Neo League 676 - #687: Sakura vs Kula

Description: A large greenhouse serves as the stage for Sakura Kasugano and Kula Diamond to battle it out, Neo League style. A seesaw match with a close finish gives Sakura the chance to explain to Kula her take on how fighting can be fun, providing the ice user a different perspective on the sporting side of combat. ( Winner: Sakura )

Not a day goes by that the young combat capable science project doesn't get training within the NESTS facilities. Engineering and science can only go so far in crafting the perfect clone. The rest requires actual fighting experience against as many different types of opponents as possible. And while kidnapping highly esteemed fighters and forcing them to fight their clones might sound like something NESTS would be willing to do, it's really hard to stay a secret organization by doing that!

Hence the frequent entering of Kula into competative events. A chance to test her combat algorithms against the best the world has. Powerful brutes, masters of different martial arts, gifted prodigies... The competative world has it all, and with each new fight, the young girl's performance can be analysised, weaknesses identified, and additional refinements applied.

This time it appears it's Sakura's turn to participate in one of the most expensive research projects ever and she probably won't even know that she's just another test subject in the eyes of those who keep organizing these things! The property secured for the match is a bit of an exception to the busy city of Southtown. A large, domed greenhouse just on the edge of down town feels like a sanctuary from the rest of the city. Through the glass roof, skyscrapers are plainly visible, and even the occasional plane flying by overhead, but within the highly sound proofed chamber, the only things that can be heard are the song birds in various trees and the running fountain located in the center of the 'park'.

All of the terrain is covered with well maintained grass, with flowering bushes of all kinds forming a ring around the field, and rows of trees bordering the bushes. Brown and white tiled walkways offer sure footing through some portions of the environment, while others are traversable by cobblestone paths.

The center of the greenhouse is occupied by a grey rock fountain. The fountain is carved into the image of a small flock of stone birds caught in a perpetual downpour of 'rain' from the higher levels of the fountain, before the water collects into blue basined pools at the base of the statue.

With a few minutes left before the start of the scheduled match, Kula stares quietly at the fountain, an amused look on her face at the forever-startled birds carved into the monument. She's dressed from head to two in body covering leather clothing. The latest in NESTS flexibile body armor, the jacket and chaps fit over the form fitting body suit to keep her mostly protected. Long, auburn hair rests against her back, restrained by ribbons or hair pieces. While the setting seems tranquil compared to the rest of the city of Southtown, in a couple of minutes, that's bound to change!

Kula may be waiting those few minutes till the scheduled start of the fight... and then some, because Sakura Kasugano is rarely early. Especially if the fight takes place in her hometown: too many distractions. And so it is with this fight, as Sakura stumbles in about... five minutes late.

She's taken a hint from her past few fights, and decided to try fighting in a short skirt again, coupled with a babydoll t-shirt. Nothing fancy, with just a touch of her usual tomboyish self.

Catching herself on a tree trunk, she looks up at the fountain with an apologetic smile. "Hehe, sorry about that... got caught by some autograph hounds!" She straightens up, dusting her shoulder off self-consciously and quips, "It's a tough life, but what can ya do?"

Kasugano gives her opponent a quick once-over -- this'd be the first time in a while she's fought a girl wearing all leather. "Heh, you gonna be okay fighting in that? Looks like it could get kinda hot in the summer." Kasugano's cocky smile leaves a mystery as to whether that's sarcasm or not -- and to whether she's actually watched Kula fight before.

The Ansatsuken Angel pulls her fighting gloves snug upon her hands as she walks up, giving a tacit nod to the cameras located about the greenhouse. "Well, never been much for small talk /before/ the fight... You ready for a beating?"

COMBATSYS: Sakura has started a fight here.

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Sakura           0/-------/-------|

With little concern or even much awareness of the passing of time, Kula doesn't mind Sakura's infamous tardiness. As the minutes pass, she takes to walking around the pool, hands clasped behind her back, looking perfectly content. Fighting is tantamount to 'homework' for the NESTS project and that's about the level of eagerness with which she looks forward to it. If Sakura didn't show at all, she really wouldn't be upset in the slightest.

But it appears not to be the case as at last Ryu's disciple rushes into the greenhouse at last, tossing out an apology for what kept her late. Spinning around to face the Ansatsuken fighter, Kula brings a hand up to cover her mouth, stifling a giggle at the image of Sakura being penned in by a troop of dogs bearing autograph tablets in their mouths. The amusement passes quickly, the girl lowering her hand and giving Sakura a nod of acknowledgement, "It does sound tough. I'm not sure how to deal with all the salivating." Uh...

The green house is far from cool, and were it not for the somewhat cooling mists off the foutain or the tree-cooled breeze that seems to work its way through the massive chamber, it would probably be stifling hot compared to outside. But she shakes her head slowly with regards to concern about being too hot in the thick clothing, "I will be okay. I'm used to fighting in this." Not to mention her stature practically requires the reinforcement the leather armor provides against powerful hits from her opponents.

