NFG Season One - Metro City R2 - Nixie vs Junko

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Description: Beneath the surface of Vito's Restaurant, the tricksy Nixie does her best to outwit her furious opponent who seems to have a particular dislike of darkstalkers. The outcome is predictably explosive.

Well, the wheel of time keeps on turning and the occasion has come once again that battle must be waged for glory, honor, and most importantly, points!

The stage - Vito's Restaurant.

The time - early morning.

The contestants - a tiny bomb-chucking gremlin and a perpetually pissed off teenager.

As the scheduled time for this round of fisticuffs draws near the crowd of spectators has already packed the massive underground arena to near the point of bursting. There is, however, a noticeable gap between the milling spectators and the edge of the arena's rather flimsy looking barricade of wood and wire. Considering what happened to the last group of people who decided to sit a little too close to the splash zone during one of Junko's bouts the caution is understandable. Of course, there's always a daredevil or two willing to risk bodily harm for clout or a chance to get the best view but the threat of immolation seems to have cowed most people into keeping a healthy distance from the arena.

As always, the young miko had arrived well before the appointed time. Not that she's particularly eager or anything but it's not like she has much better to do with her time either. Though judging by the sour expression on her face and the disheveled state of her snowy white hair she clearly isn't a morning person.

Junko sits on the floor of the fighting ring, her legs crossed with her back resting against a section of the small fencing. A moody scowl dominates her pale features, her eyes stained dark with bags of fatigue and half-shut beneath a ragged curtain of unkempt bangs. The girl sits with arms crossed, glowering at nothing in particular, all but daring anyone who might consider themselves one of her fans to risk attempting to approach her for an autograph or picture with the promise of swift death.

Thus far, no one has gathered up enough courage to risk it.

Likely contributing to that hesitation is the massive figure that stands guard just outside the entrance to the arena. A towering slab of muscle and fur, the minotaur looks about as happy to be here as his tiny ward does. Several dark burned patches mar his rough fur coat, evidence of the displeasure that the miko had expressed upon being roused from her slumber to participate in this farce of a contest.

Apparently even a fearsome beast of myth is no match for the temper of a teenage girl who failed to get her beauty sleep.

Nixie herself prefers the night. Going out during the day into the sun is somewhat uncomfortable for her. Of course getting dragged into one of Myriad's schemes the previous night means she's running late when she makes it to the resturant. She's ignoring traffic laws as she rides her scooter to the resturant and struggles a bit to find a place to park the vehicle.

Of course once she makes it inside she has a mob of people surrounding her for autographs as she tries to make her way to the arena. After signing a few, she does her best to try and shove through the mob to where the minotaur is standing. The burn marks are early warning sign of what's she about to face as she enters the ring. The look on Nixie's face quickly turns sour as she mouths "Oh crap..." under her breath. A shrine maiden certainly isn't a favorable match-up for a Darkstalker after all. She does her best to try and break the tension though, "Not a morning person either, huh?"

Junko's head slowly rotates towards the sound of the voice addressing her, panning sideways like a radar dish homing in on an enemy blip. If looks alone could set people on fire Nixie would be in imminent danger of spontaneous combustion. In fact, judging by the bright cherry red glow that steadily lights up the teenager's half-closed eyes, she might very well be trying to do just that! Fortunately, heat vision is not one of fire-wielding miko's powers so the tiny green monster's hide remains unscorched - for the moment.

The hulking figure of the minotaur regards the goblin briefly but gives a dismissive snort and goes back to menacing the crowd with his glare. Pleasant company, these two.

"Do not speak to me, bakemono," Junko says with a growl, her scowl somehow managing to get even more dour. "It is only by virtue of this ridiculous contest that I do burn you to cinders and banish your ashes back to whatever foul realm you spawned from."

That's one way to say hello.

"So you've been to New Jersey then. Hey, it's not like I asked to be like this. Something tells me your more the burn things and ask questions later than the removing curses type of shrine maiden though." Yeah, it sounds like it would be best for Nixie's health if she stayed clear of Junko once they're done here.

