KOF 2019 - Prelims 1 - Twilight Stars vs Kyokugen

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Description: In their first match of the King of Fighters 2019, Team Kyokugen faces the Twilight Stars in a harrowing battle on Ayers Rock, Australia! Will the mysterious powers of the Twilight Stars claim victory, or will they be unable to stand against KYOKUGEN MIGHT!?

The KOF! It was something that Koto never really had a dream of entering, but here he was. In... the middle of Australia? Okay, that is something a LOT different than he would have thought.

Still, it was something of a Fighter's Dream to hit the big leagues like this. Koto himself was almost hopping with excitement. Fights on the grand stage, strong opponents, and the eagerness of the fight itself showed in the young, teenage student that was a member of the Twilight Star team.

A bright light shines on his waist before he swings his arm around in front of him, "HENSHIN!" The prismatic light envelopping him to reveal him in his costumed form is definitely not something many fighters expect, unless they've watched the SNF or Neo-League recently. Koto's transformation leaves him with a bit more energy and the teenager was ready to get things going it seemed. Moving a hand up to the cameras, making a J gesture with his thumb and two fingers of his hand as prismatic light shined to show what the gesture was for, the teenager states, "Mega Dragon Fighter, J-Dragon! Ready!"

Leaving his teammates in their dedicated viewing area, Ryo Sakazaki makes his way toward center stage. As "The Invincible Dragon" of Kyokugenryu, Ryo has a bit of a reptuation preceding himself from some of the past tournaments, but the Kyokugen dojo seems to have mostly stayed out of the spotlight for the last few tourneys. Rumors that the dojo's low enrollment notwithstanding, Ryo and his team seem set on doing well this year.

"Oh hey," the blond man says as he steps into the ring while tugging on his orange gi. "You were on TV, right? The guy at the art museum?" Ryo narrows his eyes. "So are you some kind of superhero," Ryo rubs the back of his head. "...or a circus performer?" His tone sounds genuinely curious more than dryly snarky.

Ryo strikes his fist into his open palm, giving Koto a formal bow. "I'm honestly looking forward to seeing you guys in action." His stance widens, knees bending as he raises his fists into a high, tight guard. "But don't expect me to go easy! Kyokugen is no joke!"

Koto tilts his head at being called a superhero. "Oh, yeah. That was a weird one. She could do illusions and other odd tricks." Koto states. He gives a shrug, "I guess you could call me one. I prefer tokusatsu, though." His body language definitely speaks of a smile before he returns the formal bow. Completely formal, and speaking of possible training of his own!

Sliding back into something that might look like a tae kwon do stance, but seems more influenced towards kick boxing. His stance is still pretty solid, and his hands also up in something of a guard.

"Hey, if you went easy, I would have to toss you off the mountain! We're here to see who is the better fighter, not to take it easy! Ready when you are!" Koto declares.

COMBATSYS: Koto has started a fight here.

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Koto             0/-------/-------|

"Huh," Ryo says, "well if she causes trouble in our neighborhood, you can bet Kyokugen will teach her a lesson about stealing!" Ryo says with confidence. "Tokusatsu, huh? I remember watching some of those shows with Yuri...anyway." Ryo smiles before tightening his stance, pulling his fists closer.

"That's exactly what I like to hear! Bring it on!" Ryo extends one hand, beckoning Koto to make the first move.

COMBATSYS: Ryo has joined the fight here.

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Ryo              0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0             Koto

Koto steps forward, swinging a leg out but suddenly drops low into a full on sweep as prismatic energy bursts out from his leg. Instead of the leg striking, what almost seems like a tail of some sort swings out at Ryo's legs, intending to knock him into the air.

The follow up is Koto spinning into the air as a whirling wheel kick with the second lashing of the energy tail going for sending Ryo away as the superhero calls out, "Dragon Swings Tail!"

COMBATSYS: Koto successfully hits Ryo with Dragon Swings Tail.
- Power hit! -

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Ryo              0/-------/-----==|=------\-------\0             Koto

Honoka Kawamoto is no stranger to the high-stakes King of Fighters tournament, her teams having earned significant places in both of the last two events. This will, however, be her 'first' for a number of reasons. Her first KOF match without Zach Glenn at her side -- masked or otherwise. Her first since sustaining critical injuries at the hands of Duke Burkoff -- the one and the same who'd taken her team out of the running from the very last KOF. And her first public appearance since earning her claim to the Red Master Belt -- a hard-fought win that remains uncontested to date.

There's a lot on her mind, to be sure. But it'd be nigh impossible for the audience to tell, as she executes a low-key, low-impact routine on the sidelines of this fast-paced battle, with Ayers Rock at her back, and a pair of dark violet diabolos spinning in the air. Her eyes are on her teammate, and his opponent. And yet she's still fully capable of keeping track of both juggling props as they sail through the air, obeying the subtle suggestions of the talented performer's wands as if magic, and not hard mastery of momentum, were animating them.

The performer shares a smile with the crowd. As a teammate, Koto's working out well -- his unbridled enthusiasm is every bit as contagious as she hoped it would be.

Ryo tenses as Koto draws close. His eyes stay on Koto's leg, watching for the kick. He steps forward, grinding his foot into the dust to brace himself and block the kick. What instead happens is the tail-like whip of energy catches Ryo off-guard, taking his feet out from under him. The second kick crashes into the blond karateka and sends him several meters across the stage where he on his back.

But in a moment, Ryo springs from his back onto his feet and then rolls his neck. "Good! That's just the kind of thing I'm expecting from anyone who thinks he can cut it in the King of Fighters!"

And then Ryo breaks into a sprint, closing the gap once more. As he gets near he snaps back into his readied stance, bouncing on the balls of his feet before sidestepping and then kicking off. He slides in close, plants his foot, then twists into a sharp, stiff uppercut aimed for Koto's jaw.

COMBATSYS: Koto blocks Ryo's Mouko Raijin Satsu.

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Ryo              0/-------/-----==|==-----\-------\0             Koto

Koto brings a forearm up as he sees Ryo coming, sliding down further to a more open stance than the one he started with. The impact of the uppercut is blocked with a flexible forearm block to shift it and miss his helmeted chin. Koto himself spins to the side and attempts something a bit more daring in his case. Especially against an experienced fighter.

The uppercutting arm is grabbed at as Koto attempts to twist it and at the same time step around Ryo as his hands glow with prismatic energy. Attempting to get around the man is only the first step as his other, more free hand goes for placing itself on the small of Ryo's back. The pakua training shining through as Koto keeps the wide, open stance to maintain his balance. "Good to know I've impressed someone!"

