"LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!" The announcer's loud, ever so close to annoying voice fills the arena as the lights flare to life, and dance about the layer and floor. "It is time for yet another amazing and spectacular matchup! Are you ready for ... ANGELIC LAYER?!?" The crowd cheers, obviously easily amused and spurred on by what would, if said to one or two people, sound absolutely ludicrous... ... Actually... it still sounds ridiculous. "Well then, will the Deuses please make their way to the arena?!?"
Oh, nuts. Akaki Miina got so caught up in watching the matches from the stands that she hadn't realized her own match was next. And so now, she pushes her way through the crowded stands to the hall, and then makes a dash for the waiting room and the door beyond it. Whether Raien's in that little room or already past it, Miina doesn't see him. At least, not until she's in the aisle leading down to the giant arena layer, breathing a little quicker than she really should be after so little exertion.
In the waiting room, Kourei Raien sits with his head slumped low. As always, he looks depressed, even though he isn't. It's just the way he waits, when he doesn't feel like bringing his DS or PSP to keep him entertained. He needs to focus on the tournament matches, and having lingering thoughts of his games won't help him out any. As he lifts his head slowly, hearing the call for the players to enter the arena... Miina dashes by him, almost completely oblivious to his presence, and heads out first. He gives a tiny sigh and stands up. Miina and her angel have grown quite a bit. This probably marks another loss for him. He would sigh again at the thought, but it doesn't really bother him. It's just not as he would've preferred it. "... Here we go then." And with that, Kourei Raien strides out towards the arena as well. No point in keeping people waiting
Miina walks a bit more hurriedly than is generally considered proper down to the layer, and climbs a little awkwardly up into the chair. It's not that she feels out of place...it's just that she's normally a bit awkward. Usually, however, thousands of people aren't /watching/ her be awkward. Still, the little girl grins once she's seated, her rabbit-eared angel waiting in her lap as she pulls on the visor.
And so Raien does much of the same, minus the awkward climbing. Quietly walking up to his chair, he just hops in and snatches the visor with one hand. Nothing is said, nor are any smiles given as he places the visor on his head. Ah, this one's not cute /or/ particularly happy, unlike his opponent. Talk about a downer.
As the two enter the arena, there's a cheer from the crowd, and the announcer points at them with the hand the microphone is in, leaning forward so that his voice still reaches the device. "They're here!!" As always, the announcer lets each Deus get to their chairs before all three seated begin to rise in the air, high above the layer. "In the west corner...." The spotlights and cameras single Miina out, in her chair, and there's loud cheering from the crowd already. Cute, AND with an active angel that's popular with the fans, many people recognize her from earlier in the tournament. "Akaki... /Miina/!!" More cheering, of course. Then the lights move to focus on Raien, who doesn't look particularly thrilled today, and the cameras do the same, his own picture appearing on that large screen behind them. "And in the East Corner...." The cheers, while continuing, get quieter, and less thrilled already. They remember him. He's the one whose angel just stood there the last two fights. Whoo... hoo? "Kourei Raien!" The cheering gets a little louder, some people haven't seen him, and others are polite. Still, as the screen splits to show both of them, it's obvious which one people are more fond of already.
The layer shimmers, and suddenly there's ... a large monumental bed of nails, with a tightrope stretched across it. "A pointed layer, if ever there was one!" Even such a pathetic comment still somehow draws cheers from the audience. "There's not much to be said about this layer that the audience hasn't already tied together! ... ENTRY ANGEL!"
Most of the crowd is...cheering for Miina? The little girl blinks a few times in surprise, feeling quite a bit embarrassed but still rather proud. "Hear that, Usagi-tan?" she says quietly to the angel in her lap. "They want us to do well." She looks across the layer at Raien, then, offering a friendly wave to the older boy she's already acquainted with. Finally, she holds up her angel high above her head. "Alright, Chibi Usagi-tan!" she calls out, trying to be loud enough to be heard. "Let's show 'em how we play!"
The rabbit angel once again gets sent flipping and spinning through the barrier. It's really a wonder that poor bunny ever lands right. Yet, once again Usagi-tan manages to land as she should, albeit somewhat precariously balanced on the rope.
As Miina's angel enters the barrier, Raien looks down at Karasu, ignoring the crowd. His face tightens slightly, and loses all hint of emotion. The impassive mask of his game face simply stares towards the layer as he speaks, now.
