Description: The Ristar champion receives one of her prizes: A bout with the hostess herself!
The Rising Star tournament has its champion. She was presented with her prizes and given an option: A fight against a Bernstein with no true stakes beyond the sheer joy of it. The challenge was accepted, and Rose sent the champion to guest quarters in the Sky Noah to rest and recover.
It's been about a day. Meifeng was treated to great luxuries aboard the fortress home of the Bernstein family. Fine food, finer wine, entertainment. All and everything a recovering warrior could need. But the vacation ends soon enough.
The audience chamber is the same as it was before, minus Rugal and Adelheid playing the piano. Rose is waiting, and she's actually dressed somewhat appropriately! Her top half is covered by a deep red tunic style dress with long sleeves that falls to midthigh. Her hands have fine leather gauntlets in black (of course.) On her feet and legs are tight fitting, low heeled thigh high boots. A servant is presenting an open case on a wheeled cart to Rose and she's peering inside.
Of course it's full of swords.
Meifeng had made good use of her time in recuperation. The fine food was her favorite part though -- it turns out the tigress had worked up quite the appetite after her strenuous fight with Shermie. Thankfully, she was even able to bring some out to Ziyaad, the NOL subordinate who had accompanied her on the trip.
But that's over now. Here? She's chosen to bring along her officer's uniform, a perfectly tailored mix of crisp white, royal blue, with red and gold trim. She had feared that her uniform might have been intimidating in other venues, but here in the home of such regal personalities, it makes sense to bring her best dress blues.
Not to mention, it has a pair of criss-crossing belts from which to hang her sword -- if, of course, that was Rose's choice.
"Ah, Lady Bernstein. What a lovely collection of swords! Were you planning to utilize one in our battle, perchance?" Meifeng peers back at the blonde through her tinted lenses, a warm smile on her face. "I am eager to see which style of combat you prefer. I do not believe I have had the luxury of watching you fight before."
Rose reaches into the case and pulls free an elegant looking rapier. Thin and double edged, the blade is etched with scrollwork. The hilt's basket looks like a weave of thorned rose stems, culminating in a blooming rose on the pommel.
She brightens as Meifeng enters. "Ah, Lieutenant. Welcome! I trust your stay has been pleasant?"
The slight flicker of red eyes towards the nearby attendants screams 'It'd better have been.' She gives the weapon a couple test swipes and thrusts before nodding.
"Ah, yes. I hope that is not a problem. My Father and Brother are very adept martial artists, but I am merely a fencer." Granted, she's probably good enough to compete in the Olympics, but who's keeping track?
As Rose looks towards the attendants, Meifeng finds her gaze drifting in the same direction as well -- though said gaze snaps right back to Rose afterwards. She smiles brightly for a moment before offering a diplomatic answer: "Of course! I have never been treated to such fine foods before. And the accomodations were beyond amazing. Last night was a quite luxurious rest." She chuckles warmly, her cheeks puffing up in memory of the warm and fluffy bed.
As Rose explains her role as a fencer, Meifeng gently shakes her head side to side. "Of course! I do not mind at all. It has been quite some time since my dear Huan has seen battle."
The lieutenant glances over her shoulder to Ziyaad, who bows his head. With both hands, he produces her sword, tucked within a black scabbard lined with gold filigree accents.
Accepting her sword, the tigress is quick to fasten the scabbard to the two belts hanging about her hips. "I have never fought a fencer before. Though I may need to even the odds against your reach advantage. ... Oh, and I love the stitchwork on your gauntlets, by the way. They suit you well!"
With an amiable smile, Meifeng slides one foot back, raising her hand in a piguazhang ready stance. "Will we be fighting here, then? I am greatly looking forward to sharing techniques with you." The sword hangs loosely from her hips. She may have -mentioned- it, but the lieutenant still feels as if it might be rude or brusque to draw it, even so. But as her tail swishes back and forth, it seems she is ready for a fight -- even though her words lilt out with her usual amicable calm.
COMBATSYS: Meifeng has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Rose Bernstein has joined the fight here.
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Rose Bernstein 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Meifeng
Rose lifts the rapier before her face in the traditional salute for blade combat. She sets her feet, boots scraping across the black marble until they sit just so. The blade is helf out before her, steady as a surgeon.
