Two matches down. Time for the third. Tomoe is feeling just a /tiny/ bit better this time around than the last two. That still means that she's completely racked with anxiety. She sits tensely at the edge of one of the benches, back straighter than could possibly be possible, feet flat on the floor. Chimera rests in her lap, curled up so as to appear asleep. Tomoe's head it bowed, her eyes trying her best to remain focused on her bestial angel. Her name will be called soon. She can make it through another battle. Best to ignore the crowds, the lights. Focus is good.
Years ago, Mikage's friends had coerced her into attending her first tournament. Peer pressure more than anything else drove her to step out in front of thousands when she normally preferred to stay hidden. So in many ways, she quite understands how Tomoe might feel at this moment, but her own years of coming here have calmed those nerves. As usual, she's a bit late to arrive to the waiting room, having figured out the patterns to when things happen around the arena.
Making her way along one aisle, she moves towards the front display where she might be able to keep an eye on the time until the next match. But the sight of Tomoe through the corner of her eye causes her to slow slightly, tilting her head as she curiously watches the girl for a moment before approaching. "Ne, are you alright?" Her soft voice asks, "You seem nervous..."
Tomoe lifts her head slightly, looking up through the veil of her hair to Mikage. She recognizes her - of course she does, from both that last tournament (ever so much more bearable than this one) and from Mikage's considerable fame. Tomoe doesn't manage to force out her voice - her throat is a bit too tight to speak clearly, anyway - but she nods. It's a single, slow, steady nod, and then she looks back down at Chimera.
"A friend of mine once suggested that if you were nervous in front of crowds... picture them in their underwear." Miki gives a small laugh and then sticks her tongue out briefly, "I think that's a bit gross if you ask me." Speaking to others isn't Mikage's strong point, and thus she tends to babble a bit when she's not sure exactly what to say.
"Anyway..." She seems to take on a quieter tone, "It's okay to be nervous, even I get nervous sometimes." She had been nervous before her match against Anzai, which had honestly surprised her in how quickly it was over. Then again, he had made some terrible mistakes early on that cost him dearly. "Just... don't get so twisted up that you forget to fight with your heart. You'll be fine." Miki nods her head once more, and gives another glance upwards at the screen at the far end of the waiting room before looking back again, "Besides, you've done so well thus far..."
This time, Tomoe does not look up. However, her voice manages to push through - soft and more than just a little weak, and only just loud enough to hear. " . . . Winning, losing, doesn't matter. Just . . . don't freeze . . ." Not exactly flowing language, there - it'd be all to easy to completely misunderstand what she means. But she did, at least, manage to speak. That's got to be worth /something/ . . . right?
Rather than pushing the issue, Mikage simply nods her head and murmurs, "Hai." Her own eyes look to her angel, nestled between her chest and arm, as if somehow looking for her own reassurances. It's tough to tell what Miki assumes from Tomoe's words, but she doesn't seem to comment on them further. "Good luck..." And then the pale woman continues on her path towards the front of the waiting room and the clock that ticks down towards the next match.
Tomoe hardly seems to notice that mikage walks away. She's focusing on Chimera again. The pup has been fully prepared for the upcoming battle. If only Tomoe could say the same about herself. She's doing better - she's aware of that much - but she's still preparing to step out into a spectacle. And yet . . . Aogiri Mikage is one of the most famous deus around. The crowd's attention will most likely settle around her - perhaps not fully, but enough to at least lessen the attention on Tomoe, herself. The thought is somewhat comforting.
There is a sound of a buzzer from one of the speakers above the waiting room. Then, a voice calls in an almost robotic fashion: "Would Miss Inugata Tomoe and Miss Aogori Mikage please make their way to the tournament arena. Your match is about to begin." The message repeats itself two more times before the speaker clicks off. A stewardess stands near the entrance to the long tunnel leading out to the arena, looking around for the two who should be fighting. Through the open passageway, the roar of the crowd can be heard as a dull murmur, nowhere near the great rush that will come when out on the arena proper.