COMBATSYS: Ryo blocks Koto's Becoming the Moon.

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Ryo              0/-------/----===|===----\-------\0             Koto

Ryo responds to the block and grab with an intense smile. He's got the fire in his eyes of someone who is flourishing in the fight. He moves with a hard-won intensity that comes from his years in the Kyokugen dojo and fighting on the streets of Southtown.

"Hup!" the exclamation is half-surprise and half-chiding as Ryo steps with the twist, moving to keep Koto from fully extending the captured arm. The palm strikes Ryo on the forearm rather than the back as such, pushing him back with the impact.

But then Ryo puts on the brakes, planting his feet heavily and dropping his knees. His arm sweeps to hook Koto under the armpit. If he finds purchase Ryo pivots on his hip to go for a judo-style overhead throw.

"Keep it up!" Ryo says, "...though have you ever considered studying karate?"

COMBATSYS: Ryo successfully hits Koto with Tomoe Nage.
- Power hit! -

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Ryo              0/-------/--=====|======-\-------\0             Koto

Well, that's a first for Koto. And then he's suddenly sailing through the air as the throw lands him on his back. The superhero raises himself up, then kips up to his feet, landing in a firmer stance than the one before as he drops low to the ground. Instead of approaching, his hands move as he resumes his stance... and he begins to glow?

Prismatic looking energies start to shine over Koto as he keeps the rather wide, open stance and his leading hand settles into an open palm facing him as he seems to be concentrating. The obvious down side is that he seems to be gathering his energies, whatever those might be. The up side is that he's not trying to punch in Ryo's face at the moment!

COMBATSYS: Koto glows with prismatic energy.

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Ryo              0/-------/--=====|=======\==-----\1             Koto

"...huh!" Ryo wipes his mouth with the back of his fist. "So you've got a few tricks, too." He snaps to attention again. "Good! Let's pull out all the stops!" With a stomp, Ryo switches to an even stiffer stance, feet planted evenly apart and fists forward and clenched, elbows at his hips. He shouts a mighty kiai of his own, his belt and blond hair flapping slightly in the wind as he gathers his own chi in turn.

COMBATSYS: Ryo gathers his will.

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Ryo              1/-----==/=======|=======\==-----\1             Koto

Tilting his head as he sees the stance, Koto is probably grinning under his helmet. "Well, then... let's see what you do against this! Hope you payed attention to the tokusatsu!"

Koto's hands move to cross before his waist, then slide up to a cross formation. Seriously, if Ryo's watched Tokusatsu as a kid? Well... he might want to get the hell out of the way.

The bright glow from the crossed wrists barely gets brighter before Koto calls out, "AUROOORA BUUUURST!" And a literal beam of prismatic energy flies out from his crossed wrists straight for Ryo!

COMBATSYS: Ryo blocks Koto's Aurora Burst.

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Ryo              1/--=====/=======|-------\-------\0             Koto

"That's the spirit!" Ryo calls back, still gathering power of his own as Koto readies the attack. When the beam fires, Ryo smiles like a madman. Unfortunately, however, he is not always the type to dodge his problems--fighting or otherwise. That's more the method of Robert and Yuri.

No, Ryo is the type to challenge things head-on. He stomps one foot, then the other, repositioning and lowering his center of gravity. His arms snap up in front of him in an x block, the beam smashing into his forearms with a resounding impact. It pushes him back across the stage, his feet sliding through the dirt as he rides the length of the attack.

And as it dissipates, Ryo snaps his arms forward, resuming his initial stance. "Not bad at all! Just like those finishing moves in the tokusatsu shows!" Ryo calls to Koto, giving him a beaming smile. "But even they aren't a match for Kyokugen! Let me show you why should come train with us!" One foot slides forward, the other back as Ryo shifts to another low, horse stance like footing. He swings his arms forward, fingers curled, then cups them together at the palm. Drawing them back behind him, orange chi starts to gather in the middle. "Haoh..."

And then Ryo thrusts his palms forward, hurling a giant blast of orange chi back at Koto.


COMBATSYS: Koto blocks Ryo's Haohshokoken.

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Ryo              1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0             Koto

Bringing his hands up, Koto obliges the earlier block by Ryo by blocking his own in a similar fashion. The x block is pretty good for such things, after all! Even then, the attack has Koto sliding back. "Not bad..." His stance was more firmer than before, and he moves forward again.

Cautiously at first before he suddenly drops to crouch low with both hands wide and he charges forward with prismatic wings shooting from his back. Those wings flap before enveloping his arms with the energy as he comes at Ryo rather harshly, attempting to literally nail him in the stomach, lift him, and hurl him into the ground no less! "Flying Dragon!"

COMBATSYS: Ryo dodges Koto's Flying Dragon.

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Ryo              1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0             Koto

"So what do you practice?" Ryo calls out. "Those stance shifts tells me there's a story there." But he can continue, Ryo finds Koto closing the gap with a flash of energy and a flaring of prismatic wings. Time seems to slow down for a minute as the two of them clash, Koto striking out toward Ryo's midsection. The karateka kicks back as the gap closes, pushing off to the side to briefly widen the gap before moving out of the way of the strike and toss.

And as he lands, Ryo snaps back with a high overhead kick, shooting his leg out toward Koto's jaw.

COMBATSYS: Koto endures Ryo's Medium Kick.

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Ryo              1/-----==/=======|=======\-------\0             Koto

With the glow fading, Koto turns to get a kick in the helmeted jaw. At least he's closer now! But the kick has him shifting a bit as he gives another in response.

"Tenrairyu and Space Pakua." Koto replies, even as he does a few more careful kicks to make sure he's at least not sticking to blasting out the more powerful attacks he could at the moment. He's also breathing a bit hard now it seems. "Not a bad kick..."

COMBATSYS: Ryo blocks Koto's Evasive Kick.

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Ryo              1/----===/=======|=======\-------\1             Koto

"Space Pakua?" Ryo asks, tilting his head slightly. But then Koto returns fire, which prompts Ryo to snap his arm up for a solid forearm block. "Same to you!"

But almost as soon as he's given the compliment, Ryo steps forward into a sharp straight aimed at capitalizing before Koto closes the opening.

COMBATSYS: Koto blocks Ryo's Medium Punch.

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Ryo              1/---====/=======|=======\=------\1             Koto

Blocking the incoming punch, Koto spins away suddenly. "Yeah. It lets me do some crazy stuff. Like this." His hand darts up, the crest on his helmet glowing before suddenly seeming to make a prismatic copy of it that he shoots out at Ryo, "J-Slugger!"