As Sakura tightens her gloves, Kula does likewise. Her hands are covered in thick, insulated yellow gloves that look like they would only be making the temperature problem even worse. Maybe she's just got a deeply rooted fear of physical contact with others? Sakura's final question provokes a rapid head shake from Kula, "Not if I can help it," she states rather earnestly, taking the question on face value rather than dismissing it as any kind of playful banter.

Moving a few feet away from the foutain, her insulated shoes tromp over the grass until she comes to rest atop a walkway stone. Once in position, she turns to face Sakura, and a drastic change comes over the girl's appearance as she exhales slowly. A shimmer passes over her auburn hair, leaving it an icy blue color. From no where small, blue particles of energy begin to whirl around the girl's body, reflecting the sunlight like miniture crystals. And with that, she seems prepared enough, even if her 'ready' stance is simply standing there, staring at Sakura, her arms hanging relaxed at her sides.

COMBATSYS: Kula has joined the fight here.

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Kula             0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Sakura

Kasugano snickers at the mention of 'salivating'... considering that as a dig on her male fans that can't keep away. Of course, she doesn't consider the comment in a canine context for another moment, at which case her smile grows another few degrees. "Heh, nice!" she offers as a compliment. Yay, double meanings!

It's a good thing that Sakura -did- wear light clothing, because man... it's /hot/ here. At least, it's hot when she says, "Oh... wow. Whatever floats your boat, I guess!" Kasugano doesn't seem too certain of that, but she walks closer anyway. Not /her/ problem, right?

But when Kula just stops her playful jibe cold, Sakura snickers dismissively. "Oh come on, lighten up! It's what we fighters do, ain't it?" The Neo League veteran exudes confidence as she gestures to the fight staff with an open hand.

... aaaand then it gets a bit chilly. That cocky confidence fades from Sakura's expression as she grasps the true import of Kula's unique abilities.

Sure, she saw the ice on TV. The /cold/ effect never really sunk in then. It does now.

Fighting off the shivers running down her spine, Kasugano tightens her fists in determination.

One moment later, the referee throws down the figurative gauntlet: "FIGHT!"

"I guess that means it's 'game on!'" shouts Sakura, who launches forward with the resolve to get the first strike... before her limbs freeze off! She stops just a wee bit short of Kula, but her sneakered foot carries the sudden burst of momentum through to completion with a kick aimed at Kula's midsection, arms splayed to either side for balance. "Hyaaa!"

COMBATSYS: Kula dodges Sakura's Medium Kick.

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Kula             0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Sakura

At Sakura's snicker, Kula smiles a little, "Lighten up is like chill out, right? I'm good at that." She wiggles her fingers a little, her arms still resting against her sides as she watches the other girl carefully. Her eyes seem a bit red now, either an actual color change, or just appearing that way in contrast to her sky blue hair.

The enclosure loses a few degress of temperature now that that she's unlocked the vast levels of chi control she has. Unlike the escaped project she was designed to defeat, she can bottle that power up when not using it. The gloves, in her case, are merely protection from her own ice rather than to suppress any raging, uncontrolled force.

When Sakura closes the distance to attack, Kula slips out of the way, her long hair trailing behind a second later, the other girl's foot wooshing past. And then Sakura gets her chance to see just what it's like fighting an ice user like Kula as a gloved hand snaps out, trying to snag her nearest extended arm by the wrist.

If she gets that hold, she's going to pull Sakura toward her with a twist of that arm. Her other hand reaches forward at the same time, trying to land on Sakura's side in order to deliver a point blank burst of that sub-zero chi to knock her back, releasing the arm at the same time.

COMBATSYS: Kula successfully hits Sakura with Quick Throw.

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Kula             0/-------/-------|==-----\-------\0           Sakura

"Somethin' like that..." But really, would Kasugano be caught dead saying 'chill out?' ... Okay, maybe she would, but that's not the point!

Sakura pulls her foot back from the whiffed blow, fairly well balanced in her attack. She knew it probably wasn't wise to overcommit to an attack, even if it was a strike meant to leverage the element of surprise. But even while expecting a counterattack, she finds she isn't quick enough to pull away from the grab. Her wrist gets snared, and she's yanked forward into that sudden blast... which sends her flying backwards a good dozen or so steps.

Clutching her side in pain, she nonetheless flashes a smile back at Kula: "Wow, that's pretty nice... I could get used to this!" Hopefully she means the cold, and not the pain. Regardless, she's not about to just sit by idly... she leaps forward again, this time whirling into a spinkick. Pivoting like a helicopter, she aims to kick Kula in the shoulder -- and maybe even the head -- before landing. "SHUNPUU KYAKU!"

COMBATSYS: Kula blocks Sakura's Shunpuu Kyaku.

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Kula             0/-------/------=|===----\-------\0           Sakura

"If you developed a defense against it, I would do something else," Kula replies back calmly, perhaps once again not quite interpreting the brown haired girl's words exactly right. This time when Sakura comes back on the offense to get revenge for that little icy blast, Kula remains fixed in her position, her right hand raising up, palm forward, fingers spread out.