Hearing her name called, Mikage glances over towards Tomoe with a curious, somewhat somber expression, and then walks towards the stewardess. The two exchange a few words for a moment, perhaps just re-iterating some well known set of rules, as Miki only nods her head once. Then, without a glance backwards, the pale young woman makes her way down into the hallway that will lead to the arena, and her match against Tomoe.
At the announcement, Tomoe stands up, holding Chimera a bit more closely as she walks towards the corridor and that dreaded arena just beyond it. Focus, focus. Think about Chimera, think about the fight. She can do this - she's done it twice already. Once Chimera's on the layer, it'll be his show. Without saying a word to the stewardess - or anyone else - Tomoe ventures forth into the arena.
"Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your patience!" The announcer's voice booms over the loudspeaker and a roar comes up from the crowd. The ground almost seems to tremble with the sheer noise of it all. "Here come the combatants for your next match in these Tokyo City games! East-o corner, the White Storm, Aogiri Mikage and Rei!" There is a pause as cheering fills the arena. People wave signs and call out for both angel and deus. "West-o corner, a deus who has done stunningly well so far for her first appearance in these games, Inugata Tomoe and Chimera!" Another cheer fills the arena, almost as loud as the first. It seems that Tomoe has developed at least a few fans out in the audience, including a group of little girls standing hear the entrance.
As Mikage steps out on to the arena floor, she gives only a small wave to a few people as she passes by. Slowly, she makes her way towards the eastern chair, moving cautiously enough that her frailty might go unnoticed by the masses. However, it comes as quite a relief when she is finally seated, settling her strange red-visored, black-winged headset over her glasses. Here, she could tune out the cheering crowd and concentrate fully on her angel. Taking a few breaths to calm herself, she lowers her head and waits for the call from the announcer to begin.
There's a slight wince from Tomoe as her name is called out and the crowd cheers. She walks quickly to the chair in the west corner, trying to get past this part of the spectacle as quickly as possible. Once seated, she very carefully places on the basic, default headset, pulling her hair out from beneath the visor at the very last moment. With Chimera held close to her chest, she looks out over the layer, waiting for the announcer to ask for fall-ins.
"Let's see what layer our two fighters will be duking it out on today!" There is a whirring sound and flashes of various sceneries fly by as if someone had turned a very large roulette wheel. Finally, the scenery stops on the auditorium. "It seems like we'll see another match on the auditorium. This is a balanced layer that doesn't offer any disadvantage to either angel. We should see a nice, even match! Now... you know what comes next. Entry Angel!"
Then, taking a deep breath, Mikage holds her angel out on her forearm. "Spirits of wind and water, soul of the binding storm, will of the earth, heart of my heart. Be my wings... Rei! Fallin!" She draws her arm back and then snaps it quickly, sending the small angel tumbling towards the layer. It takes barely a split second before the angel passes through that invisible barrier, flaring to life. Her eyes flash white for a moment as her wings flare out, catching the air beneath her as the bat-like appendages force her upwards. Two sweeps of those great wings bring her to a soft landing as her talons click on the wood of the auditorium floor. Slowly, her wings fold back onto her shoulders, caping there as she flexes her legs, tail twitching. It seems almost as if she were checking the status of each system one by one. Then, her eyes pale back into their greenish tone, looking across the layer and awaiting her challenger's arrival.
Tomoe watches Rei's entry in silence, waiting for the gargoyless to finish her preparations before throwing Chimera into the fray. The delay gives Tomoe just a bit longer to center herself, to focus, to block out the lights and the crowds and the noise. It's the auditorium . . . again. She might actually laugh, if she felt more comfortable. What are the chances of getting the same scene for your first and third match? Ah, well. Best to focus. Try to actually get Chimera on the stage, this time. " . . . It's hunting time, Chimera . . ." Her voice is a bit stronger than it had been in her previous two matches, but still altogether too quiet. " . . . Fall in . . ."