"You got dragged into this too, huh?" She's not going to be quiet though. She's going to try and burn her either way after all.

COMBATSYS: Nixie has started a fight here.

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Nixie            0/-------/-------|

Junko's eyebrow twitches visibly as the tiny monster ignores her warning and keeps on gabbing.

Gods, it's like everyone on this damn planet does the exact opposite of what she wants out of sheer spite. She might actually start actively helping the furious demon in her soul with its plans to set the world on fire at this rate. At least then she can enjoy some peace and quiet among the ashes.

With a very teenage sigh of irritation, the miko tilts her head back and stares up at the ceiling as if beseeching the gods for a way out of this obligation. Alas, her prayers remain unanswered yet again, so Junko pushes slowly to her feet with all the enthusiasm of a cat being dragged around on a leash. She gives a few cursory pats to her shirt and hakama, knocking away a layer of accumulated dust. Her hair receives a couple of half-hearted rakes that does nothing to smooth down the bits and bobs sticking up every which way, though she does take a moment specifically to tighten the large bow atop her head. Such a cute accessory seems weirdly out of place on such a grumpy individual but it's hard to argue that it doesn't compliment her eclectic mixture of traditional and modern fashion.

With her appearance sorted, or as much as it's going to get, the priestess turns to regard her opponent with a fresh frown. Her eyes are fully open now, whatever fatigue that was plaguing her banished by virtue of willpower. Junko's irises glow like circles of heated iron, the temperature around her body already starting to ramp up enough to be uncomfortable.

"If you are so keen on receiving divine punishment, demon, then let us begin."

COMBATSYS: Junko has joined the fight here.

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Nixie            0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0            Junko

Well, Nixie's not keen on it but it's not like she has any say in what her opponent uses as a weapon. It's already start to get uncomfortable hot in here though and she notes that her eyes are glowing. She wonders if she could boil her potions over them, it's a free source of heat after all. She's already angered her, maybe she could throw her off her game as well. A gloved hand reaches up and promptly pokes Junko in the eye. She could easily just close it after all, but would she able to do so in time?

COMBATSYS: Junko interrupts Eyepoke of Doom from Nixie with Hou-ou Shoten Ha.

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Nixie            0/-------/--=====|==-----\-------\0            Junko

As it turns out, trying to stick your fingers into the glowing eyes of a fire-wielding shrine maiden who woke up on the wrong side of the bed is a bad idea. Doubly so if the would-be poker is a filthy youkai that she already wants to set on fire.

Junko's response is swift and appropriately thematic, both in terms of the amount of fire involved and the aggressiveness in which it is unleashed upon the unfortunate goblin. The moment the gremlin makes to lunge at her with those dastardly little fingers the miko's eyes narrow in anger, not only expressing her disdain at this childish tactic but coincidentally making them smaller targets. The latter proves to be unnecessary, however, as Nixie's cunning scheme never quite gets that far.

A small pale fist swings up into the bottom of the goblin's jaw lightning fast, the teenager going from brooding to clobbering in an instant. A tornado of scarlet flame erupts around her body as the uppercut connects, engulfing both Junko and Nixie in a hellish maelstrom of searing pain for a couple of seconds before the tempest dies out.

"Keep your filthy little hands to yourself, bakemono!"

That wasn't the best idea, she should have kept her distance from the shrine maiden. Nixie instead gets flaming uppercut into the air for her trouble and goes flying. The barrier stops her from going out of the ring but it's rather painful to crash into. She's dazed for a moment before coming to her senses. This was going to be another fight where she has to bring out the big guns earlier. Or in this case bombs.

The question now is if all that fire makes Junko vulnerable to being blown up? The goblin is about to get her answer as she removes a potion from her apron and chucks it at the shrine maiden.

COMBATSYS: Junko blocks Nixie's Bomb Blast.

