Ranmaru has taken his seat near the entrance to the arena. However, like last tournament, he goes under the alias of the Layer Phantom. This entails that he wears a full black and tight getup of pants and shirt, along with a long black cloak which on the inside bears red cloth. He also wears a white mask before his eyes, covering half his face. It seems to almost magically just stick to him without any visible strings.
His eyes slowly move behind that mask, looking at other people currently in the waiting room. There aren't that many yet as these were just the early matches. "Hmm." He is humming some kind of soothing song to a little kid that was sitting right next to him. The little kid however wasn't so much listening to the humming as she was just staring at the strange getup of Ranmaru's.
Here we are again, the Tokyo City Kanto Qualifiers. This was the second time Misaka Keiichi had come to this particular tournament, and much like the first he had an odd sinking feeling in his stomach. Nervousness probably, he still wasn't used to a large audience watching him and the anticipation only made that feeling a little worse. Still he would push on, having a desire to win this time around. Into the waiting room he slips, having been in the stands during Inugata-san's match with Fukata. His match with the Layer Phantom (aka Ranmaru) was next, and coming up shortly. Since that was the case he made his way over towards the oddly dressed person with a bit of a grin and a wave, "Oi, Layer Phantom-san."
"Yo." Ranmaru turns his head towards Keiichi, stops humming, and raises a hand. "Seems we are matched up against each other. It seems like only yesterday since I last fought you." He pointed a finger at Keiichi in a most accusing way. "Do you have anything to do with this?" There was a slight touch of humor to his voice, showing that he was merely trying to joke. Ranmaru stands up and quickly looks into the direction of the arena door. It was not much time until their battle would begin. Twenty minutes of break went so fast.
The last time Keiichi had actually faced Ranmaru as the Layer Phantom, in this tournament previously actually. Hopefully he could manage this time around. "Ah, time seems so fleeting in the world of Angelic Layer sometimes." He grins a bit and shrugs his shoulders before retrieving Zankoku, having decided to hold him visibly when they enter this time around. "Though I believe it is fate, more than my interference that brought this pairing about." He could play along sometimes, right? "Still, good luck."
"Good luck to you too. I think we'll both need it." Ranmaru chuckles, a match up between him and Keiichi tended to be on very equal terms, but the latter had come out on top more commonly. He planned to change that this time around. His eyes turn towards the exit where a nice looking attendant seemed to be waiting for something. A strange look of relief appeared behind his half-masked face. "At least its not her this time."
On the wall monitor, Bright flashing lights blink on and strobe across the arena. The crowds begin to cheer as the announcer's voice floods the stadium. "Ladies and Gentleman! It's time for yet another stunning match! Everyone get ready, because this one is going to blow you away!" The announcer's terribly cliched lines move through the crowd like a wave, drawing even louder cheers for them. Apparently the crowd isn't that picky about their announcer's lines. "Will the Deuses please enter the Arena?!"
Keiichi seems to follow Ranmaru's gaze briefly, towards the attendant. There is a slight tilt of his head at the other's words, "Eh?" Having no idea what he was referring to exactly. He takes the moment to take in a deep breath and let it go, once and then twice, to try and calm himself. He may have defeated his opponent the last two times they met, but he'd when it really mattered. He hoped to not make this move again. "I guess it's about time then."
"Right, indeed it would appear so." The attendant calls for their names to make sure that the two know that they are expected to come out. "Layer Phantom? Young man Misaka? This way please?" She points at the gate that moves out onto the arena. "Here we go then." Ranmaru places a hand to his mask to ensure that it was secured and begins to walk through the gate.
Keiichi takes another deep breath and then nods, thankfully the bright lights would make it more difficult to see all the people. He thought he'd gotten over this the last time, but a year is a long time to keep that kind of resolve. He follows along just a couple seconds after Ranmaru begins making his way out. "Let's go, Zankoku. Time to play."
From the tunnel that means away from the waiting room, Ranmaru is the first to arrive. He holds his cape before his face, making it almost impossible to see anything of him aside from the white mask that covers his eyes, slowly he approaches his seat walking like that. Only when he is at arms length distance does he toss his cape about and calmly sits down as if he's the most cool thing since peanut-butter and chocolate.