The flying crescent like object spins into a disc as it launches at Ryo himself, spinning around and well... it's like an overgrown buzzing hornet that's definitely not stopping any time soon!

COMBATSYS: Ryo dodges Koto's J-Slugger.

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Ryo              1/---====/=======|==-----\-------\0             Koto

"Huh, seems like an interesting style..." Ryo says, backstepping. With the flying crescent spiraling toward his head, Ryo's eyes widen. He snaps to the left, the blade making a shallow cut on his cheek as it whizzes by. "But I prefer something more straightforward!" Hyaaaah!"

And Ryo steps forward then swings into a sharp, overhead chop down toward Koto's neck and shoulder. Simple and plain as it is, Ryo's conditioning and constant practice makes it potent nonetheless.

COMBATSYS: Ryo successfully hits Koto with Hyouchuu Wari.

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Ryo              1/-======/=======|=====--\-------\0             Koto

Koto grunts as the chop hits. "Truthfully... I do, too."

Even if he knows he's about to go down, judging by how he's going down to one knee from the attack... Koto still plans on going out with a literal bang it seems!

"THUNDER KICK!" Comes the call, even as a prismatic flare surrounds one leg and a roundhouse kick comes flying at Ryo's side. Said kick lives up to it's name as a crack like thunder comes out of the air at it's passing. And probably hits like it, too, even as Koto finally falls!

COMBATSYS: Koto can no longer fight.

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Ryo              1/-======/=======|

COMBATSYS: Ryo dodges Koto's Thunder Kick.

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Ryo              1/-======/=======|

The kick comes out in a flash, Koto's last effort of the match carrying all the power and enthusiasm he can manage. Ryo shifts, bringing his arm around from the side. His forearm meets Koto's kick at the perfect angle to avoid the power tightly packed into the blow and redirect it, sending it away from Ryo as the apex out of hit lets out a thundering boom. Even afterward, Ryo maintains his parrying stance. It seems he's still charged from the heat of the moment.

"Great job, Kid. I'd be more than happy to have you come join us at the Kyokugen Dojo! Stop by sometime after the match. First week is free!"

Ryo lets out a deep sigh, finally releasing the tension from his bout. Koto took quite a bit out of him, it seems. Perhaps more than Ryo was ever expecting. He plants his hand on his shoulder and rolls his arm, working out some of the stiffness before the next round starts.

COMBATSYS: Ryo awaits the next challenger.

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Ryo              1/-======/=======|

Round and round the diabolos swing. The motion is regular enough to set a clock by, largely because the consummate professional had considered it poor form to cause a distraction to the fighters on stage. She's not -trying- to upstage anyone, so much as look attentive when the cameras happen to catch her in the background of the unfolding melee.

That does not, however, mean that she wasn't following the match. Each time J-Dragon unleashed his talents, Honoka was there with a proud, confident smile. Each time Ryo landed a fist or foot on her partner, she was right there wincing. But, steady as a metronome, the diabolos continued to keep time all the same.

When Ryo swings a monster of an overhead chop, though... the Twilight Star juggler can see the writing on the wall. Her lips purse shut, her eyes half-lid. The diabolos vault into the air. With a calm, almost lazy manner, Honoka holds out her hand. The diabolos arc perfectly into her open hand, one clacking right on top of the other.

Honoka takes a measured breath, as a torrent of cheers rings out from the audience. Well-deserved applause for a well-fought match, met with only the barest hint of a smile.

She doesn't wish poorly of Ryo, after all.
At least, her public persona doesn't.

Thankfully, there's plenty of time before the juggler will have to saunter into the ring. Time enough for old man Sakazaki to work the kinks out of his rotator cuff, or whatever he's doing. Time enough for the first response team to snap to it, assisting Koto off the stage.

"Good job out there, J-Dragon! We got a good shot at this still...!" Considering Honoka's performance in the -last- King of Fighters, standing tall against the World Warrior himself... it's not just empty bluster.

With an acrobat's grace, Kawamoto strides onto the stage. The diabolos whisper into motion again, a gentle swoosh-swoosh-swoosh to accompany her light-footed steps up. And as soon as she gets within earshot of the Kyokugenryu Dragon?

A dry wind blows through the dusty plain, stirring her highlighted hair into motion. She flashes a bright, sunny smile back at Sakazaki -- a perfect compliment for the indefatiguable Australian sun. "A whole week, for free! Koto, you'd better jump on that while you can..."

Honoka has heard of the Kyokugen dojo's financial straits -- and knows damn well that they can take any chance at promotion they can get. She's at least polite enough to refrain from mentioning the support she gives their Saikyo-ryu competition.

"Well, then. Let's see if -I'm- due for a refresher course in karate, shall we? Honoka Kawamoto -- It's a pleasure to meet you, Sakazaki-san." Her shoulder-length hair bobs lightly as she offers him a curtsy -- all without letting the diabolos fall. And then, after a brief glance to the showrunners...

Hurriedly, from the officials' table booth, the announcers stammer to catch up with the professional's sign to proceed: "ROUND TWO... READY...?! GOOOOOO!"

With a wriggle of her nose in thanks, Honoka takes a large step forward. One diabolo pops skyward in her travel, arcing up high where Ryo would need to crane his neck to see. "Hrrrriii..." She spins around -- and the =second= diabolo leaves her path, a seeming afterthought as she pirouettes forward.

The true terror, though, lies with the way the juggler's twin wands suddenly snap together, bursting outward with polychromatic fire. "Haaaaa!" She seeks to drive the psychic flame forward, plunging it right past Ryo's guard -- and plowing fiercely into his abdomen.

If either the diabolos hit, it would only be from him standing in the wrong place...

COMBATSYS: Honoka has joined the fight here.

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

COMBATSYS: Honoka successfully hits Ryo with Power Strike.

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Ryo              2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|=======\=------\1           Honoka

Ryo puts his fist to his palm and bows to Honoka just as he did Koto. "...likewise," Ryo says, taking a moment to respond. He shifts his footing, resuming his stance as the announcer calls for the second round to begin. The first diabolos shoots up, catching Ryo's eye with its movement. His attention snaps back to Honoka as the second moves toward, but that too is brief before Ryo's attention has to singularly focus on the flash of fire.

Ryo goes for a guard, bringing up his forearms to try and shield himself from the flame. In doing so, he misses the second diabolos as it snakes around and catches him in the back of the knee. Staggered, he takes the flame blast more directly as it bowls him over onto his back. Finally, the first diabolos nails him in the stomach once he's prone and knocks the wind out of him with a wheeze. It takes him a minute to get up.