When Sakura's powerful kick comes spinning in at head level, she'll find that she ends up kicking into a shimmering barrier of ice created in thin air in front of Kula's opened hand. She connects with enough force to shatter through the ice, but what little power remains in the kick merely impacts the girl's left arm as she crosses it over to get in the way, her feet slipping just a little off the flat stepping stone she had positioned herself on.

Lowering her arms, what was left of the barrier falls to the grass in small shards before it begins to melt rapidly. Sakura is going to have pressure little time to recover from her landing, however, before Kula attacks again, this time by swinging her arms behind her for balance and kicking up with her right leg in a high snap kick toward Sakura's jaw. The danger of the simple attack reveals itself mid-way, however, as bottom of her shoe sole suddenly developes a case of the 'ice blades', looking almost like she's trying to cut into the other girl's torso with an ice skate moreso than deliver a blunt forced kick.

COMBATSYS: Sakura fails to interrupt Medium Kick from Kula with Shou'ou Ken.

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Kula             0/-------/------=|======-\-------\0           Sakura

Kasugano squints back at Kula. What a... clinical response?! "Uh... huh..." she affirms without elaboration. When her kick slams into a barrier of ice, she leaps backwards, regaining her footing and preparing for a counterattack.

And she gets one, in the form of that kick to the jaw. Fortunately, Sakura expects that from the way Kula moves, and tries to close the gap with a powerful uppercut!

... But that kick is way more than just a kick! The ice is sharp enough to draw blood, but fortunately there's a layer of cloth in the way... not that it does much in the way of protecting Sakura from either the boot, or the icy blade. Staggering backward from the impact, Kasugano looks down to see the tear in her shirt, and the light string of blood red within.

And yet, when she looks back up, it's with a confident smile. Overconfident, even? "Mmm... it's cool. I've figured you out, now! Guess it's time for you to change tactics, huh?"

Kula's foot snaps back down, crunching the ice 'skate' into powder against the rock she's stayed standing on since she shifted around to avoid Sakura's opening kick. The surprise twist to the kick protected her from taking a solid uppercut, which is just as well for the young looking fighter.

Sakura has a moment's reprieve to inspect the damage as the NESTS clone doesn't seem to be pushing any kind of offensive advantage with her last hit. What she didn't expect was for the other girl to say that she's got her attacks all figured out. She's barely seen any of them yet! "From just two moves?" Kula asks, sounding a little surprised, less 'clinical' in her response this time. "Is it because you spend so much time studying other fighters?" she inquires honestly enough.

Her mouth curls into a faint smile at the challenge of showing the other fighter something different. "Very well. New tactic." She most definitely can change approaches to fit the situation, and thus it is that even though she doesn't close the distance bewteen the two of them, Sakura is still going to have to defend herself. The younger girl's hand lifts to her mouth, palm up, fingers toward Sakura.

It... almost looks like she might be blowing her a kiss with the way she breaths in then exhales over her palm. But the sub-zero blast of icy air that comes billowing out toward Sakura is anything but amicable! Ice shards swirl out, making the dangerous burst of chi laced air visible to the eye.

COMBATSYS: Sakura blocks Kula's Diamond Breath.

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Kula             0/-------/-----==|=====--\-------\0           Sakura

"Yup!" comes Sakura's quick response. She'd been bluffing, of course -- if she'd /really/ figured out the tactics, would they have been so effective? "It's a /bit/ different in real life, but I'm already acclimated." Balling a fist in front of her mouth for a light cough, she adds, "Sorry. That's my psych prof talking."

Sakura has the opportunity to make good on her promise, though; as Kula's chilly breath comes whistling out, the Ansatsuken disciple is indeed ready, leaping backwards! She curls her handguards before her, letting them absorb the fiercest of the stinging, biting chill. She shivers, yes... but one might never realize it just listening to her talk, "I mean, you're not half bad! Just that... you know, the human body can learn to accept freezing cold?" She grins confidently, widening her stance into one akin to those of kenpo practitioners. With one hand held aloft, she notes, "It's true! Folks can swim in below zero temperatures without getting frostbitten. All through the power of the mind!"

Of course, it's a pretty blatant feint... but she needs a moment to /truly/ get used to the cold, and Kula's unique fighting style.

COMBATSYS: Sakura focuses on her next action.

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Kula             0/-------/-----==|=====--\-------\0           Sakura

"Hmmm." is the thoughtful response Sakura gets as she manages to defend herself from the worst of the icy blast, lowering her right hand back down to rest against her side. "Interesting." Even though there is a gentle breeze blowing through the greenhouse, Kula's hair seems to be reacting more to a localized phenomenon with the way it swings in and out rather than tousled to the side.

"However, getting used extreme cold is," she begins to reply, scooping her right hand out from her side in an underhanded swing. The grass between her and Sakura suddenly slicks over with a layer of ice. "...only part of it." she continues as she sprints forward, finally leaving her stable rock platform and traversing the narrow stretch of ice with remarkable speed, her feet sliding over it more like she's skating over its surface than running.

