Once both of the players have made it into their seats, the announcer's chair raises high over the center of the layer. "And here we are! The next match of the second round of the Kanto qualifiers, and it's sure to be full of excitement! In the west corner," he calls out as the spotlights scatter and recenter on Raien, "We have deus Kourei Raien and his devilish marionette angel, Karasu!" The crowd cheers at the introduction, the same as with all introductions, whether they've heard of the deus and angel pair or not. Even as they cheer, the lights once again separate and dance over the crowd. "And in the east corner...The Layer Phantom and Kamui!!" At this, the audience erupts. Obviously, he's the one more of them follow...though only time will tell the outcome. "How will the newcomer Karasu fair against the fatal feline? It's time to find out....Angels...FALL IN!"
Back in the waiting room, Raien had simply been seated and waiting patiently. His head was slightly drooped the entire time, as though depressed, even though he wasn't. Now that he's in the seats however, with the lights flashing over him, he looks... like he might be sick. It's his second time in the high chairs, and he's still not particularly fond of it. However, as he lowers his head again, and closes his eyes, a change comes over him. After a moment, his head lifts back up to be level, and his eyes open and stare towards the layer impassionately. No emotion can be read in them, and he raises Karasu slightly in one hand.
"Don't die, Karasu.... Fall in." There's no emotion even to be read in his voice. His orange eyes, unshielded by the colored contacts he would usually wear, stare outward as he throws Karasu under-hand towards the layer. That tattered brown mantle flows in the air, a much longer fall than Karasu is usually used to... and then the puppet-like angel comes to life as it passes into the barrier. It rights itself in the air, falling ... slowly... too slowly... down to the layer. With such a slow fall, even Karasu can't quite manage to mess this lending up, and it lands in a crouch on one knee, before slowly drawing into its traditional, puppet-on-strings stance. Without an opponent on the layer, Karasu's unblinking white eyes stare up towards Ranmaru, in much the same fashion as Raien's emotionless eyes stare towards the layer.
Ranmaru had come from the waiting room quite quietly, and seemed to show not distress at all. After all, this was not the first time that he stood before this massive audience. He raises a hand and waves at the people for a short moment before making his cloak flutter in the air and dashing straight at his seat. Of course, this was Ranmaru dashing here, so in either way he wasn't really that fast. But he got in his seat before Raien did, that was for sure. So as the Announcer begins to speak and the seats rise, Ranmaru links his mask to the layer just like he did in the last match.
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 towards his strange opponent. He then raises his right hand and wipes his thumb past his lips, and keeps standing like that while his eyes slowly trail towards Raien. His eyes suddenly flash in a red hue that almost makes Ranmaru's angel look demonic, and they stare straight at Raien! "Nyo!" It lets out a meow.
"Let's have a fun duel, shall we? Kourei-san?" At the same time the Layer Phantom places a hand at his chin and rubs it gently, seemingly pondering something. He whispers to himself... "The moon, I have to be careful. This could end up pretty bad if I don't stay close to the ground."
"Oh ho! What a truly creepy entrance from Karasu! Kamui seems undisturbed by it, but then I'm sure he's seen much worse." How can the audience put up with this guy's blabbering without pelting him with whatever they have handy? ...One of life's great mysteries, apparently. "How will these two handle the odd gravity of the surface of the moon?! Let's see what they have to offer! It's time now....ANGELIC FAITO!"
As the announcer gives the word, one might expect the two angels upon the layer to burst into a furious bout of combat. And perhaps Kamui will. Karasu, however, simply remains where it is. With its arms up and out to the side, the hands dangling limply as though the puppet's wrists were encircled by invisible strings, Karasu looks like a marionette that is simply waiting for someone to pull its strings. 'Held aloft' by those 'strings', Karasu's feet just /barely/ touch the ground with their tips, not nearly enough for it to be standing on them. Of course there's nothing creepy at all about that. Its only reaction to Kamui's entrance is to slowly lower its head from watching Ranmaru, to facing its opponent. Those unblinking white eyes stare on with apparently eternal patience, and it does not move.
