The day for the tournament had arrived. Tomoe isn't sure what she had expected, but it . . . wasn't this. This is all just . . . huge. Really, really huge. A giant stadium, large crowds - she knew these matches would be televised, and would draw quite a bit of attention, but this . . . She's really starting to regret signing up. She's nervous - why is she nervous? She's never nervous . . . it's all just too much . . .  

Tomoe is seated at the very end of that long purple bench, her back straight, feet flat on the ground - a stiff pose, for certain. Her head is bowed, her hair obscuring her face, helping to hide at least some of the nervousness that she knows is far too apparent. Chimera rests on her lap, curled up slightly so as to appear asleep. One of Tomoe's hands rests at his side, partially tucked under that single wing, while the other hovers over his back, shaking just slightly as fingertips trace over the boney ridge on his back. 

Walking in not long before the match was due to start, Fukata seems quite casual about the whole affair by comparison. He walks up to the end of the room and sits across from Tomoe, smiling and giving her a nod, "Inugata-san, is it?" he asks, striking up a conversation with the girl who seems awfully tense. "I'm going to guess this is your first tournament, ne?" he grins at her. 

Tomoe raises her head just slightly, just enough to peer over at Fukata through that thick veil of her hair. She doesn't actually say anything, but her jaw tenses, then she looks back down to Chimera. She doesn't know that she /could/ say anything, really. She's going to be out there, in front of all those people - no, mustn't think about that. She has no problem at the Piffle Princess, even when crowds gather - just . . . just pretend this is the Piffle. They'll be watching Chimera, not Tomoe - Chimera does not mind the attention. She tells herself all of this, trying to best to build up her nerve. 

Standing up to sit next to Tomoe, Fukata takes out his angel and shows it to her, "This is Yuki." he introduces her, "And that, I guess, must be Chimera" He stumbles over that word, English not being a strong point - Greek even less so "it is an odd collection of things, where did you come up with the design idea for it?" he asks. 

On the wall monitor, Will miss Inugata Tomoe and mister Ito Fukata please come 

Another glance to Fukata as he moves over, then Tomoe looks down to Yuki. This person seems to be trying very hard to be friendly - she should probably respond. " . . . Hesiod . . ." She says the name very softly, pronouncing it rather well. And then, she hears her name called. Rather stiffly, Tomoe stands up, pulling Chimera much closer, and holding on to him tightly. There's a moment of hesitation, then she turns and walks towards that ominous corridor, towards the arena . .

Fukata looks after her as she leaves, giving a thoroughly confuzzled look. He murmurs the thing she just said to himself, as it it might make more sense if he said it, then shakes his head and hurries after her, saying, just before she steps into the Arena, "Ganbaru, ne!" and walks out with her. 

You brave your way through the winding corridor and emerge on the arena before the thousands and thousands of viewers. 

Tomoe steps rather cautiously out of the corridor, towards the layer. And then, she stops. The areas of her skin that have color pale as she looks around - so many people. They're difficult to see in the dim lighting of the stands, but she can see them, nonetheless. Her grip on Chimera tightens, then there's a small jerk on one hand - she'd been holding the little beast a bit too tightly, and managed to cut herself on that sharp boney ridge on his back. It's a small cut, barely enough to bleed . . . but it helps her to focus. She swallows, takes a deep breath, then begins to walk again, towards the oval chair in the west corner. Her head is bowed, and she shakes it just slightly, coaxing her hair a bit more fully over her face. It's a small, rather weak attempt to hide . . . but she draws a bit of comfort out of it. As she sits down in her designated chair, she can only hope that she won't freeze up. She tells herself once more - pretend it's just the Piffle. Ignore the crowds - concentrate on Chimera. 

Just a step behind Tomoe, Fukata walks into the stadium, and looks up at the crowds of people there - he forces a smile, forcing away his own stressful thoughts about all those people, and waves to the crowd as he walks towards the seats. With a deep breath, he looks away from the crowds and towards the layer, climbs onto his seat, and settles into it. "Third time lucky..." he says to himself, with a wry smile. 

As the seat both rise up to the layer, the announcer's seat does so too. He actually rises even further up, to make his job easier. "Welcome to the Kobe Stadium, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! Today we are sure to see some fine players show their best for us in this Angelic Layer Tournament!" The crowd begins to applaud loudly, and here and there people begin to call out for either players' names.  