"After all," the girl adds, her right hand drawing back, clenching, then slamming forward with a strike aimed for Sakura's torso. "There's more to ice," her left hand reaches forward, then closes and is drawn /backward/, as if the girl was pulling on some invisible lever. Behind Sakura an ice lance manifests in thin air, responding to Kula's gesture with her left hand by slamming forward, attempting to stab the other fighter in the back. "...than simply the cold."

COMBATSYS: Sakura dodges Kula's Behind Slash.

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Kula             0/-------/------=|=====--\-------\0           Sakura

Kasugano smiles and nods in agreement. "Of course!" She's rather invigorated by the chilly breeze -- it's a welcome change from the greenhouse heat, after all! She glances down to note the icy slick, but rather than stick around for what comes next, she hops nimbly to the side, letting Kula skate right past her.

That doesn't quite clear her from that tricksy slash, but Sakura likewise isn't going to stick around for someone who might be trying to stab her, forwards /or/ backwards. Her torso slides out of the way first, limbs and the rest of her body following suit an instant later as she gets herself out of harm's way.

"Without the ice, you're in /my/ element!" Kasugano could be jealous at Kula for turning her hair blue, but it's not like she has no powers of her own -- in fact, her hands are turning blue right now. It's not from ice, or the cold, though... it's from her own ample wellspring of chi, that gushes forth a rather sizable amount into her palms as she withdraws slightly from Kula. It's about time for Sakura to show Kula what chi molded into a ball of sheer, concussive force can do! "HADOOOOOOOOOOUKEN!" she cries as the chi blossoms into an orb, nearly large enough to swallow Kula whole... if it doesn't blast her across the greenhouse first!

COMBATSYS: Kula blocks Sakura's Large Hadouken EX.

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Kula             0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\0           Sakura

With Sakura slipping to the side, Kula is forced into a course correction mid-way, sliding to a stop, her feet scraping against the surface, shreading a small spray of ice just like ice skates might. That doesn't keep her from still lunging at the other girl, her right fist, and her tricky ice spear from behind hoping to catch the Kasugano girl off guard. But the experienced fighter makes the safe move, slipping out of the way to the side again, and Kula is forced to dismiss the lance before it would've simply struck herself, the ice that formed it collapsing into fine powder and pattering against her harmlessly.

Red tinted eyes quickly focus on the chi gathering up in Sakura's hands and the girl reacts with the same defensive mechanism she's already demonstrated once before, her right hand raising out to create a shimmering barrier of ice. As the power in Sakura's hands continues to build, however, the girl raises her other hand, creating and sustaining a second barrier in addition to the first.

When the massive attack is unleashed, even the two icy shields fail to stop the concussive force, the first one powderizing and the second shattering out of the way, leaving Kula to bunker down, drawing her arms back, and allowing the energy to crash against her forearms, provoking a barely audible gasp as she's forced into a backward stumble. Even her formidable, engineered defenses against energy attacks seem to take a bit of a battering from that attack.

Lowering her aching arms, the girl smiles a little, "So I see. That just means I'll have to keep creating more of my element then," she replies, taking a step forward, waving her left hand in front of her, creating a small flurry of snow between her and Sakura. She lowers into a crouch before rising up through the concentration of snow as if intending to headbutt Sakura in the stomach. But it isn't the top of Kula's head one needs to worry about, but rather her hair, as it swings up into the snow with the momentum of Kula's motions, becoming encased in steel-like ice and jutting straight out like a hundred icy spikes aiming to stab into the other girl's stomach!

COMBATSYS: Sakura dodges Kula's Fierce Punch.

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Kula             0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\0           Sakura

"Great!" Now that she's enjoying /some/ successes, however small, Sakura adopts a more complimentary attitude, rather than a deliberately misleading one. "Show me your best!"

Sakura may not have a whole lot of experience fighting against Kula's particular style... but she has experience and intuition to fall back on. In many cases, her natural instinct is often the right one -- it's just the timing of her reflexive responses that's the problem. In this case, it's a good thing: Sakura's able to leap back once more, landing in a low crouch with her arm raised defensively over her head. It doesn't seem to be necessary in this case, though, as the shards of ice whistle right past her.

But with that much ice, Kasugano figures that Kula might take some time recovering. She may be able to just shake off the ice, but if she /can't/ do that right away, well... ice is heavy! So Sakura decides to test her chances for a moment, surging forward and aiming to knock Kula right off her feet while she's distracted, by balling both fists together in an axehandle uppercut for the mid-torso! "HRAAAAAAAAAA!" She may not be using ice, or even her chi... but a strategy based on diversified attacks is the kind her master always preferred!

COMBATSYS: Kula dodges Sakura's Fierce Punch.

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Kula             0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\0           Sakura

Kula retracts quickly from her ice-spiked hair strike, drawing back into a crouch, dismissing her control that maintains the frozen water in her hair immediately, allowing her hair to flop down against the back of her jacket, quite drenched for the moment. Hey, instant hair styling, a nice bonus perk!

The incoming uppercut is avoided as the girl steps up and to the side in one motion, putting her out of the path of the strike while lining her up for a shot at quick retaliation. Her motions continue to be minimalist for the most part, only shifting as far as her combat instincts tell her she needs to in order to succeed.