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Nixie            0/-------/-======|===----\-------\0            Junko

While being fire-aligned doesn't necessarily make Junko weak to explosions, it certainly doesn't help her resist them. The fact that she's completely blind likewise proves to be a hindrance in her ability to perceive the true threat of the cunning little creature she has been pitted up against until it almost too late.

The sound of something flying through the air gives the miko just enough warning to defend herself against the full power of the tiny explosive. She turns to the side, shielding herself with both arms as a blast of scarlet flame erupts around her defensively, hoping to burn up whatever has been hurled at her. As it turns out fire isn't the best protection against explosive devices but it does manage to set the bomb off a few moments early, at least keeping the full force of its detonation from going off right on top of the girl.

Junko staggers backwards from the force of the explosion, eyes wide with surprise and pain. She hadn't been expecting anything like that! Gunpowder is not completely unknown to her but such precious resources were saved only for use in mining and occasionally to make fireworks in her home village. There were stories that some of the ninja clans liked to make use of bombs in combat but this is her first time being on the receiving end of one. It isn't an experience she enjoys.

Nor, as it turns out, are bombs particularly friendly to expensive shirts. From the depths of the smoky cloud left by the explosion, Junko erupts in a burst of motion, half of her neat white button-up reduced to tattered shreds. The exposed flesh beneath is mixture of black and red, burnt skin and bleeding lacerations mixing together to create an ugly looking wound.

Letting loose a ferocious bellow of anger, the teenager leaps at the goblin in a powerful lunge that sends her flying forward like a torpedo. Both of her small hands extend out with a forceful thrust, her palms slamming towards Nixie's torso like a pair of flaming meteors. Contact with those twin blazing hammers would result in the little goblin being engulfed in that very same hellfire while being explosively pushed away by the physical impact.

COMBATSYS: Nixie dodges Junko's Rengoku Sougekishou.

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Nixie            0/-------/-======|====---\-------\0            Junko

Nixie doesn't want to get hit by the flaming girl again if she can help it. Her small size doesn't make her the easy target to hit as she jumps out of the way. She's heistant to touch Junko after the previous reaction, but it's not like she has unlimited bombs to toss at the shrine maiden. Stabbing at her with a metal straw, likely isn't the best idea either given the heat, but maybe the molten metal will hurt her.

COMBATSYS: Junko blocks Nixie's Medium Strike.

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Nixie            0/-------/-======|=====--\-------\0            Junko

Slippery little devil!

The scarlet flames that were intended to turn Nixie into a roasted goblin instead blast forth from Junko's hands into the empty space she once occupied, detonating in a blast that rivals one of her own bombs. Probably a good thing she avoided that if the fireworks display is any indication.

Snarling in irritation at her elusive foe, the miko recovers quickly and whirls to face the new threat.

With her vision being entirely based on the ability to sense heat, weapon wielders are by far her most dangerous opponents. A punch or a kick requires enough body motion from the attacker to give her something of a warning and she's spent enough time training against bare-handed arts to have a pretty good idea how to deal with those sorts of attacks. Yet, by some aggravating coincidence, every single person she's fought thus far has been wielding some sort of weapon. The stripper with her wind-controlled staff, Ichika and her deadly katana, and now this agile little gremlin.

Fortunately, the time it takes for Nixie to recover from hurling herself out of the way of the miko's explosive retaliation gives Junko enough warning to notice the danger. She can't see the little metal straw but she can see the arm being extended her way. With a martial flourish, the teenager sweeps her leading arm to the side in a wide circle that catches Nixie's thrust on the wrist. The path of the stabbing attack is diverted at the last second, the slender piece of metal merely grazing her arm instead of slamming squarely into her kidney.

The shrine maiden wastes no time in attempting to capitalize on this opening. Her body pivots as she spins in place, whirling into a wide spinning kick. On most opponents this blow would be aimed at the broad target of their midsection but in the goblin's case this puts her head directly in the path of attack. Searing scarlet fire erupts from Junko's foot as she snaps the kick out and then a second follows in its wake as she completes the spin, each leg contributing a punishing blow to the whirlwind attack.

