Neo League 476 - #488: Hotaru vs Laurel

Description: Caution: When hosting NL fights as a fund raising event for a building restoration project, you may want to consider the probable structural setbacks... Hotaru is introduced to an interesting new attack mechanism while Laurel is introduced to what it's like to fight in the public eye. (Winner: Hotaru)

Ah, what to do with an old cathedral in Central California? Some of the local want to tear down the deteriorating building, complaining that it's an eye-sore on the outskirts of the rustic vineyard-engulfed town. Others, however, would like to see it restored to its former glory and make it into a historical site. But they lack the funds to spring for such a project.

What better way to raise funds than to offer to the Neo League to use the dilapidated structure as a venue for a great fight! Billed as a fund raising event, this match has been set up inside the main chapel of the old building. Outside it is a bright, sunny afternoon. But you'd never be able to tell that from the inside.

The rotted pews are covered with dust and the wooden sections of the walls are full of cracks and holes. Some of the stained glass windows lining the chapel are broken, letting in streams of sunlight from outside, while the rest are so caked in grime that it's hard to tell what color they actually were to begin with.

The fight itself is arranged to start at the back of the chapel, where a few rows of the pews have been cleared out, piled alongside the edges as broken, splintered boards. The flooring is an ornate tilework of dark color and round, brick covered columns support the roof on the edges of the spot.

While Hotaru loves a good fight as much as anyone, the state of this location causes her to wrinkle her nose in distaste. The air is thick with dust and the idea of breathing that in while exherting herself in a fight isn't too appealing. Not to mention her pristine white fighting outfit is just asking to get dirty in a place like this. With a quiet sigh, she lifts her hands to tighten one of the red hair ribbons that keep her pig-tails in place while trying to get the conditions of this stage out of her mind. She needs to focus on her opponent after all. Not the bat she thinks she saw just fly by along the high, vaulted ceiling...

While Hotaru's nose wrinkles due to the shape the cathedral's in, Laurel has another reason for feeling slightly put off. When she joined the Neo-League, she was expecting fight locations to be somewhat more tasteful. Decrepit or not, it's still a church, and there are certain rules to be obeyed. It's going to be touch to justify having a fight inside holy ground, but, if nobody else had an issue with it...

The woman showed up a half-hour early, making sure that no items of historical significance were going to be damaged by the brawl. Tapestries? The ones not covered in mold were taken down and stored. Statues that were in good shape? Moved to a back room. The altar? ...well, it would take more than a petite blonde woman in fishnets to move that. Plus, Laurel's rather sure you have to be a member of the church just to touch it. So, it stays.

The blonde spends the few minutes before the appointed time down on her knees in one of the pews, fingers interlaced as her hands rest on the pew in front of her. Her eyes are closed, head slightly bowed, and she seems to be speaking softly to herself. She's slightly irritated that the publicity crew directed her where to sit, apparently wanting one of those rays of light coming through a broken stained-glass window to fall on her /juuuuuust/ so as she gives her silent prayer. A few clicks of the camera, and then the look Laurel gave the photographer was enough to send him off to double-check equipment.

Finally, the little pager given to Laurel by the Neo League (to contact her, since she prefers to keep her last name a bit more private) buzzes at her hip, telling her it's time for the sponsors to get their money's worth.

Standing up and stretching her neck, the blonde slips off her black leather jacket and makes her way back to the cleared area and puts her hands behind her back to stretch once more. Looking at Hotaru, she only ponders for a moment what would inspire someone so young to take up fighting before she remembers what her own circumstances were, and she smiles as she centers herself. "Good luck. I'll try not to mess up those pretty clothes too much, okay?"

The younger, Japanese fighter is patient during the pre-match preparations. There's photos to be taken and hands to be shaken. Some of those from the society hoping to raise awareness of the old building thank the Kenpo artist for making an appearance here. A Neo League regular, she has the tendency to at least attract attention to her fights. Even if her actual record as of late has been less than inspiring, a girl like her is bound to garner fans anyway.

Finally left alone with the moments before the fight counting down, Hotaru backs up a little, stretching her hand out to rest against a crooked banister, only to have it tip the rest of the way over into a small cloud of dust. "Whoops," the girl murmurs. This place is really run down. It's going to take a lot more than just this one event to raise the kind of money it'll take to restore it!

When Laurel steps up, she has Hotaru's full attention. The smaller, pig-tailed fighter had tried to do research on her opponent ahead of time as that is something she tends to rely on to some extent, but couldn't find anything. The new season seems to have attracted a lot of new faces to the circuit, she ponders. That's a good thing. All the more people to meet and styles to see in action.

