NFG Season One - Metro City R2 - Ichika vs Tamaki

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Description: Atop the fashionable West Side Rooftops, laid-back Tamaki and perpetually highly-strung Ichika clash in a battle of sword and sake.

The West Side Rooftops, the most happening place to be in the West Side of Metro City!

At least, kind of. The streets below are a mess, but the rooftops provide plenty of space to run, jump and tumble dramatically when making your way around the rougher side of Metro City. Ichika cracks her neck as she looks down at the ground, judging the potential fall, and noting the complete lack of any railings as the cameras get set up.

"... health and safety regulations are obviously something that are for other people." She muses. Not that this was totally unusual in the world of professional fighting, but it does seem worthy of note! The New Fighting Generation has suffered more than its fair share of audience and fighter mishaps, after all.

Still, the girl is bouncing on her feet. She never got a chance to spar with Tamaki when they were on the team together, and despite what Tom and Lou thought about the whole situation, she considered that to be a personal failing. This was an opportunity to set that right! To get to know the darkstalker woman the only way she really knows how - through the art of fighting!

The sun is just starting to dip below the rooftops when the cameraman gives a big thumbsup. It'll certainly look dramatic, lots of space for the orange light to splash across and cast dynamic shadows. After so many other types of drama lately, the drama of a good fight would certainly be a welcome relief!

Tamaki wasn't the one that spread those rumors, either, but they made her laugh, so they were fine by her. She didn't think Ichika had anything against her, except maybe some of the distaste most people have for Darkstalkers - and it's not like Tamaki has ever been shy about saying what she is!

Tamaki is late. Not a lot - not enough for a disqualification - but enough that when she finally pulls herself up to the rooftop, it's only moments before the thumbs-up from the cameraman. Tamaki takes the moment to dust herself off from climbing up and only then walks over toward the impending battle.

"Ah, it looks like we finally meet again!" Tamaki sounds pretty cheerful about it, all things considered! "A pleasant evening for a pleasant battle." Her eyes glimmer in the dimming light as she retrieves her tokkuri, and takes a swig from it. "Drink?" she offers. "I suppose I'd better ask now, BEFORE the match, ha ha!"

Ichika smiles at Tamaki's arrival. She knew enough about the woman not to expect her to arrive on time, so that's hardly a bother. "Ah, thank you." She says at the offer of a drink, "But, I think that would probably be illegal. And not very good for my chances! I'm expecting this to be enough of a challenge already!" She laughs a little, then claps her hands together, and offers a low bow.

"I know that you probably know this already, Tamaki-san, but, there is no truth to the rumours. I was very sorry that you didn't manage to stay with Team Thunder. Doubly so after meeting your ... replacement." She straightens, and sighs, "But. I am happy that it means we finally get to test our skills against one another. I won't go easily on you either! And I hope you will do me the same courtesy!"

Those bright blue eyes of hers are coupled with a ferocious grin as she assumes her fighting stance, one hand loosely wrapped around the hilt of her katana. The cameras are rolling, the audience is watching, the stage is set...

They were READY

So now...

COMBATSYS: Tamaki has started a fight here.

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Tamaki           0/-------/-======|

COMBATSYS: Ichika has joined the fight here.

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Ichika           0/-------/-------|======-\-------\0           Tamaki


Ichika wastes no time in leaping forwards. The girl is definitely acrobatic, no doubt about that; she rolls, and as she rises the katana is drawn, and she smoothly aims to slash the blade across the front of Tamaki's shins. Tamaki could be quite frustratingly evasive from what she'd seen; best to try and do what she can to slow that down right away!

No holding back, indeed.

COMBATSYS: Tamaki dodges Ichika's Quick Strike.

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Ichika           0/-------/------=|======-\-------\0           Tamaki

"Suit yourself!" Tamaki simply takes an extra sip, the one she'd assumed Ichika might want, before putting the tokkuri away - which means slinging it back over her shoulder on its cord, she might need that later. "Honestly, if you are old enough to fight, you should be old enough to drink, whatever they say. Sake is the best of medicines!"

Little things like 'legality' don't really concern Tamaki.

Tamaki's face splits into a broad smile. "Well, of course. I know they say I am, hmm... unmotivated and lazy. They just don't understand that I'm here to have *fun*. It's what life is all about! And a good match deserves all you can give it."

Ichika seizes the initiative, either by chance or by Tamaki not pressing the matter; she takes what is obviously the first strike, swinging at Tamaki's legs. Tamaki takes one step back and one step sideways, pivoting and weaving in the same smooth motion. She takes another step back forward, planting her arm across Ichika's shoulders and continuing her rotation, trying to half-shove, half-throw her to the rooftop in front of her!