Keiichi is soon to follow, though in a much less dramatic fashion really. One hand is buried in his pocket and the carrying Zankoku as he makes his way towards his seat. He doesn't look up into the crowd at all, knowing that to do so would probably mess up his stride. There were a lot of people here, and that was a little distressing. He smiles to himself and closes his eyes as he reaches the chair, then settles down into it to prepare the headset and such.
As 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 they have arrived!" There's another loud cheer from the crowd at this simple fact, and then the announcer's voice continues, flooding the arena as his own chair rises up, giving him an excellent view of the layer. However, the screens and spotlights focus on Ranmaru. "We're in for a special treat tonight! Both Deuses are qualifiers from last year's Qualifiers! In the west corner... A mysterious master of the layer, The Layer Phantom!"
The spotlights dwell upon him for a few moments, then they move onto Keiichi, as does the screen. "And the East corner's Deus... Another qualifier from last year, Misaka Keiichi! What will these two show us this year?" The screen zooms out to show both of them in a split-screen fashion, and the crowd cheers as the glacier appears on the layer. "This arctic battlefield will certainly provide an interest match! Angels, Fallin'!"
Ranmaru links his mask to the layer! That's right, his mask would appear to be the visor. Red shades come down before his eyes and a reddish hue appears from the outlines of the mask. Ranmaru's arm disappears underneath his cloak for a short moment and seems to be looking for something. The cloak suddenly dances upwards as Kamui is released from its clothed confines and set to Ranmaru's chest. His fingers wrap around the lithe body of his angel, holding it quite gently. "Illuminate the darkness with your soul of bonds!" He suddenly calls out as his cloak is thrown to the side and Kamui suddenly gets flung towards the layer. "Kamui, show them our light! Fallin!" The black feline angel shoots forth...
It goes head first as it touches the bright light of the layer, immediately forcing itself to open it's crimson red eyes, the rest of it's body following quite quickly. It's fur ruffles violently, an effect created by the velocity it is thrown at! It's limbs seem to twitch for a moment before explosively coming to live. Stretching out completely before making a beautiful double flip forth: finishing by landing perfectly on both knees and one fist, it's other arm set before it's face. It's tail lashes violently for a moment before the angel actually seems to 'bother' to get up and take some paces back to his side of the layer.
Kamui's head cocks slightly to the left, one of its lips tilting to reveal one single tooth, portraying a smug look. But this look was not directed at Zankoku, that angel wasn't on the layer yet after all, it was directed at Keiichi. It's eyes illuminate with a red, almost feral, hue. He raises his right hand and wipes his thumb past his lips, and keeps standing like that. Its feet's claws extend far to make sure he is secured on the glacier.
Keiichi's eyes open slowly and he turns his attention towards Kamui and his smug look, offering a small grin in return to the angel. The boy's arm draws out to the side and over his head, before he tosses Zankoku towards the layer. "Wreak the vengeance of the dead upon the living, Zankoku!"
The heavily cloaked Zankoku twists and turns towards the layer, passing through the barrier and springing to life with arcs and tendrils of purplish black energy coursing over his body. "Fall-in!" He tumbles down towards the icy surface below and lands heavily in a low crouch, sending the huge glacier into a slight rocking motion as he does. Slowly he stands, arms crossing over his chest as a small flash of red emits from the shadows of the hooded cloak. The dark energy continues to dance and crackle a bit before subsiding and seeping into his body.
The announcer's voice echoes across the arena once more, as the two angels fall onto the ice. "The two angels are now upon the treacherous glacier! How will our two Deuses and their angels deal with this slippery terrain?!?" The crowd's cheering roars for a moment, but then falls silent as two more words drift across the layer. "ANGELIC... FIGHT-O!"
In the audience, you hear a female voice shouting, "Dance nice with the kitty, Zanko-chan! But still beat him up!"
"Nyo!" Kamui seems to recognize the zombie and quickly looks about to check out his surroundings. The glacier was not a scenery he was familiar with at all. The feline glances at his deus, who in turn just kindly nods back. "Let's do this, Kamui." He states firmly and wraps the cloak closely around him, sitting more comfortably into his seat. It appears that the youth is much more used to the people staring at him like that this year. "Keiichi-kun, to you the first move."