"Thank you," she replies quietly, standing up straight in order to offer a polite bow toward Laurel, "But you don't need to worry about that too much. I'm kind of used to it by now." Breathing in, Hotaru crosses her arms in front of her then exhales slowly while slipping into her fighting stance. A light footed, easy going stance. One arm forward, lowered slightly, ready for defending, while her other arm is cocked back at the left of her head, clearly ready for striking. With her shoulder turned toward Laurel, she presents a more narrow target to aim for. "And good luck to you as well." she replies with a smile just before the match begins.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru has started a fight here.

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Hotaru           0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Hotaru takes no action.

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Hotaru           0/-------/-------|

Funny how there isn't much info about Laurel yet! You'd think the woman was either deliberately staying out of the limelight or was blocking attempts to learn more about her. God only knows what happened to the guy who was trying to get her measurements for a Japanese fan club. He was found four days later tied to a bouy outside Metro City without his pants.

The woman watches Hotaru for a moment, and decides to see what the girl has to offer before making the fight too serious. She shifts her weight back for a moment before redirecting it forward, rushing forward the short distance between the two to attempt to jab a punch at the younger girl.

COMBATSYS: Laurel has joined the fight here.

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Hotaru           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Laurel

COMBATSYS: Hotaru fails to interrupt Quick Punch from Laurel with Quick Throw.

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Hotaru           0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0           Laurel

Of Hotaru, there's plenty to know if one was even mildly interested into looking into her. A frequent fighter on the leagues, considered fairly promising for her age. Typically compensating for a strength advantage with speed against her opponents.

Speed which doesn't quite play out as the girl sees her opponent coming for her. Both of her hands snap up in an attempt to intersect the blonde's incoming arm so that she could pull her forward into a simple slam. But she doesn't quite get the traction she was hoping for, leaving her popped in the cheek for her error in judgement.

Though it knocks her face to the side a little, she seems to roll with it okay, wincing more because of her slipup than the actual pain of the attack. She doesn't strike back right away though.

It's just as well Hotaru isn't trying to attack back just yet, because Laurel isn't about to just throw a punch and then scamper back! It boggles her mind how often people in fights will throw a punch or kick then attempt to back off. The whole point is to make sure your opponent /can't/ hit you back because they're either down or too busy trying to not get hurt.

The woman presses forward, and turns, bringing up her leg high so she can sweep it down at Hotaru's shoulder. It's a takedown maneuver, sure, and Laurel isn't expecting it to keep the girl down, but it should put her somewhat at an advantage, position-wise.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru dodges Laurel's Light Kick.

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Hotaru           0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0           Laurel

Laurel might be in for a bit of a surprise then, as she's up against a fighter who relies heavily on hit and run tactics to get by. Though right now it seems she's more interested in sticking in close, perhaps still trying to get a measure of the other woman's speed. When the American's leg swings high in order to come crashing down toward the shorter girl's shoulder, Hotaru darts to the side, allowing the attack to pass her harmlessly by.

Part of her wants to back off and avoid cutting it close, but the old brick wall of the building isn't too far behind her which means she doesn't have much space to work with anyway. Sensing a chance at an opening in Laurel's defense from the nature of her kick, the girl slips down into a further crouch in order to slam her foot out, heel first, toward the shin of the young woman that wasn't used for kicking - expecting, perhaps, to take her down by simply knocking her support out from under her. "Ya!"

COMBATSYS: Laurel blocks Hotaru's Light Kick.

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Hotaru           0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0           Laurel

The blonde woman shifts her weight slightly at the last moment, letting the blow meant for one part of her leg strike at a different area. Does it hurt? A little. But Laurel is already moving to regain the advantage. The kicking leg touches ground, and she uses it to rush around slightly to where the stack of pews are behind Hotaru. Jumping slightly, she uses a sturdy section of the heap to springboard up and twist around, snapping a leg out at the side of Hotaru's head.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru dodges Laurel's Back Alley Kick.

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Hotaru           0/-------/------=|==-----\-------\0           Laurel

The last second defense in spite what Hotaru thought was an opening is evidence that she's dealing with someone who can move pretty fast as well. In fact, Laurel's slipping around behind her catches her off guard slightly - the Kenpo artist only becoming aware of what happened due to the sound of the wood creaking beneath her opponent's movement.

Not being able to spare the time to spin around at first, herself, the girl runs forward a couple of steps, causing the foot intended for the side of her head to just barely miss. "Whew," she murmurs, her feet sliding a little on the old, cracked tiles as she finally tries to turn around.

