Description: Mitsuru has made a name for herself both with her fighting prowess as well as a big mouth. Another new face to the fighting has managed to make it to the final eight, but she faces a very dangerous opponent in Fumiko. Fumiko is no stranger to Neo-League as she made it to the semi-finals last year and almost defeated eventual champion Mike Bison. This one is sure to be a wild fight that can't be missed. (Winner by decision: Fumiko)
"How am I in the finals?"
Mitsuru growls, punching a bag furiously in the gym storage shed. The meeting of the Fight Club was... positive. The five other members were all around; one perky, bright-eyed girl was even working on her homework. A serene, short girl in glasses adjust her lens, watching Mitsuru flail away. "Quarterfinals. You always were in the quarterfinals. Losing to B. B. Hood didn't matter whether you would qualify or not. It was just for fun, in a manner of speaking." The girl smiles faintly. Mitsuru accelerates harder, her flailing hammering away. "Okay. Whatever. It's Fumiko. I fought her before, she has a sword like a STUPID CHEATER and I hate her. WHat's her weaknesses." The girl shakes her head. "Nothing too exploitable for you, Mitsuru. You lost last time against her after all"
Mitsuru shifts target, hurling into the girl.
"I'm not kidding Kaicho." Mitsuru growls, as she pins the club president against the wall by her chest. The bespectacled girl's expression does not change. The rest of the club members stand up, except the one working on homework. "I don't want any surprises. You made me lose my last fight because of that. It's not funny. I have to win this. I am so sick and tired of the rest of you trying to mess me up because you think it is so funny to make me lose." Her gaze casts around in the shed. Kaicho shakes her head, trying to lower it slightly. "She's very good, Mitsuru, is all I am saying. She qualified in the last Neo-League, and made it to the semi-finals. She is good, Mitsuru. And we haven't found any obvious weaknesses that you haven't figured out. Please, Mitsuru. Calm down." She cocks her head to the side, touching Mitsuru hand and arm gently.
"We're all friends here, Mitsuru."
The flower garden of Seijyun High was not a primary venue for most events. But the fact was, the Tea Ceremony competition was in full force in the main auditorium, and the Neo-League quarterfinals had to wash out in the most open venue. The gardens were not maintained by the groundskeepers, of course, but by the Flower And Garden club of Seijyun High. Right now, Chionodoxa and pansies were filling the grounds, in delicate arrangements to reflect the coming new year. There was some of the club members hard at work at the sidelines right now. More, in fact, at standby, waiting patiently for the fight. In fact, in terms of the audience, outside of a few scattered students and the Fight Club members, it was almost completely the Flower And Garden Club ready to watch the fight on behalf of Seijyun High.
It seemed that there were concerns about the backup venue.
The fight itself would take place on the main path across the garden, which was a clean 8 feet across. Very linear, so to speak, but not all venues had the ability to circle your opponent. Mitsuru was dressed in her Seijyun High uniform. While a Sailor Fuku was not Mitsuru's preferred outfit, she at least had the long skirt to keep her legs hidden and warm. The lanky girl was warming up, her expression tense, her eyes darting around back to the camera crew, and to the the onwatching Fight Club members. She was breathing hard. She had fought Fumiko before. She remembered that fight.
Already, she was gripping her chest, arms twitching.
Such a pleasant place, Seijyun High School. Fumiko has been there before for demonstration and showcase of traditional arts. But that is a world away from her purpose in being at the high school today. Today she is here as another stepping stone on the mountain ahead of her. A second ascent through the rankings of the Neo League. A performance that she has found distasteful at times, and angering at others, but still she presses onward and always looking for another day and another showing to build her art. And this time, she fights an angry young woman that Fumiko has already bested once before.
Fumiko Abe would be a liar if she said she couldn't understand what it felt like to be filled with rage.
Despite a feeling of understanding, and holding still to the bitter bile in the pit of stomach, Fumiko seems almost placid in how put together she is during her arrival tour of the school grounds. In her traditional Kendo outfit, customized as usual with athletic sneakers and wrist supporting gloves, the white haired woman has glided from one side of the school ground to the other in a happy buzz of observing the young women learn and grow their own talents. It reminds her of her studio space, and the half finished works there, and the potential they all hold. It brings a pride for the future of Japan to Fumiko. And that sort of pride is a great deal warmer and more comforting than the fire that urges her on in pursuit of her own mastery.
Into the gardens she walks. Her dual blades both in floral patterned lacquered scabbards. Fumiko stops to look over the flowers, smiling and stopping to smell them on her way by. "You all do such wonderful things. They're beautiful," she tells the club members as she passes them by. "I will do my best to avoid damaging them." An added promise that bodes ill for the fate of Gardening Club's works.
And then she finds the place on the main path, wide enough to deal with combat, not as spacious as a stage. And Fumiko sights the tall young woman. She bows to her, and she bows to the camera crew. "It's good to see you again. Show me how much you've grown since our last demonstration." She smiles, wanting again to see the ferocity and the focus in Mitsuru's eyes. The look of a true warrior, not the lashing young girl that spent much of her time being beaten. Fumiko Abe wants to see the future of Japan with a fire in their souls.
"What's that supposed to mean?!"
Mitsuru's response says a lot about how she 'grew up' since their last fight. A nasty, destructive girl. And yet, there was something different. The venue had something against her. Her confidence seemed more hollow. She steps towards Fumiko. "You don't think anybody doesn't see how you are a psychopath? A maniac? You cut me up like a piece of meat last time. You probably liked it too! But you aren't going to get the dignity of it this time! I'm even stronger now! I'm going to show you up, you fr-freak!" A stutter, a stumble, even through her scowl.
