Neo League 426 - #434: Hotaru vs Riko

Description: Typically, fights in the Neo League are scheduled affairs, with booked venues, large crowds, and TV slots. Or...sometimes, two fighters will just have a match, and then choose to "make it official". But it's pretty rare for one fighter to just randomly go to the League and /demand/ that a loss be added to her record - and a win registered for someone else. Especially when said other fighter had...absolutely no idea they were battling for keeps. But that's Riko for you. She's a weird little ninja. And besides, she figures giving Hotaru Futaba a few League points is the least she can do. After all, so far, Riko's kidnapped Hotaru, ruined her outfit, and now she's pretty much wrecked the other girl's room... (Winner: Hotaru)

The project in progress at the Kyokugen Dojo has kept Hotaru relatively out of trouble for a little while as it has kept her from wandering to the various school campuses to find out what kind of challenge she could dig up in a perhaps somewhat misguided attempt to meet peers to call friends (Takuma's Idea).
The stand alone room has come along quite a ways this week thanks to the advice and occasional help from Ryo Sakazaki, an afternoon of assistance from the more practically experienced Acacia, and the determination and tenacity of Hotaru Futaba for whom the room is intended. There are four walls, a framework for two windows and a door, and even a roof.
In fact it is on that roof that Hotaru is kneeling at the moment. The structure appears to be holding up well enough that she can put her weight on it, for what that's worth. Hammering away, she is lost in her own little world, humming to herself to pass the time. Maybe she should get a little mp3 player sometime. Spending a lot of time alone has left her having to improvize her own tunes to pass the time!

And while Hotaru Futaba is a girl of many talents...

...clearly music isn't one of them.

Well. At least not vocal improv, anyway. That's hard.

As any critic would tell you.

Case in point.

"Y'know, that's not baaaad, but...I dunno, I think the key's a little off. Maybe if you sung it in C, perhaps more of an alto rather than a soprano. You've got good range, soooo..."

It's not really an impolite critique. Quite pleasant, really, and genuine in the observations. Friendly enough.

Except, well, there's the small fact that Hotaru probably wasn't -expecting- random musical analysis from completely nowhere. Especially not on the roof. And especially not from, apparently, a point just past her left ear.

The voice is heard while she was already bringing the hammer down to drive a nail further into the board she's placing right now. It started out as a straight enough swing but by the time the tool reaches its mark, her aim has gone askew and she ends up just bending the nail to the side, splintering wood in an unsightly way. Twitch.
She recognizes the voice immediately; that young, actually friendly girl's voice that she heard from the shadows when she woke up after being captured once before. And really, the voice matches its owner appropriately enough as far as appearances go.
Still - the only experience Hotaru had with Riko before was waking up after being ambushed out of the blue. Given the their history, one could hardly blame her for dropping the hammer and turning to the side to try and grab hold of something or soeone before she has to deal with an experience like THAT again! Perhaps looking for a chance to turn the tables.

Riko makes a faint 'squeak' as she's grabbed, latched onto by the remarkably fast-moving Hotaru. She blinks wide eyes, peering at the other girl with faint alarm. She's a ninja, after all. She isn't meant to be just... -snatched- like that. Of course, an alarmed Hotaru is also apparently a pretty fast Hotaru.

She'll have to remember that for future reference.

Riko stands on the roof, just behind Hotaru. Well. Just in front of her, after that rather rapid shuffle of reorientating bodies. She's dressed much as she usually is, in t-shirt, shorts, stereo headphones looped round her neck...and chunky in-line skates. The last are rather puzzling, since it's quite clear she's wearing -skates- while standing -on top of a roof-.

But, hey. Ninja.

Riko squirms in Hotaru's grasp, blinking innocently at the older girl.

"H-hey! Leggo!"

"Gotcha!" Hotaru snaps, her fingers tightening on the smaller girl's arm now that she has a hold. Her expression is a mixture of annoyance at seeing this kid again and smugness at having successfully caught her in what she believes to be a preemptive counter-ambush!
"I'm surprised you thought it'd be a good idea to try and sneak up on me again," the pig-tailed girl admonishes, wagging the finger of her other hand. Nevermind the fact that she really /did/ manage to sneak right up on her close enough to provide a thoughtful critique of the girl's tune.
The girl repositions her feet to give her a better balance. She spares a moment to glance around as if seeing if the struggling girl brought friends or if she was planning to ambush her on her own. But then her eyes focus back on Riko, "You have a lot of explaining to-" Her voice cuts out at the very audible sound of straining, creaking wood beneath her left foot.

A sound that doesn't escape Riko's notice.

The little ninja girl looks down, blinking.

Then she looks back up. Making eye contact with Hotaru, locking eyes with the older girl. It's a significant sort of look. The kind of look that seems to stretch for an eternity, a look that speaks volumes without any words.

She's still tightly held by Hotaru, the older girl gripping Riko in an iron grip.

But while her arms are effectively immobilized, Riko's feet are free. And they're clad in heavy skate boots. With hard plastic armour, metal frames, and solid polyurethane wheels.

She lifts a foot.


[OOC] Riko says, "On one alt, I help you build it."
[OOC] Riko says, "On another, I knock it down."
[OOC] Hotaru hahahas.
[OOC] Riko says, "clearly this means Remy has to come round with like, cans of paint -and- a wrecking ball."
[OOC] Hotaru laughs!!
[OOC] Hotaru says, "Yeah, I had it in mind from the get-go that it would suffer a number of mishaps before its completion."
Punching into - and through - the wooden roof.