COMBATSYS: Ichika dodges Tamaki's Everybody's Friend.

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Ichika           0/-------/------=|=======\-------\1           Tamaki

Ichika slides her sword back into its sheathe as she fails to connect. She moves with the tanuki, and for a moment it is like the pair are caught in a swaying dance, Ichika twisting around and under the snaring arm as she smiles. Yes, this was more or less what she expected. Landing the blows here is going to be the main challenge. Well, that, and dealing with ... herself, if it came to it. That had been a fun trick to watch on the previous recordings!

She slips backwards across the rooftop, and as she goes she lets the blade slash out a second time. Not at any kind of distance to actually cut Tamaki, though. Instead, the fading sunlight of the dying day flashes across the katana's very edge...

And a tiny spark of bright blue energy, no larger than her fingertip, comes streaking out across the rooftop, aiming to smack right into Tamaki's tail. It'll hardly pack a punch, but it is the best thing she can think to do to try and test her opponent's reflexes...

COMBATSYS: Tamaki reflects Brilliant Spark from Ichika with Ponpoko Beat.
-* WILD HIT! *-

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Ichika           0/-------/------=|=======\==-----\1           Tamaki

When Ichika steps backwards, Tamaki takes a step backwards as well, breaking apart and giving her some distance. If she was anyone but Tamaki, she might be considering her next move, but Tamaki is generally more the sort to take things as they come...

...such as right now, when Ichika draws the blade again, too far away to strike Tamaki. But Tamaki has seen this trick before - not from Ichika, granted, and not quite in this manner - and when the glimmering dusklight catches the edge of the blade, she's ready.

Tamaki thumps her stomach with the flat of her hand, one-two-three. The sound of the impact is all out of proportion to the power of the impact, sounding more like a bass drum than the sound of hand on flesh, and when she does it a pulse of chi ripples away from her. Like Ichika's blade, it's nowhere near close enough to actually strike her.

But it DOES strike the incoming spark of energy, as Tamaki twitches her tail just so to swat it back in time with the pulse. The glimmer of blue energy is caught in the rainbow aura and is blasted right back toward Ichika, trailing a comet tail of multicoloured rippling chi behind it!

COMBATSYS: Ichika blocks Tamaki's Reflected Brilliant Spark.

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Ichika           0/-------/-----==|=======\===----\1           Tamaki

"Hah! Excellent!"

Ichika's delighted whoop rings out across the rooftop as her spark is shot right back at her. The girl reaches out and grabs it with her free hand, whilst the other slides the katana once more back into its saya. There's a faint flinch as the energy burns in her palm, and then it is dissipated, and she flexes her fingers, working the numbness back out of them.

"This is, exciting. Nobody has turned my own energy against me like that before." The thrumming bass beat is still pounding in her ears, and the Justice High student plants her foot down hard onto the rooftop, as though the stomp of her boot can silence it and return the beat to her control. Her jacket flares out dramatically behind her as she lowers herself down, grabs her sword, and fixes the tanuki with her unyielding gaze.

"Okay, Tamaki-san." She says, taking a deep breath, "Are you ready to rock?"

COMBATSYS: Ichika focuses on her next action.

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Ichika           0/-------/-----==|=======\===----\1           Tamaki

"Ah, then I am proud to be the first!" Another grin from Tamaki, just as broad as the first.

But she doesn't immediately follow it up with anything. She *could*, but she actually gives Ichika the moment; either she thinks it will make for a better battle or she wasn't expecting Ichika to simply be able to grab it out of the air. Ichika's jacket flares out behind her, caught in a wind, and she lowers to grip her sword. "Of course I am ready!"

And *that's* when Tamaki acts. She steps forward, then leaps - but doesn't come down on Ichika in a jump; instead she hits next to her and rolls, coming to one side in an unpredictable maneuver that's really hard to follow. Tamaki reaches out as she does, trying to snag Ichika and roll her with her, only to tuck her feet up under Ichika's stomach and attempt to kick out, sending her flying across the roof!

She has aimed Ichika at actual roof, though, and not the gap between them. Tamaki isn't malicious. And Tamaki herself remains lying down on her back afterwards, apparently deciding to let Ichika approach her instead of vice versa.

COMBATSYS: Ichika blocks Tamaki's Hair of the Raccoon-Dog.