COMBATSYS: Junko successfully hits Nixie with Kakyaku Renge.

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Nixie            1/---====/=======|=======\-------\1            Junko

Nixie gets kicked in the head repeatedly and lets out a scream of agony. She stumbles backwards trying to keep her balance and somehow manages to stay on her feet. She pulls out of a flask of green liquid and rapidly starts drinking from it feeling a bit more energized now. The container is still half full when she promptly chucks at Junko with all the strength she can manage at the moment.

COMBATSYS: Junko endures Nixie's Toxic Tonic.

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Nixie            0/-------/---====|=======\====---\1            Junko

The feel of making solid impact with the little demon fills the miko with an undeniable sense of satisfaction.

As a hunter of monsters, Junko has been taught her entire life to hate and revile creatures like Nixie. Youkai are inhuman killers, creatures that live only to inflict pain and misery, steal souls, and corrupt mankind. Even the more benign demons tend to be more trouble than they are worth to keep around. Their existence is a blight upon the world, a sickness which can only be cured through proper treatment by those properly trained to do so.

The flames she now wields are not the tools that she grew up learning how to use. Her true powers lie in the art of seals and rituals, more like an exorcist than a warrior. The fire is but a symptom of her own illness, a constant reminder of the disease she carries in her soul. But, if that fire is something that she must live with, she can at least put it to good use - such as putting the fear of the name Daidoji into this little demon.

Nixie's screams serve only to fuel the hatred inside of her violent opponent. How many times had she heard innocent villagers cry out with agony as they were shredded by a nekomata's claws? How many heart-crushing wails of parents had she been forced to endure when a kappa stole the soul of a young child who had strayed too close to the river? How many funeral processions had she attended after a hunting party returned from an oni's den missing half their number?

Junko doesn't even realize it when her own thoughts begin to merge with the insidious voice in her head. Her hatred is stoked liked a raging bonfire, every painful memory dredged up adding more fuel to the flames. She doesn't even see Nixie any more, doesn't remember where she is or what she was doing. All there that's left is an enemy to destroy, a monster to kill!

A wicked snarl bursts from the young girl's lips as she sends the goblin flying with a pair of brutal kicks. Red flame bursts from the glowing circles of her irises, engulfing the entirety of her eyes in scarlet power. Her fists clench into tight balls as more fire erupts around her hands, wicked red and black fire fluttering like torches in a breeze. The smell of burnt flesh fills the air as her hands start to cook and smolder, the pale skin bubbling and turning black from the strain of maintaining that unholy energy.

Nixie's decision to take a moment to try and regain some vigor gives the unhinged miko the few moments she needs to gather up that power and shape it into something more coherent. She lifts both of her blazing hands up into the air, palms turned to the sky as if holding aloft an invisible ball. A tiny pinpoint of neon red light suddenly flares into existence between her hands, little more than a brilliant glimmer the size of a marble.

And then it starts to grow.
%tIn the flash of a moment, the small bead of fire expands rapidly as Junko feeds power into hands, swelling to the size of a baseball. A moment later it grows again, ballooning outwards to bowling ball proportions. And again, and again, and again, until a searing miniature sun nearly as big as the miko herself hovers ominously over her head.

The sudden impact of a small bottle against her chest almost knocks the young woman off her feet. A scream of surprise and then agony fills the air as whatever vile chemicals were inside of that potion begin to sizzle and burn, melting away yet more of her shirt and the flesh beneath. Junko staggers sideways, feet shuffling drunkenly, but manages to maintain her footing in the end.

Filled with fresh fury, the miko whips back around and lets loose a bellow of primal animalistic rage. Her hands swing down towards the goblin and that massive sphere of deadly fire is sent crashing into the floor at her feet like a blazing comet.