"Do your best to out-last her, Karasu." That's the closest thing to an inspirational thing he's ever said. Probably just a fluke. He throws his angel under-hand towards the layer barrier, where it springs to life on contact. Something's different this time, though, as its arms and legs flail wildly, almost comically during the fall. At the last second, an arm shoots out and catches the rope. Spinning underneath the rope, Karasu flips up and lands with both feet on the narrow surface, and then.... stands up perfectly straight, showing no signs of any problems with balance. Oh. Well, that's great, now isn't it?
The announcer's voice calls out as the angels enter, louder by far than it needs to be. "The angels are inside the layer now! What will this dangerous tight-rope of death mean for this match?" The crowd's cheers subside a little as they realize that this will probably be a difficult thing to concentrate on, and they subconsciously try to help by not being quite so loud. The announcer, however, does no such favors to the Deuses. "ANGELIC... FIGHT-O!!"
Karasu's entry isn't really all that much of a surprise to Usagi-tan, or her deus for that matter. She's seen him enough to know how extraordinarily bendy he is. She's also seen him enough to know that he won't make the first move, no matter how long she waits...not that Usagi-tan is much given to waiting. Her advantage comes in hitting fast and hitting hard, and that's just what she's going for right now. Surprisingly, she doesn't jump across the rope, despite how much easier that would be. Instead, she runs right up to Karasu, using her bare, furred feet to wrap just slightly around the rope and add to her balance. Since there isn't really all that much room to move around, Karasu shouldn't really be able to get out of the way of the barreling bunnygirl, and she thrusts out her carrot weapon at him just before she would collide right into him.
The thrust slams into Karasu, as Miina's attacks always tend to do, and sends the angel back head under heels, and heels over head. It plants both hands on the tight rope, however, and turns the out of control fall into a backwards handspring, which is ... something noone should ever really do on a tightrope, but somehow, Karasu manages it, landing on the rope and making it shake and vibrate. Well, if that's the way it's going to be... Raien nods his head silently, and Karasu lurches forward, feet leaving the rope completely as it tries to slam right into Usagi-tan and make her fall off the rope. Hey, it's actually attacking! The crowd ... half-heartedly cheers. That probably means it won't, later on, right?
The instant the rope begins to vibrate...well, Usagi-tan's barefoot on that rope. Vibrating things against the soles of one's feet tend to tickle. More to get away from that feeling than to actually dodge Karasu, the rabbit jumps up hard off of the rope and into the air above it. It's only after she's begun the jump that she realizes she did it just in time. Since she's already up here and it's so nice an opportunity, the rabbit adjusts her descent and pulls into a frontflip. Some people will have seen this move before, though not many. This is the first time she'll have used it in the tournament. As she comes close to Karasu, she snaps her heel down as quickly as she can, trying to catch him in the head with it and then grab onto the rope with her hands.
As Usagi-tan comes down with her heel drop, Karasu holds an arm up and is struck. The impact is almost non-existent, but it's enough to cause one of Karasu's feet to move off of the rope, and then suddenly, it falls straight down, catching onto the rope with its ankles and dangling dangerously close to the nails below. So much for counter-attacking... Raien has to get Karasu up to safety before he can worry about that. Not fun.
Usagi-tan manages to complete her little maneuver as planned, despite it not being quite as effective as she had hoped. She kicks her feet up and over herself, going first into a handstand before bringing them back down onto the rope and standing again. And hey, lookit that. Karasu's dangling. The little rabbit takes a few steps forward until she's right at his feet, then kneels down to begin an attempt at dislodging his ankles. Naughty bunny.
As Usagi-tan approaches Karasu, it draws one hand back, dangerously close to the bed of nails. As it does so, the area around the layer behind the hand darkens slightly, and Karasu's mouth opens... just a little. That darkness draws towards the hand, until it's practically collected like a pool of shimmering black, and then, Karasu suddenly jerks up and around the tightrope, slashing at Usagi-tan with a brilliant arc-ing corona of black and white that sounds like a bomb going off, throwing the other angel up into the air as the arc flickers and shimmers. As the other angel is sent flying into the air, Karasu's mouth opens much wider, and the lapine angel may find a massive shimmering sonic wave crashing through the air straight towards her. Dodge that. Without falling into the bed of nails no less. Someone's not playing very nice.
This time it's Usagi's turn to be hanging off of the rope, with both hands. She even managed to lose her grip on her weapon, and now it's down below, laying on top of the nails...although, the nails beneath it are now quite bent. She doesn't stay that way for too long, however, scrambling quickly back up onto the rope and taking a position on all fours. It's easier to hold on that way, and right now she'd really like to stay attached.
As Miina lands upon the rope, Karasu takes the opportunity to move forward and lash out with a chop down at Usagi-tan's back. If she's going to be down low, it's not going to let up on trying to knock her off.
