Fightfest 2023 - NFG Inaugural Tournament Afterparty

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Description: The after-party for the inaugural New Fighting Generation tournament of FightFest 2023, featuring appearances from CYS and the commentary team of Tom and Lou to reveal the next step for the New Fighting Generation.

The private party room on the top floor of the Hotel Southtown has been decorated for the closing celebration of the New Fighting Generation's first tournament. Framed photographs of each of the competitors adorn the walls and on a screen positioned in the far corner, highlights of the matches participated in are being played with the sound muted. A variety of energetic music, featuring choices to suit fans of all genres is being played by the DJ and they are definitely open to requests. The stage has been set up for what looks to be a rock band, fuelling rumours that CYS are going to be putting in a peformance at some point in the evening.

Upon the glossy surface of the black bar are trays of both alcoholic and non alcoholic fizz, since some of the competitors are still high school students. Each member of the NFG has also had a cocktail or mocktail named after them, again respecting any age restrictions that may be of concern. On the buffet style tables, a dazzling array of Asian foods are available. The options mainly focus on those of the cold variety, allowing them to be grazed upon throughout the gathering.

Kenzo walks into the private party room wearing a light gray button down shirt, black slacks, black sneakers. Of course, there are the glasses with the Augmented Reality enhancements.

The first moments he takes after entering the room is walking around the room and checking out the spread and noting the foods that he would like to try. He then comes across his personal mocktail. A sparkling lemonade with blackberry juice ice cubes. Sparking Lemonade on the Black Rocks. He found himself raising an eyebrow before letting out a slight chuckle before taking his signature mocktail and finding himself a seat.

Never one to be slow on the uptake where free drinks are involved, Hawksley Moore is one of the first guests to arrive at the New Fighting Generation's shindig. He's dressed somewhat smarter than usual, wearing a short-sleeved teal, black and white shirt with vertical stripes and black buttons. On his lower half are a pair of slim fitting black chinos and some black suede derby shoes. It's not exactly fancy gentleman, but it's at least lad going out for a night on the town.

Recognising Kenzo he waves over at him, before joining the Japanese boy by the drinks. "What's yours called?" he wonders, seeking out his own selection.

Spying a brightly coloured green drink, he grins and takes a sip. "Luck of the Irish" he nods, savouring the sweet combination of whiskey, peach schnapps, pineapple juice and lime soda.

As the talented tech fighter seeks out a seat, Hawksley chooses to hover by the bar. Other than in a fight, it's the place he feels most at home.

Djamila walks in, wearing a black form-fitting dress. The dress ends above her knees and shows a generous amount of cleavage. She also has black heels and her trademark black blindfold over her eyes. She walks with confidence to the bar, nodding to everyone she comes across.

When she gets to the bar, she then settle at the the for the moment, and she gets, of all things, is an appletini. As she sips her drink, the way she moves her head around, it definitely looks like she's looking around the room.

For some wealthy martial dilettantes, every night is a party, and so, Coco's dress for the grand Fightfest Finals Afterparty isn't necessarily news to any who've happened to cross paths with her on an evening in the Hotel Southtown bar before; it isn't the first time she's shown up in her glitteringy baby blue bodycon mini, nor the matching strappy heeled sandals that elevate her from the floor by a good four and a half inches. Her party companion, on the other hand, has decided to show a bit of extra class. Captain Morgan, the purple-haired party girl's beloved binturong, is perched on her shoulder and surveying the bar from beneath the brim of what appears to be a white replica Royal Navy captain's official uniform hat, sized appropriately - and thus likely intended for children, if not custom-ordered.

"Seriously? What does 'Zombie Hunter' even have to do with anything?" the indignant environmentalist demands to know as she peers at her drink, apparently a purple cocktail taking the elements of a Zombie (using coconut rum and Captain Morgan's) and adding blue caracao and extra grenadine to achieve a colour that matches her hair. "This whole meme has gone way too far," she mutters glumly as she sits off to one side of the bar.

Chevelle Beaumont ambles in, quietly looking around with a faintly amused grin. She's wearing a sleeveless white top with khaki-colored chinos and a pair of slip-ons -- casual, but a little less so than her usual attire. She also has a watch on her left wrist and a braided band on her right.

After a brief survey she beelines to the selection of drinks, snickering lightly as she reads the name of her orange-and-peach-colored mocktail, the 'Chevy Suburban.' She takes a brief sip, before scooting over to give Hawksley a wave, and a giddy smile. Perhaps -too- giddy?

She notices the arrival of Djamila and Coco, and of course the ever-stylish Captain Morgan, before turning to approach Kenzo. "Hey! Krow-iwa-san, right?" She tried; that's as close as she got on pronouncing names. "I-I don't think we met before, I'm Chevy." She gives a quick bow in greeting.

"Oh! You're the guy that Coco was calling 'Lucky.' Anyway, I'm Kenzo Kuroiwa. Nice to officially meet you."

He turns towards Hawksley and extends a hand for a handshake should he want to do so. No reason to go out of his way to be a jerk if he didn't have to.

"They called it a Sparking Lemonade on the Black Rocks. A play on my family name."

With Hawksley choosing to stay near the bar, Kenzo is content to nurse his drink which in turn darkens the lemonade from the melting blackberry juice ice.

When Coco entered the room he raises his drink. With Djamila, he's a little more uncertain on how to greet her from a distance without shouting since he had known she was blind and no knowledge of how she senses people.

All of a sudden, he finds a Chevy in his field of view. He rises to greet her with a bow of his own.

"Nice to meet you! What do you think about the experience of NFG so far?"

Chevy says, "l me"

Chevy is charmed by Kenzo's bow; freckled cheeks broaden into a smile. "It's going well. I feel like I'm getting the hang of it. I thought I'd be nervous about performin' in front of others but it's not so bad. But wow, folks here are so talented!"

She rubs a hand across her abdomen. "And strong. I'm sure someone'll tell me that it builds character or somethin'." She laughs off the suggestion with a brief look around.

But then her eyes drift towards the darkening... lemonade? Smile fading as she peers over the rim, she looks up afterwards. "Your drink looks pretty cool. How is it?"

Nixie's still wearing her "Goblined" outfit. She really needs to work on getting some new clothes especially after winning the tournament. She's drinking one of the many flasks she carries with her. Ironically for the barista, most normal human drinks kind of taste odd in her current state. She's certainly not the most social, but she figures she better make an appearance after winning the tournament at least. Hopefully everyone won't be upset at her for doing so.

"Trust me. I know. The person that eliminated me didn't seem to have much of a grasp on fighting technique but had a lot of power. I'm just glad that the bonus rounds allowed me to better show what I can do."

After seeing Chevy's hand move to her abdomen, he makes a note to hit the film. After that he notices her eye going to his drink.

"It's pretty good. They called it a 'Sparking Lemonade on the Black Rocks.' A sparkling lemonade with blackberry juice as ice chunks. Non-alcoholic since I can't drink alcohol in Japan."

He takes a sip of the drink now that some of the blackberry juice has melted and mixed with the lemonade and nods.

"The more I think about it, the more it makes sense. The ice is a reference to my family name and lemons can be used as a battery."

Chevy bites her lip, thinking about the peculiar abilities of that one fighter Kenzo mentioned. "Mm... Genie, wasn't it?" She swishes the drink around in her hand, musing... and thinking of an idea, but setting it aside as Kenzo speaks.

"Oh... that's pretty neat! I haven't tried a whole lot, but they made me a Chevy Suburban. I guess it's like a cosmo. But orange." She holds up the cocktail glass. It'd be a fuzzy navel if it were alcoholic.

"I'm not in any rush to start drinkin'. But yeah, here? Honestly, I kinda feel like -- I wanna test myself against different people, not just the folks in my hometown. They're fun and all, but... nothing like y'all." She grins. "Hoping someone could teach me a bit more than just sloshin' water around like I do."

Chevelle looks past Kenzo, to the newest, green-skinned arrival. Her faint smile dims, just a bit. "Kinda like... the mermaid chick who flooded the stage in the finals." She dips her chin ever so slightly in Nixie's direction, adding a polite smile if the goblin happens to look her way.

The blue-eyed American turns back to Kenzo. "It's like the Force, y'know? It's neat bein' able to move stuff like in the movies. Even if it is just water."

She glances over to the purple-haired dilettante. "... Isn't that the pilot from your bonus match?"

"Don't belittle yourself Chevelle, you truly were the master of moisture!"

The words come into the conversation with the grace and finesse of an out of control 18-wheeler cruising down a mountainside without any functioning breaks. It came roaring in from the strongly built round-faced man. Out of his robe from his last meeting, he is clad in a thick lamb skin coat stretching last over his flame-decorated black cargo shorts, down all the way to his curly haired calves and a pair of black cowboy boots. Pins bearing the images of young-looking cartoon girls carefully stud the fashionable yet functional garment. The collar of the coat is popped, obviously used to protect his soft and hairy neck. Underneath the jacket, in the occasional moments it is open, reveals a form-fitting white t-shirt stretched over his healthy frame, bearing the visage of a beautiful white haired cartoon woman who seems to be crossing her eyes while she sticks her tongue out. His long brown hair is tied up in a samurai-style topknot, fitted neatly underneath his felt-brimmed fedora. Any other stray locks are kept under tight control by a dark green bandana bearing a kanji symbol.

This time, he makes sure to tip it at Chevy. %
Buford almost didn't come to the party, of course. He had been eager doing long, personal soul searching and also google searching for Star War things. All kinds of searching. And yet, as his tummies made rumblings, he decided that a social event such as this would be ideal in partaking in the tendies and dew, as they would say in the traditional Japanese tongue. Buford had come to the party early, very mysteriously arriving. Unfortunately the hotel has some pretty strict rules about vaping in the common areas so he has been forced to remain here mist-free. It's made him a bit antsy, naturally, but he has resolved his need for oral stimulation by parking himself over at the party platters, eagerly taking tenders from a serving tray and nibbling on them delicately people watching. He was trying to find just the right opportunity to let himself come in. Especially if Ichika came by, she certainly would be very eager to reconnect with him. There were others of course. He's practically been blushing constantly since Djamila arrived, spending a good amount of time imagining himself approaching her and charming her, but only being able to imagine it in his head. That was the same trouble with Coco and even the green gobbo Nixie, he liked to imagine himself being such a charmer, but it was just so hard to get the words out. Especially in Nixie's case, where the young lady had rejected his wily charms and suave plays with her haughty French presence.

And yet, it was when he recognized that sweet and creamy drawl of his Princess Leia that he decided to cease being a wallflower at this shindig, and finally make himself known.

That was the case now, as he just forced himself into the middle of the conversation. Holding a cup of fizzling green soda, a chicken strip still percolating in his mouth half eaten, he seems try and edge his body to interpose between Kenzo and Chevy, almost cornering her as he makes his presence known. "You remember me, don't you? I was the one who played the role of Kyle Katarn in our last battle. I can understand if you didn't recognize me, I did get awfully into character." He edge, edge, edges, trying to fully body block Kenzo and Hawksley at once without looking back at them, or even acknowledging them openly. He seemed to just be focused on Chevy.

Ichika had debated long and hard about whether she wanted to come to the party. Adults and alcohol were not a good combination, in her opinion, and memories of how badly she had embarrassed herself at the last attempt to reach out to her fellow competitors still haunted her. In the end, though, she couldn't stay away. The Hotel has become her home. People know she's here, and know she has nothing else to be doing. She didn't want even more rumours to spread. So she had turned her full attention to a battle she has never won: her own outfit.

The black and orange kimono the girl is wearing evokes Justice High without actually being the uniform, and with the katana at her hip sheathed in a bright orange saya that even looks relatively stylish. She's traded out her comfortable sneakers for traditional sandals, and she's even made an attempt with makeup. The real battlefield, though, is her hair... and it's obvious an attempt has been made; much of it frames her features, brushed, combed, gelled and styled into submission. But not all of it. One lock has already, somehow, broken free of the product's grip and has curled upwards in defiance of her will.

She, too, checked for her beverage. The Ice-ika ... does not appeal, being primarily ice and some exceedingly sour blue fluid. But she made herself take one anyway, so as not to seem ungrateful. After that, she's forced to survey the actual party itself and ... gosh, there's a lot of people here. It feels strange to see them all gathered in one place.

There is a sympathetic look in Chevy's direction. For a moment, she considers intervening on behalf of her friend... but the last thing she wants to do is attract Buford's attention instead. She had said all she had to say to him at the culmination of their last meeting. Instead, there is one person here she really feels obligated to speak with, at the very least.

"Greene-san." The girl says as she approaches the goblin. She offers a respectful bow, dipping low. "I would like to congratulate you on your victory. It was well-earned. I am ashamed to say that you were not the fighter I expected to emerge triumphant, but..." She smiles, self-depreciating, "... it is fair to say that this tournament has already revealed the profound depths of my ignorance. I was pleased to be wrong."

And again... "Big" Buford Maclanky. The last time they had met, their encounter was mercifully ended by the roar of the crowd and the hustle of the medics. She thought she'd recovered... but as soon as she hears the dulcet(?) tones of his voice again, Chevy bares her teeth in a tense expression.

She shares a meaningful glance with Kenzo, before the Southern belle charm kicks in with a polite -- if measured -- smile. She'd even deign to make eye contact, if it weren't for the piece of uneaten chicken wagging about in his craw, an antenna to draw her gaze. And if it weren't for his gracelessly shepherding her into a corner.

She smiles sweetly at him. "Hey, yeah, that Kylo guy, I remember all about you." She takes a sip from her cocktail glass before continuing.

"But hey, sorry -- Kenzo and I were talking!" She'll raise her voice to talk over Buford if she has to, not wanting to spend time with the inevitable correction. "You've met, right?" She shelters her drink close to herself as she tries to work her way around Buford -- briefly catching sight of Ichika and Nixie off to the side. At which point, if eye contact is made, she might express a silent cry for help...

The rumble of distant footfalls begins to shake the room, increasing in intensity as the seconds pass. Drinks ripple. Trays quake. Windows rattles and there's an odd groaning sound as if te hotel itself was reinforcing itself in anticipation of whatever seems to be incoming.

When the doors to the private party are pushed open by arms easily bigger around then some peoples waist and chest's not hard to put two and two together and see just what was sourcing that seismic disturbance. Abigail has arrived. Cue the Godzilla themes. All of them!

The monstrous engineering titan simply fills up the doorway, blocking all traffic in and out of the events as he looks the room over with a big grin plastered across his face like some great white shark looking over a host of potential treats. Or friends. Fish are friends, not food after all. His bearded visage is briefly swamped from sight as he takes a deep breath - expanding his monstrous chest with an audible sound of sinew stretching and muscle pumping..a noise like industrial leather being stretched. Then he bellows:

"Alright! -Now- we can start this party!"

With that said, his heavy soled treat presses him forward into the room after the rumbling soundwave of his bellow ruffles the garments and bodies of hose nearest to him. It's abit of an effort given his tremendous scale. One might wonder how he even got up here to begin with as surely he'd basically far too big to have been stuffed into the elevator. Well freight elevators also exist. So how'd he fit in those as well?? But he's here now and he begins treading thunderously right for the bar, passing by any onlookers like a cargo ship moving past two person boats.

He's at least dressed for--well no he's not. He's earing his usual Mad-Gear iconography and heavy-metal inspired accoutrements. The beard and tossled hair makes him look a litlte like Bluto from Popeye but hey maybe he's a fan.

Kenzo's nose twitches as he smells Buford's approach. When the Canadian finally speaks, he feels a headache coming on.

"Wow... 'Master of moisture?' Really?"

The look of disbelief is visible as much as the disdain is audible when he says, "His Royal Self is about as smooth as low grit sandpaper."

With Hawksley taking position near the bar and him being where he is at the seat, blocking them both isn't exactly feasible but with Kenzo being closer he ended up being the priority.

Kenzo takes in the terrain. He slides around Buford and then repositions in a way that he doesn't doesn't fully body-block Buford from Chevy. Chevy wouldn't be here if couldn't take care of herself. What he's trying to do is give her options. If she wants to escape, she can do so by going around him. If she wants to go in on him, she is free to do so.

He turns it into a full body-block when Chevy makes it clear that he and Chevy are talking.

Once again the disdain is audible in his voice making it clear that him using Ore-sama in his interview left a horrible impression when he says, "I haven't met him before but 'his royal self' seemed like he had a lot to say about me in his interview."

The town Chevelle grew up in was full of folks lacking in self awareness. Self-defense was a way of life in her family, especially in the wake of her father's passing. So she makes the best use of her flexibility to wiggle her way out from around Maclanky to open up a path to Kuroiwa.

And once she's there, she takes a good, long breath of fresh air, grinning widely. "Oh, yeah, he did that, didn't he? Well, you're alright in my book!"

And then the -room- starts to shake. Maybe even the hotel -- though it'd be hard to assess that when the glass in her hand is shaking the most. Cradling it close to her, she looks to the source of the seismic activity -- a tall goliath whose name she knows well!

"Well, yeah..." She half-turns to Buford, gesturing with a hand: "Krowiwa Kenzo, this is His Royal Vapeness, Buford Maclanky..."

And then Chevelle brings that hand to shield her mouth, so her raised voice isn't -directly- aimed at Kenzo: "And this here's Abigail! The biggest transmission mechanic on Planet Earth himself!" Chevy dips her shoulders towards Kenzo in a bow, before waving her hand at Abigail -- thankfully, with a bit less of a shout now. "My gosh... My name's Chevelle! It's such an honor to meet you, sir!" ... Yeah. Maybe the greasemonkey is a bit of a fangirl?

"Thanks, I wasn't expecting to win." Nixie looks a bit surprised as Ichika approaches her and is a bit curious to see what drink they came up for her. It looks like a mixture of sparkling water and absinthe. The sudden shaking makes her ears raise as the giant joins the party. She doesn't remember him being in the tournament, she certainly doesn't want to fight him though. The goblin would likely get splattered on the pavement after all. "What the hell? Don't tell me he's a newcomer to NFG."

Why for the moment, Ichika eludes the eager eyes of "Big" Buford Maclanky.

No, as Chevy acknowledges that she remembers him, the hearty man burbles with a guffaw. And seems more eager to state when. And when she talks about how she was talking to -Kenzo- instead of him? That look in her eyes say enough to him. Buford comes to the realization to his horror, with the poor dim girl mouthing 'help me.' She was being trapped her against her will! And who else would be the one so cunning and devious, to manipulate such an innocent maiden into his wiles? None other than Kenzo, the ninja almost appearing out of the shadows (as a ninja does) as he suddenly is between him and his Chevy. Buford looks past Kenzo, the tragedy of her plight before him. He was too late. He was a coward of a samurai, and refused to step forward earlier. And now, her purity was at stake, and he could do nothing else. It hits him hard, his helplessness, his weakness.

