Neo League 101 - #112: Hotaru vs Sakura

Description: Hotaru and Sakura fight on the S.S. Kobayashi Maru! (Winner: Sakura)

Hotaru's Neo League experiences have been, without fail, not only interestingly-placed but also educational and entertaining--win, lose, or draw. Every fight has been memorable for one reason or another and so she doesn't expect this one to be any different. Even her method of arrival is something new to her; with the fight location being the deck of the Japanese oil tanker Kobayashi Maru, the Neo League officials have flown her out to the deck in a chopper--and lowered her down via a harness. It's new to her, and because of it she's left Itokatsu behind this time. Will anyone be here to cheer for her? She doesn't know... but she's been looking forward to this fight. Those people in the know, that she talks to, they all say that Sakura's quite the fighter... and Hotaru considers it an honor to be matched up against the other schoolgirl. Perhaps a rivalry can be born! Or perhaps Sakura will Hadouken Hotaru right out of her pigtails. Who can say? Hotaru can't!
With the arena area marked out, Hotaru waits in her 'corner', kneeling on the deck with little apparent discomfort even with the steel decking... her eyes closed, she appears to be communing, or something, with a flock of terns that have gathered around her... the normally noisy birds relatively quiet, thanks to Hotaru.

A bustle of activity from the other 'corner' of the marked off square of deck. Out of a group of Neo League officials steps... a schoolgirl! Yup, that's definitely a schoolgirl. Blue Taiyo uniform, brown hair, white headband...

Except it's not Sakura at all, is it? Though you might make that mistake at first glance. It's Hinata! "Are you sure this is okay?" she asks timidly to an official just behind her, who rolls his eyes for possibly the tenth time and assures her that yes, it's just fine and would she please get on with it.

"Oh, okay. Ahem.." A small boom mic on a headset switches on and feedback rings loudly in her ear, so the first amplified words the people on deck hear are, "OW DAMMIT!"

"Uh..." Hinata's voice continues. "I mean, welcome to another Neo League Tournament battle here on the deck of the oil tanker Kobayashi Maru! It's a fine day and everyone's sure in for quite a show! In this corner," she gestures. "Hotaru Futaba, up and coming fighter in the Neo League sure to give us one heck of a show!"

"And in the other corner, weighing in at a trim 42 kg!" The announcement halts and it sounds as if Hinata just got a lump to the back of her head. "OW! I was just saying, Sakura-chan... I mean, The Ansatsuken Angel, Sakura Kasugano!"

Sakura Kasugano is late again. That is... she doesn't show up right when Hinata calls her. Nope. She's on the boat, but she was just in the mess hall getting something to eat a few moments ago...
Oh, after about ten more seconds of relative silence, Kasugano emerges from below deck, a chocolate-frosted donut dangling from her mouth and a half-full soft drink bottle in her hands. Maybe she's 43 kg by this point, who knows? Chomping down the donut without the use of her hands, she jogs out to center stage! Bowing cheerfully in return to Hotaru, she takes a moment to slurp down a bit more of her drink. "Hey, sorry... I read the schedule wrong! I thought I had another ten minutes!" she explains apologetically, dabbing her mouth with her fingers. She walks over to Hinata and hands the girl the rest of her drink. "Hey, 'Ansatsuken Angel', I like that... Hold onto this, willya?" Ear-to-ear grin... the kinda grin you'd just wanna punch her for, really, if she weren't about to enter combat with someone else.
And... when she turns back to that 'someone else', she's dead serious! "Alright! Let's do this! Don't go easy on me now, okay?" Another brief grin, and then she rocks back into her usual fighting stance. "Ready when you are!"