Time to pick up the pressure. When the girl charges back this time, she's barreling straight for Laurel, making it hard to simply avoid her. Both of her arms extend out in an attempt to get a tight grip on the other's arms. If she manages to pull that off, she'll launch into a sequence of rapid, rising kicks with both of her legs, using her grip as the leverage to pull it off. In the end, she'll backflip away, landing roughly in the middle of the open area, beginning to demonstrate some of that hit and run mentality of hers. "Ya, ya, ya!"

COMBATSYS: Hotaru successfully hits Laurel with Shin-Jou Tai.

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Hotaru           0/-------/---====|=======\-------\0           Laurel

The blonde smiles slightly, and shifts her weight as her arms get grabbed. She's fully prepared to take a kick or two, counting on being able to use that same leverage to her own example in a min- ow- ow- ow!

Turns out maybe the girl -is- more powerful than she looks. Laurel staggers back at the point her arms are freed, and leans back for support for a moment against the pews she just kicked off of.
"Nice leg work." Laurel wipes the back of her hand against her mouth as she talks, just making sure there's no blood, and then she recenters herself, taking a couple steps from the pews as she waits to see what Hotaru's going to bring next.

COMBATSYS: Laurel focuses on her next action.

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Hotaru           0/-------/---====|=======\-------\0           Laurel

Landing down from her backflip, Hotaru hesitates for a moment herself, perhaps expecting retaliation before she can get her footing back. But when she realizes Laurel is bracing herself instead, the girl nods her head slightly, her mouth curling into a faint smile as a change from the intensity otherwise present in her expression. "Thank you," comes the demure reply. Though she tries to get the compliment out of her mind after a moment. Best to not be distracted by flattery in the midst of a fight after all.

When she comes in next, it isn't with the same wreckless abandon that she did on her last attack. Three steps forward to bring her closer before she slides to a stop, her hands cupped at her side. The momentum of her forward movement is transferred into her next strike, however, as she swings forward with both hands, palms out, attempting to slam them into Laurel's stomach. "HA!"

Striking not just with arm strength but by leaning into it as well, lending torso and leg strength to the attack.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru successfully hits Laurel with Strong Punch.

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

Here's how plans go wrong. The plan was, Hotaru would charge forward to attack Laurel. Laurel would spin away at the last minute, and while Hotaru was disoriented, Laurel would jump at the pews, flip back so her shins landed on Hotaru's shoulders, and use backward momentum to flip Hotaru onto the ground.

How does such a plan go wrong? Really simple, Laurel turned a bit too early and tried to use the pews to backflip over the punch. However, that spot she jumped from before? Seems it rotted in the past few seconds, and her foot went straight through it, letting the punch connect squarely in her back where it hurts.

"Ow, Jesus Chr-" Laurel catches herself at the last minute, and glances quickly towards the altar before glancing up. "Whoops. Sorry, big guy." Laurel, even with her foot stuck, reaches to try to grab hold of Hotaru's head by the pigtails and bring the girl's face down to Laurel's rising knee to knock her off balance, giving her time to pull her other leg free from the debris.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru blocks Laurel's Heavy Kick.

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

The double palm press connects against Laurel's back though Hotaru can tell that it's less because of her own timing and moreso because the building seems to have it in for the young woman as her foot gets wedged in tightly in the pile of mostly crumbling wooden pews.

There's satisfaction in landing a solid hit, of course, but at the same time she figures she should probably back off and let her get her foot out. The Kenpo artist isn't exactly a vicious combatant by any means. Certain things are worth more than just the victory to her. But she had leaned in pretty hard to deliver that palm slam and that leaves her pig-tails unfortunately easy handles for Laurel to get a hold of. Realizing that she's not being given a chance to hit and run here the moment the blond gets a hold of her hair, Hotaru struggles for an instant, before getting her hands up in front of her face, cushioning the smack against the knee substantially before she's allowed to stumble backward.

Still a bit dazed by that, she shakes her head once to clear her mind before her blue eyes focus back on Laurel, "Heeeey." she complains, just a little. Not many opponents pull her hair in a fight, but when it happens it really irks her! Which might be why she gives Laurel no break then as she charges back in, leaning low in an attempt to grab her free leg near the ankle and pull back on it hard. Hey, maybe she's just trying to help the young woman get unstuck? "Hah!"

COMBATSYS: Laurel endures Hotaru's Quick Throw.

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

The blonde woman gets her leg yanked out, and flinches slightly as she stumbles back and falls slightly. However, it seems... why, could it be it was all planned to happen that way? Well, not the pounding Laurel's getting, that's for sure. But this last move, it seems she was waiting for that. Laurel's hands press back as she lands, and she uses them to spring back forward. Apparently, she's going to try for that move from before!