Keiichi lifts a brow with that, looking over towards Ranmaru with a bit of a smile. "Oh?" He tilts his head to the side a bit before looking back towards the layer. On the layer, Zankoku continues to stand motionless with arms crossed over his chest, the passing chill breeze fluttering his cloak out to the side for dramatic effect. He watches his opponent silently for now, not moving to approach. Keiichi was glancing over the glacier, unsure of how to proceed exactly with the slippery surface.
"Well, if you are not. Kamui will." It would appear that the feline was more secure on walking over the layer. Actually, the angel started to rush forwards! One could only wonder how he would slow himself down and stop himself from sliding off of the glacier were he to keep going at such a velocity. And as he runs over the scenery, a beautiful blue sparkle appears. An aura that Keiichi surely had seen many times over now, used by only two people under those exact details. The feline's right arm extends forwards as he approaches Keiichi's angel. "Nya!" Kamui voices a war cry at Zankoku and halfway he suddenly jumps up into the air, digging into the ice with his claws to allow for this without any gliding, and soon comes crashing down towards where Zankoku was when he jumped with its both claws at the ready for a volley of swipes!
In the audience, you hear a male voice shouting, "Show him what you are made off! Go Kamui!"
Keiichi nods, not replying to the statement. He was busy trying to figure out how to go about things, but unfortunately Kamui wasn't giving him enough time. Zankoku braces himself, lowering into a bit of a crouch as he lifts his arms up over his head. The dark energy crawling over his form as he does so, and when the blows impact they don't bite down as deeply as they were intended. After the final strike, Zankoku springs up a bit and uses the close nature of Kamui to strike out at his neck with his hand, attempting to hit the nerve cluster there and get some room and time to maneuver.
Kamui gets away by using the massive difference in force between Kamui's attack and Zankoku's defense to launch himself most quickly away from his arms again, landing mere inches away from the zombie angel. It gives a smug smile towards his opponent and quickly jumps straight at him again. However, this jump seems to be strangely calculated as it stops a little in front of Zankoku. The feline begins to slide fast straight at the zombie's legs, its claws set upwards. Were he to be able to grab him while sliding past, he'd try to knock the opponent's feet away and make a blazing uppercut from behind! And with blazing, one means to try and claw the opponent's flesh off of his body.
Zankoku was not as slow as he appeared, thankfully for him, and his deus was rather focused on the fight. Despite the slippery conditions, the zombie-angel shifts into a spin to avoid being knocked down on his butt. A furious aura of dark energy roars up about his form, heightening his speed yet again as he twists and comes down sending another blow towards the kitty's neck. This time faster and better aimed than the last, hopefully catching him while he is down and making things difficult.
This was perhaps one of those few times that Keiichi's angel had succeeded at catching the 'nerve' system of Kamui's. Perhaps it was because he had now seen that angel enough times to know where to hit. Either way, the angel finds itself being juggled onto the slippery floor and quite unable to move at all, slowly sliding down the glacier to the pit of doom below.
Zankoku had bought himself a moment of reprieve, and while he'd like to rest a moment and take advantage of it this wasn't the time for such things. While he's down he slides after Kamui, sort of ice-skating without the skates. When he closes in enough he draws his leg back as far as he can and then snaps it forward like a football player during a kickoff. Only instead of a ball, the target was Kamui's head.
“Come on Kamui, show him that a wise person always has a backup.” Ranmaru grins. And as if magic had suddenly come into this world, Kamui suddenly flashes in a violent red aura and just before Zankoku is about to hit the 'ball', the angel jumps up by using its hands and forces its outstretched legs straightly aimed at his opponent's head, prepared to knock it off if necessary.
Keiichi's brows furrow for a moment when Kamui moves with his vastly impressive speed to manage to get out of the way of that attack. And the incoming attack didn't give Zankoku much time to respond, dark energy coursing up along his body and into his head. It apparently was a decent bit of it too, as the foot connects and sends the zombie-angel staggering backwards a step, it was quite obvious that it didn't hit as hard as it should have. That staggering step sent him into a little slide, to which he didn't bother stopping. He needed his space for now, this fight was getting too reckless for his tastes.
It would appear that Ranmaru had the same idea. Kamui crouches down a little and gets into a defensive stance, apparently fully expecting the zombie to attack him first. His hands were both set at the ground, as if he was going to dash even further away. But he kept his place. "It would appear we are once again on equal terms, Misaka-kun." Ranmaru grins as he says this.
