did she win; if Mitsuru takes another fight, she'll still have /this/ squatting in her psyche. Her /opponents/ will have a fresh arsenal of knives to jam and twist into her gut; maybe she'll recover, maybe she'll even get /better/... but this is probably going to leave a mark deeper than losing a few points would've.
It'll stick to her, ticking down and waiting for the worst possible moment to explode.
It's a win.
The bully was vanquished.
The bounty, collected.
"Fuck you, Jezebel," she whispers to herself. "F-/fuck/--"
Mitsuru's /clearly/ done... but the judges have been milling around the edges for a while, because who really wants to run into the middle of an emotional pile-up? Someone /has/ to, though, and one brave soul inevitably picks right now to tentatively approach the blonde to raise her hand.
He gets a near-immediate - it takes a little time to wrench her wrist away - /shove/ that sends him sprawling even though she's on her knees and a hissing, "Fuza-- fuck /off/!" for his troubles.
Then Bulleta's on her feet, and-- the fight's over, right? So why is she walking towards--
-- /grabbing/ Mitsuru by the shoulders in a steely grip--
-- /wrenching/ the girl with nearly a foot on her to her feet like a yankii doll? Is-- is she not finished yet? Is this some kind of--
"You're a rude," Bulleta softly says, "pushy, hyperantagonistic bully," while taking one more step closer so she can trap Mitsuru in an embrace. She-- sounds /different/, now, even compared to the last seconds of the fight; Mitsuru might be able to mark the lower register. "But you didn't deserve /this/."
There are countless stories about where monsters come from, as many as there are monsters. Bulleta knows a healthy swath of them by heart, because Hunters live and die by the stories that other Hunters pass down to them; until last year, though, other people's stories were /all/ she had.
Now she's got her own, even if she's only shared it with one other person. Now she knows where /one/ breed of monster comes from because she's seen it through its final stages of development.
Because she /still/ sees its source every morning, every evening; in store windows and street puddles; right there, /staring/ at her whenever it's time to put her face on and work.
"And I'm sorry. You'll-- you'll-- you'll be okay," she continues, unpracticed and hesitant. "You /can/ be okay. This'll... this'll hurt a little less tomorrow; and a little less the next day, and the one after that, and... ... you'll... you'll survive this. It'll make you /stronger/; tougher. W-way more badass... I /promise/."
Mitsuru suspected something was going on.
She just felt it now, in her helpless bitterness. She was refusing to go unconscious. But she couldn't do anything else. She was a little yankii doll when Bulleta lifts her up. She actually flinches, bracing herself to be hit while she was down. Anticipating it. She doesn't look away from B. B. Hood though, no. She wanted to look her right in the eyes when she hits her. Instead, she hugs her. And speaks so softly to her. Mitsuru turns bright crimson, embarrassed. She was so weak, she couldn't resist. The girls, the girls cover their mouths, and look away. She could hear it, even though there was no sound. Now, she shuts her eyes.
And Mitsuru spits.
Well, tries to spit. The first loogie doesn't actually make it far, dribbling down her chin. Bruised, beaten, and now spit-flecked, Mitsuru scrunches up her face, trapped in the hug. "Fu... fu..." She mutters, as if she was struggling very hard. "F... screw you!" She whines, trying to sound gruff in her defeat. "If I- If I ever see you again- if I ever see you again-" Mitsuru's eye dart around, as she grimaces in misery.
"I-I-I'll kill you! "
The threat comes off as a realization than a promise. Whether that made it more or less hollow, not even Mitsuru knows. There is a tap tap tap of shoes approaching. Her club mates were no longer covering their mouths, and now closing in on the embracing couple. The figures of the students slowly encircle the duo. "Congratulations on your win." The girl in the glasses says, holding a folder under her arm. Unlike Mitsuru, she was content to wear her uniform out of school. Up close, she was only just taller than Mitsuru. She was plain, and actually a bit pudgy. She wasn't a fighter, despite being part of the Fight Club. She was the president of it, technically.