While Karasu shows no sign of having any difficulty with the tightrope, Raien's face is another story. Beads of sweat slowly form upon his brow. Ah, wasn't Karasu really hard to control? ... Well, he must have gotten much better to make it look so effortless. "...Useless."
Since she's already fairly well compact, it doesn't take very much movement for Usagi to tense herself. Karasu isn't really all that powerful...at least not with brute strength, the way she is, so the rabbit doesn't even budge this time. Now he's close to her, however, and she can strike back without putting too much unnecessary movement into it. The less she moves, the easier to keep balanced. She raises up, letting go of the rope with her hands but keeping her feet partially wrapped around it, and sends a wicked uppercut at Karasu's jaw.
As the uppercut comes in, Karasu does something rather unexpected and... drifts off of the tightrope, neatly avoiding the blow as though sidestepping it. But wait, aren't their nails below? Instead of falling to the bed of nails, Karasu's arms are suddenly yanked upwards, as if invisible strings were pulling the puppet along, and it drifts around behind Usagi-tan onto the tightrope once more, before the arms go slack again. Whoa. Hey, that's cheating! . . . . Well, ok, not really, but hey! Those emotionless white eyes just stare towards its opponent, and Karasu waits patiently.
It takes a bit of effort, but Usagi-tan manages to turn around on the rope without spilling herself down onto the nails below. She had actually been wondering why Karasu was even bothering with the rope, since she knew he could float like that. Well, whatever the reason, he's back in range now. The rabbit steps forward just to close the distance, then hauls back one foot before rocketing it at Karasu, trying to kick him right back off the rope.
The attack comes in, and Karasu is punted a good three inches, off of the rope, and towards the unguarded area. However, rather than falling onto the bed of nails, those arms shoot right back up, and Karasu hangs from those 'invisible strings', not moving back in for an attack, but rather watching its opponent.
Raien shakes his head. So much for the illusion of suspense and danger. Ah well, at least this option is available to him. If he's going to ruin the suspense, he might as well do it nice and well. Karasu just hangs there for many moments, not doing much of anything.
Well, this could be a dangerous idea, but then again, lots of things are dangerous. Entering the layer with Chimera, for instance. Never stops Usagi-tan, though. She jumps up high off of the rope, flipping in the air to try and pull the same heel drop maneuver she had done before. Perhaps this time it'll work a little better...but knowing Karasu, probably not. Worth a try, anyway.
The hit comes in, slightly cleaner than before, but still without doing much damage, as one might expect of Karasu. The angel twitches in the air, but doesn't fall, its head simply lolling around and back. It floats there once more, just waiting for Usagi-tan to land and make another attack, for now.
Once again, as soon as she connects Usagi-tan kicks off of Karasu to flip back onto the rope. He might not need it, but she still does. Bunnies aren't really known for their ability to fly. Jumping, however...now, that one we're used to. Since Karasu's being so nice and holding still for her, Usagi-tan once again jumps up off of the rope to close the distance to the hovering marionette. Weaponless, she relies on her second best bet...a fierce kick aimed at Karasu's chest.
And Karasu /is/ being nice. So nice, in fact, that it doesn't even move as Usagi-tan comes in for an attack. At least, not until the moment the attack hits, and then it drops straight down, the attack barely grazing it. It looks as though it will fall to the bed of nails, but at the last moment, it swoops back and to the side, making a beeline for, and succesfully clotheslining itself upon the tightrope. So there it hangs.. ... ... by its chin.
Dangerous tactic indeed. Barely scratched her opponent, and now Usagi-tan has to try and once again shift around in the air. She manages to grab onto that cloak of Karasu's and holds tight until he gets back to the rope, then scrambles up his back and over his shoulders and head to safety. Of course, a bunny as strong as she is clambering all over one's back can't feel too good.
As Usagi-tan moves all around Karasu, clambering over it and whatnot, the angel makes her life much more difficult by twisting and contorting in bizarre fashions. For example, stepping on its hip, causes it to cave in, bending backwards in an unexpected manner. The same for its elbows, and after a moment, it whirls about, attempting to simeultaneously drop Usagi-tan onto the ropes, and beat the other angel with an oddly bent arm. Fall! Fall!
It seems Usagi-tan is as quick to adapt as Karasu is bendy. It's a good thing, too, because those nails don't really look all that inviting. She somehow manages to get safely back up onto the rope and twist out of the way of his flailing arm, all in one motion. Since he's so close, however, and she's already practically laying down across the rope, she smashes up at him with a furred foot, trying once again to launch him into the air.