Raien's eyes slowly narrow, though not enough for anyone to notice, unless the camera happens to be on him at this moment. "...I see. It's you." Raien had witnessed Ranmaru's 'duel' with Mikage in the Piffle Princess, but the crowd had kept him from really showing too much interest. However, he always leaves his VCR taping the layer channel at home, and had managed to watch it later. As such, he recognizes the other man's angel. Also, because of the first round of the tournament.... "... You defeated Misaka-san, then." As he speaks, his words are even, calm, and without any hint of urgency in them. They're simply... words. No more, no less. "This should be interesting."
"Yes. I indeed defeated Misaka-san. He was at a disadvantage for he had never fought me on that scenery. And Kamui had learned of some new tricks. I was able to keep the pressure on him. Think you can take the pressure?" Ranmaru's voice is kind and gentle as he speaks those words, closing his eyes behind his mask as he talks. In the meantime, on the layer his angel seems to be quiet busy with trying to touch his toes with the tips of his fingers. It would appear he has no trouble doing this, but at the same time realized that his opponent might very well be able to do much more than that. "Shall we then?" Ranmaru nods as he says this and gives Kamui a quick glance before aiming his attention back on his opponent, Raien.
Where Kamui had stood seconds ago now was a big mist of dust, dust that follows the feline as he dashes straight at his opponent. "Nyaaaa!" Its eyes fire up, nearly burning as he approaches. It keeps running and it appears as if he might just try to bash into his opponent. But nothing was less true. Instead, the angel suddenly made a really tiny jump and slid forwards close over the ground just before he would hit Karasu, and in that position begins to throw a barrage of swiping claws, trying to hit his opponent's joints.
The attacks hit home, though, considering the collective power behind all of them, they have less effect than one might have expected. Still, each one leaves its mark, and Karasu slowly drifts back, not bothering to even attempt to dodge or guard. They're powerful, and they do have an effect, but it doesn't really seem to be irritated by them. On the contrary, Karasu seems rather calm, staring at Kamui as the attacks rain in. Eventually, the 'puppet' drifts back and away from the rest of the scratches, where it just waits for Kamui to make another move. It seems rather oddly uncaring about the barrage it just faced.
As the attacks rain in, Raien just watches calmly. His eyes aren't on Ranmaru anymore, having drifted back down to the layer. He's come a long way since he first started playing the game, but Karasu still took an inordinately large amount of concentration to control properly, and for the tournament, Raien wasn't going to let that concentration lapse. Still, he's possessed of himself enough to speak. "...I feel no pressure."
"That is good. I would not have it any other way myself." Beneath the mask, a smile forms. "Kamui." He speaks his angel's name, who had stopped its attack and slowly lets himself drift backwards, away from his opponent. It takes a little while to come back to the ground, and it seems to use this time royally by just shifting itself so that its laying on his back and puts his hands behind his head until finally he's just laying on the gray floor of the moon. "Nyo... nyoo..." He appears to be... sleeping!?
"Kamui unleashes furious strikes upon Karasu, but the puppet doesn't even seem to care! He hasn't made a single move yet, and now...Now look at that! Is this a taunt from Kamui? Does he think he's so far above his opponent that he does not even need to keep his eyes open?!" The announcer seems to be having a field day with this, but the crowd is in an uproar...most of them yelling at Kamui to hurry up and take Karasu down.
There are a few at least, who cheer for Raien, however. Lost somewhere in the stands, Akaki Miina sits next to Inugata Tomoe, cheering on Karasu with a big smile. She knows that angel...she's fought him several times before, and she knows how dangerous he can really be.
There's a slight sound from Raien, but it's not picked up by microphones, and isn't loud enough to make it to Ranmaru either, and he just continues to stare at the layer. Apparently he's done talking. Despite his recognition of Ranmaru, he doesn't seem to be an overly friendly one, now does he? Inside, he knows that the chances of defeating someone whose angel defeated Zankoku is unlikely so early in his own development, but Raien isn't the type to worry about that. This will be a learning match. He will see how far Ranmaru and Kamui have come since the last time he saw them in a match. He'll compare it to his own improvement, and come up with a figure comparing their progress to his own. Freak. Nerd. Raien.
