NFG Season One Finals - Round Four: Djamila vs Junko

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Description: Junko and Djamila fights. Neither seems to be in a nice mood. The fight ends, but it's only the beginning of real troubles.

Morning dawns on the day of the big match. Standing alone atop the roof of the abandoned building that she's claimed as her own, Junko greets the sun as it slowly crests the horizon. Perhaps she alone enjoys the privilege of being able to stare into that great big ball of fire without fear, her own crimson orbs swirling with molten power as she bathes in the radiance of the greatest flame in the solar system.

She'd noticed that being close to fire had started to feel strangely pleasant of late. No, perhaps that's not the right word. Comfortable? Familiar? There was little mystery to this development, whatever way she might choose to describe the sensation. Her connection to Suzaku had done nothing but grow stronger in the aftermath of several failed attempts by well-meaning busybodies to steer her down at more 'enlightened' path.

The girl coughs out a wry bark of laughter at the memories. What utter folly to think that a god could be reasoned with or swayed from its very nature by philosophical rhetoric. She could talk until she was blue in the face about balance and harmony and it wouldn't do one damn thing to change the immutable truth of the fiery ball of rage lodged in her soul.

Of course, despite what her recent behavior might suggest, the miko wasn't always a monster. She had tried to resist, tried to endure the pain. But what could a twelve year old girl do against that sort of constant suffering? Without family, without friends, she had been consigned to a lonely existence of pure agony by a mistake of her own making.

Is it any wonder that she sought out every avenue of relief from that blazing coal in the pit of her heart? Surely, had anyone else been in her place they would have made the same decisions. Or would they? That question had haunted her for a very long time. Was it that she was faced with an impossible situation, her will eroded day by day until it was purely inevitable that she would give in to the incredible pressure of a god's presence entwined with her own? Or was she just a pathetic failure? A weakling who had given in at the first real test of hardship in her life.

It's unlikely that she'll ever know the real answer to that, though her own actions betray the suspicions that she harbors within. She had told Chevy that is was Suzaku who had been responsible for the many deaths of her former friends and clan members. The demon had wrested control from her, used her like a puppet to unleash its fiery destruction, and left her dazed and confused with a charred corpse at her feet.

And, that was true, in a sense. It was the unrelenting pressure of that unreasonable hatred that had driven her beyond the brink of sanity. The first time she killed it happened in a whirlwind of fury and flame. Her body seemed to move on its own, driven by a supernatural need to release some of that malice into the world lest she explode from the intensity. Yet it was in the aftermath of that terrible deed that the true darkness took hold of her heart, when she realized that through that poor fool's death she had found a measure of relief.

Junko glanced down at her hands, her blind eyes unable to see the layers of soot and ash still caked to her soft pale skin. The soft orange glow of her own warmth looked the same as it always did.

She wondered if there was a specific point when someone stopped being human and started being a monster. All of the actions she had taken were made at the time for reasons which seemed very compelling and rational. There didn't seem to be a specific instance she could point to where before making a particular decision she had clearly been a sane and balanced individual and afterwards an obviously unhinged psychopath. Perhaps her inability to do so was just another piece of evidence that she truly was a monster now.

Reaching into the pocket of her hakama, she withdrew the bulky weight of her custom cell phone. Its exterior had been modified with an extra inch of heat-resistant ceramic to allow it to withstand the incredible temperatures of her explosive temper. Idly, she slid the casing open and ran her thumb across the surface, navigating through the menus with the aid of various system noises and automated voice overs. When the tinny female voice announced that she had made her way to the saved files, Junko tapped in the upper left corner, selecting the one and only object that had been stored in the phone's memory.

"Babymetal. Live Performance at the Metro City Garden Theater. Admit One."

The date on the digital ticket had long since passed. The band for whose performance the ticket had offered a reserved seat had come and gone, its intended recipient unaware that it had even been purchased. It wasn't even a very good seat, somewhere near the upper rows in what the salesman had described to her as the 'nosebleed' section. It had been all she could afford with the meager funds given to her by her uncle but at the time she had hoped it would be enough to mend a burned bridge.


The word was whispered to the empty air. She wasn't sure if it was intended for herself or the plucky swordswoman. There was no point in holding onto this bit of imaginary paper any longer. Its purpose had come and gone, the sentiment it represented long since turned to ash. Yet, for some reason, she hadn't been able to bring herself to get rid of it. Like the memento of some forgotten promise, its existence was a tiny thread of hope that she had held onto as if by doing so she preserved the faint sliver of possibility that things might turn out differently.

"Delete file."

The voice chirped at her, asking for confirmation and she gave it. A moment later there was the sound of crumpling paper as the ticket was sent to the phone's digital waste bin.

Junko stared at the phone for several long seconds, contemplating setting it aflame in her hand. A final act of separation from the burden of hope. But then, to her embarrassment, she remembered that the GPS on the device was the only thing that allowed her to navigate this unfamiliar world and safely tucked it away in her pocket with a sigh, replacing it with a pack of cigarettes.

"A crippled monster that has everyone quaking in their shoes," she muttered, sticking one of the smokes in her mouth. "Hah! What a joke."


By the time she arrived at the arena, most of the crowd was already inside and seated. A pair of interns were waiting for her outside, obviously sent to keep an eye out for her arrival since a very thorough sweep of the building had failed to produce her whereabouts. No one wanted another ghostly jump scare.

The miko allowed herself to be ushered inside where a handful of attendants did their best to make her look more presentable. She sat on a stool with her arms crossed and a bemused expression as they tried to rub some of the ash off her face with a wet rag. After the third one burned their hand on the clouds of steam that resulted that notion was abandoned.

She found herself left mostly alone after that, barring the occasional attempt to inquire about her needs which the miko silently ignored until the offending gnat finally buzzed off. Only when the prompt to prepare herself for the match itself finally came did she stir from her perch and stalk menacingly through the heavy curtains to the sound of that damned plinky electronic abomination of musical introductions.

Stopping after only about half a dozen steps onto the catwalk, Junko suddenly turns and lifts her hand at the nearest wall mounted speaker. With a snarl she unleashes a blast of scarlet flame into the device and detonates it into a spray of melted plastic and sparking wires.

"Turn that GARBAGE off!"

Djamila has been in the waiting room for the most part of the time now. After she would break Kenzo worse than anything has ever happened to him in the NFG. Mint helped her get to the root of the problem. The root of what happened. Made her feel better got her ready for the match. Now a bit before her match, she's in Kenzo's room. At least he's alive. That's what matters now. She gives a light squeezes to his hand, and she kisses his forhead, hoping somewhat he can feel it. Hoping it brings him comfort. "I have to go babe. Your monster has another monster to take care off." She releases his hand. She takes her staff, and with determination, she leaves the room.

She is driven to the arena. No one sane would give a driving license to a blind girl. Not that she even tried to pass it. It didn't matter anyway. She is quiet the whole way and the Team Metal driver is not trying to initiate conversation with her either.

Once at the Arena, she is led to the changing room. She is given something to wear for the match because this time, her mind had not been about this. She didn't care much. She just asked that the outfit be black. So that's what it was. A black outfit to go with her black blindfold. A pair of black short shorts. A black sport black that show quite a bit of cleavelage. They knew her look well. They went along with it. She didn't feel sexy right now, though. It didn't matter anyway. She was here to fight. To finish something. She repeats to herself quietly. "It takes a monster to beat a monster."

Now she's waiting for Junko to get to the ring. Who, in no uncertain terms, make the music stop before she gets to the ring. When it's her turn, there is no music, the speaker destroyed. She doesn't give a shit. She gets on the cat walk. Once she's on it, she points her staff toward the ring at Junko before runing toward it and slides under the rope. She stands up and moves to her corner. Today, she's not here to play.

There's a commotion near one of the lower audience entrances to the arena as a spectator-to-be is being brought in in a wheelchair. It would be a fairly everyday occurrence, but it's drawn the attention of cameras both operated by the NFG's broadcasting team and built into the phones of nearby fans. Bandages cover much of the face and other parts of the body of the girl in the chair; were it not for the distinctive purple hair, she'd be barely recognisable as Constance Coalbridge. But she is recognised, drawing consternation and quiet questions from the congregation of combat. Is it really that bad? Why would she come to watch the person who did this to her fight?

Coco is, it seems, apparently uninterested in providing answers for anyone at the moment, remaining silent as a ringside reporter tries to ask her questions. Even her expression is unreadable. Captain Morgan is seated in her lap, more subdued than usual, and wearing a bright red kid-sized firefighter's helmet.

It seems that her presence is the statement that Coco is making, left open to the interpretation of the interested. To those in the ring, she may well go completely unnoticed.

In earlier fights, the Fulgore units were operating under stealth protocol -- be neither seen nor heard. But after their deployment at the end of the match between Kenzo and Junko, their presence was not only made clear, but patently obvious. So there is, quite honestly, no reason to hide them now.

Corporal Minal Panesh can be seen down at stage level -- the nice stable concrete that can actually support the weight of four 800-pound Fulgore units without complaint. And even as the electronic warbling of introduction music is playing, the pint-sized pugilist is barking out orders to the hulking, armored, 7-foot tall robots surrounding her.

