Anzai lets out a long breath as he makes his way to the chair, sliding the visor over his head. Despite all the years he's played Angelic Layer, this is his first time in Kanto....and with his skills only now returning with use, he's just as much a first-timer as these new friends he's met.

"East-o corner!" shouts the announcer, waving. "Deus: Mizuno Anzai. Angel: Rayse!" The announcer gestures toward the other side. "West-o corner! Deus: Sakamoto Kyousuke. Angel: Kensei! Angels....FALL IN!"

Anzai nods across the Layer to his opponent, a faint smile on his face. "Good luck," he whispers softly, then squares his shoulders, something sliding into his hand. "His eyes are upon us," Anzai intones, his right arm moving backward. "So let's make them shine! Ike, Rayse!" The arm snaps forward, sending a little grey-haired Angel spiralling toward the Layer. "FALL IN!" Anzai cries out as his Angel ripples through the Layer field, blue eyes snapping open to survey the white disc below. Rayse raises his legs upward and drops down toward the Layer, landing with a thundering impact, a faint whisper of force fluttering his clothing. Rayse straightens, faces the other side of the Layer, and tucks his thumbs in his sash, waiting.

Kyousuke looks over from his end of the layer, a friendly grin etched on his face even when facing off against someone he's lost to before. They've had some practice since then, hopefully it'll be enough. He gives a brief nod at the whispered words, then pulls out Kensei, letting his grin fade from his face. As usual, the boy's fallin is silent trying to bring up the feel of a solemn warrior about to go into battle. He leans forward and lightly tosses Kensei to the layer, where it turns, bows once to Kyousuke, then moves into the center of the field and bows to Rayse.

The Layer flares with white light as the scenery reasserts itself, Anzai instinctively leaning back from the fiery maelstrom below as lava boils up through the white disc. "Tch," Anzai mutters - he's not a fan of this one. But it could have been much, much worse.

"So ka," he hisses, bunching his shoulders. "Time to fly, Rayse! Ike!"

The little Angel breaks into a run, hopping from stone to stone as he tears across the Layer, heading for his opponent. Rayse leaps toward the samurai-themed Angel, lashing out a tentative kick as he tries not to overcommit on his way to a nearby stone.

Kensei twists his body to offset the force of his blow, and a sandal covered foot brushes against the lava. Brushing off the his of pain, the samurai drops his right hand down to the katana at his waist, yes katana. The two bokken from the last time Kyousuke had a duel with Anzai are now replaced with their metal counterparts. The blade is drawn from his hip and in a quick arc it flies towards Rayse's ribs.

On the layer, Rayse touches down one stone past Kensei, dropping instantly down into a crouch, left hand gripping the rock between his legs in order to keep his balance. Anzai's eyes widen at the glint of metal against molten red light, shouting quickly as Kensei's blade clears its sheath.


Rayse leaps back off the rock, arcing through the air in a long, lazy flip that carries him away from his opponent. Anzai rubs his chin and considers Kyousuke carefully as his little Angel lands.

"That," he says, focusing once more on the Layer, "Was a surprise." Anzai drums his fingers on his console and waits, curious to see how the samurai will react.

Kensei doesn't move at first when Rayse jumps away. There's no need to follow him just yet. For now, the samurai turns his head from side to side, studying the field before moving. It's clearly dangerous to move carelessly, as his burnt foot can attest to, so he'll have to rely on a little more than his instincts on this one.

On the layer, Rayse slowly straightens from his crouch, his Deus nodding to himself. Wood or steel, Anzai muses, the difference means little on the Layer - he's already sensed the power behind Kensei's strikes in their previous match. Whatever difference a blade makes is, in his assumption, minimal at best.

The defense is the same - don't get hit.

Rayse takes to the attack once more, his Deus letting out a slow breath, blinking against the glare of the lava. The little Angel stops short of Kensei, pklanting on a rock, his hands tearing the sleeveless vest from his body. Rayse's hands wrap the cloth tight, and then the little Angel snaps a rapid slap toward the surface of the lava, his hands blurring almost beyond sight as he splashes the liquid fire up toward Kensei, flames licking along the protective cloth.

Kensei carefully considers how to defend from this attack. All the nearby rocks will be affected, so dodging is useless. That leaves one thing. His blade flashes out, sweeping away some of the lava, while the rest of it hits him. Then he tenses his leg and hops forward, landing on a rock to Rayse's side before lashing out with his kodachi. The weapon is gripped in a reverse handed position as it flies towards the other angel's head.

Anzai's eyes flash as Kensei leaps forward, the Deus spotting an opening in the flows of their respective movements. Rayse turns to offer his left side to his opponent, and then as Kensei slashes outward, the little Angel steps out over the lava, measuring the gap between them perfectly, the blade sailing over his head just as his left foot touches the rock Kensei is sitting on.
For a heartbeat Rayse stays there, soing the splits across a river of lava.

And then his right leg surges, impossibly carrying him up into the air in front of Kensei, the little Angel's right hand jabbing toward the Samurai's shoulder three times rapidly. "FUUIN!" Anzai bellows as his Angel sails away.

Kensei gets a bad feel from that attack. He has a strong feeling that, if he's hit, nothing good will come from that attacking, the yell from Anzai doesn't help either. To avoid the attack, the samurai quickly recalls the layout of the rocks, then hops away to the nearest one, landing in a handstand, then springing over to the next until he's at a good distance from the other angel. This prevents him from getting too close also, but hopefully it won't matter that much.

"Nice," Anzai says softly, his admiration for Kyousuke growing. The other Deus is in a corner and, Anzai figures, would have been in serious trobule had he lost an arm for one of those blades. "That was a good move, Sakamoto-san," he says more loudly as Rayse touches down on a rock and slams his fists together. "But let's see what you can do about...this."