In the enclosed space, the explosion that follows is nigh apocalyptic. The fancy mat covering the floor and the flimsy wooden railing all but evaporate as a tidal wave of red heat washes over everything. The wide space that the audience had given the two combatants proves to be a wise decision as the entire center of the arena turns into a blast furnace for few hellish seconds, burning hot enough to force even the towering minotaur to retreat and shield himself from the inferno.

COMBATSYS: Nixie easily escapes Junko's Jigoku Dama!

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Nixie            0/-------/---====|=------\-------\0            Junko

Of course Nixie isn't exactly one of the demons that Junko is thinking of. She's pretty sure the teenager doesn't care at this point though. Of course the fact that Junko has to swing down gives her a moment to step out of the way of the raging inferno. She can still feel the heat it gives off from the edge of the ring, and it's pretty likelye an ordinary human would have been melted by it.

"You have a lot of anger issues that you need to work out. I'm pretty sure you're not going to listen to me though." The goblin's pretty sure that she's wasting her breath at this point. She should be saving it for the fight after all.

Of course she's also partly trying to distract Junko from the magic sigil that's appeared underneath her feet. Wooden spikes start to slow rise out of the floor. Junko might want to step out of the way or she's going to get stabbed in the feet.

COMBATSYS: Junko endures Nixie's Punji Pain.

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Nixie            0/-------/-======|=====--\-------\0            Junko

As the heat and light dies down after that brief glimpse into Hell, the miko is left standing all alone at the center of the arena - or what's left of it anyways. The majority of the floor and ceiling are little more than a giant black smudge now, charred concrete and wood still smoldering and smoking. Of the small fence that had once separated the fighters from the audience there is no sign save for a conspicuous piles of ash scattered in a vaguely box-shaped outline.

Junko herself doesn't look to be in much better shape than the room. What little had remained of her shirt has been reduced to cinders leaving the young girl's entire torso bare. Fortunately for her modesty and the broadcast's age rating, a thick layer of bandage-like cloth is wrapped around her chest serving both to bind her breasts and, at the moment, act as a make-shift bra.

With that much skin exposed it's easy to see just how badly the act of channeling that much fire has cost her. The miko's arms look more like charcoal than flesh at this point, every square inch of her pale skin burnt solid black all the way to the elbows. Ugly red smears stain the front of her chest as well as her neck and face, evidence of a different kind of burn courtesy of Nixie's toxic brew. The bottom few inches of Junko's snowy white hair is literally aglow, the wild locks blazing cherry red as if they were strands of super-heated iron.

The most notable revelation, however, comes in the form of a small paper charm. Dozens of rectangular strips of paper, each carefully painted with Japanese kanji in bold black ink, adorn the young girl's body. The bulk of the sealing charms are concentrated around her arms, plastered liberally over her slender limbs in an almost haphazard fashion. Despite the horrific burns inflicted upon Junko herself, however, the charms appear to be almost untouched by the hellish fire, stark white smears of color made all the more obvious against the black backdrop of her charred flesh. And, like her hair, many of the symbols painted upon the ofuda glow a bright scarlet in color.

Junko remains motionless for several seconds as the smoke clears, save the heaving of her shoulders as she sucks in ragged breaths. Clearly, unleashing power of that magnitude has drained her, leaving her vulnerable to immediate retaliation, something her opponent is quick to take advantage of.

Even if she wasn't exhausted and half out of her mind, Junko wouldn't have been able to see the tricky attack coming nor even anticipate such a thing. Hers is a world of orange and red colors, vague visualizations of the heat in the world around her. She could be staring right at the sigil and would never know the danger until it's too late.

Disoriented as she is, the girl makes no effort at all to even try and avoid the deadly spikes. A sharp pain suddenly explodes in her feet as the magic symbol activates, fresh agony snapping her out of the momentary daze.

Junko falls to her knees as the wooden stakes withdraw, teeth clenching down hard enough to draw blood from her lip as she bites back another scream of pain. Stubbornly, the teen tries to push herself back to feet after only a moment but immediately stumbles again, her body refusing to be pushed any further past its limits.

