Neo League 526 - #541: Hotaru vs Hokuto

Description: The battle of the similar names and similar plights in life! The two girls seeking brothers face off in the expensive Il Paradiso in Metro city. Hotaru tries to keep the pressure on throughout the fight, but Hokuto's patient, controlled style manages to react to it well. (Winner: Hokuto)

A good ol' Neo League challenge at last. Hotaru had been swapmed with school, training Kentou, her own practice, and the YFCC courses she's been teaching during her precious few free hours, which left her not really going out of her way to seek matches. Especially with the sudden silence from Geese's multi-media empire as of late with two weeks in a row without any Saturday Night events to show for... Hotaru had been out of the public eye for a little bit now.

But when the challenge came from one Hokuto Mizugami, a soul also in search for a sibling long lost, Hotaru felt she had no choice but to fit it into her schedule. Taking the Friday off from class at Seijyun, she made the trip all the way to Metro to the recently opened opera house where this match was to take place.

A large landing has been cleared just over the main entrance to the primary seating area. Large, winding stairs connect from the landing down to the lobby below. Red carpet adorns the flooring, laid out over the expensively crafted interior. Dressed in her signiture blue and white traditionally styled outfit, Hotaru's eyes glance over the exquisite craftmanship of the Opera House. This kind of lavish setting is more like the matches Geese Howard's people can afford. Things must be looking up for the Masters' entertainment enterprise that they can cover the costs in damages an fight is likely to cause here...

But those expensives aren't supposed to be her concern Hotaru ponders with a quiet smile. Simply doing her best and trying to figure out her opponent's style of fighting first hand is all she can focus on for now. A victory for Hokuto may move her further up in the fighting world in search for her brother. For Hotaru, she has already seen her brother's apathy in person. All she can hope for now is to become strong enough to show him she isn't so weak should they meet again. One harshly learned lesson at a time.

She passes the moments of preparation by tightening one of her hair ribbons that felt loose a moment ago. It probably wasn't, but she tends to fret about such things just before a fight.

Swamped indeed. Hokuto's been around--though, just not in the same circles as Hotaru. She's made a few YFCC appearances, almost all brief, and she has yet to sign up to teach a class. She's met--and fought--Alma Towazu, and though their battle featured a lot of power, perhaps Alma found out that his power wasn't quite enough to shake Hokuto's foundations...

Even if it was enough to knock her out. Something about that fight was slightly disturbing, which may be why she's goen so long without a fight, although the lack of Saturday Night Fights last week was a factor, too. But, with some rare unoccupied, which is not to say free, time, she inquired into the Neo League's capability to set up a specific match and found that she could, indeed, do so.

And so the challenge was made and issued.

Thanks to the Jinchuu tournament and some mishaps, the bout wasn't scheduled for maybe a week after her request went through, but soon enough she got a card in the mail, telling her to be at the Il Paradiso...

And in she strides, right on time. With the arena already set up, it's easy to find, and Hokuto walks with quick, precise steps up to not the Neo League officials, but to Hotaru. Perhaps Hotaru knows why Hokuto fights--certainly, if they knew more about each other, the similarities hinted at in their first meeting would become only more solid.

"Hotaru-san. It's good to see you again," says the brown-eyed young woman, with a smile.

As Hokuto approaches, Hotaru replies with a very polite bow. Everything about Hokuto suggests 'traditionalist'. From the attire to the polite mannerisms and honorific laden speech tendencies... Must have to do with her family the Kenpo artist figures. There's definitely more to them than she shared the last time they spoke. But now isn't the time to ponder how their upbringings may or may not have been similar. The least she can do is respect the quiet ways of the Mizugami girl.

"Likewise, Hokuto-san. I should thank you right off hand for giving me a good excuse to get away from Southtown for a day," she continues with a quiet grin, sharing a little bit of the sense of feeling overwhelmed she's had as of late with life. "I'm glad to be able to honor your request for that match we spoke of before." She felt like she owed it to the young woman, having unintentionally called her fighting prowess into question when she first met her. Now is a chance to find out just how good she really is!

She's tempted to ask the girl how her search for her brother has gone, but... something tells her it hasn't gone any better. Maybe it's the way Hokuto looks, a hidden sadness in her eyes. Or maybe she just figures if she HAD found her brother, she'd have better things to do than show up for a Neo League match today. So she keeps the question on the tip of her tongue - unspoken, but pondered all the same.