And then it comes.
Like a whisper, a halting, chilling wind. Giggles. The softest, gentlest giggles. Mere titters. The Flower And Garden Club averts their gaze, hand on their mouths. Where was it coming from. Where was the laughter coming from. Mitsuru could hear it, aimed right at her. The aggressive stance shifts it's focus from Fumiko, to right at the audience. She goes to the plant line. "I hear that! I HEAR THAT! You are laughing at me, aren't you? You don't think I am serious?" She looks down at the flowers, and stamps her foot on the stone path. "I'll trash all these flowers if you keep laughing at me!" Mitsuru bellows out. "I'll stomp them down! I heard it! I heard it." The voice goes from threatening to desperate, trying to grab affirmation for what she was saying. Everyone could hear the laughter, right? She looks to the girls, to Fumiko, to the cameras, and then, to her own Fight Club team.
And the words cut like a knife.
"I didn't hear anybody," Kaicho says softly. "Don't let Fumiko get into your head, Mitsuru. You need to focus on her, okay?" The Fight Club nods their heads, wiping their mouths subtly. Mitsuru glances at them, then the audience, then the cameras, and then Fumiko herself. She blinks hard, trying to focus. "It's not Fumiko." She says to herself, looking back at Fumiko. There is a dazed look in her eyes, like a frightened animal. She shakes her head at her opponent. "It's not you." She pounds her fists together.
"But that won't stop me from beating the heck out of you!"
So it seems there's little learning from one time to the next.
Fumiko's lips thin at the words from the girl. She sighs and her posture shifts to her fighting stance. Hand hovering over the hilt of her blade, she readies and stills herself. She holds her position against the angry young woman. "You have stepped into the world of fighters, young woman, perhaps it would be best to comport yourself like one," she speaks coldly, sharp as her own blades. "You will be facing countless dangerous and deadly things in this world, my blades are the least of the threats ahead of you."
She holds, unmoving, watching the disturbed girl with cold concern and clinical precision. "Come then, let's not waste each other's time. Show your club you deserve to be among them."
COMBATSYS: Fumiko has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Mitsuru has joined the fight here.
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Fumiko 0/-------/------<|-------\-------\0 Mitsuru
"No, no I won't!"
Mitsuru stamps her foot again. "Stop it! Stop being so- stop being so stupid! You think I learned anything with our fight at the Terror Moask? I didn't! I wouldn't learn anything from someone like you! This isn't about being beautiful or artistic or soft and feminine and garbage! This isn't about being pretty garbage!" Mitsuru tenses up, body burning with chi energy.
"AND I DON'T NEED TO FIGHT WITH SWORDS LIKE A STUPID BIRD!"
More giggles, faint like the wind. Mitsuru's looks almost ready to attack the audience as ready as lashing out at Fumiko. "Don't laugh! I don't need to prove myself to you, or the Fight Club, or -anybody!-
"They begged me to join them!"
Mitsuru throws a finger at Kaicho. That gentle smirk fades into a frown. "They begged me to join them because I'm the only one who is serious about fighting, who isn't some stupid girlie girl who does flowers, or tea, or painting! I don't need bratty princesses to tell me what to do-" And she turns back to Fumiko. "And I don't need adults like you, or that Italian New York pervert, to try and make me feel sorry for myself! What are you going to do about it?" She throws her guard open as the judge calls the fight to begin."You going to carve me open like the big strong you are?"
The fight club member are now actively turning to look away from Mitsuru now.
A ranting child. This is the sort of future Japan carries on the fighting front? Day by day, Fumiko quietly wishes for defeat as much as she rails against it. She cannot have her talent and skill be meaningless, but neither can she accept that so many fighters she has faced have come up so short. Foreigners have time and again proven a strength that she has not matched, but Japan invaded again by Gears and Darkstalkers and foreign powers have shown so little poise and capability. It is enraging to think of how poorly it all has gone.
And here she is confronting a child for the second time.
No more words, it is time for demonstration. Fumiko puts aside worries and concerns for this tall and lanky brat, she will simply showcase. Her breath falls still, her hand posture slips low. She dashes.
Sneakers squeak off the path, scuffing sounds pitter patter. Fumiko cuts in close. She ducks low, turns to the side, steps sharply and she reaches for her shorter blade. But close, she crumples.
A feint! With an underhand draw, Fumiko arcs out and upward with a diagonal cut of her full blade. Slashing with enough force to pull herself into the air. Momentum shifting, pulling, and turning her about to position her, ready to take advantage of her distraction and newfound closeness.
COMBATSYS: Mitsuru just-defends Fumiko's Positioned Strike!
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Fumiko 0/-------/------<|-------\-------\0 Mitsuru
An angry child.
Perhaps frightened, perhaps confused. But Mitsuru felt cornered from all sides, even this early in the fight. But there is a tension on it. The silence seems to only make Mitsuru more offended. And yet, if Fumiko was looking for any glimmer of hope, it comes as Fumiko comes low. Mitsuru eyes don't trace the individual movements; they rather capture the overall image. A lack of focus? No, the whole picture comes together as she vocally recognizes the feint as the diagonal cuts begins.
The words come out as she grps the back the blade. An inch to the side, a bad angle, and she would be rewarded for her boldness with a deep laceration in her palm. But there isn't a mindless response here this time. No dramatic sword catches. Just a pivot and push, less shoving aside the blade but using it as a point to push herself in, right in the center of that momentum.
And she explodes with a kick.
