The roar of the crowd has dulled into a murmur as the previous match draws to a close. On the screen in the waiting room, a pair of boys shake hands as the video shows replays of their duel. This is followed by a section of commentary, outlining the notable wins and losses during the first round and then some commercials from the sponsors of the tournament, most notably Angelic Layer Inc. It is while these commercials are playing that Mikage finally walks in to the waiting room. Unlike others who might wait there for hours for their duels, she prefers to watch the matches from her seat. Still, with time dwindling down to her own turn, she has to leave her seat to find her place among the nervous duelists.

Nervous wouldn't be the word to describe Miki, though. After a number of years at this, it has become somewhat familiar to her. There were always new faces and new challenges, but the heart behind the layer and behind it's duelists remais the same. So, walking up to the display, the pale-haired young woman watches as an advertisement for new angel clothes dances by, followed by one for refreshments and one featuring a dancing fish which seems to be for a bento company serving the stadium. "The duels stay the same, it's just the commercials that get worse every year." She comments to herself, a small smile lighting her face as she strokes her angel's hair with one hand.

It hasn't exactly been hours that Akaki Miina has been waiting in this room, but she certainly got here early enough that she wouldn't have to be worried about being late and missing her match. She's only ever been in one other tournament, and that one was /much/ smaller than this. Still, she's not really one to get worked up over things, and instead of sitting in a chair and stressing out she's been chatting with the other people who sit and wait in the same room. Rei's deus is recognized by several of the people waiting, who of course inform the others of who she is. Miina remembers her, and breaks off her idle conversation to step up to the older deus.

"Hi, Aogiri-san!" she greets cheerfully, holding her little rabbit angel in her arms. "I haven't seen you since that other tournament. Do you remember me and Usagi-tan?" she asks, looking down at the bunny girl.

Much like a cat catching sound, it almost looks as if Mikage's ear finds Miina's voice before the rest of her realizes it. Slowly, Miki's head turns sa her eyes look over towards the younger duelist, bringing a smile to her lips. "How could I forget you, Akaki-chan? Your angel was one of my favorite from the Round Robin tournament." As her eyes come away from the screen, another series of commercials passes by, one advertising Angelic Layer themed footwear, while another showed a deus drinking Gaterade while his angel did a backflip on the layer.

"Have you been waiting here long? I used to get so nervous when I came down here too early, so I just tend to stay up in my seat for a while these days. Besides, it lets me get a good view of the other duelists." There is a bit of a cunning look on her face, as if this later statement is more likely the true reason for her not lurking in the waiting room. "Do you know if many players from Eriol are playing?"

Miina grins happily at Mikage's first statement, really proud that she and her angel had apparently made an impression on the much more experienced deus. "I haven't been here too long, I just wanted to make sure that I wouldn't be late. I'd rather watch the matches up close, too, because the cameras don't seem to catch everything." At the last question, the little girl nods. "Oh, yeah. There are lots, in all different grades. And Inugata-san is here, know, with Chimera?"

"You might try asking for a set of these..." Mikage pulls a pair of glasses that seem more like a visor from her shoulder bag. "These are made for anyone who can't see the layer real well from the seats. They plug in to your chair and show a layer level view of things. I have to use them because my eyes don't work that well." She holds them out for another moment so that Miina has time to take a look at them, and then tucks them back into her bag. She seems to clothes her eyes for a moment, nodding her head at the mention of Chimera. She's far better connecting an angel to a deus than the other way around. "Chimera is a tough angel from what I've heard. She really surprised Fukata-kun during their match." She nods her head, still trying to get her head around the last minute theatrics of that particular match.

Miina looks at the visor for a moment, nodding a little. That would be awesome..but she'd probably have to save up for weeks to afford it, so she'll probably just stick with sitting as close as she can for now. "Chimera's really strong. We beat him once a long time ago, but never again after that." Miina's rather bad at remembering names, but not with angels. She's never forgotten an angel's name, though its deus is quite a different story. Mikage stuck in her mind a bit better than most for fairly obvious reasons, however.