"Four-wall!" she barks out. Unamplified, the voice hardly carries amidst the noise. But the shimmering blue hexagons that suddenly manifest into four rectangular walls around the corporal -- projected from forcefield emitters housed on the shoulders of the Fulgore units -- make their presence obvious to anyone looking just a bit away from the arena.

"Containment dome!" she barks out. And the forcefield configuration changes into a geodesic dome around her, neatly preventing the mecha-armed soldier from escaping. The hexagons glimmer brightly as she delivers a powerful punch to the barrier -- with only a mere light show as testament to the exchange.

And then the corporal's gauntlets spew out a funnel of bright orange flame -- flames that, also, are properly contained by the hexagonal forcefields.

Pleased, Mint barks out, "Drop 'em, boys. Test complete." The hexagons fall. And Mint casts her gaze around the ring -- to Djamila first, then to Junko, then to the wheelchaired figure.

Mint doesn't particularly want to be here. But she can't -not- be here, she rationalizes.

Knife-hand motions from Mint direct the Fulgore units to the four sides of the ring. "Take positions..."

And then she moves to take a front-row seat for herself.

Hawksley thinks it's a terrible idea for himself and Coco to be here. He'd been quite happy relaxing at their fancy arse hotel, The Fritz-Charleston, watching movies and making the most of the mini bar. Her announcement that she'd like to attend was met with horror by the Irishman and a "Why the feck would you wanna do a mad thing like that?"

The purple haired patient had been insistent however, so here they are, making their way to their seats for the spectacular match that's about to take place in The Metro City Arena. The irony that both of them got knocked out by today's competitors is not lost on Hawksley. As for who will prove victorious, he wouldn't like to wage a bet. Both females have shown themselves to be fierce and formiddable fighters in their matches in Metro City and would be worthy of a win. The fact that Djamila was the victor when they last met is not something he places too much value on. Different days can bring dramatic shifts in performance in his experience.

It seems that the miko's mood is not much improved and her spirit no sweeter as she destroys the sound speaker. To be fair, the music wouldn't be his choice either but it's a pretty bold move.

Djamila meanwhile seems all business and her serious expression is not too surprising, given recent events. Hawksley had heard about what happened to Kenzo and wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry on the tech ninja's behalf. The whole situation seemed somewhat ludicrous, that he should be brought down by his own love. Partcularly with some of his injuries being in such an intimate area.

"Do you need anything fetching?" Hawksley checks with Coco as they settle in the seats reserved for them in the section for wheelchair users and their carers. "I'm guessing you won't want a program and it might be a bit tricky to be eating sweets."

His dark gaze shifts to the fulgore units getting into position around the ring and he lets out a loud breath. "Looks like they're all ready for it to kick off."

The tension in the air is almost palpable as the crowd wait for the proceedings to get underway. The strange feeling of wanting nothing scary to occur and a willingness to witness something wild is doing battle in many of their brains.

Junko's 'request' that the awful music accompanying her passage out into the arena be shut down is swiftly met, if only due to the menacing glare she's giving the next speaker in line. With that racket dealt with, the miko stalks the rest of the way down the catwalk to the edge of the ring proper.

Her hand reaches out to grab hold of the top nylon rope as she nears the turnbuckle, intending to melt her way through the barrier just as she had before. Only it isn't there. The teenager blinks in momentary confusion then glances to her side where a pair of orange blobs are huddled on the far side of the arena near another of the small pillars. She tell can from the way they stand that they have something heavy clutched in their arms. The ropes, no doubt, which will be pulled closed behind her. Looks like they're starting to anticipate her needs.

A faint smile creeps onto Junko's face and she saunters the rest of the way towards the center of the arena at a leisurely pace. Unlike her opponent there isn't any obvious signs of concern on her dirty face. If anything she seems far more laid back than the priestess has appeared in quite some time.

Her gaze drifts over to the huddled group of Fulgore units as their caretaker puts them through their paces. While they may not have those deadly plasma weapons at the ready just this moment the intense heat of their circuitry and generators make them unmistakable. Not just two this time but a whole extra pair. Her eyebrows lift slightly at that but there's no overt hints of fear that arise from this revelation.

"Well, well..."

Coming to a halt a dozen paces away from her fellow sight-impaired warrior, Junko flips a hand through her hair, tossing the ash-smeared white locks over her shoulder. Her torso remains as bare and dirty as her last appearance, sarashi and ofuda creating a patchwork semblance of intentional attire. The shift of her hair brings with it a brief glimpse of the intricate tattoo on her exposed back, the deadly Suzaku himself poised in menacing flight with brilliant colorful wings spread over a screaming human skull.

"From the looks of it, I would say I ruffled a few feathers."

The faint amused smile on the teen's face deepens into a malicious sneer as she turns her attention towards Djamila. Though her expression is meaningless to the dancer, her words all but drip with venomous contempt as if to give voice to her body language.

"Are you afraid of me, girl? Afraid of what I can do? Afraid that you'll end up a simpering lunatic burned beyond all recognition like the last one?"

he priestess of calamity holds up one of her hands, palm turned upwards. A tiny flame blossoms to life at her call, a marble of scarlet power writhing with black corruption across its surface.

Deftly, she rolls her wrist and the small orb travels down her arm leaving a streak of angry burnt flesh in its wake. When it gets to the crook of her elbow, Junko pops it up into the air and leans forward to bite down on the flaming sphere, swallowing it with one quick motion.

The miko's irises explode with sudden swirls of red and orange as she devours the corrupted fire as if she had ignited the pilot light on a gas stove and set it to full burn. A shame her opponent can't appreciate the theater of it all but it should make for a nice little show for the audience.

That's what they came here to see, after all, isn't it? A monster with inhuman power. A beast straining against its bonds, eager to inflict destruction and ruin.

Heavens forbid she disappoint them.

Once in the ring, she is in a sort of meditation for a short moment, unmoving. Everything around her seems to have faded away. Yet she has the focus. If she knows about the Fulgores, about Hawksley and Coco... She doesn't react to them. It's all about her opponent right now.

5She takes a moment before answering, then suddenly, "Oh, you're talking to me? How could you have ruffled my feathers when you ran away last time? Apparently, you're not all that strong."

She lets that linger before she answers, "Afraid of you? You think you're are a treat?You will do what you have to do, and I will do what I have to do. Just don't expect any mercy from me. You made your choices."

After a moment, winds chi surround Djamila. Whatever happened to Kenzo wasn't meant to happen. She didn't want it. But this time, whatever happens here, she's completely fine with it. If she herself is supposed to end up like Coco, then so be it. But maybe this time, it's the other girl who will get a taste of her medicine.

"Have fun babe. I certainly will.

The dismissive retort earns an incredulous stare as the miko tries to recover from her surprise. Then she busts out laughing. Isn't is the sound of mirthful joy that comes from genuine amusement or jovial enjoyment. It's dark and twisted, the kind of laugh that a bully gives when the scrawny nerd half their size tries to square up in the hallway.

"Are you actually serious?! Pffthahaha!"

Junko doubles over, her arms wrapping around her stomach in an over exaggerated attempt to contain herself. After a moment she regains her composure and holds her arms out to her sides, spinning in a circle like a dancer as she sweeps her hands towards the entire arena.

All around them the shimmering dome of barriers that have been installed specifically for the purpose of keeping her destruction contained to the arena hum with subdued energy. Men dressed in fire suits can be seen huddled in stairwells, trying to be inconspicuous so as not to draw attention their way. Nearly half a dozen armored combat androids stand at the ready, prepared to intervene in order to keep her in check.

"Have you looked ar-- oh wait. Wow, it feels weird to be on the other side of that."

Shrugging her shoulders dismissively, the miko shakes her head and sighs.

"Whatever. But those are some big words coming from someone hiding under the skirts of a small army of robots. But I suppose, since I'm 'not all that strong', you shouldn't have any trouble taking me down."

The words dance tauntingly through the air, their owner clearly mocking Djamila's stern resolve. The miko holds her arms out to either side, spreading her feet in a loose stance, practically inviting the fight to start at the other girl's leisure.

"Well? Here I am."

Her eyes narrow dangerously, one corner of her mouth quirking up into a smirk.

"Let's see how much fun you end up having."

COMBATSYS: Junko has started a fight here.

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Junko            0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Djamila has joined the fight here.

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Djamila          0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0            Junko

"It's funny isn't it? I meanm, of course, it would be funny. You gave yourself to your monster. Probably was a difference in the beginning, but now, there is less and less of one. So, if you want to talk about hiding under a skirt, look in a mirror... Oh, you can't do that either." She doesn't say it wasn't her idea to bring the Fulgores in last time. She was ready to fight, but it changed nothing now.

"Oh you're here now? Who's here? You? The Monster? I really can't tell anymore. Frankly, I don't care babe. You might want to call on it because I won't be pulling my hits with you.

After that talk, she makes her way toward her, and she slams her staff down, keeping it upright. She jumps high on her staff and reverses herself on it, reaching for her opponent's legs. If she has her way, she trips her down roughly before allowing herself to flip back on her feet. "You're cooler than I remembered."