"N-not bad," Ryo says, clutching his stomach as he gets up to one knee and then rises to his feet. "I can tell you're the veteran here." Ryo's guard tightens, his fists clenching as he starts to circle but keeps his distance. "...if the circus gig doesn't work out, I think you've got a fair shot at the tourney circuit as your day job..."

But then Ryo suddenly steps forward, thrusting his palm out as he "throws" a flare of orange chi toward Honoka. It lacks the lengthy setup of the one he hit Koto with last round, but seems to make it up for it in speed.

COMBATSYS: Ryo successfully hits Honoka with Ko'oh Ken EX.

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Ryo              2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|=======\=------\1           Honoka

Clack, slam, and thud! Honoka follows through with her successful trifecta of attacks by swiveling sideways, lashing the rope of her diabolo wands around to scoop up one of her diabolos, leaving the other where it sits. Y'know, for him to stumble on later, like a Lego landmine. Honoka shuffles sideways, working the juggling prop into a fast sideways idle to the roaring applause of the crowd.

Not bad, he says -- that's enough to earn a downward tip of the chin and a small, self-effacing smile from the soft-spoken juggler. As Ryo rises to his feet, the juggler steps backwards, putting a bit more distance between the two. "Well, shucks... thanks! That's awfully sweet of you...!" Even if she takes the comment as a suggestion that she might get fired from her circus job, well, it'd be out of character to -say- so...

Oh, and there's -also- the fact that Ryo's pre-empting further conversation by slamming a blast wave of orange chi her way. It's fast -- so much that it catches the juggler off-guard, tearing right past her spinning diabolo and momentarily setting her jacket ablaze as she staggers backward.

"Hmph!" she retorts, twirling around so that she can keep the diabolo in motion as she pats the flames out of her jacket, and smooth out her mussed hair. "No 'ffense, Sakazaki-san... but this is why I don't chit-chat much in a fight!"

It might seem ridiculous to keep the diabolo in motion while the -fire- is blazing. But to a performer like Honoka Kawamoto... momentum is everything. And the faster the diabolo spins, the more its form begins to blur, carving a circular streak of fuschia light into the air. Honoka flashes a wink back at her opponent...

And shows that she, too, can turn a projectile on a moment's notice; the fuschia ring wobbles, until its oscillation makes it look like a -star-.

And the star suddenly projects outward -- a column of purple energy streaking outward, closing the gap to Ryo in the blink of an eye! "Haaaaa!"

COMBATSYS: Honoka successfully hits Ryo with Nochiu-o Kando.
- Power hit! -

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Ryo              2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|=------\-------\0           Honoka

Ryo adjusts his footing, inching toward Honoka. He watches his footing, this time, moving a cautious half-step lest he stumble into another trap of the tricky juggler. As the fireball impacted with her, Ryo moved to close the gap.

"Heh, fine by me!" Ryo answered, only getting his words out a moment before the purple energy erupted toward him. "The Invincible Dragon shifted his footing, ready to leap out of the way of the column. His toes curl as he springs into action--only to catch the diabolos, trip, and catch the projectile to the face for the effort. It slams into the blond man heavily, knocking him flat on his back again and sizzling a hole in his gi. He does not get up immediately.

"Ugh..." Ryo rolls away, taking a moment to get back to his feet again. He keeps one eye closed initially, shakily reassuming his stance. His arms snap into position, the man flexing his fingers several times to get the feeling back again.

But the words from before. He doesn't speak up again, instead launching forward with so much speed that its almost a blur. He strikes out with a sharp body blow that immediately transitions into a right hook from the other direction. Several more punches follow, moving like a blur. The switch to kicks are equally smooth, Ryo unleashing a furious, brutal series of blows. If Honoka gets caught in the assault, he finishes it by dropping low then launching into a powerful uppercut--one not unlike that often used by Gouken's version of Shotokan.

COMBATSYS: Honoka blocks Ryo's Ryuuko Ranbu.

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Ryo              0/-------/<<<<<<<|=------\-------\0           Honoka

It's true -- Honoka -doesn't- normally talk very much in her fights. As much control as she can exhibit with the diabolos, splitting her focus between words and actions is apparently detrimental to both.

As the fiery blaze dies down, Honoka pulls the diabolo back into a more regular, circular orbit, twining her finger into the path of the rope so that the prop can reverse direction. She starts to say something -- but winces as she sees her -other- diabolo roll out from beneath Ryo. A camera close-up would show an apologetic half-smile from the Twilight Star -- no words, good or bad, per her earlier statement.

As Ryo flexes his fingers, Kawamoto continues to send her diabolo through its paces -- round and round it goes. But moments before he can surge forward, she twangs the string between her wands, snapping it hard -- and -launching- the diabolo skyward.

When Ryo rushes in, Honoka is already backpedaling, using precisely-positioned footwork to mitigate some of her opponent's burst of speed. The rest, of course, would need to be caught with her diabolo wands, now freed of their task of keeping the prop aloft. Each wand acts to double-up and reinforce her forearms, such that when tht first hook swings in, she's able to deflect it aside with her left arm. The second, and followup punches are met with equal measure -- backpedal and deflect, backpedal and deflect. It amounts to a simple action/reaction equation, where there's only one correct countermeasure for each blow...

That seems to -work-, really, until Ryo transitions to kicks, upsetting the precision balance of the equation for a few moments. The grunts and the satisfying impact of bare foot into the acrobat's abdomen are proof positive that Honoka -is- vulnerable, at least for the first few strikes -- after which point she's able to recover by nimbly hopping backwards in time with each kick. Ryo is able to keep pace, though -- and when he leaps low?

That's when Honoka's eyes gleam with golden light, and she throws her shoulder forward, colliding with the rising uppercut. The point of impact shudders with amber light -- mitigating -some- of the impact, but still resulting in her being launched upward into a backspin.

Fortunately, she's had some training as an acrobat -- and is able to flip out of the spin before losing too much control.

She taps down onto terra firma a few moments later, panting considerably. The attack didn't hurt as much as Ryo may have wanted it to, but the exertion still took something out of his opponent. It doesn't seem like she needs a breather juuuust yet, though -- as she quickly lashes her hand upward in what seems like an extraneous gesture.

That's when a wand cracks the falling diabolo back into the air -- a shorter arc, this time, though.

