Entering the waiting room a minute or so before his match is due to start, this deus doesn't seem very stressed about the whole tournament thing. It could have something to do with the fact he's a bit older than a lot of the terrified contestants, or it could have something to do with the number of tournaments he's previously been in, including the qualifiers tournament more than once. "Lets see if we can't get a higher than 50% success rate this time, ne Yuki." He mutters to himself, looking at his angel in his left shirt pocket. "Which means I've got to beat this next deus, as well the next two matches. That's not too tricky..." he says with a slight smile, suggesting he's joking. At this point, Fukata glances up from his own world to see if the other deus is actually in the surprisingly large, and usually quite empty room.

As luck would have it, one Kourei Raien is sitting in the waiting room. In a slightly slouched over posture, with his head hanging a bit low and eyes closed, one might mistake him for being depressed, right off the bat. They'd be wrong though. He's simply too lazy to sit up straight before the match starts. If he heard Fukata's words, there's no indication of it. He just sits there with his head hanging low. The only reason one knows he's even awake is that his breathing is silent, instead of audible like most people's would be if they were sleeping.

Walking over to where Raien sits as the monitor counts down the time remaining until the next match, Fukata smiles at the seemingly sleeping Raien, and greets him "Ossu, Kourei-san." he says clearly towards the sleeping boy, standing at the entrance to the hallway that leads to the arena.

"Hmm?" Raien's head slowly turns towards the door, his eyes opening to reveal... the strangest of eye colors. Yes, people have seen yellow eyes and green eyes, and blue eyes and purple eyes, and even red and black eyes, but... orange... orange is just a bizarre color to see when you look into one's eyes. "... Konnichiwa..." He gives Fukata a slight nod of his head, before it drifts back to that hanging position, and his eyes close. . . Oook... not much of a talkative one, is he?

With a slight look of surprise and interest at Raien's eyes, Fukata adds "The match is about to start, I thought I'd introduce myself before we head out, I'm Ito Fukata, it's nice to meet you." he adds, giving a bow of his head to Raien, a semi-formal greeting of the type you use when you don't really know how the other person will react. Fukata ponders the other people he knows with odd eye colors. 'This one doesn't -look- ill.' Fukata thinks to himself.

"Kourei Raien." Raien responds without any articles, verbs, or anything remotely approaching a sentence structure, though it's not for a lack of vocabulary. He lets one of those eyes glance open towards Fukata, and he stares at him for a good two or three seconds of silence, as if analyzing him, before continuing. "Raien's fine." With that, his eye is closed again. He doesn't seem tense or upset at all. But then, Raien's had his share of tournaments too. Just ... not Angelic Layer tournaments.

The monitor beeps loudly, and requests the presence of the two deus' on the layer, and Fukata looks at the screen for a moment. Then turns to lead the way into the arena.

As the call comes across the monitor, Raien's head tilts upward, and he looks towards the monitor for a moment before standing. Regardless of whether Fukata actually goes on ahead, or waits for him, Raien heads into the arena. The only sign that he's acknowledged Fukata at all, apart from his earlier words is an unexpectedly polite courtesy. "...Good luck out there." And then he heads inside, emerging out without bothering to glance up at what will surely be a spectacle of lights.

"In the West corner, with 1 win, and two losses so far...the veteran deus Ito Fukata, and his angel Yuki! What will this unusual little angel have in store for us tonight!" bellows the announcer, his spiked blonde hair shaking around as he gesticulates seemingly randomly. Fukata steps out into the arena, apace with Raien, and blinks a little when the full glare of a spotlight catches him in the eye. After a brief moment of dazedness wears off, Fukata smiles, grins even, up to the crowd and waves in greeting to his fans (especially the female ones) and turns to find his place in the egg shaped seat, reaching for the visor rested on the chair.

In contrast to Fukata's actions, Raien simply walks straight out. His eyes hurt as the spotlights hit them, but he just closes them and continues walking until he can feel that the lights are no longer blinding, and his eyes open again. As he reaches the egg-shaped seat, the announcer moves on to speaking about him now. "And in the East corner with the same record... we have Kourei Raien!" Where the cheers for Fukata were loud, especially the females, they seem rather subdued for Raien, and he ignores that fact completely as he puts his visor on. The chairs begin to rise, as the Deuses prepare themselves, and the announcer continues to speak, as the image of Raien on the screen splits to show both Raien and Fukata looking at each other in splitscreen.