COMBATSYS: Junko has left the fight here.

[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Djamila          0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Djamila has ended the fight here.

COMBATSYS: Junko has started a fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Junko            0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Djamila has joined the fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Djamila          0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0            Junko

COMBATSYS: Junko blocks Djamila's Inside Leg Hang.

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Djamila          0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0            Junko

"The Hells do you know about it?!"

Junko's playful demeanor vanishes for a moment, her face twisting into a mask of rage. Talking about her struggle with the demon in such a flippant manner really pisses her off. As if this dumb broad has the slightest idea of what she's gone through these past five years. Who is she to judge?!

"Hah! Hahahaha!"

The miko starts to laugh again as her opponent keeps on running her mouth. No doubt she's trying to look tough, to put on a brave face in order to stave off her own fear. Talk comes easy, words cost you nothing but hot air. Junko knows that more than anyone.

"Oh, don't you worry, 'babe'. Suzaku will be all too happy to make your acquaintance."

She shrugs again, settling back into her air of nonchalance.

"But, he's shy, you know? All these people, staring, watching."

Djamila launches herself forward, finally taking the invitation to get the party started. While the miko can't quite see the absurd acrobatics that her opponent attempts to unleash, she's quick enough to shift her posture so that the attempt to send her crashing to the ground merely results in the dancer getting a brief hold on one of her legs before being kicked away with a dismissive snort.

"If that's what not pulling your hits looks like, this is going to go... just absolutely awful for you."

Taking a couple lazy steps backwards to put distance between herself and the other girl, Junko shrugs and holds her arms wide again. Her expression shifts into a predatory stare, eyes suddenly wide and intense with swirling flame as her voice drops to a low register. The subtle shift in her posture and her face should go largely unnoticed by her blind foe but anyone with eyes can see that there's something different in her stance this time.

"Here, why don't you try again? I'm sure you can do better."

COMBATSYS: Junko focuses her rage!

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Djamila          0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0            Junko

"Oh babe, sorry I make you so nervous. Powerup babe, powerup." She says once she is back on her feet. "Don't worry, I still need you to do decent. People came to see us. Can't have it end right away."

SHe follows forward, disconnecting her staff from the ground. Right now, she's going to stay close to Junko. Now, if that's a good decision or not, it remains to be seen."

Djamila slams the staff back down when she is close enough and then jumps even higher on it. She extends her legs and then allows herself to spin down. If she has her way, she will feed her opponent some kicks over her body. She ends up on the ground, in a split, and she graceful stands back up. The wind chill still can be felt to a point around her. "Come on babe."

"Do you feel strong enough now? Will you attack me?" She asks, undulating her hips a bit.

COMBATSYS: Junko fails to interrupt Chopper Spin from Djamila with Hou-ou Shoten Ha.

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Djamila          0/-------/-----<<|=====--\-------\0            Junko

Yes, that's right. Come closer, be confident. There's nothing to be afraid of here, just some poor girl who's not very strong. She's afraid of -you, not the other way around.

Cheerful little thoughts like that run through Junko's head as she flirts with danger, stepping backwards only to have the dancer give chase just as she expected. From the way Djamila had jumped to the defense of the last poor sod to get in the ring with her, she must be his friend or perhaps family. There had been far too much anger in that heated exchange for him to be just another team mate. No doubt this fight was something the other girl was looking forward to. A chance to exact revenge for the damage she'd caused or perhaps to be the hero who finally struck down the rampaging monster.

Whatever her reasons, it's clear that the miko's opponent is eager to look the part of the brave warrior. And Junko is happy to let her walk right into that trap.

Unfortunately, it proves to be she who is a little over confident in this exchange. As the staff comes down, its tell tale thud on the fighting mat announcing yet another acrobatic maneuver about to be unleashed, Junko steps forward to meet the attack with some aggression of her own. Flames erupt around her hand, her fist drawing back to deliver a heavy dose of counter-violence to the spinning dancer.

But, her timing is off. Unable to see well enough to predict the exact moment necessary to unleash her strike, the priestess goes off blind instinct and banks on luck and tenacity carrying her through. Most times it works pretty well. This time her fortunes aren't so grand.

Moving faster than she anticipated, Djamila's leg sweeps out to smash across the side of her head just in time to knock the miko off balance. Momentarily stunned, Junko offers no defense as the rest of the whirling assault smashes into her repeatedly, eventually sending her down in a sprawl as one of the kicks crashes into the side of her knee.

Djamila can feel her legs/feet hitting her opponent. So once she's back up and undulating her hips, she also adds. "Not doing too good as a monster when fighting another monster, are you?

After that little display, she pushes the offense, sliding quickly forward, taking her staff with her, and with her right leg, she does an axe kick, wanting to hit her on the way down if she can, not aiming anywhere in particular, just at Junko herself. Her staff held strongly in her hands in the process.

"Come on babe, it's still early. You can do something." She says as she backs that foot a bit, settling in a better stance. She's truly not thinking of herself as a hero or anything like that right now. But if Junko doesn't know of the incident, she doesn't have to understand or know her mood is different this time.

COMBATSYS: Junko blocks Djamila's Light Kick.

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Djamila          0/-------/----<<<|======-\-------\0            Junko

Junko barks out an incredulous laugh, still lying on her back. Gods, this girl is just too much. One little miscalculation and she thinks she's a monster. This attempt to posture like -she's- the one that has people cowering behind a damn forced field for fear of their life is starting to get under her skin. Not that it takes much to piss her off but this particular nerve is being tweaking something fierce.

With a snarl, the miko's hand comes up to ward off the descending kick. The blow hammers down against her forearm hard enough to bruise but compared to the pain she endures on a constant basis a few little kicks aren't even going to slow her down.

"I'll show you 'something' alright!"

Rolling backwards as Djamila shifts herself into a fighting stance, Junko lands on her feet in a low crouch. Fire swirls around her hands as she snaps her head up to glower at the other girl, scarlet power gathering in her palms as tiny tendrils of black corruption spiderweb across her steadily burning skin.

With a sudden lunge, the teenager hurls herself forward. Both hands thrust forward, crimson meteors streaking through the space between them as they come crashing towards the dancer's midsection. Contact with those deadly palms brings an eruption of flame and force, a blast not unlike that of a small bomb erupting in each hand. Even should she fail to make a solid hit, the energy shunts forward and detonates in spectacular fashion, the force powerful enough to whip Junko's hair back.

COMBATSYS: Djamila fails to counter Rengoku Sougekishou from Junko with Superman EX.

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Djamila          0/-------/----<<<|=======\=------\1            Junko

"That's what I am waiting for, show me, something babe. I am waiting for it."

When the meteors start coming toward her, she manages to dash and dance around them quickly. She even to a point seems to resist the flame with her chi. But as he jumps to try to hit her, the force hits her hard and sends her back landing hard on the floor.

She forces herself on one knee, grinding her teeth. "Finally. Do you have something else like that? Or did you run out of juice?" She gives a grin, but she indeed felt this, even if she had worse in her life.

"Come on Junko, we both know you can do better." Seems she can't shut up with the dangerous girl.

What the hell is with this girl? Is she that eager to die? Convinced herself that her precious guardian robots will swoop in and save her after she pokes the bear long enough to make it angry? The complete disregard this wench has for the threat that she poses makes the miko want to correct that impudent attitude.

And she knows just how to do that.

Glowering down at her kneeling opponent, Junko stares at her in menacing silence for several seconds. The hatred swirling in her eyes washes out from her in waves of steadily intensifying heat, hot enough to make the rubber surface of the ring's mat start to bubble and peel around her bare feet.

"My, my. Such an eager little rabbit, all ready to throw itself in the stew."

After taking a couple of slow steps backwards Junko plants her feet in a wide stance. One hand lifts dramatically up, rising all the way above her head. Her fingers splay apart, palm upturned towards the sky as if holding some invisible object aloft. Though her voice is playful, the expression on her face is one of cold fury, where anger has circled the block and gone all the way back around to disturbing calmness.

"Very well. Let's turn up the heat."

In the empty space above the miko's upturned hand, a tiny spark of light blossoms to life. It starts out a small thing, barely more than a twinkle, but with each passing moment its intensity begins to bloom. Swelling in size and brilliant the sparkle turns into a small red marble like the one she had so casually taken into her body before. But its growth doesn't stop there this time.

Ballooning outwards in a sudden surge of power, the marble expands into a grape. The grape into a golf ball. The golf ball into an apple. On and on the spheres of scintillating scarlet energy swells and grows, steadily getting bigger and bigger, hotter and hotter.

A shimmering nimbus of unnatural red power engulfs the body of the priestess, her silhouette traced in a flickering scarlet haze as the excess fire spills out in waves of rippling distortion. Her hair starts to blaze a bright red-orange like heated coals, the long lockes fluttering in an invisible updraft as the air around her rushes towards the ceiling in a superheated frenzy.

"It sure is a good thing you have those machines standing by!"