"I believe this will be an interesting match." the girl states with a grin, inhaling and exhaling as she gathers herself. Turning her left shoulder toward the young woman and slipping into a loose ready stance, Hotaru begins mentally preparing herself for this match. Hokuto no doubt has a couple years of training on her if she was raised under similar circumstances. Whether or not it's enough to make the difference remains to be seen.

'Interesting'. Yes, that should be one word for it. Hokuto is, of course, a traditionalist at heart... but she's also broken away from tradition. Much like Hotaru. The bow is met with a tilted smile and a precise return bow. Hokuto seems to be in no hurry to start the fight, believing perhaps that all such things will happen in their time... no doubt once the Neo League officials start ahem-ing and indicating that their time's almost up.

Placid, liquid brown eyes meet Hotaru's dark blue gaze, and while that wistfulness is there, so is that core of resolve and strength, the core that Alma met. "You're welcome," she says, and allows herself another small smile. "Truly, these people enjoy setting fights in such strange locations sometimes..." Ah, if only there were a certain opera singer named Helena here... but no, she's a fictional character, isn't she?

And really, Hokuto hears Hotaru's question, even though it isn't said. The question is asked silently, and the answer comes just as silently. Surely the answer must be exactly what Hotaru would expect. Life-defining searches don't just end after a couple of weeks, after all.

And speaking of those officials... one of them 'harrumphs' softly, and holds up his watch, within Hokuto's vision.

"I think the officials are trying to tell me something," she says, bemusedly.

Hokuto's calm manner of handling the urging of the Neo League officials earns her a few notches of respect from the teen fighter. She's always getting pushed around by the leagues. Go here. Fight them. Show up there. Attend when. Bossing her around all the time, she hardly feels like the celebrity and more like someone's property when she attends these things. Maybe that's just how anyone feels about any job... At least her profession has her travelling around the world to receive and deliver beatings. Most people can't claim that, anyway!

"Expensive backdrops, aren't they," the girl remarks regarding their venue for tonight. If just one of those lights gets damaged it probably runs in the five digits to get it fixed at least! "Gives it a regal appearance, I suppose." she states with a bit of a shrug. She's not usually a very destructive fighter, herself, which might be why they felt safe in placing her here.

As the officials get and more and more edgy, Hotaru keeps watching Hoktuo, as if allowing the older girl to take the lead here. "Yeah, I think I can guess at what it is," she laughs lightly. "So then... Shall we?" She leans her head to the side, her own tone patient as if having absorbed some of Hokuto's calm attitude just from proximity.

But matches must begin sometime and the clock is ticking. Hotaru frowns a little, realizing that she'd perhaps like to spend more time with Hokuto, but time has run out for now. "Okay, better be ready." she states.

And then it begins and the girl switches from simply standing still to launching into a flurry of movement as she charges toward her opponent. All sense of calmness fades away as she becomes a blue and white pig-tailed blur. Hands attempt to grab hold of Hokuto's wrists in order to pull apart her guard and leave her open to a rapid series of rising stomps, followed by a backflip through the air to land back down on the railing if possible.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru has started a fight here.

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

COMBATSYS: Hokuto has joined the fight here.

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Hotaru           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Hokuto

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

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

Calm, collected... controlled. That's Hokuto's fighting in a nutshell. See, there could be some very bad ramifications for -not- being controlled, although Hokuto isn't really aware of them... but her style is about control, and maintaining it, both internally and externally.

Even in the face of someone as speedy as Hotaru. Hokuto doesn't really have a guard -up-, before Hotaru lunges--thus, it's pretty easy to open her arms up and get to stomping. And it hurts, too--Mizugami already knows she'll be having bruises here and there. But her expression only barely breaks, her lips setting into a straight line as she recoils back..

And does not move back into attacking position... but just settles her brown eyes on Hotaru's form, taking measure. Wondering if she feels the same way about this fight. Truth be told, Hokuto's been quite curious about Hotaru's abilities...

COMBATSYS: Hokuto focuses on her next action.

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

Left to land on the railing that overlooks the lobby below, Hotaru keeps her hands out at her sides, aiding her balance a little. Her first attack was a success but that doesn't leave her thinking this is going to be easy. Hokuto weathered the blows well enough that she can tell the young woman can put up a good fight.