"Just full of compliments, Lieutenant. But," she says, a dangerous edge entering her voice and a flash in her red eyes. At this moment, she looks like exactly who she is. Rugal Bernstein's daughter. "Do not hold back. Come at me with everything you have." The tip of the blade quivers. "I will not forgive you otherwise." Her eyes blaze with anticipation and ''eagerness''.
Meifeng's eyes cross as she focuses -- perhaps unwisely -- on the keen edge of the blade held by Lady Bernstein. But it's a momentary fixation, that she addresses by lifting her shades further along the bridge of her nose.
A moment later, Rose shows how quickly she can shift from regal formality into disarming forcefulness. The tigress nods, eyes half-lidding as she centers herself, seeking out the qi in the air around her. Her body's motions demonstrate the flow of qi, her limbs and body rippling outward from her core as they transition from casual looseness into rigid discipline. While Ziyaad takes a step back, Meifeng sets her jaw, planting her fist within her opposite palm as she gives a proper kung-fu salute.
"I will fight you at my best -- I can but ask the same from you, naturally."
As her fist leaves her palm, the space between them glows with a blue aura. And as she slides into a bajiquan stance, the aura splits into three orbs -- which break loose, and begin orbiting around her at a gentle pace.
"It is such that I begin." She gives an affirming nod.
And in the very next moment, she surges forward, twisting about to deliver a dashing punch! By reducing her profile, the tiger lady leaves less for the rapier to strike -- but also aims to transfer the bulk of her impact into a tightly clenched fist! "Hryaaaaa!"
COMBATSYS: Rose Bernstein endures Meifeng's Medium Punch.
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Rose Bernstein 0/-------/-----==|-------\-------\0 Meifeng
Rose nods ever so slightly as Meifeng slips into her stance, her body language sliding into that relaxed but ready to spring state that is vital for personal combat. The light from outside the massive windows makes her eyes almost seem to glow for a moment.
Meifeng comes with the fisticuffs. Rose, in a baffling display, surges forward ''into'' the punch, taking it square in the midsection with nary a grunt of pain, though her expression flickers on impact.
She uses her proximity to lash back. The rapier rises, and she swings the rose shaped, heavy metal pommel at the side of the Lieutenant's head. It's a callous and almost cruel move that seems to belie the casual and fun nature this bout is supposed to have.
The portrait of Rugal on the wall seems to loom approvingly.
COMBATSYS: Meifeng just-defends Rose Bernstein's Quick Strike!
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Rose Bernstein 0/-------/-----==|-------\-------\0 Meifeng
It is casual and fun. That's why they started with the blunt bits instead of the pointy bits, right?
The NOL officer takes the motion in stride -- as one trained in bajiquan -does-, after all. Even with Rose stepping in close, Meifeng does not shy away, merely pivoting to the side to provide a bit of extra room to maneuver without sacrificing proximity. When that pommel comes in, Meifeng's forearm snaps upward to defend -- and at the exact same instant, one of her spinning orbs interposes itself between the two, absorbing the brunt of the impact like a beanbag.
Meifeng's nostrils flare in a quick expulsion of breath, a redirection of the disruptive qi. And in the next half-breath, she takes advantage of the space opened up by Rose's hand being raised high -- and thrusts in with a quick and forceful palm strike to center mass! She then pivots, dropping low so that she can ram her shoulder in as a followup blow, making full use of her up-close positioning! "Hah! Haaaaah!"
COMBATSYS: Rose Bernstein blocks Meifeng's Strong Punch.
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Rose Bernstein 0/-------/----===|=------\-------\0 Meifeng
Rose raises an eyebrow as Meifeng not only defends against the pommel strike but also uses it's momentum offensively. This one is quite skilled. The blonde pivots as the shoulder comes driving in, taking the brunt of it to her non-sword arm and letting the force skid her backwards a bit. Her hungry smile does not waver.
"Yes. You truly are a champion. I had not thought to be so hard pressed!"
Now the sword comes into play. Rose lunges, thrusting low with the tip only to twitch her wrist and change the blow into a quick slash at the last instant. Her blade begins to waft red and black energy in gentle wisps as her own chi begins to truly flow within.
