Anzai has been looking forward to this match for a long, long time.
The young man is seated in the waiting area, his little grey-haired Angel floating in a vertical tube of energy rising upward from a device on the floor. Anzai is quickly scanning Rayse for any injuries or lasting damage - although his last two matches were generally fairly easy, he will accept nothing less than his best from himself or his Angel. He'll need the best if half of what he's heard of Mikage's development is true.
"Almost time, buddy," he whispers softly, then reaches into his pocket and removes a small plastic card emblazoned with the symbol of a roaring lion's head. Anzai has been debating whether or not to use the item for the better part of a week - it might give him the edge he needs to stand up to Mikage and Rei....or it might not do that at all. But another part of him wants nothing more than to go head-to-head with her, with his own strength and his Angel's alone.
Just like in the old days.
"So what should it be?" he asks himself, then grins at his Angel. "What do you think, huh?"

Oblivious to such internal discussions, Mikage makes her way into the waiting room with a calm and relaxed expression to her features. Her previous matches had not been terribly difficult, but with such a wealth of wonderful players in Tokyo, that cannot remain forever. Many things have changed, and yet many things stay the same. The young woman who always seemed so shy, trying to hide herself, now stands proudly. Where there was weakness, there is now a growing strength as if whatever illness long held Mikage had finally been beaten... for the most part. But the one thing that remains the same seems to be the bond between her and her angel. The young woman holds her angel in the crook of her arm, gently twirling a finger around the gargoyle's tail as she steps forward towards the end of the long waiting room. She gives a smile and a wave to a few people as she passes close to one side, although by mere chance she ends up on the opposite side of the waiting room from Anzai. With her bad eyesight, she simply cannot see him. What she can see, however, is the count down to the next match ticking away above a large wall display showing commercials from the various sponsors of the tournament. "This one will be hard, Rei. Let's do our best." She nods her head, as if that re-affirmed her determination as both angel, and deus.

Anzai packs up his kit quickly, following a glance of his own toward the wall monitor. The young man tucks his Angel into a jacket pocket, then turns and hands the box of repair equipment to a young girl of about nine who rushes up to take it. "Gambatte, Rayse!" she shouts, prompting a smile and a hair ruffle from the taller boy, who turns and leaves his niece to run back toward her seat. Straightening, Anzai begins walking toward the doors, using his height to search for a familiar face.
Mikage was never difficult to pick out of a crowd, and the young man has no trouble this time, a smile sliding onto his face as he slowly, quietly approaches her from behind. She looks well.
"Sashiburi, Mikage-chan," he says softly in his lgiht tenor.

Like a cat who has heard something in one ear, Mikage's head tilts slightly just a moment before Anzai's greeting, and then turns completely to give him a soft smile. "Nice to see you again, Anzai-kun." This is one opponent she knows quite well, and is familiar enough with to realize just how dangerous he is to her and her angel. However, that doesn't show on her face as she glances towards his angel, "Konnichiwa, Rayse-kun." She greets his angel as well before glancing up at the monitor again. "Not long now."

The knowing sound in Mikage's voice lingers as the last commercial fades away, showing the empty layer and reverberating the quiet lull of the crowd as they mill about their seats. "Let's have a fun match, okay? It's been a while since Rei and Rayse had a chance to play." She seems oddly thoughtful, but that smile still lingers as she watches the camera pan around the stadium, perhaps looking for a face among the crowds. Then, her blue eyes shift back towards Anzai, "I think you and Rayse will be one of the hardest opponents I'll face in these games." The only other that causes Mikage some trepidation would be Keiichi, and thus far she hasn't drawn him for the games... yet.

"And I /know/ you'll be the same," Anzai replies. "You and Rei. Konbanwa, Rei-chan," he says with a nod. The young man glances up at the crowd, then grins. "Don't worry," he says with a thumbs-up. "Ranmaru-san will be there. I guarantee it."
He offers Mikage a pat on one shoulder, then steps toward the arena entrance. "Gambatte, Mikage-chan!" he offers, then claps his hands together.
Time to go.

With a tilt of her head, curiously, Mikage nods. Was it Ranmaru she was searching for in the crowd? Perhaps, but it's sometimes hard to read the girl's face so as she gives a parting look towards the screen, Miki slowly follows behind Anzai. "Good luck to us both." She murmurs softly, and then lifts her angel on to her forearm, balancing her there as she walks with her eerie, slow gait.