With a snarl, she tilts her head back and sweeps her gaze around until the small orange blob of the goblin's body heat comes into view. With a last burst of effort, Junko lifts a hand and thrusts it out at the demon, conjuring fresh scarlet flames into her palm despite the utterly ruined status of her arms.

A massive beam of neon red power erupts from that motion, a spear of raw flame as wide and tall as the girl herself lancing across the remains of the arena like some kind of futuristic space cannon. Another wave of heat washes over the onlookers, driving the few that had managed to remain on their feet to the ground in an attempt to shield themselves from the blistering light of her spiteful vengeance.

COMBATSYS: Junko has reached second wind!

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Nixie            0/-------/-======|=====--\-------\0            Junko

COMBATSYS: Nixie dodges Junko's Shakkahou.

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Nixie            0/-------/-======|======-\-------\0            Junko

"Oh crap..." Junko was still somehow standing even after the punji sticks. The goblin sees the massive red beam coming straight for her and runs in a half circle behind the teenager. Nixie figured she wouldn't blast herself with her own beam right since they would be kind of self-defeating.

Of course she knows the shrine maiden can simply just turn around so she needs to act fast. She lifts up one of her boot cladded legs and simply attempts to kick her in the back. She figures there's no need to make it more complicated it then it is.

COMBATSYS: Junko interrupts Light Kick from Nixie with Mugen Ranbu.

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Nixie            1/---====/=======|

COMBATSYS: Junko can no longer fight.

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Nixie            1/---====/=======|

COMBATSYS: Nixie takes no action.

COMBATSYS: Nixie can no longer fight.

Standing? No. Junko is not standing, thanks to the several new holes that have been recently added to bottom of her feet.

Stubbornly refusing to admit defeat, on the other hand, is something that she very much is doing.

The amount of agony that she is in right now is hard to describe. Her arms are charcoal, burnt so badly that her fingers have all but fused together in places. It almost looks like the paper seals wrapped around her forearms are the only thing still holding them together. The acid burns, or whatever was in Nixie's vile brew, hurt almost as much. Maybe even more considering the foreign nature of the injuries. Junko's used to being set on fire but seared by caustic chemicals is a new flavor of pain. Add on top of that open puncture wounds on one of the most sensitive parts of her body and you have a fairly unpleasant cocktail of suffering that she's getting to wallow in right now.

Which certainly isn't doing anything to improve the situation with her out of control temper. Nor is the elusive goblin's continued ability to narrowly escape being roasted.

The scalding beam of light fades away as Nixie circles wide giving the little goblin an apparent opening to try and rush in for a finishing blow. The miko can't have much left in her tank after all of that, can she?

Looks can be deceiving, as it turns out, when your opponent is driven by supernatural fury. Junko whirls around to face the tiny alchemist, pivoting on her knees with surprising speed. Her feet may not be able to support her weight for long but it only takes a moment of effort to send herself flying bodily at her target.

The miko hit Nixie with her entire weight, tackling the green gremlin to the ground with enough force to send the both of them rolling across the floor several times. Junko comes out on top of the tumble and plants herself on demon's waist, pinning the much smaller woman beneath her. One mangled fist draws back, hovering in the air for a brief moment as she tries to call forth more flames. Only this time, nothing happens.

Junko stares at her blackened hand in disbelief, clearly taken aback by the failure of her power to respond to her beckon. That's never happened before. But, flames or no flames, she isn't finished expressing her displeasure with the goblin.

The miko's burned fist slams down into Nixie's face, hammering into her with all the strength that the girl can muster. Which isn't a ton, honestly. Her physical might has never fully recovered from the initial bonding with her demonic soulmate leaving the majority of her threat coming from those cursed flames. Exhausted and deprived of that power, her punches are almost more pantomime than actual threats.