COMBATSYS: Meifeng blocks Rose Bernstein's Beads Destruction.
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Rose Bernstein 0/-------/---====|==-----\-------\0 Meifeng
While the tiger may have been talkative prior to the fight, it would seem that she has more of a tacit personality in actual combat. Such as it is, she offers little more than a measured smile and a nod of her head as Rose delivers her a compliment.
Now, though, the situation is different. With more space opened up, Meifeng raises her forearm, taking a more defensive posture. The sword comes in, and she seems ready to parry the blade away -- but the quick shift to the side stings as it digs into her sleeve, biting into the flesh beneath. The tigress draws in her breath, letting her arm relax as she pivots sideways to dampen the impact.
"Keep it coming," she offers reassuringly, in a belated attempt to keep up the conversation, as it were.
With a shake of her injured arm, she shifts to her opposite side, dashing forward into a driving shoulder, before pivoting to thrust a high snap kick into Rose, aiming to send her flying upward! If she manages that, her three spinning orbs would be there on the other side, waiting to slam into Rose's shoulders from above -- and possibly slow her down enough for a followup strike!
COMBATSYS: Rose Bernstein instinctively dodges Meifeng's Form Three - Rising Gale.
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Rose Bernstein 0/-------/---====|==-----\-------\0 Meifeng
Rose's blade bites, and she flicks the tip down and away, splattering blood to the floor artfully, the black and silver mingling with the sanguine red. Her smile remains. She brings her blade to the defensive ready again, preparing for Meifeng's retaliation.
"Of course. You crave a challenge, don't you? You crave what you can't get in your career as some staid officer in a spineless organization, hm?"
The Lieutenant dashes in close, and Rose swings her free hand out to push the charging shoulder aside. When the snap kick flies, the blonde stomps the ground, backdashing free of the swing, the wind of it ruffling her curls.
"You love this. The rush of blood in your ears. The crackle of power in your fingertips. The," she spits the word violently, "Librarium doesn't let you unleash yourself, do they?"
She swings her rapier, the tip throwing sparks against the floor before red and black chi spirals down the blade only to erupt in a shark-fin like inferno that races across the floor towards Meifeng.
COMBATSYS: Meifeng interrupts Reppuken from Rose Bernstein with Form Seven - Whistling Gust EX.
- Power hit! -
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Rose Bernstein 1/-------/=======|=------\-------\0 Meifeng
Meifeng arches an eyebrow at her gracious hostess, and the practiced ease in which she cleans off her blade. Like a true warrior, who is well-versed at taking care of her arsenal. A challenge... hmm?
She keeps a stiff upper lip, bearing the slings and stones in good measure. Her shoulder strike evaded, she skids to the side, her soles squeaking against the deck.
"Quite the contrary," she states -- but that is all she has time to say, before the rapier makes that awful scraping sound across the deck. The tigress' sensitive ears fold back at that, as she tucks in forward, driving in close. Waves of crimson and ebony swirl around one another, surging across the deck towards Meifeng. And yet the tiger charges in, with her three orbs drooping lower, blazing circular trails of blue around her ankles. She thunders forward, footfalls heavy upon the deck, as her azure energies sizzle against red and black. The orbs diminish, as the lieutenant plows onward...!
She grits her teeth, as her spinning orbs peel off all but the last layers of vermilion and onyx, left to sear into her stocking-clad shins. But in the very next instant -- she slams one foot upward, still seething with Rose's energies.
She leans back, swinging two rapid snap kicks into Rose, before landing in a crouch with her arms extended to either side. Her jaw hangs open, panting for breath --
"I believe you may have misheard. The Librarium does not cower in the face of catastrophe."
Rose runs her mouth and pays for it. The wave of firey chi rushes across the floor and ends up nullified by Meifeng's own power as she bursts through it. The tiger-woman blasts the blonde with powerful kicks, lifting her from the ground and sending her backwards. She manages to stay upright, but barely. She catches her breath as she steadies herself, the corners of her lips twitching cruelly.