"And now, let me introduce this mornings first contestants! In the West corner... miss Inugata Tomoe! With her angel... CHIMERA!" The crowd begins to cheer once again. Big spotlights that had been dancing around the arena all focus on the girl. Somewhere in the left corner there is a pair of kids who have a banner with a somewhat badly drawn image of Chimera. Written on that banner: Khimerau! Go go!" The spotlights begin to dance again as Tomoe's image comes up on the top board. "Surely we can expect big things from this young lady, who won the recent Round Robin tournament at the Piffle Princess." 

"And in the East corner, we have a old returning player who has always gotten far in these qualifier matches. It is Ito Fukata! With his lovely angel, YUKI!" A few girls let out a fangirlish cry in the crowd, or were it guys? Its hard to say. The spotlights make their way to Fukata. "Everybody loves the strange antics of this young man's angel. And I'm sure we'll see more today!"  

The announcer's seat rises further up and a little back, the lights start dancing around again and the top board now also shows Fukata's face. "Alright... dueses! Fall in your angels!" 

Tomoe tenses quite a bit as the spotlight settles upon her. Her eyes close tightly, her head bowing slightly more, as she waits for the light pass. Once attention is directed to Fukata, she looks towards the layer. Concentrate. There is nothing but the layer. Ignore the crowds - ignore the noise. Concentrate on Chimera. Don't freeze up. There's a small, somewhat weak nod, then she holds her bestial angel out. " . . . It's . . . hunting time, Chimera . . ." Her voice is far from strong - she's having some trouble getting her entry phrase out. " . . . Fall in . . ." With a somewhat shakey hand, she throws Chimera onto the layer.  

As Chimera crosses the layer barrier, that single wing shoots out, flapping once to delay his fall for just a moment. The throw was off a bit - it appears that the beast may fall into the faceless mob around the stage. Another flap of that massive wing pushes him close enough to claw at one of the heavy curtains with that gnarled talon, and Chimera pulls himself over just enough to land at the edge of the stage - although he brings that curtain down with him. Billowy red fabric falls over the beast, threatening to tangle about it, and Chimera growls a low, rumbling noise as he struggles to free himself. Finally, he stands upon the fallen curtain, all three heads held a bit low, tripple-split tail swaying annoyedly, single wing held out just slightly. As he waits for the appearance of his opponent (who will most certainly fall in with infinitely more grace than he did), Chimera continues to growl.. 

Fukata starts blushing a little at the squeeing fans, and trying very hard to hide it with a bigger smile, Fukata holds his angel in his hand, and looking around all the crowds, he closes his eyes and holds her to his chest, begining his fallin phrase, clearly and calmly. "Even in the impossible, let us not accept defeat. Ikke! Yuki!" and with that he looses his angel towards the layer scenery. She turns in the air, and as she reaches the barrier, her eyes and his open in unison, a clear focus visible in both. She rights herself and falls to the layer scenery, landing nimbly into a crouch in the midst of the very cluttered layer. She looks around with wonder, "Ooh a new one, and with lots of things, too." Yuki says, taking the full area of the scenery in before she eyes her opponent. She looks once, then looks again, trying to take in the rather large number of limbs she needs to evade. "Eetto - are you sure you're not ... three angels stuck together? Because I'm not sure that's fair odds." she bows to Chimera, and readies herself for the announcer to call the beginning of the match?. 

"It seems our contestants will be facing off in the auditorium ladies and gentlemen. Be careful with flying around too much, and be sure to not anger the crowd. They might start throwing rotten tomatoes!" The announcer pauzes for a moment. "Alright, then this is what we were all waiting for!" The spotlights all converge on the layer. "Angelic... FIGHT!" The timer starts! 

Throughout the announcement, Tomoe remains very still, her attention fully focused on the layer. Still, her hair remains slightly over the visor, even though it's usually pushed back rather more when she wears and Angelic Layer headset - she's still trying to hide. It's difficult to completely block out the noise of the crowds, even if she can't see them in this lighting. Chimera - focus on Chimera. The beast's muscles ripple slightly as he tenses and relaxes them, and that single wing is pulled in a bit closer. The two outter heads rise slightly, although the central one remains held low. All six dull red eyes are leveled upon Yuki, carefully watching her every move. 

