Rising Star 2021 - Ristar 2021 R1 - Hayley vs Clarity

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Description: Ristar Round 1 features a grand cast of up and comers. In front of the hot lights of Neo*Geo Land, Hayley Bretherton faces off against Clarity Reece. Which of these two young women are going to ascend to the bright lights and fame of the Rising Star Tournament? Which of these two are going to be cast aside to rise another day? Tune in to find out. (Winner: Hayley)

With her recent successes with the Neo League, Hayley has found herself responding to the invitation to Rising Star. Perhaps she couldn't help herself. An opportunity to test her skill against someone more in her league, so to speak, was one that she simply could not pass up.

But in any case, she finds herself now at NEO*GEO Land, or rather, at that famous intersection just outside. The flashing, rainbow lights of the nearby facility reflect just a little in her blue hair, forcing Hayley to squint for a moment. "Wow...I didn't expect to be so..." She puts a hand slightly over her eyes. "...gaudy?" As she says it, the familiar beeps and buzzes of someone missing out on a big jackpot in a prize game echo into the street.

"Hello, Clare-Bears! Check it out! NEO*GEO Land! Totally Retro, isn't it? Gotta match soon, keep doing right and living the fight life!"

A selfie in front of the neon glow of the lights, a cute wink, broad grin and a peace sign at her right eye and the next shot heard round her social media feed is Clarity Reece's first blow. It's followed a few pointers on staying hydrated through Vita-Life supplemental flavor crystals. To how you too, at home, can work out even when at your desktop! All that interspersed with personal life shots around Japan to promote her participation in the Rising Star Tournament. For Clarity Reece has a calling to save the world, and that calling starts with the world knowing her name!

She strolls out with a heel-skipping step, a tune to hum, and a ready eye for her opponent. She knows the name Hayley Bretherton. The girl's father had star power. The daughter has charm and a visible pedigree. She'd be a wonderful opponent and surely someone worth showcasing on her feed. Even better, she might be the type of person who could help save the world alongside Clarity!

Clarity's shoes scrape to a stop. "Hiiii!" she cries out, voice high and chipper, her arm raised even higher as it waves back and forth for attention. "You're Hayley B, right? I am so hype to be facing someone like you! I loved your dad's show when I was little!"

The woman skips from foot to foot, bouncing and bouncing in space with energy she can barely disperse. She snaps a finger out toward her opponent while the sounds and flash of NEO*GEO Land silhouette her from behind. "This is gonna be awesome!"

Hayley bounces in place, shifting one foot from the other while she waits on Clarity to handle her hosting duties to her followers. She shakes her arms a little, getting in a good stretch, before dropping down into leg lunges.

"O-oh!" Hayley jumps up, almost on reflex, going from a squatting position to standing. "Hoi." She waves, significantly less enthusiastic than Clarity, but not rudely. "Yeah that's me--" Beat. "Oh! You watched the show!" Hayley laughs, just a little nervously. "I'm glad you liked it!" Her hand runs the back of her head, fingers through that thick blue mane.

"But I'm glad you're excited, let's have a good match, eh?" Hayley drops into a stance, one arm back and the other forward, knees slightly bent.

"Watch it? Of course. Can't live the fight life if you don't know the classics!" Clarity laughs, stopping only long enough to place a hand on her hip and to look around. "Oooh, are you and him a duo? Passing the torch! Father and daughter journeying the land as one sun sets and another rises? You should totes be documenting that! People could be inspired!"

She puts a finger to her chin and hums. "If he's here, can I get a pic for the feed?" she asks. Then with a wave of her hand she dismisses, "I'll put a pin in it, got more important things to do right now."

Her stance drops to a sturdy right position, arms at check, and a bright eye on her opponent. "Let's rock!"

COMBATSYS: Clarity has started a fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Clarity          0/-------/-------|

Hayley rocks on her heels, finishing out her stretching routine as she waits for Clarity. It's in that moment that she's asked a question. It's an innocent enough question, all things considered.

"Oh, uh," Hayley goes quiet for a minute, looking down. She inhales, exhales. It's only a few moments in reality, but Hayley feels like it stretches on forever.

"He's not here. Sorry. I'll tell him next time I see him though, yeah?"

COMBATSYS: Hayley has joined the fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Hayley           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0          Clarity

Clarity gives Hayley a little salute. "Sure thing, but I'm gonna hold you to it."

The girl leaps into the fray. She moves in close, shuffles to the side, gauging her approach. Then she spouts, "Oh yeah, now I think I got you. I'm starting to feel the vibe here." She laughs. "Let's do this thing!"