Her lip peels back in a fierce grin as she holds the ever-growing fireball aloft, eyes wide with wild anticipation.

"I bet one of them has an ash tray built in!"

COMBATSYS: Junko turns up the heat!

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Djamila          0/-------/----<<<|=======\=====--\1            Junko

"Yes, I am eager, but you're slow as hell. You're supposed to be this amazing monster who, if we listen to people, you should be able to wipe me out with the snap of a finger. But we both know that isn't true. You are a scared little girl, and the monster inside is, at the very least, leashed down." Though the bubbling of the ring can be concerning.

"Well, if you can actually do it and stop talking about it, sure. Let's go."

She stands back up and sets her staff upright again. "You can read my epitaph if you manage to do that." She smirks. "The poor girl talked too much, and she didn't have enough money for cremation, so I did it to her for free."

She is aware of the growing fireball, but she doesn't mention that properly. She just starts undulating her hips again, and she makes the om sound. More wind circles her and starts soothing her body, and in her mind, she's as ready as she can be for whatever Junko wants to do to her. "Now come on Junko. Show me what you learned since our last match."

COMBATSYS: Djamila makes the om sound and wind chi flies around her for a short moment.

[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Djamila          0/-------/-----<<|=======\=====--\1            Junko

Mint keeps her arms crossed; cooled jet turbines rest upon the armrests. Her metal gauntlets tighten their grip upon her biceps as she sees the wind kick up and hears Djamila's words. Is she... tearing -herself- down?

After a good, long moment of watching the fighters' raise the room temperature, Mint lets out the breath she was holding. She reminds herself that Djamila has been fighting long enough to know what she's doing.

The pint-sized pugilist relaxes her grip, a half-smile flitting across her lips.

"If I actually stop tal-?"

Junko stares wide eyed and then just shakes her head. The nerve of this girl. The blabber mouth who hasn't shut the hell up for more than two seconds straight since this fight started is chiding -her-? Now she knows this is just an attempt to get under her skin. No one is that dense.

"No. There isn't going to be a damn thing on your epitaph! Your smoldering corpse going into the ground is going to be the only time you actually SHUT THE HELL UP!"

Inside of herself, she can feel Suzaku seething at the insinuation that she is holding him back. It's true, in a sense. Mainly that her body wouldn't be able to handle the full might of a god's raw essence flowing through it. She'd probably explode, very violently. Which would most likely kill everyone in a very large radius. The entire arena, at least. That would certainly shut her up. But it's what comes after that concerns Junko. Maybe she'd regenerate, like she usually does. Maybe both she and Suzaku would actually die. Neither one of them is keen on finding out.

So, going full kamikaze is off the table. What then is her plan?

"You want to know what I learned since our last fight, huh."

More talking, apparently! Two can play this game.

"First of all, I learned that you're nothing but a noisy wind bag."

Yes, very clever and original. She's certainly never heard that joke before.

"And second..."

Junko's closes her eyes, gathering her energy for the big gambit. She'd taken a bit of a risk to try something like this so soon into their match but it seems her opponent was too busy running her mouth to run her brain.

With a gentle push the miko sends the massive ball of fire, now roughly the size of a small car, floating up into the air. It hovers slowly upwards, drifting like a giant balloon full of helium on a lazy upwards arc.

Lowering her hand and opening her eyes, Junko's mouth twists into a smug grin as she narrows her gaze on the gyrating dancer.

"That you're predictable."

Leaning forward, the miko suddenly hurls herself across the gap between the two fighters in a blaze of speed and fire. Her body whips sideways in midair, one leg snapping up to lash at Djamila in a wide sweeping fire-clad kick that sends out a five foot wave of blazing power. The girl's body does a full rotation as she comes back down to the ground, pivoting to the other foot as she brings another spray of scarlet flame slashing through the air like a fiery sword of judgement.

Above them, the massive orb of energy hovers lightly overhead, burning like a small artificial sun. The intense heat does nothing to impair Junko's movements, her body attuned with the element of fire in ways most people couldn't even understand. She feeds on it, draws strength from it, and more importantly, leaves it hanging up there like the Sword of Damocles, ready to come crashing down at her command.

COMBATSYS: Djamila dodges Junko's Kakyaku Renge.

[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Djamila          0/-------/-----<<|=======\=======\1            Junko

She smirks, "Then shut me up bitch. The problem is better people have tried and failed. Hawksley masters fire a lot better than you. Probably why he and Coco are here. They probably want to see you ridicule yourself." So she knew they were around after all...

She has to laugh when Junko tells her she is a windbag, and then she imitates one. Not the best imitation, but she's definitely mocking her, and it seems herself in the process.

She ponders. "I am predictable. The problem is, that doesn't mean the like of you can stop me."

When Junko does her first strike, she jumps forward and to the side, dodging the first wave of power while bringing her staff with her..

She lands on the ground and is on the move again as the other flame comes at her, sliding quickly toward Junko to slam her staff in her chest with speed, if she can do it. "You suck at insults, and to think you're better at it than your fighting."

COMBATSYS: Djamila successfully hits Junko with Quick Strike EX.

[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Djamila          0/-------/----<<<|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2            Junko

Hawksley is gripped by the action in the ring. He keeps wanting to turn to Coco and ask her if she saw a particular move or motion made but he's concerned it would be insensitive. After her ordeal in the match with the miko, he's not sure how she can stand being so close to the action, or sit, as it were.

So he stays silent, his face and body being left to tell the tale of the emotions and excitement he's feeling. His hands grip the sides of his seat, he leans forwards to get a better look and when he sees the sight of the car sized fireball, he actually gasps aloud, finally expressing himself with words. "Well would you look at that?"

Thankfully for Djamila's sake, she manages to dodge most of the damage. Not only that but she follows up by slamming her staff into Junko. The Thunder girl may be the one who fights with flames but it seems it's the Metal member who's on fire.

What's more irritating than a blow hard? A blow hard that's good at dodging.

Every single thing that comes out of this girl's mouth is designed specifically to piss her off. And it's working.

Wind has thus far proven to be Junko's worst match up. While water does a bang up job of dousing her flames, or more accurately, turning them into steam, steam is still a form of heat. She can work with steam, wielding it against her opponents if given the opportunity. But both Djamila and Rei have been able to use wind to slice right through her flames, diverting them into harmless paths or avoiding them outright. Being denied the chance to scorch and burn this irritating bug is starting to drive her crazy.

The staff punctuates her opponent's taunt with a hard thrust that catches her square in the chest. Junko tries to roll with the blow, turn her body aside and let the weapon slide off so that she can use its momentum to drive her forward into a counter attack. But the strike is aimed too well. The impact smashes her shoulder hard enough to make her teeth rattle and the miko is sent flying backwards to land on her ass in an embarrassing sprawl.

Pure unadulterated rage flows through the young girl as she struggles to catch her breath. It's been a long time since she was humiliated in such a thorough fashion. Sure, Rei had handily given her a spanking but he was some kind of weird elementalist wizard with all kinds of crazy powers so he doesn't count. No, she's thinking about the last time she got bested so handily in a sparring match, against someone who should be somewhat her equal. That Djamila had defeated her before only makes the repeat all the more galling.

Clenching her fists into tight balls, Junko kips up to her feet with surprising agility. Her teeth grind audibly as she pins the dancer with a glare full of fire - literal fire - her eyes all but bursting with scarlet fury.

There are no more insults thrown back this time. No attempt to deflect the criticism with wit and words. There is only raw hatred and seething outrage.

With a scream of primal malice so intense that it becomes a physical force, Junko throws her head back and unleashes her frustration. Both hands lift into the air above her, her fingers blackened into skeletal claws from the wielding of her unholy power. Tendrils of dark corruption wriggle across the surface of the deadly orb, black snakes of raw hatred given form, eager to indulge in the desire for mayhem flowing through their creator.

With a violent twist of her body, Junko sweeps her hands down at the ground as if hurling the massive seething ball of fire through physical effort. At her command the gigantic meteor comes crashing down like death from on high, the power of a literal god attempting to smite her opponent for the blasphemies she has uttered.

COMBATSYS: Djamila reflects Jigoku Dama from Junko with Butterfly EX.
* Attack Of Opportunity! *

[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////                          ]
Djamila          0/-------/------<|>>>>>>-\-------\0            Junko

"Oh, not so easy to get the predictable girl who won't shut up is it?" She says after the attack hits her mark. Yep, she's still not shutting up. And she has no kind words for Junko. Not with almost anyone else she found.

"Now come on, give me something I can sweat a bit against, will yeah?" She smirks.

She is aware Junko is not returning anything this time at her verbal. Is this it? Is she going to bring the hurt to Djamila?

She hears the scream, the frustration, everything. Yes, this is it. The big fireball, the one as big as a car, is coming toward her. What she used against Kenz it was way too much for no reason. But she has that force.

She screams loudly and opens her arms wide. Her chi surges around her. "I AM A MONSTER AND YOU WILL FEEL IT YOURSELF." The surge of chi enough not only to stop the meteor from hurting her but strong enough to send it back to sender.