Chimera is thrown rather strongly towards the layer. He passes through the layer barrier somewhat high, and that single, massive wing immediately shoots out. A single flap is all that's needed to provide the added distance needed to reach the stage - but that does not mean the beast lands gracefully. He slams down into the stage floor, scratching at the wood with hoof and claws before turning to face his opponent. All three heads pull back, and that wing is held out as if to make the already massive angel seem even larger. Chimera's tail sways slowly from side to side, each of the three tips moving at slightly different speeds to make even that seem larger..
Politely, Rei bows her head towards the large beast that stands across from her. Whatever one can say about the gargoyle angel being just as beastial, she certainly does have some sense of honor. Above, the buzzer sounds, and the announcer calls out in his loudest voice, "Annnnngellliiiiiiic Fiiiighto!" Unlike her last battle, Rei does not rush into things. She seems to see no need to lash out quickly. Instead, she circles slowly, moving in a crouch as her hands show a more defensive posture. She had only faced this particular angel once before, and there is always a fear of what could come from an unknown opponent. Her ears twitch, her tail twitches, and in a quick motion, Rei spins on her toes as she walks forward, attempting to lash her tail out high towards the right-most of Chimera's three heads.
Chimera makes only the slightest of motions as Rei approaches. He turns to maintain a facing stance, just slightly crouched. As the gargoyle spins around, the beast rises to his full height, causing that powerful tail to slap strongly against his chest, just below the serpentine head. There's a sharp cracking sound, as of something breaking, then that slender neck and head convulse. And then, suddenly, a jet of black, corrosive goo shoots forth from those slender fangs, hissing and clinging to whatever it touches. Chimera allows no moment of pause - even as the last bit of the foul stuff drips from those hinged jaws, the beast lunges. The cervid neck reaches out, that malformed muzzle snapping shut as it draws near Rei's side. And then, the central head turns, massive jaws yawning wide, moving in for a rather more substantial bite.
There is a creel of surprise as the black liquid shoots out over Rei's body. A sizzling sound and a stench that seems almost like that of burnt plastic rises up as the gargoyle shakes herself desperately, trying to rid herself of the damaging... stuff. Even Mikage seems surprised at this turn of events, her eyebrows lifting and her face showing unsusual emotion for a match such as this. It almost seems as if Rei is paying no attention to Chimera, so caught up in ridding herself of the goo. The perfect time to attack, right? Well, not exactly... When Chimera's jaw comes in for the bite, Rei is still so absorbed in her cleaning efforts that she crouches and starts to shake off in a wild gyration that might look like some sort of weird dance. However, with her limbs flailing, it's more likely that damage will be done to the attacker than the attackee.
Finally riding herself of most of the corrosive, Rei steps back and gives her head a quick twitch, perhaps testing that all of her systems remain in tact. She gives a small snort and then brings up one of her claws, taking a few steps backwards as she wildly swings the arm down towards the layer. Where the path of her talons makes an image in the air, beams of ice-cold light lash across the layer towards Chimera.
The beast is pushed back from his own attack, and doesn't even make the slightest attempt to escape from or block his opponent's. Beams of frigid light slice deep into Chimera, opening up gorges through his fur, scales, feathers and flesh. In a few places, even the metallic structures beneath those aesthetics can be seen. But the beast hardly seems to notice - he crouches again, low, growling deeply. And then, he leaps, erupting into a roar as that single wing shoots outward, slapping heavily down to provide /just/ a bit more lift. Claws, talons and hoof all turn towards the gargoyless, and all three mouths open wide. Chimera is attempting to land /on top/ of Rei, attacking with all four feet and three heads. The tail, at least, is left out of the attack - that is used to steer the leap.