A rolling downward roadie run brings Clarity up close and personal. She appears, at first, to be bringing a fist up for a heavy uppercut, but it cuts short. Instead, Clarity giggles and snaps her fingers. With it comes a burst of crackling light, a blasting flash that sees the woman scampering in the after image.

COMBATSYS: Clarity successfully hits Hayley with Flash in the Pan.

[    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Hayley           0/-------/----===|=------\-------\0          Clarity

Hayley shores up, watching Clarity's movements carefully. She sees her go to the side., adjusting her footing. She raises her guard, expecting the uppercut, moving to catch it and ride it back.

Instead, there's the feint. The light explodes as Hayley manages a brief, "Wh-" before getting staggered back, rubbing her eyes. "Oh, that's dirty," says the Aussie, adjusting her position again.

Hayley then steps forward, arm striking out to full length before she whips it downward in a slapping, chopping whip-like strike, spinning into the step then bringing around the other arm to close any openings.

"Clarity, right?" Hayley says, "Sorry, I didn't even ask. I did a little looking--"

COMBATSYS: Clarity blocks Hayley's Magpie and Wombat.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Hayley           0/-------/----===|===----\-------\0          Clarity

Step step step to one side, swift step to the other, bob and weave, bob and weave. Simple, honed, direct patterns are Clarity Reece's bread and butter. Her style my not be the flashiest around, but she makes up for that with being flashy herself. And it's her knowledge of basics that help her here now as the momentary blinding brightness slows up Hayley enough that Clarity can keep one step out of the true brunt of the Aussie assault.

She giggles when called on her trickery. "It's just a little flash!" she says, "you're awesome, I'm sure it won't slow you down one bit!" But it does, and the chop finds a sturdy, well planted base. It might bruise, but it won't break Clarity Reece's stance.

"Looked up the girl who puts the Shine in Sunshine City?" she asks. "Awesome! Can I count on you to be a Clare-Bear? Cause the world needs good fighters like us to keep it safe."

She kicks at the ground, and her feet slide back. As her arms cock back, she settles into the horse stance. Golden lights pulls in at her fists.

A beat. The earth speaks. The leylines of the planet twist and roil. They rewrite the song the planet. A remix of power.

Fractals of light around Clarity's hands crackle and tinkle like winter sleighbells. The light bends and warps. It takes on a crystalline appearance. It catches the neon heat of the NEO*GEO sign and the razor edges begin to resemble the multicolored shards of stained glass.

Clarity Reece runs her teeth over her tongue. She can feel the shift of the planet deep in her. It thrills her.

Both hands shoot forward as one. Double fist punch that echoes like shattered glass. Light breaks and bends and shifts to shards as it hurtles toward Hayley's gullet.

COMBATSYS: Hayley just-defends Clarity's Spectral Shot!

[    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Hayley           0/-------/----===|====---\-------\0          Clarity

Hayley blinks, actually turning a little red at being complimented. "W-well," Hayley stammers. "Clare-Bear," she mumbles, rolling that around. It's something, for sure. "Huh, well, yeah, I can agree with th--"

Hayley clams up as Clarity pulls back, building up mysterious power. Hayley can sort of feel it. Something moves, but it's hard to pin down what. It sends a shiver down her spin, and she can't quite pin down what it is.

But then the wave comes, like a shower of rainbow glass. Hayley swallows, steels herself, and focuses her chi. One foot comes down in a stomp as she sets her weight, then she pivots, turning her back into the blast. It smashes across her back and rear as aura flares in blue-white, a brief glow of internal power that redirects the wave around her. Faint wisps, a remainder of the impression shot, rise off her jacket as she repositions again, turning to face Clarity once more.

"Wow," Hayley says. "That was really impressive. I mean," she continues, "Don't take this the wrong way, but that was gorgeous. A really beauty of an attack!"

She sets her footing again, then advances, sweeping in low this time with quick steps. Instead of the whip-like chops she tightens her grip, assuming a snake style finger positioning, then strikes forward, sweeps the leg, then snaps to try and grab, pull off balance, then jab with both hands.

COMBATSYS: Clarity counters Twin Adder Striking Fangs from Hayley with Flashdance EX.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Hayley           0/-------/=======|======-\-------\0          Clarity

The earth screams in ecstasy.

Clarity Reece reaffirms the stability of her stance in the wake of her attack. Glittering flakes of glass fall like stardust from her knuckles. She watches the redirected power and a flush of color takes to her face.

"Yaknow," Clarity says, "Someone like you could save the world."

She tenses, grinning with exuberant joy as Hayley whips and sweeps in with her bestial style. And she clashes and crashes through Clarity, rending her to. . . pieces?