The layer shimmers, as the flat surface is replaced by a very literal desert. "What kind of match will these two show us on this barren layer? There's only one way to find out!" The crowd cheers as the announcer's voice loudens, but it's not enough to prevent him from drowning them out completely. "ENTRY ANGEL!"

Fukata places the headset over his eyes, and with a flick of a button, the wings extend, and his display lights up. Fukata takes his angel out of his shirt pocket, and holds it in his hand, and momentarily looking around all the crowds, he closes his eyes and holds her to his chest, begining his fallin phrase, clearly and calmly. "Even in the impossible, let us not accept defeat. Ikke! Yuki!" and with that he looses his angel towards the layer scenery. She turns in the air, and as she reaches the barrier, her eyes and his open in unison, a clear focus visible in both. She rights herself and falls to the layer scenery, landing on the sands, and looking around for some kind of visible trick. "Be careful, Yuki." Her deus mutters, as he has seen this layer before, and suspects this layer could be dangerous for his angel..

In contrast to Yuki's fallin, that of Raien's angel is relatively brief and uncircumstantial. The young man powers his visor on, and looks towards the layer for a moment. Huh. Sand. Lots of sand. Well, at least there isn't much place for angels to hide. It should be a fairly straightforward fight. While Raien likes the odd ones better, he has to admit that he has a much better chance of winning if the other angel can't dart in and out of crevices and behind rocks and the like. "...Don't die, Karasu." His angel comes out of his pocket, where he normally wouldn't keep it, but has been doing so for the tournament, and is flung underhand towards the layer.

The brown mantle and slightly spiked white hair flutter as the angel clears the layer barrier. Once it makes contact, Karasu rights itself in the air, though not quite as gracefully as Yuki. The angel lands as any other angel would, on both feet. Only the knees buckle in backwards, and it falls face first on the layer. There are a few loud laughs and snickers from the crowd, but it would appear from the lifebars that no damage has befallen the angel. Slowly, it draws up into a strange stance, like that of a puppet being lifted by invisible strings around its wrists. The hands and fingers dangle limply, and it stares towards Yuki with unblinking, emotionless white eyes. As it does so, Raien's face, which was a little bit irritated because of the bright lights, falls into his game-face. An impassive mask that lacks any visible emotion.

On the layer, Yuki waits only for the announcer to call "Angelic FIGHT!" before she darts across the layer, her plan being to keep this match as short as possible, as any time wasted is in her opponents favor, as the layer soon displays. Even with her speed and her instant motion, she is still slowed by having to pull a little harder with each step, as the sand pulls her down. She hops away from the ground to minimize it's effect, spinning and scything a roundhouse kick out at Karasu's white haired head, while twisting so she can land into a roll, not wanting to give the sand a chance to take hold.

The kick screams towards Karasu's head, until the last possible moment. An arm comes up, and as it blocks the kick, the sand underneath Karasu's opposite foot just /explodes/ outwards. Obviously, the strange, puppet-like angel braced itself at the last possible moment, shunting the blow into the sand behind it. This leaves the foot somewhat lodged in the slowly sinking sand, and Karasu glances down for just a moment, seemingly confused by the fact that it is sinking. Not the /brightest/ of angels, this one.

On the layer, Yuki rolls on the sand, leaping back to her feet to continue to run, circling around for another pass - not unlike a plane, Yuki surmises that to be safe, she has to keep moving - unlike a plane, Yuki will probably not explode if she does. She charges towards Karasu again, diving forwards into a roll, from which she throws herself up with her hands, and flies towards the other angel's chest, two feet first - her metallic hair brushing the sand in her wake.

As the two-footed strike comes toward Karasu's chest, the puppet-like angel is slammed into... only something feels wrong. The tactile feedback should let Fukata know that the hit was far from solid, and indeed, the lifebar only indicates the most minute amount of damage, as Karasu quite simply collapses into the sand. Legs and arms bent in all the wrong directions, the puppet-like angel looks as though it was hit by a bomb. Yet once again, after only a moment, Karasu draws back up into that puppet-like stance, those white eyes staring back at Yuki. The head tilts... and doesn't stop tilting until it's nearly upside down, before rapidly spinning back into place, a harsh click sounding from the angel. ... Nothing creepy here. No sir.