Up close, it's even clumsier than usual, but the swiftness of the hammer comes with a rioting aggression. "I am not going to let you do this to me! I am- you're doing it again, aren't you? You're -judging- me!" A second and third kick comes, ripping out as little more than outright stomping as she drives her foot again and again. "Why?"
"What is so -important- with adults that they all have to judge me!"
COMBATSYS: Fumiko interrupts Dragon Killing Spiral from Mitsuru with Flashing Blade EX.
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Fumiko 0/-------/-----<<|>>>----\-------\0 Mitsuru
The glimmer of potential is all that is desired. A single spark and ignite a blaze, after all.
Close in, blade to body. A daring catch and a clever pivot. Fumiko is cold and focused, not kindly, and not lost to her own rage and grief. A frigid front of precise disdain, the cold airs of an artist used to a lifetime of critique and none of it worse than her own. She turns with the pivot, staying close, remaining where she needs to be. And the girl speaks. She speaks as she fights and that is the moment Fumiko ceases upon.
The blade flashes, an upward cut, surface at best, but a sharp and chastising blow to put a comfortable distance between her and Mitsuru. A fighting distance. A talking distance. Maybe, just maybe, that raging question was a legitimate one. One that carries greater purpose than childish rhetoric.
Fumiko Abe sheathes her sword, readying for the next approach. Ready for the rage again. "I am," she admits, "Because the world will judge you harsher still. I do not wish to see the future of Japan falter when they have so much potential."
She leans into her stance, her fingers twitch with light touches at the hilt of her blade. "We do not wish you to make the same mistakes we have."
In a smooth motion, her assault is cut short.
Mitsuru groans, not just in the shock of pain this time, but outright frustration. She knew it was coming; she felt the disapproving tut tut tuts of the Fight Club already, driving into her, screwing into her heart and soul and spirit. Judging her, like everyone was already judging her. At least the silence breaks, as crimson billows spread across her uniform. Pouting, she grips the wound, and strides after Fumiko as she recovers... and speaks to Mitsuru.
That seems to once again inflame the anger of Mitsuru.
"Horsesh- horse poop! You sound just like daddy!" She lets slip, before her lips purse tight, to stop the words from coming out any more. Trembling, she stalwartly forces through the cut this time, her temper flashing. She throws out a staggering pair of haymakers with her fists, flailing unceremoniously and wildly. She struggles, trying hard not to keep talking, her face in full exposure to all the audience, where she could hear them all, hear them all laughing. But as the third hammerblow with both fists come down, she can't help but spit it out.
"I don't -want- to be judged by anybody!"
COMBATSYS: Mitsuru successfully hits Fumiko with Strong Punch.
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Fumiko 0/-------/-<<<<<<|>>>>>--\-------\0 Mitsuru
Underestimation is a frequent problem for Fumiko since the heights of last season. A heavy blow catches Fumiko in the shoulder. A second square into her back. She staggers forward, stumbling, her arm numb and throbbing from the sudden blows that force air from her lungs.
The pain is there, but the shame and anger is palpable. Face reddening, she dashes away, close fighting, arrogance, it pained her to have fallen prey to such simplistic mistakes. But a glimmer of a thrill reminded her, a child could touch her. An angry and sullen girl could do this. No wonder she never assisted Kenji. She could never have helped keep him alive.
That she smiled at the thought of helplessness cuts deeper than anything.
She recovers herself, finds her position, stabilizes herself. "We never wish to be judged, and we tend to judge ourselves worst of all, but that is the way of the world," she speaks quietly to Mitsuru. And she steadies herself. It will do her nothing to fight sloppily. It would be a shame to the girl to hand her a simplistic win because she fails at respecting her opponents.
COMBATSYS: Fumiko gains composure.
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Fumiko 0/-------/--<<<<<|>>>>>--\-------\0 Mitsuru
The voice is faint, but Mitsuru's sense and perceptions were in overdrive. She could hear it, she would hear it, just like she could sense all those gazes and judging stares and giggles. "There is no -world- it's just a bunch of people who decide that they can have judge you! People like you, who think you are the world! That's what people are! THey either judge you, and if you tell them to stop, then they just ignore you! That's all it is! People who judge you, or ignore you!"
It's not clear why this is the case for Mitsuru.
MItsuru holds back, as she seems to be working herself up into a frenzy, like a bull in a bull pen. "LIke that stupid Franco idiot! He ran away! He was a stupid stupid coward! Or that peasant homeless fool! Or that stupid stupid boy Koto! And B. B. HOod- And you! And YOU! How can you stay -calm- after I hit you? Has anybody hit you harder than I have? Are you -blushing?- Why do you think you are so smart?" And there was a crass growl in her throat, as tenses up.
"I bet you -went- to this school."
Silvery energy flashes over her as she tenses up. The chi cycles through the crimson slash, infusing it as she pounds a fist into her palm. "I bet you were a prissy pretty princess that was smashed down into what you are now. You know what they want girls to be here? Refined. Like =plastic=, or =oil=. To break you down, piece by piece, and build you back into a perfect little doll to be sold to some rich, well-connected bore!" The strength floods over her, as the foolish young lady is given respite... and that only seems to empower her more. "Well what happened to you then? Where is your man? Where is your darling little husband that you dote and fawn over while you cook and clean and make -babies?!-"
"Did someone break their little dolly and throw her away?"
COMBATSYS: Mitsuru gathers her will.
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Fumiko 0/-------/--<<<<<|>>>>>>>\-------\0 Mitsuru
If only Fumiko could believe, or buy into, the young Mitsuru's ranting belief in the world. How easy a position to live under. At least, in that case, she might find a final sense of judgment rather than the situation she ever finds herself in. She closes her eyes, breathes in, and clears her mind.