Shards of stained glass fall at Hayley's strikes. But behind Hayley stands Clarity. All that was struck was a glass facsimile. "That was fun. You're kind of amazing, you know that?" she asks. And then with a firm stomping step, Clarity drives her elbow into Hayley's lower spine.

Hayley's twin-snake strike breaks Clarity into a million shimmering pieces, and for a moment, the Ozzie stops, confused. It's only brief, however, before Clarity's elbow lets Hayley know where she went through direct pressure to her spine. She staggers, trotting forward before turning back around and dropping into her low, baji stance.

"Huh? Not me..." Hayley says, almost a mumble. "I'm just a rookie, really..." Hayley draws her arms back, shifting to more a Tai Chi footing, shoulder width. She sweeps her arms in a circle, gathering her chi to a point before thrusting it forward, the energy exploding out like a the flare of a lighter but the size of a basketball, all in blue and white.


COMBATSYS: Clarity blocks Hayley's Eucalyptus Bloom.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Hayley           0/-------/=======|=======\-------\0          Clarity

That bursting energy spearhead blasts against a crashing downward forearm block by Clarity. Pieces of glass fly outwards, striping across the American's exposed belly. She hisses, but it melts to an enthusiastic laugh. The thrill of competition. The thrill of the challenge.

"Rising star," Clarity corrects. "Don't sell yourself short! Always have your best confidence on display!"

From that close position, Clarity thrusts her palm out for Hayley's chest. A thunderous crash as though glass shattering fills the air. Bits of shining glass rain down amid flashing pops of staccato sounding light. A heavy palm crashing forward, and from the force of the thrust comes a sharply striking set of kicks, one then another scything striking upward. Replete with a sommersaulting heel strike to crash down to the earth. On landing, leaving shards of glass spiking up from the ground.

COMBATSYS: Clarity successfully hits Hayley with Dawnbreaker EX.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Hayley           1/---====/=======|=======\-------\1          Clarity

"Uh, right!" is Hayley's best attempt at a response. Fortunately for her, there's not much time to talk as Clarity thrusts against her chest, a thundercrack booming out followed by a set of kicks that drive Hayley up before the somersault heel smashes her back down into the dirty city street. Well, not that dirty.

She rolls over quickly, trying to get back back on her feet without getting clobbered again. Planting her palms, the Aussie flips up and lands in a short backwards hop before resuming her fighting stance. She loosens up, moving into a springy stance as she strikes out with a swift, high kick.

COMBATSYS: Hayley successfully hits Clarity with Medium Kick.
- Power hit! -

[              \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Hayley           1/-======/=======|=======\====---\1          Clarity

Crash! A pounding kick casts the one and only Clarity Reece down to the ground with a thunderous momentum changer.

Clarity hits the ground and rolls over the pavement. The long shadows cast by the gleaming lights of NEO*GEO Land stretch dark across and away from the girl. She hoists herself up, and then with a kick, she's up to the air to land on her feet. She fixes her hair and gives a bright toothy grin and flashes a V sign to Hayley. "That's how you do it!" she calls out with a giggling laugh.

The fluctuation of the earth has shifted around her, and her sparkling light pops and sizzles in the air, breaking up her shadow with their returning brilliance. She throws her hands back and with a blast of iridescent brilliance, the whole of Clarity rockets bodily toward Hayley. The crashing Clarity reels back with her arm before she swings forward with a crushing heel palm strike for Hayley's breastbone.

COMBATSYS: Clarity successfully hits Hayley with Let the Sunshine In.

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Hayley           2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|=======\=------\1          Clarity

Hayley's leg is still extended, but she's stiff, awkward. She shakes it a little bit, her exposed leg shimmering just a little, reflectively almost, as she pulls it back. "Uh---huh. That's a weird feeling. It's kind of like--

"Hayley tries to bring up her guard to intercept Clarity, but the palm strike slips in, impacting her chest and forcing a sharp gasp. She soars backward, smacking into a parked car nearby with enough force that she leaves an imprint around her body before slumping onto her rear.

"Wugh...I'm not done...yet," the Aussie speaks as she plants her hand, pushing up again. She snaps into stance, then steps forward. She sweeps her arm, whipping out with a downward strike at Clarity, then steps forward and sweeps with the other. She delivers several of these rolling, backhanded piguaquan strikes before twisting her wrist and going for a grab.

If she finds purchase, she tries to pull the American off balance and leave her open for a flurry of kicks. From this, she ends with another surging, explosive bloom of chi like from before.