Ah, how the tables turn. First Hotaru glances down at the roof at the same time Riko does, trying to identify just where the creaking weakness is so that she can shift weight off of it as quickly as possible. Secondly, she looks back up, eyes locking with her captive's, widening slightly.
That she knows exactly what Riko is thinking is written plainly on her face as she oh-so-very slightly starts to shake her head, the color in her cheeks draining just a little. She starts to open her mouth, perhaps ready to utter a quick truce; make a deal to spare her roof in progress a great misfortune.
But she feels that shift in the young ninja's body as her skate-clad foot lifts and Hotaru knows it's already too late. What starts as just a crack through plywood beneath Riko's stomp spreads quickly as Hotaru's dubious craftmanship gives way in a chain-reaction of failure. "A-ah!" Her hand loosens its grip as the next instant the older girl falls along with the collapsing wood beams into the middle of the poor construction project.
The walls wobble a little but end up staying upright. Fortunately, Hotaru had hammered enough 2x4's and metal, corner-braces into those walls that it would take something like Marco's wrecking ball to actually knock them over at this point.


Riko's voice drifts out from the ensuing dust cloud, a high and cheery sound totally at odds with the devastation. She sounds way too happy. Far too pleased with herself.

She's speaking a word of apology, but she doesn't sound repentant at all. Not in the slightest.

Even more annoyingly, her voice isn't coming from ground level - nowhere near where Hotaru's lying. No, it's coming from up in the remains of the ceiling. And indeed, as the dust settles, Riko's visible - on the roof, perched upon the broken remnant of a support beam. Looking down at the carnage from above, hovering like a little teenage gargoyle.

Still cheerful:

"You okay?"

The debris settle quickly enough, leaving Hotaru lying on top of a large piece of plywood, various smaller blocks of wood having landed on top of her and at her sides. "Ugh..." The pig-tailed girl sits up, shaking her head, glancing side to side at first with sudden urgency as if intending to get a grip on Riko before she slips away in the confusion. Only...
Blink. The seated girl looks up at the ninja balanced so perfectly on the narrow support beam. In skates no less. If Hotaru wasn't so furious at her she might actually think that's pretty cool. Then again, she vaguely remembers Riko doing some strange voodoo ceiling walking too... Those skakes have some kind of secret all-occasions BatGlue on the wheels?
"Why you...!" Hotaru clenches her hands as she gets up to her feet, balancing on the plywood surface that begins to rock back and forth on some fulcrum underneath of it. Deciding to try and hold the young invader accountable for all this, the Kyokugen student crouches a little and then leaps up, landing on the same support beam that Riko is on, standing a few feet away. She has to hold her arms out at her sides for a moment to get her balance, however. Though with the way that she's looking at Riko, her mouth tight, it's pretty clear that she's going after her the second her footing is sure.

[OOC] Ryo says, "Recently built, and already trashed!"
[OOC] Hotaru ;.;
[OOC] Ryo says, "True to Kyokugen trademark!"
[OOC] Hotaru says, "It's like a microcosm of the damage the real dojo goes through on a weekly basis! ;.;"

The little support beam - or what's left of the support beam - wasn't really meant to take this kind of weight. Not like this. Neither Riko nor Hotaru are heavy girls, but still, the narrow bar of wood wasn't meant to be STOOD on like that.

So it groans under the stress, protesting the load. Especially with Hotaru's recent landing on it.

This doesn't seem to bother Riko, though. She remains perched on one end of the narrow strip of wood, peering at the other girl.

Riko blinks innocently at Hotaru, her wide eyes opening and closing. She gives a cute little tilt of the head.

"You know," Riko remarks, "you should calm down. All that shouting can't be good for your blood pressure."

Riko nods, sagely.

[OOC] Riko <-- bitch.

And while that straining groan from the beam should bother Hotaru, her list of Things That Bother Her is a little out of order right now, with the black-haired ninja so close in front of her right now. "The only thing that seems to be a problem for my health is /you/." she replies, getting her footing back only to realize that there is precious little time left to actually stand up there.
It is with little regard for things like safe footing, self-preservation, or sound judgement that the girl finally leaps for Riko, pushing off with enough force to doom the creaking wood to breaking as she lifts off.
The result is a pretty careless jump kick aimed Riko's way, powered by raw frustration rather than much skill or precision. That the beam dropped out underneath her foot as she leaped didn't help it much either. "HAAAA!"

COMBATSYS: Hotaru has started a fight here.

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Hotaru           0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Riko has joined the fight here.

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Hotaru           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0             Riko

COMBATSYS: Riko dodges Hotaru's Heavy Kick.

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Hotaru           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0             Riko

Raw frustration, raw power. And a shout that rattles the rafters. Well, at least the skeletal remnants of wood that pass for rafters, anyway. Whatever's left holding the roof up, in the wake of that catastrophic collapse.

Riko's eyes widen, going big and white. She gives a small shriek of alarm, hopping off the beam herself - even as it breaks free and tumbles into the air. Hotaru's kick crashes through the space Riko occupied a moment prior, coming incredibly close to nailing the little ninja girl.


Riko protests in a loud voice, her tone accusatory.

"That's -mean-," she complains.

But for a moment, just a moment, something...other than inane vapid cheerfulness passes behind Riko's eyes. A calculating look. Still in mid-air, she moves. Surely, swiftly.

A few heartbeats ago, both girls were standing on a wooden beam, criss-crossing the ceiling of the partially constructed room. Now that beam's flying free, broken off with two splintered ends. And Riko -grabs- it, one little hand closing around the solid wood. Gripping it tight, whipping it around, sending one jagged edge towards Hotaru's midsection.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru blocks Riko's Improvised Tactics.