Even for an extremely fast angel such as Rei, getting out of the path of such a massive attack would end up being nearly impossible. The key word of course, is 'nearly'. At the last moment, a black blurr speeds across the layer, sending out a resounding "~Nyo!" in it's wake. Where Rei was a moment before, she simply no longer remains, even as the attack comes down with crushing might. It may take a moment to track down the lost angel, but Rei reappears up among the hanging wires at the top of the auditorium. Next to her, looking her over with a worried expression, is the ghostly form of Kamui. There is a cheer from the crowd at seeing this once more during this tournament, but the angels on the layer seem to pay no heed to this. Rei nods her head towards the ghostly image, which fades away once more. Still, Rei makes no attempt to attack, taking the time she has to catch her breath and try to figure out some other way of getting to this monster of an opponent. Best to play elusive for the time being...
Chimera comes crashing down in the spot where Rei had been, smashing /through/ the floor of the stage. That single wing flaps again, assisting a leap that pulls the beast out of the new-ly made hole. He lands just a short distance away, and all six eyes scan the stage. It's the serpent head that looks /up/. With a hiss, Chimera's full attention is directed upwards, upon the gargoyle. There's a low growl, and he crouches. Then, another wing beat, another leap, and the beast takes to the air. It's not true flight - merely assisted leaping - but it's impressive enough in its own light. Foreclaws and talon meet a support beam for the stage, then hindclaws and hoof propel Chimera away, and further up. A few more powerful beats of that wing are /just/ enough for that taloned forefoot to cling to one of the wires, and the force of the leap is enough to continue the motion. Above the stage, Chimera thrusts himself at Rei. It does not seem an even leap - he's too much to one side - but that cervid head bellows and swings around, swooping those massive antlers wide and directly at his opponent's face and chest.
Already in the 'safety' of the wires above, Rei can watch the spectacle as Chimera claws and leaps his way up to meet her. At the same time, it also leaves her somewhat prepared for the attack to come. As the attack comes towards her, she lets herself drop down, hanging on to the wires with only her hands. It seems as if this might put her into a worse position, but when those antlers come down to gore her, Rei only hisses. The blow seems to strike against something barely visible in the air. There is a shimmer, and then the image is gone. However, this doesn't prevent the attack from doing some damage, and casting Rei out of the wires above and down towards the broken layer below.
There is a gasp as the crowd seems to expect the gargoyle to be impaled on broken wood, but her wings flare at the last moment, gliding her down to land on an undamaged part of the layer surface. As she turns her head to look up towards Chimera, Rei cracks her knuckles and starts to chant in a low voice. Rei rarely speaks, and when she does... it's time to watch out. There is a crackle as the wires seem to spring to life, energy coursing through them. A feeling of moisture fills the air, and the faintest swirls of clouds start to form in the upper reaches of the layer. Wind begins to blow from out of nowhere, casting some of the various chairs in the auditorium into each other. Rei's eyes come to light, focusing her power, and trying to summon her master attack, her greatest fury... the storm that dwells within.
No sooner do those antlers strike against that invisible shield, than does Chimera turn to descend. This time, there is no jumping from wire to beam or similar maneuvers - just a dive, downward. Chimera does not even attempt to slow his descent, landing before Rei, smashing into the already broken stage floor. As Rei begins to chant, Chimera tenses. He's not preparing for a strike - far be it for Chimera to even pay attention to such things - but, rather, for a charge. Central head is ducked low, outter heads pulled back, and massive wing strikes down once to give the beast the needed propolsion. It's a bounding, lumbering, leaping charge, to get over the debris that now scatters the stage, but those great spiralling horns seem to be aimed directly at Rei's torso.