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Ichika           0/-------/--=====|===----\-------\0           Tamaki

There's not much which escape Ichika's eyes when she really concentrates... but Tamaki manages it. It's different to when she fought Genie; there she could simply sense nothing at all and it was like trying to fight with her head in a paper bag. Tamaki... she knows she's doing SOMETHING, she can see it as the shapeshifter comes dancing in at her, but she can't fully see what it is. Like there's not just one rhythm to this fight, but two, and Tamaki is dancing to a beat she just can't hear.


Normally, Ichika tries to lose herself in the rhythm, but she feels like if she does that here, she's going to tread on her own toes. Instead, she becomes more responsive. Tamaki grabs her shoulders, and when she starts to roll, that's when Ichika reasserts herself. Pulling back hard, she refuses to let herself be drawn into the raccoon-dog's grasp, and when those feet come up to smash into her -

It's Ichika's sword that they find, glowing a brilliant blue as the flat of the blade resounds with the impact.

"Then let's ROCK."

And suddenly, Ichika blurs out of existence. Forcing all that gathered chi into her body she erupts into motion, reappearing behind the Tanuki with her blade lashing out over and over again, three blows, then six, each slice carving brilliant blue trails that hang beautifully in the air, the thrumming slash of energy beating out a swift, staccatto score across the rooftops.

COMBATSYS: Ichika successfully hits Tamaki with Future Perfect EX.

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Ichika           0/-------/-------|===----\-------\0           Tamaki

Tamaki remains flat on her back as Ichika approaches. She can hear her coming; at the end, she can see her coming. But she doesn't move until it's late.

Too late, as it comes to be! Tamaki had intended to flip up and backwards and avoid the strike, and she does try it; she kicks off the ground, going into a reverse handstand and tumbling to land on her feet, but Ichika's flurry of shining blows follows her. She's struck, the shining lines cutting into Tamaki painfully.

But she finishes her flip - and her kick, driving one of her heels directly at Ichika's face while she's inverted.

Tamaki ends on her feet, the shining lines of chi starting to dissipate in the sunset light. "Ha ha ha!" Despite the pain, she laughs: "Very good! I had no idea you had that skill - it's too fast for me!"

COMBATSYS: Ichika fails to interrupt Strong Kick from Tamaki with Intercepting Strike.

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Ichika           0/-------/----===|====---\-------\0           Tamaki

Ichika's sword is still out; Tamaki is in mid-dive, and the obvious response is for the girl to take a two-handed grasp on her sword and sweep it around, aiming to bat the tanuki out of the air. Unfortunately, the woman's movements are just too erratic! Ichika isn't able to bring the sword around in time, before the heel smashes right into the girl's mouth and sends her reeling.

There probably aren't many girls who could look as cheery as Ichika does with a split lip. Though, that might be unfair to her fellow students in the wider Southtown student body. She spits to the side, splattering the rooftop as she slides her blade back into place and wipes her mouth with the back of her hand.

"Haa... tricky." She says, grinning. "You know, I've studied every fight you've been in, and I still can't predict what you're trying to do one moment to the next. I'm starting to think you don't know either!"

"Ha ha!"

Ichika's admission that she isn't sure what Tamaki is doing - and she doesn't believe Tamaki does, either - just draws a loud laugh from the bake-danuki. "Of course not! That's part of the problem; everybody *thinks*, everybody *worries*. Just feel the moment, and let yourself live!"

Tamaki, back on her feet again, takes advantage of Ichika being momentarily off-balance - physically or mentally. Physically, of course, she's just taken a blow to the jaw, which never helps matters.

Every other time (well, except when she dealt with the energy) Tamaki has taken a circling path, trying to get around Ichika to strike from the side. This time - and only this time - she does not; she goes straight in, a forward lunging punch that turns into a sweeping hook as her weaving stance takes her partway back.

COMBATSYS: Tamaki successfully hits Ichika with Stumbling Swing.

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Ichika           0/-------/-======|=======\-------\0           Tamaki

It's a familiar enough concept. The trouble is, Ichika realises, Tamaki is just *better* at it than she is. Even as she tries to clear her mind of distractions and find the flow of the fight, to live 'in the moment', what she's finding is that she can't compete with the raccoon dog on those terms. When the woman comes straight at her, her sword was already moving to block the anticipated blow from the left, and she winds up taking the hook in her gut, stumbling back several paces with an explosive gasp of air. She needs a new strategy, and she has no idea what that should look like. For the first time since she began finding that space of instinct in battle, it feels as though it is simply... the wrong choice.

"You make it sound so easy." She says, shaking her head, "But no. Sometimes, you can't just, feel the moment." She grasps her sword tight in both hands and takes a deep breath. That intense blue light shines out again, only this time, there's no saya to hide the gathering of it. The sword swells with light, pushing back the encroaching darkness of sunset behind her azure hue.