And there was a very familiar ruthlessness in her presence.
On, no, she wasn't glaring at B. B. Hood. In fact, there was the faintest of a smile on her lips, the presence of a smile, with the actual grin or committal to joy. It was the purest example of a Seijyun High smile, a smile without passion or pleasure. Only the minimum requirements for politeness. It was a well-trained smile. And it was keener and more precise than any razor blade, and equally hidden. It wasn't being used as a last resort, or desperation. Seijyun High girls don't use their blades for self-defense. No, they use is for the cold, sadistic pleasure, like peeling away the skin of a captured frog. The girls are very cold, and show no outward threat, inspite of their positioning. The small girl bows her head. "I apologize for the behavior of Miss Tokugawa" She says meekly.
Mitsuru audibly hisses at her last name being uttered out loud.
A couple of lingering tears slowly roll until they hit the bandages.
A soberly whispered, "You don't know what you're saying, Mitsuru," is Bulleta's verbal response to the threat. If nearly being spat on - with /non-acidic/ saliva, no less! - wasn't enough to dislodge her, a little thing like threatening her life certainly isn't. It's joined by a nonverbal one that-- at least she's had a /little/ more practice at than giving gentle pep talks: one of her hands rises until it's gently set against the back of the would-be delinquent's head; her other arm squeezes tighter to pick up the slack.
The injuries she sustained were internal, the result of violent feedback from Mitsuru's limbs crashing against her satchel. This, combined with the fact that the bulk of her time spent desperately seeking oxygen came while she was working through Spangles-related trauma might just make the hug that much harder for the bully to bear; it also means that /escaping/ her is that much harder, of course. No matter /what's/ dribbling towards the top of her hood-- no matter /how/ gruff Mitsuru sounds when she threatens death.
"But that's... it's okay: you've had a really long day," she allows after a few beats. Several more pass, then she tentatively drags her fingers down over - shallowly through - the taller girl's hair, because figuring out how to apply lightly practiced gestures to a problem she's /much/ more used to creating than solving is challenging in its own right. "Sometimes, you just... you pick out an easy mark, the same kind you're so used to terrorizing, and they just-- /surprise/ you--"
Bulleta hasn't paid a lick of attention to the other club girls. They were Mitsuru's cheering section, as far as she could tell before things progressed to a point where she didn't care about /anything/ but getting the hell out of the fight as fast as possible; she dimly registered approaching footsteps, but they were easy to chalk up as more, braver judges. She stiffens when the club president opens her mouth, snaps her head, and-- doesn't let /go/, but at least lets up, taking half a step back from Mitsuru. Sparing herself the trouble of sparing the /world/ from another towering heap of delusional insecurity and rage takes priority over playing the gracious winner, which is also why the president gets a cold-eyed glare when blue eyes first find her.
"... thank you," B.B. Hood exhales as a wan smile reaches her eyes, girlish register and all. Those eyes rove over seemingly untrained muscles, a pristine uniform, and a smile sharper than steel Bulleta's tongue is semiconsciously rolling over. The stranger's rank becomes apparent even before the apology cements it: the others hang back like shatei while their oyabun speaks, silently multiplying the force of her affect.
"Sh-she-- she was just trying to get into my head a little, and-- well, that's-- that's what people DO when they're fighting, right...? They... they mess with each other, sometimes, it's-- it's just... it's part of the-- part of the fun..."
B.B. Hood sniffles, then swallows before she can collapse into a relapse of today's fun. Her eyes are nowhere near those glasses by the end of her explanation.
"I'll be okay. I-it was just-- it was a hard day, that's all," she whispers while staring into a concrete scar.
COMBATSYS: Bulleta has ended the fight here.
Compared to Mitsuru, the president seemed so... mild.