But then the ranting turns personal.
Fumiko's dark eyes open, narrowing on the woman and her silvery little chi display. Her hands, still held over the hilt of her blades, tighten and grip before releasing but her arm and posture hold an iron spring anxiety. "Kenji," she whispers softly. Her eyes close, and she inhales to hold back a tear. If the girl wanted her own chance to judge, then Mitsuru would have it.
"I was always wealthier than he. I was supposed to marry upward, but he was clever, and funny, and practical. I could not have found better," she explains, laughing lightly at words she hasn't spoken in some time. "He was," a pause, "He was one of the Defense Force when the Gears arrived. I can only hope the one that killed him is still alive so that I can repay."
She swallows and lowers her stance. "I am artist. I spent years believing my skill was only for display and to spread our culture. I could have been there. Were I a better wife, my love might still live. So tell me, child, this is how the world has judged me. Is that sufficient for you?" Her words are cold, and she comes on like a blizzard. Both blades drawn, a wave of steel striking a vicious blow for Mitsuru's chest.
COMBATSYS: Mitsuru just-defends Fumiko's Soul and Steel!
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Fumiko 0/-------/--<<<<<|>>>>>>>\-------\0 Mitsuru
Mitsuru was seething. She was enraged. And she remembered. She remembered staying up late when the city was on lockdown. When she wasn't allowed to go to school, when no one was. When she was taken her to one of the Mishima fortification bunkers; because her family were friends with their family (and of course, they were rich enough to afford it.) She remembered when the nuclear sword dangled over the city, and how she was told over and over again that the bunker could survive a direct nuclear strike. How they had enough food for a month. She remembered how there were people up top fighting, how there was violence from people trying to break in and throw her out because they wanted to live. She remembered that, and the idea that someone died protecting them, died protecting her, she didn't want to think about it.
She wanted to hurt Fumiko.
Mitsuru wanted to smear it, wanted to mock her. That would show not only her, but also all those other students who were watching her. Mock her for failing her husband. Mock her for not taking good enough care of him. Mock her for letting him die. Joke that maybe he survived, and ran off with one of those monster musume gears. Make her squirm, make her hurt. Joke that he just did it for the money, and now he doesn't have to worry about it. Hurt her, she's revealing her weaknesses. And yet, as she explains, Mitsuru is quiet.
And Fumiko comes in.
Both blades were out. A whirlwind of cuts come. ANd Mitsuru... steps into the maw of the Cuisinart. Rather than push away, she gets -right- up into Fumiko, forcing deep into her stance. As the whirling blades come around, she doesn't go for deflecting the weapon themselves now, she focused squarely on getting clinched, and getting the arms knocked away. It was more of a bullying technique than a true one, but undeniable courage since if Mitsuru didn't pushing in close... it's right into the whipping blades. She doesn't say anything before it, her mind caught in thought. But the moment she intercepts the arms, she suddenly finds herself sputtering out.
"... Yare yare daze, I didn't need to hear your life st-story!"
Mitsuru breaks from the catch with a rapid chain of punches in the center. There isn't more words from her. She couldn't do it. She couldn't make fun of Fumiko on this. She didn't want to hear about it. She didn't want to imagine that Kenji died protecting her from gears. She didn't want to think about those things. She wanted to be angry at Fumiko for suggesting that, but she didn't feel like being angry about that either. She just chants as the rapid chain of punches come faster and faster, as silvery energy cascades over her limbs. "-Ora ora ora ora ora ora-" The punches ignite, as she keeps the rhythm, refusing to break until Fumiko makes the opening...
Or until Fumiko forces her to.
COMBATSYS: Fumiko interrupts Blazing Hell Fist from Mitsuru with Intercepting Strike EX.
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Fumiko 1/-------/<<<<<<<|>>>>>>>\>>>----\1 Mitsuru
Fumiko Sato spent much of the invasion in a studio. White walls, pristine order, paint, a lot of paint. She was intensely focused on a particular look of a silhouette of a cherry tree with negative space petals being cast into a sunset. Only visible from certain angles on an otherwise meaningless array of figures and color. It was, until the news arrived, an overall good moment of time for her. She had trust in Japan. She had trust in their defenses. She had trust she would see her husband again. What could she, and artist and cultural demonstrator do that the real fighters and warriors could not?
Careless and flippant of her responsibility and capability, Fumiko Abe sword to never hold the name Sato until she deserved to be her husband's wife. If she knew much of what Misturu thought of her during her story, she would swiftly agree. If only her husband so much as ran off with a Gear, at least then it would merely be a rival for her love rather than the leaden gates of death keeping him away.
But the girl has learned, she isn't fighting with the same mindless brutality. No more cuts and slashes on chi covered arms. Fumiko is cold and practical with each clinch, lock and avoidance of her cuts. Another comment, though, but this one holds different meanings than mindless sneering and petulance.
"But you heard, and I thank you for your patience," Fumiko tells Mitsuru when they break. Not that there is much to converse about when a battle cry is unleashed and a furious series of fists rains down over Fumiko. But with her arms occupied, Fumiko finds her place. A skip, a step. A turn. A fist catches along Fumiko's shoulder and back. Heavy, fiery, but glancing. More importantly, leaving just enough space for Fumiko to have an opening. Fumiko snaps her thumb against the guard of her smaller sword. The blade clicks out and Fumiko lunges forward. The blunt end of the blade flicks up, and Fumiko detaches the short blade's scabbard entirely from her belt. The hilt finding a sharp place to strike against Mitsuru's chin. With enough force to click the blade back into the scabbard, and with a follow up sneaker to the chest, Fumiko kicks hard to open space between herself and her opponent. Landing with a huff and a resumption of stance for the swordswoman.