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

It's actually probably best for the angered fighter that her foot meets with empty air as she actually hadn't made any provisions for how she was actually going to land if she /had/ connected with the other girl. And with 'Erk' expression on her face as she misses it becomes clear that she realizes that err in judgement just then.
All is not lost though. Even when not at her best, Hotaru is still a natural at aerial acrobatics. Lifting her feet a little to allow her to clear the top of the wall with her downward arc, she whirls around in mid air, hands slapping together to /catch/ and take hold of that wooden beam. Following that, her left foot lands on the concrete ground of the dojo's courtyard first, followed by her right foot.
Her eyes narrow a little as she fixes on Riko, "Yesh, trying to hit me with my own..." She struggles as to what to call it now, given its current state. "!?" Pulling her arm back, she hurls the board back at Riko, trying to catch her offguard.
Even as the board goes spinning from her arm she blanches a little as she realizes that it's on course for flying right through the paper-wall of the dojo if it misses. Erk. Bracing for the worst, she clenches her eyes shut, tightening her hands, prying one eye open just enough to watch the outcome.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru successfully hits Riko with Thrown Object.

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

And, indeed, the thrown wooden board hits Riko. The solid beam smacking into the ninja girl, smashing her out of the air...and sending her flying. Hotaru's got a good arm. Must be all that crazy Kyokugen training.

A very good arm.

Because Riko's /really/ flying, and the big chunk of wood along with her. All the way out of the beleaguered extension-under-construction, towards the main dojo itself. More specifically, towards the wall of the main dojo building.

Which, as traditional Japanese buildings are wont to be... is made of rice paper.

Granted, this being the Kyokugen Dojo, it's particularly /tough/ paper. But it's still paper. And so, Riko goes /ripping/ through it. Leaving a rather large Riko-shaped hole in the wall, surmounted by the edges of the wooden beam.

Riko's voice comes from inside the hole, from around floor level:

"H-hey, your dojo walls really suck, you know? You should make 'em out of steel or something!"

COMBATSYS: Riko gathers her will.

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Hotaru           0/-------/-----==|=====--\-------\0             Riko

And into the wall goes Riko. The board alone would've been bad enough, but coupled with Ninja Girl? Hotaru's hand comes up and smacks against her forehead, shoulders slouching just a little as Riko lands in the Kyokugen Dojo kitchen. Now she has to add wall-fixing to her list of tasks she's got to get done on top of her /normal/ chores!
Steel walls? Hm... In Hotaru's mind she pictures the usual assassins, kidnappers, dojo busters, and other miscreants that come by crashing through the roof of the main training room on a weekly basis... Only for them to jump down and come to a dead stop against a new, solid STEEL roof instead. The idea has merit, as loath as she is to admit it.
"Yeah? Well-... yeah! Get back out here!" she challenges back with a shake of her fist. It seems she's reluctant to take the fight inside, no doubt fearing what additional damages would be caused.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru focuses on her next action.

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

Oh, come on. 'Get back out here'?

Riko's a ninja. A super-sneaky secret shadow warrior, trained from youth in the arts of stealth and subtlity. Apprenticed to Seishirou Ryouhara, a man who's so crooked in the head he can't put on his clothes in the morning without a twelve-step action plan and advanced chi manipulation techniques.

Do you really think she's just gonna, what, stand up and come walking out?



Riko sticks her head out of the hole in the rice-paper wall, blinking owlishly at Hotaru. Then the rest of her follows suit. She steps smartly through the large Riko-shaped tear...dragging the wooden beam behind her. Yeap, she's still got a grip on the broken-off wood spar.

"You don't have to -shout-," Riko pouts, sticking her lower lip out.

She jerks a thumb over her shoulder.

"Like I said," she continues, "steel walls! I recommend military-grade armour plate, actually, that's what we used for our dojo. I even wanted to use bits of old aircraft carriers, but Seishirou-sama said it'll be tricky to steal another ship."

She nods soberly.

As she talks, the wooden beam in her hands lifts slightly, one end swaying.

Then she swings the entire thing at Hotaru.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru interrupts Random Weapon from Riko with Hakki Shou.
- Power hit! -

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Hotaru           0/-------/---====|=======\-------\0             Riko

It's a good thing Riko actually does come right back out through her new makeshift sidedoor. Because after that short rant, Hotaru had rolled her arm behind her, bathing her forearm with a blue aura that resonates with a great amount of heat in spite the cool, almost watery appearance of it.
Her palm acts as a focal point of the manifestation where the energy congeals into a more semi-solid sphere of force. The only problem is... she's sitting there pouring everything she has into that technique of hers and Riko is no where to be seen. And the student fighter can't exactly just put all that nice, blue chi back where it came from.
Grimacing a little at the effort it's taking to maintain it, Hotaru finally starts to charge forward, maybe intending to just throw the thing right back inside at Riko - dojo interrior be darned! Fortunately for her, the targeted ninja DOES pop up, spouting off even /more/ construction advice. Yesh. How is it that everyone knows how to build things except for her??
"I'll make sure to pass the idea along to my sensei," she replies dryly, her voice strained as she finally swings her arm forward at the same that beam comes tearing in at her. With how far in she lunged, she ends up getting hit in the arm by the inner part of the beam rather than the outter portion which would have hurt far worse.
As for Riko? She has that forceball smashing against her at nearly point blank range before it washes over her, splashing away into mist as if it had been made out of water all along. "YA!"

"OoooOoooOoohhh," Riko moans, in a strange sing-song, her voice running up and down the scale. Her eyes are remarkably wide, lids stretched back in a distinctly unnatural fashion, her pupils dilated and glassy. Her face has a strange pale colouration, her cheeks devoid of colour. Her head lolls, her neck muscles suddenly limp, vertabrae unable to support the weight of her head. She sways, sways, sways, and then simply falls over, falling onto her back with a loud -whumph-.

The wooden beam she was swinging slips from her hand, falling from limp and nerveless fingers. It clatters on the ground, much like Riko herself.

"You do that, yeah," Riko murmurs, woozily, "'s a good idea, I'm tellin' ya. Everyone builds dojos the wrong way!"

COMBATSYS: Riko gains composure.