The smaller fighter maintains her perch for a long moment, eyes narrowing as she studies Hokuto, only to realize that she's being scrutinized carefully. Well, she'll have to give Hokuto something to study, she supposes, as she takes to the air, leaping forward with a spin kick aimed at her shoulder. If she connects, she'll follow up with a second, light kick with her trailing left leg with the intent of using that force to push off and away into another backflip.

That her technique seems to revolve around a somewhat hit and run style isn't too hard to deduct now that Hokuto gets to see the girl in action. That, and a touch of aerial acrobatics, and the occasional spike of chi based attacks about sums up the basics... of course there's a lot more to Hotaru than basics.

COMBATSYS: Hokuto counters Light Kick from Hotaru with Goukyaku Nage.

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

Hit and run. A fast style, suitable for those who generally can't take much punishment. After all, you don't see men like Zangief or Darun Mister hiking their skirts up and dashing about like crazed monkeys. Hokuto nods to herself. Of course nothing is certain, but this, at least, is--she can't let Hotaru hit and run as she pleases. That is a sure way to lose.

Every choice made in a fight entails a risk--whether it's attempting to weave out of the way, taking the damage to gain positional advantage, ot attempting to counterattack. Nothing is -safe-... and yet some options inevitably feel more safe.

But safe is for the birds. Hokuto sets herself and, when that leaping kick comes in, Hotaru will find that it does not connect with Hokuto's shoulder--but instead the kicking limb is -caught- by Hokuto's hands.
tThe Mizugami scion takes advantage of the momentum provided by Hotaru herself and spins, redirecting Hotaru's flight path in a semicircle and then into the flooring.

Being a basically nice person, she doesn't try to throw Hotaru -down- into the lower landing... though she might've been able to manage it.

Getting knocked out of the air isn't an all together unusual experience for the young fighter. Having ninety pounds of Futaba flying at people doesn't seem to get them to shut down and cry like it would be if Hugo was jumping their way. It's something she's used to on some level but that doesn't mean it isn't jarring all the same.

Her foot caught short, Hotaru's eyes widen as she finds herself pulled right out of the air and sent falling down to the landing on her back. She writhes before impact and manages to spare herself a more painful landing, but it still rattles her a bit all the same.

The moment her foot is freed she kicks up into a backward roll, coming up into a crouch as if taking a moment to reconsider the course of the fight... but rather than linger there for long, Hotaru lunges immediately back on the offense, apparently intending to keep the pressure up. Hokuto seems to like to keep things calm... she doesn't move much... best to try and keep things at a frantic pace for as long as she can manage, she figures.

This time she's trying to get a hold on Hokuto's arm, much like last time. But rather than pulling her guard open for further strikes, she tries to step around her and wrench the limb into an armlock behind her back. If she pulls it off, she'll finish by trying to knock the young woman's feet out from under her and drop her to the ground. Pressure... Hokuto is going to need to get used to coping with constant pressure from the small fighter who seems to have an aggressive edge to her style

COMBATSYS: Hokuto blocks Hotaru's Quick Throw.

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

Well, at least partially, Hotaru is successful. Her grip on Hokuto's arm is solid, and Hokuto doesn't seem to even react for a moment, as she's armlocked...

But that, apparently, is a ruse, as she lets Hotaru have only the slightest of twinging twists before she's rotating her arm back the way it came, stepping around to face Hotaru again. It isn't the smoothest sort of defense--but it certainly saves her from a great deal of pain.

And, in truth, Hokuto doesn't seem to be too worried by that muscle wrenching. With the so-recently abused arm freed, Hokuto continues her spin-step, employing her other arm in a sweeping, vertical elbow drop intended to land right onto Hotaru's shoulder.

It looks a little awkward, but is executed rather smoothly, for all that, a brief bit of in-fighting before, hopefully, Hotaru can go haring off again.

COMBATSYS: Hokuto successfully hits Hotaru with Chuuhou.
- Power hit! -

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

She realizes the attack isn't quite going as intended when Hokuto manages to spin out of the hold before she can drop her. Her grip on the young woman's hand strays for a moment too long, unfortunately, which leaves her pulled off balance, lining her up easily for the elbow that gets driven into her shoulder, a bit too close to her neck for comfort.

The force of impact drives the fragile fighter to the carpet with a gasp as she lands face down. Worried that there might be a bit of a long term injury as a result of that, the girl, pushes up with her other hand in order to roll over to the side into a seated position, then scramble back up to her feet, losing a lot of ground and the pressure game she had been trying to keep up.