"You've already improved greatly," she tells Mitsuru. "Come then, let's continue."
Mitsuru hated this. She hated respect, and distain, and judgement. Her relentless chain is cut brutally short by the sudden smash to her chin. Not enough to break her groove, but enough to break her attack. She didn't know what she wanted from Fumiko. She didn't even know if she really wanted to beat her. "I'm not your maid, don't thank me!" She blurts out, trying to sound tough after the counter-smash still smarts on her bruised, bloodied chin. There was the giggles again. A whisper. A 'pretty face?' The muttering gets more drastic. One voice would have been enough to drive Mitsuru into a frenzy. 'What would Ayane think?' But the second is what makes her keep her mind focused.
'A little higher, and she would match her Spangles.'
And she flails. With real training, she might be able to channel her energy properly. But the tsks and gasps from the audience reveals the net result of her uncontrolled strength. Mitsuru leaps up, and flails; it was the same barrage she unleashed on Fumiko the last time their fought. As puffs of petals and turf blast up all around, Mitsuru would land roughly, off balanced for a moment. But the Fight Club averts their eyes more... except Kaicho. Kaicho seeme to be focusing even harder, adjusting her glasses as she just -listens- and watches. The little tells were burning through. Against Fumiko, it was just... art. But Mitsuru was revealing more and more. Kaicho loved fighting. Let the Garden club worry about their flowers.
Kaicho cared about fighting.
COMBATSYS: Fumiko blocks Mitsuru's Flash War Dance.
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Fumiko 1/------</<<<<<<<|>>>>>>>\>>>>---\1 Mitsuru
A rain of chi-fire. Silvered blasts create craters around Fumiko. Last time, she kept a step ahead. This time, she hunkers and batters against the flash and fury from Mitsuru. The floral scabbard, still cracked and lacquered gold since her first bout with the American Marine, takes the brunt of Mitsuru's assault. The splashing power singes and scorches against Fumiko's face and her outfit.
But she remains standing in the wake of the wild and unfocused strike.
Fumiko leans forward, slides a foot back, and looks forward into the fight. There are better plans. She knows she should back off, find her center, and bide her time to attack properly. But this, this fight against this girl for these stakes, it struck Fumiko that perhaps she could find more pride in being a teacher than in being a fighter. She smiles, looking for just a moment to the glasses wearing girl watching with great intent. And another glance, to the flower and garden girls who avert their gazes at the destruction of their grounds.
Fumiko thumbs the edge of her blade's hilt. She digs her sneaker into the ground, finding footing in a crack made by Mitsuru's blasts. "When you find a position you can take advantage of, remember to capitalize. Nothing is gained from cowardice," she says, and then she is off like a shot.
She charges close. Ducks low, she turns, down near the dirt she starts to draw her blade. A sweeping, ankle crushing heel cuts out for Mitsuru's legs. And the follow up to the kick is a short blade cutting through the air as if to slice a paper crane lobbed into the air.
COMBATSYS: Mitsuru interrupts Strong Kick from Fumiko with Rumbling Death Spiral.
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Fumiko 1/-======/=======|=======\=------\1 Mitsuru
Elegant words, on boorish ears.
Mitsuru lands, breathing hard at the sheer force of effort. She doesn't have much respite; Fumiko is already rioting at her position. But the words that manage to pierce through her thick head... turn her crimson. The low kick comes as Mitsuru lurches forward, the stampeding momentum coming in. She chooses to take the low kick full force in her ankle; there is even an audible crack and shriek of pain from the teenager.
But the blade doesn't come all the way clean.
Mitsuru was already slamming her leg up into Fumiko's midsection, taking the full brunt of the attack in order to force through. The follow-up swipe manages to cut her flesh; it's a cold comfort as both Fumiko and Mitsuru take to the air. Mitsuru chains a second kick into her, carrying the momentum up. The third kick comes as a spiking diving kick, shuttling the pair down straight to the stone tiles. There is a moan of misery from the audience as the explosion of energy blasts around them. And Mitsuru, hanging over Fumiko, begins to stomp on the leg that -didn't- stop the kick. Her composure was gone, her early momentum broken, as she rants.
"I AM NOT A COWARD!"
"I AM NEVER A COWARD!"
"APOLOGIZE YOU DUMB DUMB... GRAGH!"
It was not the cleverest of approaches. It was one to give confidence to a shattered ego. She left openings wide enough to be considered embarrassing. Though, that Mitsuru was finally goaded into a proper capitalization was something of a thrill of pride for Fumiko.
Even as she's getting the wind knocked out of her. Kicked hard, and rocketed over the stone walking tiles. Clattering and crack, Fumiko is down with the tall girl over her. And then the stomping starts. It hurts, as of course it does, but Fumiko Abe has taken the fists of Mike Bison and walked away. She can grit her teeth and sally forth against the force of an angry young girl.
"If you had stayed silent," she seethes, twisting just enough to get her hand on her blade. "You would have demonstrated by your actions." A simple lesson. The girl has talent to spare, but Fumiko has to wonder if stapling Mitsuru's mouth shut would manage to give the high schooler a sterling reputation.
But the moment has come back around, the head cleared, Fumiko strikes for mitsuru's midsection with a measured, heavy swipe of the blade. To cut and force the fight back to a standing game.
COMBATSYS: Fumiko successfully hits Mitsuru with Bamboo Splitter.
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Fumiko 1/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|=======\===----\1 Mitsuru
It's the words that stop the stomping.