Restraint. Mitsuru was weak, even in B. B. Hood's clinging clutches. She was squinting her eyes now, so frustrated. "Can we- can we not talk about this in front of her?!" She blurts out, giving a soft moan at the end. The rest of the club cover their mouth again, looking away, as the president continues her stoic focus. She claspes her hands in front of herself. "I am sorry, Mitsuru, but my obligation demands that I am transparent with you both." The eye contact continues. "Mitsuru is not responsible for her behavior." Mitsuru suddenly jerks, flinching. The president nods slightly.
"It was my idea."
The club president lowers her eyes, her voice soft. "We studied you, as we study every opponent. It is what most of us do in the club. You had excellent fight performance, and we thought we found a weakness. You showed instability in your fight with Jezebel, Cassie Cage, Koto, even Makoto." The corner of her lips turn up a bit. "I instructed Mitsuru to call out your past with Lightning Spangles. To make you upset in your fight. We were to support Mitsuru with fliers of Lightning Spangles. It was very cruel, and I am sorry to bring such distress to you."
The girl bows again.
"And we are sorry, Mitsuru. We failed you, and you fought so hard. It is my fault." She bows her to a dumbfounded Mitsuru. "My duty is to do research for my team. And there was a fight I missed, and it was too late to tell you. It... made the display irrelevant." No change in expression, just that gentle glow of a smile. Something was in the air. It was like a very thin knife, peeling at the ribs. Something invisible, something... suggested, but not explicit.
The girl changes the direction, as she looks to B. B. Hood.
"Every fight is a learning experience for our club," she explains, her presence wavering, insdistinct. "Whether we win or lose, it is always important for us to understand how it affects us and lets us improve. Knowledge above all, wisdom and understanding. Oeyo, please help Mitsuru." One of the girls, rather gaunt-cheeked with mannish features, takes the flank; she is the biggest of the school girls (outside of Mitsuru herself) at 5'5, and moves to hold Mitsuru from behind, to seperate the two. The bespectled girl continues that enduring, soft smile.
"Will you be okay?"
At least Bulleta drops her hand from Mitsuru's head once it becomes clear that the president's going to stick around for a little while.
"Wh--" B.B. Hood exhales, squinting up into those glasses, "What do you mean she's n--"
Blue eyes shift a little farther upwards until they're-- on Mitsuru's /face/, anyway, which might be about the best she can manage. Even still, she spends much of the rest of the president's explanation searching for some confirmation that it's /true/. It isn't so much that Bulleta's shocked Mitsuru didn't manage to find just the right angle for a psychological attack on her-- on-- B.B. Hood-- because, well: she /isn't/ shocked, not really. Given what she knows /now/... she could've gone all kinds of ways on Mitsuru being clever or genuinely cruel enough to know what she was doing beyond the base level of a bully mocking her victim's insecurity; she figured Mitsuru did her /homework/, at least, but that's mainly because it's what /she/ would've done.
The president is just so, so gentle. So polite; so /precise/ in the way she describes her plan. Her eyes are soft and her voice is meek; she sounds and /seems/ genuinely sorry for having stooped to such ruthless and emotionally disruptive measures just to win a fight.
The creeping familiarity's a big part why Bulleta's rapidly deciding that she doesn't trust a single inch of this four-eyed bitch.
"Y-you-- you mean /you/-- YOU were the ones who-- y-you-- you SAW me, and you-- told..."
B.B. Hood's face just about matches her hood as she eventually gives a slow head-turn towards the bowing president.
"... her to... oh... ... o-oh, oh, g-/god/--!"
The wide-eyed young woman edges closer to Mitsuru and makes sure her stubborn embrace looks tighter. The bully is largely spared from /actually/ having her ribs (further) tested by spiking pressure, however. This is just what someone like B.B. Hood /does/ when she's told something like /that/: she clings to the nearest anchor she can find. Her breathing rate /does/ see a rapid uptick; heart, too, if a lesser one. Blue eyes dart between a bully and-- another bully-- as her mind visibly races--
'... a fight I missed... irrelevant...'