And then she lurches forward, scything her other wand high overhead. A blossom of fuschia flame erupts from her hand, spilling down the length of the short-staff, carving a swath through the air -- with Ryo's shoulder as the terminus! And if she connects with that, she'd lurch forward with a second strike -- this one being a stave doubled against her forearm, with a second burst of psychic flame! "Nnnn... HA!"

COMBATSYS: Ryo interrupts Crushing Strike from Honoka with Tenchi Haoh Ken.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Ryo              0/-------/---====|=------\-------\0           Honoka

The difference is startingly clear. Well-trained and precise as he is, Ryo fights with a hard, even rigid style. Simple, straightforward, and powerful. In contrast to Honoka's showmanship, sleight of hand, and sheer complexity with her diabolos use, Ryo may seem practically boring. She seems to be stringing him along, outmanuevering him at every opportunity. Even though, Ryo stays resolute, leveraging his simple, straightforward style with carefully practiced mastery.

And this time, as Honoka moves in, Ryo shifts his stance. His knees bend again, Ryo lowering his center of gravity. His arms snap out stiffly, one extended down and forward and the other low and pulled back as a fist. When Honoka comes toward him, he doesn't move. Instead he stands his ground, waiting, readying himself for the attack.

When the staff impacts Ryo's shoulder, his punch erupts like a cannon aimed at Honoka's midsection. The exchange is reflexive; action and reaction. Though it is a single punch, it carries himself power, Ryo's focused chi and grounded stance combining into a simple, singular delivery.

In the end, martial arts is a lot less about the "art." The flashiest attacks, the biggest crowd-pleasers -- none of them matter in the face of brutal, unrelenting force. And that ... is something Ryo Sakazaki has in spades.

She never sees it coming. Which shouldn't be a surprise, as she's already in the midst of trying to pivot around for her second strike when Ryo unchambers his fist, slamming her directly in the ribcage with bonecrushing force.

Honoka shrieks -- a bloody and wet cry of unfocused anguish -- as she's knocked out of her equilibrium. Her arms and legs flail along limply behind her as she sails back and away from Ryo -- so far, in fact, that she hits the boundary, bounding back only by the slight elasticity of the tension barrier. She manages to collect -some- sense of balance, landing on the balls of her feet in a low crouch. The diabolo wand seems to take forever to catch up with the rapid motions, as she stays curled up on her feet for a moment, catching her breath.

She shuts her eyes, drawing in her breath, and bounds back to her fighting stance. The diabolos...? One of them's by Ryo. The other's by her foot, now... and with a little impetuous kick, she hurls it at Ryo's stomach!

At least that's what it -looks- like. It seems like she's counting on the aerodynamic nature of the prop to overwhelm its weight, skewing the diabolo upwards. But it seems Honoka herself is almost as fast as the projectile -- for all of a sudden, she's right there in Ryo's grill, with a ribbon of psychic energy coiling around her right arm! She slams her hand forward for what seems to be a powerful punch for Ryo's solar plexus -- and immediately upon impact, the ribbon uncurls, exploding outward with a concussive thundercrack of force!

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

[                           \\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Ryo              1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0           Honoka

Were Takuma here, he would likely give Ryo a lecture on alertness. "True mastery of Kyokugen requires constant vigilance!" He'd say, arms folded across his chest. "Your power should be ever-ready, tight as a cable or coiled like a spring, ready to snap out in offense or defense as needed."

Ryo is thankful Takuma is not here to lecture him when the diabolos impacts him in the stomach with enough force to double him over with a wheeze. Staggering from the impact, Ryo tries to keep himself from blacking out right away. He staggers forward before heavily stomping forward to catch himself, then he sways to the left. Shaking his head, Ryo shakily resumes his fighting stance, exhaling.

"G-got me good, there," Ryo says, cupping his hands together again. Power surges between them as he gathers energy, power pulsing between his palms. He draws them back, pumping more of his chi into his palms and swelling the orange sphere larger and larger. He finally hurls it toward Honoka--a repeat of his manuever against Koto in the last round--in one last ditch effort.

As he lets go, he maintains his posture for several lingering moments. He just stands there, one foot forward and his cupped hands thrust forward.

And then he falls, tumbling over to the side and sprawling on the floor of the ring---out like a light.

COMBATSYS: Ryo can no longer fight.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Honoka           0/-------/---====|

COMBATSYS: Honoka fully avoids Ryo's Haohshokoken EX.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Honoka           0/-------/--=====|

As Honoka's ribbon explodes into Ryo, the acrobat hops backwards nimbly, raising her diabolo wands in a warding gesture. The cord between her wands jangles about as she paces backwards. Her lips remain pursed in concentration, as her amber-veined gaze remains fixed upon her staggered foe. He may be dazed, and shaky... but that is when a fighter can be at their most dangerous.

She nods back to his friendly reassurance in mute response, not wanting to bet her concentration on a witty rejoinder. And as she can sense the welling of power... her eyebrows knit together.

It's gonna be one of -those- attacks, isn't it?

Luckily, she'd had the benefit of seeing Ryo throw something similar against Koto. And she is already starting to move sideways to avoid it. When the wave rushes out, the acrobat leaps sideways, her hands planting on the ring as her profile flattens into a cartwheel -- the energy blistering by her so fast that it catches hold of the cord, ripping the fluttering diabolo wands right out of her hands in the process.

By the time she rights herself, the fiery orb of energy has already roared past her -- wrapping her discarded diabolo wands around the ropes marking the edge of the ring. Gritting her teeth, she refuses to let that bother her, curling her hands into claws as she returns her gaze to Ryo.

And she nods back in reply -- a tacit acknowledgement of just how talented the Kyokugenryu fighter is.

The moment he -falls- though... well, that's enough to break her battle focus. Eyes widen, and she finally remembers to draw in breath. "Oh! Oh -man-. You... you kept us on the ropes for that one!" she shouts out breathlessly, one hand clapping to her chest. In her excitement... she even drops to offer the man a bow. Whether he's conscious, or not!

"Thank you for the fight... Sakazaki-san!"

For the moment... there is time. As medics walk up onto the stage to ensure Ryo is okay, Honoka makes a quick trip to pluck up her diabolo wands from their entangled position around the ropes. She peers over the edge -- part hoping to catch sight of Koto, part to give a wave to Chae Lim. Poor girl, always there cheering, never getting on stage...

Before long, though, the juggler has retrieved her diabolos, and she's right back to spinning them around. It's not -just- entertainment for the crowd; it's how the girl regains her focus.