On the layer, Yuki frowns, clearly frustrated both by the lack of effect of her own attacks, and the complete absence of her enemy's. "You think you can win without attacking, do you..." she says, a little anger in her voice, she steps her speed up a gear, flitting from place to place around Karasu, quick blurred movements, although she seems to be standing in the same accusatory pose the whole time. She charges towards him, roaring out as she bends down into her run, looking set to run straight through the other angel and bowl him over. Then at the last second, she vanishes, leaving the angel, and the audience, to work out what just happened. But only a moments reprieve is had, for she reappears in almost exactly the position she left, moving at full speed towards him - is he capable of reacting after the feint, with this little warning?

Karasu and its Deus both stare towards the layer without any hint of emotion, even as Yuki starts blinking about the layer with a rather frightening amount of speed. In all honesty, it's quite impressive, but Raien isn't going to let it fluster him. When Yuki just plain disappears, however, he does allow a small eyebrow raise. As the angel re-appears, Karasu doesn't seem to have time to react at all, yet as the attack slams into the angel, it bends backwards unreasonably far with the force of the blow. The back of its head slams into the sand, and yet, the two feet are still staying in the same position. Wait, what? It did the limbo all the way back from its knee joints? ... Huh. Obviously though, looking at the lifebars, this strange tactic didn't really prevent it from taking damage. It looks like Karasu is dazed and helpless for a moment, both of its arms back in the sand along with its head, but it's obvious that looks can be deceptive in the puppet's case.

On the layer, Yuki leaps into the air, performing a high backflip with twirls and twists, while moving slightly forwards to place herself over the other angel, she aims herself to land flat on his chest, trying to pin him down to make him helpless to the sand, while she pulls her arms back and begins to rain down blows upon her hopefully prone and helpless opponent. And in theory it protected her from the sand if she could land on him, and stay there.

As previously mentioned, looks can be deceptive where Karasu is concerned. For starters, it's strange to think of such a brittle and fragile-acting puppet as such a hard thing to kill. And yet, as Yuki draws down towards Karasu, it becomes immediately apparent that there is a lot more to the equation than that. The layer behind Karasu's head seems to darken, ever so slightly, and right as Yuki is about to slam into the puppet, the upper torso, arms and all, bursts out of the sand as it claws at the air. A brilliant arc-ing slash of shimmering sonic energy tears out in front of Karasu, the darkness all drawing into it and mixing with it, accenting and offsetting it. Yuki never reaches Karasu, instead being slammed down into the sand next to it. Fukata's display will register something wrong with his angel's internals, affecting the legs.

Not one to let the opportunity pass, Karasu pivots to the side, launching a leg out towards the other angel, in her moment of supposed vulnerability.

On the layer, Yuki is rarely that easy to hit, even when weakened, she moves with a burst of speed away from Karasu, dodging the blow easily, but as she comes to a halt, she tumbles and rolls, rather than coming to a graceful standstill, and with some effort, she pushes herself back to a standing position, and there's definitely something wrong with her left leg. But since she can't afford to stand still, she moves, her movement a little less graceful, and a lot less speedy than before. "Only temporary..." mutters Yuki's deus, nodding to himself, and reconsidering the battle with that in mind. With a crouch that leans heavily on the right leg, Yuki throws herself upwards, and once she is in the air, she pulls back an arm and punches out as she reaches Karasu, making movements to try to land on her right leg.

As Yuki takes to the air, Karasu's mouth opens slightly, and a low hum fills the layer. As she approaches, the hum grows in volume, until it's a dull roar, as sonic waves crash outwards from Karasu. The closer Yuki gets, the more the waves nullify the force of the impact, until she finally reaches Karasu, the impact nothing more than a little tap. It registers on the lifebar, of course, but only just. Then the final wave rips out of Karasu as its arms snap back, and Yuki is once more sent down to the sand. But of course, it would be too simple for it to end there. No, as Yuki shows another 'vulnerability', Karasu throws /itself/ into the air, spinning and pivoting in an odd manner. That tattered brown mantle flares out as, from underneath it, not one, but two feet hook out in a whirling flail of kicks, intent to catch Yuki on the ground and drive her down further into the sand.