Meanwhile, on the layer, as Kamui drifts off to sleep, Karasu simply drifts. Somewhat strange, really. Having already taken a rather significant chunk of its life-bar in damage already, one might think that Karasu would be anxious to return the favor, or at least attempt to even out the damage between the two angels. This is not the case, though. As Karasu's unblinking white eyes stare towards Kamui, its head starts to rotate and tilt to the side. The only thing significant about this is that it doesn't seem to stop rotating. After a moment, Karasu's head is, for all intents and purposes, upside-down, like that of an owl's and it makes a tiny click before returning to a more normal position in a series of short, jerky movements.
"Hmmm... crowd getting whiny. I can't go and rush against you. You'd catch me off guard." The man rubs his chin some and tips his upper body to the left, so that he can put his elbow on one of the seat's ridges and hold up his head like that. "Kamui, go." The angel slowly raises its head and gives his deus a bothered look. 'You wake me up for this?' that look almost seems to say. But the angel obeys and gets up. It stands there, taking his time to dust off his legs before just... slowly walking up to Karasu. It is only when there's just a few inches in between that he suddenly jumps forwards and dashes straight at the ground in front of Karasu and sets his hands on the floor straight before the strange mannequin. It almost looks like he's about to perform the Rolling Thunder attack! But instead he suddenly twists and turns and tries to sweep the opponent's legs from underneath him with the first go, and kick him up with the second! "I have to credit Zankoku-kun or that one."
Raien seems to have no reaction to Ranmaru's words at all, though he hears them. He doesn't need compliments or play by plays of the situation. He can see it for himself. Furthermore, he's not much for talking during a match anyways... even if Anzai somehow manages to get him to do so rather frequently.
Karasu just continues to give Kamui that blank stare as the feline angel takes its own sweet time in drawing close. As Kamui finally moves down into a sweep, Karasu's mouth opens and his shoulders sag, in what looks something like a sigh, and then suddenly Kamui is bounced away right at the moment of impact, even though the puppet-like angel didn't move at all. Kamui did still manage to register some damage on the layer's life-bar system, but not much, it seems. Karasu just lazily turns its head to look towards the other angel, still not moving, but seeming to take some interest in the slow way that the other angel seems to fall on this particular layer.
Karasu notices the layer's effects, and Ranmaru seems to be the one to realize that it was indeed noticed somehow. "Its impossible." He states. "You won't be able to tire out Kamui in time." On the layer, Kamui seems to wish to show that this is the truth by making a high-velocity rush back towards his opponent and throwing a series of quick punches, each aimed at trying to disrupt his opponent's defensive armor with its diamond claws, which seem to have an eerie green glow about them.
As the claws tear away at Karasu, the puppet continues to look completely uncaring, even though they do a lot more damage on the inside than the pittance of damage that they manage on the outside. After a moment though, Karasu finally shows more than a laissez faire attitude, and a hand swipes out at Ranmaru's angel, intending to simply bat Kamui away. It's not really an attack, as much as a 'out of my face' style fly-swat. Still, it's probably best to avoid such things. After all, Kamui can take more than your average speed angel, but it's a far better idea not to take anything at all, generally.
"Hmmm..." Ranmaru reaches up for his mask for a moment and presses it closer to his mask as he notices his angel take damage once again. "Hmmm." His angel for a moment floats in the sky, and suddenly draws straight down to the layer's flooring again. "Heh." A strange movement, as if he'd just overruled the layer's effects. "And I was right." He states and forces his angel to move back away from Karasu by pushing himself backwards. He makes a series of back flips which begin to form a circle around Karasu. He keeps dancing round and round around the opposing angel... where he'll stop? Only Ranmaru knows.
"Kamui continues a relentless assault on Karasu, but the creepy angel refuses to---Oh, and he finally strikes back at Kamui! The catboy angel is too quick for him, it seems, however. It seems this could get interesting, folks! Even though Karasu continues to take hits, he's still standing strong, and Kamui is just as fast as ever." Man...the angels hold still for less than two seconds, and this guy's babbling on again.