COMBATSYS: Honoka awaits the next challenger.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Honoka           0/-------/--=====|

The Todoh family has a weird way of seeming to be somewhere in the background lurking. It is a strange unexplainable force where they just seem to blend in until they decide it is time to make their presence known. Case in point is the fact Kasumi Todoh somehow managed to blend in among the Kyokugen students when Ryo was looking to pick the lucky student that would be their standby in the King of Fighters Tournament. It worked perfectly too as Ryo did pick her out and here she was watching the fight unfold.

She never intended to even get into a fight, but study the Sakazaki siblings and Marco looking for weaknesses. Instead it seems that Ryo pushed himself too hard and fell to Honoka after a tough fight. Ryo was down and.....where the heck are Marco and Yuri? Kasumi's gaze moves about as she realizes the pair ended up somewhere else leaving her the only one standing in the team's corner. A brow raises and she then gets a grin.

This is too good to be true. It seems almost like a win-win situation for Kasumi right now. If she loses she technically might end up helping getting the Kyokugen team eliminated in the qualifiers. If she manages to win this? Well then the Sakazaki clan will have to THANK her for being so great.

The tiny fighter straightens up and strugs forward while she has the chance. She hesitates too long the team might be disqualified or even worse. Marco or Yuri might come in and steal her thunder! "Well leave it to the Kyokugen fighters to make a mess of things. If you want something done right always rely on Todoh-ryuu!"

This is her moment so she is going to make the best of it. already she is drawing energy to her hands as she raises them high. "Kasaaaaaane......ate!" she swings downwards with both arms while unleashing the gathered energy in a wave aimed right for Honoka.

COMBATSYS: Kasumi Todoh has joined the fight here.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Honoka           0/-------/--=====|-------\-------\0     Kasumi Todoh

COMBATSYS: Honoka fails to reflect Kasane Ate from Kasumi Todoh with Tokap Chup Kamui.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Honoka           0/-------/-======|====---\-------\0     Kasumi Todoh

Honoka is no stranger to rivalries between martial arts schools. In many ways, she encourages them -- both by her sponsorship of the Saikyo dojo, and the way in which she gently antagonized the Ansatsuken schools of arts in previous King of Fighters tournaments.

But here? -Todoh-ryuu?- It's kind of personal. It's that damn Agent Little's pet style, isn't it? And what would that make this little hakama-clad darling...?

A smile lights up her face as she twirls her diabolos around. She's got her focus back. "Todoh-ryuu is it? How... -quaint-..."And Kasumi Todoh just -would- throw one of Little's favorite attacks.

It'd be all too easy. This little slip of a girl isn't going to be much of a problem for her. She'll show him -- crush this girl on the world stage just as she has so many before. All she has to do is sidestep the shark-fin waves of energy, sweep them up in the whirlwind of psychic energies amassed in the wake of her spinning diabolos, and loop them right back to the girl. It's simplicity itself!

At least, that was the -plan-. The Twilight Star steps sideways -- and she finds out that the waves are considerably more substantial than she'd planned. The angles, the rotation... everything's just -completely- out of phase, and her attempt to correct causes her to overstep. Everything's mendable...

Right until the shockwave slams into her shin, capitalizing on shaky balance. And the diabolo-wielder is bowled over, savaged by a wave of overwhelming force. The energy wave sears into her, blasting her back -- and the trained acrobat is even toppled to such a point that the back of her head bonks on the ring behind her.

"Ugh..." groans Kawamoto, rubbing the back of her head as she pushes back to her feet. By trailing her loose cord, she's able to loop the diabolos back into motion. But her momentum? Her -focus?- Ugh.

She flashes a chastened smile to Kasumi. "Not bad..."

But inside, she's all about cursing that damned Little.

There is a determined look on the small woman's face. She at least let Honoka know she was not playing around. Oh if only Ryo was concious to see what she just did and realize her energy attack is superior to his! Oh well, she will be sure to let him know later once this fight is over.

"I am just getting warmed up." she says and gives Honoka little time to get back to her feet and resituate herself. Kasumi is quick to close the gap between the two fighters and she makes a grasp for the other woman's shoulders. If she gets a firm grip she will tug forward while kicking out a leg aimed low to sweep Honoka's legs out from under her to try and ground the other fighter once more.

She saw what this woman did to Ryo. While she would like to think otherwise she knows Ryo is no slouch and Honoka is a very skilled fighter to take him down the way she did. This is a big stage for Kasumi and she is going to go all out to prove herself.

COMBATSYS: Honoka blocks Kasumi Todoh's Kagyuu Kake.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Honoka           0/-------/-======|====---\-------\0     Kasumi Todoh

Honoka enjoys the challenge -- she wouldn't be out here on the big stage if she didn't, after all. But this kind of challenge flies in the face of her carefully cultivated image as a polished martial arts prodigy who just happens to be able to make things go her way.

She bobs back and forth from one foot to the other, working feeling back into her numbed joints. "Heh, take all the time you want. I'm just workin' past the surprise of seein' someone from Todoh's dojo workin' with these guys!"

The fact remains that Honoka -hasn't- worked out the stress of the previous fight yet. Fighting Ryo for as long as she had -did- take a toll on her. And she needs to work herself back into the fight -- which means that as Kasumi nears, she doesn't dive into one of her flashy evasion techniques. But instead, she angles her diabolos to the side, staying close. When Kasumi grabs for her shoulders, Kawamoto turns her back, twisting out of the hold and kicking herself to the side, settling for the light shove that results instead.

"I hear Sakazaki's passing out free weeks of training..." comments Honoka as she paces sideways. The diabolos spin around, defending her extended sphere of personal space. "You gonna take him up on that?"

COMBATSYS: Honoka recenters herself.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Honoka           1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0     Kasumi Todoh

There is a light scoff from Kasumi. "I am not working with them. I am here to prove Todoh-ryuu is better or at least equal." She then looks rather annoyed at the mention of the free training. A suble twitch of the brow as she tries to keep her emotions in check. She knows Honoka is trying to get a rise out of her and it is working.

"He would. Free lessons just shows he has problems with getting students." That is obviously a lie because unlike the Todoh dojo the Sakazaki one tends to be rather busy. If anything it does give Honoka a few moments to sort of refocus on the task at hand.

That time is fleeting though and Kasumi looks to try and keep up the pressure. Giving someone like Honoka too much is a big mistake and the young Todoh wants to keep mistakes to a minimum while looking to deliver a solid kick to Honoka's midsection. "Ha-ah!"

