"Will misses Aogiri and the Layer Phantom come out onto the arena please?" The announcer had made his call out onto the intercom a few moments ago, and both Ranmaru and Mikage make their way out through the tunnel that leads out of the waiting room and into the bright spotlights and the cheers of people. It is when both of them come out into the open that this cheering becomes even louder. "There they are people! This will be a match to be remembered, I can promise you that! These two players not given any way for others and have no losses to their names. Well, tonight this will change, for one will need to win! And with such strong players as the Layer Phantom and the White Storm, who knows who it will be?" The bright spotlights that were dancing around in the stadium all home in onto the two players, only to follow them when they were to move to their seats.
There is an almost somber look to Mikage as she releases Ranmaru's hand to make her own way across the layer to the western chair. She gives him a tiny smile, and then puts on her 'acting face' as she waves a few times towards the audience as she passes. It's possible that something is bothering her, but reading through the mask is difficult even for those that know her. However, there is no change in the eerie grace in which she moves across the arena floor and towards the chair that waits for her.
As Mikage settles herself into her seat, she lets her head bob forward, taking a few long breaths. It is a cleansing ritual in an attempt to get her thoughts in order. Only when the chair begins to rise does her head rise with it, looking across towards her opponent, her fiance, her beloved. It would be a difficult match, that much was certain, but the strange mix of emotions that had shown in her eyes was replaced with the soft look that seemed to always linger there during matches. She inclines her head, and then waits for his chair to rise to the height of the arena, and for the announcer to call out for the angels' entry.
"Hmm." Ranmaru reluctantly lets Mikage's hand go as she leaves his side, and returns the smile with one of his own. He appears to be acting less like the Layer Phantom now that he has to fight his fiance. After all, there was no need to act in front of her. He takes his time to get to his side of the layer while showing somewhat of a wondering look. The hot spotlights that follow him are ignored, but he does raise a hand and look into the crowd for a short moment.
Ranmaru calmly sits into his seat as he arrives at its side, and wraps his cloak around him as if he were cold and waits patiently as the seats rise along with the announcer's. "Well then people, let me properly introduce you to our players!" While the announcer begins his speech, Ranmaru gets to look at Mikage once again and gently nods at her. "Let's do our best, shall we?" He says softly. "In the West-o corner! We have the White Storm! She has come out as the winner of the last qualifiers! With her strange ability to play the layers like a beautiful concerto of nature's elements and Rei's strange and feral grace, she is definitely a strong deus to be careful with. One wrong move, and nature might lay a smack-down on you!" The spotlights dance over Mikage's seat and her portrait comes up on the billboard. "And then, in the east-o corner!" The spotlights shift and move onto Ranmaru.
"He has shown us strange things on the layer, and was a qualifier of last year's tournament. He has yet to lose this tournament, so who knows how well he will do this match. With his manipulation of the layer, one can expect anything! His strange, sometimes cute, sometimes ferocious, angel also is no joke, and might just surprise you with his abilities. That's right, this will be one for the history-books people." The lights shift away from Ranmaru and begin dancing around the arena again as the Layer Phantom's face appears on the big board. "And now..." The crowd begins cheering even louder. "Deuses! Fallin!"
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 as if she will simply topple unceremoniously on to the layer's glowing surface, but instead, her eyes flash open and her great wings extend. With a roar, the gargoyle glides down to land carefully on the tile floor of the strange, pulsating reactor. Her talons give a soft click of sound, and her wings fold behind her as she crouches.
Normally, she'd go about her typical greeting, but instead she perks her ears and looks forward with a crooning sound. This would not be one of the typical games she and Kamui play upon the layer. This was serious, so it would not be, could not be the same as the matches played for fun. Even with this knowledge, she can't help but give her same affectionate greeting across the layer, awaiting her own beloved's arrival. A battle of the hearts? Who knows exactly how it works, but it is clear that this is no simple game anymore.
"This will be a serious match, Kamui." Ranmaru has removed his angel from underneath his cloak and appears to be talking to him. "We will have to do our very best if we are to come out on top." He reaches one hand up and connects his visor to the layer-system, hiding his eyes behind the red colored visors. "Lets go. Kamui." He raises his angel mid-way into the air and flings him forward. His voice finally raises above that of a whisper. "Show the brilliance of our souls, Kamui! Fallin!"