Miki leans down slightly and speaks in a slightly hushed voice, "If you speak to Ranmaru, I'm sure he can get you a headset without too much trouble." Sometimes, she does take advantage of her fiance's finances, but it isn't as if he has ever complained about it. "I hope I get a chance to play against Chimera in the tournament, then." She nods her head, and then glances up at the monitor again, and it almost seems as if it were on cue that the scene returns to a view of the Angelic Layer stadium. "And now for our next match!" The announcer calls out, which echos from the speakers in the waiting room. "Would miss Aogiri Mikage and miss Akaki Miina make their way to the arena floor. Your match will begin shortly."

"Ranmaru?" It takes her a few moments, but the name finally rings a bell. "Oh, Kamui! That's right, I remember now." The little girl blinks in surprise then at the announcement, giggling excitedly when she realizes what was said. "It's you and me! We get to play together again!" she calls, bouncing up and down a little with her eyes shining. "Come on, let's go down there together," Miina says as she offers her hand to Mikage, shifting Usagi-tan into her other arm.

"Un, Ranmaru and I are engaged, so... I can get him to do what I want." It's a woman's perogitive to do so, afterall. Mikage cants her head as she listens to the announcement, looking a little bit surprised. Still, the surprise is replaced by a smile as she takes Miina's hand. "Hai. Let's have fun okay?" She nods her head and starts to lead the way out into the arena floor. The two are greeted with the sounds of cheering, people calling out the deus and angel names on both sides, and little children waving their arms down at them as they walk out into the light and sound of the arena.

"Lots of fun!" Miina agrees, walking happily alongside the older deus. Her eyes widen as they get out onto the floor, and she looks around at all the people who wave and shout. " looks so much bigger from here than from in the seats, huh?" she mentions to Mikage as they walk hand in hand down toward the layer.

"The bigger the layer, the more fun it is to play on. Lots more area to run around in." Mikage smiles with a knowing expression as she glances up towards the large layer and to the stands that surround them. She offers a small squeeze to the girl's hand, "This is where we have to go our separate ways. I'll take this side." She motions her chin towards the East, and then releases Miina's hand and gives the girl another supportive smile. "Good luck to us both. See you after the match." She waves her hand, and then makes her way slowly over towards the East corner. It takes her a little while, perhaps longer than most, to get to the egg shaped chair. Her movement is made purposely slow, to hide any weakness behind the grace. When she finally does sit down, Miki pulls on a new looking headset, with black angel wings which extend up around her ears. The visor is red in color, showing a stark contrast to her pale hair. Once plugged in, she simply sits back and awaits the time when the seats will rise and the match will begin.

Miina nods once again, smiling back up at Mikage. "Good luck to you, too!" she returns, waving back as she turns to make her way to her own chair. As much as she just wants to run to it, she holds herself back to try and seem at least a /little/ formal...even if she's not. After what seems like ages to Miina, she reaches the chair and climbs up into it, using the standard visor available to everyone since she doesn't have one of her own. From across the layer, she waves once again to Mikage with a big, excited grin.
In the audience, you hear a male voice shouting, "Good luck Miina-han!"

In the audience, you hear a male voice shouting, "Go-go! Mikage-chan!" And suddenly an other group of men start shouting while waving two big poles that bear a flag showing an image of Rei. "Daisukiiiiii! Rei-chaaaaan!"

After the two take their seats, each Deus' respective chair rises up into the air, moving to a stop up in the air, far above the layer. "And here are our competitors for this round!" There is a loud cheer from the large crowd with this fact, and then the announcer's voice continues, carrying loudly through the arena as his own chair rises up, giving him an excellent view of the entire area. The spotlights that had been dancing about the area all come together, focusing on Akaki Miina's seat since she was in the west corner. The announcer's voice picks up again, "In the west corner, we have a new comer to the Tokyo City games this year. The dues is Akaki Miina, with her angel Chibi Usagi-tan!" The crowd is still cheering of course, even though most of them don't know her.