"I never said they were ''cowards'', Lieutenant. I said they were ''controlling''. Demanding. Tyrants who hate freedom and believe humanity to be too weak to walk alone. Too foolish to learn the secrets the world has to offer. I reject such beliefs. If humanity is too weak, let them crumble. If humanity is too foolish, let them pay for it. I choose to think that humanity deserves to know everything, to have the freedom to ''do'' everything. No, the Librarium do not cower, but they ''do'' fear. They fear for their power and nothing more."
Maybe this fun fight got a little antagonistic. Then again, Rose's blood is up and she runs her mouth. A lot. She lets her chi infuse her weapon, the rapier bursting into crimson and sable fire. She charges Meifeng as a streak of black and red. Her rapier starts low, swinging up in a wide circle, trailing a line of chi with it. She twists in midair, dropping the tip of the sword low again only to swing it in the same arc, only higher. If she's lucky, Meifeng is along for the ride.
COMBATSYS: Rose Bernstein successfully hits Meifeng with Genocide Blade.
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Rose Bernstein 1/------=/=======|======-\-------\0 Meifeng
Meifeng remains low until it becomes clear that Rose has... something of an axe to grind about the supposed indiscretions of her organization's faults. She rises slowly to her full height, allowing her hands to slip down by her sides as she draws back, not wanting to interrupt -- but instead, focusing her acute feline vision towards the physical tells that might suggest what Rose is planning to execute.
There, Meifeng is perplexed, for there is little to be gleaned. But that itself suggests greater caution -- and it is why she draws her three azure orbs back to her, swirling them about into a spinning disc before her. The disc spins faster into a translucent, hemispherical shell. And as Rose advances, the lieutenant pulsl her shell closer.
The tigress clenches her fist, as the crimson and sable meld together into a sheath surrounding the rapier. The shell disintegrates on impact, fiery red and ink-black night incinerating the azure energy into a shower of cinders. For a moment it looked as if Meifeng's hardened defense could withstand the Genocide Blade, but that defense crumples as well in the first impact, defending arms slammed upwards, leaving crimson trails in their wake.
The second arc, though, is opposed by nothing at all, the sweep of the rapier carving a second, bloodier arc through her defenses, tearing a vicious rent through the side of her uniform. The tigress is swept upward.
Meifeng grits her teeth, curling her arms back to her. Discipline has never failed her in the past, and likewise, it will help her survive this assault, as she clenches her teeth, keeping her wits about her as she reorients herself, twisting in mid-air to regain control.
A ferocious growl splits the air. Meifeng shifts her weight, aided by the flagellation of her tail. What goes up must come down -- and it's clear she intends to come down in a particularly empassioned fashion, slamming her hands downward in windmilling palm strikes.
But that's not all -- for the flame-orange -cinders- have come to life anew. The NOL officer turns her defending shroud into a punishing weapon, as the cinders reconstitute into a bright orange orb, the size of a canteloupe -- which is then hurled at Rose like a cannonball!
COMBATSYS: Rose Bernstein reflects Form One - Keening Draft from Meifeng with Darker Barrier.
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Rose Bernstein 1/---====/=======|=======\===----\1 Meifeng
Rose lands gracefully as the technique completes. She flicks the blade again, blood spattering in another line on the black marble. She smiles slightly to herself. In this moment, she reminds herself greatly of her father. Unleashing power, proving superiority. It's nice to feel that family connection.
She turns, hopping back a little to buy space, keeping an eye on Meifeng. She watches the chi coalesce, the orange glow reflecting hellishly in her red eyes. Her lips twitch slightly as it's thrown.
The rapier comes up, the chi covering it sliding all the way to black. She swings the weapon in a great X, leaving constructs of raw chi floating in midair. The X expands out into a concave barrier. The projectile hits the barrier and it bends inwards, stretching like a trampoline before the orb is hurtled back to Meifeng. No smart mouth this time.
The tiger lieutenant's greatest weapon -- her own qi -- turned against her. It does not feel good. The explosive force slams into her, hitting her square in the core -- and blasting her a good twelve meters back. She collapses into a ball on the deck of the skyship, panting for breath -- for all of it had been knocked out of her in that one unexpected strike.