His cheeks turn crimson red.

He sheds a single manly tear as he pries his gaze from Chevy as she is forced away by this... this man!. The other tears trickling down his cherub-like cheeks don't count, only the single manly one does. Staring over at Kenzo, his curls his blubberly lips. "The Tale of Genji pales in length compared to what more I have to say about you." Buford states coldly essentially to himself, as the others continue their conversation. It felt the very hotel itself was shaking. Keeping back, he gapes wide eyed as who makes his apperance but a towering titan. His sharp ears catch what Chevy has to say. And he smirks, pulling his fedora down as he swallows the tendie from within his maw. "A greasemonkey, is he? How crude he must be to evoke such vile names from m'lady! We will settle this -later-, ninja!" Buford huffs as he steps away. "This brutish oaf has invited himself in our conversation quite rudely." Buford loudly states to himself, hand fixed right on his hat. "On behalf of the gentle females at this party, I will settle this brute with the grace of a Samurai warrior. A lesson that a -rogue- like yourself might take to heart..." It wasn't clear what rogue he was talking to. "...If you don't just look it up on an app first." Oh there it was. Buford merrily chortles at his riposte at himself, as he saunters away from the others, his cheeks still red, as he approaches Abigail with his chest puffed out bravely. "Excuse me! Sir! Sir..." He states in a very quiet small voice.

"Yeah, hey, hey. Vroooom!"

Abigail is just...just so happy right now. Usually people are groaning, screaming, sighing, hiding and cowering when he arrives. Oh he has fans, certainly. Lots of them. He's got a long list of accomplishments. A King of Fighters championship, a Neo League championship, a World Warrior ranking, high ratings in Saturday Night Fights. Yes, yes, yes.

..But it's still Abigail, Mad Gear Chief and grease monkey engineering savant. Not exactly the man most mothers want their kids idolizing.

So he basks. Attention is given and he basks. He nods his head, tree trunk dwarfing arms spread out to his sides, like some sort of posturing pro-wrestler as his sinew creaks and his muscles bunch up like sliding continental plates. His mood may be jovial but a monster he remains.

And then he fanboys.

"Chevy!" his teeth big, still shark like and menacing's Abigail..but still friendly sounding at least even if somewhere a woman screams. "You didn't have to intro me like that.. How ya doi--"

And Buford intercepts. Abigail blinks and reocils in surprise.. His vast neck seeming to almost swallow his head up as he pulls back slightly and drops his huge arms to his side with a thick thud as they slam against his flanks. "Uh." he rumbles, completely caught off guard and seemingly not sure what to make of ol'Buford. He's read about all of these newcomers of course but it's something else to see them in person. Especially this one.

There's a pause and then fianlly the giant says, "...Buford right? Yeah? What's up?" His massive fingers twitch slightly and his fists tighten almost reflexively, producing a sound like boulders cracking before he untenses them as he stares at the fedora wearing fellow.

As Buford approaches Abigail, it begins to dawn on him how actually big he was.

Perhaps earlier he was making the argument that across the room was in fact a long tunnel. He had heard some very novel analysis on the flat earth theories, after all, most involving parallel dimensions where mathematical concepts are absolute and everywhere- it's very complicated stuff. But when he finally reaches himself between an Abigail and the rest of the crowd, he stares down. And then middle. And then up. He looks up at Abigail, and his eyes go wide. He is stunned, and opens his mouth. He makes inaudible squeaking sounds. It must be that Alberta dialect. The cracking of his fists almost jolts him out of his terror. Knuckles turning white as he drives his hat into his head, he makes an audible gulping sound, and then, finishes his dewy mixture. Swallowing again, he turns his head up to Abigail, cheeks flushed. "Si-sir, you are- you are making a sc-sc-scene, pl-please. Pretty delicate females are, they are sc-scared? They are having conversations, and, a-and..." He explains. He shudders, as he lowers his head.

Buford shuts his eyes, another manly tear leaking out amongst the other non-manly ones.

Ichika's hand moves to the hilt of her sword when the building starts to shake. When the door opens and Abigail enters, she gapes. She knows who this is; it is virtually impossible to conduct even basic research into the history of modern fighting tournaments without running into his name. But there is a world of difference, as she has discovered, between knowing something intellectually and experiencing it for oneself. The presence of the monstrously huge man is like a natural disaster in itself; an avalanche, come to swallow the entire room.

"No." She says, quietly, to Nixie. "This is not a latecomer competitor. They call him, Abigail. He is a professional fighter and delinquent. He is also... the fighter that Chevy wished to train under."

Her heart quickens in her chest at the thought. Is it possible that the NFG have sought out the fighters that they had said they admired most? Making custom drinks, having all these photos, and the footage from their fights, all of that is one thing. But to pester such legendary figures on their behalf, that would be too much! Surely the next person to walk through that door wouldn't be the one-armed swordswoman she admires so much. Surely not...

Another two locks of hair ping upwards, and her trembling hand falls away from her sword to run through them, trying to smooth them down and only succeeding in further mussing her style. For the moment at least she remains rooted to the spot, anxiety burning through her not just for the imposing presence of the jovial giant, but for the implications of what his presence here even means.

The ninja rolls his eyes as he responds Buford's comments, "More to say and no less than 80 percent of it will be divorced from reason."

Then there's the shaking, the black ice in his drink rattles and shakes as the sparkling lemonade grows darker and darker still. He looks into the room and sees Abigail who cuts an intimidating figure. The excitement of Chevy getting a chance to see her idol is apparent and Abigail seems just as excited to meet one of his fans. Kenzo was prepared to lose Chevy as a conversation partner and is starting to look around the room to find other people to talk to when he hears Buford fail to understand the situation and talk about how he will 'settle this brute.' His eyes become transfixed to the situation. It's like he's about to bear witness to a 16 pick-up truck pile-up and he just can't take his eyes off of it.

"With all of the grace of a toddler on a greased up floor."

He takes a sip from his sparkling lemonade.

The room is still... kind of shaking? But as Buford tilts off into a bout with the towering windmill of Abigail, Chevy finds herself... comfortable right where she is, content to let the Canadian deal with the consequences of his own actions. She's still close to Hawksley, and still in conversational range with Kenzo, while able to get a bit of a break from the seemingly endless prattle from the Albertan. Though if Nixie or Ichika look her way she'd be happy to give a pleasant wave.

Though, she does seem to notice that the timbre of Maclankey's monologuery seems to have shifted. That gives her reason to smile.

Leaning closer to Kenzo, she notes, "I would go up there and talk shop with Abigail, but I'm scared Buford will just mommick it all up." She laughs, sipping at her drink. "So how was it in that bounty hunter costume, anyway? Didn't that mask get all stuffy?"

"Yeah, I'm Lucky in many ways" Hawksley responds to Kenzo's comment. "It's good to meet you too, fella." He presses his hand against the younger male's, shaking it with a firm but rough skinned grip. Leftover injuries from his brutal brawl with Nixie are also still evident on his knuckles.

With his non drinking hand, he offers a wave to each of the arrivals in turn, as they show up to the party. "You're all looking grand, people" he compliments in a cheery tone.

Then Buford walks in and the Irishman is rendered speechless. He watches him make his way around the room, until he's almost upon him, crowding in on his way to get closer to Chevy.

"Watch yourself there" he warns the Canadian, without raising his voice above normal speaking level. "You almost spilled my drink."

Maybe he'd have taken matters further if the distraction of Abigail's arrival hadn't refocused his attention. "Is that the sponsor fella?" he wonders to nobody in particular. "I really don't think Buford wants to take him on." The Canadian may be annoying, but he doesn't want to see him get clobbered.

"She wants to train under him? What to throw cars at people? I still need to figure out who to train under..." Nixie's not sure who teaches dirty fighting and alchemy. It's not exactly the kind of thing one advertises.

She catches the wave direct at to her from Chevy and moves closer to the group. It comes even more apprent how short she is as she looks up at Abagail. Maybe if she mix his blood she'll get back up to her original height? The goblin is pretty sure he counts as a giant. Then again his arms look like they would break a normal needle. "What did your parents feed you? GMO Spinach?"


Ichika allows, and as Nixie moves away to introduce herself to Abigail, the schoolgirl stays rooted to the spot. She does not feel comfortable getting that close. Besides, she tells herself, it's rude to crowd the man. Being as large as he is, it must get exhausting being the centre of attention, right? And anyway, she went out in the first round. It is doubtful that he'd be overly interested in talking to her. Instead, she moves around to greet Hawksley.

"Moore-san." And once that word is out of the way, it's easier to carry on, just try to forget how badly things had gone last time. "I wanted to congratulate you on reaching the final round. It was a very impressive demonstration."

She definitely looks like she wants to say more but, she can't shake that memory all the way. There's a tension in the air already so thick that she feels like she could cut it with her katana, and she hasn't the first idea how to begin to calm that down. Maybe it's just always this way when fighters get together in any kind of numbers.

Or maybe it's just Buford's existence.

Kenzo himself leans closer in response to Chevy leaning towards him. Partially because he genuinely wants to hear what Chevy has to say and partially because he knows that it will piss Buford off to no end.

"I'd run interference for you so you could talk to Abigail but I don't have the necessary attributes to be able to do so peacefully."

At this point, his drink is now completely darkened and he takes a sip of what is now essentially a blackberry lemonade. He raises the glass in greeting to Ichika before answering Chevy's question.

"Yes. It did get kind of stuffy. Especially when Coco was bashing me around for a bit."

He would ask her about her bonus match but that would require talking about Buford. No. The first match instead.

"What was it like fighting someone who looked like you?"

With a collection of custom cocktails on offer, Constance Coalbridge has found her calling. The Zombie Hunter has been zealously sampled, the first conquest of Coco's cocktail crusade. The flavours of coconut, pineapple and grenadine overwhelmed the booziness of the beverage, making it an easy first stop, her glass soon emptied. Soon, it was joined by more and more glasses drained of all but ice cubes, umbrellas and other ornaments. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the tourist-come-pugilist soon disappeared to the lavatories, leaving a self-supervised bearcat to guard her empty glasses. Captain Morgan has excelled in his duties, chuckling at the barman anytime he attempts to collect the cocktail cups, an act that has been misinterpreted as threatening.

Presently, the purple-haired party girl returns to the room, wandering back over toward where she was seated before. "Hey everyone! Was there an earthquake just now, or was that absinthe and fizz stronger than I thought?" she asks of everybody and nobody in particular, seeming fairly steady on her heels, until she rounds the corner from the corridor to the bathroom and almost bumps into Abigail from the other side. "Whoa! Scuzi, darling. My gosh, you're quite a large one, aren't you? Oh, hi, Buford, isn't it? Lovely to see you."

She weaves her body between the two tall types, then around Nixie. "Heya, Greenie. You certainly showed Hawksley what for in that final. I loved it," she compliments in passing. "Oh, hello, Ichika-chan! I love the look. Very neo-punk." Is that what it is at all? It's probably something to do with the hair. Coco hardly seems like an expert on that particular fashion genre. She slips on past Kenzo and Chevy, offering a smile and wave. "Hello, you two! Have you seen - oh, there he is."

Coco's body language cools several degrees as she smooths her hair, then saunters on toward where Hawksley is leaning against the bar. "Hello, Lucky. Is that your cocktail? Looks vaguely like toxic waste. How appropriate."

"Ichika! Good to see you, Cailin. What's the craic?" Hawksley greets her with warmth. If he experienced any awkwardness during their last meeting, then it's long been forgotten.

He reaches out to ruffle her hair lightly, finding his fingers suddenly coated in hair product, which he discreetly wipes on his pants.

"I appreciate the congrats, so I do. I had a lot of fun fighting my way to the final. That Nixie is a tough little lass though. Fair play to her that she got the better of me."

He raises his almost empty drink aloft, in a toast in Nixie's direction.

"How've you been finding the contest, Ichika? I loved your Rey impression."

He signals to the ponytailed woman behind the bar to fetch him another of his signature cocktail and then swings around to chat to Coco, including her in the conversation.

"A pleasure as always, Coco Pops. I see you've had a head start on me by the look of you. You're almost as green as my drink."

There's fashionably late, then there's Buck, who looks like he might have just overslept a little before the party and quickly tried to get his butt up here to the celebration. Especially if his damp hair which has just seen the barest, and mostly unsuccessful, lick of a comb is any indication. At least he managed to pull out some of his nice clothes, a deep blue shirt and black slacks, there's even a black tie with only a slightly crooked knot. It's a little spoiled by the brown leather jacket he's wearing, but one can only ask so much fancy of the farm boy.

He only takes a moment at the entrance to scan the room, one thumb hooked into his pocket, the other awkwardly shifting the tie attempting to make the offending garment more comfortable, as he tries to decide where to linger for the next hour or so, at least until his eyes settle on the tray of drinks.

So, the young man who's below drinking age back home, but not here in Japan is making right for the colorful cocktails, intent on getting a little social lubricant into his system to make sure he can handle this fancy-do.

There may be waves cast in the direction of some people in the room, but Buck has his mind on a mission, and that mission is to get pleasantly tipsy as soon as he can manage. There's an almost gleam in his eye as he surveys the drinks, trying to decide on which to try first.

Ichika gives a little nod of acknowledgement to Kenzo, though she's mostly focused on Hawksley and... soon enough... Coco. Who accuses her of being a punk? There's a brief wrinkling of the girl's brow - are punks cool? Is Coco trying to pay her a compliment? - and she runs her hand through her hair, mussing it up even further in a stress-relieving motion she... probably isn't even aware she's done. "It's, nice of you to say so, Coalbridge-san. You look incredible as well, of course."

Her drink actually seems at risk of spilling over as the ice melts and she... doesn't keep up with it. The toast makes her realise this, and she's halfway through a sip trying to bring it back under control without making a sour face to go with the sour taste when he asks that question.

"Ah... you, saw -- yes, of course you did, you and Coalbridge-san have a-- ah, that is." She clears her throat, definitely looking neither of the older fighters in the eye after that, "The competition has been enlightening. I have already learned a very great deal. I look forward to learning more."

The ceiling is very interesting isn't it; just look at the quality of that tiling, definitely something to stare at as the pair take shots at each other. Hopefully that'll distract them from her faux-pas.

Chevy laughs at Kenzo, sipping her drink almost to empty. "Aw, heck, I appreciate the thought. But I reckon that'll shake itself out soon enough."

But then her eyes widen at Kenzo's question. "Aw heck, that was -insane-. I didn't know -what- to believe, it was like fightin' a darn mirror." She mimes wiping her brow with her hand. "I mean, the mirror had a tail, but... gettin' trashed by her knocked me down a few pegs! I think I'll be ready for next time though..."

Chevy looks back to Abigail and Buford for a moment -- only to have locks of purple hair cross her vision once more. "Hrm... should we mingle a bit?" she offers to Kenzo, before drifting over to follow Coco's intended path.

Mind, just as she opens her mouth, Coco has lots more to say -- and Chevy falls silent, lowering her chin as she waits for a moment to slip in edgewise. And when she finally does so, she's looking at Hawksley -- but the suddenness might make that ambiguous: "You were so amazing to watch. I was just in awe seeing you..."

But then her attention is drawn from the runner-up to the champion, Nixie. And the girl just bobs her head, with a smile. Where does she even begin to catch up? ... At least she didn't seem to hear the back-and-forth about her training with Abigail.

She's about to look back to Hawksley when the newcomer arrives. The freckled farm girl gives Buck a friendly wave. So many interesting people here...!

"The costumes were great too. Good... good quality." She says that -- and then her cheeks darken when she remembers that Coco's kind of fell apart.

"Ta, babes! Yeah, I still need to ask you about the... whatever it is that you lot can do," Coco says to Ichika as she indicates the mystical power of chi by making wiggly finger fireworks in front of her own face. "The magick-y stuff. It seems well cool. I had no idea so many people could do it until I got into this fighting lark."

She turns to Hawksley as he greets her, making a 'pffft' sound as he accuses her of matching the hue of his viridian brew.

"Rubbish! I don't think I'm even that drunk. I've been trying out all the Genny fighter cocktails, and you know what? I can hardly taste the booze in half of them! I think they're mocktails, actually."

She turns to a familiar male bartender also on duty, pushing herself up on her tippy-toes and leaning over the bar with her elbows. "Hello! Shin-kun! How much booze is in these bevvies?" she asks, gesturing to her empty glass collection.

The bartender looks apprehensive, eyes shifting between the teenager and the empty cups.

"No booze, Coalbridge-san. You are nineteen, no?"

"Y-yeh- wait, isn't it, like, international waters here in the hotel, though? You've been serving me all tournament long!" Coco blinks, rocking back on her heels.

"No, Coalbridge-san."

Shin's gaze is hard and serious as iron.

"You've been drinking mocktails all tournament."

Coco staggers backward as if she's been struck, all the colour draining from her cheeks as she raises her hands to the sides of her head. "You what? You mean I've been... sober? The entire time?" One can practically hear the thunder roll in Coco's mind as she flashes back through all of the nights she's spent partying in the Hotel's bar.

Dancing in public. Flirting. Invading Hawksley's personal space.

All while convincing herself she was drunk on placebo Purple Rains.

She gulps... and then Chevy's words hit her.

'Good quality costumes.'

She was sober for that, too!

"I... I think my bearcat needs a walk," she says dryly. "Morgie! Here, boy! Come with mummy!"

"That's grand" Hawksley grins at the Justice schoolgirl. "I'm glad you're getting in the swing of it, with your sword and all."

His dark eyes flit towards Buck as he enters the party, recognising him from the publicity stills he's seen. He's also read his interview, where the Irishman got a mention. For the meantime though, he turns his attention on Chevy as she joins their gathered group. "Cheers to you, Chevy. I'm glad you enjoyed the show. Shame I couldn't go all the way, but there's plenty more brawls to be had for us all."

Then the bombshell is dropped on Coco by the barman and Hawksley can't believe what he's hearing. "But you were blind drunk" he insists. "I supported you while you were staggering and slurring, so I did."

As the flirty female gets up to flee, he follows behind her. "I'll come for some fresh air too."

There's a sympathetic qince from Buck as Coco starts going through a list and realization, but once she is thuroughly done grilling the bartender on the content of her drinks, he gets the man's attention to order one of his own. And it is his own, which seems to surprise him a little, though it's anyone's guess as to why it would. "Oklahoma Buck, huh?" Which is a buck, obviously, of lemonade, moonshine, and ginger beer. He leans against the bar as he waits.

He gives a small frown as his arrival also harkens the departure of some, and he gives himself a surreptitious sniff making sure his shower wasn't too quick. Nope. Must not be his fault then. So he just watches the two depart.