Her body glistens, just a little too much, taking an almost metallic sheen. Hayley shakes her head.

COMBATSYS: Clarity fails to counter Magpie Swooping Season EX from Hayley with Trip the Light Fantastic EX.

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////                   ]
Hayley           1/-------/<<<<<<<|=======\===----\1          Clarity

This time, when there's a flash of light, Hayley simple cuts through the flash with a juggernaut's stability. A great deal of metallic mass crashes hard through Clarity and drills her back and back again, the force slamming and pounding her back with a series of violent, crushing blows empowered by the force of this strange shift in chi.

Despite the pain, there's a flash of hope in Clarity. Someone else feeling the writhing pulse of the Earth calling for healing, calling out to those who can save her. She knows what she's looking for, and she has found it, and it is joy.

Despite laying, battered, but not yet out, Clarity gets back up to her feet and she looks pleased, totally and utterly thrilled to be on the recieving end of a beating from someone else who can feel the earth shifting. "You are special," she says, wiping a streak of blood from the corner of her lips.

Smashing into Clarity with newfound power, Hayley seems a bit confused as her chi seems...different. She feels heavy, powerful. As though her body is mending itself, slowly, as something flows into her from the planet. She shakes her head, trying to clear strange visions.

"T-thanks?" Hayley answers, her brow furrowing. What exactly is going on here?

The Australian does not linger on it for now, instead advancing while she has an opening. She snaps forward, stepping in toward Clarity while sweeping down with another strong, overhead wheel strike from her palm, using the rotation and momentum to try and create an opening.

COMBATSYS: Hayley successfully hits Clarity with Descending Magpie.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Hayley           1/-----==/=======|=======\=====--\1          Clarity

Wieghty, metal, potent. This new and strange Hayley continies to slam hard past Clarity's defenses. leaping and crashing like a meteor atop her head. The sound is crashing, powering to the earth and cracking parts of the concrete as the chi shifts and spits out all around in a corona of force.

Clarity lay, breath heavy, on the ground having been skipped a distance away by the airstriking Aussie. She sucks in pained breath and shuffles herself up to her feet. The stance lists, no longer as stable, no longer as forceful. Not longer as complete. But she stands nonetheless.

"Rock on," she says, despite the pain and the battering, she's a wave of ecstasy as the chi roils about the world. It twists and bends as light bends from wavelength of energy, to sharpened shard. The two edged lengths of glass that meld into being held in Clarity's hands flicker with intensity. "When this is over, what're you gonna do?" she asks, and her laugh jingles before the crunching, scything sound of glass shattering and grinding splits the air. A rainbow of colors catch the two prisms held in Clarity's hands, they converge together at a point and they lance toward Hayley, but as the light travels, it's bent by the writhing twist of the planet and where different colors of chi dance and glitter, it shifts to a rain of slicing diamond edge glass shards.

COMBATSYS: Hayley just-defends Clarity's Sunshine and Rainbows!

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Hayley           1/-----==/=======|====---\-------\0          Clarity

"Me?" Hayley asks, as if uncertain that someone would care what she's doing, where she's going. Perhaps it's unusual feeling for her. Maybe she just doesn't expect it from someone she just met.

"I'll keep climbing, I guess!" Hayley says, "Or do you mean right after--" The cacophony of shattering glass cuts through the air like jagged knives. Prismatic energy forms, and Hayley steels herself--perhaps, in this moment, literally as well as metaphorically. She draws up, inhales deeply, attuning herself to her chi. Focusing her spirit, her aura shimmering around her. Her blue-white colors giving way to the earthy tones of that metallic chi, that gift (?) from the earth. She draws both arms back, holding her breath, then thrusts forward, intercepting the rainbow of broken glass with a burst of internal energy manifested in a bubble before her.

Breathing heavily afterward, Hayley resolves herself, resumes her stance, and readies to advance again. Chi surges, her face distorting in discomfort at the unusual energy flow as her fingers splay and tense like claws. She springs forward, leaping toward Clarity, lingering energy exploding outward as she sweeps her hand, ripping through the air with a claw-like slash of power, first right, then a second from the left, then one after another in a flurry of slashes.

COMBATSYS: Clarity blocks Hayley's Hunting Dingo ES.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////                         ]
Hayley           0/-------/--=====|=======\-------\1          Clarity

Hunkered down, taking the blows. Each claw cuts and slices as the chi infused metal claws rake and gouge at Clarity's forearms. Bursts of chi-light shatters into tinkling glass with each smash, slash, crashing cut. Back and back again, Clarity drives herself to retreat. She's feeling spent and rent and for each thrill of the moment seeing the writhing earth cry out as it kisses her opponent with divine portent, she knows that she still should probably gauge herself if she hopes to win this thing.