While it's going back, she also starts running toward Junko. As the meteor hits Junko, Djamila uses her staff as a pole and does a jump kick at Junko with her powerful legs, before bouncing back and landing with force, letting some of the strong wind chi dissipate.

Everything is falling apart.

Accepting the darkness was supposed to be the key to her freedom. A way to make all of the pain stop or at least more bearable. And despite what that meant for her future, her humanity, she had hoped that at least one final act of selflessness would result from her decision to give in.

Winning this tournament was the only meaningful outcome to her presence here. The prize money would be enough to give her clan a new start, a way to rebuild from the ashes of her arrogance. After that she could vanish off the face of the world as far as they cared. She was fine with that. Her time with the Daidoji clan was done, no matter what her uncle might say. That wasn't her home any more and she wasn't going to sit around and play lap dog for a chance to earn a few scraps of affection.

But even that minor victory is being taken away from her. What purpose was there in all of this suffering if she were to fall here, to stumble at the last step? It isn't fair. It isn't fair!

Junko's jaw clenches as the massive ball of flame comes soaring back at her, diverted off its course by that damnable shrew. Her hands extend towards it, willing the flame to scatter, to disperse back into the air as heat and wind. Most of it does. When the avatar of Suzaku commands the flames obey. But there isn't enough time. That much power doesn't simply vanish at a moment's notice.

The remains of her fury come crashing down around the miko in a scorching detonation. The fire burns her but she's endured flames before. Even as her skin melts and blackens, she endures, refusing to fall to something as ignominious as her own damned attack.

The flying kick comes out of nowhere, slamming into her like a hammer. Lifted clean off her feet, Junko sails backwards and lands in a sprawling heap on the still bubbling mat. Pain assaults her senses, boiling rubber at her back, busted ribs at her front, shame and humiliation everywhere else.

No. NO! She will not let it all be for naught!

Gathering up the remains of her strength, the girl closes her eyes and turns her gaze inwards. Throughout everything she has endured until now there has been one single constant in her life. For the longest time she cursed it, placed all of the blame for her woes at its feet. Yet it never turned away from her, never stopped trying to show her the error of her ways. It did not judge her, did not make demands. It simply waited for her to realize the inevitability of her fate and welcomed her with open arms when she finally stopped running.

"Suzaku... I need you now!"

Fire blossoms inside of her, a heat both intense and familiar. It fills her weary body with fresh power, gives her the strength to push back to her feet. She does her best not to wobble drunkenly as she rises. Still fighting but not yet recovered. The flames can prop her up but it takes time for them to knit her back to health.

All she needs is one good strike. One chance to ram her fist down that annoying bitch's throat and make her choke on all that hot air.

But even that seems beyond her now. Moving at more than a snail's crawl is pure agony. Until the flames have gathered enough power to give her that healing surge, her options are limited.

Clutching one hand into a claw at her side, Junko focuses what power she has left into her palm. Another spark of neon red light sputters to life in her grasp and she cups it as if trying to protect a candle flame from the wind.

"You... dumb bitch..."

Talk. She needs to talk. To buy time, to distract.

"You think beating me makes you... a monster?"

Ragged laughter sputters out for a moment but the pain of her broken ribs makes her wince.

"How many people... have you killed lately? Ehn? How many of your clan... are nothing more than dust and ash... because of you?"

Her eyes narrow as she hisses in pain and fury, spittle and blood spraying from her mouth as she throws the questions in Djamila's face.

"How many of your family... did you murder... in their sleep?!"

The light in her hand grows more intense, solidfying as she condenses the energy into something coherent.

"You're a monster? Hah... hahaha..."

She feels it when the thrum of power through her burnt hand hits the peak. A sudden twist lifts her arm up towards the dancer. White hot agony explodes in her chest for the folly of such a quick movement but she endures it long enough to unleash a heated period to the end of her sentence as a beam of solid red fire erupts across the arena like the blast of a science fiction battleship's main cannon opening fire.

"Let me show you what a monster looks like!"

COMBATSYS: Junko has reached second wind!

[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////                         ]
Djamila          0/-------/------<|=======\-------\0            Junko

COMBATSYS: Djamila dodges Junko's Shakkahou.

[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////                         ]
Djamila          0/-------/------<|=======\-------\0            Junko

That was good enough to get her down, but of course, she has to get back up. She is known for that. Letting more of the monster out apparently, or maybe it's just an excuse.

She breathes deeply. The girl has the excuse of having a monster inside her. But Djamila has hurt her love almost to the point of killing him and seriously putting into question whether he will ever have babies. Isn't that killing some lives too? The potential of life anyway. What excuse did she have? Only her past. "You know, in the end, your monster, it's your excuse for doing what you do. Whatever helps you sleep at night."

She feels something powerful coming. She is calm. Either Junko can't hurt her anymore, or she is wrong and gets hurt. What does it matter anyway? Pain is also no stranger to her, and if she has to be hurt now, so be it. She couldn't give much more of a fuck right now.

Then it comes at her, but she's no longer there. The wind brought her up enough, just long enough to let the energy shot pass her by.

She lands on her feet, closer to Junko. She then closes the distance and spins in a 360 with her staff, almost as if she were trying to take her head off. "You're right, you're a monster. Promising me a world of pain and failing to deliver. So why the hell don't you stay down like a good girl now?"

After this, she backs up slightly, but not much.

COMBATSYS: Junko endures Djamila's Improvised Smack.

[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /                             ]
Djamila          0/-------/------<|=======\==-----\1            Junko

"Just... stop talking!"

Even though she knows it's pointless, the miko pours more and more power into the beam as it rips through the empty air. With a snarl, she whips her arms sideways, dragging the lance of energy across the entire arena, melting half the platform before her well runs dry. Coruscating patterns dance on the far side of the room as the barriers strain against the intense outpouring of heat. It's probably quite pretty to look at, assuming the audience isn't too terrified to stay in their seats.

But with that surge of anger comes fresh power. Vitality floods her body, healing fire rushing through her veins. It hurts. It always does. But pain is transient and from that pain she draws the tenacity to push on.

Junko whirls to meet the staff as it comes crashing towards her head. She lunges into the blow instead of away, forcing the stick to slam home with a great deal less momentum than it would have had she been caught at the edge of the swing. As it is the blow is enough to clout her momentarily senseless, staggering sideways from the impact.

But the girl recovers her bearings almost instantly, rage and determination driving her beyond normal limits. With a snarl, she hurls herself bodily at the arrogant wench, attempting to tackle her to the ground and finally make good on at least some of the threat she is supposed to pose. It's not much of a plan but at this point she's a little past caring about that sort of thing.

COMBATSYS: Junko can no longer fight.

[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Djamila          0/-------/------<|

COMBATSYS: Djamila dodges Junko's Mugen Ranbu.

[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Djamila          0/-------/------<|

She blinks when Junko takes the hit of her staff head-on instead of protecting herself. Maybe there was a point to it, but she's not sure she understand that part. Not that it matters much.

She gets out of the way rather easily from the tackle, only leaving the staff in the way in the hope of tripping her. Not like she seems like she can go much further. "Fucking pathetic. Not so tough. Hell, you're easier than the first time we met. Pfft. I wonder how much blows it would take to send you to the hospital and keep you there." She lifts her staff like she's going to strike her again. "But I am not like you. I guess I am not a fucking monster. Thanks for trying to cheer me up by saying I wasn't. You were right." She brings her staff down and smirks. "Now, stay down if you know what's good for you. Because I might be tempted to keep hitting you otherwise." She raises her hands with her staff. Not even waiting to see if she gets back up. Not even waiting for someone to say she won. She truly looks like she's pass caring at this point. If Junko gets back up, she's just going to hit her again and again. Even the energizer bunny stops at one point.

COMBATSYS: Djamila leans against her staff, which stays upright and waits.

[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Djamila          0/-------/------<|

Throughout the match, Coco has been quiet. In fact, one could possibly have been forgiven for mistaking the figure in the chair for a Madame Tussaud's waxwork, though she might well have shown the signs given the heat in the arena. The only thing that she'd requested when prompted had been a cold water bottle with a straw. She hasn't flinched when the too-familiar flames of Suzaku have been conjured against Djamila. She hasn't said a word of commentary. She doesn't even applaud when, at last, it finally seems that the fire maiden's rampage has been ended by the rampage of the other fighter in the ring.

Which might make her the only one in the arena.

Instead, as the crowd roars for blood, Coco quietly calls over the noise to Hawksley.

"I'm ready to go now, Lucky."

Whatever her reasons for being here, they don't seem to include gloating over someone else's victory in her presumable vendetta.

The match comes to an unpleasant end. The verbal exchanges almost as brutal as the violence. Hawksley has seen Junko enraged before of course but he's shocked by the vitriol that comes from Djamila. The miko did fight Kenzo in the last round however and he'd seen the footage of her jumping in at the end, so it's probably left over from that.

Who's to say if he'd been victorious against the poledancer if he would have been able to keep his cool with the woman who injured Coco? He'd certainly threatened her plenty at the end of that match. As for how the Irishman feels about the white haired teenager now, he knows she's got issues and he doesn't particularly feel like adding to them.