Mitsuru -wanted- to say something, just to be difficult. Just to be contrary. But when the first thing she wants to say is 'if you said something your husband would be alive', she seethes. She kept imagining saying something like that to her daddy, or mommy, and how much they would cry. How much they would sob and hold Mitsuru and apologize to her, to plead with Mitsuru to forgive them. But it was wrong, it was so wrong. Mitsuru hesitates.
And in that hesitation, an opening to carve open.
The swipe of the blade comes, and Mitsuru steps in, trying to be inside the blade reach instead of outside of it. In the close quarters, she manages to reduce the impact my a non-negibile amount. It does force Mitsuru back, with a sharp hiss. But the deliniquent responds with a hefty kick to finalize the clinch's divorce: driving in with a deep straight kick to boot Fumiko back. Minus the boot, of course: like most Seijyun High students, she is armed with kneesocks and mary janes.
The very thought of it drives her fury further.
COMBATSYS: Fumiko blocks Mitsuru's Medium Kick.
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Fumiko 2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|=======\====---\1 Mitsuru
No more angry words. No more sneering. Just the brace of a fighter putting in her effort. Fumiko doesn't have anything to exchange. She feels, at some part of her, that maybe her coldness at the earlier mention of Kenji wasn't a good response. It wasn't a measured one of poise and control. The moment where she would have potentially removed a teenager's head from her body in front of her classmates as if the girl was some Gear or Darkstalker.
But now, hearing the breathing, hearing the effort. The focus and tide of battle settle into a steady pace and practice. A sharp kick, it doesn't find full purchase, clacking noisily against the scabbard and Fumiko's bracing forearm. But it drives the artist away from the student. It gives a new footing.
Fumiko shakes her head, her long hair comes loose from the tail she keeps it tied in. It hangs, a straight curtain downward as the swordswoman tries to read her opponent's movements. She nods and bursts forward. Two blades drawn at once. The cuts streak the air as Fumiko slices a violent cross in the air. A deep horizontal slice of her long blade, while the short cuts upward. Fumiko herself standing not unlike a flamenco dancer in position in the stroke's aftermath
COMBATSYS: Mitsuru blocks Fumiko's Goryo's Wrath.
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Fumiko 1/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|=======\=====--\1 Mitsuru
Broken away, Mitsuru could really feel how far the fight was pushing her limits.
Her ankle was burning; it wouldn't stop hurting. Her body was bleeding; not as bad as their last encounter, at least, not yet. She was beginning to drip in sweat; something that was getting titters amongst the tsks from the audience. Mitsuru was easing on her feet, breathing hard as she sees the two blades out. She remembered what two blades meant. She didn't lean in this time; this time she actually holds back, stepping away from the charge. The dual-swipe comes, and she manages to smash her arms against each of the blades. She gets lacerations for her effort; that may be the last time she would get a clean block against the precise blades of her opponent. There is a low growl, as she surges forward, silver energy cascading over her.
"It's time to end this."
And she throws in hard with a staggering deep punch. After which, comes the frenzied barrage of punches. The rapid-fire blows erupt in such overflowing energy, they soon become nothing but a rabid flurry of claw-like slashes. The frenzy, if Fumiko cannot break it herself, will come with a singular, explosive uppercut. No more words, not this time.
Just an iron glower of contempt.
COMBATSYS: Fumiko fails to interrupt The Path Of The Raging Demon EX from Mitsuru with Kamae Tachi ES.
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Fumiko 0/-------/<<<<<<<|=------\-------\0 Mitsuru
A series of blows. A song of battle and a dance of wills. Pressure applied, force made clear. Set up the moment you need and expect, then capitalize. Every moment feeds into the next. Strokes of a brush. A flit of a pen to paper. Lines make form, form makes image, depth makes it real.
Fumiko Abe produces what she needs for her moment. She steps. She draws.
It isn't enough. The power brushes through her, beats through her, the pace of battle in the child's hands. Battered, sent flying back, into the flowers, into the bed of fragile plants that her opponent seems to hold a curious loathing for.
Disheveled, dirty, hair loose and wild, sleeve torn and hanging at her shoulder. Fumiko rises once more to her feet. Her smile hangs as the drumbeat of battle rings in her heaving breaths and pounds in her head. "You are not finished yet," she exhales. "Show them who you are as a fighter."
Show them who you are.
Mitsuru looks absolutely giddy at the suggestion. She doesn't resist it. She wanted to show them all just how strong she was. How -impossibly- strong she was. She could feel herself asserting her strength over mommy, and daddy, and Franco, and B. B. Hood, all those awful awful people who made her look like a fool. Especially Fumiko, who was right here, right now, probably -regretting- ever making Mitsuru feel bad about herself. All in the fevered mind of Mitsuru. She felt so big and strong and badass.
And she bet everyone thought the same way about her.
Mitsuru responds with a slow, clumsy launch, bounding into the air in a long draw. Sweeping her leg high in the air in an axle swing, she blazes with a silver aura as she fires straight down. Blistering straight at Fumiko, she riots forward into a dive bomb kick, firing at Fumiko with enough force to land another crater. She wanted it. She wanted it and the applause or maybe the terrified silence of everyone watching her. Maybe daddy and mommy were watching her now.
Maybe they were even regretting sending her to Seijyun High at all.
COMBATSYS: Mitsuru successfully hits Fumiko with Heaven And Earth.
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Fumiko 1/------</<<<<<<<|==-----\-------\0 Mitsuru
A crashing blow. A thundering crash. Fumiko craters indeed. And there she lay. Eyes closed, she lets the throbbing pain rush over her. Power, failure, a foolish artist losing against a girl. A lucky turn in a fight before. And now, the chance of a young woman that can stand up for herself and for Japan.