There's no real reaction from Raien or Karasu at any of Ranmaru's words, or Kamui's interesting antics, save a mild eyebrow raise from Raien at the way Kamui lands suddenly back down onto the layer. Interesting, but hardly worth letting his emotionless mask lapse. There are a few moments of silence as Karasu drifts very slowly towards Kamui's circle, that tattered brown mantle swaying slightly as the angel moves. Ordinarily, this would be the point where the angel would thrust out an attack to try and harm the other angel. However, Karasu doesn't seem particularly motivated to do any such thing, and instead simply sticks an arm out into Kamui's path, intending to let the feline angel's circle take him right into the stationary clothesline. Of course, this isn't going to happen, but that's about all the effort Karasu seems concerned with putting out right now.
"Giddy-up." Kamui moves out his hands and grabs onto Karasu's arm. He makes half a swing and for a short moment touches the top side with his feet. "Tada~nya!" It meows and springs up his arms. "Nyaaa!" It then jumps straight into the air and hovers in mid-air for a short moment. It almost seems as if he is going to float straight off of the layer, but then something odd happens. The normally white edges around the layer seem to adapt a somewhat green color, and Kamui begins to... come down again. A smirk forms on Ranmaru's face, hoping that not too many people noticed the impossibility. Kamui himself lowers one arm and aims it straight at Raien's angel. A burst of blue suddenly flings itself from his arm and forms what looks like a large lance. A beam, much like a laser, darts straight down towards the area where Karasu was during his jump, but either way damages nothing. The actual damaging factor is when Kamui suddenly rockets downwards. A bursting, almost fire like substance, shoots out from the back of the 'lance' in the same blue aura-color the lance itself had. Were it to hit, nobody could know what'd happen.
Since Karasu has barely moved at all since the beginning of the match, it isn't very hard for Kamui to send its attack down towards the puppet. In fact, it barely seems like Karasu is trying to fight at all, though anyone who knew Raien would know that isn't true. As per usual, Karasu seems rather indifferent to the attack. After the beam strikes, however, the impression changes drastically. As its opponent drifts slowly downward on the layer, Karasu suddenly lurches up and through the air right towards the feline angel, as though it were being pulled by those invisible strings. It looks like it's going to ram into the other angel at first, but then, it simply seems to stop in the air, only one foot continuing outwards into a kick as the rest of its body seems to be yanked right back towards the layer. It's a powerful kick, but again, easy enough to dodge.
The attack hits nothing, as once again Kamui seems to defy gravity and simply changes his momentum over Raien's angel. Did he touch Karasu so quickly that nobody saw it? Ranmaru just sits there, grinning and has his eyes set straight on Raien. "You will be a very tough opponent in the future. You angel somewhat reminds me of another one. He always was troublesome for Kamui." A pearl of sweat appears on Ranmaru's forehead, seemingly trying his best in this tournament. "But, you are not at his level yet." Kamui touches down on the floor and darts straight up towards Karasu once again, throwing a fierce punch that only at the last moment seems to gain an explosive momentum, charged by some strange blue aura.
And so, once more, Kamui's attack rains in upon Karasu. Yet, the puppet-like angel's arm shoots out, bending backward at the elbow joint to bat the attack away with, of course, minimal damage. Karasu slowly stops 'hanging', and now stands on the layer, as its arm snaps into a more normal looking position. Now it just stares at Kamui for a moment longer, before cricking its neck once. Was that... an emotion of some kind?
"If you say so." Raien makes no further comments, simply watching the layer as Karasu watches Kamui. His orange eyes don't show any hint of worry. None at all.
"Indeed." Ranmaru finally stops rubbing his chin and relaxes in his seat while he watches his angel being watched by the odd moving opponent. "I wonder..." Ranmaru suddenly chuckles as his angel once again dashes forth, one claw behind its back. Only when it gets close enough to Karasu will that hand come from behind his back, in a horizontal swinging motion, to try and simply rip off his opponent's head. Surely, Kamui is not strong enough to actually do this, but he could at least do some serious exterior damage.