Chevy's wave earned her a grin and a nod from Buck as he waits for his drink, eyes flicking around the room trying to take in everyone now that he's feeling a little more settled. Even just the thought of having a drink makes it a bit easier. Eventually, the glass garnished with a circle of lemon is handed over and he takes a long sip, nodding approvingly. "This'll do good, I'll be back for more."

Chevy seemed pretty cheerful that Hawksley was able to talk about his battle. She nods along eagerly as he talks about a next time -- "Yeah! I'm really lookin' forward to whatever they got comin' for us!"

She did not, however, expect her floundering attempt to stay in the conversation to have such a dramatic impact on Coco. When the purple-haired dilettante starts to wander off, there's a flicker of a smile on her face -- maybe she'll get some more time to talk?

But then Hawksley starts to trail after her -- and Chevy flashes him a nervous smile. Have fun, he says -- to which she blurts out, "Yeah, we'll try!"

... And then she realizes how desperate that may have sounded, and drops a heel onto her own toe. Sucking in air through her teeth, she reassures herself silently that it... could've gone worse?

After a moment, she returns to her usual grin. Maybe Ichika noticed? But she slips a bit closer to Buck, not one to be kept down in the dumps for -too- long.

"You're ... Buck, right? I saw your interview..." She scratches the back of her neck. "I was kinda strugglin' to think of what a 'proper' tractor race would be, since like, every one I'd watched was a right mess."

Buck is still watching Coco and Hawksley until they disappear out the door, just giving a small little shake of his head. "Hope I didn't upset him callin' him out in my interview. Really do want to trade punches with him someday." He says to no one in particular, but still aloud for anyone nearby to hear.

He takes another long sip of his drink, ice clinking in the glass as it shifts about, only to notice Chevy sidiling up to him which gets her a toothsome grin.

"Chevy." He says cheerily. "Hope you don't mind I named you either. Watched some of your fights." His nod says he is suitably impressed. "A right mess is a proper tractor race. I've never known a good one that didn't end with a torn up field and half the people attending covered head to toe in mud." He points out with a laugh that might be a touch on the loud side now that he's being less self conscious of the fancy surroundings.

Chevelle laughs, shaking her head in the negative. "Heck, I'm honored you thought'a me, really." She keeps her drink close as Buck reveals that his assessment of tractor races is... pretty much the same as hers, breaking into a broad smile. "Well, at least I warn't too far off the mark. Ain't a one of the races back home was one you'd wanna go to Sunday school afterward." With all the interesting international accents she's been hearing lately, it's comforting to be able to speak in her rural dialect. Even if it might not be the -same- dialect as Buck's. If she's upset at Buck's loudness, she doesn't show it.

"But hey, I did have one other question..." She sloshes the remainder of her orange-ish drink around in the glass. "You mentioned a backpacking trip 'round Europe is why you're here and all..." She arches an eyebrow, having sensed there was a story behind it. And from her unusual clarity in recollecting that -- she might have watched the interview a few times. "... Anythin' special happen there?"

"Honored yer honored." Buck says with another cheery smile. Seems those just come naturally to him, as does a touch of boisterousness now that he's completely chillaxed. Like Chevy his accent deepens a little from talking to someone who can likely understand him through his mixed drawl that lands somewhere between the midwest and Texas.

"I'm guessin' you mean something other than being outta the States for the first time." He looks around the room and though his voice takes on something of a whispering quality his volume really doesn't go down. "This is my second."

He puffs out his cheeks for a moment, then nods. "I mean, it's no secret. Got some weird powers while I was wandering around in some old forest. Sounds loopy, but it gives me the edge I need to be here. Otherwise I'm just some country kid who taught himself how to throw a punch. I bet any of you would have handed my butt to me on a platter if I decided to try this without those abilites." He drains the rest of his drink and motions toward Shin to get his attention for a refill.

With Coco and Hawksley both taking their leave for some fresh air, he moves towards the bartender as he finishes his signature mocktail with the goal of being ready for a refill by the time he gets to the bar. He takes a sip of the sparkling lemonade so that there is room for the juice once the ice starts melting. It is an interesting drink that only gets more interesting when one sips it slowly rather than chugging it down.

He then notes the location of the other people. Chevy and Buck are talking so he lets them hang out for a bit though he does make note to speak with him later on. Nixie seems to be occupied with Abigail though he also makes a note to speak with her later as well. With both Coco and Hawksley departing, he heads towards his fellow Justice student though that's stretching it since he had graduated.

"Kasumoto-san. You did an excellent job in our triple threat match. I probably should've known better than to deliver a Jedi line in Mandalorian armor though."

He lets out a slight laugh at joke made at his own expense before taking another sip. The ice is only just starting melt enough to darken his drink.

"It's, not magic. That's something different. It still seems strange to say but-" Ichika begins what would no doubt be a long explanation of her understanding regarding the differences between magic and chi when Coco gets her bad news. The result is... dramatic, and she looks sympathetic as the pair stumble out. "Well." She says, "Maybe this is what they'll need to stop pretending that they hate each other." There are times when she really does earn that Ice Queen moniker, it seems.

Though, she does catch Chevy's disappointment, which confuses her. Surely, Chevy of all people isn't--!

She's thankful for the distraction from that entire line of thinking from Kenzo, and turns to face him fully. There's a faint smile, and she bows. "Thank you, Kuroiwa-san, that is very kind of you to say." A momentary pause, and then... "Truthfully, I do not think I would have beaten you if not for Coalbridge-san's efforts. You were able to read my moves very well. When my barrier technique failed, I thought that was the end. I put an awful lot into that. But, the nature of a three way contest means that none of us can know for certain how things would have played out if it was a one on one competition."

Chevy may be, or she might not be! She isn't really sure, herself. But she doesn't have to answer an unasked question, so she's able to devote the bulk of attention to Buck and her drink. She listens intently, nodding in response to the novelty of being out of the States. "Well, yeah, obviously," she affirms with an amiable grin. "My first." And she thinks she's doing pretty well at acclimating, from the proud way in which she's holding herself there.

When Buck sets down his drink, Chevy's quick to finish hers off and do the same; the mocktail seems to be good enough for seconds. "Mm... I hadn't really thought about that, but yeah... powers definitely give an edge!" She grins, sparing a glance over at Kenzo and Ichika. And, offhandedly, wondering where her first-round opponent might be...

"It's been great fun so far! It's a shame you missed out on the first event here, but I hear they got some sweet stuff planned for the future. Can't wait to see how your 'edge' plays out against the rest of us."

Chevy passes another glance over towards Abigail's group, before turning back to Buck: "So, in your travels abroad, where would you say was your favorite?"

Buck happens to catch Kenzo's look in his direction, offering the Justice High student a friendly upnod of the chin and a grin. He follows with his gaze for a moment as Kenzo wanders off to another conversation, looking speculative. "Lotsa interesting folks here."

Then his attention is back to Chevy, "Yeah, bit bummed I missed out on the primaries, but I had things I needed to wrap up back home before I could make it out here. Least the organizers decided it was okay for me to slide in late." Buck lets out a slightly dramatized sigh of relief. "Just worried about this whole drafting thing without anyone actually seeing me fight."

"Ah, but you don't wanna hear my worries. That water thing you do is pretty damn impressive though. That big water hand thing?" He reaches out an mimes grabbing something. "Awesome."

The question causes him to tilt his head a little to the side, expression softening a tad as he thinks through that. "Well, we'll see what happens here, this might make the top. But the Alps? Man, gotta know where I come from it's flat." He holds up his hand level. "Flatter than flat. I thought I could guess what mountains were like but nope. Mind blowin'."

His eyes twitch and his nostrils flare in a bullish rumbling snort as Buford stands before him and...poorly..makes his attempt at intimidating the giant and directing him away from the party as if he was some random encounter that just wandered in to be shooed away by the protagonist of some game or anime.

At least..if Buford were not literally seeming to shake in his boots to the point of being about to fall apart. Abigail picks up on this quite well..most likely everyone else is. There's just so many ways this can go wrong and perhaps oh so right. He';s not exactly known for his even temper and balanced approach to things after all.
%But he also came to party and see some of these new fighters for himself and he did sort of promise to be on 'good behavior' to a certain team member of his own and so though his hands twitch idly and look as if he wants to literally palm Buford's head and lift him aside..he restrains himself. It's good to at least give them a warning.

" must be Buford.." he rumbles, deep low voice practically scraping the ground with its tone before, with some effort, he drags up his more benevolant nature to the surface as he 'kindly' warns, "Ease up on the gas pedal there, man! I'm Abigail! A sponsor! You're still in the starting circuit! You're not ready for the Grand Prix if you can't recognize the star racers!"'s Abigail alright. He does reach down now, a monstrous hand looking to rest onto and swamp over Buford's shoulder and to move him aside in a firm fashion that'd might -appear- gentle..but for the irrisitble strength that BUford would feel from the almost playful gesture. "Let's get you something to drink to relax that engine of yers--!"

Mixie catches his attention finally and he lifts his hand up from Buford to slap them powrfully against his other arm, curling a bicep up and flexing it to a size that looks like a boulder beneath his rugged flesh. The room shakes on each hit as he grins at her with that slasher grin of his.

"No spinach. Just a lot of horsepower!"

"Oh," answers Chevelle, "There's bound to be some downtime before the draft kicks into gear -- y'oughta be able to work in an exhibition or two. And here's a great opportunity to ask folks, yeah?" Chevy grins hopefully -- and then finds her chin dipping low at the compliment on her fighting style. "Ah, yeah, that... I didn't know if I could pull it off in a fight like that, but... I gotta say, I was pretty happy when it worked." And from the broad grin, she -looks- happy, too!

Chevy's attention is then drawn to the conversation between Abigail and Buford. The smile fades; she draws in her breath through bared teeth as she watches what could -easily- have erupted into a fight, but miraculously didn't! (Yet.)

But in the meantime, she's able to fork her attention between the spectacle and Buck, nodding enthusiastically as he talks about his trip. "Ooh, the Alps sound pretty, yeah! I... mountains of -any- kind are pretty. I wonder if the NFG might book us a place in the mountains next?"

Chevy turns to the side as Shin completes her drink -- and not long after, Abigail is making a path! She steps out of the path made for Buford, offering a brief smile back to Nixie. "Is GMO spinach green too? I haven't ever seen it before!" She grins -- gesturing to Buck, and bowing slightly. "Congratulations on the win, by the way! I'm Chevy -- and this here's Buck. Nice to meet you!"

The Justice High alumnus responds to the up nod from Buck with a smile and raised glass before returning his attention to Ichika.

"Even still, you have a really good sense of space and positioning. You made it difficult for me to do what I wanted when I wanted."

There's a pause before he looks out the way Coco had left.

"You're right though. It is difficult to say who would have won in a one on one fight. As much as I hate to admit it, Coco made an excellent case for beating me one on one when she neutralized one of my better attacks."

Upon turning back to Ichika, he asks, "Is there anyone who you are looking forward to fighting who you haven't faced in some capacity?"

The praise from Kenzo actually brings some colour to the girl's cheeks. Ichika dips her head in acknowledgement, but she's never been very good at taking compliments. Criticism was far more her speed. At least she has this horrifyingly sour drink to try and distract herself from it. Slrp.

"I don't like talking in absolutes, especially now that we've both seen what she can do in person, but I still feel as though Coalbridge-san has us both beat in terms of... ferocity and martial prowess. We have our weapons to bridge the gap, but the way she kicks..." The memory of that terrifying young woman repeatedly pounding poor Kenzo's skull inside his helmet is still an image that haunts Ichika at times; how would she have coped if she had gotten into that kind of position? How do you break out of a grip like that? She'd simply have been crushed.

"As for who I want to fight..." She turns in the direction that Coco and - more importantly - Hawksley, had fled. "I haven't fought Moore-san or Greene-san yet. They are both impressive for very different reasons. I am sure they could teach me a lot... but, truthfully, although it is not what you asked, I want to fight Fadel-san again."

The girl turns her eyes back to Kenzo and -- there's real steel there. Her anxiety forgotten as she says, firmly, "I will NOT lose to her a second time."

Kenzo nods when Ichika speaks and a lot of it he agrees with but there is one minor thing he feels he has address.

"I wouldn't say that she has more ferocity than me."

It's at this moment that one of the screens shows the triple threat match. Coco shouts 'Safeword.' And with no helmet to cover his face or the blush on it, he reveals that he knows exactly what Coco meant. He then watches as Coco manages to avoid each and every swipe with sickle of his weapon, each one promising pain should he have connected with anything more than her wardrobe.

"If anything, I'd say my problem is that I took too long to ramp up to that level of ferocity."

Ichika is a little surprised by the correction. "Is that how you see it...?" She starts, before realising that might be taken in the wrong way. She catches herself and shakes her head, "What I mean to say is that I don't think I have much ferocity in me at all..."

Unbenownst to her, one of the other nearby screens is currently showing the moment where she had really lost control in the fight against Buford and attempted to run the man through with real lethal intent; all wild-eyed and foam-speckled lips. She hadn't succeeded, of course, allowing Buford to be a bore another day, but she'd done her level best to prevent that, out of nothing but her own injured pride.

Nevertheless. The girl continues to speak. "I think of it like, well, Go. We have a limited number of losses we can afford to take. There are times we need to marshal our forces, and times to push with all we have. That, calculation, is difficult to make... and more difficult if I get, emotional, about it." She has no idea how much sense what she just said made. To distract from that doubt, she scratches at the back of her head - spiking the hair there back up, too. "How about you, Kuroiwa-san? Are there battles you are looking forward to on the horizon?"

"Maybe." Buck muses, looking around the room. "But they have my demo and there's something to be said for the element of surprise, yeah?" He chuckles, accepting his own completed drink from Shin.

He follows the line of Chevy's gaze to Buford and Abigail, a slight frown forming on his usually smiling face as he regards the interaction. "That gonna be a problem?" He asks of Chevy, old instincts take hold and without realizing it he's shifted his weight and taken one step in that direction.

Fortunately, the situation seems to settle itself and he visibly relaxes, though looks a little embarassed once he realizes what he was about to do, especially with the pair on their way over to the bar, so he too steps aside to clear access and not get in anyone's way.

Luckily, a distraction appears, and Buck is smiling and raising his glass in a silent toast as he's introduced to Nixie. "How're you doing?" He says by way of his own greeting, nodding his agreement with the congratulations already on offer.

"My philosophy is that it's like a central processing unit. You have it's baseline performance level. At the baseline you may not always need the processing power that is there for all of the programs but you still have it for the more demanding programs. Sometimes, though, you might come across a program where the processor is within the minimum requirements to run it but you don't have the resources to run it as quickly as would be ideal. My options are either find a way to overclock it which would do the job but won't be able to run it as long or get a better processor. "

Ichika then proceeds to turn his own question back on him. He takes a moment to think about it before he finally feels ready to answer.

"The easy answer is Buford because I want to an opportunity to silence him since he seems to like talking about me so much. Then there is Osterlund-san and Finley-san over there since they're unknown quantities. And Feldspar-san since seeing her capabilities when we worked together during the bonus round made me curious about how we would fare in a fight.

Gonna be a problem? Chevy offers a weary smile as she answers, "I hope not!" Despite the drama of their three-way fight still being fresh in her mind, Beaumont doesn't wish ill on Buford, so she's heartened to see that Abigail has chosen a gregarious solution rather than a violent one. Though she is about to reach for Buck's shoulder just as he stops himself. "I'd like to think we're all grown-ups here," she starts...

Before remembering Ichika probably -isn't?- Particularly as her eye catches sight of a rabid Ichika on the video screens. "I mean." She coughs lightly into her forearm. "I'd like to think we're adult enough to settle our differences on camera. With officials and medics on standby."

Chevy takes a quick sip of her glass, to provide more leeway for motion later. The redhead grins at the taste. "... I mean, why work for free, right?"

Chevy peers over at Kenzo and Ichika, the peripheral video footage of their respective fights still playing in some fashion. "Speaking of... hey you two! We're gonna have more last names and weird accents for you to learn." As if they didn't already know. "This here's Buck Finley!" And she gestures, for Buck's benefit, to the two in turn: "Kuroiwa Kenzo-san and Kasumoto Ichika-san. Lookin' forward to -officially- fighting you two sometime, heh-heh."

Gonna be a problem? Chevy offers a weary smile as she answers, "I hope not!" Despite the drama of their three-way fight still being fresh in her mind, Beaumont doesn't wish ill on Buford, so she's heartened to see that Abigail has chosen a gregarious solution rather than a violent one. Though she is about to reach for Buck's shoulder just as he stops himself. "I'd like to think we're all grown-ups here," she starts...

Before remembering Ichika probably -isn't?- Particularly as her eye catches sight of a rabid Ichika on the video screens. "I mean." She coughs lightly into her forearm. "I'd like to think we're adult enough to settle our differences on camera. With officials and medics on standby."

Chevy takes a quick sip of her glass, to provide more leeway for motion later. The redhead grins at the taste. "... I mean, why work for free, right?"

Chevy peers over at Kenzo and Ichika, the peripheral video footage of their respective fights still playing in some fashion. "Speaking of..." she starts -- but then motions for Buck to follow along as she closes the distance. "Hey you two! We're gonna have more last names and weird accents for you to learn." As if they didn't already know. "This here's Buck Finley!" And she gestures, for Buck's benefit, to the two in turn: "Kuroiwa Kenzo-san and Kasumoto Ichika-san. Lookin' forward to -officially- fighting you two sometime, heh-heh."

Ichika follows Kenzo's explanation... perhaps better than many other people in the room would. She was hardly an engineer, but the metaphor makes sense and she knows enough from her tutors to understand the relevance in theory. "That's, interesting." She says, softly. "I've found it relatively easy to shift my resources as needed, but, doing so comes with a cost. After all, I'm drawing from the same pool of stones..."

She picks up a fresh drink; one that isn't mostly melted, and takes a sip. It helps to hide the look on her face when Buford is mentioned. "There is little point fighting that man." She says, keeping her voice down as she speaks frankly and openly with the Justice Alum. "His delusion runs deep. He does not see the world as it is, he sees only what he wishes to see."

And then Chevy is grabbing their attention, and she turns to regard the pair of other fighters. She offers Buck a respectful bow, "It is good to meet you, Finley-san." She says, perhaps... a little over-formal, before she flashes a more open smile to Chevy. "Yes, I look forward to it as well. I have learned much more since we last fought, Chevy. I look forward to seeing how you have improved as well!"

"Habit." Buck answers simply with a look over to Chevy. "I see trouble brewin' and want to stick my nose in. Earned me more than a couple black eyes." And he sounds proud about it too. "Especially between my brothers." Which comes with more of a laugh. "But you're probably right, if there's ever been a room full of people that can handle themselves this is it." There's a slight reddening to his cheeks from embarassment, but he covers it by taking a sip of his drink.