There is little reaction from Rei after seeing Chimera's decent, or plummet, whichever you prefer to call it. The little gargoyle only takes a few steps backwards, continuing to channel her energies as she does so. She's fully expecting the attack, there are very few that simply let her most powerful technique go off without at least trying to harm her in the process. However, she has already focused so much of her energy, that the extra needed to power her ability to dodge seems almost superfluous. She does a small studder-step/hop backwards, just barely avoiding the horns that come at her exposed belly. There is a warning sound, the last warning like a tornado siren that tells you that doom is coming. With a hiss, Rei raises her arms up to the heavens, calling the might of the storm.
There is a crack, and the top of the auditorium seems as if it has been torn away by sheer force of wind. Rain begins to pelt through the opening, followed by shards of ice and hail. In the now visible sky above, dark clouds loom and lightning shoots sideways before finding it's true path, crackling down onto the layer in massive electrical arcs. The wind casts more debris around, swirling them as if Rei were the eye of a great tornado.
Tomoe is familiar with weather effects - quite so, actually, given her work with Eisaku and Seraph. As rain, hail, lightning and fierce winds pummel him, Chimera . . . hardly seems to notice. Claws dig deeper into the wood and that great wing tucks in close to keep him from being pummeled about too much, and he turns, advancing towards Rei once more. This time, his advance is rather slower, more steady. There's a triple-voice roar, lost in the roar of the storm, then a short lunge forward that places the beast /directly/ in some of the stronger gusts of wind, The strength of his claws and the weight of his build alone keep him rooted in place as all three heads lunge inward at Rei, mouths opened wide. And then, Chimera belches forth his own addition to the maelstrom - from the serpentine head, more of that sticky, corrosive black goo jets forth; from the cervid head, a cloud of burning-cold air and sharp shards of ice erupts; from the central head, a blast of intense, briefly burning flame blazes.
In the audience, you hear a male voice shouting, ""Hooo!" A group of men start waving a flag. "Yo-yo-go-go GODDESS-SAMA!""
A master of storms Rei might be, but she certainly doesn't expect the little 'additions' that Chimera throws in to the mix. Startled, her concentration breaks abruptly, the storm suddenly dispersing and leaving nothing but a sheet of ice and water to splash down on to the ground. However, that doesn't mean that the belching flame, goo, and ice that is shot at her is any less dangerous. With a yelp, Rei draws on the very reaches of her speed, pushing herself to her fastest as she dodges between the two like some olympic pole-vaulter. However, all these acrobatics don't leave much remaining in Rei's dodging arsinal. Landing on an outstretched piece of destroyed flooring, Rei perches there as her head tilts and she gives a strangely confused sound. "It's alright, Rei. Gomen." It seems there was some sort of mistake between angel and deus, although what it is... well no one really knows other than the two of them. In either case, it seems that that error has cost Rei her ability to counter attack for the moment.
A lack of a counter attack isn't about to slow Chimera down. As the storm abruptly halts and Rei dodges ever-so-gracefully away, the beast chases after her. He's slower and ungainly, but the forward motion of his massive bulk is assisted by another beat of that equally massive wing. As he nears the broken plank upon which the gargoyle is perched, the beast leaps. That heavy forepaw pulls back in the leap, swinging sharply forward in an attempt to slap strongly onto Rei's chest and shoulder. Hit or miss, the beast should land a short distance behind his opponent, and will quickly turn back to face her.
Even if there had been some miscommunication between angel and deus, Rei is still easily able to foresee a coming attack. With Chimera's slow movements, she times it and leaps up from the board she stands on, landing a short distance away. Just as her opponent turns, Rei turns as well, facing down the great beast and giving a small snarl of her own and a show of her white teeth. Her hand reaches up and taps at the side of her visor, small horns extending from the gargoyle's forehead as she ducks her head slightly. It seems that she's all in for a direct confrontation. Like a bull charging at a matador, Rei charges forward with her horns down, trying to spear the neck of the center head with her horns.