As Karasu is kicked at, the angel's mouth opens, and sonic waves SLAM outward from it, forcing Miina's angel back down against the tight rope, practically throwing it off all on their own, and nearly neutralizing the impact entirely. And then it comes. A hooking kick. Karasu brings a foot out in an arc to slam down upon Usagi-tan without hesitation, intending to knock the other angel off the rope, as always.
The little rabbit gets knocked off balance by the waves of sound, but she recovers quickly enough to roll backwards over the rope and out of the way of Karasu's kick. For the first time in this match, Usagi-tan doesn't strike at Karasu when she has the opportunity. Instead, she scrambles further along the rope, getting a little bit of distance between herself and her opponent. That last one was a bit too close for comfort.
Miina's angel positions itself far from the puppet, but not far enough. Karasu lurches forward before moving around into a spin, twin hook kicks lancing out towards Usagi-tan's scrambling form, intending to quite simply slam down into her so hard that she slips off. A silly notion, but then, we're talking about a puppet and a rabbit dueling upon a tight rope over a bed of nails. Realism is quite optional, here.
Usagi-tan slips from the rope, knocked too much off balance to remain clinging to it. At least luck is with her...her carrot breaks her fall. Not that landing on a giant chunk of lead is very comfortable, but it's better than nails. Now that she's down among them, however, it's much easier to find places to put her feet and stand so that she can retrieve her beloved weapon. Carrot in hand, she jumps back up at the rope, not bothering to even try and grab it. Instead, she just stabs out at Karasu with the weapon's tip, aiming for the marionette's chest.
As is often the case, that spearing tactic of Usagi-tan's penetrates Karasu's guard, but not by much. Still, the angel collapses onto the rope, dangling only by the simple fact that half of it is on either side of the surface, and looks up towards Usagi-tan with uncaring and unblinking white eyes.
Raien shakes his head, meanwhile, and makes a tiny 'tsk'ing sound. Karasu lurches back upwards towards Usagi-tan with another kick, but there's less force in it this time, and Raien just continues shaking his head.
Despite the kick having less force behind it, it seems that Usagi-tan wasn't exactly expecting this one. She takes it hard, but manages to grab onto Karasu's foot before he can jerk it away. Despite her being smaller and lighter than Karasu, she uses her carrot as leverage by holding it out behind herself a bit as she tries to pick up the puppet. Once she has him in hand, she'll fling him forcefully down at the ground below, trying to impale him on so many nails. Normally, she isn't half as ruthless...but he's been trying to knock /her/ down the entire match, so fair's fair.
Miina's attempt meets with un-mistakable success, and Karasu is quite simply slammed down onto the bed of nails. What's rather disturbing about it is that the nails themselves all seem to bend in the wrong direction, even as black tears flow from out of Karasu's eyes. Apparently it was the slam that got it, not the nails. Creepy.
Raien takes off his visor and shakes his head, tsk'ing. He realized where he'd made a few mistakes, gotten careless, but he also realized that Miina had grown ever so slightly better than him at this. Well, that's what he gets for not practicing more, he supposes.
"Chibi Usagi-tan... WIN!" The crowd erupts as the lights all focus upon Chibi-Usagi tan and her Deus, Miina, and the announcer's voice echoes over the din.
Despite another victory on the tournament layer, Miina doesn't really seem all that thrilled. She pulls off her visor, taking a moment to disentangle it from her hair, then lowers her chair back down so that she pick up her exhausted angel. She moves then to Raien's side and offers an odd sort of concerned smile. "Is...Is Karasu okay?"
As the chairs lower, and Raien leaves it to collect Karasu, Miina comes up to him, and he shakes his head for a moment, letting that impassive game mask dissipate... and... for once.. in full view of the cameras no less... he smiles. Wait, he smiles? "Yeah, only minor damage. Nothing to worry about." He bows his head slightly to Miina, and speaks again. "Good match, Akaki-san." Unlike with Ranmaru, whereas Raien was simply dissatisfied with the fight in general, Miina had managed to make it actually /end/, and Raien can always appreciate that. After raising his head again, Raien's smile fades a little, and he gives Miina a long, momentary stare, nods his head, and heads off to the waiting room. "Don't forget to smile at your fans." There's a slightly teasing tone in that... but it's not malicious.
The little girl smiles, relieved that her angel hadn't really hurt Raien's and also surprised at his own smile. She returns his slight bow with one of her own, then blushes at his next comment. Flustered, she turns around to look at the crowds, smiling a little sheepishly and offering a wave. Whether he was teasing her or not, he's right. They cheered for her and Usagi-tan...it's only right that she thank them for it.
From the arena stands, you hear a male voice shouting, "Good job Miina-han! You too Raien-han!"