COMBATSYS: Sakura has started a fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Sakura           0/-------/-------|

Hotaru -was- peacefully communing... but Hinata's voice breaks it all up and the birds fly away squawking. But that's okay, Hotaru can't be mad, as it's her new friend Hina-chan at the mic. Ready to lay down some phat beats and dope rhymes. Or to call out Sakura's weight. Whatever. The prefight announcement earns a big smile from Hotaru, glad to see Hinata out here... at least one familiar face that she trusts. Before Sakura's even on the scene she's stood up and is waiting, hands clasped behind her, her smile as sunny as a Mediterreanian beach.
"Sakura-san!" she calls, after Sakura's given Hinata the snack food, "I've been looking forward to this," she continues, still beaming sunnily.
"And," she says, as she slides her legs apart, rising up onto the balls of her feet and bending her knees slightly, taking up her non-stance stance, "I don't want you to go easy on me either!" It's likely that Hotaru will lose--but she'll give it her best. For now, though, even though the fight's on, Hotaru's not in a hurry to rush Sakura down... just studying the Ansatsuken Angel with her dark blue eyes.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru has joined the fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Hotaru           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Sakura

COMBATSYS: Hotaru focuses on her next action.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Hotaru           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Sakura

Flowers, birds... they're neat and stuff, but communing with nature isn't really Sakura's thing. Her master does, but not to the same extent Hotaru seems to be. If Sakura ever stumbled in on her master talking with the birds and the bees... well, let's not mix metaphors any further, 'kay?
Kasugano smiles in return to Hotaru's greeting, with another brief nod to MC Hina at the mic. It seems like all three of the teens are in a cheerful mood! Let's cut straight to the shots where two of them will be busting each other's faces in! At least, it seems that -Sakura- is eager to get on with the ironic juxtaposition. "Don't worry... I won't!" With a surge of speed, the Ansatsuken Angel is off like a rocket, launching into a leaping dash punch. "Burning!" ... Okay, it's =not= a Burn Knuckle, but it is in a similar style otherwise, what with Sakura's fist catapulting for Hotaru's sternum and all!

COMBATSYS: Sakura successfully hits Hotaru with Medium Punch.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Hotaru           0/-------/----===|-------\-------\0           Sakura

"And we're off to a fast start with Sakura dishing out the first blow! That looks like a painful one, ladies and gentlemen! Hotaru will be hard pressed not to feel that one in the morning. While both fighters are young, they're both competent fighters. I know from experience that Kasugano herself has trained with one of the true masters of martial arts, one of the biggest names there is! Yes," Hinata continues nodding happily to herself as well. "The one, the only, THE Dan Hibiki!"

Despite Hotaru's intent study of Sakura's form and function, when the Ansatsuken Angel comes in, Hotaru's best efforts fail and she just takes a punch to the sternum; she stumbles backwards, five or six steps, windmilling her arms, her slim frame doing little to absorb any of the impact; she stops herself with the stamp of a foot on metal decking, a sound like a gunshot, and uses the transferred momentum to leap into the air, rising up and above Sakura, aiming to stamp down again--on Sakura's head if she can, or shoulder if she has to take that.

COMBATSYS: Sakura blocks Hotaru's Kou-shuu Da.

[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Hotaru           0/-------/---====|=------\-------\0           Sakura

Sakura hops backwards after her solid punch to Hotaru, grinning a bit. "Told'ja so!" A bit smug, but she can afford to be at this stage in the fight. She raises her guard, mimicking a boxer's stance for a moment.. until she hears that deck-jarring stomp! Luckily, she'd already had her hands up, for she's able to snap her arms overhead and take the stomp kick to her padded armguards instead of, y'know, her =head=.
Stepping to the side, she snaps her head back to Hinata incredulously for a moment. Dan Hibiki? She'll have to 'correct' Hinata on that particular aspect of her training. Whether someone offers correspondence courses or not is -not- the sole requirement for greatness! But that's beside the point, and it only lasts a moment before she's right back on Hotaru, charging in close to deliver a rather direct thrust kick, upper torso pivoted backward for maximal accuracy. "Yuttaaa!"

COMBATSYS: Hotaru blocks Sakura's Medium Kick.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Hotaru           0/-------/-======|==-----\-------\0           Sakura

One might think that Hotaru would be vulnerable on landing from the stomp; after all, she's got her back turned to Sakura even as she lands. But the decking isn't quiet and so she's ready with a cross-arm block, that thrust kick still driving her back a couple of steps. Hurts, sure; Hotaru is really built more for avoidance than being a wall. She takes the step back and another; even as she does so she's calling up her energies, and her right palm glows bright for just a moment as she then thrusts the hand out at Sakura, uttering a sharp, almost defiant kiai as her chi coalesces into a spheroid of white, with blue edges, and pulses off towards the Ansatsuken Angel.