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Hotaru           0/-------/---====|======-\-------\0             Riko

As Riko staggers, Hotaru pauses, her left hand reaching over to clench tightly at her right forearm, hissing a little. She isn't clutching the arm that got hit by the beam but rather the one that just slammed the smaller ninja with the chiball, as if having paid a severe price to deliver that attack.
At first she braces herself, highly suspicious of the other girl's behavior. She's found Riko to be one of the trickest opponents she's ever had to fight. And while she might not have the home-court advantage of that dark, mysterious dojo Hotaru fought her in last time, the pig-tailed fighter remains wary just the same.
But as the girl falls over, Hotaru lunges at the opportunity, stepping forward and reaching down to try and get a tight hold on the front of the girl's shirt just below the coller with one hand while her other hand reaches for Riko's arm. If she can pull her up, she'll twist that arm around into a half-nelson to try and hold her still. "What did you come here for anyway? You never even explained what you were doing with me the /first/ time!"

COMBATSYS: Hotaru successfully hits Riko with Quick Throw.

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Hotaru           0/-------/--=====|=======\-------\1             Riko

Owie! Well, clearly Riko's here to be abused by the big mean Hotaru Futaba who's abusing her poor little ninja body in horrible horrible ways. That meanie.

Riko struggles in Hotaru's grip, flailing, flailing, but failing to break free. She kicks her skate-clad feet, wiggles her arms - but no, she's still securely held by the other girl, and apparently going nowhere fast.

"I---gak---just came to see how you were doing! Social visit! Perfectly innocent! Absolutely no sinister ploy or ulterior motive whatsoever! My intentions," Riko chokes out, looking just a little blue, "are pure as snow!"


"...we-eelll, that...somewhat grainy greyish snow when it's been a bit grimy out..."





Right now, Riko's still tightly held in Hotaru's grip. The other girl has a very secure half-nelson hold on her.

So, well, that's about when a distinct spark of electric blue chi runs up and down Riko's body. Starting at the plate strapped to her headband, progressing to the stereo headphones looped round her neck, flowing through the wire to the iPod belted at her waist, then down through the zippers and buttons on her shorts, into the metal bits on her skates.

In other words, she becomes, for a moment, a humanoid tazer.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru dodges Riko's Light Fantastic.

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

Hotaru wrenches that arm up a little tighter, keeping her other arm around Riko's neck. As she kicks with those skates, the pig-tailed girl is quick to intercept the kicks with the sides of her feet, keeping them from actually doing her any harm. No... she's got the pesky ninja now and she's not about to let her get loose!
"Well?" she encourages the girl to cut the nonsense and get to the whole 'telling her what she wants to know' part. She isn't a girl that favors the idea of forcing information out through the infliction of pain, but some of her Kenpo lessons /did/ include instructions on the use of pressure points in painful ways. It's a fairly common technique to make up for a smaller stature and lack of brute force, after all.
"Hey-" she protests as she senses a sudden spike of energy coming from the girl she has tightly in her grip. Sensing another one of the ninja's pesky tricks at play, Hotaru lets go of her in a hurry and hops back, feet sliding a bit on the concrete as she regains her footing.
"Somehow I have a hard time believing you even know what a social visit is. Who /are/ you?" She's a little reluctant to grab hold of the girl again, since she isn't really sure it's safe to do so. Reaching to the side, the girl picks up a plywood plank from the pile of wood that is /supposed/ to be for building her room. Holding it somewhat like a frisbe, she sends it spinning horizontally toward Riko. "Grr."

COMBATSYS: Hotaru successfully hits Riko with Large Thrown Object.

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

"I'm a ninja," Riko replies, blandly. With complete and utter honesty.

Of course, her reply might be somewhat hard to believe, seeing as how she doesn't look particularly ninja-y now. It's hard to achieve the proper air of inscrutable enigmatic mystery when one has a piece of plywood covering one's face. Riko sways a little, as the piece of wood topples off her front, clattering to the ground at her feet. Her face looks somewhat mashed in. And, as Hotaru watches, the smaller girl lifts a hand to her nose, grips it, and -yanks- it back into shape with the sound of grinding cartilage.

A faint trickle of blood oozes down one nostril.

Comical. But incredibly -painful-, if you think about it. That has to be painful. Riko doesn't give any sign, though. She just grins at Hotaru.

Then she moves. Gliding forward, skates whispering over the ground. She snatches up the plywood board as she passes - the same one Hotaru threw at her, still smeared with Riko's blood. She holds that up as she blurs at the other girl, whipping the edge at Hotaru, aiming to toss her round and knock her over.

COMBATSYS: Riko successfully hits Hotaru with Isometric View.

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

Hotaru has had a devil of a time with ninjas as of late. It seems like the Kyokugen Dojo has a way of attracting them. Something about blood fueds, ancient rivalries, epic tales of vengeance... she doesn't really know the details, she just ends to get caught up in the wake of things.
Hotaru actually stays her hand as the plank hits home, blinking a little. She didn't exactly expect it to catch the spry little kid off guard. The last time they fought, she had the hardest time hitting Riko with much at all. And now that it's hit and tweaked her nose at a bad angle the pig-tailed girl actually looks just a little apologetic. "I-... Look, we-"
No time to chat, she has that board coming in for her now. It catches her in the stomach, bending her over it, carrying her with the momentum until the girl falls to the ground into a roll, coming up into a crouching position a little ways off, already facing back at Riko.
"Oof. Where do you ninjas keep coming from? You're not with that Strolheim group, are you?" She pushes out of her crouch into a swift leap forward, diving back down at Riko knee first, aiming for her shoulder. If she connects, her other leg will swing forward with a quick kick to the head before she pushes off with both feet into a backflip through the air. Sticking to hit and run tactics for a bit, it seems.