The Announcer's arm goes in a sweeping arc, pointing over towards Aogiri Mikage now, the spotlights dispersing and coming together on her at this time. "And in the west corner, we have a four time qualifer and last year's champion! She's known as the White Storm, Aogiri Mikage and her angel, Rei!!" The loud din of the crowd becomes more of an uproar at this, since this particular dues is well known in these parts.
Taking advantage of the pause, the layer sceneries begin flickering in and out of existance before coming to a halt on a scene that is dominated by a huge hamster wheel with a deep blanket of mist where the supports disappear into. The Announcer clears his throat to quiet the masses a little, then continues on. "Today these two angels wheel be battling it out on what appears to be an overly large hamster wheel! What kind of fight will these two give us? It's time to find out! Angels, fall in!"

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 first, it seems sa if she will simply topple into the wheel that takes up the largest part of the layer's surface, but instead, her eyes flash open and her great wings extend. With a roar, the gargoyle glides down to land atop the wheel. Her talons give a soft click of sound, and her wings fold behind her as she crouches, bowing her head towards her opponent. "Good luck." This is Mikage's voice once more, as she bows her own head and then sits down in her chair, awaiting her opponent's fall-in.

Miina watches as Mikage sends Rei into the layer, then resists the urge to sigh. Her own entrances are /never/ pretty, since the little girl can't throw for beans. Miina just prays that her angel actually makes it onto the wheel...that's about as much as she can hope for. "Alright, Chibi Usagi-tan!" she calls out as loudly as she can, while hauling back to get a little power into her throw. "Let's show 'em how to play!" She launches the rabbit through the air in the general direction of the wheel, sending her spinning and flipping through the layer barrier. It's a good thing she has so much better control over her angel's movements than her own, because Usagi-tan has to first right herself, then try to hit the wheel already running. Phew...this one might be hard.

With both of the angels on the layer, the Announcer brings a hand up to adjust his sunglasses for a brief moment while the other brings the microphone back down. "This particular layer will require the angels to keep a steady pace unless they wish to fall and pay the price! Can they keep up, or will they take the plunge into the mists below! There's only one way to find out. Ladies and gentlemen, it's time for an ANGELIC FIGHT-O!" All of the spotlights dance out into the crowd briefly before coming to rest on the layer below. Afterwards a buzzer goes off loudly and the clock begins to count down, indicating that this match has indeed begun. The crowd cheers wildly with a few spectators carrying their voices over the rest to cheer on one or the other.

As her eyes open once more, Rei looks across towards Chibi Usagi-tan with a mixed expression of concentration and curiosity. In places such as this, in duels that mean so much, it's never a sure thing to gamble at winners and losers. So, Rei takes nothing for granted. Her tail twitches like some feline preparing to pounce on a particularly interesting mouse, or rabbit in this case. Finally, with an almost imperceptable nod of her head, Rei begins to run along the surface of the wheel, her feet trying to make as little contact to shift the wheel as possible. Once it starts in motion, it may be difficult, and painful to stop. Her hand makes a faint movement as it reaches for her headset. As her fingertips touch there, her horns extend upwards. With her head lowered, Rei rushes like a bull, aiming her horns towards the bunni-girl.

In the audience, you hear a male voice shouting, "Go! Goddess-sama!"

On the layer, Chibi Usagi-tan doesn't appear prepared for that sort of an attack from Rei so early in the game. Without even an attempt at defending herself, the little rabbit gets sent rolling over the top of the wheel. She just barely manages to catch herself before pitching over the side, hanging by one arm and holding her weapon in the other as she tries to climb back up onto it. Since Rei's trying so hard to keep it from spinning, she'll surely be at the opposite side to counter Usagi's weight as she climbs, slowly and taking her time. As soon as she can stand again, she starts to run carefully toward Rei, expecting her to come back at her at the same speed to keep the wheel's balance. At the top of it, then, Usagi-tan strike out with her weapon at Rei's gut, trying to go for simple blunt force.

The Announcer cuts through the noise as Rei's attack impacts into Usagi-tan and sends her flying, "Oh! Rei's opened this match up with a devasting attack, but Usagi-tan isn't giving up just yet!"