The feline angel for a moment lifelessly fights gravity as it floats up into the air, until it finally hits the white light that indicates the border of the layer. Its eyes open, releasing a dim red flash of light from beneath his eyelids until he can see who his opponent is. The light then changes to an even softer red while it makes a graceful front flip onto one of the control-panels, which immediately releases a spark as it gets crushed beneath the angel's feet. Somewhere else on the layer, a screen saver disables and shows a blue screen with strange English words on it. Something about an exceptional error.
"Nyo!" Kamui gives a melodic meow towards Rei as he finds her on the layer and gives a friendly nudge in mid-air, as if it were cuddling her from a distance. "Very well then, ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys, cats and dogs. Its the moment you have all been waiting for. A fight between Rei and Kamui, the White Storm and the Layer Phantom. They have to battle in this nuclear plant which sometimes shows strange anomalies. Just be careful not to fall into the reactor! Who knows what will happen!?" A small pause as the spotlights finally come to a rest onto the layer. "Okay! Here we go! ANGELIC! FIGHT-O!"
The greeting croon from Rei dies off as the call for fighting echoes across the layer. She blinks slightly and then drops back into a more defensive stance. It isn't unusual for Rei to play the aggressor, and such is the case this time, but it is clear her concentration is not focused on offense. Time had passed since she and Kamui had played a serious match such as this one, thus there was a need to feel out her opponent and figure out just how much his skill had developed. Her ears flatten against her skull as Rei moves forward slowly, stepping over a set of exposed wires with her feet as she draws closer to Kamui. Her head tilts from right to left, and then seems to settle as she decides what would be the best opening move. With a quick motion, she steps forward, crouches, spins, and sweeps her tail out towards the cat-angel's feet. It's a quick motion, one that is not meant for power, but meant to judge the speed of her opponent.
The feline angel had moved down onto his knees and seems to prepare for a more defensive approach. He too wishes to find out his opponent's newfound abilities. "Nyo!" He however does not move away as the attack comes at him. Instead, the tail is caught! Kamui doesn't use its claws to do so, but merely keeps it from impacting on his chest. But he is unable to stop the attack from ramming him into the wall behind him. A wince shows on its face, but it does not release a sound of pain. This battle was not to be a playful thing after all. Instead it released a hiss, but showed no anger to Rei. He then pushes his opponent away from him while still holding onto the tail and attempts to knock its head against Rei's.
When she is pulled back towards Kamui, Rei only has a split second to react to the attack. Rather than raise a defense, she quickly reaches a hand up and extends the horns from her forehead, causing them to be the target of Kamui's attack rather than her forehead. She hisses slightly as the blow strikes, but her hard brow ridge absorbs most of the damage, leaving her only slightly stunned. Stumbling backward a pace, she manages to free her tail and wobbles, extending one arm outward as she focuses her energy in her palm. There is a flash of light, and a roar of thunder as a force of sound extends in waves out from her hand.
A loud hiss is voiced by Kamui as the strike of energy dances right past its head, luckily dodged by moving aside its head. However, this did not prevent the angel's visual systems to short out for a short moment of time. "Hmm." Ranmaru hums and squints his eyes, placing a hand to his chin. The feline places one hand before its eyes as if it was going to help and stays still for a short moment. However, he suddenly jumps forwards into the air in an attempt of catching Rei off guard while forcing one arm forwards with palm aimed upwards. His claws extend and seems quite focused for a blinded attempt. Ranmaru appears to be concentrating on his angel quite a bit to pull it off, which is apparent by small beads of transpiration on his forehead.
It is quite unusual for someone to actually be able to attack Rei during the after effect of a thunder strike. It is certainly enough to drive her from her usual tactics. As she back-flips out of the way of the attack, she gives a small challenging hiss, although there is little anger behind it. She simply cants her head to the side, watching carefully as she steps backwards against one of the computers. As she steps onto one of the keypads, it makes a few strange sounds, and then goes black on the screen behind her. Rather than attacking, she simply stays in this guarded position, moving across the various keypads, which click and squeak as she moves.