As he's instructed to follow, Buck dutifully trails over to the pair of Ichika and Kenzo, his gaze going over the pair again. There's recognition there, he knows who these two are, probably from promos and broadcasted fights. Still, as Ichika offers a greeting he returns his own bow. It's a little awkward and unpracticed, but he's trying to be polite.

"Kuroiwa-san and Kasumoto-san." Once again the names and honorifics sound a tad awkward, but he's making the attempt. "Good to meet ya." He starts trying to modulate his accent again to something a little less drawled. "Seen your fights, looking forward to having a dust up with you two."

Nixie grits her teeth a bit at the comment, was that a goblin joke? "I don't know, I would guess it would be green if it was made in a lab. I don't know that much about farming. "Water hand?" Did Chevy know about mixing too if she could control water. "Horsepower huh...are you a cyborg or something?" That would certainly explain his giant build.

Her sharp ears catch that Ichika wants to fight her. Another swordfighter could be a problem for her, Buford certainly had given her trouble.

Chevy wasn't showing any of the tells that usually come along with joke-telling when she asked about spinach. It might just have been an honest, if clueless, question.

"Hm? Oh -- yeah, I can move water around! Mostly just simple shapes though..." She flexes her hand for a moment, because it's hard to -talk- about such a thing and not demonstrate. "... A hand is probably the toughest thing I can manage. Kinda hopin' to bump into someone who knows more about these sortsa things!"

She flashes the green-skinned Greene a grin. "Oh, hey, was it a cash prize? You got any big plans for it?"

She turns back to Abigail. He might be a little distracted at the moment, so Chevy is quick to explain, closing her fist close to her waist. "Nah! He's a gearhead, he loves working on cars and trucks! So everything's about horsepower for him. It ain't a bad life!" And in a moment, she'll get around to talking to him...

But, now that she seems to have been successful in roping a few into the circle, she nods back to Ichika -- "Yeah!" Her eyes twinkle as she leans in close. Her voice drops ... maybe a notch or two. "And now I... know how much restraint you had! Wow. Once he gets goin' he just don't wanna stop, does he?"

She flashes a grin back to Kenzo, and to Buck. A lot of new faces! "But... yeah. Ow." Rubbing her side with her free hand, she notes, "He got me but -good- in that fight too. Whew!" She takes a sip, while she's got a moment.

"I see... "

Ichika's explanation gives him a better insight into her style than he would have otherwise which could help in the future.

Ichika then goes on to tell him about one particular competitor he can only laugh. "No shinobi trickery or slander required. Only his own conduct and delusions were needed to throw a spanner into the of works of his potential alliance."

Chevy comes over with Buck in tow and he bows as after all, he'll meet them as they come to him. He's not expecting them to learn all of the customs, but if they're making an effort to be respectful in his own culture, it's unfair for him to not do the same, just as if they approach respectfully in their own culture, he would do the same.

"Beaumont-san. It is good to see you again. Finley-san, I had been hoping to get a chance to talk to you at some point. I had been telling Kasumoto-san that I was hoping to do the same. I figure it would be educational for both of us."

"With your mind or magic?" Nixie can't help but to wonder now, "The money will likely go back to my alchemy research at least. At least whatever Myriad doesn't claim for herself." She sighs a bit "Speaking of which she can move a lot of water, but she certainly isn't going to teach you for free." It seems like she can't get away from the subject of the greedy mermaid. "Maybe, I'll get a new scooter. The one I currently have used."

The sound check happened earlier in the afternoon, which means that when the white-haired lead guitarist of CYS strides in wearing his signature red jacket, white pants and heart choker, as well as a pair of definitely-not-signature aviator sunglasses, it's almost entirely unnecessary for him to test the state of the microphones or sound equipment.

"Check. Che-che-che-check. Check. Check. Hey, why's this microphone stand so low, anyway?" Yashiro growls with bemusement as he tests the microphone intended for the band's Justin Bieber-lookalike lead singer. Shrugging, the guitarist sticks the microphone back into place in the stand and adjusts the stand up to a foot and a half higher. "Perfect."

He then steps over to where his trio of guitars are resting on their stands, taking the middlemost and slinging it on before he starts shredding experimentally down the fretboard, testing the volume and discovering it to be set to 'loud.'

"Nice. Hey, Shermie, Chris, you two coming?"

"Well you can't have -just- lots of horsepower. It's not -just- about that but if you don't want to be all show and no go, you need to make sure you got what you need!" explains Abigail further, Buford now far from his mind as he leaves the unfortunante samurai no doubt sulking in the mammoth cast shadow by the behemoth.

Instead the full weight of his attention falls upon Nixie, Chevy and any near them. His gaze seems appraising as he sweeps his attention over them. Listening and visually assessing with, for him at least, remarkable sharpness as he then makes his way towards the bar itself with heavy floor trembling steps. Fortunantely the hotel knew what it iw as getting into. THis -is- Southtown after no worries about him just crashign through the floor.

"You all had some good fights.." he finally acknowledges. "..I didn't expect to be impressed but I was!"

Well that didn't come out very nice probably and he seems to realize that and akwardly says, "Well I mean. We all have to start at the bottom and uh... I mean... Well when I was Bay Area Chief in MEtro CIty I was pretty good at extortion...but I had to work at it and practice but I still impressed people out of the gate. Like that!"

So he's not great with inspiring words. No. Mercifully the sound check of the entertainment for the party cuts into his words and distracts him and so he, slighlty red in the face, turns his attention towards grabbing something from the bar.

"Yeah, I need a drink already.." he grumbles.

"Oui Oui, Cherie. Hold your horsies!" Shermie tsks at Yashiro, as she strides in with her keytar strapped around her scantily clad curves. She's dressed to kill tonight, or at least to fatally wound, in a backless emerald green halter dress that plunges low at the front and high on the thighs.

Despite the fact her thick red bangs totally obscure her view, she moves with ease across the room, heading for the stage that's been set up for the raucous rock band to play.

She slips into position at the side of the stage and looks out at the gathered crowd before her. "Hello, little darlings. I hope you are ready to have your socks rocked off. For those of you who have been hiding under rocks, my name is Shermie and I am the es in cee why ess."

She then glances towards her bandmates, waiting for them to signal they're ready to begin.

"Calm down, old man. The party is not going anywhere." He smirks. And makes his way toward the stage. He's dressed in a faux suit with short sleeves and Bermuda shorts instead of pants. It works on him.

After navigating the bar guests, he gets on stage and settles at the drums. "Ok, ready to pump the energy up in here. It's not a party if it's not loud!" That's his signal that he's ready to rock the place with his bandmates.

"Thought my nose was itchin'." Buck says as Kenzo admits to having been mentioning him. "You're the one that uses all the tech in your fights, right? Got a feeling it'd be fun to try to barrel my way through that. Kind of my opposite in a way, I'd guess."

Abigail's speech has him going quiet for a moment, brown eyes resting on he man's gargantuan frame as he listens attentively, though he can't help but grin a little at the awkwardness. Not that he thinks he'd fare much better giving a public speech, well, other than a raised eyebrow when the mention of extortion comes up. "I wouldn't want to piss him off. Probably rip my head right off my shoulders, horsepower or no." He muters quietly under his breath, and into his glass as he finally looks down. Thinking back to a moment ago when he almost went charging in.

Thankfully, another distraction is in the making in the form of music, which seems to get Buck's approving grin. "Aw man, they went all out for this soiree, didn't they? Almost enough to make me feel out of place." He offers as a slight jest at himself. He shifts a little to drop down into one of the nearby seats but still remain part of the conversation, booted foot ready to start tapping along with the music.

"I... do not know that I showed him much restraint..." Ichika murmurs, mostly to herself, remembering how burned and broken she had left the unfortunate 'samurai' in their duel. She's soon distracted, though, by the arrival of the musicians. Which get the teenager gawping. She DOES know who these people are, and whilst they aren't Babymetal... they're almost as good! All the more so for being here, in the flesh. She stiffens noticeably as she realises that, well - this party is, in fact, about to go up a notch. It's enough to completely swallow her attention from Abigail; which given the man's size and relative social position here is... telling.

"K-Kuroiwa-san." She hisses underneath her breath, "I've never been at a live music concert before, what... what is the etiquette? What are we supposed to *do?!*" Honestly, it probably says more about how stressful she's found the prospect of mingling and making light conversation that the girl hadn't even really taken stock of the stage and the very obvious musical equipment until it was being put to use. But, Kenzo is -- well, he's another member of the Super Elite, right? Surely she can just follow his lead and it'll all be okay.

The trio is assembled on the stage area that's been set up for them. Satisfied that his guitar is indeed still in the same functioning condition that he left it in a couple of hours earlier, Yashiro steps up to his own microphone and sneers as he looks around at the crowd that's gathered. It takes a hell of a presence, both physical and social, to be able to pull off 'intimidating' while wearing an outfit like the one that he's got on, but somehow, the guitarist manages it. "Yeah, so, we decided to learn a few tunes just in case you guys had any requests, but first, I wanna give a shout out to my girl Mitsuru. It's really cool that Make-A-Wish or whatever got you a chance to sponsor a real team of fighting scrubs. Mitsuru-chan, you out there?"

When he doesn't hear a response, Yashiro reaches up to pull his sunglasses off and squints into the crowd, then shrugs and tosses the shades over his shoulder.

"Anyway, speaking of which, Seijyun rocks! Shout out to Kasumoto-san!"

He throws up the horns in the direction of Ichika. Apparently, there's been some kind of conflation between Ichika and Seijyun high in the white-haired guitarist's mind.

"We'll come back to your school as soon as they lift the ban, babies. So, Enn Eff Gee, here's a new song to get the party started... it's a little tune called... 'Resonant Objects!'"

He turns back to face Chris and silently counts in with a series of nods toward the drummer before he starts hammering out the opening riff in time with the drums, kicking the instrumental off with resonant staccato energy.

To Buck, Chevy shakes her head emphatically! She keeps her voice low, since Abigail's literally -right there-, kinda. "Oh, nah, he's not like that! He's real nice. A gentle giant!"

Chevelle smiles back at Kenzo, clapping one hand close to her glass and bowing slightly. "Oh... haha, yeah! Sorry, I didn't mean to leave you, I'm tryin' to hit everyone up! I super missed out on the hobnobs last time, so... makin' up for lost time!"

But Nixie had a question for her as well. Mind or magic? Chevy's expression is, for once, a blank look. "... Iiiiii don't think it's either of those. Never learned spells, and I ain't thinkin' real hard when it happens. ... If anything it's like the Force, I guess?" With a diffident shrug of her shoulders, she takes a quick sip of her drink as Ms Greene mentions the mermaid. "... Myriad, huh?" She scratches the back of her neck. If pay is important enough to get mentioned first, she decides to just let the idea expire naturally. "Good to know!" ... The answer about scooters, though, brings a smile to her face -- in fact, a proud expression which borders on condescension. "That'll be great for fuel economy!" she blurts out, hiding a smile. Poorly.

Meanwhile, an advocate of the polar opposite theory to fuel economy is rumbling nearby. He talks about being the Bay Area Chief... and good at... extortion? She crosses her eyes, thinking hard on that. She must have misheard, maybe it's something that only applies to biiiig engines.

But as he approaches the bar, Chevy sees an opportunity, leaning in close. "Oh, hey again! I... yeah. You probably heard me mention your name in the interview. Didn't mean to name-check! And I'll be honest, the interviewer had me so nervous my mouth was just runnin' ta sam hill and back..."

She realizes: she's doing it again. On the coat tails of Abigail catching himself prattling on. With a self-conscious laugh, she starts to apologize -- but that's when the call goes out for everyone to check their socks. Chevy adds hastily: "So.... sorry! I've got -so- many things to ask, but I'll let'cha drink, alright? So good to meet'cha!"

Chevy approaches Buck's seat, but stays standing for now. Leaning in close to Ichika, she notes, "... Huh, well, back in the States we stand and hoot and holler to show our support. You reckon it's the same here?" Chevy wraps both hands around her glass -- figuring that she's about to find out, she guesses!

Shermie knows Yashiro is horribly confused about the schoolgirls, but then she's not with him for his brains. She silently smirks to herself, shaking her head and sending her twin tails tossing in the air. Deftly ducking the shades as they come flying her way, causing them to hit the ground with a clatter, she places her fingers in position on the keys.

They've been rehearsing 'Resonant Objects' that afternoon, so she's confident she can pull off a perfect performance for the partygoers. As Yashiro and Chris do their thing, she starts to sway her hips perfectly in time to the beat.

When he barely manages to pick up Buck not wanting to piss Abigail off, "Considering the fact that he has multiple accolades under his belt, it's probably for the best. Though he probably wouldn't be a bad mentor for you since he is extremely good using his strength."

He carefully avoids talking about a certain individual at least for now.

The promised entertainment arrives and with it comes the nervous whispers from Ichika.

"There's no mosh pit so you don't have to worry about that, just sit back and enjoy the show. If there's any call and response required, the band will let you know. Just have fun."

Yeah. They repeated this song enough. It's ingrained in them. Or at least in him. But he knows it will all go fine. They are always in sync. At least for songs. So when it's time to start, on cue with Yashiro, he starts the drum. Yashiro joins and so does Shermie.

Chris gives it all to the drums. He has a mic attached to him for the singing parts. All around, it looks like he's having a good time. Sometimes his eyes look at the crowd. Other times, his eyes are closed, just going with the beat they are creating.

The bartender finds himself ducking to the side as an arm the size of some tree trunks comes looming over the counter to grab for and retrieve a full bottle of something or another.

"What're you trying to just give me cough medicine doses with those glasses? Gimme that." rumbles Abigail with a mildly irate tone that seems to do the job as the 'tender thinks better of attempting to protest the loss of one of his bottles.

"Man..Juri would be making fun of me for that one.." he grumbles to himself just as the music starts up and he turns, popping open the bottle with a flick of a thick finger and then beginning to just straight up down its contents with loud gulps as if he pulling from a bottle of water.

A loud pop sound occurs as he pulls it free and blinks a few times and then starts to grin, looking slightly less embaressed now.. and a little more free with his tongue as the music begins.

"Oh yeah... J-Pop! I love J-Pop!"

He then blinks and turns, looking down at CHevy and her hasty introductoin and just as hasty retreat. He blinks in confusion, having barely had time to process that..and then proceeds to step after her. His pounding footfalls rumbling like some sort of incoming T-Rex as his massive shadow rolls over her and Buck like some approaching smiling storm-cloud.

"Has the music started already?"

A familiar high-pitched and high-class English accent penetrates at least a few yards into the wall of sound now being produced by the band on stage as Coco comes back into the bar area, still looking ever-so-faintly flush in the face from her fresh air excursion. Captain Morgan comes along on foot, following his travel companion with his tail raised in the air as he chitters merrily. The bearcat's hat falls off of his head as he hurries to keep up.

"Oh, damn. How are you supposed to dance to that?" she wonders, her silvery-blue eyes moving to the musicians on stage. The redhead on the keytar seems to be managing it, somehow, so Coco starts trying to mimic Shermie's movements as she moves across the floor, hips swinging hard back and forth to keep up with the erratic beat on her way toward the bar. "Actually, it's not too bad, I suppose," she murmurs before nearly taking out a passing waiter carrying a tray of prawn canapes with a sudden hip-check. "Oh, so sorry!" she apologizes to the man, before letting out an 'ooh' and taking one of the canapes off of the dilapidated platter. "Cheers, babe."

The Irishman follows in Coco's wake looking decidedly unruffled. Whatever the duo were doing outside, it doesn't seem to be fighting or frolicking.

"Feck, we've missed the start of the gig" he groans, though he's soon comforted by the stimulating sight of Shermie and the purple haired party girl having a hip battle. The look on his face is one of sheer delight. "I don't know what the feck that dance move is, but I like it" he decides.

Making his way through the music fans, he heads towards Chevy and Buck via the bar. Once he has a drink firmly in his hand (this time one that's black rather than neon green), he approaches them, offering a smile to Chevy and a hand to Buck. "Good to meet you, fella. I was gonna chat to you when you got here, so I was, but something came up."

Buck is distracted from the show by the sudden present of two vastly different sized men approaching him. First there's Abigail, and perhaps there's some credit to him that despite his earlier comments he manages to keep his expression warm and smiling. He gives the giant man an upnod of greeting.

Then there's Hawksley, one person he's been wanting to talk to. So when the Irishman approaches him he breaks out into a broad, friendly grin. "Well, if it ain't the Irish Inferno, call me Buck." He says jovially. He takes the offered hand, giving it a firm shake. "No worries, man, I get it." There's a sideways look over to Coco and he shrugs as he looks back at Hawksley. "Glad to finally meet you though. Been keeping up with your fights." Then after a moment. "Well, been watching the whole tournament, but still, sentiment stands."

Carefully negotiating the balance between biting into her prawn-and-avocado-on-melba-toast, not making a mess, continuing to casually dance, and trying not to look like an idiot, Coco only succeeds at half of her goals. "Guys, these are lush," she announces to Buck, Hawksley, Chevy and Abigail as she dances her way over to the grouping with her mouth half full. Luckily she has a bearcat-shaped hoover following her trail of crumbs and sucking them up in her wake.

"Oh, hiya! You're the newbie, aren't you?" she greets Buck as she gets near to the group, waving at the bartender and pointing at whatever Hawksley's having before holding up a finger to indicate an order, then turning her attention totally to the American. "I mean, we're all newbies, really, I think. You've probably been in more fights than I have! I mean, for me, it's three, and all in the tourney, unless you count practice fights."

Hawksley looks up at the man towering over the trio. "Well I know who you are" he simply says to the sponsor.

Truth be told, he'd never heard of Abigail before joining the New Fighting Generation, but that's no shade on the violent vroomer. He just hadn't really followed the whole fighting scene in his former existence in Eire.

Focus back on the fresh fighter in the group, he pats him heartily on the back once the handshake is broken. "I appreciate that, Buck. I gotta say, I can't wait to throwdown with you. I bet we could have a bloody good brawl between us, then wash the blood down with some beers."

As Coco and the Captain join the crew, he gives her a questioning look. "You know they ain't gonna serve you a Black Velvet? Come to think of it, whose cocktail is this? Did I somehow get two created for me? Maybe they heard I was a thirsty lad."

"H-hoot and holler..."

Ichika's voice is very quiet, and the poor girl's eyes widen like saucers when Yashiro actually calls her out. Sure, he gets the school wrong. Very wrong. But a *ROCK STAR* just called her out by name! Her! Ichika's face darkens considerably, and as Kenzo reassures her, she finds herself nodding. It feels as though her spirit is leaving her body. What is this sensation?! The eerie, swelling rhythm, the sweet, menacing, cool riff of the guitars... she's vaguely aware that other conversations are happening all around her, but Ichika's world is the stage.