On the layer, Yuki frowns as the other angel ignores her opening quip, but as the announcer has called for the fight, this isn't the time to discuss people skills. Yuki takes a look at this opponent and decides to work on the theory that every second the muscled Chimera is concious, is a second that could cost her the match. She thusly takes a step forward, and lauches herself skyward, snatching at a cable to boost her ascent, she turns to begin her vertical descent over Chimera, spiralling downwards in a technique she calls out "Yuki Missile!" - both arms extended downwards. 

The attack lands quite solidly - Chimera did not even attempt to move out of the way. In fact, he did little more than twist slightly, so that all six eyes could remain focused upon his opponent. As such, Yuki's attack lands squarely against his shoulder, and it's rather strong enough to shove the massive beast downward, just a bit, into a crouching position. There's a heavy huff, and the cervid head swings strongly around, bringing that massively sprawling, heavy antlers swooping directly at Yuki's head and torso. Those prongs look rather sharp . . . 

On the layer, Yuki takes the antlers full on, with a little yelp as several points puncture shoulder and the side of her head, and she sprawls to the side, scrabbling to stay on the stage, with the arms of the rioting crowd so close. She rolls back to her feet and away from the crowd, looking at her opponent with a renewed wariness, "So powerful, and swift at the same time..." she says to Chimera, "I suspect this will be the shortest battle I've fought in a long time, either way." she charges at Chimera, pulling back a fist, and she spins as she reaches the other angel, and whips her fist around to punch at the side of the least pointy of Chimera's heads. 

As Yuki launches her punch, Chimera twists slightly, rising back to his full height and turning just so to face his opponent. The serpentine head hisses as the strike draws near, then drops low so that Yuki's fist connects /just so/ against that matted mane. There's a sharp cracking noise, then the serpent head and neck convulses. And then, a sudden, thick jet of stickly, corrosive black goo shoots forth from between those slender fangs, spraying out wide. The foul stuff hisses in the air, and eats eagerly through whatever it touches. Much of it dissolves that felled curtain, and much more sprays out over the mob below - and even more finds its way to Yuki. The beast tenses as soon as the jet is freed, and leaps further into the stage. Once away from the edge, he turns, growling low, snarling, and watching for Yuki's next move. 

On the layer, Yuki leaps backwards, recoiling from the acidic spray, and tears down another curtain with a quick tug, wiping herself clean as quickly as possible. Then, no longer in immediate danger of melting, she takes to the sky, leaping up and finding a cable to hang upon while she tries to work out how to attack the chimera without getting another faceful of pain. 

In the audience, you hear a male voice shouting, "Iko~! Yuki!" 

Those six dull red eyes remain focused on Yuki as she hops up into the cables. Chimera growls, then charges. At the last moment, he leaps towards that cable, grabbing on to it with the wide maw of his central head. He's too far away from Yuki to attack her directly, but his jaws lock solidly onto the cable, twisting and turning violently in an attempt to wrench the cable - and the daintly little angel hanging from it - down. With his massive weight, it shouldn't be difficult to pull the cable free. If it happens to be secured well enough to remain, the shaking should at least be something of a bother to Yuki-chan. 

On the layer, Yuki eeps as the cable is wrenched free from the roof, and it is only with a quick change of momentum that she avoids landing directly in Chimera's lap. She instead lands a few steps in front of him, and she waves, "Hello again. Miss me?" She asks, then she takes an offensive stance, and her image begins to blur, even though she seems to be standing still, suddenly, a ghost image of Yuki appears, attacking Chimera from behind with a roundhouse kick, it lasts only for a fraction of a second, and the whole time, Yuki still seems to be standing still, flickering a little like a broken tv. 

The attack strikes Chimera squarely on the side of the central head. There's a sudden, sharp snapping, cracking sound, and the beast falls over to the side. And then, with a rough tremble, he rises back to his feet, growling with those outter two heads as the central head hangs limp. The beast crouches, then rears, swinging that massive forepaw towards Yuki's head. 

On the layer, Yuki waits for the attack to near her, then neatly steps to the side, and the paw passes through her flickering form, manouvering to stand close to Chimera's side. Yuki reaches out to grab hold of Chimera, whichever handhold, limb or antler was nearest, and if she manages to get hold, starts to swing Chimera round in a circle groaning with the effort of lifting such a large thing, she swings around and around before letting go, and releasing Chimera towards the crowd in a high arc. 