"You really like fighting, don't you. I can tell." she observes calmly in the very act of sweeping her left foot out, aiming for Sakura's ankles, a swath of icy energy trailing behind the limb to add a little extra sting to the possible trip before taking a step back in the same moment to get a little distance from the other girl.

COMBATSYS: Sakura blocks Kula's Light Kick.

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Kula             0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\1           Sakura

Kasugano would be impressed by Kula's instant hairstyling if she actually bothered to, y'know, /comb/ her hair. As it is, she likes fighting a bit too much for /even that/.

Accordingly, her response as she pulls away is, "Yeah, /kinda/," accompanied by a small chuckle. Kula seems to be fairly interesting so far, but Sakura wonders if she can actually make headway against her.

Kula's quick kick is matched by Sakura dropping low to the ground, and thrusting her padded handguard in the path of the kick. It's not the -best- way to block such a strike, but her handguards are a bit more resistant to the cold than a bare leg would be. "It's the best thing in the world to me!" she chirps, leaning forward from that strike to lash her own kick at Kula.

It's not just -one- kick, though -- for, as the wake of energy left behind by the sweep of her foot indicates, she's got grander plans in store. Indeed, she intends to follow through with more sweeping kicks aimed at repaying Kula's kick four-fold, before rising to deliver a fifth and altogether more powerful kick -- quite possibly strong enough to send Kula flying! "It's fun /and/ profitable!"

COMBATSYS: Kula fails to reflect Haru Ichiban from Sakura with Counter Shell.
- Power fail! -

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Kula             0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0           Sakura

Attack, defend, it seems to be a pretty routine pattern to Kula's style of fighting against Sakura. Every time she strikes out, she then falls back to defending against Sakura's retaliation with that seemingly endless array of defensive barriers and mirrors. And this cycle seems to be continuing as the other girl guards against the incoming kick with her arms then spins up out of the crouch with a chi laced kick to pave the way for so much more pain to come.

As if on schedule, Kula paints through the air with another wave of her hand, a thick flurry of snow left in the wake of her arm. As she draws her hand back to reinforce the loose ice with a second pass, however, Sakura's foot comes crashing right through the attempted barrier swifter than anticipated, catching Kula in the stomach and shattering her attempts at defense. It leaves her open for the rest of the flurry of strikes, the girl flailing at attempts to get her arms into the way but failing to do so. The final kick slams her hard, her armored jacket doing little to nothing to absorb the power of the chi laced strike, sending her tumbling backward over the grass quite a distance before coming to a stop in a low crouch, her fingers pressing against the ground for support.

"It's not bad." she replies, "Fighting that is," she continues, pushing herself back up to standing, her hand resting against her stomach for a moment before lowering to rest at her side, a slow exhale used to try and force the awareness of the pain inflicted out of her mind.

A shudder runs down Sakura's spine as she kicks Kula... even when she's moving as fast as she is, the Seijyun undergrad still feels /freezing/ whenever she's this close to the guinea pig. "Brrrrr..."

Sakura hops backwards to catch her breath, bobbing lightly on the balls of her feet to get some feeling back. She grins with satisfaction from actually landing a solid blow, and grins just a bit more once Kula rises back to her feet. At least the fight's not over yet, not when her adrenaline's finally kicking in!

"Yeah, your heart ain't in it as much as mine is... you just fighting for the money?" Kasugano asks because she hopes that's =not= the answer, but instead of waiting around for said answer, she charges forward, planting one foot on the ground and swivelling her other into a powerful roundhouse. "Hyaaaaah!"

COMBATSYS: Sakura successfully hits Kula with Medium Kick.
- Power hit! -

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Kula             1/------=/=======|=------\-------\0           Sakura

The long haired girl shakes her head, laughing just a little at Sakura's guess, "No... don't need the money." Her left hand comes up, brushing some of her hair back out of her face and over her shoulder, "Need to get better. But the only way to get better is to keep getting punched and," she rubs her stomach with her right hand, a bit of a wince crossing her features, "Kicked. Not much fun at all."

It's time to turn up the damage a little, the girl decides, and immediately surrounding her person, the temperature drops even further, flakes of ice gathering on the grass at her feet. So focused on building up for what's coming next, she reacts too late to Sakura's roundhouse and the foot smacks her hard against the side of the head, sending Kula stumbling to the side, toppling over and catching herself with her fingers again before rising up to spin back around and face Sakura, eyes taking a split second to focus after such a stunning blow to the head.

The crystals swirling around her are moving violently now, driven into a more powerful frenzy. "I'm not sure how that can be fun for anyone." she continues, leaning forward, bending her legs to let her press her hands flat against the ground. The energy swirling around her commences channeling down her arms into the groudn. More of the graze begins to freeze over, spreading out from Kula into a widening ice slick edging closer to Sakura's feet.