"Will Mister Mizuno Anzai and Miss Aogiri Mikage please make their way to the arena floor. Your match is about to start." There is no need for a steward to guide Mikage, she knows the way well enough, and only nods as she makes her way down through the long hallway that leads out to the arena.

As the arena announcer calls out their names, Anzai marches into the stadium, waving to someone in the crowd. He hops up the staircase on the east side, then settles into his chair and slides his visor over his head. One hand rises up to deploy the wings, the other flickers across his console, rearranging the display on his visor to his preferred setting, most of which remain blank at the moment. The young man then takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly, reaching into his pocket with his right hand.
He closes his eyes and whispers something, too soft to hear.
"His eyes are upon us," Anzai calls out, right hand dropping backward. "So let's make them shine! IKE!" Anzai's right hand flashes forward as he sends Rayse spiralling into the centre of the arena, the little Angel passing through the Layer field with a ripple.
Rayse drops down toward the white disc composing the Layer's default state, then lands in a hard three-point crouch. He straightens, dusts off his pantaloons, and then waits, thumbs tucked in his sash.

Mikage takes a bit longer to get on to the arena floor, but that is well understood by most. The crowd cheers on both of them as they are introduced, showing just how much fan base more experienced angels have in this place. As she settles into her own chair, Mikage pulls her oddly shaped headgear on to her head. Rather than a traditional one, her headset has been replaced by one with a red visor and black angelic wings. The wings flick as she extends them, her blue eyes becoming oddly purple behind the red that covers them.
Taking a slow, deep breath, Mikage rises to her feet and extends her arm, her angel balanced carefully on her forearm. It seems almost as if the angel were sleeping in that seated position. With her eyes closed, Mikage's voice comes across the layer and across the arena. "Spirits of wind and water, soul of the binding storm, will of the earth, heart of my heart. Be my wings... Rei! Fallin!" The long sweep of Mikage's arm sends her angel tumbling towards the wide expanse of the layer.
At the last moment, her wings extend, bracing her against what would be a painful fall to the hard surface below. With great sweeps of her wings, she settles to the ground with a click of her talons on the stone floor of this ancient temple of angelic gods. Rei's ears twitch, her tail sways, and then she bows politely towards her opponent, showing proper respect before the start of a match. Then, she raises her head and steps back into a battle-ready position, waiting for the buzzer to sound.

And it is not long at all until that buzzer rings across the layer, echoing from the spires that hold up the great temple and causing a strange, hum to fill the arena. Rei's ears tremble slightly, folding backwards to drown out the sound. However, she does not dilly dally against such an opponent. Knowing of Rayse's infamous accuracy, she may not have long before she can no longer outrun his powerful attacks. So, Rei takes the initiative and choses to strike first.
Her talons click across the layer as she forces herself into a run. Red hair rushes out behind the gargoyle angel as she lowers her head down and reaches one hand up to press a button near her temples. From her forehead, two long horns extend, making her seem more like a ramming bull than a gargess. And, following suit, she simply continues to race at Rayse, trying to spear him on the outstretched horns, or at least cause him to make an early effort at avoiding her. Either would be just fine. Yup.

In the audience, you hear a male voice shouting, "Rei-chaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!" A bishi young man waves a overgrown flag in the air with the word 'Rei' on it. "Goooo goooo goooooo!"

Anzai narrows his eyes as Rei rushes in. He takes a deep breath and smiles across the Layer at Mikage.
"I want to win this myself," he whispers, then sets his shoulders and lets out his breath, letting out with it his nerves, his fear.
He nearly loses his Angel for the exercise - Rayse takes the blow in the abdomen, but his hands come down to plant atop Rei's head, preventing the gargoyle from being gored entirely. Losing this much from his lifebar so early was not at all what he had in mind - but duels with Rei never end up the way he envisions them anyway.
"First blood to you," Anzai says with a grin as Rayse pushes off Rei's skull, lashing out with a rapid one-two combination toward her face as he slides away, back clicking against stone as he presses against a pillar. "Last counts for more!"

The pale girl's head bobs slightly, acknowledging the call of first-blood. "We have to try our best early..." It's clear that Mikage has some trepidation about letting a match agaist Anzai go on too long. Afterall, as hard as Rei's skin may be, she isn't inpenetrable, especially when it comes to the powerful angel who shares the layer with her at the moment. And perhaps it is for that reason that Rei makes a somewhat unorthodox defense when Rayse attacks her. Rather than defending, she counters with an attack of her own, lashing out with a slash of her talons before drawing backwards. Of course, she isn't left unscathed, her cheek showing a bruise.
However, it seems like this small bit of damage is enough of a warning that Rei backs up and gives a small warning hiss. Rather than pressing the attack further, she backs towards one of the opposite pillars, her tail twitching as she tries to formulate a cunning plan. Then again, you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men... perhaps that will apply to gargoyles as well. In either case, it's up to the tick of the clock to see if this trepidation will be to her disadvantage.