Once landed, Chimera does not budge. Rei's horns spear easily into that central neck, cutting deeply. There's a warmth from within, as of some kind of lingering heat from that series of breath attacks, but the beast does not seem concerned by the strike. No - instead of attempting to get away, those two outer heads dart inward, sets of rather-less-white, sharp, jagged teeth in cervid and serpent jaws attempt to dig into the gargoyless's stony flesh.
With such close confines, and her horns stuck in Chimera's neck, Rei really can't avoid the incoming *CHOMP* as teeth bare down on to her arm. Luckily, it's at least the armored covered arm... With a hiss, the gargoyle pulls back her horns, and pulls her arm to the side, leaving the armor behind as a not so tasty snack. However, her arm shows considerable damage, with puncture wounds from the bite. It also shows far older battle wounds, including a long scar on the angel's shoulder that must have been from a previous match and could not be repaired. With a hiss Rei backs away slightly, extending her opposite arm outwards as she focuses her spiritual energy once more. This time it erupts in a flash of light and a burst of sound energy that ripples out from her hand and begins to shake the already broken layer down to it's base.
The blow strikes Chimera clean, sending a wave of low ripples through his knotted flesh. The beast convulses, unable to withstand any more of this, and collapses. But he does not fall still - no, the convulsions continue, violently. Claws, talons and hoof tear at the broken floor below, sending slender shards of wood about. That massive wing beats strongly at nothing as Chimera writhes in the throes of death, smashing into whatever may be nearby. The tail coils, slaps, and snaps about wildly, each tip seeming to move completely independently from the others - and completely wildly and randomly, as well. All three mouth snarl and snap. It's a violent, dangerous death, furthering the destruction of the stage and casting heavy, sharp shards of wood and debris down upon the unwitting mob below . . . Rei, who stands ever more closely to the beast than the phantoms about the stage, is unlikely to come out with just minor scrapes, as well.
Surprise shows on Mikage's face, and it certainly shows more-so on Rei's face as she suddenly has to start scrambling to get out of the way of falling floorboards and flung pieces of the auditorium stage. With a yelp, she cries out as a few splinters drive their way into her back, lodging there as she turns and tries to get herself to the far end of the layer. It was an amazing, and frightening sight, for an angel to be still putting up so much fight even after the battle was seemingly over. Nervously, the angel and deus glance up towards the scoreboard, confused at how exactly this could happen, but then... at the last moment, the buzzer sounds.
"R... Rei WIN!" The announcer seems uncertain as Chimera still lashes about. "Chimera shows us once again his last-minute spirit, but it isn't enough to defeat the defensive angel! What a match folks!"
Stunned, Miki just shakes her head from side to side. People come up with new things every year, and this was just amazing to her. As her chair lowers her down towards the layer, Miki reaches out and pulls Rei from the very edge. As soon as she passes outside the layer, the shards of wood disappear from the angel's form, but the damage remains. "Amazing." It is the same word Miki had used to describe Tomoe and her angel during the last tournament. Graciously, the pale girl bows her head towards her opponent. "You and your angel fought well. Thank you for showing us your fighting spirit."
It's over. There's no longer anything for Tomoe to concentrate upon on the layer. Chimera grows still mere moments after the announcement is made, and Tomoe bows her head. Her eyes close as she carefully removes the headset and gives her head the slightest of a shake to bring her hair back down over her face. She then gets down from the chair quickly and retrieves her bestial little angel. There's only the very briefest of pauses as Tomoe draws near Mikage - a faint nod to acknowledge the well-known deus, then the younger girl makes her way as quickly as possible (without running, as that would just bring /more/ attention) back to the relative quiet of the waiting room.
Mikage watches the other girl's withdraw quietly, and then simply nods to herself. Some people simply weren't ones for many words. Miki hadn't been one up until the layer had changed things. She gives her angel a brief hug, and then gives a wave to the part of the audience she knows her friends are sitting in, and then makes her way away from the large layer as the announcer begins making notifications for the next match. At least this one is over early so she can relax for a little while before having to go back out again.