COMBATSYS: Riko interrupts Rengeki Shuu from Hotaru with Houdini EX.

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

A crack of bone. The sound of Hotaru's knee making contact with Riko's upper body. Another impact, as the little ninja's head is rocked by a swift follow-up kick.

But when both of Hotaru's feet slam into the girl's torso, trying to use Riko as a springboard... well, that's where it all goes wrong.

It's not that Hotaru's feet don't find purchase. They do. They're definitely in contact with -something-. It's just that...whatever the 'something' is, it isn't Riko. At least not the regular garden-variety Riko. This Riko is the right size, the right shape, and even the right approximate mass. But the colour isn't quite right. Because Riko isn't normally all blue like that. She isn't translucent, either. She's also, generally speaking, solid, rather than crackling and about to explode.

This Riko...

...this one goes 'boom'.

Like thunder.

"We-elll," a clear soprano voice murmurs, as the rolling explosion fades, "we're from Japan, actually. Locally grown! You gotta support native ninja industries, y'know. We're like a dying trade and everything, and someone's gotta keep the old traditions alive!"

Riko nods her head, extremely solemn.

She seems to be quite a few feet from where she was a few moments ago, leaning casually against a half-completed walls of Hotaru's dojo extension. Toying with a hammer and a handful of nails.

Hotaru remembers this one... Unfortunately, by the time she recalls having punched her way into a trap just like this in their previous fight there's really nothing she can do about it. There is that last second frantic flail of her arms as she desperately spins in the air, trying to twist herself off to the side. But nothing happens in time to keep her from getting struck by the explosion - energy coursing through her much like last time.
She falls to the ground on her back several feet away, stunned for a long moment. What in the world... she really needs to spend more time trying to remember all the strange tricks the ninja girl can dish out. Brute force or even exceptional speed don't really seem to hold up too well in the face of unpredictable tactics and a lightning fast mind.
Rolling onto her side, she pushes herself back to her feet with a shake of her head, taking a moment to even find Riko again. Hands clench tightly as the pig-tailed girl leans forward into another charge forward, "Do old traditions include a propensity to annoy everyone else?" she asks as she reaches out, trying to get a hold of Riko's arm while she's busy playing with the construction tools.
If she gets a hold, she'll pull the girl forward into a sequence of swift but also strong kicks to her shin, knee, and stomach, before yanking her down to flip her over Hotaru's knee and slam her to the ground.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru successfully hits Riko with Shin-Jou Tai.
- Power hit! -

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

[OOC] Riko!
[OOC] Hotaru says, "Oh my."
[OOC] Riko says, "...wh...wh?!"
[OOC] Hotaru says, "Shin-jou tai is my secret weapon. ._. It rarely fails."
[OOC] Seishirou develops a version of it for use in the black market 6_6
[OOC] Hotaru says, "Why you!!! >.<"

She's grabbed. Flipped. Abused. And then driven rather painfully into a harsh encounter with Mister Cold Hard Unyielding Ground.

He's a big meanie, he is.

It hurts, it does. It really really does.

Riko kicks herself free, skidding away. She rests in a sort of unsteady crouch, legs bent, spine hunched, her entire body low to the ground. She's on her feet, the wheels of her skates rattling over the floor. She rolls backwards.

Amazingly, she's still got a grip on the construction tools. A hammer's clutched in one of her hands. A bunch of nails in the other. She's holding them with ... very specific purpose.

"Actually," Riko says, weakly, "a healthy dose of irritation is simply part of modern psychological warfare?"

COMBATSYS: Riko gains composure.

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

She manages to get the better of Riko for a moment it seems as she lands her punishing sequence of kicks into the slam. But rather than pushing what might appear to be a momentary advantage, the girl stops short, letting Riko get back up to her feet. She even holds off as the young ninja takes a moment to enlighten the Kenpo artist about the nature of warfare on a level Hotaru really has little experience with.
There is that indecision in the girl's eyes as it looks like she wants to lunge at her opponent again... but the way she's still holding onto the construction tools even after the beating she just took has the girl a little unnerved. She's trying to think with her head now rather than just force and speed, struggling to match Riko in an arena of tactics.
"I think you must have aced that class then," the girl reples, the faintest of grins tugging at her mouth now.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru gains composure.

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

"Oh, yeah," Riko nods soberly, "teacher really liked my last project. I got a gold star and everything. Of course since this was ninja school, it was a throwing star..."

She scratches the back of her head. With the claw-end of the hammer, because she's still got that in hand.

"But that's okay," Riko continues, glibly, "I'm good at that, see?"

The scary part is, she's totally serious. She /did/ attend a ninja school.

And she /did/ get top grades.

She stretches one leg out, halting her rearward progress. Crouched on the ground, now, looking up at Hotaru. One arm flicks forward, tossing glittering points of metal at Hotaru. A handful of nails. But it's a negligent toss, the nails spinning end over end. There's no way they could hurt Hotaru, save by freak chance.

But that's when the hammer in her other hand flips round, sparks of blue dancing across the metal. She jabs it forward, holding it like a little miniature female Thor.

And azure lightning crashes from the improvised lightning rod, power flowing through ionization pathways, driven by the sheer force of Riko's chi. Dancing through the air, from nail to nail to nail to nail, tracing a pattern in empty space. Reaching hungrily at Hotaru.

COMBATSYS: Riko successfully hits Hotaru with Metamysticparallectrolysis.

