The air seems tense. It is the last day of matches for these qualifying games. For some, it is already too late for them to make it further in the games, and they must resign themselves to waiting until next year's tournament for another chance. Still, there were many who held on in the top players and these matches were life and death for them. Mikage had seen the rankings, and she knew that most would consider this last match a relatively easy one for such an experienced deus, but she had long ago learned never to underestimate any opponent. So, the pale girl stood quietly infront of the viewscreen, watching the match prior to her own. It shows a particularly large angel, built for power, fighting against a more mid-sized balance angel. Neither seemed to have the advantage, and there were still a few minutes left on the clock. Miki pulls her eyes away just for a moment, glances around the waiting room at the others already gathered, perhaps trying to find her next opponent, but most of them were out of the limited range of her sight. So, she looks back at the board and speaks quietly, "So, Rei... who do you think will win, ne?"

Saneko makes her way into the room, giving a tiny little shake of her head and biting her lower lip lightly. Akui is clutched close to her chest. Saneko isn't bouncing around as per her usual, and actually seems a tiny bit reserved. She takes a seat on the bench and looks over her little zombie geisha, tucking and pulling at the obi. There's a little sigh, and she smiles to her angel. "It's almost over, Aki-chan. These kinda things are never long enough, nyo, don't you think?" Then, she giggles a bit, and hugs Akui.

With a small sigh, Mikage draws her eyes away from the screen and it's events, her nervousness begining to eat at her and making it diffuclt to stand still. So, she walks back towards the benches, just happening to sit down not far from Saneko. The pale, older girl rests her angel in her lap, straitening the armor a bit and tightening the straps that hold such bulky peices on the small angel. Only with these adjustments done does Mikage glance along the bench and finally spot Saneko. Her eyebrows lift a little bit, head tilting to the side in catish fashion. "Is this your first time here at the games? The last round is always kind of scarey, I think." She tries to offer a smile, having been there herself at some point a few years ago.

Saneko looks up to Mikage, her smile suddenly shifting from light and reserved to incredibly bright. Her eyes even slide shut for a moment. "Yep, I'm new here, nyo!" She gives and emphatic nod, and giggles. "Misaka Saneko, 11-years-old. And this-" she holds up the little geisha zombie angel "Is Aki-chan!" The young girl gives a little bounce in her seat, then looks down to Akui, canting her head and softening her smile. "We're not scared or anything. It's exciting, nyo, but really lots sad, too, 'cause it's all gonna be over really soon."

Sometimes, talking to strangers was still very hard for Mikage, but the layer had taught her many things, and this was one of them. The bright smile of the younger girl is enough to cause Mikage to give a little laugh in return, glancing at the geisha angel curiously for a moment before her mind clicks the girl's name into place. The name of her next opponent. "Well, it's good that you aren't scared. This is an amazing place, and the chance only comes once a year. It's the one time you can show all of Tokyo just how much you can shine with your angel, win or lose." At first, she doesn't introduce herself, glancing down at her own angel and lightly circling her finger around the gargoyle's tail. Then, she looks up once more and tucks a stray strand of hair behind her ear before speaking once more, "I'm Aogiri Mikage, nineteen years old, and this is Rei." She holds the gargoyle-angel out on the palm of her hand, the little creature seeming almost sa if it were in a peaceful sleep.

Saneko gives a little squeak when she hears the name, turning back to face her and smiling quite brightly again. "Aogiri-san? You're the Goddess, nyo! I'm so very very pleased to actually meet you, nyo! I've heard lots of really good things about you!" She giggles, and bounces, then looks to the gargoyle angel. "Oh, Rei-chan is so cute!"

A flush crosses Mikage's face as she reaches a hand up to rub the back of her neck sheepishly. "The Goddess. Oh Kino-kun." She shakes her head back and forth, seeming to be talking to herself for just a moment, "Well, I wouldn't know about Goddess or not, although that's what a friend of mine insists on callig me." She laughs a bit and shrugs her shoulders, not really the type to boast about her skills. "It is nice to get to meet you, though. I always enjoy getting to meet new people on the layer." She pauses, and then raises her eyebrows a little and speaks softer, "You do know you have to play me, right?" She asks, just to be sure. "I think it would be fun to show the audience a good show this final round, ne?"