Rayse flickers toward Kensei, dropping a rock short and emitting a silent scream, his right and left hands blurring as he sends repeated bursts of lava soraing toward the samurai-Angel, Rayse's hands moving so fast that, between their speed and the effects of heat on the shimmering light on the Layer, they cannot be seen.

"To pull chestnuts from an open fire so quickly your hands are not burned," Anzai intones gravely. "/That/ is the speed required for this attack. Kurae!" Rayse drives a double-handed blow downward, energy flickering as a large wave of lava rises upward. "Kachu tenshin....AMAGURIKEN!"

Kensei is tries to dodge the lava being flung at him, but there's too many, and too much for him to do so. By now his body is covered in burns, and he's already begining to tire out with 11 rounds still on the clock. Still, he won't let it end here. "Mada da!" Kyousuke shouts, getting heated, though his angel still maintains his stoic composure. The small warrior hops in to a rock closer to Rayse and stabs out with his shorter blade.

Anzai winces at the fraction of health his opponent is left with following the barrage. Rayse discards the smoldering remains of his vest into the fires below before the lava sticking to the garments can drip onto his arms and hands.

The stab by Kensei is a surprise, but Rayse reacts with the speed of Anzai's thoguht, rolling away from the blow, a line coursing along his left side. Lava splashes up onto the little Angel's feet as his footing bobs downward. Rayse has to leap to safety. Anzai grits his teeth. He wants to win, but he doen't want to damage Kyousuke's Angel....but he's lost matches of late because he hesitated when he should have struck with all his might.

Anzai closes his eyes as Rayse charges forward, right hand driving in a powerful uppercut toward Kensei's belly. If he respects his opponent, he must fight to win, must let go of all hesitation. Must give his best.

This is no time to hold back.

"Kore wa owari ja nai!" Kyousuke shouts from his seat, slipping into slightly informal speach in the heat of the moment. For a moment, Kensei looks like he's about to be hit, despite his deus' shout. Then he blurs, and is suddenly out of the attack range of Rayse, and is standing at a rock to the side of him. A large white aura is now around him, its radiance making it clear where he is. The powerful angel just stands there, unmoving, for a moment, as the aura wraps around his metal blade, leaving only his eyes with the unearthly glow. Then, he blurs again, and is suddenly even closer to Rayse and stabbing out at him.

On the layer, Rayse is in trouble.

Kensei's white aura sets the lava around him rippling outward like a disturbance on the surface of a pond. Anzai balks at the raw power the little Samurai displays, then sets his shoulders. There is only one thing he knows how to do in the face of that fury, only one power he possesses that can be the rock upon which the tides of rage break.

THe young man takes a deep breath and seeks the void.

Rayse's hands slam together around Kensei's sword, parrying the strike a few inches from his body, the little Angel's shoulders quivering with the force required to hold his opponent at bay. Anzai is lost to this, offering only a single sentence as he closes his eyes.

"One way or the other.....this /will/ be the end."

Kensei's one sword is trapped within Anzai's grip, thankfully he still has one more sword free. Not losing his stoic look of indifference, an aura once again wraps itself around his body. He hasn't tried this move yet, hopefully it'll still work out in the end. The samurai swipes his shorter blade and a wave of energy sweeps out from it. At this range it should be hard to dodge, especially considering the speed it would travel if it had more room to move.

The sounds and sights of the Layer fade away as Mizuno Anzai dives deeper into an increasingly familiar corner of his mind. Something flutters within the shadows, but Anzai pushes it away - no sense in revealing this to all those watching yet - for now, stick to the known.

Worry about the other matches, about being seen, is the first thing to boil off as Anzai sets his mind aflame, then the excitement of copetition, the thrill of being the centre of attention, the sad thought of....that too fuels the flame, everything fuels it until there is nothing left but ash.

And the Void.

The process takes a heartbeat - no more, no less - and as Anzai opens dull, lifeless eyes, Kensei is attacking, a wave of energy roaring outward. There is no sense of movement as Rayse evades the blast. He is simply where he was in one instant and then the attack is behind him, and he is inches away from Kensei's chest, right hand cocked, seeming as if he passed through the attack unharmed, but the blast continues unabated in his wake.

The simplest and most complex answer behind the evasion is that the shortest distance between two points is /zero/.

Another heartbeat and Rayse strikes, right hand thrusting straight forward toward the centre of his opponent's head, Anzai inhaling sharply as he returns to himself.

Kensei's eyes widen, the first time he's lost his compsure to anything other than a berserker rage, as Rayse just disappears from sight and reappears right in front of him, moving even faster than he had a little earlier. When the attack hits, he's instantly blasted back and off the layer, despite being at the center of it. Fortunately, Kyousuke is able to reach down and catch his angel before it slams into the ground. He's actually surprised for a second or two, then smiles. "Good match," he says.

Anzai leans back in his chair and just breathes for a long moment, drinking in the atmosphere as a few spectators cheer, revelling in the feeling of finally being here...and finally winning.

"You as well, Sakamoto-kun," Anzai says with a grin, reaching in to pick up his own Angel. "Yu have a few tricks I don't remember from our last match," he adds, then places his Angel inside his jacket pocket. "GOod luck witht he rest of the Tournament."

Ryouzo nods, the friendly grin he had on before the match returning to his face. "I've been practicing a little," he says. "An' good luck to you too. Not sure if ya need it though."

From his seat, the announced declares the winner of the duel, even when it's clear to everyone. "Shousha, Mizuno Anzai!" he shouts out to everyone's applause.