She reaches first for her glasses, pulling them back to her nose. Her lone concession to vanity: the strive to -look- human and approachable.
She curls her hand about her center. The urge to vomit is strong, as if the nausea of her arrival came back with a vengeance.
But she remembers, after a long moment, that discipline pulled her through every other trial. It will pull her through this. She pushes back to her feet -- dropping both fists before her at thigh-height, and drawing a deep breath.
She tenses; blood and sweat spatter off of her. She stands resolute, with renewed focus. And a single blue orb is plucked out of the sky, first as a marble, then growing to the size of a volleyball.
And she nods back in response. "I would agree with you. Mostly." Rose speaks of humanity; in an extended dialogue, the distinctly inhuman being standing before her would insist on clarification. Instead -- Meifeng offers a pressed smile.
With a sudden burst of speed, Meifeng rushes forward. She is no longer attempting to hold back, to be 'civil', but to impress upon Rose just how strong she can be. She delivers a rushing hip strike to Rose's center mass. And if she connects, she would then launch herself into a rising torrent of upwards, windmilling palm strikes. Her orb would swing faster and further -- and if Rose were to be hit, she would find herself colliding with the sphere attacking from behind her back!
COMBATSYS: Rose Bernstein endures Meifeng's Form Five - Howling Whirlwind.
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Rose Bernstein 1/=======/=======|=======\===----\1 Meifeng
Rose seems to be enjoying the rush of the combat. It seems she doesn't get out much to cut loose like this. Her father and brother are not appropriate sparring partners for very different reasons, though they are both -immensely- stronger than she is. Though it seems the Blood of Bernstein still flows in her veins. Her body seems to crackle with chi as she watches the aftermath of her reflection of the blast.
Of course, as always, she pays for her moment of inward gloating.
The hip-check sets Rose off balance enough that Meifeng's combo can get started. The chi-empowered strikes launch her upwards, but before she can arc away, the orbiting spheres of chi rock into her spine and throw her back into the torrent of spiralling blows. Again and again Rose is bounced like a tennis ball between Meifeng's claws and the balls of chi. Enough so that the rapier flies from her grip to clatter to the floor.
Soon enough, the rhythm shifts, and Rose is knocked free by a mighty blow. She hits the ground hard and slides along the marble, making the stone squeak. She's still for a moment before she starts to move, slowly making her way back to her feet. Her hair has broken loose, blonde curls in mad disarray. Blood trickles from the corner of her mouth and her eyes burn with battle lust and her own chi.
"Yes. YES!" She laughs, a classic, if a little manic, oujou laugh, bringing her hand up to hide her mouth (and to wipe off the blood.) "Did you know," she says almost off-handedly, her tone not fitting how she looks, or her aggressive body language. "My Father taught me some of his techniques. I don't tend to prefer them, but.... I think you've earned a little show."
With a sharp intake of breath, Rose ''blurs'' as she rockets towards Meifeng. Her right hand is raised, fingers splayed wide. What she aims for is the Lieutenant's -face-. She moves to grasp it, and drag her along, driving towards one of the massive windows. The impact on the window is followed by a pillar of red and black chi.
Should she manage, the blonde pivots and rockets the -other- way across the room with the tigress in tow to impact the other wall, loosing another pillar of chi.
Right under the portrait of her father.
COMBATSYS: Rose Bernstein successfully hits Meifeng with Beautiful Pressure.
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Rose Bernstein 0/-------/---====|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2 Meifeng
Meifeng lands a moment later, shoulders drooping a bit further than intended. She pants for breath, staring back at Rose to gauge the effect her attacks had made. Her host's good-natured rejoinder seems to be reassuring enough to bring a more open smile to the tigress' face. "Ah, wonderful!"
Yes, she's following along enough to know that the word 'show' means 'pain' in this context. That's why she swings her orb in front of her with a few open-hand motions, preparing. Though, as in the previous attempt -- in which she had -more- time to prepare -- the orb shatters upon colliding with Rose's outstretched hand, the jagged shards flying off to either side. A moment later, a -different- tinkling sound can be heard: the lieutenant's vanity shades being utterly demolished in the youngest Bernstein's grip.