Saneko giggles, with a nod. "Kino-kun talks about you lots, nyo. I really really am glad to meet you. I just know Rei-chan and Aki-chan will have lots and lots of fun playing together, nyo." With another bounce, she looked around the waiting room, then giggled. "I got to meet Oi-san for the last match. He's really nice, nyo. I've gotten to meet lots and lots of nice people at this tournament. It's really been great." She sighs, then, and hugs Akui. "I wish it'd just keep going on forever. The little layers are great, too, nyo, but this one is just so much more fun."

"Kino-kun is a good friend, although sometimes I wish he would keep his mouth shut." Mikage places a finger over her mouth in a conspiritorial sort of way, and then manages another small laugh. "Ranmaru..." She pauses, and then corrects herself, realizing that it was best not to be so informal in such circumstances, "Oi-san is very kind, and a tough opponent. It's sad that these games only come once a year. So many players from all over Tokyo all playing for a chance against the champion, or at least a chance at showing what they can do to everyone." She smiles and glances towards the monitor again, and while she can't see exactly what is going on, there is a good estimate that their match will be up soon. "Two years ago, some friends talked me into the tournament. I've been to every one since. It's just so amazing, ne?"

"Un!" Saneko giggles, with another bounce. "I just moved here a little bit ago, and Aniki-chama helped me and taught me to play, nyo. He's really really good, but he's great at everything." She grins, then giggles and gives another little squeak. "Aki-chan even got to play with Zanko-chan on the big layer! It was just so~ great! I was hoping she could play with Maki-kun, too, but I guess she'll just have to play with him later." She nods, emphatically.

"I started Angelic Layer not long after moving to Tokyo, myself. My parents used to live in Kyoto." Mikage explains with a nod and a bit of a smile. "I grew up together with angels like Rea--" She cuts herself off, having realized that her friend changed the name of his angel, "Devil-kun and Yuki-chan. We all started together here. But I'm sure that you'll get a chance to play all the angels you dream of if you keep working hard with your angel. Just like those of us who dream of fighting against Athena-sama or Hikaru-sama." A glassy-eyed look passes the face of the pale girl, as if she were dreaming of something impossible. "It's almost time, though." And almost if on queue, a woman dressed in a red uniform comes in from the hallway, "Could I have Miss Aogiri Mikage and Miss Misaka Saneko please? Your match is about to start."

Saneko giggles and nods, hopping to her feet, then spinning back to face Mikage. "Yep! Aki-chan will get to meet lots and lots of great angels, and I can make so many new friends." Another giggle, and that same bright, energetic smile. "It's time, nyo! Be sure to have lots and lots of fun, Aogiri-megami-san and Rei-chan!"

Mikage slowly gets to her feet, something done on purpose to hide just how difficult the task is for her. She smiles at the younger girl and nods her head enthusiastically, perhaps picking up on a little bit of Saneko's high spirits. "Hai." And with that, she tucks her angel up in the crook of her arm and follows behind her to the place where the attendant stands. "Alright, Miss Misaka, please take the East corridor. Miss Aogiri, please take the West corridor. Goodluck to you both." Miki gives one last parting smile towards Saneko, followed by a thumbs-up motion before she makes her way down the hallway, vanishing from sight around the curve of the arena.

Saneko waves energetically to Mikage just before rushing into the hallway, herself. Holding Akui close, she happily bounds towards the lights and the sound of the crowd.

High above in his mobile seat, the announcer notices the two Deuses in the upcoming duel. He takes in a deep breath and then nearly shouts in excited voice into the microphone, which is thankfully turned down a bit due to his style, "And here they are! In the West corner is seasoned veteran and strong contender for the Kanto games, the White Storm, Aogiri Mikage and her angel Rei!" A cheer goes up for the fans of Mikage as she's announced, "And in the East corner is a relative newcomer who's quickly won the hearts of everyone here, Misaka Saneko and her angel, Akui!" Another cheer goes up, this one slightly louder than the one for Mikage, simply for the fact everyone loves a cute contender.