As Yuki grabs hold of Chimera and lifts him into the air (an impressive feat, indeed, given the beast's massive weight) the beast's tail coils around her pretty little arm, and he twists and struggles. As Yuki lets go, that tail coils all the more tightly, preventing any but the very shortest of distances - Chimera lands almost directly in front of the pretty little angel. It's not a great toss, but something within the great beast snaps. Perhaps it was the force of the throw, or perhaps (more likely) something was set to a near-break from that last attack, and the throw snapped it altogether. Whatever the cause, the beast convulses in death throws. Those outer two heads twist and snap, convulsing as they slap against the stage. Chimera's feet claw at the air, snatching and grabbing at nothing, and his single massive wing slams up and down. That tail, still coiled about Yuki's arm, pulls with very impressive strength, dragging her towards the convulsing beast. Chimera may be brought down, but to get caught amid his dying convulsions would bring impressive pains to the dainty little beauty, as well. 

With a confused and frustrated look, Fukata glances up at the life meter on the opposing angel - "It shouldn't have survived that..." he exclaims, while his angel is helpless to free herself from the tail's powerful grip. She attempts to hold onto something to stop her progress, but the stage is filled with mobile objects, none of which provide the slightest of purchase. Yuki is pulled under the huge angel, and his flailing causes more damage than any one of the attacks previously, and both of the angels lie still. The buzzer sounds, and it's not clear which angel has won, or even if it was a draw... 

"...." The Announcer seems to stare intently at the counter as both angels drop to 0. "Ehhh... please hold on a moment people." The screen flashes for a moment and sets to 'Damage Counting' in bad engrish. It keeps flashes for a moment, and the crowd dies down. The entire stadium becomes quiet... people are holding their breaths. The announcer places two fingers against his headphone, intently listening to any information. Then suddenly the spotlights die out and people begin to cheer loudly! "Chimera WIN!" Tomoe's picture appears in a big format on all the screens with next to her an image of her angel and in big red flashing letters: 'WIN'. "My, that was unexpected! For a moment it would seem that Yuki's incredible speed would dominate this match, but miss Inugata turned everything around in a mere second! This is not something you see every day, ladies and gentlemen!" 

Tomoe simply continues to stare at the layer. She's breathing a bit heavily - she was able to focus her attention, after all, but now that Chimera's lying still, she can see the lights, and hear the crowds. It takes her a while longer, however, to notice that she's just been declared the winner. There's a slight tensing of her jaw as she waits for her chair to descend. As soon as it's close enough to the ground, she'll collect Chimera, and get out of the arena as quickly as possible, without outright running. As soon as she can get away from all this attention, the better. The waiting room will be ever so much less . . . nerve-racking. 

Still a little shocked that he had went from being confident in his victory, to having lost the match in a single second. Fukata reaches into the layer to retrieve his angel, and his chair lowers to the arena floor - he walks, looking a little dejected, out into the waiting room. 

You return back to the waiting room. 

On the wall monitor, "Alright ladies and gentlemen. Its time for you all to go out and have a little break. In about twenty minutes, we'll have the match between the Layer Phantom and Misaka Keiichi!" 

As soon as Tomoe is back in the quiet of the waiting room, she slumps onto the bench, holding Chimera close to her chest and breathing deeply. She doesn't look like someone giddy over a win - she looks more like someone who's just managed to escape from an intense fear. In some way, that fits rather well - she /hates/ the attention. And she knows that the more she wins, the more attention she'll receive . . . so much like that last tournament. She shouldn't have signed up . . . but . . . she was asked to. Deep breaths, and her attention returns to Chimera. She needs to see to his maintenace. She didn't get off his signature attack . . . those areas will need to be cleaned out . . . and there are repairs to be done, in preparation of the next round . . . 

A few seconds after she arrives, Fukata arrives looking a little distracted. He notices her, and momentarily looks annoyed, but he replaces that with a more neutral look, and says, "That was impressive, I will have to work out how you managed that, and I'll be sure to see you again when I have." he offers her a hand, and his congratulations for her victory. 

Tomoe looks up from Chimera, and nods. She doesn't take his hand - hers are busy, after all, and they're a bit dirtied by the aftersplash of that good on Chimera's mane. " . . . Very close . . . " She tries to offer a small smile, but it comes out a bit off, and she turns her attention back to Chimera. The bestial angel has been opened up, and she working on cleaning out a series of internal compartments - three of which she had to empty into little bottles before she began to work. The insides of the beast look very complicated - he's most certainly a heavily customized angel.