A trembling noise in the ground provides only an instant's notice when out of seemingly no where a giant spire of jagged, sharp ice errupts up in front of Sakura, threatening to skewer the girl. A second one shoots up a second later from behind her, trying to pin her in. And finally a third from her right, every bit as sharply teethed as the first to slams upward.

COMBATSYS: Kula successfully hits Sakura with Diamond Edge.
Glancing Blow

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Kula             0/-------/-------|====---\-------\0           Sakura

Oh, foo. "It's... not fun /getting/ hit, no... It's not fun losing a game, either!" She bobs about, trying to stay moving now that the average room temperature has dropped below acceptable norms. Kasugano is about to continue her explanation when she senses grave danger from beneath her feet! That... that can't be good...

Luckily, she's still got the speed needed to leap clear of that growing formation of ice before it can swallow her feet whole.

Not so luckily, she's not quick enough to keep from getting skewered by the first jagged edge that springs up afterward. It's not only enough to carve into her leg, and leave pale, dry skin in its wake, it's powerful enough to knock Sakura out of her trajectory and send her spinning to the ground, landing hard on her shoulder.

But at least she misses the second and third spires that follow, as a result.

Kasugano pushes to one knee, but her other leg hurts. Quite a bit. She looks up at Kula, ready to leap forward again...

And flashes a smile instead. "Y'learn to live with it, though, like the cold. 'Cause everything else about it's fun!"

Sakura's moving forward again before she can finish, though, plunging forward with a hook punch. "Haaa!" She follows it up with a punch from both palms, fingers folded like pincers. "Haa!" And should she land that, she'd stride forward into a reverse punch, channeling her full momentum into the strike. "Hyaaaaaaaaaaaa!" Fei Long would be proud, probably.

COMBATSYS: Sakura successfully hits Kula with Medium Punch.
- Power hit! -

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Kula             0/-------/-----==|====---\-------\0           Sakura

The three spires launched, Kula rises back up to standing, exhaling softly, having poured a significant portion of her remaining strength into the assault. From her low angle, she was able to see how swiftly the other girl managed to avoid the worst of the assault but not staying trapped in the center of the three spires. She's having a difficult time correcting for the speed at which Sakura is avoiding all of her attacks now, hence the various angles the spires errupted from. Still not enough.

Sakura's reply does provoke a faint smile, however, Kula nodding slightly, "Maybe. If you're not the one being hurt then you're hurting someone else. It seems a means of securing what you want rather than entertainment." she points out. And then she's harried by the combination of punches, attempting to raise an arm to intersect the hook, only to realize that it's merely the first of many and second guessing herself when it's far too late to do so.

Struck across the head, then jabbed directly, only to be struck hard enough to send her skidding backward over the grass by the final punch, the girl gasps, a trickle of blood appearing at the corner of her mouth, only to freeze solid upon contact with her skin. "And some attacks are so much worse than kicks and punches," she continues, not hestitating for long to try and figure out how she's faring now. A white halo of energy emanates out from her right hand before conjealing into a sphere of transparent, solid ice.

Stepping forward, Kula slams her hand forward from a little ways off. The ice around her hand morphs then, malleable as water but hard as steel, the side of it closer to Sakura suddenly jetting out in the form of an extremely long, sharp, deadly lance of jagged ice, aiming to skewer the other girl through the middle. Perhaps a demonstration of her point?

COMBATSYS: Kula successfully hits Sakura with Critical Ice.

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Kula             0/-------/----===|=======\=------\1           Sakura

Wow, Kula might not enjoy fighting /at all!/ What a startling development! "... You don't /grow/ without some kind of..." Sakura shakes her head as she pulls back from Kula, shaking the numbness out of her fists. Hitting Kula's frigid armor is like punching ice -- even her handguards don't do much to mitigate that.

"Well, yeah, but..." stammers Kasugano, but the followup from Kula comes a bit too quickly for her to finish. She tries leaping away, but doesn't make it in time, instead getting an icy spire jabbed right through her torso. Being as cold as it is, the wound doesn't bleed as much as it -could-... but it still drops Kasugano to her knees, gritting her teeth from the pain. There's no hiding -that- one.

"Nngh... well... you know what they say..." Kasugano starts wearily as she rises to her feet, one hand curled about the newly-formed wound.

"No /pain/..." she exclaims, whirling into what must surely be one heck of a punch!

"No /gain!/" The Seijyun student suddenly shifts tactics, swinging her punch to the side without hitting, and straining her wounded torso as she whirls her foot up and overhead. With her skirt providing a minor distraction, her foot comes scything down onto Kula's shoulder, as Sakura cries out, "Hriiiiiiiii-HAAAAAAA!"

COMBATSYS: Kula blocks Sakura's Flower Kick.

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Kula             0/-------/---====|=======\==-----\1           Sakura

The spearing ice lance is pulled back, the ends of it dabbled in red from the wound inflicted, before Kula releases her control over it and the manifestation falls to the ground in a pile of crystaline shards. "Hm," the girl ponders, studying the other fighter from the perceived safety of her distance. "I think I understand what you mean," she replies after a moment, releasing a quiet sigh. "It seems the only way to grow is to do things you don't like. Getting hurt, listening to lectures, eating your vegetables..." She frowns a little at the realization, not at all thrilled that growing up requires such tasks!