Saneko giggles and waves to the crowds, holding Akui up for a minute. Then, with a little bounce, she bounds over to the egg-shaped chair, hopping in and squirming about to look around as the chair lifts her up into the air. She gives another wave before slipping on the headset, and actually gets it adjusted without having to fiddle around with it for a while. Quite a wonder, how experience works. Hugging Akui closely, Saneko giggles again and looks over to the chair Mikage will soon be taking.

In some ways, Mikage is not surprised at all about the amount of fan-faire her opponent receives. It was much like fighting the fabled Hatoko, who also seems to get fans by sheer cute-points. The pale girl just smiles, her face already hidden by her black layer-helmet with it's mis-matched demon and angel wings. She raises a hand up and waves to the audience, especially to a group of white-clad cheerers seen at a previous match. Her angel rests safely in the crook of her arm, sitting up but still seeming to slumber. Who could think that such terror could come from such a small doll. Slowly, the deus walks forward towards her egg-shaped chair, sitting down into it and shifting her angel to her forearm as the chair rises up and locks into place over the layer. She only leans forward for a moment to plug in her headset, bringing up the overhead display which blinks before her eyes, showing the layer and it's readouts. Only then is she able to adjust the camera to see Saneko. Mikage inclines her head in a polite bow to her opponent, and then glances up towards the announcer.

After the two ladies take their seats in the chairs and are lifted into the air, the layer lets out a soft thrum as the holographic projectors come online, and various layers flicker into and out of existence, suddenly stopping upon reaching a sand covered wasteland. "Incredible! Rei and Akui will be battling it out on this notorious layer! But be careful, folks, because this is no ordinary sand, it's quicksand! That's right, they'd better keep on their toes or they'll risk sinking in up to their necks. How will the angels manage to keep from sinking in while fighting each other at the same time? Let's find out! Enter the angels!"

Saneko giggles and tosses Akui towards the layer, calling out "Death cant keep you! Dance for us, Akui!" The little zombie gives a slight twitch as she descends toward the layer, but does not move much, otherwise, falling lightly to unstable layer surface. Just before contact, the zombie shifts, landing in a soft crouch and sinking into the sand a little. Saneko smiles as the geisha slowly rises into a standing position, a surge of dark energy materializing around that skeletal right hand and flowing over her kimono, settling in and strengthening the myriad or tiny little rips and tears. As the energy reaches Akuis narrow feet, it spreads out over the sands a little, helping to keep her from sinking any further. She still need to take a few light steps every several seconds to maintain a proper stance. Once erect, the zombie lifts her head and opens her eyes, revealing a dull red glow. Then, she moves her right arm out while bringing the left towards her chest, and gives a low, elegant bow..

The sight of quicksand is one that gives a bit of an uneasy churn in Mikage's stomach. A layer that has been a bane for her in the past, perhaps? Even so, it has been a long time since she has played on this particular scenery. She closes her eyes, forcing herself to calm, taking deep breaths as she focuses, watching her opponent's fall-in. When those blue eyes open once more, Miki has raised her hand up and outwards, letting her voice ring out, "Spirit, emotion, heart, bind our souls together. Be my wings, Rei!" The older girl gives a twitch of her arm, sending her angel toppling towards the layer, "Fall-in!" As Rei passes through the layer's barrier, her emerald eyes flash open, glaring white for just a split-second before her massive wings fan out, slowing her decent to land gracefully on the layer's shifting surface. To her opponent's bow, she returns one of her own, caping one wing around her and lowering herself like a knight before some lady of court. Then, she pushes herself back up to her feet, slicking her wings along her back before pulling both feet free from the sinking sand, hopping lightly to keep herself from being drawn in to the danger below.

On the layer, Akui rises from her bow, continuing to shift her weight with small, dainty steps and a constant, steady surge of darkness radiating out from her feet and over the shifting sands. Saneko has gone completely silent and still, devoting all her attention and concentration to the layer and the layer alone. The glow in Akui's eyes brightens for just a moment, then she moves her left arm to a low, back angle, twirling her wrist to pull the silk of the weighted sleeve, lifting the weight just high enough to keep it out of the sand. One more small step in place, then the little geisha begins to advance, picking up speed with every step. But she doesn't advance directly towards the gargoyle - her steps are light, delicate, and measured - forward, to the side, back, a spin, then forward again. Another spin when nearing her opponent, and Akui snaps her left arm forward, releasing the grip on the sleeve, allowing the weight plenty of range as it flies towards Rei.