Which isn't to say that she doesn't give it her best effort. Punch after punch rains down on the trapped goblin, bits of charred skin flaking off with every blow until Nixie's face is stained almost as black with ash as it is bruises. Junko wails away with reckless abandon. Even when the tiny reserves of strength she has left starts to fade and gap between her strikes grows wider and wider, she keeps drawing back those ruined fists as if she plans to literally beat the little monster into a smear on the floor.

A massive shadow suddenly looms over the two fallen women. A thick hairy fist with fingers as thick as summer sausages squeezes shut around Junko's upraised arm, arresting the motion of her pitiful swing with ease. Junko struggles against the restraining grip, jaw clenching with effort as she tries to fight her way free but even fury has its limits.

The minotaur tugs his small ward off the goblin with a flick of the wrist, sending her sprawling onto the ground near his hoofed feet. From on high, Zander peers down at the half-charred girl with an inscrutable stare as if he can't quite decide if he should be impressed at her tenacity or bemused by her foolishness.

"The contest is over, mortal child. Twas not a battle to the death. Rest now, lest thy injuries grow more severe. My mistress would be most unhappy were thee to cause serious harm unto thyself with further foolishness."

Junko glowers up at her furry chaperone with one bloodshot eye, the other half-closed from exertion. Despite his command, she makes an effort to rise, grunting from the strain of attempting to put power into her muscles. Zander frowns at her and leans down as if to push her bodily to the floor but the effort proves unnecessary. The miko collapses with a gasp, sucking in ragged lungfuls of air through clenched teeth.

Stubborn to the last.

It's a good thing that the minotaur pulled Junko off of Nixie because she's not in the best shape right now. Techincally she didn't lose, but she didn't win either. All the fighting and pain was for nothing. Not to mention she's managed to make a new enemy in the process. She's going to get out of here though, before the miko has a chance to recover though.

Nixie knows if they meet again outside of the ring, Junko won't have any reason to hold back. The whole situation was quite ironic. The shrine maiden could possibly cure her if she didn't want her dead.

Glancing over to watch the little goblin scurry away, Zander waits until the darkstalker has managed to make a clean getaway before turning his attention back to his ward. The miko's expression looks no more pleasant than it had a few moments ago, whatever strength she has left being used to glare up at him in annoyance. Subtle twitches cause her body to spasm every couple of seconds, clear attempts that she's still stubbornly trying to move despite looking like a piece of overcooked hamburger.

The minotaur's meaty hand is pressed to its forehead and dragged down its bovine face in a gesture of exasperation. Why must all mortals be so utterly vexing? Lyraelle must have given him the job of watching over this living matchstick as some sort of punishment. It certainly can't be because of his vast experience at babysitting.

Realizing that it's probably his duty to get the toasted miko back to her room, the brute kneels down and reaches out as if to scoop the girl up in his massive mitt. Upon resting his digits on her burned flesh, however, Junko tenses up visibly and lets out a sharp hiss of pain.

Frowning, Zander tries again with the same results. The minotaur's nostrils flare with a snort of frustration. This sort of delicate work isn't something he's good at. After a few experimental nudges and prods, he manages to push her arms out of the way so that he can hoist the human child up in the palm of his hand.

For a few long seconds, he considers how to transport this cargo most effectively. Simply tossing her over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes seems the easiest method, though he doubts one his mistress would approve of. Carrying her sprawled out on his palm the whole way is probably not feasible either, especially with the girl still squirming about like a worm on a hook.

Eventually, he settles on tucking the feisty miko into the crook of one massive arm, nestling her against his chest like a lazy cat or a small child. Junko doesn't look particularly happy with this arrangement, her expression as sour as if she'd just bitten down on an entire lemon and chewed. But, neither is he pleased to be tasked with being her caretaker, so they'll just have to suffer together.

With a heavy sigh, Zander turns and stomps off towards the stairs to begin the return trip to their subway home, grumbling under his breath the entire way.

Log created on 09:54:16 09/26/2023 by Junko, and last modified on 19:49:21 09/27/2023.