The woman darts to the side of Hotaru, and places her foot against another solid-looking part of the pew barrier. And hey, this time it holds! The woman smiles slightly as she does an upward run for a moment before she pushes off and flips up over Hotaru's head. Should she land with her knees on Hotaru's shoulders, she'll squeeze them tightly to pull Hotaru with her as she leans back.

Laurel's hands will move slightly to catch herself and guide her as she rolls backwards to land on her stomach, pulling Hotaru up over her to slam her bodily down on the hard floor.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru endures Laurel's Vigilante Slam.

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Hotaru           1/------=/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2           Laurel

As Laurel rolls with the yank to the ground, Hotaru turns around to try and keep track of where she's aiming to attack from next. Up the wall she goes again, drawing a mental comparison in the Kenpo artist's mind with a young man she's fought a few times who seems to really enjoy doing a lot that kind of stuff too. Maybe she should look into it... it actually seems like it'd be useful in a fight!

Erk, she should spend more time paying attention to what follows. As Laurel drops down toward her, the girl braces, expecting to try and catch her off guard by the change in tactics. But when she ends up with a powerful set of legs squeezing her head, causing her to flail her arms for a bit as she struggles to get free.

Switching to plan B, however, the young fighter's arm lights up with a bright blue aura as she decides to try a more forceful means of extricating herself. Of course, by about that time, Laurel is leaning backward to yank Hotaru right off her feet. The timing is precarious as she's flipped into the air for the slam but with her left hand she manages to finally pry her way free at the last second while her right hand swings forward to try and catch Laurel with a little blast of chi at close range. "YA!"

COMBATSYS: Laurel just-defends Hotaru's Hakki Shou EX!

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Hotaru           1/-------/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2           Laurel

There's a reason Laurel has been avoiding her own projectiles in the place. With all the dust and debris, it'd be a miniature explosion whether a blow landed or not! The woman glances back at Hotaru's incoming arm, and there's a flash of fear in her eyes as she wildly swings a leg up, hoping to kick the blow away.

From the camera crew's point of view, there's a blur of activity, and then an explosion of dust from the pews that rockets back over both fighters. The guy with the boom mike starts to lower it before the dust has even settled, figuring the fight's over. But there's something about the strange silence coming from the floor that makes everybody else pause.

When the dust settles, it's literally coated both Laurel and Hotaru, the blonde woman's leg barely pushing the reaching arm up high enough for the chi to flow past and impact the pews, sending the mess everywhere. The good news? Laurel isn't defeated yet. The bad news? There goes her rebound wall.

If this was a movie, this is where the theme music would kick in for Laurel. Even if it will only play for a few seconds, who knows?

The woman gets a slight grin and puffs a lock of hair out of her face as she shifts her weight. She managed to take a deep breath before the dust cloud hit, and it's at that moment she lets it go, unleashing a scream which can be physically felt in the inner ear, as though the sound waves were a force instead of just tiny vibrations. The last lingering dust around Hotaru is blown back as the scream intensifies, and a few more of those stained glass windows just might be shattering from the effects of Laurel's unorthodox attack.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru reflects Mockingbird Cry from Laurel with Kobi Kyaku.

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Hotaru           1/-------/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2           Laurel

There's a quiet sneeze as the dust clears a little, Hotaru's sensitivity to dust finally kicking in even as her arm is propped at an angle that caused her projectile to /just/ miss her opponent in the last second. Yikes. She really needs to reconsider how she deals with someone capable of pulling last second defenses off like that. Her reaction speeds are not trivial.

Slipping backward to put a bit of distance between her and Laurel, the girl braces for a follow up... only to get the most unexpected attack she has seen for some time. At first it's just weird and a little scary, but then it starts to build and she realizes this isn't something to take lightly.

The girl's foot swings out swiftly, from low to high, leaving a wake of chi in the path of her leg. As she snaps her foot back down, the girl leans forward a little, extending her hand to press against the shimmering energy with her palm. "KYA!" comes the loud cry as she tries to tune out the scream while also barricading herself from the soundwaves as the flowing blue enegy solidifies into a flat, reflective wall that shimmers for an instant before sending some of that power crashing back toward Laurel.

COMBATSYS: Laurel fails to slow Reflected Mockingbird Cry from Hotaru with Kite Screech.

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Hotaru           1/-----==/=======|=======\=------\1           Laurel

What th- Laurel certainly didn't expect her own scream to ripple back -at- her. The woman tries to take a deep breath again to intensify the attack and keep herself from getting hit by her own sound waves, but that brief moment of gasping for air is all it takes for Laurel to learn what her own attack feels like, firsthand.