The gargoyle's ears draw backwards, as if she were somehow afraid of this unearthly angel that stands before her on the layer. Her tail twitches along the sand, and eventually hides somewhere between her legs. It seems that Rei is not all that fond of the undead. She lets out a small warning hiss, eyes watching the geisha's approach as if somewhat distracted by the movement, the dance-like quality of motion. Still, at the last minute she seems able to shake herself from this distraction, raising her hands up and giving a small snarl. It appears that she may just take the hit against her armor at first, but then the light of the layer flashes against something. A crackle of electricity, an aura-shield that surrounds Rei and manages to protect her from the majority of the weighted sleeve's impact. Rei blinks her eyes, trying to clear her vision as she backs up just a half-step. The angel ducks into a half-crouch, lowering her head slightly and digging her claws into the sand. She then pushes forward, using her momentum to try and slam her horned forhead into Akui's legs.

On the layer, Akui snaps her arm back as soon as the sleeve makes contact with the eletric barrier, bringing the weight back behind her. Those red eyes flash brighter once more as the gargoyle rushes at her. Several more light steps, and the zombie turns, dancing backwards and too the side and evading what would likely have been the ungraceful results of impact. Electric black energies surge over that skeletal right hand, spreading out and materializing into a large folding fan. Akui comes to a stop some distance away, not quite facing her opponent, but standing sidelong. The undead geisha lifts the seething fan to her face and looks over the edge with a dully glowing gaze. Standing still, she begins to sink a bit, then takes a few light steps to prevent succumbing to the quicksand.

As her attack misses it's target, Rei ends up getting one talon caught in the sand, causing her entire body to roll forward. She tumbles with her own forward momentum, eventually coming to a stop some distance away from her opponent. Like an animal trying to clean water from itself, she shakes herself from side to side, sending dust and sand in all directions, even as her feet begin to sink. It is a scramble for her to get get to her feet again, pulling her legs free from the mire. Once free, though, she turns just in time to see that flicker of black energy and the fan materializing in the undead geisha's hand. This seems to cause the gargoyle to pale slightly, a shiver running from the base of her tail up to her hair and causing it to stand on-end. She looks once to the right, then to the left, perhaps looking for some means of escape. Then, seeing no choice but to face this creepy opponent head-on, Rei takes a deep breath and rushes forward once more. The small gargoyle gives a little leap into the air as she gets close to Akui, landing hard into the sand and then spinning one arcing kick towards the spectre-like angel, followed closely by a sweep of her tail towards those quick-footed feet.

On the layer, Akui drops to a bit of a crouch as Rei comes towards her again, her eyes dimming slightly. Just before the kick makes contact, the little zombie shifts her fan, rolling it slightly and bringing it out to block the strike. As soon as the gargoyle's kick meets with a spark of seething darkness, the fan is brought down to meet the sweeping tail. With the sweping strike of the tail, the energies in the fan spark again, then dissipate once more over the narrow bones of that hand. The movement of the zombie's skeletal hand remains uninterrupted, boney fingertips tracing through the unsteady sands before rising up behind the geisha, and Akui follows the motion by rising to a stand and stepping gracefully back with a turn. Once her right arm is raised, Akui snaps it sharply forward, down, then up, slinging both moist sand and weighted silk towards her opponent's head.