A moment later, a tiger-striped back is slammed against the reinforced glass, hairline fractures left behind in the wake of a pillar of sable-and-crimson chi. Moments later, Meifeng's spine and ribcage are tested to their limits again as the tigrine lieutenant is slammed into a bulkhead. A scream escapes her lips as fiery, jet-black chi burns her to the core.
Released, she collapses forward, barely catching herself with her hand as she pitches forward to the deck. Blackness crowds in upon her vision -- and not just from the cracked frames she plucks from her nose.
"I will admit -- most of Librarium combat training does -not- go this far." Her ragged breath still bears a measure of her good-natured tone. But as she draws it in...
The shattered fragments of her orb lift up from the deck. The seams melt away, as each orb is reconstituted into a solid sphere, traces of light glistening around their edges.
"I promised you my best. So here it is."
The tiger doesn't so much rise to her feet as -leap-, whirling around in a roundhouse kick, her passage marked by a trail of bloody crimson. She howls in pain as she delivers that -- but it doesn't seem to stop her! If Meifeng's attack hits its mark, it would send Rose flying backward into one of her spheres. She would proceed to fire off a blistering series of bajiquan attacks, pivoting around her counter-clockwise, with each attack targeted to send her flying into an awaiting orb: a right elbow, a left palm strike, a left hip smash that chains into a right knee. One blood-trailed attack after another -- culminating in two fingers thrust into the solar plexus for a punishing nerve strike.
COMBATSYS: Rose Bernstein endures Meifeng's Unbound Form - Ascendant Vortex!
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Rose Bernstein 0/-------/--=====|>>>>---\-------\0 Meifeng
Rose acts foolishly again. She doesn't try to dodge, she doesn't try to block. She just sets her feet and lets Meifeng come for her. She brings her arms up in a modicum of defense, but she is not the bruiser that her brother and father are. The much physically stronger Meifeng gets her in a juggle. Again.
The blonde now knows what it's truly like to be a pinball, bounced around and seared and battered bloody. The final strike into the solar plexus launches her away, and she barely manages to keep her feet. Blood sheets down over her eyes from her forehead, casting her ghoulishly. She staggers forward, scooping up her rapier again, but it's like she's on autopilot. It's almost a shamble as she comes closer and closer to Meifeng, the blistering speed and raw power of her blood all but gone.
She reaches striking range and lifts the blade, going to thrust, and she just falls to her knees, a bloody mess. The sword clatters to the floor from her hand and she breathes heavily.
"W-well fought, L-lieutenant. You are a cham--"
Rose faints, slumping to the ground. Medics are there immediately, tending to her wounds and carting her out.
Meifeng is hanging on by a thread. Throughout this tournament she's had two things to deal with. One being her self-directed challenge to use her qi more internally, -without- relying on the focus of the Ars Magus strapped to her hip. The other -- is the fact that her qi seems to want to -kill her-.
So it is that when Meifeng delivers her palm strike, she's gritting her teeth and drawing back, clutching at her wrists. Her blood is on -fire-, and that's in contrast to both the bloody tear in her side and the crushing pain in her ribs. A noticeable shudder runs through her as she staggers forward, fighting for control. Indeed -- if it weren't for her all-out attack -- she'd be perfectly fine just sitting and rocking back and forth, trying to make sense of the fire in her bloodstream.
But, now that the battle has come to an end? She drops down to one knee, curling both arms around the other.
"Ah, good -- I was... concerned it would displease you." She offers a self-deprecating chuckle, before her eyes begin to half-lid.
It's a few moments before she realizes that Rose has no response for her -- and it's just the medics.
"Oh." The exhausted tiger asks hopefully, "Could I trouble you for some assistance, as well?"
The medics, of course, offer their help. Once they're sure Rose is stable and not ''too'' injured. The blonde is carted off for full and proper treatment, leaving a lone medic there to take care of the Lieutenant's wounds and needs.
They at least give her some water too.
Rose's sword lies on the ground, glittering with traces of blood still on it, falling in the shadow of a passing cloud.
COMBATSYS: Rose Bernstein can no longer fight.
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Log created on 19:03:02 06/22/2022 by Rose Bernstein, and last modified on 23:03:01 06/23/2022.