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

At this point, Hotaru half suspects the remark about a ninja school is about the only honest thing Riko has ever told her. Well, except for the critique about that tune of hers from before. That was probably unfortunately quite honest as well.
The incoming nails get the girl to lift her arms. There's too many to try something fancy like trying to pluck them out of the air or swat them aside, and they shouldn't really be too big of a deal anyway. She just doesn't want to get any in her eyes!
When the lightning strike comes, however, her arms are still up and she bunkers down as if braicng for impact; knees bending, one leg moving further back as the mid-air dot-to-dot gets completed right over to her. The lightning blast ends up smashing through her guard all the same however, sending Hotaru flying back several feet until she slides along the concrete ground some distance.
She isn't really sure she even wants to get up again after that. But she isn't sure what the stakes here are either. Last time she got ambushed by Riko or someone affiliated with her, she got dragged off to some secret dojo. But this time, other than being a pest, and refusing to provide too much information, Hotaru doesn't exactly feel too /threatened/ either. But she's not down yet, her body can keep going and the mind is willing, so...
Getting back to her feet a lot slower than before, she pauses to push one of her pig-tails back over her shoulder as she concentrates on Riko again. "What in the world do you want, anyway? If you really just came by to talk, you must have flunked your etiquette course!" Once again Hotaru charges forward, this time less steady than before. Her attack once remotely close is a simple palm press aimed for Riko's face. It might almost look like a slap even!

COMBATSYS: Riko dodges Hotaru's Quick Punch.

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

"Well," Riko replies, conversationally, "-technically- you attacked me."

The little ninja leans back a fraction of an inch. It's a tiny motion, almost nothing. But it's just enough. Just enough, such that Hotaru's outstretched palm fails to make contact with her face. It falls /just/ short - brushing against Riko's cheek, but little more than that. More of a caress than a painful blow.

She twists, shifts, and comes out in an upright position. She's flung that handful of nails, but she's still got the hammer. She spins it in her fingers, swinging the tool round with seeming disregard for its weight. The heavy metal head draws a series of looping figure-eights in the air.

Riko beams at Hotaru.

Truth be told, she's never actually /lied/ to the other girl. Creatively embellished the truth, stretched the facts a little... but she's never -lied-, not exactly. Fabrication is for amateurs. Riko is a professional. If you tell the truth well enough... you don't NEED to lie.

She twirls, then, like a ballerina on wheels. Sending one heel flashing at Hotaru's stomach.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru dodges Riko's Light Kick.

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

Hotaru's evasion from the kick sent her way is a lot more severe than Riko's dodge as she pulls her hand back quickly and literally walks to the side. She had followed the incoming trajectory with enough precision to know what direction she needed to go in while not entirely certain how /far/. Spinning flying attacks like that tend to be problematic for her.
"I think that was warranted with the mess you made of my outfit last time. Even if I were to let slide the whole kidnapping thing..." Hotaru replies. Her own tone is calm, focused, the exchange of words not really consuming much of her focus as she tries to keep her wits about her in dealing with the tricky small fighter. She's preparing for something. She's been debating it for a while now. Weighing whether or not she really should go through with an all out attack and put the other girl down. She /has/ proven to be pretty resilient so far. She's going to have to hit her harder to win this.
The shift to offense from Hotaru is extremely sudden. One moment she is circling the girl, her arms in ready positions to deal with incoming attacks. And the next instance she has moved in close enough to throw herself into a point blank backwards flipping kick, a torrent of blue energy lending strength to the attack that it wouldn't otherwise have. "Tenshou-!"

COMBATSYS: Riko blocks Hotaru's Ten-shou Ranki EX.

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

Energy splashes across Riko's forearms - her limbs held protectively in front of her head, braced against each other. The impact rocks her back, sends her skidding rearwards. She remains on her feet, however, upon her wheeled skates.

And she's still clutching the hammer she scooped up earlier in the fight.

She tosses it from hand to hand, juggling it almost negligently. It's a casual, offhand sort of gesture. Though it disguises the fact that she's trying to work feeling back into her abused arms. Because blocking that energy-charged kick /hurt/.

No sign of that effort shows on her face, however. No, her expression is a broad smile, her eyes bright.

"We-elll," Riko says, "the kidnapping was /necessary/ to achieve our objectives."

She nods.

"But yeah, you're right about the outfit. That was uncalled for. It was an innocent bystander. It didn't deserve to be hurt."

She actually looks a little sad, giving a frowny-face.

For a moment, anyway.

Then she grips the hammer securely in two hands, lifting it over her head, and letting it fall towards Hotaru in a picture-perfect mallet-BONK.

Except, well, this isn't exactly a cartoon mallet.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru dodges Riko's Medium Strike.

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

As Hotaru feels almost no give from her assault she ends up just following through with the back flip rather than diving back down for Riko to follow up. As her feet touch the ground, she's looking at Riko in a bit of a new light. It isn't too common for an attack of that magnitude to get weathered out by someone. Let alone by a girl younger and smaller statured than herself.
She's a bit winded too. She put a lot into that attack - but not everything. She also inwardly grouses that trying to get information out of this girl is one of the most excruciating experiences that she's ever been through. It's like every question, every challenge is met with 2% of the whole and nothing more. "What do I have to do with your objectives anyway?"
She isn't so out of it as to be unable to avoid that dropping hammer though with a sidestep that brings her in a little closer. At this rate, she's half worried that the ninja is going to take off with her tool. She seems quite attached to it! In fact, maybe she should get that back right now...
Both hands reach for the hammer weilding arm of the girl. One trying to clamp over her fist, the other going in for the inside of her elbow. If she can get a hold, she'll twist the arm around upside down and bend Riko's wrist at an awkward angle as she tries to wrench the tool out of her grip. It's a quick motion and looks very simple - but Hotaru executes it with a certain precision that experienced Kung Fu fighters would be proud of.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru successfully hits Riko with Quick Throw.

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

"Talent," Riko chirps.

Her arm's grabbed. Her arm's twisted, bent in a way it probably shouldn't go. The hammer drops from Riko's protesting fingers. It crashes head-first into the ground, with the dull ring of metal. The heavy wooden handle slams down a moment later, before the fallen tool lies still.