... here's hoping that nobody is recording this ...

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAH! SO COOOOOOOOL!" The *noise* that manages to come out of Ichika is impressive; the high-pitched squeal of teenage fans the world over. She practically leaps into the air, and -- towards Coco! The very woman that she had been saying intimidated her in terms of fighting ability not ten minutes earlier.

"More energy! Like this, Coco!" She exclaims, and, oh, dear. Ichika doesn't have much natural rhythm it seems, but what she lacks in talent she is making up for in energy and enthusiasm. Those traditional sandals of hers are stomp-stomp-stomping and the more she headbangs the wilder her hair is getting. Coco called her a neo-punk and... well, in this moment, she lives up to the label.

Chevy finds herself settling into the music! Chris is laying down some great drumwork for the mean licks from Yashiro's guitar and the excellent synth from Shermie. It's not long before her toes are tapping to the beat. Good tunes and a good drink are a great way to round out the night, after all!

"... I guess it wouldn't hurt to try one or two..." reasons Chevy in response to Coco's logic, walking over to liberate a couple canapes from the tray. Sampling one, she nods with approval!

And here, listening to Hawksley, she had thought that when someone said 'bloody' in that accent that it was just a colloquialism. "Oh. Is... I guess blood is normal for this line of work, huh?" She's okay admitting her ignorance from time to time.

But then she realizes something she was going to ask, now that Abigail is close again. "Hey... what kinda projects do you have goin' on? You... been stumblin' over any 454s from the late sixties, early seventies?"

And then she turns back to see Ichika leaping around. Eyes widening, she throws up a hand. "Aww yeah! You go, girl!"

- edit plz, remove last two lines -

But then she realizes something she was going to ask, now that Abigail is close again. "Hey... what kinda projects do you have goin' on? You... stumbled' over any 454s in good condition? Been tryin' to track one down..."

And then she turns back to see Ichika leaping around. Eyes widening, she throws up a hand. "Aww yeah! You go, girl!"

The brute hovers over the group like some sort of sequioa leaning over a picnic table to converse with those present. Abigail's grin becomes more of a close lipped smile which..isn't any -less- unsettling perhaps ..but he tries. He has to practice that, see, for his customers. SO he may as well put such a skill set to use!

"Oooh.. I've got some personal projects o'mine I'm working on related to my main ride." he answers Chevy, eyes brightening up abit as he gestures at her abit. "See, I monster truck can crush anything on land and go wherever it wants right? But then that whole thing with that crazy flying fortress happened and I was like... you know what its missing? The ability to drive on the ocean floor if I need to get somewhere. I mean..why's something silly like water or 15,750 psi gotta hold me back, yeah?"

He's possibly crazy or an engineering savant masquarding as a car modder.

Both. He's both.

"So I've been leaving the other projects to J and Axl while I've been workin' out the schematics!"

Abigail - a man of contradictions. His spiked dog collar strains against the girth of his neck as he grins full and big once more, all to happy to discuss these plans.

His eyes flicker briefly over to the concert but then he looks back towards Hawksley and Buck both. "..and glad you heard of me, eh? I was wondering if I'd need to start vrooming louder.." Buck gets his full assessment now as well. "Mmm..did I miss your matches?"

Well, those are the words Buck had been hoping to hear from Hawksley so he breaks out into a beaming grin at that. "Well, if they don't set us up at some point to do just that we'll have to try on our own, won't we?" He raises his glass to toast to that then takes a long sip.

There a small chuckle from him as Ichika goes full-on fan girl, and maybe a finger stuck in his ear right about the time she hollers, but it doesn't dampen his mood at all, in fact he seems to find it amusing as there's now a group trying to dance. He's happy to stay in his seat however.

Even if that puts him even lower than he would normally be with the towering Abigail. There's only the faintest waver in his grin as he has to crane his neck to look up at the ginormous sponser. He shakes his head, looking mildly annoyed for just a moment, but more at what he's about to say than the question. "No, sir." Abigail gets a sir. "I didn't have any, I'm a late entrant, but I hope I'll make a splash once I get into it." His grin returns, easy and warm as it always is. "I sent in a demo tape though if you want to check out me out. I'm sure you could get your hands on it." Never hurts to try a little self promotion with one of the sponsers, right?

Chevelle could sit. But that might make her feel like more of an insect in the shadow of the towering behemoth that is Abigail. The redhead chooses to keep standing.

She starts to snicker, at any rate. The logic is so ludicrous it's -awesome- is what it is! "A -submarine?- Does that qualify you to be a mad scientist, or do you have to get your license and pay the dues first?" She shakes her head in partial disbelief. "I can't even -imagine- the kind of water pressure you'd need to deal with. Everything but the wheels would need to be a closed system, wouldn't it?"

Chevy sips on her drink as Buck runs through his pitch. It sounds like he's set on the promotional front, at least! "It sounds like there's more out there I ain't found yet, I'll have to check that out, hee." Toe tapping along with the music, she turns back to Abigail: "I can't help but note, it'd be somethin' of a dream working with you! There's just so much to learn -- about gettin' wheels spinnin' together -and- with fighting. And now you got an interest in hydrodynamics, so that might just be something I can help with too..."

CHevy's open admission of wanting to work with Abigail causes the giant to give her a big grin, eyes lighting up with good cheer. Perhaps there was a lingering part of big grin. He doesn't have a good poker face. His open delight at the prospect is quite clear. "Aww." he rumbles, "Well then..maybe we'll have to see about how to make sure that happens, eh?" His caricature canadianisms filtering through his rumbling voice an indication of his cheer. Might be the beer also.

"I'm sure you got something to offer the shop and then some. You know your stuff! But I gotta warn ya.." He gestures mildly to indicate the hotel room, "Metro City's a bit different from Southtown! I think you'd like it though!"

He pauses in thought and then adds, "Alot of eyes are on this whole thing. So whatever you decide y'all be careful. I've had to turn down alot of them wack-job nutcase offers in my day. Folk are wild out there! In fact..." He pauses abit as if his brain is working on what to say and if he should say it and then he opts for, "Ah, forget it. You all look like smart kids.."

He takes another drink and then turns the full weight of his attention onto Buck. Has gaze and physical presnce falling upon the young fighter with almost palpable weight and force as he studies the fighter. Rather like being noticed and looked over by an earthquake.

But then he smiles, brow lifting up in what must surely be some form of approval as his bearded jaw pulls into a friendly(?) esxpression.

"As for you... Demo? Oh yeah? Hmm.. Yeah. I think I might like to take a look at that, eh? Get a look at how much horsepower you can muster.."

Buck likewise has one booted foot tapping along with the music as Chevy and Abigail go one about mechanical stuff. He knows enough to keep the farm equipment working, and tractor racing, but beyond that doesn't know much. Still he listens in because it's at least amusing to think of an underwater monster truck.

"Well, I don't expect to be an early pick, but I'm hoping someone picks me up at least." HE says with an even tone and an unbothered shrug of his shoulders. He knows what missing the tournament cost him, at least.

Buck only shows a slight reaction to being under Abigail's scrutiny, he's no fool, but he tries to keep his posture and smile easy and relaxed. The alcohol certainly helps with that. "I got one good thoroughbred stallion." He stays, perhaps a bit jokingly. "Though usually I'm described as a bit more bullheaded." He seems to amuse himself with that comment.

He shifts in his seat as a passing waiter walks by with a tray of some fried puff thing of a snack and he nabs a couple by reaching up and behind him, giving a tap to his brow of a salute for the waiter before popping a puff in his mouth. "Huh, not sure what this is but it's good."

Miss Beaumont does not have the powers of alcohol to take the edge off of this. Just the confidence from having met so many cool people.

And it's enough to push right past 'formal' into 'casual' as she's inadvertently tied to Southtown allegiances. With eyes wide, she blurts out, incredulously: "... Pff! Southtown? I'm East Coast through and through, man!" Mind, rural East Coast is still -way- different from Metro City, but that's not the assumption she's confronting. "I mean, heck, is it gonna be different from Farmville? Sure! But you warn't have to ask me twice!"

Chevy grins as she lets the music carry her for a moment, enjoying the sights of Coco and Ichika showing each other new dance moves as Abigail talks with Buck. Though one comment does amuse her more than others. "... Thoroughbred stallion, huh?" she asks, flashing Buck a lopsided grin as she finishes off the other canape she'd snagged earlier. "Ad copy from Salesmanship 101 right there."

She smiles, bopping along to the music. "... I like Southtown, I do. But I do miss getting out on the open road."


How to put this delicately..

"Metro City is..uh..a little rough.."

There was that comment about extortion from earlier after all but then again Chevy let that in one ear and out the other.

"My chop aint exactly in the...uh..nice part o'town. I probably could move but..I got ties there. Folk like me there."

Indeed, the presence of the former Bay Area Chief -in- the Bay Area doing legit business is kind of like having Godzilla owning a business in your neighborhood. He's still Godzilla but he's keeping the other monsters out. "There's gang stuff. I mean of course Mad Gear's mostly retired now, dont' get me wrong,b ut there's still feuds with Skull Cross and then there was the time I got attacked by some sort of ninja. A matador. A robot.. But I aint never had any werewolves tear my import tires up! That happened here in Southtown!"

He doesn't sound happy about that. But the past is the past and he nods his head in approval at Buck. The fact that Buck weathered his gaze and scrutiny seems to have been a test unto itself. One a certain fedora wearing swordsman failed utterly earlier. The alcohol may be helping sure but whose keeping track?

"MIssing the opening rounds may hurt ya but you'll still be able to rev that engine up and cross the finish line! Plenty of matches to be had!"

Buck lets out a booming laugh, it may not be floor shaking like a certain individual's may be, but he gets out a good guffaw as he looks in Chevy's direction. "No, but really, my main ride back home is a horse. Cops don't appreciate you drivin' a tractor down the road but they don't say much about horses. Reminds me I got see if my little bro is takin' care of him." He really is from the country.

"Not used to big cities, but hey, it's not like we're your average youngins either. I'm sure we could handle.. did you say a matador? That might be an issue." He rubs his chin, thinking on that for a moment. The mention of werewolves his him looking oddly squirrelly for a few seconds, but it passes.

"Anyway, I'll be glad for whatever sponsor I get, as long as I get my time in the ring it's all good. Like I was tellin' Chevy, it just gives me a chance to surprise my first few opponents. We know what most of the others can do, me? I'm a myster." He pops another puff in his mouth with a wink and downs it with a gulp of water. "I think this is octopus. Weird, but good."

Metro City is... rough? Chevy arches an eyebrow. It seems like a weird statement for a guy Abigail's size to make. The redhead can be a little slow on the uptake sometimes, and it's true in this case -- as the realization takes about four seconds to dawn on her, if her widening eyes are any indication

"... Oh."

She wraps both hands around her glass, her forehead knitted in pensive concentration as she lets Abigail's words meld together with the music. Some things stick out -- Mad Gear's retirement. And some things just sound weird, like... an attack from a ninja. And a matador.

"Well, I mean, Kuroiwa-san's a ninja," she rationalizes.
"Life in the big city could be fun. Exciting, even!"
Yeah, maybe the plane hasn't touched down on all its wheels yet?

Luckily Buck is there to ground the discussion in topics she has some passing familiarity with. "Oh. Well, yeah, with the hills and whatnot. We got four-wheelers for that." Pitt County has hogs, which are much less reliable transportation than horses.

But still -- Buck's realistic approach is one that makes sense -- giving Chevy the context she needs to understand the point Abigail was trying to make. "Oh! Yeah. I'm really looking forward to learning with a mentor. As long as it's not one like Nixie's that charges an arm and a leg, or fin, or whatever..."

She turns back to Buck, nose wrinkling. "... Octopus, huh? Is 'at -raw?-"

Poor Kenzo is practically at ground zero for the impressive scream that Ichika lets out. He winces in pain but then quickly recovers. He can't say that the swordswoman hasn't gotten into the spirit of things. He did tell her to have fun.

As for Kenzo, his fun comes in the form of bobbing his head to the music. Eventually hunger catches up to him and the blackberry juice ice cubes have melted enough to darken his drink.

He decides to look over food but hasn't decided what to eat yet.

Chevy's confusion? Concern? Well it draws a bit of a slight smile from Abigail as he looks on her. He listens to Buck and doesn't interrupt, allowing him to serve as her anchor for the moment and not pushing the matter further for now. Instead he glances over to Buck.

"You know even if you all don't get sponsors right's not the end of the road. -I- didn't have a sponsor..I just decided I wanted to..uh..well..fight. Play around. I guess it worked. but you know others are like that as well. You gotta have that drive. That will to accelerate! If you do..sponsor or no'll be a champion, eh?"

He seems to know that much. This speech emerging without the halting awkardness of earlier when he felt he had to address the room as the first mentor and sponsor figure to arrive.

"I mean, I still don't have a 'sponsor' yeah? But I compete when I can cause..I'm still getting bigger and stronger.. Maybe eventually I'll even...well.." he pauses in consideration and then says, "..Put more effort into different things."

It's an odd description but footage of Abigail's fights if drawn to mind would reveal what he means. Many of his assaults are almost playful. His Abigail Smash<tm> a playful flick of the wrist that tosses even the largest oponents far into the air. As if the brute is never truly using his full strength most of the time. "Anyway.. it's this is all for you guys so that one day you'll be ready to face someone like me! That'll be fun!"

"Naw, it's cooked. I think." Buck really is guessing since he has no prior experience with octopus, but it's in a fired ball so it must be cooked. Right? Now he's giving the remaining takoyaki in his hand a dubious look as if he no longer trusts it.

Then he shrugs and pops it in his mouth. "Ah well, if it ain't killed me yet." He bobs his head at Chevy's rationalizations. "See, not a terrible idea sticking to the big city for a bit, despite ninja robots." There's a look Kenzo's way, even if he's not technically a robot he's got enough tech to qualify in Buck's mind.

"No, you're right. I don't need a sponsor but I aim to get one because it's a step up. And if you're not looking for ways to get to your goal, you ain't living right. Or at least that's how I want to live. I'll make my way either way, but.." He furrows his brow, maybe thinking of using some Abigail speech. "Why turn down the nitro boost if you can get it, yeah?" He looks at the former Mad Gear enforcer expectantly, making sure he got some of he gearhead talk right.

"If the day comes I can face you in the ring, I'll be a happy man. And you better not hold back." Cocky? Yes. But that grin of his is beaming, he truly means it. "I just want to fight the best, and this is my way to it."

Chevy scratches her cheek. She had thought getting a sponshorship would've been guaranteed, but... maybe it's not? A slight frown tugs at her lips. "... I mean, yeah, I suppose that's true. I mean, like... I'm doing alright, I guess."

It's convenient that CYS is performing -- it gives her a plausible reason to zone out for a few moments, to where she's able to let her thoughts percolate for a moment. To consider... what -does- she want out of fighting? Does she even -want- to be a 'champion' like Abigail, or Ayame Ichijo? Does she want to be an action film star, like Jackie Chan? What -does- she want out of this gig?

Things to ponder. And things to -- yet again -- lean on Buck's rational assessments for.


Chevy takes one last sip of her drink. A deep breath, as she casts her gaze up on stage for a moment. Would this still be worth it... if she ended up without a sponsor?

"Yeah," she concludes to herself, turning back to Buck, and then Abigail, in turn. The frown is gone, replaced with a placid -- maybe even tired, smile.

"I'll be back in a bit. Could use some fresh air."

She bobs her head, and slips her empty glass on the bar as she ambles for the exit.

When she turns to look at Abigail she finds his expression..knowing. He just sort of meets her gaze and then slowly smiles. He's more perceptive then the media claims and paints him as. More knowing and in tune with what the new fighters are going through due to his own history in the fighting circuit. He nods his head at her as she excuses herself and then watches a she leaves before he looks back to Buck and points a thick finger at him.

"Nice vroooom message. I like that." in confirmation of his earlier comment. He got what Buck meant. Good job!

"Well, there's no harm in trying, is there?" Coco protests to Hawksley as he tells her that there's no way she'll be getting served a Black Velvet, before crinkling her nose. "Actually, I'm not sure I would want one, anyway. Isn't that Guinness and champagne? I suppose it would be alcohol, at least -"


"- goodness!"

Coco spins around, the shifting of her hips ceasing as the sight of Ichika's dancing leaves her gaping and dumbstruck for a moment. "Hey, how come she's been getting served and I haven't?" she finally demands to know once the initial shock has worn off. Obviously, somebody has gotten their ages muddled up. She's still contemplating what she's witnessing when a tall, black glass of cold beverage is slid up next to her. She picks it up and takes a long, quick swig through the straw. "Oh, this isn't that awful, actually. Tastes a bit like Diet Coke."

It's actually Diet Pepsi. Regardless, it serves to provide some confidence for Coco, the purple-haired girl perking up as she flits away from the bar and over next to Ichika on the dance floor. Her minidress and hair are both just loose and long enough to emphasize the borderline-primal stomping and headbanging as she joins in with the younger teenager, mimicking her motions in time with the music.

Captain Morgan, who has dutifully accompanied his lady to the dancefloor, soon finds himself dodging back and forth between stomping feet before retreating back toward the bar with a yowling sound.

"This is fun! How do you do it without hurting your neck, though?"

Hawksley's been working on his Black Velvet and eyeing the buffet, as the talk goes on around him. He breaks off briefly to fill his plate with some Thai dumplings and Nikuman, before wandering back over. "I'll fight you anytime you want" he informs Buck through a mouthful of pork mixture. "That goes for any of you. Maybe we can team up and take on the sponsors for a laugh" he suggests, grinning up at Abigail. "I'm pretty sure we all get to have a sponsor by the way. It's part of this whole deal."

He's soon distracted by the eyecatching display taking place on the dancefloor. "I reckon she's just high on life" he calls to Coco, indicating Ichika.

Watch yourself, fella" he warns Morgie, contemplating whether to go and rescue the captain from the hell of his owner's stomping high heels. Apparently the creature has enough sense to save himself though and as he scampers towards the bar, Hawksley bends down to pet the bearcat.

Ichika might not *actually* be drunk, but it's definitely the closest she has ever gotten. Oh, some of the mental states she's achieved in the fights have been close; moments of inspiration, of furious rage, of pure instinct... but nothing has gotten the inhibited young woman out of her own head like this, ever. The thrum of the music bypasses the part of her that constantly judges herself, and has her moving with complete, uninhibited joy in time - or, well, close enough - to the music. Hawksley... might well be righter than he knows.