Certainly Rei does not like the strange feeling of those dark energies touching against her leg and her tail. Her own powers tended to come from life itself, and this was a creature of death. The little gargoyle whimpers to herself, trying to put distance between herself and Akui as soon as her attack is blocked. She glances over one shoulder and seems to read what will come next from her opponent's movements. So, she raises one wing up in defense, allowing the force of the weighted cloth and sand to strike against that protective membrane rather than her actual armorments. Only after she's sure it is safe does Rei peek her head out from under one wing with a little surprised 'meep' of sound. As she moves to turn towards Akui, though, her leg gets stuck once again, causing her to have to kick repeatedly to free it, much like a cat shaking it's leg off after being thrown into the water. Then, those green eyes narrow towards the geisha, focusing on her face to put asside fears of that macabre hand. Rei steps once, and then hops forward, sending out what seems to be an arcing blow with her talons outstretched. At the last moment, though, a long blade extends from her arm, closing the distance between herself and Akui, making the blade itself the source of the attack, father than the arm that swings it.

The glow in those crimson eyes brightens for a moment as Akui watches Rei struggle with the unkind sands, but the zombie's pallid face remains as expressionless as a mask of death. She makes no move as the gargoyle frees itself from the quicksand, beginning to sink a little, although the dark flow about her feet keeps her from sinking too much. Placing her left foot back, it looks for a moment as though she will perform another dancing dodge, but she raises her right arm, horizontally before her chest. As Rei's strike draws near, Akui lowers her arm slightly, then brings it quickly forth to meet the suddenly appearing blade. The surprising weapon adds another rip to her kimono and meets hard, solid bone beneath. At the moment of the strike, the darkness seeps out from both bone and silk, flowing slightly other the gargoyle's weapon. A sharp, jerking motion of the arm follows, pushing the blade away as an open skeletal hand moves quickly towards Rei's face, sparking and seething black energies dancing around those narrow bones.

In the audience, you hear a male voice shouting: "Ikke! White Storm!!"

The almost unearthly resiliance of this opponent surely surprises Rei, who is already somewhat on the defensive due to the nature of the angel itself. A look of surprise shows on her face as the attack that foils so many speed angels does little at all to this opponent. She hisses as that dark energy leaks out onto her bladeded arm, as if somehow this could ward away the dark powers from touching her. This, however, fails as the strike from that skeletal hand comes racing towards her face. In such close confines, there is no chance at dodging, but Rei does tuck her ears under, pulling her head down to her chest. It is the hard metal armor of the pauldron which covers her shoulder and neck that absorbs most of the impact, causing a screeching sound like nails on a chalkboard. This causes even Rei to grit her teeth a little bit before ducking, placing her hands into the sand and swinging her legs towards Akui, attempting to use the large, taloned appendanges, to force her opponent backwards and away from her for at least a little while.

On the layer, Akui moves directly into a spin, leaving a few, faint, quickly diminishing traces of darkness on the other angel's armor. That right arm is brought high, then low, and the zombie geisha dances gracefully away, leaving the gargoyle's attack empty. A fair distance is placed between the geisha and the gargoyle, but Akui's dance continues. Her steps are light, soft, avoiding the embrace of the sands below her narrow feet. Her arms move in elegant arcs, trailing heavy sleeve behind. There are hints of several traditional dances in the zombie's movements, but none of them are translated into any form of an attack.

With her opponent dancing once more, Rei is forced to do her best to avoid getting lost in that dance once more. She draws her eyes away, looking instead up towards the skies above the sands of the layer. She plants her feet into the ground and raises her arms up, begining to creel in an almost musical pattern that seems to resemble some alien language. There is a spark of blue at her fingertips, like energy flashing there between her talons. Above, the clear blue sky begins to be dotted with clouds, which swirl and form together into larger, darker forms that block out the light. Shadow falls upon the layer's surface as the song continues, building like some terrible force calling to the spirits of the sky for aid.

The dance slows as the gargoyle begins - whatever it's beginning - but Akui's movements do not stop. Instead, the gentle turns and light steps bring the geisha closer to her opponent and, when Rei begins her oddly melodic call, Akui's dance shifts to follow the unusual song. Flowing silk across the sands shadows the movements of the clouds that form the brewing storm above. It seems as for a moment as though the zombie will be content simply to dance, but as she draws nearer, certain movements pick up speed, and the weights of the sleeve fly, float and flit dangerously closely. Finally, a sharp turn, a quick snap of arm and wrist, and the geisha's left arm is brought suddenly out, then in towards her chest. In response, the corresponding sleeve flicks out, arcing menacingly towards the gargoyle's chest.