There's a faint flicker of blue, though, swirling round the hammer-head, tiny forks of electricity crawling over the metal surface...before earthing themselves and fading to nothingness.

Riko peers up at Hotaru, currently entangled with the older girl. It would seem Hotaru's deprived Riko of her weapon - in a rather painful fashion, hauling her arm round like that. But Riko doesn't seem at all annoyed.

"Can't have a tourney without good fighters," Riko answers, brightly.

And that's when she tenses her muscles. Bending her legs at the knees. Before...release.

Hotaru's got Riko by the arm. But that means the two girls are close together. And it means, with just a little effort, Riko can -spasm- her entire body...and send the crown of her head smashing into Hotaru's nose.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru dodges Riko's Weapon Jab.

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

Mission accomplished! Hotaru smiles faintly with a bit of satisfaction as she cinches Riko's wrist just enough to drop the hammer. She isn't going to push further than that. She has never gone so far as to tear tendens, crack bones, or knock joints out of place if she can help it. One Justice High fighting prodigy accurately identified her as lacking the viciousness he felt was necessary to excel.
Even as she releases Riko's hand she can feel the muscles tensing in the girl to strike back. And Hotaru is ready for it. Her left foot comes down on the hammer, her to bumping the head of it up off the ground so that it sticks up at an angle. Her right foot takes a step back so that she can avoid the incoming headbutt.
Then she kicks her left foot down on the hammer head at an angle such that the tool comes spinning up into the air. Hopping backward, Hotaru then swings out with her hand to snatch the spinning hammer out of the air and sling it over her shoulder with a grin. "Ha!"
But she didn't miss the rest of what Riko said. A tournament? That's what the abduction was about? She's heard of strange ways for fighting competitions to come together. Usually it's just via mysterious invitations in the mail though... "I guess the postal service wasn't convenient enough?" she asks, leaning her head to the side a little, feeling a lot more in control of this fight now even if her stronger attack was rebuffed.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru focuses on her next action.

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

[OOC] Seishirou says, "We actually did that too. THe bombs got caught up in the postal system :| It sucks."
[OOC] Hotaru sweatdrops.

"Hey, we're ninja," Riko replies, "if we send letters..."

She flicks a hand at Hotaru. Her index finger extended, thumb cocked at a perpendicular angle. It's a simple and obvious gesture, one familiar to children everywhere - the distinct form of someone miming a gunshot.

"...they explode."

As if to accentuate Riko's point...

Well. You know what happens next.

The only warning is a faint flicker of blue, the colour of Riko's chi. A crackle of energy round the hammerhead, round the top of the tool that's been swung and kicked round by both fighters in this little clash. The very hammer that Hotaru just snatched and sent flying over her shoulder. It's still in mid-air, still in flight.

And now, the tiny knot of chi Riko embedded in the metal...unravels. Releases.


Flecks of razor metal fill the air as the hammer.../tears itself apart/.

[OOC] Hotaru!!! NINJAS?!
[OOC] Riko says, "Your hammer betrays you. e_e_"
[OOC] Hotaru >.<
[OOC] Riko says, "C'mon, you KNEW I was gonna do something like that. =P"
[OOC] Hotaru laughs.
[OOC] Hotaru loves you. ._.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru reflects Thrown Object from Riko with Kobi Kyaku.

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

[OOC] Riko!
[OOC] Hotaru grins.
[OOC] Hotaru rolls around.
[OOC] Hotaru says, "This has been a crazy fight for me. Normally my fights go about 5 rounds."
[OOC] Riko laughs. Glad to be a supplier of craziness! ^-^
[OOC] Riko says, "(hint: stop dodging =P)"
[OOC] Hotaru laughs.

Hotaru's grin almost stretches into a smirk. She's been trying to out think this ninja for the last several minutes and as Riko pulls the 'trigger' on the exploding hammer, the Kenpo artist thinks she's just about done it. It starts with a swift roundhouse kick, turning herself all the way around in the process. A swath of swiftly moving blue chi follows in the wake of her leg. With almost a fluid-like consistency it soaks up the incoming metal shrapnel, protecting Hotaru from any harm whatsoever. Bringing her foot down the girl spins around a second time, this time forcing her arm through that cloud of blue energy, literally pulling it around in front of her with all those metal bits in it.
"Kya!!" she exclaims as she forces the chi onward toward Riko. The energy itself ends up dissipating halfway there but those pieces of the poor, obliterated hammer continue on with extreme speed.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru successfully hits Riko with Reflected Thrown Object.

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

"Well," Riko says, clinically, "that's a new one."

Idly, she picks a stray sliver of metal from her face. Just a little higher, and it'd have slammed into her eye. Amazingly, she didn't flinch. She just finishes pulling the bloody shard of metal from the wound. Then she holds it between her thumb and forefinger, examining it critically - before negligently opening her hand and letting it fall.

A few fresh injuries decorate her upper body, a couple of bleeding cuts and rents on her t-shirt. She's clearly injured, but it doesn't seem to faze the girl overmuch. Surely she /must/ be in pain. But if she isn, she's managing to ignore it quite completely.

She's Seishirou's student.

She goes through worse on a daily basis.

He calls it /training/.

"Yeah," Riko nods, "pretty cool."

She peers closely at Hotaru.

"Yeap," she adds, "you'll -totally- be awesome."

COMBATSYS: Riko focuses on her next action.