"And Hotaru's showing some promise now! You can never underestimate fighters of this caliber because they'll always surprise you! Just when you think they're down or on the ropes, they'll turn around and be at your throat like *that!*" Hinata snaps her fingers for emphasis. "Like caged animals, they are. Ferocious, indomitable! ... Er... I mean, they're both very sweet girls, yeah."

COMBATSYS: Sakura overcomes Hakki Shou from Hotaru with Medium Hadouken.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Hotaru           0/-------/-======|==-----\-------\0           Sakura

Okay, it's pretty clear Sakura's gonna have to shunt some of Hinata's commentary to the back burner, because it's tricky to bust a fist in someone's face when you're trying not to break down in a gigglefit -- it's just -that- amusing to the elder schoolgirl, if the choked-back snickering is any indication.
Luckily, Sakura had hopped back a bit after her kick landed upon a sturdy guard. With vivid cheer, she curls back to her right, calling back, "Just what I like to see!" Blue energy -- the color of a righteous heart! Not like purple, red, white, or any weird colors like that. And that's the exact color of the energy blossoming in her palms, petals whirling around to congeal into one solid orb, before Sakura whips her palms forward. "HADOOOOOUKEN!"
The fireball starts off huge -- about five feet in diameter -- but as it collides with Hotaru's offering, it folds in upon itself like a giant pancake -- or perhaps a big ol' Pacman -- continuing on towards the nature girl in a more compact form. Whoooooom!

COMBATSYS: Sakura successfully hits Hotaru with Medium Hadouken.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Hotaru           1/------=/=======|===----\-------\0           Sakura

Well! That's not something Hotaru sees every day. Much too late she tries to mount some sort of defense, but to naught; she's smashed with the remains of the blue chi and staggers back again. Phew. Sakura is certainly as tough a customer as advertised. Hotaru is beginning to think she's not going to be doing much against the girl... but she wasn't raised to give up! She does, however, attempt to catch her breath and try and let some of the sparkly pain she's got going on go away...

COMBATSYS: Hotaru takes a breather.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Hotaru           1/------=/=======|===----\-------\0           Sakura

"Sakura with the patented Hadouken overcoming Hotaru's... uhh..." Hinata shuffle through some notes on a few sheafs of paper only to discover she hasn't actually got any notes and thus can only go on what she knows, which amounts to Sakura's moves and not Hotaru's. "...uhh.. Hotaru's.. blue chi thing! And Futaba looks to be taking a moment to assess the situation. In times like these, strategy is critical! You can do it, Hotaru-chan!"

Grinning faintly as Hotaru gets slammed by her concussive blast, Sakura nods carefully. "Good! Keep it up, Hotaru, you should go far with that!" Even though it might be taken as a condescending remark, Sakura really is serious about it -- she's all about helping people to achieve their best! It's just that she's taken a somewhat Ryu-like bent in doing so -- hitting people until they get stronger or something like that. Hey, the trial-by-fireball method worked on Shingo, right?
She chokes back another snicker as Hotaru takes a moment to regroup. But... there's no sense in making things easy. The girls are supposed to be showing their best, right? And in this case, Sakura's best is to charge in with a combination move -- a left jab, a right cross, and then a whirling kick to the side. Nothing fancy, just a direct combo! "Ya! Ya! HYAAA!"

COMBATSYS: Sakura successfully hits Hotaru with Strong Kick.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Hotaru           1/=======/=======|====---\-------\0           Sakura

It is ... well, it is just not Hotaru's day. She's outclassed for sure, and apparently in every way--her interrupted breather means she just gets totally crushed by Sakura's combo. She even bounces across the deck, in a most unsightly manner, though she doesn't quite land on her head. And she lays there for a moment, assessing how badly she just got hurt. And the answer is... quite badly. She done messed up somewhere in this fight; it would be disheartening if it were the next in a string of losses... she'll need a miracle to even hurt Sakura. But she can't just lay down and give it up; putting her mind to it she ignores her pain, for now, forcing her body to move as though she didn't just have some ribs cracked and large bruises already spreading underneath her clothing; putting on a burst of speed she attempts to throw her body upwards, in a two-footed flipkick, aimed to take Sakura right under the chin and lift her up... along with the geyser of blue chi that streams up, following the arcing path of those feet.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru successfully hits Sakura with Ten-Shou Ran-Ki EX.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Hotaru           0/-------/----===|=======\-------\1           Sakura