The game of balancing the wheel to keep it from spinning isn't an easy one, and it takes a great deal of observation of one's opponent. However, as good as Rei may be, she isn't able to quite predict everything that is going to happen. As she tries to counter the motion of the wheel, she spots the attack at the last moment, a bit of a flare of energy flashing from her limbs as she actually leaps off the wheel and grabs hold to the outer rim. Clinging to it as it starts to shake, and then turn slowly, she manages to scramble up onto the wheel, moving with it as it goes but trying not speed up the turn. Caught in the hamster wheel, she glances around quickly, twitching her nose and trying to spot the powerful Usagi-tan. With a leap, she jumps upwards and tries to lash a kick out between the bars of the wheel, following one kick through one opening, and another through the other. However, it's a bit of a dangerous move as she may get stuck in the wheel as it turns.

Chibi Usagi-tan watches Rei through the bars of the wheel as she walks on the top of it, and seems to have been just waiting for something like that. She skids to the side rather than forward or back, and tries to catch and pin one of Rei's legs to trap her upside down in the wheel. Whether successful or not, however, the little rabbit will still make a quick and powerful stab down through the bars back at her.

It isn't easy to catch Rei's foot within the wheel, but that doesn't mean that the tough gargoyle angel is going to be an easy target. She pulls herself up, grabbing on to her ankle and taking the brunt of the attack against her back. Blinking, she shakes herself slightly, like a dog trying to shake off something that itched terribly. Her ears twitch, and she looks at her ankle, giving it a tug. It takes two good tugs for her to fall backwards, landing on her back on the bottom of the wheel. Rei coughs a few times, as if the air was knocked out of her. Slowly, she gets to her feet, trying to formulate a plan to make a more effective attack on this strange, and still in motion, layer.

Looking down at the way Rei fell and the fact that she's still more or less safe, Usagi-tan decides that inside the wheel is much better than on top of least she won't fall off. Out, maybe, but not off. She grabs onto the rim of the wheel with her free hand and swings down into it, using her descent as an attack in itself by striking out at Rei with a furred foot as she comes down.

At least the two are on even footing as Usagi-tan swings down on to the inside of the wheel, but the attack doesn't seem to surprise Rei. She crosses her arms over her chest, and when it seems like the attack would hit her, an invisible force-field appears in the air for a split second, absorbing most of the attack, draining part of it's power, and only leaving a small bit of force left to cause Rei to topple over on to the wheel. As it spins, she tries to focus her energy, her eyes flaring white as she uses the spin of the layer to get herself to her feet. She turns and roars slightly, her ears pinning back against her head as she turns towards the bunni-girl. With a leap, she tries to close the distance, lashing out with her claws. Even if those claws seem to be a great distance away, they form beams of ice in the air. It is these laser-like beams that slash across the layer towards Usagi-tan.

With a great deal of effort, Usagi-tan manages to twist and spin, getting almost completely out of the way of the slashing ice. Somehow it didn't cut right through the plastic wheel...but then again, that's really a good thing, isn't it? Being too far away from Rei seems like a rather bad idea at the moment, and so the little rabbit rushes in once again. She sends a quick smack with her weapon, aiming at Rei's head.

With a yelp, Rei desperately scrambles to get away from the path of Usagi-tan's carrot. Carrots may be good for your eyes, but they aren't good to be smacked with. Ducking down, the little gargoyle tries to figure out what might help her in keeping Usagi-tan off the offensive. So, she draws upon her inner strength and extends an arm out towards the bunny. Closing her own eyes, she flexes her hand and from her palm comes a huge rush of sound and light. The roar of the thunder strike reaches across the layer, giving a blinding flash that follows with a force of sound that rushes outwards.

The Announcer once more cuts through the noise with his loud voice while Rei's attack flashes and thunders at Usagi-tan, "There goes a thundering attacking from Rei, and Chibi Usagi-tan seems to be holding on! How long can she keep up with the gargoyle's relentless assault though? We'll have to watch and see!"

Aw, not that again! This happened in the /last/ match Usagi-tan fought, and those bloody spots took forever to go away so she could see again. At least that time, there wasn't really anything dangerous in her walking path. Unlike now. After getting zapped fairly well, she stumbles backward, rubbing at her eyes with her free hand and trying to keep her weapon held in front of herself in some kind of defense with the other. She can't see where she's stepping, however, and manages to miss one of the rungs of the wheel and fall backward, hurting herself almost as much as the lightning had. With her ears splayed out, she stays sitting on the wheel for a moment to keep rubbing at her eyes.