COMBATSYS: Honoka dodges Kasumi Todoh's Light Kick.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Honoka           1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0     Kasumi Todoh

The Twilight Star may have danced away to a safer distance, but the psychic's focus remains firmly locked onto her opponent's emotional state. Every needle, every little barb is a weapon in the acrobatic fighter's arsenal. But for right now, her skills are what allow her to spin while stepping backwards, letting the diabolos whistle just over top of Miss Todoh's foot while her abdomen is brought just out of punishment range.

"Ahh, I see!" She answers, while continuing the rotational momentum. The lack of eye contact might make conversation difficult. But the spinning also allows her to empower the juggling props with their own blossoms of psychic power -- and those flowers burst into arcs of fuschia flame. Honoka leans forward, threatening to slam the whirling conflagration into Kasumi before she can get too far away! "Hraaaa!"

COMBATSYS: Kasumi Todoh counters Kunne Chup Kamui from Honoka with Sasshou Inshuu EX.

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Honoka           1/-------/=======|=====--\-------\0     Kasumi Todoh

It is hard to say if getting the young Todoh irritated is a good thing. Often it does lead to some fighters making mistakes as they let their judgement get clouded. Kasumi is easily showing annoyance, but she has yet to show too many cracks in her defenses.

Her brow furrows as she tries to keep track of both Honoka and her diabolos. She looks a bit overwhelmed on how to handle things and almost looks as if she is going to try and snag the diabolos out of the air, but it ends up being a feint and the small woman ducks in low to avoid the strike as this time she delivers a kick solidly into the waist of Honoka.

The small fighter raises her hands once more as she gives a small hop away. The two aren't seperated by much, but she at least for the moment doesn't continue her assault and giving Honoka at least a moment to recover from that kick. "You're good. Better than me, but I am not going to let that stop me. I am going to do what Ryo Sakazaki couldn't do. I am going to beat you." Sure she kind of leaves out Ryo dished out a lot of punishment and also took someone else on first, but well she doesn't have time to think of it that way.

The diabolo orbit flutters, as a kick slams into Honoka's abdomen. Already been softened up by a harrowing match with Sakazaki, Kawamoto staggers backwards, wresting back control over the twin diabolos before they can sail off into the audience as she pivots backwards. She'd curl one hand over her middle, but... well, she doesn't have a free hand to spare.

"I like your confidence," admits Honoka with a wearied smile. The juggler then steps back, whips the diabolos forward between herself and Kasumi, twirling them perpendicular to the ground. "I'm wishin' you luck!"

The orbit of the diabolos grows tighter. Pressure builds, as the center of the whirlwind glows with intense light. If Kasumi was paying attention in the previous fight, she'd know what's coming -- a starburst of light, erupting forth from the center of her diabolos, threatening to slam into her with the force of a psycho-powered freight train!

COMBATSYS: Kasumi Todoh blocks Honoka's Nochiu-o Kando.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////////     ]
Honoka           0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\0     Kasumi Todoh

Perhaps not pressing the attack wasn't the best idea. Kasumi should have stayed in close and kept going and perhaps she wouldn't find herself in this position. She has been watching the fight silently up until joining and the fact she did so is maybe what saves her at this point. She knows what to expect and she does her best to prepare for it.

The blast is a fast one. There is no real way to avoid it so all Kasumi can do is bring her arms up to protect her face and crouch down. Even then she is small enough when the blast impacts she is pushed back across the ground and almost bowled right over.

She slowly rises to her feet and tries to shake off the stinging sensation running through her. Her movements are just a bit slower as she shakes off the effects of the blast and she comes forward. She brings up her right arm when she closes in and then brings it downwards. A quick, strong chop looking to slam down hard on Honoka's shoulder.

COMBATSYS: Kasumi Todoh successfully hits Honoka with Hiji Ate.

[                        \\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Honoka           0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\1     Kasumi Todoh

Honoka definitely seems to have command of the audience for that moment. It's true that the onlookers knew what was coming -- and they were more than eager to see how Kasumi would be handling it! Cheers ring out throughout the crowd when Kasumi manages to weather it better than the Kyokugenryu sensei -- most unexpected!

Even Honoka is smiling in response to that one, nodding in her approval. She doesn't want to break into -too- many accolades, though, especially not with Kasumi closing the distance. She collects the diabolos, swirling them into motion again and preparing for another strike. As the chop comes in, she leans back in an attempt to avoid it, but the chop clips her anyway, forcing her to her knees...

... Huh. Time seems to be slowing down -- with Honoka's hair seeming to take forever to follow along after her.

But when she looks back up at Kasumi -- nothing but -rage- is on her face. It doesn't even seem -real- -- like it's a completely different mask that gets put onto her face. A mask of envy. Of -jealousy-. Words scream out -- but Honoka's mouth never moves, her face never budging from that mask of raw emotion.

/ Todoh-ryuu -sucks-. /
/ He's not -impressed- with you. /
/ He'll be -furious- that you've shown him up like this!/
/ You'll -never- take him from me. /
/ He'll be -my- boyfriend! /
/ How -dare- you, hussy!? /
/ You can't just step into THEIR match like this!! /

And Honoka never says a word -- because these are the voices of the -audience-. ...Aren't they...?!

Or maybe Kasumi's just hallucinating all of this, the sum of all her fears rising up to bowl her over, to topple her confidence in the midst of her moment of glory.

It's amazing, really, how time can slow down in the midst of an adrenaline-fueled rage. The audience would only see the diabolos popping into the air, free of their cord. They'd see pink flames erupting down the length of her wands. And they'd see Honoka lashing out, whipping the psycho-power-infused wands towards Kasumi in a blistering, savage assault of blows.

But what would -Kasumi- see, in that instant?

COMBATSYS: Kasumi Todoh counters Intercepting Strike from Honoka with Morote Gaeshi EX.

[                          \\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Honoka           0/-------/-----==|======-\-------\0     Kasumi Todoh

That chop lands clean and Kasumi looks ready to go in to try and finish this all off. She starts to step forward, but things start to slow down and Kasumi just stands there for a moment. A bewildered look coming across her face as she feels almost caught in some weird dimension as she sees that face of anger and the words assault her even though Honoka's mouth never moves once.
%It works in Honoka's favor in the fact Kasumi stops dead in her tracks. Her own thoughts trying to sort things out of what she just heard. Why does it feel like seconds are becoming longer than they should and she raises a hand to her head. She needs to focus. If she falters now she will just be a joke. She is not wrong in doing this is she?

She looks like easy prey for Honoka who is quick to try and capitalize on the dazed Todoh. "No...." her teeth grit and she seems to snap out of the daze right when Honoka goes close and she quickly goes low and to the side to avoid the strike and grasp Honoka by the arm and then twist about to use her momentum to heft the other fighter up and slam her onto the ground back first before staggering back and holding her head.