Sakura comes in deliver a swift kick and Kula prepares in the same way she has before, bringing her hand up to form another protective mirror. This time it holds against the dropping kick coming out from behind the whirl of skirt, even if several large cracks spiderweb out from the point of impact. Kula dismisses it, lowering her arm, allowing the barrier to fall to the ground as drifting flakes of snow.

"Then it seems like..." she remarks, drawing her right hand back, her mouth curling into a bit of a smile in spite the pain she's feeling, a guantlet of jagged ice forming over her forearm. "I should do my best to help you grow, just as you are doing for me." And with that, she steps forward, turning her right side toward Sakura's cheek, punching out straight with that ice imbued fist.

COMBATSYS: Sakura interrupts Medium Punch from Kula with Small Hadouken.

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Kula             0/-------/-======|=====--\-------\0           Sakura

COMBATSYS: Sakura has reached second wind!

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Kula             0/-------/-======|=====--\-------\0           Sakura

Kasugano winces, yet again... kicking ice really hurts, in both the impact and the chill senses. Gritting her teeth, she hops back and away from the flaking barrier. CCCCCOOOOOLD!

"Y-yeah!" agrees Sakura, as Kula announces her conclusion. Backing away, she even smiles, right up until that fist careens into her cheek.

Of course, that punch looks like more cold.

She's getting a bit weary of the cold, honestly. It was a welcome change of pace at first, but cold is /old/ now! So while she keeps her face more or less in range... well, she leans away at the last moment.

Mainly because she was gearing up for a surprise. She knows she couldn't try another kick like that, with how much her torso was complaining about the sudden motions as-is.

Just as Kula's hand reaches for Sakura, Sakura's own palm is slamming forward into Kula's torso -- but rather the volleyball-sized ball of chi she'd summoned into existence just a moment before. She doesn't extend her reach fully, no... she lets the blossom of energy do the talking.

"HADOUKEN!" Well, aside from /that/.

Kula's fist slams into her cheek all the same, knocking Kasugano into the grass. She tumbles once, before landing in a low crouch and rising back to her feet with a grin. "Yeah. That's what fighting's all about, for me... helping me /and/ the people I fight get more in touch... and stronger." Confidently, she brushes the back of her hand across the bridge of her nose -- and the spot on her cheek where she was just punched. SO! COLD!

Rubbing her side, she raises her fist in defense. This isn't... quite over yet.

The punch connects. It isn't the hardest hit she can muster by any means, but every little bit counts, right? Sakura's hands slam forward at the same time. It appears it's going to be a moment of trading hits - a moment Kula isn't in the condition to deal with. She draws her left hand up, perhaps hoping to make another one of those pesky barriers of hers, but she just doesn't have the wherewithall to muster a solid defense and the small version of the most famous fireball ever smacks into the girl at point blank.

Remember that thing about every bit helping? The strike isn't significant to the girl, on its own, but she's been getting kicked and punched practically non-stop now and as she staggers backward, releasing an exhausted exhale. Her right hand comes up, another white halo of energy flickering into existence around her gloved fist, preparing for another attack. But it doesn't last for long, fading as suddenly as it appears, all the exhertion of the fight, the constant expenditure of chi taking its toll on the girl.

She wobbles for a moment in place until she finally bends her legs and sits down on the grass, drawing her knees up and resting her arms over the top of them. "That's all." she states quietly and simply. Perhaps pushed to the same point Sakura was, she just doesn't have the stick-to-it'ness to pull herself back up. As the experienced fighter noticed, her heart just doesn't seem to be into the sport quite so much.

The icy color seems to melt out of her hair, leaving it a wet, auburn color, and the rest of the ice all around the girl begins to rapidly melt and sink into the grass, fortunately well before any unpleasant freeze burn set in on the vegetation! Staying seated, Kula is quiet for a moment before finally speaking up a again, her hand coming up to brush aside the blood that had finally thawed on her lips. "Thank you for the discussion. You gave me a lot to think about, Sakura Kasugano. A new perspective on fighting, perhaps. It was nice to meet you."

COMBATSYS: Kula takes no action.

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

COMBATSYS: Kula can no longer fight.

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

Sakura keeps her guard up for just a while longer, watching for Kula's expression. She... expects retaliation for that, but it doesn't appear to be forthcoming. Only when she hears the words from Kula does she let her hands fall to her sides. ... Well, one hand falls, the other wraps about her abdomen. That... may leave a mark.

The announcer calls the fight, though that's largely for the benefit of the cameras; it's doubtful Sakura even hears that sort of thing any more. She /knows/ the winner of each fight, after all, she's in them! Two teams of medics descend on the young women, ready to apply first aid where necessary.

"Oh, no... thank you! It's fun meeting new people too." She grins, and adds, "More to life than just fighting, and all!" She bows properly to Kula, before letting herself step back into the care of the medics.