And... and at last she hits. The kick sends Sakura straight up into the sky, but she's not there long; Hotaru is suddenly diving on the girl, hitting her with a diving knee, keeping the pressure on; she thuds onto the deck, kneeling on Sakura, and Hotaru's hands go to Sakura's shoulders, pressing her down. And then? And then it begins. A storm of chi, spherical waves of energy blasting out from the blue-haired girl, pummeling Sakura into the strong decking, extra energy forming a brief blue funnel as Hotaru arches her back, uttering a final kiai before the last burst of energy slams into Sakura--and then she pushes off and away, rather tiredly getting to her feet, her stance nearly destroyed by the contortions she has to make to appease knotted and bruised muscles.

"Hotaru with an amazing comeback strike! From personal experience, I can tell you that that particular combo is not very pleasant on the receiving end, and it doesn't look much better from the outside either! Ouch!" Hinata's getting excited and spills Sakura's drink all over the judge's table.

Okay, landing with that combo is one thing -- Sakura's quite pleased at that. But really, she hadn't counted on it hurting Hotaru =quite= that much... but really, her training with Ryu has resulted in some -seriously- powerful strikes, so perhaps it's all that should be expected!
That doesn't stop her from being concerned though. She pauses a bit in her assault, skirt flaring as she bobs lightly upon the balls of her feet, ready for the next attack -- or at least she -thinks- she can leap out of the way of that flipkick.
She's wrong, of course, and next finds herself looking -up- at Hotaru. She's been pinned down before, but usually by the likes of aggressive personalities like Tony Styles. And that... that wasn't something she wanted to remember. At least Hotaru isn't =brutalizing= her with massive punches -- but rather with that same blue energy she'd narrowly evaded last time. In =spades=. Now she's got =another= memory she doesn't want!
But luckily, the torturous trial of torrential energy doesn't last -too- long, and Sakura is mercifully set free by Hotaru. So... what does the schoolgirl do in response? Why, she kippups right back to her feet, somewhat weary from the onslaught, but still managing a smile. "That was pretty cool!" Her hands curl to the side, the chi welling there a reminder of what happened before... "Whatcha got planned for an encore?" Again, she rockets her hands forward, though this time Hotaru will be receiving the full force of the five-foot-wide fireball: "HADOOOOUKEN!"

COMBATSYS: Hotaru fails to reflect Medium Hadouken from Sakura with Ko-bi Kyaku.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Sakura           1/----===/=======|

COMBATSYS: Hotaru can no longer fight.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Sakura           1/----===/=======|

An encore? Hotaru's encore will be a warm bed, with lots of painkillers and hot water bottles and yeah. Because that wall of chi pretty much just blows the girl out of the arena, sending her tumbling to fetch up against one of the poles used to mark the barrier of where the arena is. No witty comebacks, no promises of this or that... she's -out-.

"... oops." Sakura meekly withdraws her hands after that fireball rockets out and bowls Hotaru over. She thought Hotaru would be able to respond in kind, but it doesn't seem like it was in the cards this time. She dashes over to Hotaru's side, keeping her fists balled for a possible comeback ... but as the Neo League referee counts to five, it doesn't seem likely. Sakura scratches her head, looking back over to Hinata with a sheepish grin, before turning back to the prone Hotaru. And when the referee announces the win, Sakura throws her hand up! But it's with only a vacant, bittersweet smile: bright enough for photo ops, but lacking her usual cheer. She's gonna need to buy a =lot= of ice cream to make up for this fight!

COMBATSYS: Sakura takes no action.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Sakura           1/----===/=======|

COMBATSYS: Sakura has ended the fight here.

"Down for the count from a powerful Hadouken from the Ansatsuken Angel! Hotaru showed promise but just couldn't stand up to the burning Taiyo High spirit! A decisive victory for Sakura Kasugano!" Hinata cheers happily, waving both hands over her head and knocking her chair over backwards. "A round of applause for *both* fighters, everybody!" Which thankfully, she gets. Or she'd have to bust some heads.

Log created by Sakura, and last modified on 12:17:48 01/01/2006.