She isn't sure what just happened, but she still feels a lingering fuzzy feeling. One she is trying to shake off as she tries to keep focus on Honoka.

/ We looked up to you! /
/ You deserved to be on the Women's Team! /
/ Not with those Kyokugen losers!! /
/ You did this -all to impress him?!- /

The voices from the audience will just not stop. The shouting, the assault, the -abuse-... And yet, really, are the words happening at -all?- They seem so blurry, so hazy when Kasumi is slamming Honoka back and against the ground. The voices practically -disappear- for a moment...

But as soon as Honoka curls up, eyes tearing up from the pain, it seems like the cries start back in full force. As if the audience had stopped to -listen-...

In fact, the audience =was= listening, not shouting. They'd been on the edges of their seats -- with crowd-pleaser Kawamoto paired off against the diminutive master of Todoh-ryuu, on the tail end of an amazing back-and-forth battle... it's almost too much stress to bear! And they certainly won't notice any of the world-class fighters slowing down...

And yet, the illusion may seem so -real- to Kasumi. Voices shouting the most terrible things. The roar of the crowd, loud enough to drown everything out.

And Honoka leaps to her feet, blood dripping from her forehead. She sails through the air, hand outstretched for Kasumi's forehead.

And then, with a momentous clap of thunder...

COMBATSYS: Honoka issues a challenge!!

[                          \\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Honoka           0/-------/-----==|======-\-------\0     Kasumi Todoh

"It ends here!" cries out Honoka. "All or nothing!"

Her voice cries out, almost as if -over- the thundrous fury.

COMBATSYS: Honoka successfully hits Kasumi Todoh with Niwen Horobi.

[                          \\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Honoka           0/-------/---====|=======\====---\1     Kasumi Todoh

But what the audience sees is this -- Honoka pushing back to her feet, and collecting both diabolo wands into her left hand. Honoka leaping forward -- and slamming her right palm forward into the base of Kasumi's chest. And then she'd whip her sideways, tugging her down to the ground -- and -blasting- her with a bolt of lightning from the heavens!

With hollow eyes, she backs away -- practically running on vapors at this point. But all the same... she's not done just yet...

The voices won't stop no matter how much Kasumi tries to push them away. Why is this happening now? This should more be a moment of victory for her yet here she is feeling overwhelmed and sluggish. She wants to move, but the illusion seems to have her believing she really is in slow motion.

She can't get out of the way and if anything it is the pain of that palm slamming into her chest and knocking the air out of her. Her eyes go wide while being slammed to the ground and before she knows it that energy strikes down and surges through her body as she lets out a loud cry of pain. She writhes on the ground before scrambling to her feet.

She is confused and in pain, but she can still see Honoka. "It isn't over by a longshot...." she manages to say before lunging forward to grasp for Honoka to pull her forward while falling back. She kicks both legs out in an attempt to just monkey flip Honoka right over her and onto the ground.

COMBATSYS: Honoka blocks Kasumi Todoh's Combo Throw.

[                           \\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Honoka           0/-------/--=====|=======\====---\1     Kasumi Todoh

As the thundrous roar dies out, the rage bleeds off with it. Honoka staggers sideways, clutching her head, with pain shooting through practically every vein. She's on the brink of falling over, and she's -far- from the controlled dynamo she'd been while fighting Ryo. Her diabolos drop to the mat, rolling around... somehow.

But after a moment, after Kasumi rises to her feet, the amber-flecked eyes once more regain contact. As does her faint glimmer of a smile. I'm wishin' you luck, she'd said -- and that's apparently still in effect.

Kasumi lunges in, grabbing for Honoka's shoulders. She leans forward, upsetting the hold, and shifts so that when she lands, it's not on her back or side, but rather on her thighs.

She still grunts loudly when she hits, though. It's a bit harder a hit than she'd wanted to take. But Honoka does not give up. She will not give in to this -- not yet.

Honoka pushes back to her feet -- and she comes out swingin'. The diabolo wands are inverted, held out like batons, as she swings with a furious tempo, striking nearly a dozen times to the arms, constantly working to clear a path to Kasumi's face and torso. And if she manages to get her path -- she'd seek to grab hold of Kasumi by the shoulders, returning the favor with an o-goshi hip toss to the floor! And if Kasumi -tries- to plant her feet in the way the Ainu fighter suspects, well, the diabolos she'd 'carelessly' left on the ground might pose a problem there.

... of course, after -that-, she'd pretty much be dropping to one knee. Kasumi and Ryo sure do make a good team together, don't they?

COMBATSYS: Honoka can no longer fight.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Kasumi Todoh     1/---====/=======|

COMBATSYS: Honoka successfully hits Kasumi Todoh with Urara Kando.

[                          \\\\  <
Kasumi Todoh     2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|

Kasumi is very slow to get up. The last hit is still keeping her slowed down and her thoughts still a bit muddled. She takes a deep breath and steadies herself and stares down Honoka. She tries to focus and she tries to keep her guard up when Honoka comes in swinging.

Her timing is just off and she starts to get battered by the other woman and she soon finds her small frame getting hefted upwards and slammed into the ground hard. Another sharp exhale of air comes out of her as she lays there. Her body just not wanting to move. She wants to get up, but she just feels drained. She can do no more.

"Dammit...." she hisses under her breath. She still clings to being concious, but it looks like she is in no shape to fight further. And while Honoka doesn't look in much better shape she is at least able to be up on one knee. It looks like that is enough for the official to declare the Twilight Stars as the winners this day.

COMBATSYS: Kasumi Todoh takes no action.

COMBATSYS: Kasumi Todoh can no longer fight.

The crowd is silent, rapt with attention.

And then all of a sudden, someone shouts out. And then another. And then -hundreds more-. And before long the entire audience is shouting this time into the Australian sky. Ain't no wildlife gonna be stupid enough to strike -now-, that's for sure.

Honoka can barely even lift her head -- but she can sense Kasumi. Just... just -barely-. She can hear the crowd -- she knows -something- happened. Something got decided. Fight officials start to run over.

For a brief moment, she considers trying to walk over and help Kasumi. But her body... it just doesn't want to obey that call.

"Hey. Great fight today... it was a pleasure, Miss Todoh." Somehow... her voice makes it across to Kasumi through all the cacophony.

No, Honoka decides... that's good enough. She's gonna be just fine staying right here for now.

Log created on 10:43:57 06/10/2019 by Ryo, and last modified on 12:21:33 06/17/2019.