It was enough to make her smile as she lay scattered and beaten on the ground. If she could simply drift away, disappear, and never fight again it would be a glorious end.
But would it? Fumiko's eyes open. Perhaps if she loses so simply, she would just hang up her blades and end her journey for good. A flash in the pan, but there's no shame in learning that you were not capable of being a warrior after all.
But a cold pang sits in Fumiko's heart. She knows she isn't done. She isn't done yet. A sigh from her lips and she pulls herself up to her feet. She dusts herself off. She looks coldly to Mitsuru. "I apologize for not treating you seriously. I wish that, in the future, you would visit me in my studio. I would like to speak with you without an audience," she says flatly. "I hope that I may at least finish this demonstration with honor."
And then she's off. A sharp step. A slash. A flash of petals dancing and waving in the air. A strike for Mitsuru that may be the end of all things for Fumiko's ill-fated second climb to the mountain of Neo League.
COMBATSYS: Mitsuru endures Fumiko's Scattered Petals.
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Fumiko 0/-------/------=|=====--\-------\0 Mitsuru
Mitsuru didn't want to stand up for Japan.
She didn't want to be an elegant doll to put on the shelf for all the world to see. To admire, and chatter amongst themselves: That Tokugawa girl, she is the perfect example of what it means to be Japanese. That the Tokugawa Clan should be proud of how their only child and heir is worthy of the family name, and another respectable representative of Japan. How she did not throw tantrums and overeat and refuse to take bathes and would shout and shout until she could ride horsy horses and behave like a brat. How she did not embarass her parents over and over again.
Well now everyone could see how embarassing she could be.
But every attack, every push was overexhertion. She was burning herself hot; even as the suppressive chi aura burns around her, she on the cusp of breaking. One more ankle strike, and she would collapse like a house of cards. As she grazes Fumiko, she eases on her feet, leaning hard with the momentum. "Good grief, it sounds like you want a d-date!" Mitsuru sputters out, trying to keep herself moving. The flash of petals come, and Mitsuru practically -bodyslams- the slash. Not the wisest of moves, perhaps, and it's enough to make her eyes wide. The blade didn't cut as deep as it could; the silver aura was like a plate of armor over her. But as it disappates more and more, Mitsuru halts, as everything freezes after the dispatching strike.
And Mitsuru refuses to go down.
Mitsuru snarls as she rips out of her stun with a staggering right cross. Her other limb comes around with a wild flail; the left limb whipping around to try and snag Fumiko. Should she manage to get a grip? Mitsuru would proceed to slam Fumiko to the ground, and give a nasty stomp on her. She had a vow now. Fumiko wanted to end this with honor?
Mitsuru would do whatever she could to deny it.
COMBATSYS: Fumiko blocks Mitsuru's Thunder God Fist.
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Fumiko 0/-------/-----==|=====--\-------\0 Mitsuru
Fumiko Abe fought on. Surging forward. She fights with the rush of blood in her head and ears. She knows there is little left to what she can bring to the table. Little fight left in her. She had gone easy, she would admit to herself, she did not fight with every stratagem and to the depths of her technical library. She pushed when flow would have been better, and she had underestimated what the child could bring. But she was seeing what was before her. And she was reading it.
Talking directly to the child was getting her little. She would just speak to the parents, perhaps. There is potential, but Fumiko could see that the young woman was intolerable when she had an audience.
And if Fumiko was out of the running, she would have that bounty of a prize to spend on her personal studio. With the Darkstalkers and Gears gathering in their towers in the heart of Southtown, perhaps Fumiko shouldn't be practicing with younger fighters around the world. It might behoove her to remain in Japan for a period.
When confronted with loss, opportunities arrive. Selfish as the though is, Kenji's death stirred a fire and burned comfort from Fumiko's life. A part of her, a prideful part, has flourished in the wake. And it is a part that Fumiko Abe cannot deny. Though her true regret is not using that part of her to bring up Kenji, and to support him when he needed her most. Things might be different, livelier, alive.
Close in, clinching, Fumiko shoves and hip checks Mitsuru away from her. It's not neat or tidy, and with the thump comes a violent slash of her blade. Untrained, forceful, direct. Just to push the girl away and hopefully down. To move on to what was to come. Because to Fumiko, the results of this fight were negligible; she had greater ambition in mind.
And it felt pure.
COMBATSYS: Mitsuru fails to interrupt Crushing Strike from Fumiko with Violent Echo Fist EX.
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Fumiko 0/-------/----===|=======\-------\0 Mitsuru
Further and further.
Missing the clinch was dangerous; Mitsuru was badly off balanced in the aftermath, and was ripe for any counter attack. But Mitsuru had an instinct on that as well: keep attacking. Don't hesitate, don't stop. Surging with energy, she was already responding to her moment of weakness by surging at Fumiko. Coming in low, she was aiming to counter the counter attack with a staggering uppercut. She had an answer, she had a plan.
And Mitsuru has no answer to purity.
The wild, broad slash rends across Mitsuru's body as she dips low for the breaching uppercut. Hissing in pain, the whole attack collapses as she stumbles, the last of the silvery chi fading around her. "If you didn't have that st-stupid sword-" Mitsuru complains loudly, as she refuses to drop, stamping towards Fumiko. "This would be a fair fight!" Was that the best Mitsuru could muster as retaliation? She imagines other things to say.
But that's the only thing she could bring herself to say in front of everyone.