He gets up from his seat to applaud Djamila as she's announced as the winner. She'll face another Thunder team member in the final and it's sure to be a thrilling fight. The crowd continue to both cheer and boo, some of them seemingly confused about who is supposed to be the heel here. Through their noise he hears Coco call to him and nods his dark head.

"Alright, Coco Pops. Home time it is. We should still be in plenty of time to order room service."

Mint spares a quick glance towards Hawksley and Coco, setting her jaw. Tensions are running hot. The corporal keeps her arms crossed as she watches the final blows of the battle play out, fire versus wind. If this battle had taken place earlier in the season, there's a good chance she'd have leapt to her feet before now to present an admonition against Djamila stoking the fires -too- hot. But this is a finals match -- and it's quite likely personal. Djamila isn't just fighting for herself at this point, but as a proxy for everyone singed by Junko's flames, in the finals or otherwise.

Mint's priorities now are different though. It isn't just Djamila she's protecting. It's an entire arena And as Junko looks to have fallen -- she's still not sure about any of this.

She speaks into a small radio fixed to her gauntlet:
"Stay vigilant."
For anything could happen.

Exhausted, furious, and still reeling from the blow to her head, Junko proves almost comically easy to avoid. The miko's wild lunge sends her stumbling into the outstretched staff and soon after tumbling to the ground on her face. The impact is heavy and raw, the girl too discombobulated to even put out her hands in time to keep from slamming face-first into the mat.

Further abuse hits her in the form of yet more patronizing insults from her opponent before the teen has even had time to regain her senses. Fresh fury wells up inside of her and she attempts to latch onto it, use it to drive her into an even greater frenzy. But as her body refuses to respond to her tenacious refusal to accept reality that anger is quickly replaced by a deep aching despair.

That's it then. She's lost. It's over.

Lowering her forehead onto the hot rubbery surface, Junko's eyes squeeze shut so tight that her face starts to hurt as she desperately fights back a sudden onslaught of grief. This had been her chance, her last chance to do something right. If she could just push through to the last round, use these cursed flames to achieve something good...!

But even that small gesture of charity is to be denied her, it seems. Perhaps it is to be expected. Every other thing she's ever tried to do to make the best of this bad situation has blown up in her face as well. Why would she expect it be any different this time? Monsters don't get happy endings.

A dark bitter laugh spills out of her lips as she rolls over onto her side, the sound half fraying sanity and half wheezing cough. After her incident with Coco and the subsequent fall out of alienating every single person who has ever met her in one fell swoop, Junko had thought she had nothing left to lose. Turns out she still had a little bit of pride left to destroy. Otherwise there wouldn't be such wild hatred in her heart for the girl standing triumphantly over her.

Tilting her head slightly to regard the vaguely human-shaped mass of heat that is Djamila, the miko squints through one half-swollen eye. The blow to the side of her head is already starting to bruise and knot, a dark purple stain spreading beneath the smeared layer of soot on one side of her pale face. Such a wound would barely even warrant her notice if it weren't for the difficulty it imposes on her attempt to glower sourly at her foe.

After a moment, the girl's expression changes. With a weary sigh, she flops onto her back and gently rests an arm across her forehead. The movement forces her to cough again as her broken rib pokes into her lungs unpleasantly. When she finishes wheezing this time her mouth twists into a wry grin, smiling at something only she can see.

"Well... lucky me, I guess."

The sardonic playfulness in her voice seems strangely at odds with the fiery temper that the girl is known for. Especially with, by her own admission, an open acceptance of the darkness that has been lurking inside for some time now. Yet after the utter thrashing she received the priestess is suddenly very calm, almost suspiciously so. And with each passing moment the subtle grin on her face grows steadily wider, a very obvious warning sign that her sight-impaired opponent is tragically unable to see.

"Yep, you thrashed me pretty good there! Must feel pretty good. I bet you'll be a real hero now."

Despite her strangely belligerent shift in attitude, Junko remains compliantly motionless on the floor offering no obvious reason for the threats against her physical health to be acted upon. With the Fulgore units on stand-by close at hand, even if she could somehow take Djamila off guard and get back to her feet, she'd no doubt swiftly be subject to whatever form of unpleasant punishment they have in store for her antics.

"Hey," she says, as if a thought just crossed her mind. "You know, I just remembered something. When we first started going at it you were having trouble telling if it was me or the monster you were dealing with. And I said that he was not in the mood to come out and play just yet. Remember that?"

Lifting her arm away from her forehead a couple of inches, she stares at the surface of her skin with a Cheshire Cat sized grin - or more accurately at the various ofuda seals plastered onto it. Bright red kanji stare back at her the expertly painted lines glowing with a suddenly ominous intensity. She caresses the surface of the charm with her burnt fingers, playing them across its edges.

"He's ready to come out and play now," she whispers.

It proves surprisingly easy to detach the protective charm from her skin. The magic imbued into the ofuda had kept them in place, protected them from any sort of unwitting interference. But as she digs her fingers with meaningful intent into the crisp paper it comes away as easily as wet tissue paper. The miko smiles as she holds the ruined charm up in front of her face and laughs, her voice full of manic glee, as it bursts into scarlet flame.

In a sudden frenzy of motion, Junko starts to twist and turn, tearing at every surface of her skin with wild clawing rake. Each pass of her singed fingers brings with it several more of the ruined paper nsigils, raw magic sloughing away like dead skin cells. As more and more of the sealing charms are peeled away they begin to create a steadily growing pyre of unnatural red flame around the prone girl, engulfing her body in a bonfire of corrupted power. Intense heat and a sense of something less palpable begins to radiate out from the cackling teenager, a feeling of unnatural wrongness that can't be properly described. Intense pressure assaults the minds of everyone in the stadium as reality strains under the pressure of something far worse than the moody human attempting to claw its way through the veil.

Djamila wanted to compare herself to a monster? Let's see how she measures up.

She feels better after this win. Letting at least some of the nasty that had been plaguing her ever since that Kenzo incident out. Of course, she hasn't been nice to Junko, like not at all. But she feels no regret about that. She needed to be taken down a peg or two, in her opinion.

Of course, she doesn't know what is going on in either mind there. Djamila is not a mind reader, after all. But she can't have a quiet win. It's not unexpected, but yeah.

She didn't pay a lot of attention to Junko after beating her. But she turns her head when she hears Junko say something. 'Lucky her.' It makes her cock her head. She wonders now what. What will happen? Some people can't even take a loss gracefully.

Junko speaks more... Say what now? "I am no hero. What are you on about? I must admit though it does feel pretty to put you back in your place. Show you that the monster is not that great. Let me guess, you will learn nothing of this?" She rubs her head. When does anybody nasty learn anything anyway? It's not like she expected a happy ending or anything.

Djamila idly wonders if this is the phase of the villain monologue, like in movies. Sometimes, movies get a few things right. Is that one of them? "I remember babe." Better to get her talking then, why not? See what she has in mind. Yet, she's still on her guard because it's Junko, her staff held firmly.

Oh great, it wants more. It wants revenge or something. Because the monster hadn't been that great in the fight, let's claim it wasn't fully out, even near the end. "Ok then, it want revenge because it looked weak and like an idiot, I am guessing. Cliche." She shrugs but doesn't call for help or anything. She doesn't need anyone else to fight her fights for her. A part of her still considers herself a monster. So yeah.

"You're having a seizure there?" She says as Junko starts to do whatever she is doing, tearing up and being generally crazy. Yes. Right now, Djamila is still taking the situation lightly with her words. But she is still ready to stand her ground. Let's see if the girl, or the monster in this case, can really do something powerful.

Even as she can feel the pressure of her mind, of something big. She can't get herself to back up. Sometimes, it seems she has no self preservation.

Hawksley and Coco are almost at the exit when he hears the crowd start to cry out in shock. Turning to look back towards the stage, he sees the strange sight of Junko pulling at her own protective charm. "She's fecking losing it" he murmurs to the Brit.

He should probably be getting Coco out of here, directing her free of any danger but something stops him and he continues to stare as the horror show unfolds. When the white haired teen tears at her own skin, he visibly shudders. He's seen some bloody battles in his time but the self destruction is sickening. Soon though, it's not just the sorry sight that startles him, it's a strange and sinister feeling that he doesn't understand.

Whilst the flames dance around the monstrous miko, Hawksley clutches a hand to his head. He almost feels like he can't breathe and it's even hotter than the fire user can handle. "Coco, are you okay?" he gasps, still keeping his focus on the fighters in the ring. Djamila seems to be insisting on prodding and poking at Junko (or whatever she is right now) some more. "Djamila, just leave her the feck alone and get out of there" he yells but his voice is lost amidst the sea of screams and sobbing.

Mint was on guard. And yet, the sudden onslaught of unbearable psychic pressure assaults her senses, a torus of unbearable heat rippling its way outward from the miko's Ground Zero. She grits her teeth and leaps up from her seat. Gas turbines spin to life -- adding a tiny iota of heat to the already-high temperatures cooking the arena.