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

[OOC] Seishirou says, "(Yesterday was lava retention training)"

As Hotaru sends that mass of chi and sharpnel along she stumbles forward on her end. Not quite falling, but clearly worn out. Like another time earlier in the fight, she winces, one hand reaching over to clench tightly at the wrist of the arm she had used to propel the attack back at Riko, gritting her teeth. Though not a single piece of jagged metal hit her, she seems almost to have hurt herself all the same.
She watches Riko deal with the pieces of metal that reached their target with a certain detatchment that is almost unsettling. Maybe she's going into shock? "You have a lot of interesting tricks," she replies, glancing over her shoulder at the wooden hammer handle lying on the ground, now completely bereft of the part that actually gave it purpose. Oh well, add replacing the hammer to the list of things she's going to have to handle once she finishes driving off this pesky ninja!
Leaning forward, she charges toward Riko again, pressing off into a swift, horizontal jump kick, her leg snapping out in front of her. It's a novice's take on the Hien Shippu Kyaku. If it hits, Ryo will have been so proud. Of course, if it doesn't, she'll just hope he never hears about this.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru successfully hits Riko with Light Kick.

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

If it hits. As it happens, that's exactly what it does. The effect isn't lost on Riko - she's got enough knowledge about the Kyokugen techniques, as demonstrated in previous televised and recorded matches ... to recognize the move. So there's a spark of recognition in the girl's eyes...about a split second before Hotaru's heel slams into Riko's torso. The smaller girl goes flying, thrown back. She hits the ground, tumbles, rolls, before bouncing back to her feet, her skate wheels digging into the ground. Riko rocks back and forth, squinting at Hotaru.

"Hey," she notes, "you really -are- learning from that Sakazaki guy."

Riko looks thoughtful, rubbing her chin.

"I like your other moves better, tho," she observes, pursing her lip.

As that statement leaves her mouth, Riko throws herself in an attack of her own. She sweeps the ground with her leg, her skate boot kicking up dust, assorted wood shavings, screws, various bits of debris littering the ground...

...and a measuring tape.

One of those steel spring-loaded ones. The friend of every DIY home-improver.

She flicks it out, just a little, the metal edge flexing. Before slashing it at Hotaru.

"More original!"

COMBATSYS: Hotaru interrupts Medium Strike from Riko with Hakki Shou.

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

Landing on her feet, Hotaru smiles a little, actually looking flattered that Riko was able to pick up on the origin of the jump kicking attack. Unlike some people, Hotaru is a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to her moves... she isn't a natural mimic and she doesn't haphazardly rip off other people's moves. The success of her beginner's Hien Shippu Kyaku makes her feel proud of her training so far at least.
But Riko raises a good point. "I will always respect the moves taught to me by my father. It's just that... I haven't been able to find any Kenpo trainers who are able to help me improve upon what I've learned, and... It's been three years now and I need the help of more experienced fighters..."
Part of that experience comes into play next as she once again does something she never would have done before embracing the Learning Through Pain philosophies of the KYOKUGEN TOUGH fighters here.
As Riko slashes out with yet another makeshift weapon, Hotaru rolls her arm behind her, lighting it up a second time with that familiar blue aura that accompanies so many of her attacks. So deceptively soothing in its color and motions it's so very easy to miss the fact that it churns with power, driven by the strong heart of the young fighter as she builds up the second chiball tonight.
She doesn't flinch as the measuring tape slashes into her side but instead merely steps through it, bringing her arm up and forward, launching the small, pulsating sphere of force back at Riko once again. "YA!"

Amazingly, she's still upright.


Just, just, barely.

She's doubled over, one hand clutching her midsection, spine arched so bad it'd give a chiropractor a coronary. You can almost see her backbone raging against the strain. Riko wobbles dangerously, her knees threatening to buckle, the wheels on her skates rolling every which way. Her head's bowed, her eyes clenched tightly shut. The little ninja wheezes, breath labouring through clenched teeth.

She's been remarkably, almost /unnaturally/ resilient throughout this fight, soaking up massive amounts of physical abuse. But it seems that she's just about reached the end of even her ridiculously long rope.

Riko lifts her head.

She stares directly at Hotaru.

The ninja girl's still clutching the metal measuring tape in one hand, her fingers wrapped tight around the spool. She holds this up, with a trembling arm.

And smiles, broadly, from ear to ear.

"That's cool," Riko says, sincerely, "always improve."

Electricity snakes up her arm. Blue tendrils crackling from her elbow to wrist, round and round her fingers. Crackling through the measuring tape in her hand. Suffusing it. Flowing through it, even as her fingers grip it tighter.

Then...release. She lets go. Lets it fall.

The flicker-FLASH erupts round Riko's body, a retina-searing display.

And when it fades, she's gone.

Ninja, after all.

There's professional standards to be maintained.

COMBATSYS: Riko can no longer fight.

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

COMBATSYS: Hotaru blocks Riko's Light Fantastic EX.

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

Hotaru gasps as the chiball leaves her hand and does the job of taking the fight out of the incredibly resiliant ninja girl. Craddling her chiball lobbing arm against her stomach, she staggers back a couple of steps, watching yet another attack from Riko build up. There almost seems to be no end to what this kid can keep dishing out and taking. Whatever training they have at ninja school must be Serious Business.
She doesn't have anything left in her other than to turn her side to it and bear the brunt of the blinding flash of energy as it knocks her over to the ground into a sideways seated position, propped up by one arm. She looks back toward where she last saw Riko and blinks. A cursory inspection of the courtyard around her reveals no indication that the girl is still around.
Her arm finally giving out, Hotaru collapses onto her back, staring up at the sky, arms out at her sides. Whew. Dealing with surprise ninja visits is a serious /occupational hazard/ around here. There really should be some kind of disclaimer pamphlet that new students get to warn about this kind of thing.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru has ended the fight here.

[OOC] Seishirou says, "Remember. Ninjas can attack at any time."
[OOC] Hotaru cries.
[OOC] Seishirou says, "They don't need to call ahead or anything."
[OOC] Seishirou says, "They don't even care."
[OOC] Hotaru laughs.

Log created on 22:46:44 07/09/2007 by Riko, and last modified on 19:38:57 07/22/2007.