Turning to face Hokuto, her dark blue eyes look her opponent more carefully. She needs to do better than that, she muses. Taking to the air again feels like a bit of a risk, but she tries it nonetheless. A high jump that seems aimed to fly over Hokuto quickly turns into a sharp knee dive following a flip forward.

Perhaps attempting to return the favor as she aims for the shoulder with her knee. If she connects, a follow up strike will come from her left leg against the side of Hokuto's head as she pushes off into a backflip again. The meat of the attack is the knee drop though at an angle that can be tough to defend against.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru successfully hits Hokuto with Rengeki Shuu.
- Power hit! -

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

And a meaty attack it is, indeed. Hokuto is just flat-out -rocked- by the combination--the knee, then the subsequent kick, send her reeling, and she'd fall over the railing if, by happenstance, her center of gravity were just a few inches higher than where it was.

As it is, she reaches out, grabbing the railing for support and shaking her head. Calm and cool she is, but not inhuman; that blow clearly stunned her. She might need a moment...

Whether Hotaru intends to give it to her or not. Not that Hokuto would blame the pigtailed girl for attacking without mercy. The battlefield--any battlefield--is no place for that most gentle of concepts.

COMBATSYS: Hokuto gains composure.

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

When it looks like Hokuto might take a tumble off of the railing, Hotaru's eyes widen, her mouth opening with a gasp. But backflipping through the air is no position to do much about it, so all she can do is watch and... whew with relief as she touches down and finds that her opponent has managed to stay grounded. This raised area to fight on certainly comes packaged with a number of risks, she muses. A tumble down the stairs would hurt pretty bad as well.

There is some reluctance to press the attack after that last one, but the girl isn't one that can take much when it comes to long, drawn out affairs. Besides, with how Hokuto fights, staying fairly immobile and rooted seems to be the norm from what she's been able to ascertain thus far.

The two have been quiet thus far as well, which causes Hotaru to smile a little. She's used to most matches where fighters are bragging, shouting, or just basically acting boarish. She can respect someone who prefers to keep it quiet during a bout. It makes it a more refined experience, more pure. No bravado, no bragging. Just skill on the line, and maybe some luck to boot.

Deciding to attack in a manner that has a bit more control to it, Hotaru charges forward again, leaping into the air to try and plant her hands against Hokuto's shoulders. If she manages to land, she'll swap sides quickly in order to spin herself around, then drop down behind the girl and drive her feet into her upper back while trying to knock her clean over... /forward/ this time, away from the balcony.

COMBATSYS: Hokuto blocks Hotaru's Ten Ranku-Tou.

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

While she didn't get the full amount of time she needed... she got enough. Hotaru might miss it, but after she leaps, her opponent--young Mizugami--actually braces her right foot against the railing. Once again, she hardly seems to be in any position to respond as Hotaru lands her handplant, twist, and foot-shove...

Except at just the last moment possible, Hokuto pushes off and reduces the actual impact from Hotaru's feet. She stumbles a few steps forward, but then stops, and turns, immediately heading back towards Hotaru--perhaps faster than the other might be expecting--and her stumble turns into a quick, shuffling run.

That run ends abruptly, with Hokuto taking a long, pushoff step, and gliding forward the next few feet until she reaches Hotaru, firing a braced elbow for her opponent's sternum.

And yes, she is quiet. Time for talk, and time for fight, and the two should rarely intersect... at least in her opinion.

COMBATSYS: Hokuto successfully hits Hotaru with Chuugeki Hou EX.

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

Having Hokuto defend against her acrobatic attack does catch the girl off guard, causing her own landing to be a bit awkward as her opponent moves with the double kick rather than being floored by it. She isn't so out of it that she doesn't see the attack coming in at her next, but she just can't manage to get out of the way, penned against the railing like she is.

The elbow strike provokes a pained gasp from the lithe girl and it looks like her legs might give out beneath her as the wind is knocked out of her. But her hand finds purchase on the railing and it manages to keep her on her feet a little, even as the color drains from her face a bit. At last the pressure game she's tried to keep up on Hokuto is falling apart as the other girl seems to weather her attacks well and Hotaru can't keep from getting smacked around in the slightest.

Breathing in, she tries to get her focus back though she's a bit frazzled at the moment. That doesn't mean she lets up though, charging forward and attempting to come in with a lower slide kick this time, hoping to trip Hokuto up and give her an attack from a different angle to cope with this time.

COMBATSYS: Hokuto interrupts Light Kick from Hotaru with Kyaku Hougi.