The woman stumbles, hand going to her head as her vision swims, before she drops down to her knees fighting the urge to be ill on a church floor. That would just be rude. With little flashes of light dancing in front of her eyes, Laurel squints to try to make out Hotaru and see what the girl is going to follow up with next.

As the scream dies down, the barrier of chi Hotaru had created decays as well, falling apart into a harmless mist. The girl inhales then exhales, finally getting a second to catch her breath after that frenzied exchange of throws, slams, chi blasts, and scary screams. But out of it all it seems her opponent fared a bit worse off than she did, which means when it comes to trying to finish the match, now is her chance.

There is some hesitation at first, which might give Laurel time to get her breath back before Hotaru finally takes to the air. The vaulted ceiling gives her more than enough room to leap high before dropping back down toward her opponent. Her right leg extends out, heel first, attempting to plant itself against Laurel's shoulder or maybe, depending on how things go, right on the top of her head.

If she manages to connect, she'll leap through the air a second time to put distance between her and the blond.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru successfully hits Laurel with Koushuu Da EX.

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

W- ow. Laurel tried to roll out of the way of the incoming blow, but not far enough as Hotaru's boot connects squarely against Laurel's body. The blonde goes limp for a moment, sending a small 'paf' of dust rising up around her. Turning her head slowly so her face is revealed from the tangle of blond hair blocking her view, she slowly moves shaky arms into position to lift herself up slightly. The woman's obviously not in very good shape, and will likely sport quite a few nice bruises across her body from the fight.

However, it's that back-alley urge to survive kicking in that keeps her in the game. The woman takes a breath, and then says, "Looks like I've got a lot to learn about fighting in the public eye. But, I don't want people to think I took it easy on you, so..." Laurel takes another deep breath, and then pushes forward, charging towards Hotaru like a petite blonde train barreling down the tracks.

Should Laurel connect, she'll lift Hotaru up and carry her back to slam her against a wall, since there's no way Laurel is going to be able to support her own weight without it, much less herself and Hotaru. And that's when Laurel will scream like few people have screamed before. Any remaining windows? Shattered. The camera equipment? ...hope they don't mind some of it coming out cracked. Eardrums? ...well, they won't burst, but the force behind the scream is like a bulldozer hitting anything it comes in contact with. A few pews are even pushed backwards.

Should it all go as planned, Laurel will then slump down to her knees and fall against Hotaru, still holding the girl's shirt with both hands even as she slips into unconsciousness.

COMBATSYS: Laurel can no longer fight.

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Hotaru           0/-------/---====|

COMBATSYS: Hotaru dodges Laurel's Raptor Scream EX.

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Hotaru           0/-------/---====|

Landing after her second jump off of Laurel, Hotaru has some time to turn around and brace for something else. Laurel shouldn't feel too bad. The opponent she got matched up against might look too young to even be in this business, but she's been at it for some time. While she took some hits, she's weathered the fight not too poorly, and managed to keep from burning herself out too fast from a frenzy of frantic attacks. The lessons of the last hundred or so fight she's been through haven't been forgotten.

"Nn," Hotaru replies as Laurel comes toward her for one parting shot. A slight nod, a smile that suggests she appreciates where the young woman is coming from, even if she'll be doing her best to not accommodate it. There is that moment where she gets a grip on the girl's fancy blue vest and it looks like she might just be able to pin her to the wall as intended. But the Kenpo artist is pretty squirrelly when it comes to getting out of being held. Both of her hands come up, pressed together, to pry between Laurel's arms before she forces her elbows out, ripping herself free of the grip, making it possible for her to slip to the side just before the scream is unleashed.

The eyes of the audience go wide. Especially those who were thinking this fight would be a great fund raiser to get this place restored as the windows burst all along the hall and let in the sunlight from outdoors, bathing the room in a warm, afternoon's glow. Oh well. The windows were going to have to be replaced anyway, so no one is actually upset by it!

Stepping quickly to the side as the ability to continue slips out of Laurel, Hotaru whews. She can say with confidence that she's never seen anyone use sound as an attack before. "I wonder how her future opponents will deal with something like that," she muses as she lifts her hands to cup her ears, realizing that they're still ringing from being too close to the final scream. Shaking her head, the girl bows politely toward the fallen combatant before turning to slip out, the fight having reached its conclusion.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru has ended the fight here.

Log created on 23:03:31 09/18/2007 by Hotaru, and last modified on 06:20:05 09/19/2007.