Of course, inexperienced as she is, before the first song is even close to over the girl is getting dizzy, her motions even more erratic, though with the amount of energy she's got it seems as though she could keep going for much longer yet - wearing the biggest grin of her young life plastered all across her face the whole while. "That's the great thing!" She shouts back to Coco, "You don't!" And this response has her break out in a fit of giggles, looping around so she can face towards the stage and throw up devil horns of her own - an act that would have her poor parents so scandalised that they'd doubtless question her participation in this entire endeavour.


As the frenetic composition of Resonant Objects fades out, Shermie raises her hands aloft, waving them at the crowd and then blowing them kisses. "Thank you, little fighters and Abigail. We appreciate your energetic enthusiam.

She points towards the Ichika and Coco combo as she says this. "That was Resonant Objects and this is my personal favourite, Fanatic Waltz."

What seems to start like a tinkling lullaby soon turns into a full on rock anthem with heavy hitting drums and a grinding guitar. Shermie's keytar rises above both, the sound of the synthesizer soaring as the song starts to build.

SAs she spins on the spot, Shermie's silver keytar strap shimmers in the lights hitting the stage, causing it to sparkle like stars. She's obviously lost in the hypnotic quality of the music as the motion brings her perilously close to the edge of the stage, especially for one who's seemingly blinded by bangs. She pulls back just in time, tapping the heel of her silver knee-high boots in time to the tune.

Ariastra slowly makes her way to the party. She can hear the music of CYS. Yes, she might have been out of the loop for a couple of centuries, but she still knows who they are. She is wearing an elegant red dress with ornaments that seem Egyptian. Her hair is teased up a bit to give them more volume.

She makes her way quietly to the bar, smiling and nodding to anyone she crosses paths with. She then settles and observes the people there. Sure, she saw the new potential recruits fight. But she wants to see them in such a place too. How do they react, how do they hold themselves? So here she is. She asks the barman for a Shedeh, but unsurprisingly, he doesn't have that. So she orders some wine instead. Then she goes back to observing. She enjoys the music while at it too.

There should be absolutely no surprise that Tamaki showed up at a party. But for at least part of it, she wasn't anywhere to be seen!

It isn't that she wasn't here. She was just in disguise, because old habits die hard and sometimes you want to mingle without being recognized.

But eventually she decided she should show up as her, if only because of her actual placement in the standings and so she could meet people as herself. Plus, by this point she'd had three drinks, one of which was her own cocktail (yuzu whiskey sour; very simple, but Tamaki approved) and she was feeling pretty good.

She certainly doesn't *look* drunk when she wanders in mid-CYS performance. She also didn't look like she dressed up very much, though this is by choice because she'd rather suit herself; hence a green skirt (shorter than her fighting skirt), a sleeveless blouse, and ears and tail, which are clearing some space around her.

Literally, as Tamaki is not shy about using her tail when she turns to guide someone out of the way, though mostly it's just because there is now a Darkstalker at the party. But Tamaki is attempting to make up with this by sheer charm and a big smile that gets deployed at many people on her meandering route.

Having no particular destination, she just kind of *arrives* near the cluster of other fighters in a good position to see the stage, leaning well over to steal a passing canape en route. She's also got an inevitable drink in her other hand. At least she didn't try to smuggle her tokkuri in.

She's also loud, when she cheers for the band. Subtle she isn't, at least not right now. If her hands weren't full she'd probably join the dancing.

"I'll hold you to that." Buck says with a wink to Hawksley. "I wa kind of figuring that would be our first test after getting our sponsors anyway. Make their picks gang up on 'em. No better way to sus out someone's fighting stlye than being on the receivin' end of it, right?" He tries to punch one hand into the palm of the other, but he's still holding his drink. Luckily it's mostly empty so it just sloshes in the glass a bit instead of spilling.

This draws his attention to the severe lack of liquid in his glass and he hops up to makes his way back over to the bar, skirting around the dancing pair of Ichika and Coco to set down his glass. "Wanna try something else, let's go with one of those green things over there." He points at someone who has one of the Hawksley drinks.

Buck gives a curious look at Tamaki's entrance. He's not surprised of course, he's been keeping up with the fighters and there's also Nixie in the room, but he does definitely look curious. At least that easy smile of his stays in place as he waits near the bar for his newest drink.

Hawksley notices Ariastra when she enters, but he doesn't try to approach her. She seems happy in her role as observer and he doesn't want to do anything that might scupper his chances with a sponsor.

He also notes Tamaki's appearance. Perhaps this is the night that she will get to party with he and Coco, like she mentioned in her interview. He'd be definitely down for that

In the meantime he has the company of Buck and co. Being with the American man, kinda reminds him of spending time at the boozer back home with the boys, just with a different accent. "The green ones are good. Whiskey, peach schnapps and lime soda. Not the most obvious of combinations, but I've no complaints."

"As for the sponsor thing, that sounds like a real laugh. Sign me up for some of that action."

The talk of the sponsors has him wondering which team he will end up on. There's one that seems obvious to him, just by the name alone, but he's not ruling out any of them at this stage.

The befreckled American had been out for a while. But now she's returned -- and she's pulled her reddish hair into buns. ... Though, on further inspection, it'd be clear that she'd just put on the 'earmuffs' her agent had acquired for her Princess Leia costume. She returns to the lounge with a broad smile, her hand wrapped around a small clutch bag.

And as Chevy approaches, she happens to notice some new arrivals. Ariastra... she doesn't know. But Tamaki is hard to miss! And while Tamaki herself might not be dancing, it doesn't take long for the American to insinuate herself back into CYS's distinctive rhythms. Swaying this way and that, she seems to have worked out whatever preponderances she'd been puzzling through -- and just generally looks to be enjoying the music now! Maybe not as much as Ichika.

"Tamaki!" she calls out when she gets close enough to be heard. "Hey, I was wondering when you'd show up!"

Edenlith comes inside the party. Nobody sane would have invited her, and she has nothing to do here. Truth be told, that's the only party she knew about on such short notice. 'Making a scandal, I will show Rafferty how I make scandals in parties.' She thinks about. She is dressed in her Pacific school uniform. She didn't even take the time to change.

Once inside, she moves around and smells all the potential recruits and whoever she comes across. If someone tries to talk to her about it, a sign appears in front of their faces with the word "No!" on it. The sign is only an illusion, and if touched, it goes through.

Then her eyes settle on Abigail. She fought him a long time ago. She remembers. He was fun. His big size doesn't seem to bother her. She takes a deep breath, and a sign appears for him. "You!" Then she drops to her knees and attempts to bite his right ankle. She doesn't care about the clothes in the way. Her teeth are human teeth, so even if she succeeds, it shouldn't do that much damage.

There is indeed someone considering Hawksley. The Mad Gear titan turns the full weight of his attention away from Chevy and Buck and settles it upon the Irish brawler with an appraising and thoughtful gaze. His eyes narrow, scrunching up his death metal make up via the furrowing of his brow and he nods his head in some approval.

"I did catch yer fights. You'd probably do some damage in Metro City yerseeeliieeeee--!!!"

It's not really painful no. It's more the sheer shock. The audacity. The boldness. The fact that..uh..she just bit him.

He recoils backwards, causing the table with the drinks on it to wobble wildly as his other foot twists and his great weight lurches about like a wrecking ball attempting to regain its balance. Upon twisting enough he looks down to see Edenlith latched onto his calf. Her teeth haven' punctured the tire-track patterned durability of his jeans, no, but that doesn't mean he's enjoying this. At least she didn't try and bite through the belt wrapped about his ankle.

"Why you little--" he begins to rumble. The good cheer gone and replaced by the more familiar irate attitude of the Bay Area Chief. His hand reaches down, swamping over her the top of her head before pulling to free her from his leg and lift her up towards him with all the fanfare of snatching up a particularly rabid doll.

"Whatcha do that for! I oughta--"

"Peach and lime, hmm." Buck takes the drink from Shin the bartender, giving it an experimental sniff before taking a sip. "Oh yeah, that's not a bad one." He takes another sip, and turns most of his attention back on the music, head bobbing to the beat.

"Well, I bet you get snapped up in the first round, along with Nixie." Buck says with a sideways glance to Hawksley. "If a brawl doesn't break out over who gets the finalists." He laughs, though it's not the belly shaking guffaw of before, this one is softer, simply amused.

His eyes flick between the stage and Edenlith curiously as she makes her way around the room, then his eyes go wide as she bites down on the former Mad Gear. Buck moves a few steps away from those two as he fully expects blows to be coming any moment now. If only he didn't look like he'd like to see those blows happen, there's only a little worry, more so he just looks anticipatory.

Damn jeans, why are they so thick. Her teeth not getting through. Why are her teeth so human? Yeah, not cool jeans. Not cool teeth. But soon, she gets grabbed by a big hand. She's not hyper-surprised by this. That doesn't mean she has to like it. She actually hisses at him like a cat. She also struggles a bit. Like a cat who isn't particularly happy to be like this but isn't in full angry or panic mode yet. A sign appears in front of Abigail. "I fought you before. Now I got a taste. Be grateful!" Not that there is anything to be grateful for, but who knows what is going on in her head.

After a short moment, another sign appears to replace the previous one. "What you oughta? You can't do anything more painful than what recently happened! Do your best." Daring him. Maybe it's not such a wonder after all why she chose the biggest guy.

"Girl what!?"

Abigail looks utterly perplexed ..which, really, is something of a feat because he -often- looks perplexed. His gaze flickers between Edenlith and the signs and then around to those nearby before back to her. "The hell you going on about! Your oil's leaking all up into your engine block and onto the ground and you're sputtering nonsense! We ait fought. I don't know who the hell you are!"

To be fair - there are a big guys, really big guys..and then there's Abigail..but he's not alone in the world of colossal giants. There's a soldier from Zepp of astonishing proportions. Word of an affably dangerous behemoth from a mysterious supernatural realm..and one of Abigail's Mad Gear underlings, Hugo. A step below Abigail but still the definition of immensity. And, well, Abigail would say underling but Hugo would rightfully disagree.

Either way, Edenlith has the wrong behemoth and the Mad Gear titan snorts, "What, just because I'm huge you confuse me for some other big dude? What's yer problem??" His fist clenches and he holds it up towards her, practically the size of her torso. His knuckles crack as his fist tightens, looking able to crush a cinderblock into powddr. Perhaps Buck may get his wish...

She cocks her head, and another sign comes. "Not Kongou?" She could be doing this on purpose or be somewhat confused. It's hard to know with Eden like this.

But when she sees the huge fist, she seems to change her mind about the whole thing. She starts clawing around wildly so he will let her go. While her teeth were normal, her nails/claws are sharper than humans. She's not aiming at anywhere in particular. She doesn't ask to be released. She just wants to be let go now. Her mood changed. If that doesn't work. A sign appears "I wuv you, but don't touch me." If she can get away, she will the party running on all four to begin with before going back on two legs. But that's a big if.

It is rather like dealing with an cat that doesn't want to cooperate, isn't it. Abigail holds her back at arms length as she begins wildly flailing. He leans away from her as best he can and just sort of grimaces in further confusion at her question.

"King Kong Who??" he rumbles in stark utter chaotic confusion, followed by a resounding, "NO! I'm Abigail! Abi-GAAAIIL!"

As her desperate attempts to get free continues, Abigail just sort of drops her by opening his vast hand up to let her fall the distance to land and do as she will. Trying to retaliate against her in this place doesn't seem ideal and really..-clearly- there's some mistaken identity going on here.

"Go find and bite him already! I aint no Metro City street turkey! What do I look like to you! Lunch??"

She is out of here as fast as she can. But one last sign appears in front of Abigail. "Sure you're not Kongou?".Then it fades away, and no more signs appear. She is indeed gone.

Rest assured Tamaki will be dancing just as soon as she stops having things in her hands. So, you know, eventually.

"I was here!" Tamaki calls right back, which is *technically* true even if not exactly honest. "Honestly, I wouldn't miss something like this. How often do they call a party for you?" It's not just for her. It's not even mostly for her! But she's a guest of honor enough to have a drink named after her so it counts.

She cranes her neck to watch the big guy deal with some little girl - well, little proportionately - and is only slightly disappointed when it doesn't either turn into a cartoon chase or violence.

"Mmm... looks like dancing is all the rage tonight, isn't it?" Shooting back the last of her drink, Tamaki very delicately disposes of the cup before she, too, steps into the semi-designated dancing zone.

Tamaki does indeed know how to dance! She is only a slight hazard to anyone else between her tail and slightly unsteady feet, as she has decided not to cause any serious chaos before the announcements.

Hawksley is about to reply to Abigail, when the Metro City man is assaulted by an animal? No, on second thoughts, it's just some crazy chick. "There's drugs here?" he questions, bemused by the blue haired girl's behaviour.

"I swear she sniffed my neck." He brings a hand up to it, rubbing at the exposed skin and then stares at the schoolgirl, who is now down on her knees and knawing at Abigail's ankle.

The Cork County fella is confident the car fanatic can handle the hassle, but his pulse starts to race, ready to react if needed. It seems she would be happy to scamper back off to wherever she came from however, hissing as she goes.

"Who the feck was that?" he wonders, before turning his attention back to the stage.

Chevy grins back at Tamaki -- and she's just about to respond when she hears the kerfluffle between Abigail and a... highschooler with... signs? Chevy crosses her eyes for a moment, sparing a glance for Buck, who's a bit closer to all that. ... Did she read his expression right, was he actually -hoping- for a fight?

But, thankfully, it seems to work out without even more bitey-bitey. And, turning back to Tamaki, she grins. "Yeah! Dancing is a pretty good way to work out the stress. I didn't... I actually didn't -realize- how much fun this all was. And I don't want it to stop, either."

Even as Tamaki starts for the dance floor, Chevy is reaching into the clutch she's carrying. And after a moment, she withdraws a small object with a lanyard string attached. Closer inspection would show it to be a phone-charm of a bucket... with a raccoon tail wrapped around it. Homemade creation?

The redhead with Princess Leia hairbuns presents the charm out Tamaki with both hands, sporting a goofy grin. "I heard that souvenirs were popular here, and... I'm not sure when we'll all see each other again... so... I made ones for the folks here. Here's yours!"

At some point CYS switched songs, but it's hard to be certain when for those not familiar with their repertoire. It's all been playing full steam ahead like some kind of rock opera, no breaks, interruptions or introductions, since they started playing Resonant Objects. They finally end with a tension-building rendition of Fanatic Waltz, and as they reach the end of the keytar-led number, Yashiro leans forward to speak into the microphone.

"So... somebody told me that right about now there's some big announcement that needs to be made. And after that, CYS are done playing for the night! So, I hope you've enjoyed it while it lasted, babies!"

The band finishes playing, and Yashiro is the first to set his guitar down amongst his other two axes before stomping off the stage and heading toward the back room where the band emerged from earlier.

As the band heads backstage, the lights go down, and a video screen behind where they were playing before lights up as music starts playing out of the sound system, heralding... something New Fighting Generation-related, judging by the title 'New Fighting Generation' overlaying what appear to be indistinct 8-bit renditions of photographs of some of the New Fighting Generation participants.

It's almost like it's the title screen for a retro video-game based on the NFG. And if it is, Buford seems to either be the main character or the final boss.


(Video here:

The second song has, if anything, an even more intense effect on Ichika. The girl is utterly enthralled. Her dancing is not anywhere near as elegant as Shermie's flirtation with the edge of the stage, but she just keeps on going - even when she's been giving it her all for so long that sweat is glistening and her breath is coming hard, she keeps encouraging Coco to go further; tries to sweep those who pass too close to the impromptu 'dancefloor' into the movement and, well... by the time Yashiro makes his announcement, she is at least aware that she's the only one who got into it to *quite* that level. That nagging voice is coming back to her, and the girl's heartbreak is written all over her face.

Nevertheless, she claps. Voice too hoarse from screaming to keep going, she staggers back to the bar, and collapses against it. Only when she manages that does she fully comprehend just how she must have looked to her fellow competitors ... and some sponsors, even. Oh no. She, really let herself go, there.

Her head hits the top of the bar hard and she groans, which does unfortunately mean she misses the extremely cool video. Even so... it isn't just regret she feels. The comedown is hard, but the memory of how all that music had made her feel.

"... do you think, if we cheer enough, they will do an encore?" She asks the bartender, plaintive.

There's only a flicker of disappointment from Buck as the situation with the odd school girl ends in realtive peace, but he just takes a sip of his drink as he watches her skitter off with a dubious shake of his head. "I have no idea." He mutters in response to Hawksley's question.

He shifts his attention to the stage though once the band seems to be clearing off, the disappointment a little more clear on his face this time, he was just really starting to get into the music, but he practically perks up at the mention of a big annoouncement. He moves a little away from the bar to get a better view of the stage through the people still hanging around in the room. Only a slight wince is spared for the sound of Ichika's head hitting the bar, and only the briefest of glances before his eyes are back on the stage.

Tamaki doesn't mind being distracted on her way to the dance floor.

"Oh, that's good! You did seem to have some to work out," Tamaki says, with a slightly toothy grin. "Fortunately this is kind of the place for that, isn't it? Mmm... maybe it won't stop. Nothing says it has to end when the *official* part ends. As for dancing, it's a good way to just let your body do what it wants."

But then out comes - a souvenir. Tamaki is, for the first time, visibly surprised by this. Nobody has really given her gifts before, even little souvenirs - oh, sometimes she tricks people into it but that's not the same. She holds it up, looking at the little homemade charm as she suspends it near her face. A faint expression crosses her face before being replaced with an honest smile, with fewer teeth.

"I thank you for this," she says to Chevy, with a surprisingly formal-looking bow. Less formally: "Of course, I haven't a phone with me, but I can think of a good use for it once I'm back with my things. I do appreciate it - and I haven't anything for you!"

The toothy grin comes back. "I'll have to make it up to you later. But look! They're starting something new, I see." Tamaki tilts her head toward the announcement, or at least the announcement of the announcement.

Djamila has been quiet, sipping drinks and keeping aware of everything going on around, but keeping interactions so far to a minimum. She's aware of the crazy girl and big man episode. She's aware of everyone having fun. She would rather be at the strip club, however. She knows how to behave there. At a party not so much.

When the video comes on, she seems to enjoy that quite a bit. Presumably, she only hears the music and is unaware of the graphic on display, but who knows?

She thinks back at her ranking. 4 out of all the fighters. Not bad. Not enough to attract the most attention, but enough to show potential. It had to be enough, doesn't it? Ok, enough about that. Let's see what else happens here.

"You're welcome!" Chevy's grin falters for a moment, but she notes, "It doesn't have to go on a phone or anything, it can go anywhere, it can stay home, I don't mind. I just needed to make somethin', so I wouldn't be so sad at missin' time to work on my car back home."