Ripping Karasu's head off. There are very few enemies that have managed to even achieve a KO on Karasu, let alone do that much damage to the durable angel. Still, it's not an inaccurate assessment to assume that the diamond claws will once more rip into Karasu. Even so, the puppet reaches up and stops the arm on its way away from it. It doesn't appear to be an attempt to cause an opening, just a simple 'That's enough', and then Karasu lowers its arm again, no longer causing Kamui any pause. Really, what exactly is Raien doing? Karasu hasn't done much of anything this entire match. Disappointing? Perhaps.
"..." Raien remains silent, glancing up at the life-bar, then back down to the layer. "... Will have to remedy that." The second half of an unvoiced thought, the words are not directed at anyone in particular. The young man just continues to stare, as Karasu continues to hold on amidst the assault.
"It'd be too late. I doubt your angel has enough accuracy to actually hurt Kamui anymore. Sure, he can take all of this punishment, but he will be tired out." Ranmaru let out a sigh, shakes his head, and once again makes his angel attack. Kamui was still quite close since his last attack had only been nudged aside, and throws a quick jab to Karasu's head, but apparently did not try to make it connect. It was a diversion! One that would allow him to use his other clawed hand to jab straight at his opponent's right leg joint. Or so Ranmaru theorized, he knows very well that one can never be sure unless its your own angel, and even then there are always secrets.
There's a slight shake of Raien's head, and, while he doesn't look up to Ranmaru, his voice comes out again. "...You mis-understand." And, once more, that's all Raien says, not clarifying beyond that. While the young man is concentrating on the match, his mind isn't on winning it right now. The other angel simply doesn't seem to show enough openings. Raien isn't giving up of course, but his thought processes are a bit different than the average player. He's analyzing Kamui's attacks and movements, committing the actual experience of fighting with the other angel to memory, and deciding where he's lacking in this particular match. It would figure that an angel this persistently in and out of range would give Zankoku trouble, but Raien doesn't really see anything particular frightening about it. It's just a question of experience and control. A matter of time, really. "... One year."
On the layer, Karasu's leg joint bends inward, taking almost no damage as it seems to flex with the attack instead of standing steadfast, and ... the leg snaps back after just a moment, intending to catch the other angel in the vulnerability after the attack, even if it's probably futile.
"That's what I was saying too." Ranmaru replies. "Kamui is definitely not unbeatable. But then, not a single angel out there is unbeatable. It just depends on a person's heart. And how strong it is." His angel seems relentless, that is, until he suddenly lays straight down. The attack passes over the angel that apparently suddenly had felt a great need to wash its paws. It sits there, just washing itself for a moment. A soft 'pat' sound can be heard from Ranmaru as he hits himself in the head. "Bad... timing-u." He states in flawed English. His angel gives a confused look around and looks at his deus... shrugs... and suddenly extends one of its legs outwards at Karasu, trying to scratch him. He was unable to catch his opponent off guard, but it did not make it any less of an attack.
The attack arcs towards Karasu, but somehow slows, as the puppet's mouth opens, wave after sonic wave suddenly and without warning slowing Kamui's attack down to nothing, only doing the minimal damage. The effects are still apparent on Karasu's life bar, but it doesn't seem to make a difference to Karasu or to Raien. The final sonic wave rips out towards Kamui and pushes the cat back. As it does so, Karasu lurches forward, intending to simple trample over Kamui in its trek to... the other side of the feline angel.
Raien gives a tiny shrug. "...I have my own theories."
"Doesn't everyone?" Ranmaru replies as his angel, who landed back on the ground on all fours speeds towards his opponent again. "Well, okay. Not everyone. Some just don't bother." He just keeps smiling. "Well, I realize already I can not end this in a layer out, nor a KO. So I'll just outlast you then. Right?" His head tips a little to the side while his angel throws a simple kick at his opponent, apparently no longer going to bother with a real full out attack.