-- and /races/, counting-- Koto, that Square-Enix promotional shoot where the footage was immediately sealed due to pending lawsuits, Cassie Cage... Makoto... ... ...
. . .
"Wow," B.B. quietly stammers to the girl who's now pointing glass and steel /her/ way, "W-/wow/, y-you..."
How the /fuck/-- no. ... no, Bulleta /knows/ how. She knows /exactly/ how: the same way as anyone /else/ with a particular itch to scratch. She lets the president continue her explanation/confession instead of interjecting any further, because B.B. Hood has to look even /more/ mortified and /she/ has got to /think/.
What does the president /know/? How big of a gulf is there between that and what she wants Bulleta to /believe/ she knows?
What's her fucking /angle/?
Oeyo steps in to separate them and meets no resistance until the last second, at which point she snatches Mitsuru's hands and hangs on tight, subtly /daring/ Oeyo to break her grip.
"I forgive you," B.B. Hood softly assures before letting go.
"A-all of you," she then adds, eyes settling on the president's. She's still-- she's /quiet/, but /soft/...?
"Y-you were just... you r-really wanted to win, and-- and I've been so-- so LUCKY, I-- I can understand wanting to take a few shortcuts to win because you're... well, /desperate/... for one."
Like a silk-wrapped stiletto.
"It's... it's not your fault you couldn't... find that fight with me and that lounge singer guy in Illyria in time to-- to give Mitsuru a better angle..." she murmurs, struggling to /accept/ the crime done to her even if she can't help but /swallow/ it; the president /did/ apologize, and it was SUCH a nice apology...
"E-everyone-- everyone learned something, and that's what REALLY matters, right...?"
Even if there were probably /better/ ways for Bulleta to learn that at lease a /few/ of Seijyun's students are familiar with her Midnight Channel appearance with Gallon.
"Maybe... if we see each other again sometime," B.B. Hood hazards, pitiful thing that she is, "we... could even be friends."
As for Bulleta:
How did she know?
It was Oeyo, and her deviant tastes in the paranormal fights. Oeyo was less a monster hunter, and a frequenter on r/hunterguild. Never contributes, only lurks. And it was only a chance review of old fights while -not- researching B. B. Hood matches when she bumped into her. It was an accident. And she didn't share it until.... at the food stand. The president had her own discipline.
That's why she had to hold Mitsuru.
"That's okay." The president says, her smile not changing. A proper Seijyun High lady has no guard, no defense, nothing to resist. You could not wound their ego, for there was no ego to wound. Bulleta's own knife meets nothing; it was a common factor of the 'normals' of Seijyun High. Only a minor nod, as the president states softly. "We forgive you too." Mitsuru huffs, interjecting, "I don't, she's a stupid blonde bimbo and I will kill her if I see her again! I'll kill you!" She rants, writhing in Oeyo's grip... and nearly overpowering her, even in her weakened state. Less Mitsuru's innate strength, and more Oeyo's deficient power. But the president fixates on B. B. Hood. "We forgive you too. It makes sense to us. We all have our little secrets. And after all, Lightning Spangles fans do have a preference towards... anthropomorphism, as I understand." She breaks her gaze slightly, to tilt her head at Mitsuru.
"And don't worry, I know we will see each other soon."
The corner of her mouth twitches, as the mask softens for a stronger smile. "And I know we will be friends."
"Just like me and Mitsuru."
And with that, the president gives a slight bow, and turns and leaves. They wanted to take Mitsuru to the medical staff, and away from Bulleta. The president, though. The president let her wounds linger on Bulleta. She would see her soon. She had her chance to show her strength. And Bulleta... was like so many special young ladies in Seijyun. She had seen so many special young ladies like her. She would see her soon.
Very very soon.
Log created on 18:05:49 01/21/2019 by Bulleta, and last modified on 06:17:47 01/30/2019.