She barks out a command to the four Fulgore units, which, similarly, sprang to life on their own imperatives. It's practically impossible to hear over the wails and cries of the fleeing audience members -- but the seven-foot-tall battleframes advance upon the ring. Each employs their forcefield projector, slinging a twenty-foot-wide hexagon of glowing blue-violet energy ahead of them in an attempt to act as a blast shield against the fury of Suzaku.

The walls begin to close in with the steady clanging drumbeat of mechanized infantry taking each laborious step towards the ring.

Mint's amplified voice is patched into the PR system -- though with the crackles in the transmission, it becomes clear that the speaker systems weren't designed to operate under these levels of heat!

"Stand down, Daidoji-san -- it doesn't have to end this way!"

It takes a strain for Coco to turn to look at what's going on in the ring, but more than almost anyone else in the audience, she doesn't need to see it to sense what's going on. The palpable presence making itself felt throughout the arena is all the more tangible to the psychically-attuned wounded warrior. Any sense of relief or relaxation that the purple-haired female fighter may have felt is replaced by a tingling beneath her scorched skin.

The wheelchair proves less necessary than appearances portray as she braces her hands against the armrests and pushes up to her feet, but it wasn't a mere publicity stunt; even as she finds her footing, she sways a little before steadying herself with a hand on Hawksley's shoulder.

"Lucky! We've got to go, now. She's letting it out. The thing that's been sealed inside her. I've seen it."

She had come face to face with it - psychically speaking - in her fight with Junko, but then, it had been like meeting a sleeping dragon in its cave while scrapping with its lesser progeny. Her own serpentine Individuation flares its hood as it holds back the wave of rage trying to invade her sensitive mind, flowing from the cracks in the holy dam that's being torn apart by the maddened miko.

"Let the robots deal with her! Don't do anything stupid!"

She tugs insistently at Hawksley's arm, a rare fear not only for herself manifesting through her eyes between the bandages.

The last couple words of Mint's attempt to reason with the frenzied miko are swallowed hole as the center of the arena blossoms into a superheated ball of neon red fire. The world goes utterly silent as the crushing mental pressure manifests itself as tangible force, a wave of visible distortion rippling inwards from the vast dome's walls to collapse into a single point like the tide pulling back from a shore. It devours everything as it goes, stealing away screams and wails like the hand of death passing over the crowd.

In that brief moment as the energy reaches its apex, collapsing into the air around the burning form of the young miko, there is a sense of building tension leads towards a profound moment of existential dread, as if the universe itself were hanging on a single intense note in anticipation of the crescendo. And when it comes, the birth of a literal god on the Earthrealm warrants every iota of that suspense and horror.

As one might expect for a god of fiery rebirth, Suzaku's arrival is heralded by heat and flame. A light more intense than the sun flares outwards from the tear in reality as the very essence of the spiritual spills across the veil between possibility and certainty. Like Schrodinger's cat being gazed upon, the acknowledgement of the fact of its existence brings the terrible truth of the kami's presence crashing down upon the minds of all present like an anvil dropped from the top of a skyscraper.

Seething primal malice floods the air, a suffocating blanket of raw emotion on a scale incomprehensible to the human mind. Simply being in presence of that blossom of all-consuming hatred is nauseating, inflicting those far enough away to survive the initial blast with crippling vertigo.

As for that physical aspect of his reincarnation into the teenager's flesh, the thunderous eruption detonates with such force that the arena is simply disintegrated around her. The Fulgore units with their carefully prepared counter measures find themselves unable to bring the might of their artificial limbs to bear as the floor vanishes beneath them robbing them of a surface against which to brace themselves. Each of the humanoid weapons is flung aside as casually as if it were a toy soldier in a tornado, slamming with sharp crackles of angry static against the surface of the vast shield walls.

%Emergency klaxons blare, the screaming warble of warning barely audible over the roar of the blast. The barrier shields flash and then surge with renewed power as extra capacitors snap to life in response to the threat. The towering walls shoot upwards all the way to the top of the dome, diverting the worst of the heat and flame into the metal ceiling high above though not before the edges of the firestorm spill over to threaten the crowds with pyroclastic debris and hungry tongues of flame. The thin aluminum dome withstands the volcanic pressures for all of two seconds before the pressure and heat melts it into molten slag and erupts skywards in a scarlet pillar that pierces the heavens themselves.

Several seconds pass as the violent eruption starts to fade only to be renewed by a second, if less catastrophically destructive blast. From the center of that hell-storm a faint silhouette slowly begins to take shape. At first an indistinct blob, then something vaguely humanoid, and finally a distinctly recognizable figure.

Junko hovers in the air at the center of the destruction - or rather the being that now inhabits her flesh. Whether or not she can still truly be considered the same entity that she was before is debatable and the evidence seems to point decidedly away from that possibility. The miko's hair, once a soft and elegant curtain of snowy white, has transformed into a flickering carpet of scarlet and orange flames, living fire that flutters out behind her as if struggling against a perpetual headwind. Her head tilts to one side as she rolls her shoulders in a lazy stretch and with a gasp of obvious pleasure a pair of fiery bird-like wings erupt from her back, fanning out in a ten-foot spread behind her.

In the aftermath of her violent but strangely beautiful transfiguration, Junko slowly sucks in a long slow breath. Her body shivers with tiny tremors of pleasure, as if the simple act of breathing is a rare delicacy to be savored. Several little movements follow - the unfurling of her fingers one by one from the tight fists they had balled up into, the curling of her toes in the ashen remains of the fighting ring, the shift of her shoulders as she works out near a millennia of imagined kinks.

When the kami finally opens her eyes, she does so only half way, peering through a laconically lidded gaze onto the scene of utter ruination before her. One corner of her lips quirks upwards in a small smile as she sweeps softly glowing eyes of fire around at the remains, making note of the survivors with idle curiosity. When she speaks it is with the girl's voice, though there is an imperceptible element of otherworldly presence to it, as if her words touch not only ears but the very soul within.

"Nhnnngh... that was... satisfying."

At one point even Djamila has to call it quits and listen to self-preservation deep inside. All that power, be it physical or mental, is really strong after all.She can already feel it. She wants to get out of here...

But she can feel the shield which has to grow stronger to protect the people in the area. The deflagration5 coming from Junko turned destruction leaves no safe place for the Wind stripper/fighter. She does the only thing her instinct tells her to. She puts herself into a ball, holding her staff in front of her.

A shield of wind chi, wraps around her, keeping her in a sort of bubble. Her staff starts glowing. Her nose starts bleeding with the exhaustion of keeping herself as safe as one can be in the middle of hell itself. The Lifeband on Djamila's arm goes crazy. Several readings are abnormals, too high, too dangerous. But, what can Djamila do?

All she can do in the end is do everything to keep herself as safe as possible. Push her body and her mind to the limit. Only a few words come out of her mouth. Most likely unheard from everyone there except for herself. "I am sorry Kenzo. I am sorry Mint."

After that, nothing happens. It only Djamila curled up in a bubble of shielding winds, a glowing staff and a life band with an annoying, incesent beeping.

Mint makes her move and Hawksley is happy that someone like the Metal sponsor is present to step into action. He's never spoken to the pint sized pugilist but whenever he's witnessed her, she seems to give off an air of calm capability.

The four Fulgore fighters are an impressive and intimidating sight. The Irishman has seen them on the footage of the Junko and Kenzo match but in person they are far more formidable. Their stepping up to act as shields against the storm stirred by the Thunder competitor is something Hawksley is very grateful for.

He feels Coco's hand on his shoulder and it seems to break his focus. He looks directly at her now and nods his head, knowing now that she has abilities he could never understand, aware that she's looked into the face of the fiery foe and recognised there was a reason to fear.

Before Hawksley and Coco can make their escape, Suzaku's arrival brings hell to Metro City. The man from Eire scoops the Englishwoman up in his arms, placing her on the ground and using his own body as a barrier between her and the blast.

As he lies there he starts to murmur prayers from his childhood attending mass, words he thought he'd forgotten. Although he's long since lost his faith, the repetition seems to steady him enough to speak. "Coco Pops, I'm gonna get you out of here and I don't want any arguments. You're already fragile and I'd never forgive myself if you got more injured or even fecking worse. I don't know how bad it's gonna be out there but it's got to be better than this."

As he starts to lift up, bringing the lass with him and softly setting her back in the wheelchair, he allows himself to look around the arena, surveying the scale of the damage. He spares a glance for Djamila, she's been a friend to him in his time in the competition and he cares for her. She seems to have found a way to protect herself but at what price? Satisfied the staff fighter has at least survived, he works on getting Coco to safety, soundtracked by the sound of the shrieking klaxons.

This is bad. This is -really- bad.

Not long after Mint had jumped out of her seat, the situation started to spiral out of her ability to control. And when the pressure starts to become unbearable, she looks to the nominal victor of the fight. Djamila's a fighter -- and a damn competent one at that. But she's unarmored, and almost defenseless, at ground zero.

Mint grits her teeth -- and guns the throttle on her arm-mounted jet engines.