"Nya... nya." Kamui takes a step forwards and gets into an offensive stance. With Rei having dodged his surprise attack, Kamui seems to be showing somewhat of an impatience, but it is kept at bay by his deus. "Calm down my dear feline." The youth whispers, which gets a gentle nod in reply, losing some of the tenseness of its pose.
"It seems Rei has the upper hand in this duel!" The announcer finds the need to point out the obvious. Kamui gives a quick glance at the man and shakes his tiny fist at him before running towards his opponent and just before reaching her, sliding down over the floor in an attempt to knock her legs out from underneath her!
Quick on her feet, Rei continues to move across the layer with quick footing. She leaps over the attack at her legs, latching on to some of the wiring above her as she crawls up on top of one of the computers like a cat trying to escape from another feline. She crawls along the top of the computers for a moment as she seems to think about what she wants to do. Then, a thought strikes her. She hops down and right onto one of the keyboards, causing a squeak of protest, but it also does one other thing. A streak of power from the reactor races out sideways towards Kamui, intent on striking him and driving him into the far wall of computer panels.
The intent is there, but thanks to something that Rei and Mikage had taught him, he was able to get away. A small blue hue of light appears around Kamui for a short burst of time, where the feline experiences an increase of speed. "The force of one's spirit... can be a beautiful thing." States Ranmaru softly towards Mikage. "You showed me that." His angel seems to use this ability to fly at Rei and throw a rapid series of kicks at her... each a feint. Ranmaru counts them, follows them, until Kamui is in a position that he can link a leg around Rei. Were he to succeed, he will lock himself against her and use one of his claws to claw over her head.
There is simply no way for Rei to avoid the attack that comes at her, so when the claw comes down to rake over her head, she closes her eyes and focuses on summoning up her own defenses. The claw seems to bounce off of something invisible that hangs in the air, but not without some damage left in the mean time. With a snarl, she backtracks, shaking her head and somehow trying to re-collect herself, but seemingly to no avail. So, Rei simply hisses a warning, lashing her tail behind her as her eyes flash. Anger now wells up in the gargoyle, as such seems to be inevitable in these sort of matches.
Kamui takes a simple step back away from Rei after having scratched the odd defense that Ranmaru had never been able to figure out a defense against. "Gnn." The young man winces slightly as he notices that his angel looks somewhat more tired than previous to his attack and makes him take a small break to come to his senses.
There is no rest for the weary, or at least that seems to be the case for Rei. She has no chance to rest or regroup, which is clearly weighing on her ability to tap into some of her more powerful techniques. So, rather than any special effects, those watching are treated with nothing more than a strait-forward attack. With her horns still outstretched from their counter-attack against Kamui, she lowers her head and starts to scrape her talons against the tile floor of the reactor. With a snarl, she sways her head from side to side and then charges towards Kamui. At this point, she doesn't expect to hit him, but she at least wants to keep him moving so he has less of a chance to recover.
Indeed she does not manage to hit him, but that does not mean that the rest of her attempt fails. It is not hard to keep Kamui on his feet, and this time is no different. However, as most know, Kamui tends to attack in kind. So when Rei comes close enough to him, he rolls to the left with one hand out to try and catch Rei's leg. If he'd be able to grab on to her or perhaps something else like her tail, he'd try to pull himself up and use it to throw a upwards circled kick at her head.
The kick does not strike against her head as planned. Few of the exposed areas on Rei are easy to strike, and her newly-armored shoulder takes the brunt of such an attempt. After her previous match with Chimera, the entire armorment had to be replaced, and the new metal shown with a strange blue coloration when the light hit it just right. In either case, as she absorbs the attack, Rei retreats once more to her defensive state. It seems that she has no intention of pressing the attack at the moment. It seems better in her mind to continue to play at a defensive state. However, this doesn't seem to agree with most of the audience who generally prefer more action.
And it would appear that they are not going to see more for a little bit of more time. Kamui makes some distance between him and his opponent. "Ehh... it appears our deuses are at a stand-still people! Who knows what these two are planning!?" Ranmaru glances at the announcer, and then back at Mikage. "Planning?" He whispers to himself. His angel seems to be planning nothing, that's for sure. Instead it seems to be perfectly contend with hitting random keys on some of the keyboards.