Anzai gapes as Rayse's lifebar drops further.
"Sh....shima..." he sputters as his Angel slowly pushes himself up from the heap. The first exchange with Rei, and already Rayse is down past half his life. Anzai's right hand twitches toward his pocket, but he plants it firmly against the console. No tricks. Not against her.
"I've learned a few things," he says mildly, shaking his head. "But if you think that we'll lay down and accept defeat..." Anzai leans forward as Rayse charges ahead, lips parting in a silent roar. He dashes in toward Rei, leaping in toward the gargoyle's card, his right hand ripping up toward her chest in a powerful uppercut.

Ducking her head, it seems almost as if Rei is simply going to take the attack strait to her chest. However, something odd happens the moment the blow comes at her heart. A strange fog shimmers from her chest and seem to form into the shape of a familiar angel. "~Nyo!" There is a gasp from the audience, most of the people watching haven't seen this particular technique. Kamui, Ranmaru's catboy angel seems to grab hold of Rei, pulling her out of the way of the impending attack. The cat turns and hisses protectively, sticking his tongue out at Rayse while pulling down the corner of one eye in a taunting gesture. Rei, on the other hand, gives a gracious look to her mate.
However, this momentary interlude from the other angel is quickly dispursed. A wind blows across the layer and causes the image of Kamui to flutter, and then disappear. Looking somewhat unnerved, Rei glances towards Rayse and then draws back into a more defensive sort of stance. However, that doesn't mean she won't offer anything in the way of attack. She steps forward, brings an arm around, and there is a noticible *click* of sound as a long blade extends from her arm, lashing out towards Rayse.

Anzai stares. Again.
Anzai shakes his head and groans, falling back in his chair. He's seen some weird things on the Layer - a lot of weird things. But another Angel appearing in the Layer midfight? a new one. "I think I should have used the damn thing," Anzai mutters to himself, then lets out a breath. Focus.
Rayse brings his left arm up to partially deflect Rei's strike, the arm blade burying deeply into his forearm as the little Angel continues to backpedal, barely managing to keep on his feet as his lifebar dips dangerously low. "Come on," Anzai mutters, his little Angel whirling in a ligth circle, sparks flying from his wound as he pulls it off the blade, right heel whipping around in a powerful, sweeping kick. "KURAE!" he roars.

"You look troubled." Mikage says with a soft voice, looking up from the layer. Those who know her well, realize she doesn't have to look at the layer at all to see what is going on, but it is still slightly unnerving to see a half-blind girl taking her attention away from the layer. "Gomen ne." Quietly, Miki lowers her head once more, just in time to catch the roar and the attack that whips around at her. This time, however, she doesn't depend on some ghostly image of another angel to save her. An aura begins to flow around her body, making it a bit easier for her to duck out of the way of what could have been a painful attack.
However, that boosted energy also has a bonus to her offensive ability as well. One might expect some massive attack, but instead, Rei simply ducks down and sweeps her tail out towards Rayse's legs.

Anzai /is/ troubled. Back when he and Mikage had played, and played often, their duels were close competitions, full of fire. Rayse and Rei clashed a half-dozen times, each one a contest to be remembered, each one coming down to the wire. And now..., Rayse is being taken apart.
"I--" Anzai starts to yell as Rei flashes around Rayse's attack, her tail cutting the little Angel's legs out from under him. Rayse falls back onto his back, struggles to rise....and then simply collapses in upon himself, his lifebar draining down to zero.
Anzai just stares, looking shell-shocked. He'd known Mikage had improved, he'd had some hopes of being able to match her, to take the battle down to the wire again. But it was not even close.
"...omedeto..." he says softly, still staring at his Angel.

"Rei, WIN!" The announcer calls out, followed by a roar from the crowd.
It seems as if Mikage is doomed to feel quite down after every match this tournament, but then again... such things happened when you faced against others giving it their all. Someone always walks away hurt. "Gomen." Mikage says softly once more, showing how troubled she now feels in the expression on her face. "You seemed distracted the entire match." She murmurs, and then allows the chair to be lowered down to the layer surface. As she slowly exits from her chair, and reaches to collect her angel, who seems equally unnerved.