The gargoyle's chanting is not interrupted, even by the movements of the zombie as it approaches. It seems that she may just take the brunt of the strike, but a wing rises up at the last moment. The weighted sleeve strikes against the webbed appendage, causing a small puncture in the material there. Even so, the only acknowledgement of this assault is one emerald eye opening and looking towards Akui with a dark expression. That blue color in her fingers extends down along Rei's arms, the aura lashing like flames as it shifts between colors, blue, to purple, to a dark, threatening red. As if answering a call to this same force, the skies begin to grow that much darker. Rain starts as a drizzle, and then begins to pelt the layer with torrents of water. Lightning flashes down from the skies, striking various places and leaving huge holes behind where it hits. Thunder rolls and hail falls in huge balls that thump down and are slowly swollowed by the sands. With one final roar, one final focusing of her energy, though, Rei sets loose the full power of this storm onto Akui. The powers of life against the powers of death brought by this opponent.

In the audience, you hear a male voice shouting: "Yay! Mikage!!"

On the layer, Akui continues her dance, even as the rain begins to fall, adding even more weight to her kimono and causing stray strands of hair to stick to the pale, thickened skin of the geisha's face and neck. In fact, the rain causes her to dance even more quickly - spinning, swaying, stepping across the increasingly soaking sand, overlong sleeves twirling about her form even despite the added weight. The sudden surge of power strikes Akui hard, but she does not slow her dance and she does not miss a step. Emotionless black energies meet the anger of the storm, softening it only slightly. The kimono is torn even more, but the darkness continues to hold it together. A sudden stop, now-brightly glowing eyes looking directly at the gargoyle. The zombie does not seem to notice the tears in her dead flesh, but collarbone, cheekbone, and a little bit of jaw are now visible, and sickly strips of leathered flesh hang loose in several places. Akui draws her arms upwards, then back, eyes glowing even brighter before she snaps both arms forward, sending both partially exposed yet black-shrouded, seething weights directly towards Rei - one coming towards each side.

But when those weights come together, Rei is no longer there. It may seem strange, almost as if the creature had vanished completely from the layer, but this is not at all true. Just above Akui, the form of Rei hovers in the sky, supported by the arms of a familiar angel, Kamui. This ghostly impression of the cat-angel left within the layer, has large black feathred wings behind him, like those of some dark, protective spirit. The cat leaves one arm around his gargoyle companion, the other reaching behind him and pulling out a fan. He waves it at his face daintily, and then sticks out his tongue over it in a taunting gesture before planting a kiss on Rei's cheek and vanishing, leaving the gargoyle to flare out her wings and maintain her altitude. From this high vantage point, Rei extends her arms outwards, drawing on the lingering power of the storm that still rumbles above. She slashes her talons through the air, tracing three large arched lines. these lines seem to extend, forming into waves of energy that absorb the water as it goes. One after another, these waves flow outwards from their source, aimed towards the dark creature that still seems to evade the powers of nature.

Glowing red eyes dim as the weights smash together, causing a dark, sparking thunder of their own - abeit a much smaller force than that overhead. Snapping her arms back to bring the sleeves behind her, Akui takes a ducking turn, stepping back and away. Talons scrape against her back, momentarily tangling in her obi before pulling it loose, the black energies within the silk remaining the only force keeping it secured about the geisha's waist. Akui makes no sign of having noticed the gash across her back nor the loosened obi, and her motions never stop. Continuing the fluid turn, the zombie jerks her right arm up, then pulls it around ahead of her spin. The spin continues past, but the weight of the sleeve is sent in a low arc towards the gargoyle's side.

Rei is still too quick at this point to allow such an attack to strike her unguarded. Instead, she spins and does a quick flip in the air to avoid the impact from the blow to her side. Even so, it is clear that she is tiring a little of all this jumping around. The gargoyle pants, her tongue showing between fanged teeth as she draws her armor-covered arm backwards towards her. There is a roar as the long blade extends once more with an audible click of sound. No fakes, no tricks, Rei simply rushes forward with her arm drawn back, feet kicking up sand behind her as she goes. That arm is sent in a wide arc from the upper right to lower left, a move aimed at cutting more than just the geisha's obi this time.