Kasugano smiles brightly, and asks what she feels to be the most important question: "So, Kula... Did you have fun?" From the smile on her face, it should be clear: with a fight that close, the fighting fangirl would've been content, win, lose, or draw.

COMBATSYS: Sakura takes no action.

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

COMBATSYS: Sakura has ended the fight here.

Seemingly content to just remain seated on the ground, Kula isn't going anywhere shortly it seems. The medics advance to check on her condition, but before they get close a whole troop of different medics bustles in from the sidelines to intercept them and wave them off. The last thing NESTS wants is normal combat medics inspecting their living science project.

Kula grunts as she finds herself being pulled up to her feet by a particularly tall doctor reaching under her arms. The girl just sorta dangles for a moment, her toes barely grazing the top of the grass as another doctor slaps a stethoscope over her heart and another one unzips the sleeve of her leather jacket and draws it back to expose her arm so that they can slap a blood pressure monitor over it.

Kula seems rather used to the thorough, if somewhat impersonal attention she's getting, since she doesn't hestitate to nod at Sakura even as she's sat back down on her feet, kept upright by supportive hands on her shoulders, the six medics murmuring to each other, comparing numbers and figures, and all together ignoring her in the meantime.

"I think so... maybe." She sounds thoughtful as can be in spite the constant poking and prodding, clearly giving it legitimate consideration, "I mean, it wasn't too different from any other fight, and I never thought there was anything fun about it before. But being matched against someone who was enjoying the experience... it at least made it feel like I was helping you have fun, Sakura, which made it more fun for me."

Another medic wraps the girl's hair up in a towel and starts drying it off, provoking a wince as some of her hair is pulled in the process. "It isn't just a tool for you and I think that's a different way of looking at it. Maybe in my future fights I will try to see it that-" another wince as one of the medics jabs a needle into her shoulder. "-way."

Kasugano smiles warmly back at Kula.

This lasts all of about two seconds, before the Doc Squad storms in. Sakura's eyes widen at the doctors' sudden appearance, jaw going slack at the sight. Apparently... she's never seen anyone have their own team competing with the care given by the Neo League team...

She stares incredulously at the doctors as they descend upon Kula, and marvels at her apparent nonchalance in sustaining conversation. "G-... good! I..." Her lips press tightly together as she realizes this is one time it'd be better to listen than talk -- mainly because her words can only make the situation much more confusing than it already is.

Seriously, not even Karin had this many doctors on hand.

Just a tool, hmm? That... does give Sakura a bit more to think about, really... as she considers /why/ Kula fights, if not for her own benefit. Is she just a tool, like her fighting is to her? "Ahh... yeah... that's cool. I mean, you gotta do what's right for /you/, you gotta..." Sakura gulps for air, wondering if they're going to do even more to the poor girl right before her eyes. Catching her breath, she resumes, "... Gotta like what you're doing, or else why do it?"

She glances back at her own medics for a moment, grateful they're only dressing wounds, and not prodding her in the same ways!

Still... Sakura can't take standing around for too long though, and Kula's medical team is starting to weird her out. She starts edging for the exit, hoping the medics take the hint... she'll be fine without too much extra prodding! "If you ever want another fun match, though, don't be scared to look me up!" She grins broadly and flashes a thumbs-up to the younger girl. "That was a pretty sweet fight!"

Forced to stare into a pen light for a moment as her irises are inspected for any signs of concussion, Kula is quiet as Sakura speaks, only to lean her head around the medic to look at the other girl directly as she can manage. Her eyes narrow for a moment as if something Sakura said has her a bit confused, but she brightens after a moment, offering a friendly smile, "I'm glad you get to do only things you like doing, that must be really niiii-" A tongue depresser gets stuck in her mouth, cutting off whatever else she was going to say.

Murmuring to each other that she appears to be in fine health, and that they got the numbers they needed, the scientists start to turn Kula around with 'guiding' nudges at her shoulders. Time to get going, it seems. "You bet," Kula remarks, looking over her shoulder as she finds herself being dragged off. A gloved hand comes up to wave over her shoulder back toward the other fighter. "Some other time then."

She looks forward then as the group fills in around her, lead along back to the transporation that brought her here in the first place. After a few more steps, she glances over her shoulder one last time, "Oh yeah, sorry about that last stab, I-" But by then the gaggle of attentive 'medics' have lead her out of the greenhouse and out of sight!

Kula makes it sound like she's been enslaved or something. ... Not that there seems to be much Sakura can do about it, without learning more. The last time she set out alone to right wrongs, well... she ended up doing wrongs against her will. So really... she just hoolds her tongue for now. "Seeya 'round!" she offers with a wave of her own as she starts her own way out -- that is, the way /without/ the creepy medics.

When Kula speaks up again, Kasugano nearly cuts her off, "Forget it! It happens!" And then... Kula's practically gone. The Ansatsuken Angel is going to need to find out more about her, that's for sure!

Sakura -almost- makes it out the door before doubling back and asking the Neo League docs for a bigger bandage and some triple antibiotic...

Log created on 17:44:31 05/21/2008 by Kula, and last modified on 19:43:41 05/22/2008.