"Do as you see fit." Raien doesn't seem like he wants to argue with his opponent, nor does he seem particularly bothered by his words. However, on the layer, Karasu doesn't exactly seem as carefree. This time, Karasu simply falls away from the attack, which barely nicks it, an floats to the layer floor, where it places itself into a hand stand, and turns its head a full one hundred eighty degrees to stare towards Kamui, snapping off a kick towards the other angel nonchalantly.
A simple blaze of blue light extends from Kamui's body, and seems to grant him a quick speed boost that sends him for the ground, ducking under the legs and with a kick of his feet he goes straight for Karasu's pivoting point with his claws. "Hmm. Just trying to converse. I hope it doesn't bother you too much."
There's no immediate response from Raien, as Karasu simply takes the hit full on, skidding a bit on the layer, but not moving or falling in any way. Alright, so he hadn't even tried to block that one, but it still didn't appear to have done a lot of damage. Though, to be fair, Karasu is nearing the end of its life-bar. Not something that's very common to see for the puppet-like angel.
"No bother. Just... unimportant." How very blunt. He doesn't MEAN to be rude, of course, but Raien has never had a great deal of social skills.
"I see." At no time did his smile ever disappear, nor did it now. "In that case, I will remain quiet." And he did, his lips sealed and did not open for another while. After all, he had been just like Raien at some point. Or rather, the way that young man was behaving now. Ranmaru let his angel draw away from Karasu, simple because he knew that his angel was done attacking and had given up on trying to break his opponent's defenses. So he simply turns his back towards his opponent and begins to walk away.
Karasu's mouth opens slightly, and the air around Kamui begins to shimmer, as a monumental sonic wave begins to build up around the feline angel. It starts as a small hum that's audible to even the audience if they're listening closely, but soon builds to a rather pointed roar, as the waves of sonic energy crash in towards Kamui, threatening to cause injury to the other angel, but then abate, the roar dying down, and no damage being done.
Raien raises an eyebrow at Kamui's departure, and speaks quietly. "Mou, Uwari ka?"
"Nyo." The angel raises a hand and wags it a little, simply ignoring his opponent. When it finally finds a nice big hole near his own deus, he lays down in it and begins to take a kitty-nap. "Oh... what's this? Kamui is.... sleeping again!?" The announcer seems surprised. "If Karasu does not pull something really fast, he'll lose on base of hit-points!" His deus most likely already had realized this, but this announcer was best known for being a captain obvious.
As it so happens, Karasu has some fight left in it still, even if the angel is winding down. However, Raien isn't going to waste the energy attacking a foe that he either won't hit, or will hit during a taunt. Karasu by design doesn't have the strength to make a big difference in this short time, or the accuracy to hit its opponent. Besides, Kamui had finished attacking. Karasu's persistence shows itself again.
Raien just speaks quietly, now. "... Mistaken. It won't take a full year." And with that, Raien relaxes back into his seat, appearing to have taken his concentration off of the match. Whatever few seconds of it there were left. Obviously, Raien wasn't so worried about giving the audience a show, this time. He hadn't even... well... perhaps that was better saved for an appropriate opponent. "... Thank you for the match."
"A year? Hmm, that's a challenge then." Ranmaru smiles and stands up as the announcer shouts: "Kamui! WIN! By Health percentage!" The layer phantom retrieves his angel from the deactivated layer. "I will be following your progress." The seats begin to move down, and the young man waits patiently. But when he is finally at ground level, he once again 'dashes' off. Which still implies that he just fast-walks compared to other people. But somehow he manages to look cool or something, and gets a loud cheer from the crowd.
Raien steps out of the chair, shaking his head, and then retrieves Karasu as he walks towards the waiting room slowly. "... Not a challenge. Just a fact." Without the aid of the microphones, and Ranmaru already well across the arena, the words stay with Raien, and he shakes his head once more, walking towards the waiting room. Well, that had been unsatisfying, but at least he'd confirmed his suspicions and run his figures over and over again in his head. It didn't matter that he lost. He hadn't come here to win. What mattered... what matters... is how much further he can take himself. "... That's that then." And he heads into the waiting room, and then right out. No need for conversation. He's done for now.