She breaks off, retreating for a moment, cutting back from Hayley and centering herself. She lights in that moment as if alone under the spotlight, her chi focus bending the neon glow of the NEO*GEO sign to a focused singularity around her. And there it begins to crystallize with a crinkling, cracking sound as the light stiffens and shines, bending into glass.

It surrounds Clarity, this light to solid matter, it shimmers and radiates along the spectrum, surrounding the young woman and giving her the appearance of a still, glittering, stained glass portrait of herself.

COMBATSYS: Clarity gains composure.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////                     ]
Hayley           0/-------/--=====|=======\-------\0          Clarity

Hayley steps back from the slashing claw stance, drawing up her guard and repositioning, one foot back, the other forward, arms raised slightly in expectation for a coming counterattack. When it does not immediately come, Hayley exhales, the tension receding ever so slightly.

Lights flicker, shimmer, and shatter. The Aussie's eyes narrow in the brilliant display, and the bluenette has to squint at the blinding neon. As it settles, Hayley's mouth is agape.

"Uh, wow," Hayley says. "Is that ... that something you trained to do, or...?" She bites her lip. "--you don't have to answer that, if you don't want to." She digs her heels in, steeling her resolve, then pushes off into a sprint. Closing the gap, she strikes out, quickly, trying to test Clarity's guard---cautiously. Carefully.

COMBATSYS: Clarity fails to counter Medium Punch from Hayley with Spectral Slasher.
- Power fail! -

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

COMBATSYS: Clarity can no longer fight.

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

Wait the moment. Cut the girl down. Move on and save the world. A simple plan, an easy execution. It's nothing to accomplish your dreams with a steady breath and a renewed focus. The still image of the woman in glass opens her eyes, they shine and glimmer.

And at her hand, glass shards unfold as raking claws at her waiting hand.

Slash Hayley. Catch her in her timid approach. Take her taste and rend it. Clarity slips forward, the light catches her faceted appearance and glitters. She moves to rip through the Australian girl. She moves to claim her destiny.

Glass shatters. The music stops. The moment ends. A simple blow is all that it needs. A simple strike of simple force that breaks the tempo of the Destined. Breaks it and leaves her curled up in a ball on the pavement in front of an arcade. Where the light spills over her and the sparkling light of conjured glass begins to wink out as so many stars in the night sky.

A call comes up from the judges. A call in favor of Hayley Bretherton. But Clarity Reece doesn't hear it over the sucking wind of her needy gasps for air.

Hayley inhales, exhales. The tension starts to dissipate, to leave like steam from her body. Clarity doesn't get up, at least, not right away, but she may not be down. Hayley Bretherton has many flaws, but arrogance is probably not one of them. Her spine stiffens, the fear of Clarity springing back up sinks its teeth into her and won't let go. In that instant, Hayley can see the surprise upset. She can imagine it, like a runner at the finish line who breaks pace and gets passed by another with greater ambition.

When Clarity does not climb up, and the judge makes a call, Hayley drops down.

"Are you okay, Clarity?" Hayley says. "That ... that felt like a cheap shot on my part. That was... I didn't know what that was." Beat. "Can I help you up?"

Wheezing gasps continue. That hit had got right where it needed to. Clarity still doesn't fully have her breath back when she realizes that Hayley is offering a hand to help her up. One that she takes with a coughing, sputtering reclamation of her sense of balance.

Out comes a wheeze rather than words, but a second try finds a simple, "Thank you," that sputters out as Clarity holds her hands on her knees and puffs air in and out.

The attention diminishes, the crowds grow focused on other things, and the fight is over. Clarity Reece looks around and takes a few steps away from the limelight, to find a wall to prop herself on. But not before telling Hayley, "You should totally win the tournament. You got what it takes to save the world you, you know." And she tries one of her signature looks, grinning, and flashing a V with her fingers.

Hayley waits. She doesn't rush or back off. Even if it takes Clarity a moment, the Aussie is waiting there to give her a hand. "No problem," she says, finally, as Clarity gets her footing.

"I--" Hayley considers as the crowd disperses, their attention focused on a million other things. Smartphones, instant replays, announcer commentary. Other matches, probably. Chewing her lip, the bluenette rolls the answer around in her mouth, her tongue dry.

"I'll do my best." It seems like the thing to say. "No guarantees," Hayley smiles. "But you can bet I'll do my best."

Log created on 19:37:31 03/22/2021 by Clarity, and last modified on 12:51:29 04/09/2021.