Focus. Mikage's eyes close as do Rei's as the two try to summon up some sort of energy to start powering off some of her more well known moves. An aura of energy starts to flow around Rei, and a hum comes up from the machinery around her. Then, there is the distant sound of the ocean that echos through he empty halls. She extends her arms out to her side, and then with a swift motion brings them inward. Where the arc of her arms travel, waves extend outwards. The waves seem to be formed of energy and water ripple across the layer. A few of the less protected computers begin to spark and fizzle from the charge, but most seem to stay intact. However, who knows exactly what effect these waves of water and energy will have on Kamui.
Kamui tries his best to leave his spot, yet for some reason seems to be frozen at the spectacle that this attack releases upon the layer. Its eyes widen a tad as it comes in, and is left to being unable to do anything aside from going onto his knees and protecting his head. As the water finally hits him, for a second time the angel is smacked against an inanimate object, however this time it being a console. It immediately sets on fire and sparks begin to come from every direction. "Wo-hoo! Kamui has just taken a full hit! Surely, the White Storm has taken the lead in this contest of the angels!" Ranmaru winces slightly, but gives no way as his angel gets up to its feet and begins to approach Rei. He grins at her, its eyes spark with joy and anxiety. "Nya!" Kamui lets out a cheerful meow and then goes into a quick forward rush, moving away from the exploding consoles behind him and preparing to throw his entire weight into a body-slam against Rei. Not the smartest thing to do again a gargoyle angel that may turn into stone any second, but an Angel's got to try.
It is a strange sound, the hum of the layer as Rei's lifebar reduces. Normally she doesn't let anything hit her or do much damage, but in this case it seems as if it is the only defense she can muster. With hiss, she skids back across the layer slightly, taking the force of the body slam against her armored shoulder. There is a *clang* as the metal dents slightly, but it doesn't seem to do any debilitating damage. Still, Rei manages no form of counter attack. She simply stands there much like the stone-like creature her visage brings memories of.
From that same position where his previous attack left Kamui off, the feline makes a jumping motion in place, and soon seeks to crawl to a position behind Rei and attempts from there to kick her in a horizontal circle-kick attack after coming back up from that position. "Nya!" It shouts out a war cry of sorts.
The warcry seems enough to startle Rei enough to cause her to bolt out of the way of the oncoming attack. It takes quite a bit of effort to do so, and only when she manages to stop does the aura around her become visible. The power that flows through her flickers like fire, but what happens next is another of her more powerful attacks. An attack thrown at her, and she returns the attack in turn. She lashes out her hands through the air, sending blades of wind across the layer, slicing into wires, and seeking out their target in the form of Kamui.
Like magic, Kamui seems to be able to somehow predict the attack. Or something of the likes at least, as he moves in an unorthodox way that allows for him to float horizontally as the blades cut past him. He almost seems to dance past them in the air. And his dance takes him closer and closer to Rei. And when he's finally in striking distance, he lashes out violently with his claws, trying to scratch her new armor.
The attack does scratch Rei's armor, but not to the extent that was intended. There is a shimmer of her shield, but it doesn't seem to last more than a moment. Perhaps it is due to a lack in Rei's energies, but whatever the reason, it seems that she cannot hold up a more powerful defense at the moment. However, that doesn't mean that Rei can't call upon a more powerful offense. She roars outward and draws her hands upwards, each one trembling as she does so. Up from the ground comes huge spikes of ice, spearing into computers and seeking to impale Kamui upon their sharp ends.
Kamui seems to be quite occupied with things other than getting away from the ice pillars. He apparently had just gotten the urge to move about, trying to lick every section of his body while in a seated position. And it was most likely just by chance that the angel just happened to get away from every attack by moving just in the right way. The crowd becomes slightly quiet and even Ranmaru seems slightly surprised at the antics of his angel. After all, he wasn't /that/ great at knowing when an attack would come out. Perhaps it was just luck? Or perhaps somehow, Mikage had become distracted by the cute ways of his angel. Either way, the angel comes out undamaged and when the reign of icey goodness has stopped he is quite close to Rei. He lashes out quickly with one of his hind legs, his diamond claws extended and very much attempting to catch Rei's chest. He however seems to refuse to go for the face or the belly.