The dance picks up speed yet again, shifting now into a seemingly chaotic spinning, swirling mass of tattered silk, dead flesh, and creeping darkness. Akui ducks, weaves, steps right, spins, steps left, spins the other way, her soaked sleeves forming a confusing barrier upon which the blade strikes. The quick, light steps of the dance bring the geisha away from the gargoyle, never slowing, leaving faint trails of dark energy in the zombie's wake. Drawing near to the edge of the layer, Akui throws both arms back, then suddenly stops, facing Rei. For a very short moment, she simply stands there, but then the geisha draws her right hand in, raises her left arm, and bows low. She does not, however, bow her head - that red glowing gaze is kept anchored upon her gargoyle opponent.

And in some way, Rei seems to respect the actions taken by the spooky geisha. She watches the dance quietly from the distance, tilts her head, and then inclines her own head politely to her opponent. Her tail twitches once, and then goes slack behind her as she glances over her shoulder at her deus, perhaps looking for confirmation of something. There is a nod of the head, and Rei scrapes her talons in the sand, freeing herself once more from the grip that could pull her under. Then, she rushes forward, managing to get some speed behind her even with the sand sticking to her feet. She lowers her shoulder, ducking her head slightly and aiming her armored shoulder towards Akui in an attempt to knock her out of the layer to end this match.

On the layer, Akui does not move, the glow in her eyes remaining steady, her face as expressionless as before, sinking slowly into the sand. Rei strikes her hard, but something between the darkness shrouding her undead form and the sucking embrace of the sands keeps the zombie anchored - she is pushed back only slightly. The force brings that raised left arm down - it falls lightly across and over the gargoyle's back. The glow of the geisha's eyes dims as her head slowly falls forward, the dark energies that infuse her waning before finally fading out entirely. Unable to support herself any longer, Akui collapses - dead weight, once again.

There is a blaring of the buzzzer, and an announcement of "Rei Win!" The crowd breaks into cheers, but most of this is lost on the deus and angel who have come out victorious in this match. Rather than making a show of things, Rei simply crouches down and begins to dig the feet of the geisha angel out from the sucking sand. Where she may have been a fierce fighter a moment before, it is clear that Rei feels no hatred towards those angels she plays against. Once free, the creature gently lifts the limp form into her arms and moves carefully towards the Eastern edge of the layer. Once there, she places Akui down where her deus can reach her, stepping back and giving a bow both to her opponent, and deus. Only then does she turn away, walking back across the large layer to her pale deus who waits with her hands outstretched. Rei presses herself upwards, flaps her tattered wings a few times, and then passes through the barrier of the layer into the arms of her maker. "Amazing match." Mikage says in her soft voice, carried across the layer by microphones in the headsets. "Thank you for the chance to play against you, Saneko-chan."

Saneko finally snaps out of the trance that the layer seems to always place her into, bouncing in her chair in a little fit of giggles. "That was so great!" She pulls the headset free, and hops out of the chair before it has a chance to fully descend, then gently lifts her tattered little zombie from the layer, hugging the ragged form to her chest before rushing over towards Mikage. "Thank you so much for playing with Aki-chan! We learned a lot!" The girl seems to be speaking to Rei, not Mikage. She giggles, then looks down to her little angel, tightening the obi before it falls loose entirely. Another laugh. "Between Kamui-kun and Rei-chan, we really gotta make Aki-chan a new kimono, nyo~" She seems entirely amused by the idea.

"You're quite welcome. Rei had a good time playing against Akui-chan, as soon as she got over her fear of her." The older deus laughs just a little bit, and then shrugs her shoulders. "If you need any help with it, feel free to ask Oi-san or I. We know where to get you some more sturdy fabric." Afterall, Miki did work for Angelic Layer, and sometimes that did have it's perks. "Thank you again for the match, Misaka-san." Mikage bows her head forward, and then lowers her chair down to the floor level of the arena. She gives one last wave to those in the arena, and then makes her way slowly away into the darkness of the hallway beyond.

Saneko giggles, hugging Akui again, then waves to the crowds and rushes off, as well.