But then... an announcement? Like Ichika and, well, pretty much -everyone-, Chevy breaks into a round of applause, throwing a fist up and whooping her support of CYS! Always down for a good solid jam!

"Mm... yeah!" she adds to Tamaki, as she moves to face the colored screen. It's no CYS. But it is cool to watch for a minute. At least until she notices the 'final boss.' At which point she seems a bit less cool with it. Why Buford?

"OK! I gotta see if I can pass the rest of these out. And I -will- want a rematch at some point, just so you know!" She starts making her way back to the bar -- grimacing when she hears Ichika's head -hitting- said bar. At which point she hurries up, wrapping an arm around Miss Kasumoto's shoulders.

"Hey you, take it easy over here, will ya?" she cautions. And a moment later, she pulls out a cellphone charm for Ichika -- similarly, a bucket, but this one has a sheathed katana epoxied to the side. "And hey, I made this for you. Hope you like it!"

Chevy looks back to the screen, curious to see if it's changed. Like, different text, maybe, or some sort of fire happens behind the NFG logo that just -happens- to make Buford's visage less prominent...

When Chevy throws her arms around her... well, really, it's a risk. Ordinarily Ichika shies away from physical contact. It's not something she's good or comfortable with. But right now? Chevy lucks out. The girl is deep in her feelings. She lifts her head, looking a little baffled. After all of that, who would even want to come and share space with her? Hadn't she just made a total fool of herself?

But. It's Chevy. And what's more, Chevy brought her a gift. The girl stares open-mouthed for a moment, and then... oh, the tears are coming. She needs to hide them. What's the best way to do that?

She flings her arms around the older girl and buries her face in her shoulder, "That's so lovely, Chevy!" She -- is that, a sob? "Ah, you've just been so kind to me. I don't even care that I did so badly any more. Is that a bad thing to say? I should be striving for better but, so long as we stay friends, I already feel that I have won so much. Ah, I'm babbling, please, ah, I'm sorry... I just mean to say..."

What, DOES she mean to say? Whatever it is, she's not actually... saying it. Her hand is just closing around the charm as though it is the most cherished thing she's seen in all the world.

As the video finishes playing, the lights come up over the stage area, revealing a man with a moustache and neatly-combed brown hair who's dressed in a smart burgundy-coloured suit standing on one side of the stage and an older, stouter man with neck-length salt-and-pepper hair wearing a denim vest over a black t-shirt with a heart in the middle, jeans, and a red bandana around his head. They are recognisable to those who follow the New Fighting Generation (as well as a variety of historical fighting events) as Tom Bradley and 'Loverboy' Lou Harris.

"Hey, that was pretty cool, huh, Lou?" Tom remarks as he turns to the other commentator-come-joint-emcee.

"I dunno, Tom. I feel like it was cool, but I'm a literal boomer. I'm not sure how 'New Fighting Generation' goes with 'eighties video game,' but maybe it's like chocolate and peanut butter. It just works," Lou says.

"Unless you're deathly allergic to peanut butter," Tom muses aloud.

"Well, I think we're at least marginally less likely to get sued over the hype video, anyway," Lou replies. "So, hello, ladies, gents, and the rest of our friends here tonight! We're here to kick off the preseason of NFG by presenting the Fightfest Twenty-Twenty Three inaugural NFG tournament trophy, announcing the current NFG point standings, and revealing the details of the upcoming NFG sponsor draft!" Lou finishes his announcement by reaching for a glass of water on a podium next to him and sipping from it before taking a deep breath.

Meanwhile, Tom cuts in, "And here to help us present the winner of the tournament with the trophy, we have our special guest, Princess Lyraelle Lightheart!"

As a number of unplayed and possibly paid characters around the room clap for her arrival, Princess Lyraelle saunters into the spotlight from the side of the stage, trailed by a trio of short imps - one green, one pinkish-red, and one yellow - the first two of whom are each carrying what look like small red jewelry boxes, and the third of whom is carrying what looks to be a moderately tall object - about a foot and a half or so - under a purple cloth.

"Thanks, minions - I mean, NFG fans!" Lyraelle calls out to the crowd with a wink as she gives her typical V-next-to-tilted-head salute before straightening up. "So, feel free to come on up when I call you! Let's start with winner of the third place match, Tamaki!"

The spindly, winged green-skinned imp steps forward with his jewelry box for the third place winner, holding it open. Inside is a bronze medal on a red and yellow ribbon.

"And our runner-up, Hawksley Moore!"

The stout, pinkish imp steps forward and opens his jewelry box, revealing a similar medal, but in silver. Both medallions have the words 'FIGHTFEST 2023' across the top and 'NEW FIGHTING GENERATION' across the bottom, with '3RD PLACE' and '2ND PLACE' as appropriate.

"And finally, our first place winner... Nixie Greene!"

For now, the cloth remains over the trophy that the yellow ram-horned imp is holding aloft, awaiting Nixie's approach.

Meanwhile, Lyraelle stands on hand to place the medals on each of the fighters when they arrive.

"I know just where it can go," Tamaki assures Chevy, before she heads off.

And it's not very long before Tom and Lou - and shortly, Lyraelle - call her up. Tamaki doesn't hesitate before she strides up herself, all confidence even as she is momentarily dazzled by the change in lighting between where she was and on top of the stage.

"Why, thank you," she says, glancing over Lyraelle as she is en-medaled and then taking a quick glance at the medal itself. Yup, it's a medal. She's never had one of these before either. It's an enjoyable feeling.

Of course, then she ruins it by stage-whispering, loud enough for some people to hear, "Do you need a hand up to the stage," in Nixie's direction. She is, of course, awfully short. Please ignore the fact that these things have stairs or a ramp; Tamaki had gone a whole ten minutes without teasing anyone and was feeling due.

Stepping up to the stage, the silver medallist smiles broadly, accepting his award from the awaiting imp. "That's grand. Thanks, fella."

He places the medal around his neck, then brings it up to his mouth to kiss it. "Me mammy will be so proud." It might not be quite the hard man image fans of Hawksley may expect, but he doesn't seem shy to express his emotions.

"Thanks to everyone I fought along the way, it's been a blast" he beams. "To the rest of you, I'm coming for you too."

With that he makes way for the champion to take her place.

The whole situation with Edenlith seems to have stunned Abigail for a bit. He turns his leg from one side to the other to try and get a good look at where she started gnawing down on him and ends up satisfied that no real damage was done to either clothes or flesh.

"Th'hell..." he mutters, "She was probably carryin' something!"

By the time he's gotten it together he presentations have begun and he turns his full attention towards the stage to watch as the medalists receive their prizes and accolades.

"Huh. Not bad.. Not bad..."

When the music finally goes away, the lights go low, and Ichika abandons the dancefloor, Coco stops her own dancing and turns to watch the video, the flashing lights reflecting on her pale face as her silvery eyes go blank and her head slowly cants to one side. Once the video stops playing, she straightens her head again.

"I literally can't even," she says in an utterly nonplussed manner. "What even was that? Was that me in a swimsuit on the side? Where did they even get that pic from? And why is it so pixel-y? What a load of rubbish."

Sighing and huffing haughtily, she heads over to a table and plops her backside down on an empty chair to watch the rest of the presentation. She does cheer when the winners are announced -

"Woo, Tamaki! Nice one!"

"Boooo, Lucky!"

"Congrats, Nixie! Woooo!"

- mostly, anyway. At least she's as enthusiastic with her response to Hawksley's placement as the other two.

Nixie steps forwards when the trophy is presented to her. She wonder if the trophy is magical in nature, it's being presented by imps after all. Most normal people don't have them working for her. She takes the stairs to get on the stage not really paying attention to the image. A simple "Thanks." is all that escapes her mouth as she takes the trophy. The lights shining on the stage are clearly bothering the goblin and she wants to get away from them as soon as possible.

Chevelle hadn't really -known- that Ichika, or even Japanese people in general, might be weirded out by hugs, but she starts to understand that there -could- be a problem from her hesitation. ... It's either that, or Ichika's given herself a mild concussion. They could both express the same symptoms here.

The good thing is, the redhead doesn't need to wait long for a more heartfelt reaction. Her hug is returned with additional multiplier bonuses -- and she's okay holding it for as long as the Justice High student is! "I'm... happy you like it!" she chirps out, genuinely glad to have made a connection with Ichika! "I just wanted to show you how happy I was to meet up with you..."

She looks like she'd go on longer, except for Tom, Lou, and Lyraelle starting up the awards bit of the show. Chevy applauds as soon as she's able to get her hands freed.

She does call over to Abigail: "Hope your rabies boosters are up to date, big guy!"

Chevy offers her applause to all three of the presented fighters! "Woo hoooooo! Congratulations!"

Djamila also applauds when the 3 winners of the tournament are up on the stage. "Good Job guys, you are awesome. You deserve this." She claps her hand some more before she stops and goes back to being quiet.

Abigail is..unamused as he hears Chevy because..she's probably right.

"Damn thing.." he grumbles and just shakes his head and fundementally is okay. Besides even if she did really bite him.. honestly worse has happened to him in Metro City.

He does end up folding his arms and looking over the winners. While he doesn't applaud his frown lessens at least and he nods his head in open approval at the winners on stage.

Lyraelle takes the bronze medal from the box to bestow it on Tamaki first. "Great job in the tournament, sweetie. You did us proud," she says to the bake-danuki.

To Hawksley, she simply says, "Nice going, hot stuff," and winks as she places the silver medal on his neck.

When it comes time to give Nixie her trophy, Lyraelle pulls the cloth aside, revealing a tall, sleek trio of red metal tubes ending in circular gold plates at the top and bottom ends. On top of the trophy is a white crystalline statuette in the shape of Nixie in her fighting outfit, holding a flask of some liquid or other in preparation to throw it. Engraved around the outside of both plates are the words 'FIGHTFEST 2023 - NEW FIGHTING GENERATION TOURNAMENT - 1st PLACE - NIXIE GREENE.'

"Here you go, sweetie! I'd love to interview you sometime soon!" Lyraelle says as she helps the yellow imp hand the trophy over to Nixie.

"Now, here's our standings for the NFG points as of the end of the tournament!" Lou says once the applause has died down sufficiently and the numbers have appeared on the screen behind.
NIXIE - 11 Points
HAWKSLEY - 10 Points
TAMAKI - 9 Points
DJAMILA - 8 Points
COCO - 8 Points
SARAH - 7 Points
BUFORD - 6 Points
ICHIKA - 6 Points
GENIE - 6 Points
KENZO - 6 Points
AYALA - 5 Points
JOHN DOE - 5 Points
CHEVY - 5 Points
IRIS - 4 Points
BUCK - 4 points
BRIAN STORM - 4 Points
ISAMU - 3 Points
AMBER - 2 Points

"As you can see, our top three winners in Nixie, Hawksley and Tamaki are leading with eleven, ten, and nine points respectively," Tom announces.

"And hot on their heels are Coco and Djamila with eight points," Lou says. "Coco got knocked out in the second round, but she performed pretty well in the bonus rounds, so she ends up with the same score as our fourth place."

"After that, we've got Sarah, who won her bonus stage match in the last round, but didn't get the extra bonus point for calling the winner," Tom continues. "And after that, we have the rest of the competitors - closely spread for the most part. What may appear controversial was the decision by the NFG commission to grant the latecomers four participation points each prior to the draft - giving them more points than some of our competitors who participated in the tournament."

"Well, that's because Sayuri got herself disqualified for her performance in her first match against Sarah - and she was supposed to face Amber, who begged off. Isamu got knocked out first round, and he no-showed his final bonus round."

"That's right, as did Brian Storm. I heard they ended up having a pie-eating contest instead."

"Yeah, Isamu wanted to restore his honour after he found out that Brian had cheated him out of the drinking contest," Lou says. "Of course, they couldn't have an actual drinking contest because Brian's straight-edge. Isamu won, but it was ruled as not counting for the competition."

"And Amber failed to choose an appropriate costume. She showed up for the Star Wars round dressed as Seven of Nine," Tom says. "So she was given a participation point but docked the point she would have had for winning by default."

"So basically giving Buck and Iris four points was the commission's way of telling these clowns to cut the crap and participate," Lou finishes, "And make sure that the two unknowns have some value going into the draft."

Sarah was here all this time. She's just been helping out with the disk jockeying. (Obviously!)$r
When she hears she got seven points in the tournament, she cheers wildly, albeit without taking time away to continue her disk jockeying. "This was great! I hope I can show off again sometime!"

From there, she brings on a fitting record for the whole thing: Get This Party Started by Pink.

Buck adds his own loud cheers to those given by the others as the winners claim their prizes, even adding in some loud whistling because he can. He cheers just as loud for third as he does for first, at least until he takes a break to sip at his drink.

As the announcers get down to more business he looks down at the glass in his hand, knowing he's probably going to be at the very bottom of the rankings given his late entrance. But at the news he's actually been given points his head whips up to stare blankly towards the stage, and then his expression turns a touch.. sour? "I didn't earn those." He mutters under his breath, brow furrowing as his gaze moves down to the floor once more. He's not going to argue it, but he doesn't look happy about having a bit of a headstart on some of the others.

There is an opportunity here -- and as soon as she's sure Ichika has recovered, Chevy gives one final squeeze before undertaking her mission! And that mission is... to stealth through the crowd and give the fourth place finisher a much-belated greeting. Mind, it only looks stealthy to everyone else, as Chevy's shoes still make sounds and all...

"Hi!" chirps Chevy, from a point a little in front of and beside Djamila. "It's Chevy," she starts, leaving an opportunity for her to notice the presence. "I... wanted to thank you for thinking of me in your interview! I... know we didn't get to fight this go-round, but I'm sure we'll get to in the future!" Mind -- she -might- have continued, but the announcements take priority, and she (perhaps wisely) refrains from trying to talk over those. "And... wow! Congratulations on scoring fourth in the points! Great work there...!" If only she and JD had been a bit more efficient at dismantling their car...

"Hey sure ya did." rumbles Abigail's voice down to Buck as the giant was still near enough to him.

"Didn't you just remind me about the nitro boost? Well you got it by signing up and being willing to put your foot to the pedal. that's more then most people can say."

Look at Abigail, being all mentory.

"Don't start running out of gas on us before you start the race!"

Her offer untaken, Tamaki doesn't press her luck by continuing to tease anyone. She just accepts her medal with good grace. "Thank you," she says, before the smile comes back. "It was an enjoyable experience, certainly. Hopefully the rest of it is that... entertaining."

She cranes her head around to look at the numbers - she knows where SHE is, it's everyone else she doesn't know about. Djamila she could have guessed would be right behind her; the rest she had no idea where they'd end up, though she is surprised to see some of the placements even if she doesn't say anything about it.

"I could have won that drinking contest," she stage-whispers, instead. "OR the pie-eating contest."

Djamila is aware Chevy is coming to her, maybe it's her shoes, maybe it's something else. "Chevy. I am glad we finally get to talk. My pole sister." She smiles. "If anyone asks me. You're the cutest in and out. You will surprise us out there. You will go far. This isn't done by a long shot." She smiles more. "Thank you for your congratulation. No matter what happens, keep pushing alright? I have faith in you. You might not be top three, but you are the one I have the most faith in." She reaches to touch her shoulder if allowed. She's slow enough if not allowed.

Pole sister is a neat name. The snicker that accompanies Chevy's smile can be heard, at least. "Cutest? Heck, you're too kind..." She smiles back, nodding encouragingly to each compliment offered her. She rocks her shoulder forward encouragingly, placing her hand atop Djamila's -- not -really- sure what the right move is, there. "Thanks for the kind words! And yeah, wow, -you- did fantastic! I just know we're gonna end up bumpin' into one another soon enough." She pats Djamila's hand once more, before taking a step back. "Okay! I just wanted to say hey while I saw ya. Gonna go scare up the last bit of food from the buffet... Nice meetin' ya!"

It's a great time.

Made even better by the barefoot disk jockey Sarah!

"This was a great time everyone!" She announces. "Thanks for being here! This is DJ Supernova sayin' 'Stay bright!'"

Kenzo had finally decided on what to eat. Some yakitori and gyoza along with other items. Once he has his plate full, he takes his now relatively dark drink and goes to sit and eat all the while head bobbing to CYS.

Then the announcements are made and Kenzo is quiet as he consumes the massive amounts of food which seems out of line for how slim he is until one considers he acts like a battery for his gear. The only exceptions to quiet eating is when the tournament top 3 are called up. Those, he does give them each a round of applause.

After seeing the point spread, he's surprised that he ended up rated higher than his teammate for the car bonus stage. Even still, he feels like he could have done better on that particular bonus stage.

Buck looks over at Abigail and then nods. "Yer right. Lookit you, already doin' the mentoring thing." He adds with a bit more cheer. He still looks a little annoyed about the points, but he just takes a sip from his drink and accepts them for now.

He's looking at the rankings like it's an obstacle to be overcome. Seems Buck only has two settings: jovial, and all out. He's repeating a few of the names under his breath, picking out the ones on the list he most wants to trade blows with, not that many don't get repeated, but definitely everyone above him gets at least a small murmur of their name as he commits them all to memory.

Ichika does her best to pull herself together. It has been an emotional night. To think, when she had entered the tournament it was with the single-minded thought that if she didn't win it would have been better not to compete at all; that she would disgrace herself and Justice High by performing badly. 'For some of us to rise, others of us must fall', right?

She smiles weakly to Chevy as the redhead pulls away, and when the top three receive their prizes she claps, but the girl is back in her own head. The project may just be beginning - heck, there were new competitors who hadn't fought a single time thus far - but... the opening is done. How naive she had been to think the way she had when she first stepped into the arena. So very much has changed for her since then, she has learned so much about herself and about the art of fighting as a whole, and now... everything will change.

She wipes her eyes and steadies her breath as she regards the rankings. "Middle of the pack." She says softly. "But if I have to return to school after this... can I really hope to improve that position? Hnn." Her mind drifts to the imposing figure of the Justice High Headmaster, and she sets her jaw, raising her head high. The hand with her charm has curled into a fist which she holds to her heart. "My first challenge of the next stage, then... I must speak with Imawano-sensei!"

Such a thing would have been unthinkable even a few short weeks ago. She did everything she could NOT to come to the attention of the faculty, as a rule. Raizo even more than the rest. But this was important to her in a way it hadn't been before. She could do it. Compared to the challenges she would have to face in the coming weeks and months, what is a conversation with her own Headmaster?

It takes a minute or so for the announcement of the standings to fully settle in. There's a bit of a murmur from the crowd at first - but suddenly, a bellowing voice pipes up from a corner table that has mostly been ignored so far.


The speaker is a Japanese man of immense proportions. He rises indignantly from the table full of empty sake bottles that he's been occupying for most of the evening. "And these two new fighters get FOUR? This is a disgrace!"