Exhausted. Head pulsing. Staring. Fumiko looks at Mitsuru in the wake of the failed counter attack from a mile away from her own body. A flick of her sword to the flowers on the school ground and she sheathes the blade without a word.
Step, step, step toward the girl and her taunts. She breathes deeply. "You've done well so far, do not give up yet," she says. And then she strikes.
Mind clear, near the end, there isn't time or capacity for emotion. Pure catharsis has come over Fumiko in the wake of her raw and simple violence. All she has yet are the basics. And, as an empty vessel she moves. Step forward, drawing a harsh stroke for Mitsuru's chest, this time with a follow up swing of the short blade still in its scabbard. The edge of a blade, and a nasty lacquered club in order. A steady eyed Fumiko pushing toward the end of her trail.
COMBATSYS: Mitsuru blocks Fumiko's Fierce Strike.
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Fumiko 0/-------/----===|=======\-------\1 Mitsuru
Exhaustion on both sides.
Mitsuru was crimson-faced, sweat-covered, and gasping for air. But she was focused, dead focused. She wasn't breaking her lock on Fumiko, as everything was fading. As she is praised, however? "D-d-don't pity me!" She sputters, somehow deflecting the compliment with the same finesse she's deflected everything else in the fight. The cut and smash comes; she brings her arms up on both, smashing the sword for more lacerations on her arms. The scabbard, however, is deflected nearly harmlessly; it's that kind of effort that seems to invigorate Mitsuru.
And there is her opening.
Mitsuru gives an extrordinary effort, groaning as she draws deep inside. She tries to latch on to the thoughts; she tries to latch on to kicking her daddy and mommy and how they had to sell the pony. She tries to latch on to all those bitter, angry thoughts. And they take shape around her, as silver fire is wrenched from her body. And there, she flails her arms. The energy washes out of her, flinging blasts of chi in a haphazard manner. A focused manner, at least, as she aims low. The low aim takes to the air as she gives a leap, flailing the machine gun of energy at Fumiko. She was avoiding the petals now; she couldn't afford to hit the petals. She had to hit only one person: Fumiko.
And she lands in a burst of chi, as she gives an moan of pain, landing on her bad ankle.
COMBATSYS: Mitsuru successfully hits Fumiko with Violent Heated Dance.
- Power hit! -
[ \ < > //// ]
Fumiko 1/-------/=======|=------\-------\0 Mitsuru
The blast pushes through the scabbard. Fumiko dashes along the ground. She lay. She is finished. But she cannot stay down. She must give her all, after her foolishness earlier, to show respect for the girl.
Disheveled, battered, blood running down her nose, Fumiko lurches to her feet and props herself up with her own sword.
"You were more focused this time," she says. "Still much to learn, but you did wonderfully." One more go. One more breath. She surges toward Mitsuru and draws her short blade. A quick, close in strike, but the entirety of what she has before she slips and slumps to the ground.
COMBATSYS: Fumiko can no longer fight.
[ \\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Fumiko successfully hits Mitsuru with Second Blade Strike.
- Power hit! -
It was done.
"I WIN! I WIN! YEAH! YOU LOSE!" She shouts out as Mitsuru eases, the blasting assault having pierced her opponent's guard. As she leans on her sword, she shakes her fists to the unasumed looking audience, who was more concerned with the flowers than any Seijyun High victory. And yet, Fumiko still compliments her. "Stop it!" Mitsuru shouts out as Fumiko begins to surge. "You are just being a sore loser because I beat you! You're done!" There is no guard as Fumiko givesa final slash... which cuts right to the abdomen. There is a pitiful whimper, as she clutches herself. Mitsuru feels her knees give out. As she slumps to the ground... so does Fumiko in tandem. "NO! NO! NO!" She screams, as she kicks and flails, face down as she holds her gut.
And the judges... don't call the fight.
No, there is actually a debate on it. The medical staff on both sides come to each of the fighters side, as the judges argue. "We apologize, there is some debate on magnitude of the last strikes, as well as the standings of both fighters; the fight is too close to call at this time." Mitsuru is hoisted on a gurny, as she writhes. "What the hell are they saying? I WON! I WAS THE LAST ONE UP! THAT'S HOW IT WORKS!" Nurses struggle with Mitsuru, as Koichi approaches Mitsuru. Off to the sides, there is a blur of movement.
A note is brought to the judges, by a young-looking man in a white suit.
The man looks like the archetype of professionalism, with his hair neat and his features stoic. Giving the customary bow, he waits as the judges read the letter. There is a firm nod, and hushed whispering. The fine-dressed man looks over at Mitsuru, and shakes his head. The judges nod. "We call the fight in favor of..."
Mitsuru screams in rage, as the Seijyun High girls applaud for Fumiko. "CHEATERS! CHEATERS! RIG RIG RIG! IT'S NOT FAIR! I WENT DOWN LAST! I'LL KILL YOU ALL! I'LL KILL EVERYONE! I HATE YOU! I HAAAAATE.... hate...." Mitsuru relaxes, as a sedative in injected in her. At her side, Kaicho shakes her head, as the nurses get to work. "Sssssh.... sssssh... Poor Mitsuru, always a victim, always trying so hard to win." Kaicho touches the delinquint's hair lightly, as Mitsuru falls into unconsciousness. "But it's okay, I'll help you improve, and get better. I have to help you, I'm the only one who can. I'll stop everyone from hurting you, and making fun of you..." She touches the sleeping Mitsuru gently on the cheek.
"It's the only way you'll get better."
Log created on 11:53:17 02/04/2019 by Fumiko, and last modified on 11:04:39 02/18/2019.