Zankoku kicks his foot down into the ice, halting his slide as he settles into a defensive posture. Dully glowing red eyes remain upon Kamui as one arm lifts to push back his hood and undo the ties at the cloak, the breeze passing through the area carrying it off his shoulders. It stifled his movements too much, and his foe was too fast to keep it on. He doesn't move otherwise though, watching and waiting. Keiichi lifts his eyes towards Ranmaru with a bit of a grin, "So it seems, Layer Phantom-san. This battle is only just getting started though, wouldn't you agree?"
"Aww, that's no fair. Kamui has nothing to take off and look more cool." The feline quickly throws a glance at Zankoku and turns his back towards him. He raises one of his arms with the hand set close to his body and makes a circle with his shoulder while using his other hand to rub over the circling spot. Apparently he is trying to relax. He stops doing this a little bit later and suddenly... there is an explosion of white snow where Kamui had once been, and he seems to have disappears. A mist of white starts to make its way over the layer and covers the ground. "Kamui seems to have disappeared off of the layer!" The announcer suddenly shouts out. "Oh... wait, what's that!" A cracking sound voices itself underneath Keiichi's angel, and a clawed hand suddenly comes out and tries to grab Zankoku's leg, for the sole reason of launching himself into the air and rake its other claw over his opponent's body while doing a tornado twist.
Keiichi had played enough with Ranmaru and Kamui, and a lot of other extremely fast angels, to have adjusted his sight enough to catch a very slight glimpse of the cat-angel's movements. He was very difficult to track still, but at least it was better than being blindsided. Zankoku smirks slightly as Kamui's clawed hand grabs into his leg, little tendrils of energy sparking out from that impact point and growing in intensity as they raced over his body. Just as Kamui pulls up the launch, the zombie-angel twists about and falls back away to just barely allow the raking claw to miss. His body continues to bend back, at a most painful looking angle while energy courses all along him. Then he snaps forward and attempts to smash his head into the kitty's body with extreme force, hopefully sending him tumbling away.
Kamui quickly dodges to the left, and gets away from the incoming headbutt, landing on one foot! It makes a fierce twist, like a pirouette, and makes a fake attack that had no intent of even coming close to Zankoku before suddenly lunging over him and dashing off to the other side of the layer, apparently mocking Zankoku and wishing him to chase him.
Far be it from Zankoku to not fulfill someone's wish for pursual. He jerks back quickly with the fake attack, moving to block even though it wasn't meant to hit. You couldn't be sure with the trickster Kamui after all. Still using the momentum he turns about and gives chase, zipping and sliding along on the ice. In fact, after gaining enough momentum he even leaps into the air and comes down into a quick slide, aiming his feet to take out the cat-angel's out from under him. This seems a little familiar actually.
This was the first time it worked. Kamui, now knowing how to play it, turns towards Keiichi as well as the Camera and gives the most cute look a kitty can possibly give. He gently licks the top of his hand and a sudden 'thud' can be heard in the audience where a female just fainted. Someone should do something about those fangirls these days. A cute 'Awwwwwwwwww!' resounds from the stands at the same time. It would seem however, that this somehow had an effect on Keiichi as well, loosening his guard. It allowed Kamui to smoothly back away a little bit when Zankoku comes down and quickly extend its legs' claws and strikes at him!
Blast! How could he fall for that? Oh well, it was enough to get him to falter and miss his chance. Zankoku's eyes flash brightly red and jerks backwards, placing his hands upon the ground and shifting into a back flip of sorts. As his legs come down, they don't touch the ground, and instead the zombie-angel shifts into a twist of his torso, hands sliding easily over the ice. His legs come down as he's spinning in a whirlwind like attack, still attempting to take the kitty off his feet. Somewhat obsessed at this point weren't we?
But why would he even try? Doesn't Keiichi know that cats always land on their feet? The feline somehow manages to jump up and... use Zankoku's legs as stepping stones. He just runs in place as the legs spin. He even places his arms at his neck and makes it seem as if it is the most simple thing a person can do. However, were one to look at Ranmaru, one could see a few beads of sweat appear at his forehead, seeping underneath his mask. He was concentrating heavily on this to amuse the crowd. "Okay, enough." He whispers to himself and his angel jumps upwards, and suddenly in midair begins to come down again at a somewhat insane velocity! Its foot aimed straight at the middle-point of Zankoku's spin!