On the layer, Yuki twitches to dodge in the manner she always does, but for some reason, her limbs simply don't move the way they're supposed to, and instead of throwing herself out of the way of the dangerous hit, she simply turns to meet it face on. Two kicks meet head, and she is pounded to the sand, already licking up at her legs, she struggles against the sand and against the malfunctions afflicting her...with a forced effort and clearly a lot of concentration, she applies a complicated repair procedure to the damaged limb - yes, she's been practicing this, as a few in piffle might know. She looks at the damage on the leg, and with the knowledge Fukata has at his screen, she knows exactly how to resolve this problem. She applies her fist to the device, and lo-and-behold, it works! She pulls herself from the sand, kicking away, and hauling herself to her feet, taking an uneasy stance. Then her leg jerks, and she drops to one knee, hurrying herself to her feet again before the sand regains hold. "Hey, it *mostly* works!" she says, indignantly.

As Yuki stands, Karasu rolls about in the sand, flailing a bit. It was a nice, clean hit, but without any legs to support itself, Karasu found itself face first in the quicksand. After a moment, it just seems to give up, and it falls into the sand. However, as noted earlier, appearances can often be deceiving, and without any real warning, the puppet's hand lurches out of the sand, all 4 fingers pointed, as though in a karate chop, but instead intending to thrust out straight for Yuki's throat. The distance between the two would normally make this completely impossible, but as the hand lurches out towards Yuki, it pulls all of Karasu with it, lunging across the layer as though pulled by invisible strings attached to that hand. Really, that's kind of odd looking, but... hey, at this point, that's nothing new, right?

On the layer, Yuki even while injured, can put on a show of speed. With a twist, she spins wildly aside, evading the chop, and blasting a fair bit of sand into the air, and with a hop and a stumble, Yuki gets out of the sinkhole she just made before it swallows her whole. She looks at Karasu with an irritated look for the trouble he caused her, plus he's made her look clumsy and slow. So she crouches low, and launches herself straight at him, pulling a fist back as she near-flies in a straight line towards him and leveling a wide sweeping punch at his head.

Well, that's a rather nice punch, and it's coming in at quite a good speed, but Karasu doesn't look particularly fearful. No, indeed, it merely holds a hand up, expecting the blow to simply stop. Of course, it /doesn't/ simply stop, but as the elbow joint bends in on itself backwards, the arm looks somewhat like an accordion, and the blow loses much of its impact. Well, that's to be expected. Karasu /is/ a rather durable angel, after all. However, what probably /isn't/ to be expected is what comes next. Karasu's mouth is open.

So far in this match, when Karasu's mouth has been open, it's never meant good things. This time is no exception. The air around Yuki shimmers for a moment, and then a loud roar fills the layer, as a massive sonic wave crashes inwards around her, intending to do a great deal more screwing with her internals than the previous sonic waves.

On the layer, Yuki flickers out of existance as the wave hits, and avoids it entirely, reappearing some distance away - but again, something is wrong with her systems, as instead of attacking - she shakes her head, as if trying to clear something from her mind. Fukata frowns again as another section of his display lights up orange, signalling an error which isn't critical, but will cause problems. "That's a lot of strange attacks you have there, Kourei-san. Your angel is quite interesting. Which of us do you think will run out of energy first?" Since one was seriously depleted of evasive energy, and the other was low on defensive strength, it was definitely a case of who would be unable to hold up a defence first.

There's a moment of silence, as Karasu and Raien both simply stare towards Yuki, but the Deus opposing Fukata proves to be not completely mute, even underneath his impassive mask. "...Experience would have me lean towards Karasu... but... I have no experience against you." A full sentence! Really, he's quite generous with the words this time... A shame there's no emotion behind them. He could have said something cool and got the crowd pumping... but that just isn't the way he works. He and Karasu just continue that stare... and then the puppet lurches forward towards Yuki. So much for that moment of calm. It's nothing graceful... Karasu simply intends to ram the other angel. After all, at this point, little more than that is needed, by its way of reckoning.

On the layer, Yuki looks like she's cleared the problem with her head, and she locks her gaze onto Raien's angel, a fierce determination to succeed shown in her face. "Well, it looks like we'll be sure soon." Fukata says with a smile, as Yuki brings up her arms to make a simple attempt to defend against the barge attack, does he have something up his sleeve? Yuki stands there, looking at Karasu and making no movement to attack. And her deus does the same to Raien, looking up from the match to look into the eyes of Raien, with a subtly smile. Psyche out attack!