[                       \\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////             ]
Hotaru           2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|====---\-------\0           Hokuto

Hokuto, truth be told, is feeling a bit weathered, herself. Dealing with fighters faster than herself is a rather common occurence but... it doesn't make it any less stressful. Some stress is good, of course--forces the mind to think, forces a fighter to adapt, to consider new strategies and adapt older ones. No one fighter can ever be truly prepared for -everything-, but any one fighter might, with enough work, be prepared for -anything-.

In this case, Hokuto reaches deep within herself and speaks--in her head. What she says is, she is going to -win- this fight... or at least, give her very all. And in this moment that is exactly what she gives.

As Hotaru comes sliding in, Hokuto makes a bit of a theatrical gesture--and releases a pair of hidden tessen--iron war fans--from her sleeves, that fall into her hands. The weapons are flared open and then she moves, almost at the same time as Hotaru--twirling forward. The spinning move lets Hokuto throw off Hotaru's attack, the impact felt but not clean--where Hokuto's spinning, twirling combination of slashing strikes with the (dull-edged) tessen are spot-on, Hokuto briefly becoming a whirlwind storm of pain for the other fighter. She'll apologize later--while it was certainly a risk that Hokuto took, perhaps it was a bit unnecessarily brutal...

The fans catch her clean on, the girl in no position to react to the attack as Hokuto catches her in the midst of striking out herself. Smack after smack send her stumbling as Hotaru struggles to regain her footing well enough to defend against the subsequent strikes to no avail. Only when the whirlwind of blows ends is Hotaru allowed to collapse to the carpet at last. Weapons. She always finds dealing with them so terrifying. It's one area where she is sure her brother vastly excells compared to her... he never was intimidated by deadly accoutrements.

Getting up after that assault is a painful process as the girl rolls over, starts to push herself up, then collapses again for a moment. At this point she hasn't much left to give but she feels like she has to do better than that. Has to actually deal a significant hit before she collapses for good.

Gritting her teeth, the girl sucks in her breath as she goes on the offense. A chance to dish out as good as she's taken, perhaps, as she pushes up into a forward tumble in order to come out into a crouch at Hokuto's feet, her hands out at her sides like wings, accompanying the sudden spike in energy from the girl as she kicks off into a rising, chi laced flip kick, a torrent of blue energy in the wake of the powerful strike, accompanied by the first thing she's said since the fight began. "Tenshou..."

COMBATSYS: Hotaru successfully hits Hokuto with Ten-shou Ranki EX.

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

The initial strike opens the way to a far more brutal follow up as Hotaru ascends with her opponent, having poured nearly all of her strength into this final assault. At the apex of their ascent, she dives back into Hokuto to take her down to the ground, landing in a kneeling position over the young woman.

Her palms pressed against Hokuto's brestbone as she begins to channel an incredible amount of energy from the world around them into a sphere that manifests itself around them, the first indication of Hotaru's power of chi manipulation thus far this fight.

"aaaaaAAAH!" exclaims the girl as she pulls from herself, the life of the opera house, and even her opponent to create the attack. There is, for a fleeting moment, a sharing of auras as Hotaru draws from Hokuto, but she allows it to all collapse back down before she pulls too heavily, not going all out as she has with the attack at times in the past. "KYA!"

The explsion of the collapsing sphere of chi sends an invisible shockwave out from the two, breaking nearby glass and rattling anything that isn't bolted down. Hotaru isn't normally a destructive fighter, but this particular technique is hard to reign in... Sighing as her strength has been spent, she starts to get back up, not wanting to stay in too close.

Of course she should've expected such an upwelling of power from the young Hotaru Futaba. The impact is intense, and the followup even moreso--even if it's not exactly the kind of show one expects to see at the opera house, it's far too painful for Hokuto to even consider any sort of less-than-chaste possibilities. That is to say, she's a bit surprised that the flooring doesn't give way underneath her... she rolls back, and gets to her feet, though her stance is no longer straight and proud.

It's still proud, but her back is bent and her limbs are quivering... and yet she masters her body once more. One more round, she thinks, and it will be over... and, hell, it worked last time, right?

Supreme effort of will allows Hokuto to charge forward once more, in ths moment her body moving as fluidly as it did at the start of the fight, as she once again attempts to strike Hotaru with that braced elbow strike.

COMBATSYS: Hokuto successfully hits Hotaru with Quick Punch.