Well now, that was certainly annoying wasn't it? And there wasn't a damn thing Keiichi could think of to get out of the way of this maneuver, so it comes smashing down into Zankoku with great force and sends him tumbling away on the ice, before he slides to a stop at the edge of the glacier. He remains there, unmoving for the moment, but his life counter remained above zero, so it wasn't over yet.
No rest for our zombie. Ranmaru's angel seems relentless in its speed as it dashes straight at the opponent. The fact that his claws are able to dig into the ice so easily creates a great advantage for him. He dashes at his opponent with one hand forwards, and what looks like a blue lance in the form of pure light forms around one of his clawed hands. He just keeps on running, and only at a small distance does he finally lunge straight at his opponent. And what looks like as if his arm just turned into a rocket drags him straight at Zankoku.
Zankoku had remained motionless for most of Kamui's approach, but at the last minute he rolls into the attack and under it while springing up with his arm drawn out to the side. His fingers arced into a claw of sorts and he rakes them upwards towards the cat-angel's eyes. He wasn't going down without a fight it seemed.
It strikes! Something... really really stony. It sounds like nails going over blackboard, and an announcing whine sounds as a sensitive microphone seems to not appreciate this sound too much. Ranmaru grabs for his ears and closes his eyes. On the layer, the image of Rei distorts for a moment before coming into existence again. Ranmaru lost his concentration it would appear. The gargess gives a cold piercing stare at the zombie, as if she were saying: "Back off from my mate, mate." Shame she did not speak, wonder if she would have used an Australian accent? Either way, she finally begins to disappear again and Ranmaru opens his eyes. His angel slowly walks back away from Keiichi's angel and settles down on the ice, looking slightly dazed.
Keiichi grits his teeth with the noise and furrows his brows a bit. Zankoku merely glares back at the gargoyle, rather upset that she had interfered with their battle yet again. He pushes through as she disperses and comes streaking in towards the cat-angel. There was no time to spare really, he was on the verge of falling over, but he had to keep pushing. His arm draws back and dark energy courses through it to his fist just as he comes within striking distance, sending at attack towards his opponent's head with reckless abandon. It was all he could do really.
"Gnnn." Ranmaru finally opens his eyes and clears his ears and is only just in time to see Zankoku getting ready to strike. He puts his entire mind to his angel's ability to dodge and somehow the layer almost seems to /slow/ down a little. Perhaps it was just that last moment of a battle, where nobody expects an angel to do something fancy. But still the effect remains. The angel's eyes seem to burn and just before Zankoku is going to connect, he gets on his knees and just DARTS... no... rockets! He rockets almost what looks like going straight though Keiichi's angel. Its only a visual error of course, Kamui didn't really pass through Zankoku, but somehow in that massive burst of speed, he launched some kind of massive attack.
Keiichi sighs a bit and shakes his head as Kamui fires off this last attack. Somehow some kind of invisible field kept the brunt of it from ever touching Zankoku, but damage was still done and he didn't have enough life left to take it. In the aftermath, the zombie's eyes flare violently red and he turns to face Kamui. He takes a step, and then another before he falters and finally falls to the ground. Stubborn he may be, but he just couldn't hold on anymore. Keiichi lifts his eyes towards Ranmaru and nods, "Well done, Layer Phantom-san." This was a repeat of their last tournament encounter, where Ranmaru happened to be the only one to issue Keiichi a loss. It seems history was to repeat itself today.
"Kamui, WIN!" Bad engrish would remain omni-present today, in the form of the announcer. The layer dies down and a buzzer sounds violently through the room. "Hmm, it would appear that the tournaments are not your most lucky things? Got nervous?" Ranmaru asks in his most kindest of voices. "Either way. It was a good fight. I saw that you had some new tricks up your sleeve. That round kick thing you did was impressive." Ranmaru reaches out and takes his angel from the layer and the seat begins to lower. "I'll see you again, Keiichi." He raises a hand and waves a hand before standing up and putting the cloak around him. And with that, the layer phantom leaves to the waiting room.
Keiichi retrieves his angel as well, and then the chair lowers to the ground to allow him to depart for the waiting room exit. Maybe his nerves did get to him, something, he definitely overlooked something and it cost him. Oh well, there were still several more rounds to go and despite the bad start he felt confident he would do decently. Into the exit he goes, trying to not pay much attention to the crowd above.