She makes it to the nearest Fulgore unit before all hell breaks loose. There's just no -time- to get any closer. Placing her hands on the Fulgore unit's back, she presses against him -- using her jet engines to directly oppose the blast wave. Her hope is to anchor the big boy in place -- but as it is, all she manages to do is keep it -upright- as it's knocked backwards in the blast, the wrestling ring giving way beneath its feet. Its shielding buckles as it's hurled back, their combined technological might managing to keep the human from being squished against the shielding.

If it weren't for Ultratech's investments for -just- such a contingency diverting the heatwave upwards into the dome overhead, the casualties would have been astronomical.

In the wake of such a powerful blast, Mint finds herself breathless. The Fulgore unit beside her falls forward, planting its feet once more, as Mint stands by with her fists raised high. The others right themselves as efficiently as possible.

The panicked audience members unlucky enough to be in the lower rows scramble for cover. Molten aluminum drips from what's left of the dome, drops hissing and popping as they slam into the concrete floor and what's left of the ring itself.

There isn't much -- if anything -- that the pint-sized pugilist can do now. The barriers are still orange-hot from the blastwave, but they've done their jobs. The crowds are exiting as quickly as they can -- this was -far- more than they'd expected from the league. Mint passes a look at the fleeing crowds, giving a quick nod to Hawksley, Coco, and Captain Morgan once she's able to see that they're relatively okay.

She turns her attention back to Junko. Or, well... 'Suzaku.'

The New Jerseyan is tempted to say something smartalecky. But the defense of the people... that has to come first.

And in this case, the main person in harm's way... is Djamila.

"It's time to go."

And with a burst of throttle from her gauntlets, Mint clears the gap to Djamila. And if the fighter accepts her help -- the two Team Metal representatives will thunder away to the nearest exit.

Coco is already grimacing from the pain of the psychic backlash assailing her Individuation even before she's knocked to the ground beneath Hawksley by the combination of his protective intent and the pyroclastic carnage that shakes the arena to its foundations. The added agony of the impact has her seething between clenched teeth.

"Ow! Fuck, fuck, fuck - Christ!"

The litany of colourful words is a stark contrast against the invocation being chanted by the Irishman. She finally breaks out of her trance after a few moments of exposure to the power of prayer, face scrunching behind her bandages.

"Now's not the time, Lucky," she mentions from her position as mission to his missionary before trying to extricate herself. She doesn't feel capable of standing up to what's confronting them all in the arena now - she's still balancing her meds to stay just out of it enough not to feel under constant suffering without living life as a staggering stoner, and though she could stand, if Hawksley insists on wheelbarrowing away with her, she's not going to stop him. She does, however, close her eyes in concentration. Her spirit reaches out to those nearby as she focuses her thoughts on the comfort of Hawksley's calming words combined with his protective positioning as a meditation, trying to spread the sense of peace enough to rally those nearby to make for the exits and assist others in the same. It's an unusual effort for the girl who psychically identifies herself as a snake, but perhaps that coldbloodedness could be useful to others to experience right now.

Meanwhile, a red firehat is making its way out of the arena alongside the duo, dogged in its pursuit of its wearer's mistress.

Apparently content to simply watch the unfolding chaos around her, the newly reborn kami's gaze lazily flits from place to place as mortals flee in panic and terror. From the way she pauses to take in the various details it would seem whatever physical malady inhibited the eyes of the god's host was dealt with during the change.

The architecture of the edifice around her is of particular note, the vast dome with its interlaced arches and struts strange and unfamiliar. So much metal in one place. Such wonders of construction did not exist when last she roamed freely upon the Earthrealm. Industrious as always, these humans.

A splash of molten metal explodes against the girl's cheek and she blinks in surprise, tilting her head up to regard the still smoldering hole in the metal roofing. The sight of the red-hot edges dripping the scalding remains makes her smile again. The silvery droplet on her face dribbles down to her chin and falls away, running harmlessly over the surface of the miko's skin as if it were nothing more than a splash of water. Her dark heart swells with a mixture of satisfaction and anticipation and a faint haunting laugh bubbles up from within her chest to echo unnaturally through the minds of those still rushing to escape the vast dome.

This is just the beginning. The first act of destruction in what will be a violent and merciless campaign of divine retribution. Even now the intensity of her fury burns so hotly that she can scarce think of anything else. It is almost blinding in its brilliance, an incandescent flame that consumes every aspect of her being.

However, unlike the foolish girl whose flesh she now inhabits, Suzaku is not at the mercy of that rage. She is the storm, a force of nature, the living embodiment of the resentment and malice of all living things. And yet, she is not invincible. If the past centuries trapped within the odious flesh of her mortal jailors had taught her anything it was that.

The mirth quickly fades from the red-winged elemental as she turns her mind towards caution. It was hubris and blind rage that had allowed her to be bested by mortal ingenuity before. She will not fall so easily to such trickery a second time. There is must she does not yet know about this modern world of men.

Despite her connection with the miko, Junko's mind had remained mostly shrouded in hazy fog during her slumber. There are vague concepts, ideas that she can pluck from her memories but make no sense without context. Words like cell phone, automobile, computer, crepes. She sees images and flashes of memory but little else. No matter. She will learn all there is to know about these things in time so that she might better protect herself from the inevitable attempts to bind her once more.

As if to punctuate that thought, the grinding shift of oiled machinery draws Suzaku's attention. Her eyes slide sideways as her lids droop low, the god's piercing sidelong glance drawn to the gaggle of Fulgore units attempting to recover from her onslaught.

"Samurai," she muses curiously, at first mistaking the combots for men in armor. A more thorough look quickly dispels that notion, however. "No... there is no soul within. A puppet, then."

It was not entirely uncommon for mages to give life to such servants in the past. More often than not they were merely simple servants, designed to carry around heavy loads or do agonizing manual labor, but it did not take much effort to replace a shovel with a spear. Judging by the incredible heat burning with their metallic breasts, these puppets were not designed for gardening.

Pulling herself upright into a more imposing stance, the demon throws one arm wide and spreads her wings in an imperious gesture. Her voice booms with divine power, carrying the decree that she bellows to all those gathered both within and without the stadium and its nearby grounds.

"Harken unto me, children of man! The day of reckoning will soon be upon you all! Long hath thy kind been deserving of divine judgement and long hath my wrath been unjustly stayed! Waste not thy breath on prayers or pleas for mercy for the years of imprisonment hath done nothing to salve my fury. This wretched world will burn in the fires of retribution - and you along with it!"

Her ominous warning delivered, Suzaku narrows her eyes and scowls at the encroaching machina. A single flap of her great fiery wings sends the girl shooting straight upwards at incredible speeds, fire trailing in her wake like a comet's tail. The opening in the ceiling provides an easy escape from the confines of the shimmering shields and the threat posed by the metal warriors. Up and up she rises, blazing a scintillating line across the sky until she is swallowed by the clouds and vanishes into the sun's brilliant corona.

Djamila's protection is holding on. The staff, whatever it is doing with its display of illumination, seems to help in some way. The life band is still beeping and it's annoying, but there is nothing yet for Djamila to let go. She has to continue. Because dying is not an option. It never was, and today is no different.

When Mint comes to her with a burst of throttle from her gauntlets. The bubble does not hinder her. It lets her grab Djamila. The staff stops shining, and Djamila follows as best as she can. She needed rest among other things. However, as soon as there is less strain on her, the beeping of the life band slowly calms.

When they are safe, where Mint allows them to stop. "Thanks, Mint. Maybe I should have tried to end that bitch. Kill the host, kill the parasite.

If Mint lets go, Djamila is not super steady on her feet. She doesn't seem to realize her nose is bleeding. She starts laughing. "That's bitch. Can't even do the job right when I am served on a platter." She closes her eyes a moment. "Can I go sleep now? I didn't use too much force on her. She just was incompetent. Don't know how she got Coco."

After that, she stops laughing, and she falls on her on one knee, using her staff. "Yes, I want to sleep. Then I will fight whoever I am supposed to fight for the finals. Right now, I forgot who won.

She is stuck in another little fit of laughing. "She thought I was a hero. Me?!" She giggles and forces herself back on her feet. She still needs to get home and or to a bed.

Mint stops short of a crowd of fleeing audience members, glancing quickly over her shoulder to make sure that Suzaku's host isn't following her. Not that... there's a lot that she can do against that, of course. "C'mon, let's just keep the line moving, folks..." she calls out with considerable restraint -- calm, with a tone that brooks no dissent.

But when Djamila starts talking like a hothead...

Mint turns on her, rising up on her feet. She might only be four foot nine -- but her voice, similarly, isn't playing around.

"Djamila, 'babe,' just... please. Stop."

She offers a half-smile, if only to blunt the edge of that simple request, her voice taking a similar upturn at the end.

Mint continues to usher people out of the exit -- though, she does relax slightly once the host body starts making bold and grandiose declarations. She thinks to herself: Oh, cool, villain speech -- that should guarantee a few more seconds to live, at least.

She breathes a lot more clearly once the fire kami blasts off. But even then...

She grunts. It's someone else's problem now.

Log created on 07:11:19 12/04/2023 by Djamila, and last modified on 06:59:05 12/06/2023.