A roar of pain echoes from Rei even as she manages to rally some of her defenses to avoid most of the damage of the attack. She falls to one knee though, obviously damaged from the attack and still feeling the pain from the scratches on her chest. She hisses to herself, clenching her teeth together as she looks up towards the cat angel. Rather than retaliating with a powerful attack, she reaches her tail out and tries to latch it around Kamui's ankle. If she succeeds, she'll give that leg a nice yank.
Kamui gracefully jumps over the attack and lands onto the floor with his hands, flips forwards and throws both of his legs forwards in attempt to knock Rei over onto the floor. Whether she falls or not would not matter, he'd follow it up with a rampage of claw-swipes.
With a quick roll, Rei gets out of the way of the claw swipes, crawling across the battered floor. She manages to avoid the broken wires and the sparking computer parts, but when she gets to her feet once more, it seems as if defense is the last thing on her mind. She extends her wings out slightly, and then steps forward, spinning herself in place. As she spins, she moves forward towards Kamui, intent on dragging him in to the confusing whirl of the spin.
Kamui approaches thanks to that spin, slowly getting dragged closer. He however does not get close enough into range for Rei to make contact. Instead he makes a quick upwards jump in attempt to stop her spinning motion at the middle-point of the motion. He kicks out, trying to hit the middle point at her chest, instead of her face, and tries to pierce her armor.
Rei spins out of her own spin, avoiding the piercing kick aimed towards her armor. She crouches once more, staying low to the ground in a somewhat defensive position. However, just because she is staying at a distance, doesn't mean she is any less dangerous. Even if it is doubtful that either angel will hit in the remaining seconds of the match, Rei still presses the attack. One kick lashes out, followed by another as her long legs seek out towards Kamui, trying to keep him at a distance.
It is one of the last times that Kamui will have to jump away from an attack. Ranmaru notices the timer slowly counting down, and the announcer also gives a little reminder. "Just the smallest bit of a minute left! Rei is a thumb-length ahead of Kamui, this could go either way!" The feline takes a little distance from Rei and suddenly gives a bow towards her. "Nya..."
As the timer ticks down, Mikage glances upwards and listens as the announcer reminds them of this fact. However, there doesn't seem to be any last minute heroics to come from the gargoyle angel. She simply stands up, letting her arms drop to her side as she tilts her head at Kamui. She gives a small bow of her own head but makes no movement. The battle isn't over, and thus she hasn't let her guard down completely.
"One last go." Ranmaru warns, as his angel speeds forwards in a quick burst of speed, racing at Rei in attempt to get in a good hit before the buzzer would go off... but he misses! He crashes into a series of consoles just as the layer powers down. "... REI! WIN!" Mikage wins. Ranmaru smirks slightly. "It would appear that I am still a way from defeating Rei." He says calmly, apparently not too surprised at the outcome. "But I'll get there... one day. I think." The lights flash onto Mikage and her portrait along with her angel is shown in big format on the board above them. "Mikage continues her winning streak! Will this be a repeat of last year!?"
"Closer than you think." Mikage replies as she removes her headset, giving her hair a small shake before running a hand through it. She doesn't seem as exhausted as she may have been after such a close match in previous years. She simply smiles slightly, and then holds on to the sides of the chair as they lower to the layer. She reaches out a hand and lightly takes her angel from the layer's surface, looking at the various scratches and damage done by the diamond claws of Kamui. Luckily for her, she could just make Ranmaru pay for the damage he caused. Poor guy. She gives a parting wave to the audience as she gathers up her headset and finally departs the winged chair, making her way to meet Ranmaru. And, should he allow her, she'll take his hand once more and leave the layer just the same way they had entered.
Ah, such is the life of a rich man. There was a reason his angel did not go for Rei's face and chest, though money really wasn't that big of a factor in that. It was more of respect. Ranmaru takes his time to retrieve his angel from the dead layer, giving a slightly more disappointed look as he looks at him. "We were close. Better next time, right?" He waits patiently for the seat to take him down to the main ground, and when there he waits patiently. A few moments later, and the two are leaving the arena hand in hand. A sudden loud THUD is heard in the background, and a few old geezers chant: "SHE'S TAKEN! WHONOOOOOOOOOOOO!"