Rei opens her eyes to watch Chibi Usagi-ta as she falls backwards. Curiously, she tilts her head and gives a confused 'murr' of sound. At first, it seems as if she is going to hold off on the attack, but the motion of the wheel tilts her forward. With a confused sound, she ends up tumbling forward, stumbling, her foot catching on one of the spokes of the wheel. Unfortunately, that also means that she ends up falling right towards her opponent. In her flailing attempt to catch herself, though, she ends up lashing out with her arms, scrambling for a handhold.

Whether it was intended as an attack or not, Usagi-tan still has trouble trying to keep from getting clawed to shreds by the flailing Rei. Still sitting on the wheel, she falls back a little as Rei comes at her and tries to guard with her arm, managing to hold her up and away a little. With her other hand, she stabs upward with the tip of her carrot, in a rather desperate attempt at recovering.

It is a somewhat dangerous way of trying to react to an attack, but Rei simply roars outward and as Chibi Usagi-tan comes at her, she comes right back, using the force of the layer's motion to make a powerful clashing brow. Even though both life bars drop dramatically, Rei is only knocked back against the wheel, dazed but still active. Shaking her head out, she glances upwards at the scoreboard, and then towards her opponent, seeing if there is anything left.

The Announcer looks towards the scoreboard and moves the microphone into position as Usagi-tan goes in for her attack. "It looks like Usagi-tan is running out of life and time, but she's still pressing on with another attack!" His attention drifts back towards the layer, "AND Oh! Rei comes straight into the attack, smashing into the Usagi-tan violently! Will she get back up?" The life counter still seems to be calculating the possibility.

On the plus side, the tiny little rabbit didn't really have very far to fall. She was already almost flat against the wheel, having never gotten up after tripping. And it seems she won't be able to get up at all, because finally the buzzer sounds to signal the end of the match. Miina reaches out quickly to pick up her angel, holding her close against her chest.
Miina takes Chibi Usagi-tan from Layer.

With the sounding of the buzzer, the match is clearly one. The Announcer pipes up, "Usagi-tan put up a good fight, but this round is over. Rei WIN!"

Lowering her head, Rei seems to accept the buzzer sound as the end of the match. To this, she remains bowed towards her opponent, showing honor for one who fought honorably. "Gomen ne." It is Mikage's voice that speaks, not Rei's, and it's carried only over the channel between the two deus. "Thank you for fighting with all your heart. I'm sorry if Rei hurt your angel." There isn't much more that Mikage can say as she lets her chair come down to layer level to retrieve her own angel. She, too, bows her head towards Miina's side of the layer, finding it hard to give any sort of smile after such a match. That is the problem with competition. She looks down at Rei for a moment, and then dismounts from the chair, making her way down away from the layer floor.

Miina shakes her head a little, having seen almost immediately that the angel wasn't really hurt. It takes her a moment to realize that Mikage's already walking away, and she turns quickly to dart after her. "Hey, wait! Don't just go." As soon as she catches up, she slips her hand back into Mikage's, the same as they had entered.

That look of surprise that is seen so often on her angel's face returns to Mikage's as Miina runs up to her and takes her hand. Perhaps it is the sadder part of human nature that made her think that the girl would be upset with her over the duel. Many people are, and in some ways Miki had learned to accept that, so it is surprising to see such a response. "Gomen, I didn't want to upset you." She tries to smile, although it comes out a little bit weak. "I hope we can get to try again on a layer that's a bit more even... I hate that one, it makes me feel like my angel is a hamster." Miki twitches her nose, perhaps attempting to make a joke about little fuzzy rodents in the process

Miina giggles a little, looking up at the older deus. "We were just playing, right?" she asks, making it sound simple. "I don't like that layer, either. It's too hard to move right. But Usagi-tan's a bunny, not a hamster!" She walks with Mikage down the aisle toward the exit, keeping quiet for a little while.