Isamu swipes his hand across the table, sending bottles scattering everywhere.

"To discount my victory in the pie-eating contest! I have not even been given a proper appearance on broadcast because of 'TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES!'"

Isamu flips another table over, this one empty, at least.

"I will suffer no further ignominy in this competition! I hereby... RESIGN!!"

The rotund wrestler staggers away from the table with an unstable gait, his kimono fluttering behind him.

"Yeah, I don't think this is what I thought it would be. Everybody here is so violent! I thought this would all be... you know, for fun," another voice, this one American, pipes up as she rises from a table. The brunette, dressed in a Sunshine City Dragons cheerleader uniform and recognizable as Amber Riley, smooths out her skirt. "Instead, I get terrorized by some kind of vampire nurse, almost peed on by -that- guy, and then left on my own in a sexy Princess Leia dancing costume with a bunch of fans gawking at me for hours! If I wanted to be this degraded, I could've stayed in Sunshine City and got a job in the adult film industry."

Lou and Tom both look at each other in surprise as the cheerleader trails the sumo out of the room.

"Well, I've got to say, that was..." starts Tom.

"Fairly predictable, really," Lou finishes the thought.

"I was going to say quite shocking, but also very predictable, yes, Lou," Tom concludes.

"On the bright side, with Sayuri also eliminated from competition until further notice, that makes things a little more straightforward for the draft," Lou says with a lackadaisical tone.

"Yes! Speaking of which, we should probably go ahead and explain the draft. Lou, would you do the honours?" Tom asks as information appears on the monitor behind the pair.

Lou chugs some water from his glass before nodding. "Absolutely. So! The draft will begin on May 31st and will be taking place in the conference room across the hall from here. First off, for those who haven't had a sneak preview already, there are going to be four sponsor teams. Those teams are Team Blaze, Team Frost, Team Metal, and Team Thunder."

"Think of these teams as alliances of like-minded sponsors who've been grouped together to provide their combined support for a group of prospects," Tom chimes in. "We've interviewed several of the sponsors and will be posting their interviews online over the next few days."

"So, the draft is going to take place in rounds. Each round, starting with the first sponsor team, the sponsors will take turns choosing who they'd like to draft," Lou continues. "But! Just because a sponsor chooses a prospect doesn't guarantee that they get that prospect. At the end of each round, if more than one sponsor team has chosen the same prospect, each sponsor team that has a bid on that prospect will get a chance to pitch to that prospect why they should join their team."

"Then, it's up to the prospect which of the sponsor teams that have bid on them they want to join," Tom contributes.

"Yep - otherwise, at the end of the turn, any uncontested picks automatically join the team that picked them," Lou states. "So, it's actually possible for the last team on the round to guarantee they get a pick if they're willing to give up contesting any of the picks the other teams have made that round."

"Which makes last pick potentially even more valuable than first pick," Tom remarks. "Of course, each round, the pick order will rotate in order to ensure as much fairness as possible."

"So, as far as I see it, the sponsors might wanna go for the high-point prospects like Nixie, Hawksley and Tamaki first, but if three sponsors all want the top prospect, the fourth could come in snag the second prospect guaranteed. It's a bit of a strategic game. It'll be interesting to see who the sponsors favour," Lou comments. "In fact, they might even go for the prospects that haven't done as well in the tournament just 'cause they see some potential in them, or think they'll be more trainable, or they think their values will align. After all, a lot of these sponsors are looking for long-term recruits for their organisations and dojos."

"So, without further ado, here's the list of sponsor teams!"

The teams appear on the screen as they're announced:



"On team Blaze, we've got the powerful and mysterious fighter Gouki. We've also got Mitsuru Tokugawa and Yuri Sakazaki, two Southtown high schoolers who've had more than their fair share of fighting experience. Yuri's representing the storied Kyokugen dojo. We've also got a wildcard in Zog the Hammer. Nobody's really sure who he is, but I think he might be from Illyria," Lou remarks.



"And team Frost is an interesting one. Here we've got a Tae Kwon Do expert with a possibly shady past, a scrap-smashing giant with a possibly shady past, the Secretary of Defense of the United States," Tom continues.

"With a possibly shady past," Lou chimes in.

"And a shamanistic Russian-American fighter with a possibly shady past," Tom finishes.

"Some people are saying this team has no theme, but I'm seeing a definite throughline," Lou says.



"So, this team's a bit of an enigma. We have a sensei called Peng You, a shrine maiden, the last Neo League champion in Princess Lyraelle, and the mysterious Ariastra," Tom comments as the names come up.

"To be honest, I mostly know Lyraelle out of these four. She's probably the face of the team, what with her recent historical media fame and her victory in the Neo League."

"Hey, what do you mean historical?" Lyraelle says with a scowl from the side of the stage she's been occupying.



"So, if you were looking for 'Team Corporate Sponsorship,' look no further. Tech giant Arctel has supplied most of the sponsorship for Team Metal, including lending the expertise of their security team for training," Lou continues.

"And aside from those members, the odd one out is Minal Panesh. On top of being an ex-Marine, she's a well-known face on the fighting circuit. If any team is likely to have the technological edge, it's Team Metal," Tom declares.

"And that's what you can expect from the draft! Some of the sponsors are here right now, so this might be a chance for you prospects out there to get to know them," Lou finishes, gesturing broadly as the lights come up. "Thanks, folks!"

Sipping on his black velvet, Hawksley listens with rapt attention as the draught is explained. "It's a bit like that show, The Voice" he remarks to whoever is in earshot. "Except with more coaches."

He can't help but feel excited at the prospect of being a part of one of these teams. Every one of them has their attractions for very differing reasons. As his dark eyes scan the room, he registers which of the sponsors are present. Abigail, he's spoken to, Ariastra has somewhat of an untouchable air about her. Lyraelle he's most familiar with, from her appearances on the pundit team and tonight and she did refer to him as "hot stuff." That could have just been a reference to his fire chi though.

Djamila listens to everything being said. Every team seems to be interesting. She will be lucky in any of those teams.

She doesn't react much outwardly right now. She listens, she "observes" in some way. There will be time later to show more emotions.

The rules are fair, and most prospects have unlimited potential right now. The party has been interesting and full of information. Now she's quite curious how said draft will turn out. She figures prospects must feel going through a range of emotions right now. She ponders in her head, if all Teams wanted all prospects, what each prospects would choose. At least she's doing that until more info comes.

Ichika regards the tantrum from the other competitors cooly. She didn't particularly care about the point rankings for the newcomers. It was not the points in the competition which had been most valuable to her. It was the lessons she had learned from the fights that she had. Lessons which it did not seem Isamu or Amber had engaged with. She felt a mild sympathy for Amber, who did seem to have received something of a raw deal, but in the end... they all had been given opportunities aplenty even outside of the sanctioned matches. In fact, following her first loss, seeking out her own development had been a key consideration.

The teams draw more attention from the schoolgirl, and she huffs a little at Team Blaze. She didn't know this Gouki or Zog... but the other two? They were fellow schoolchildren, and not even Justice High! What could THEY possibly hope to teach her? "... Well, I suppose the chances are at least three out of four." She muttered to herself, "And I am unlikely to be seen as a prize in any event. Hm."

There's a definite look of seriousness on her face as she straightens and checks her sword. "It was nice to spend an evening with all of you." She says, addressing the room at large - albeit... with how soft and raspy her voice is, whether anyone actually hears her is another question. "Now I must go and prepare. There are matters to be dealt with, and not long to do so."

... going and bothering the Headmaster in the middle of the night is possibly not the greatest idea that Ichika has ever had, but as she moves purposefully from the room, that is exactly what she feels she now must do.

He watches the two quitters leave with, well, it's probably the first open look of disappointment Buck has given anyone. He shakes his head and looks away, muttering under his breath. "Throwin' it away, idiots." Even being on the bottom is better than not placing at all.

Then Buck's eyes fix on the team lists, glancing over the names, some of them familiar some less so. He puffs out his cheeks, then sighs. "Well damn, I bet those teams already have lists of who they want, still, be interestin' to see who gets snapped up first." There's a look between the top 3, as if he's certain those are going to be exactly who gets snapped up first, then his eyes move on to the sponsers present in the room, considering.

As the draft is explained, Chevy has been finding her way about the room. It's been a lot to take in after all -- farm girl coming to a big city, making friends and rivals amidst a culture she knows little about. She was a bit disappointed at her point tally -- and she's a bit disappointed that she hadn't gotten to spend more time with Isamu and Amber.

But at least Brian Storm will still be around... right?

Still. By the time the sponsorship teams are announced, Chevy's back by the bar, close enough to catch Hawksley's comment. "Oh, yeah... a few of my friends are really into that show!" She grins, musing over the teams. So Abigail's part of 'Team Frost,' is it? "... Hmm. I ain't so sure about 'Team Metal' but the others sound like they could be fun," she muses aloud.

But, there's a reason for Chevy's meandering. And it becomes obvious when she reaches into her clutch and pulls out another one of the smartphone charms she'd made. This one is... a bucket with a ring of flames hand-painted across it.

"Oh, hey, Hawksley? I... I know we didn't get to talk much for this event, but... you know, just in case the next phase of this thing lights off and we don't get to see each other..." She holds the charm out to him, encouragingly. And with slightly reddened cheeks. "I hope you'll still keep us in your thoughts, yeah?"

Kenzo turns to respond to Buck's comment, "What do you expect from someone quitting a competition with 'fighting' in the name of it because it's violent?"

He takes a bite from one of the remaining sticks for yakitori a takes a moment to chew.

"I can't figure if it is a bigger indictment of their intelligence or their heart."

Yeah Kenzo went there. As far as what team he'll end up with, he sees one which would logically snatch him up and one where he could end up if the unexpected happens.

Hawksley grins back at Chevy. "I used to love it myself. Well, the Irish version of it. Me and my mammy watched it together. My favourite judge was Dolores O'Riordan. God rest her soul."

When she hands him the charm, he holds it in the palm of his hand, running a finger over it and admiring the effort that's gone into its creation. "This is gorgeous, Chevy" he gushes. "A bucket for you and the flames for me. Water and fire."

He beams back at her, then responds to her warm words. "You're not gonna get rid of me that easily, Cailin. I owe you at least one drink and we haven't got to beat each other up yet. There'll be plenty of time for us to get to know each other better over the next few months."

He lifts up his striped shirt and attaches the charm to the buckle of his leather belt. "There we go. Now there's no chance of me forgetting you, is there?"

Chevy snickers as she overhears Kenzo's comment, nodding along. It might not have been a -nice- thing to say, and maybe not something -she- would have said, but she can appreciate the sentiment.

But... her attention's mostly on Hawksley. "Thanks!" she chirps out. Her smile grows a bit as he calls her 'Cailin' -- if only because she's not terribly sure what that means, but it sounds cool! ... Her cheeks grow even redder with his followup gesture though.

"Right," she stammers. "Yes. I mean, I think that'll do!"

She looks back at Hawksley -- and finds herself again at a loss for words. He's so handsome. And -so- polite. And... just -everything-. So she resorts to the most comfortable thing she can think of: extending her hand for a firm handshake.

"So! To new beginnings!"

With that delivered, she'd then wander off into the crowd. Possibly die of embarassment!

Hawksley happily accepts the handshake, his rough skin brushing against Chevy. He lifts his same hand to wave her off, once she wanders away. "New beginnings" he echoes, draining what's left of his drink.

Weaving his way through the partygoers, he positions himself besides a purple haired posh girl. "How's things?" he checks with Coco. "You seem to have been adjusting to the sober life. You were even booing me earlier, so it's back to business as usual."

Coco's gaze had lingered for a while on Amber as she made her move to leave. After all, a lot of the cheerleader's sentiments seemed to align with what her own initial feelings might have been about what the competition turned out to be. There were three key differences for Coco, though. First, she wasn't as opposed as she thought to proper fighting, and didn't feel as put off as she'd expected even by getting hit in the face. Second, she had had a taste of victory in the tournament and bonus rounds - winning two fights in total - and it turned out that she liked it. Thirdly, she wouldn't be upset by the idea of hanging out in a Princess Leia costume for a few hours while being gawked at. After all, her TIE pilot outfit had turned out to be just as modest by the end of the fight.

Still, it was a bit like watching herself in another timeline.

"So, we're going to be on teams after all?" Coco muses as she digests the deluge of information that's been provided for the party's participants. Her Diet Pepsi is mostly drained, and beside her, Captain Morgan is looking fat and happy in his chair, having gorged himself on various canapes all evening. "I don't even know who any of those people are, if I'm honest. I suppose I'll just have to see what happens in the draft."

She turns her eyes toward where Chevy and Hawksley are talking and watches them closely, taking in the farm girl's body language and the look on her face. When she sees Hawksley then approaching her, her own cheeks start to redden a little.

"Hello, Lucky. Surely you're not complaining? I've heard that controversial figures like yourself get better publicity from their detractors than their sycophants," she points out. "Congrats on getting your medal. I wonder which team you'll end up on. Do any of them scream 'scruffy nerfherders wanted?'"

"Thanks for the congrats, Pops. I think the medal looks grand on me. I'd sooner have had the gold one, but you can't win them all."

He reaches out to tuck a stray strand of Coco's hair behind her ear. It's probably been displaced since the headbanging with Ichika.

"No complaints though. Love me, hate me, don't give a feck about me, that's their business. I'll just focus on myself, so I shall. Teamwise, none of them have been that specific about scruffy nerfherders, but who wouldn't want a guy like Han on their team? I've even got the costume if circumstances call for it."

In the hustle and noise of the post reward ceremony, it would be easy to overlook a lonely figure stepping into the hotel bar, hands shoved deep into his hoodie pockets and head bowed so that glossy black hair obscures his features.
Unfortunately for John Doe, he is not alone.
"I'm telling you bro, TOTAL Bullshit! Matt Dangerfield declares loudly as he scurries through the doors, hurrying to catch up to JD's shuffling stride.
"I thought it was a clever use of satire to undermine the audience's pre-conceived notions of what constitutes a character." This from Miranda Pratchet, the thin redhead stepping elegantly along with her purple shawl gathered around her.
"Yeah, that!" Matt crows, gold chains glittering as he flails his arms about wildly. "Exactly!"
Pointed nose twitching upward, Miranda fails to not look too pleased with herself, large violet eyes sweeping the room with the faintest look of distaste.
Seeming not to hear either of them, JD pauses just inside and stares down at something on the floor. Stooping low, he tugs a pale, graceful hand from his pocket and plucks the object up, swaying upright and lifting it to his eye for a better view.
"Complete Bul--Yo, what's that JD?"
Turning his hand over, John shows the other two the tiny blue captain's hat resting upon his palm, the bulk of his attention shifting to scan the noisy crowd.
"Huh. Do you think they hired a midget pirate?"
"Tssst. Don't say Midget. Little people, please."
"Yeah, whatever...JD?"
Having spotted a familiar pair at one of the many tables, John Doe lurches into a casual shuffle, bumping and swaying his way messily through the crowd while the members of his possy hurry to follow. In no time at all the actor emerges from the milling mass of humanity like a ghoulish, if insanely hot, creature of the night, looming up behind Coco and Hawksley with his eyes hidden behind a lush curtain of hair.
"Hrmph." he grunts in way of greeting, coming to lean casually against the back of the purple-haired lass's chair while a brilliant gleam of a smile is cast aside to the Irish brawler. Free hand lifting to clap the other man companionably on the back, he nods down to the silver medal gleaming on his chest, all easy energy and quiet congratulations.
"Oh hey, it's that hotty with the rat." Matt butts in, sauntering up to the table with Miranda ghosting uneasily along behind. Huge, somewhat oily smile spreading across his face, the spray-tanned life coach leers down at the British babe with a waggle of his eyebrows, while off to the side JD goes happily about trying to balance the little hat back atop Captain Morgan's head.

"I don't know, I think Bronze would have matched your eyes better," Coco says with a half-smirk to Hawksley as he reaches out toward her, allowing him to fix her disheveled hair. It doesn't really finish the job - it's gone rather feral since her headbanging session with Ichika. "Whereas I would have looked better with silver. I'll have to fix that next chance, for fashion's sake," she adds, fluttering her eyelashes. "You'll never make it in politics, Lucky." The last comment seems tonally more of a compliment than an insult, somehow.

When John Doe moves up behind her, Coco looks over her shoulder, then smiles. "Oh, hallo, Jay Dee. You're looking well. Oh! You found Morgie's hat - thanks."

Then Matt arrives and makes a comment about 'the hottie with the rat.' Unfortunately, the compliment is more easily ignored than the misappellation of Morgie as a 'rat.'

"Oh hey, it's the attractive fellow with the talking monkey," Coco says to Hawksley as she turns on her chair to face more toward Matt and John. "Gosh, can you imagine a rat the size of Morgie?"

Hawksley laughs at Coco's comment and flutteringly flirty lashes, then turns his head as he realises they have company.

"John, my man. How's it going, fella?" The warmth with which the movie star greets Hawksley is matched by the Irish Inferno.

"It's been too long. We're definitely due a beer or six."

He's palpably less pleased to see Matt the life coach however. "Jesus, who let this eejit in? I had my fill of the fecker last time we met."

He glares at the spray tanned sleaze, taking a step closer to Coco to protect her. Not that she probably needs it, being a kickass kickboxer.

"I can imagine a rat bigger than Morgie, as it happens" he responds to her, his eyes still on Matt.

"I don't have a monkey." Matt replies just a touch confusedly, smile growing strained as he casts a searching look over one broad shoulder for help.
Unfortunately for him, Miranda is too busy giggling into her cupped hands to be of much assistance, having faded well back to avoid any second-hand shame that might infect those near to him.
Still not seeming to get it, the life coach next turns his attention to Hawksley, then JD, deflating just a bit when the latter gives him an easy shrug before waving him off toward the somewhat depleted refreshments.
Still giggling, Miranda drifts along in Dangerfield's wake, seeming more interested in who he might strike out with next than remaining anywhere near some actual Europeans that might call her out on her blatantly phony accent.
Within that long, hissing sigh can be felt all the exasperation of relentless months spent in the company of his support staff. One pale hand shoves hair melodramatically from his eyes as he slumps down into an empty chair at the table, forming a crooked triangle with the other two. At the same moment his other hand picks through a few dishes left on the surface by attentive staff, shuffling them around with lazy interest until a plate of very pink meat winds up in front of him.
Oh, hey, they have steak tar-tar.
Taking a slice of meat between his fingers he pops it into his mouth, relaxing back into his seat with a slight lift of dark brows to the other two.
"Mmmm." he grunts, pleased.

Log created on 04:30:23 05/25/2023 by Pringer X, and last modified on 03:38:48 05/31/2023.