As Yuki and Fukata both stare at their opponents, Karasu simply stares back at Yuki, those white eyes eternally unblinking. Raien, on the other hand, shows a very slight hint of emotion. "Oh? It seems to me that this layer was quite a handicap to your angel." He speaks now in fully correct sentence structure, not leaving any words out or showing signs of that laziness he projected earlier. "...And yet you're still holding something back?" He tilts his head slightly, and Karasu floats slowly up to Yuki, drifting just above that quicksand now, a puppet that hasn't quite been lowered to the ground. It moves straight up into Yuki's face, and then just simply thrusts a single foot out towards the other angel, intending to deliver a finishing blow. Of course, Raien suspects it won't be quite that simple. "Let's see it, then."

On the layer, Yuki seems to stumble backwards, losing her footing, but simultaneously avoiding the attack. Fukata's brows furrow in concentration, trying to pick between two possibilities, and with the certainty that the wrong choice would end the match for him immediately. She struggles back to her feet, looking thoroughly incapable of continuing, and she makes a weak move forwards. So it will surprise the unwary deus when she dashes forwards, at a quick pace, and shifts a foot around behind Karasu's leg, shifting her weight to try to drive him to the ground and pin him there, if she could hold him while the sand takes it's grip.

Yuki's gambit worked, as Fukata had hoped, and Raien doesn't see it coming until just a moment too late. Karasu is slammed into the sand and pinned there, staring up at Yuki with those emotionless white eyes. Raien allows another raised eyebrow, but says nothing more. What is there to say? He /almost/ let his guard down, and while he was able to cushion Karasu's landing so that it didn't actually do any damage, now the other angel was in a bad spot. Nothing he could say was going to change that. He just nods his head once, and that eyebrow lowers, returning to an impassive face once more.

On the layer, Yuki normally would be looking for a way to flank her opponent right now, or to obscure herself to make her attacks more difficult to see coming. But it seems she is in a good position right now, she makes a move to swing a wide punch at Karasu, hoping to feint him again into parrying or dodging to the side, then she makes a real attack that few would think the graceful and swift angel capable of. She drives her head down, attempting to bring her forehead in contact with the middle of the black angel's face. In some foreign country somewhere, that's sometimes called a kiss. In Japan, it's just a headbutt.

Well, whatever country it's a kiss in, Karasu's Deus has certainly never been. And with Karasu pinned by the speedy angel, Raien doesn't really see much choice but to take the opportunity where it arises. Karasu's arm joints loosen a bit, and the puppet's torso bends forward at the waist, which would look rather obscene, given Yuki's position above it, but it's on for a brief moment, and then the midsection snaps back, and Karasu's head snaps forward, slamming its forehead into Yuki's for an equal trade of damage. Even as this happens, Raien stands up in his egg-shaped seat, and nods his head once. "Uwari da."

On the layer, Yuki sits upright on Karasu, and it's momentarily unclear whether she's about to make another attack or not - then she sways for an instant before falling to the side, her collapse coinciding with the buzzer of the layer sounding around the arena. "Karasu WIN!" yells the announcer, "And What - A - Match!" he adds, "Victory balanced on a thread until the last second! How will the matches later today be able to top this epic battle?" then he goes on to make a play by play rant about the match, while replays show above. Fukata reaches into the layer to retrieve his angel, and looks her over for damage, very little having been done to her, he nods to himself. and removes the headset as the egg chairs glide to the ground. Fukata walks over to Raien's chair to offer his congratulations, and he's smiling happily. "That was a great match. And Karasu is impressive, too. Thanks for playing with me, ne?" he says to Raien, giving him a bow of the head.

Raien steps out of his chair after it lowers to the ground, and heads towards the layer to retrieve Karasu. For once, he doesn't brush Fukata off, but rather simply waits until Karasu is in his hands before speaking. "... Thank you, Ito-san." It doesn't seem quite right, to him. Even though he won, he feels like he lost. And so, he does the only thing he can to correct it, and speaks quietly to the other Deus. "... I look forward to facing you without your handicap, next time." And with that, he holds his hand out. Is he really going to shake Fukata's hand? ... Huh. "... And Raien's fine."

Reaching out to shake Raien's hand in turn, Fukata grins and says, "I'm sure we'll get a chance to do that, watch for me in Piffle - and we'll see if different circumstances change the outcome of the match." Fukata turns to lead the way back out of the arena, but not before he looks up at the crown and with a big smile, gives them a wave. He's come to like the idea of being a little famous.

"Indeed." Once the hand shake ends, Raien moves back to the waiting room and immediately out, not spending any extra time in the room. After all... He's done. While Ito-san seemed nice enough, Raien isn't exactly one to become fast friends, or hold unnecessary conversations, even if that aspect of himself /is/ becoming more pronounced...