"Sometimes, you have to take a stand." She continues, her voice rising as the energy blazes brighter, and brighter. "Sometimes, you have to say NO! THIS! IS HOW THE FUTURE! IS GOING! TO BE!!"

It's a powerful declaration. A rejection of the moment and living in it, a rebuke to the idea that she is at the whims of some infinite present over which she has no control. Now, she just has to carve that statement into reality. Her knuckles are white, her grip on the hilt of her sword so tight her hands ache with it.

And then the blade comes down, and an immense wave of power is unleashed with it! Bright enough to light up the whole rooftop, the wave of energy is taller than Ichika herself, and streaks towards Tamaki intent to bowl the woman right over!

COMBATSYS: Tamaki blocks Ichika's Illumination Wave EX.

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Ichika           0/-------/----===|=======\-------\0           Tamaki

The enormous wave of energy washes over Tamaki as she brings up both arms and her inner aura -

And she laughs.

Not at Ishika. It's not a malicious laugh; it's a joyful expression, an honest appreciation for what's going on and her place in it.

When the blast clears, Tamaki is still there; driven back several feet and looking rather more the worse for wear, but still standing. She's still laughing, a grin across her face. "Excellent! I could feel your spirit - and that is what I wanted to feel!"

"But there is one thing: sometimes feeling the moment, living for it - that means seizing it!" Exactly as Ichika just did; Tamaki is the most impressed of her out of anyone she's fought in the NFG so far. Even if Ichika felt she was standing against Tamaki, Tamaki felt they were agreeing. Sometimes, all you need is a fulcrum in the right place and time to change the future.

And then Tamaki rushes back in herself; a wobbly running step that turns into a jump forward, a handspring off the ground, and then a flying two-footed kick at Ichika. Hit or miss, Tamaki actually smashes down onto her back and lays there, apparently preferring to fight from a prone position for the moment.

That or she's too tired to get up. She is breathing pretty hard. But that might be the results of withstanding the cuts.

COMBATSYS: Ichika auto-guards Tamaki's Lazy Day.

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Ichika           0/-------/----===|=======\-------\1           Tamaki

Somehow, Ichika just knows that the laughter comes from a good place. Maybe it is just that she doesn't think Tamaki has a genuinely malicious bone in her body. "That's what fighting is all about." She says, returning the smile. "In the space between strikes and power, we can't help but show each other what we stand for. Our Truths."

She takes a deep breath, filling her lungs with the cooling night air as she considers the Tanuki's words. As she does, a sharp observer would see the sparks of power that splashed off Tamaki's guard simply winking out of existence...

To seize the moment. Not merely to go along with the flow of the fight but to take command of it - yes, maybe they are coming to this from a similar position after all. She doesn't have long to dwell on that, though, as Tamaki comes rushing back in...

Ichika lets the breath back out, and with it flows the power she had gathered, her sword glowing with a dimmer light. But still enough, as she swings it in front of her, to form a transluscent barrier; weaker than the ones she has become more well-known for, but enough that as Tamaki collides with it, she has time to twist around to the side, so that Tamaki can crash into the roof and not her own body.

"You've given me a lot to think about, Tamaki-san." She says, "Thank you."

But she can't back off just because of that. The clash must continue; in the end, only one of them can remain standing. Or. Well. Choosing to lay down, as the case may be.

Not that she's used to attacking people when they are already on the floor. She's not Constance Coalbridge! She has to try and think fast, and what she comes up with is taking a firm grip on the hilt of her katana with both hands, jump over the woman's prone form, and then she drives it down... not aiming to skewer Tamaki, but instead push it between the ground and her shoulders, so she can lever Tamaki back up to her feet and into a position she is more comfortable fighting! Albeit... most levers aren't usually as sharp as this. She has no idea if it will even work, but it feels plausible, and in the moment, it's the only idea that comes to mind!

COMBATSYS: Tamaki dodges Ichika's Random Strike.

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Ichika           0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\1           Tamaki

Tamaki doesn't respond much verbally this time - she just gives a thumbs-up from her down position. (Though, because she's lying on her back, it's only a thumbs-up from her perspective - her thumb is actually pretty close to parallel to the ground.) "Any time," she says. "Though I do my best thinking over a drink, usually, ha ha!"

Not being willing to attack Tamaki when she's down is a problem - because Tamaki is perfectly capable of fighting from a prone position, having done it plenty of times in her previous matches and in the Rumble both. And she put herself there!