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

Seeing Hokuto get up is a bit of a concern as Hotaru knows she lacks the strength to keep going for very long. She tried to take her out with that blast, but it seems it just wasn't quite enough. She stumbles backward at the elbow stirke coming in toward her but it does nothing to get her out of the way in time. There's a pained gasp as the air is driven from her and she starts to fall forward.

The blast she manages as she starts to fall forward comes from her right hand. A sudden surge in blue energy that she attempts to strike out toward Hokuto with, but in her condition her aim is terrible and bound to be horribly off. It's the last move she makes before falling forward to the carpet, the ability to continue beaten out of her. Perhaps wearing herself out on maintaining a high pressure style wasn't the best call against a fighter clearly capable of pacing herself much better.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru can no longer fight.

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

COMBATSYS: Hokuto dodges Hotaru's Hakki Shou.

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

Chi. Why is it always chi? No, wait, wrong movie. Hokuto avoids the incoming Blue Sphere of Death through a simple expedient--her legs give out and she drops to her butt, rather unceremoniously. *thud* But.. she remains conscious, at least, and, a few long, pained, drawn-out breaths later... manages to rise again.

It's an eked-out win... but there is value in close fights as well as in utter blowouts, and Hokuto isn't thinking of her Neo League standing. As is her usual... she brushes away the Neo League officials, even as they're making their announcements about the winner and all... instead, she turns her attention to Hotaru.

Her touch is surprisingly gentle, as she rolls the other girl onto her back, and then lifts her by the shoulders, visually inspecting her for any serious trauma.

The girl is breathing, so that's a start. As she gets lifted up, her eyes crack open, her mouth curling into a weak smile, "Well done," she murmurs quietly. She definitely has things to think about after that exchange. What worked, what didn't work. The virtue of reduced movement rather than trying to dart around her opponents and keep them confused and off balanced is something to consider.

She exhales slowly, in no hurry to move after the exhertion she had put into the match. "Your family's style is very interesting. I'll have to watch the tapes of fights you've been in." she continues. Ever trying to learn and expand her own understanding of how others do combat.

A struggle and wince allow her to finally sit up on her own, resting in a seated posture for a moment. "I might be more ready for your approach next time," she warns with a faint grin.

Hokuto smiles faintly. "There aren't that many recordings of the Kamigawa-ryuu Kobujutsu arts. But I can tell you that my variant relies a lot on precepts from Aikido and Kenpo." Making sure Hotaru can sit up, Hokuto remains kneeling.

"But other practitioners focus on other areas... I'm not as mobile as you are, so I have to be more careful about what I do. And control--external, and internal--control of muscle, of chi, of mind and spirit--is paramount to my style."

Hokuto's headband is sopping wet--the fight got to her, too. "I envy your agility and your speed..." She shakes her head, a little bit, and that faint smile reappears. "I'm sure we'd be quite formidable teamed up. Our styles complement each other very well." And then she winces.

"And you hit a lot harder than you look..."

At the mention of how they would fare teamed up, Hotaru laughs lightly. It is a good point. The two of them alongside each other would probably give most opponents a difficult combination of defense and offense to cope with. At the compliments, Hotaru's cheeks redden a little. Her speed didn't fare too well defensively, but her offense was strong. Maybe she just over committed too much. She'll have to give it further thought.

As far as being a bit of a hard hitter, she bows her head with flattered acknowledgement, "Thank you..." It isn't a mystery. Some invisible well of strength that doesn't match her physic. By combining her muscle groups and attacking with strikes that allow her to supplement her limb strength with torso power, the girl manages to strike harder than one would expect from such a small fighter.

"Until next time then," she states with a bow of her head as she leans forward, resting her elbows against her knees. She's not going anywhere for a bit.

Hokuto nods. But it's still a few moments before she's able to rise on her own power and limp towards the exit. At juuuust enough distance to be heard but not too clearly, Hokuto turns and says, "Good luck with your brother..." The words are faint enough that Hotaru might think she just imagined it, and by the time she can react, Hokuto is walking out the door, up one Neo League win and with a whole bunch of respect for her opponent.

It's a bit of a snap decision, but Hokuto decides that Hotaru is probably trustworthy... and so she may decide to ask her for help with this thing, or that... sometime and someway. But for now... home, and a long, warm bath. Thank the gods for the Japanese penchant for bathtubs and not showers.

Log created on 02:14:42 10/27/2007 by Hotaru, and last modified on 11:06:47 10/30/2007.