Which is why she's prepared when Ichika comes back in with a strike. Tamaki rolls suddenly backwards, lashing out with a foot as Ichika gets too close and finishes her tumble back to her feet! It's pretty acrobatic and leaves her a few steps away from Ichika... getting kind of close to a roof edge, but not so close she's in immediate danger of falling off it. She's just running out of room to back up.

COMBATSYS: Ichika endures Tamaki's Medium Kick.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Ichika           0/-------/--=====|=======\-------\1           Tamaki

Ichika sees the position that Tamaki has put herself in, and she takes a determined step forwards into the kick. It strikes true, but the girl maintains her momentum, the kick hitting her clean in the side but failing to actually push the schoolgirl back and open up any space for the tanuki. Not that Ichika wants to throw her opponent off the roof... but she's more than happy to try and take advantage of the limited space now that she's got the opportunity.

With a sudden burst of speed, Ichika closes the last of that distance, and her blade comes slashing around, aiming to cut Tamaki from shoulder to hip in a swift diagonal motion...

And as she does that, she's already bending her knees, starting to reverse the grip on her sword. They're entering the final stages here - she's behind, but if she can just find the right path through, she can still turn this around. She KNOWS she can. She just, needs to find that moment... or failing that, make it herself.

COMBATSYS: Tamaki blocks Ichika's Genius Loci.

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Ichika           0/-------/------=|=======\-------\1           Tamaki

Ichika pressing Tamaki is probably the right call; Tamaki does her best when she has room to maneuver, and between the building's edge - a very firm ring-out - and Ichika staying in so close, she simply doesn't have that.

But Tamaki does not give up, either. She's going to keep fighting as long as she can - and that means dealing with the sword.

Ichika lashes down diagonally, and Tamaki can't evade it, but she can partially deflect it; she uses the proximity to deflect not the sword itself but Ichika's arm, preventing her from getting a clean cut. She can feel the impact all the way up her arm!

And when Ichika reverses, Tamaki concentrates, drawing on her own powers again. She's surrounded by a swirl of chi and wind that momentarily hides her from view, and then it clears - and there's Ichika! Again! Right down to the clothes, though Ichika doesn't normally have ears quite like that, or a tail at all, and this one has both of them.

The other thing Tamaki-Ichika does not have is a sword - but she does have a tokkuri. A gourd jug on a cord, which she normally wears either tied to her hip or slung over a shoulder. Today it's over her shoulder, and she swings it off.

Tamaki-Ichika draws it back in a mimic of Ichika's iai drawing motion before she lashes it out, the heavy jug shining with Tamaki's multicolored chi as she uses it like a weapon - a weight on a rope - to strike at Ichika's torso! She's laughing again, clearly having fun.

COMBATSYS: Ichika fails to interrupt Art of Transformation - Mirror from Tamaki with Bleeding Edge.

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

COMBATSYS: Ichika can no longer fight.

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

Ichika had been expecting this trick. The ability to mirror her opponents was one of the first things that she had noted about Tamaki's fighting style, and she is glad that it is in this moment. She has prepared for it as much as she can. Her sword is in position, her mind is calm and clear, she is as ready as she is able to be.

"Come, then." She murmurs to herself, "Let us see if I can overcome myself."

She explodes from the ground, everything she has put into this one shining movement. The technique is the purest expression of her swordplay that she has; a powerful strike that demands much of herself, in the quest to take even more from the opponent. Unlike so many of her techniques, it is all her; no chi, no influence from the rest of the world, nothing but her own determination to propel her up and through the opposing strike.

And it is not enough.

All the preparation, all the planning, all the tactical certainty she had that this was the way to carve her path - it is for nothing. Tamaki's gourd slams into her, and the girl's sword drops from suddenly-numb fingers. She staggers back, and drops to one knee as the metal clatters against the rooftop.

"Haa... not, today, it seems. Still, so far to go..."

And then she eyes close, she topples forwards, and is still.

Tamaki-Ichika pulls her gourd back in, catches it in her free hand, uncorks it and takes a long drink from it.

In doing this she gives Ichika a few moments to recover if she can, but it is not to be; she remains down, and Tamaki-Ichika walks over to her, crouching next to the fallen fighter.

"It was the best fight I have had in a while," Tamaki says, still in Ichika's voice. "I look forward to our rematch!" Because of course there will be a rematch - Tamaki won't let there not be one. This is the kind of feeling she joined NFG for; she enjoys fighting for its own sake, the spirit of fighting, and Ichika and her both giving it their all is exactly what she wanted to see!

And when she gets up, perhaps she'll offer Ichika a drink again. (Of soda, if nothing else.)

Log created on 13:41:31 09/23/2023 by Ichika, and last modified on 04:37:13 09/27/2023.