The announcer's call sets the tournament in motion, and Mizuno Anzai quickly unfolds from the wall and moves toward one of the Layers nearby, standing ready, awaiting challengers.

"Let's see if we can do this again, neh, Rayse?" the young man asks the little grey-haired Angel in his pocket. The Young Lions tournament had gone well, and as for this one....Anzai had it on good authority that a few old friends would be swinging by.

"Soon enough," he says quietly, then drops into the East corner Layer seat. Best just to sit back and let the challengers come.

Tournaments are, by nature, supposed to be very special events. For Kourei Raien, however, they're practically common place. Local gaming tournaments always have him in attendance, and when it comes to the fighting game tournaments, Raien has many of them wrapped up. This shouldn't be anything different. Or at least, that was his thought when he registered for the tournament. Being here is... a bit different. He isn't used to huge crowds, and this is one of the few games he has yet to master.

Still, trepidation is not something he's accustomed to. No hesitation registers on his face, or any emotion really, as he moves towards the young man at the nearest layer, which, happens to be Anzai. Challenger? That about sums him up. "Up for a match?" Well, he certainly gets to the point, doesn't he?

Anzai turns toward the voice addressing him, his eyes snapping upward. "Konnichiwa!" he says politely, waving at the seat opposite. "Of course, have a seat, please!" The young man leans forward and begins playing with the controls on his half of the Layer, his visor display switching over to his preferred configuration...those Angel Cards are something, aren't they?

"I'm Mizuno Anzai," he says, tapping his nose. "Let's have a good match, neh?" THe young man's right hand comes out from his jacket pocket, holding a small grey-haired Angel. Anzai takes a breath and intones, "His eyes are upon us...so let's make them shine! Ike, Rayse!" Anzai's arm whips forward, the Angel hitting the Layer field and shimmering through it, his deep blue eyes snapping open as he drops downward. Pantaloons and sash flutter as Rayse descends, his legs tucking in close to his body as he lands in a hard three-point crouch, a ripple of force issuing out from the point of impact.

Rayse straightens slowly and dusts off his pants, pulling his sash tight..

Raien gives a simple and matter of fact nod in response to Anzai's words, and moves to do just as instructed, and take a seat. "Kourei Raien. Raien's fine." Snatching up a visor and going through the brief ritual of placing it on his head and powering it on, Raien plops down into a nearby chair. After rummaging around in his knapsack for a moment, he pulls out a white-haired angel with a wide flowing brown mantle around it's torso.

"Try not to die, Karasu." The angel is sent flying towards the layer, and as it passes through the layer, it animates itself in the way you would pretty much expect, bracing itself for a landing. Only it doesn't quite manage it. It collapses into a pile of limbs, arms and legs bent every which way but right. It's pretty painful looking, but the life display registers no damage, so it must be alright.

Now on the layer, Karasu slowly rises upwards as if its wrists were being lifted by invisible strings, the hands hanging limply. Soon its feet are barely touching the ground, dangling against it as if the angel didn't quite need to stand to support it's weight. Puppet-like, really. Nothing creepy here...

The Layer shines brightly after both Angels touch down, scenery sliding into being. The Layer takes on a reddish glow, heat shimmering in the air as the white floor disappears and seems to drop away, both Angels beginning on two large outcroppings of stone. Anzai whistles as he peers into the Layer....this isn't one of his favourites.

"Long way down," he mutters, then shakes his head as the Layer timer beeps. "Iku zo!" he calls out to Raien.

And on the Layer, Rayse moves, darting out over the inferno. For all that he hates this surface, Anzai has practiced on it, and come up with a few techniques. His little Angel touches down on a rocky protrusion and drops into a crouch, his hands reaching down to grip at the illusory stone below. Muscles surge and a chunk breaks free, which Rayse hurls hard toward his opponent.

As Rayse rips a chunk of rock apart and sends it hurtling towards Karasu, Raien raises an eyebrow. If the layer scenery or anything like that is bothering him, he certainly shows no signs of it. Meanwhile, Karasu simply opens its mouth as the rock approaches. Just as the rock impacts against Karasu, a loud rasping sound tears from its throat, and a wave of invisible force pushes outwards, sending the rock careening off into the lava below, and continuing on its way to bear down against Rayse a bit as well, though most of the force has already diminished.

"Alright then." Karasu suddenly jerks forward towards Rayse, as if it were being pulled by invisible strings towards the opposing angel. The lack of ground below it, doesn't seem to bother it in the slightest. It spins as it approaches Rayse, and holds out its arms. Looks like it's going for a full body ram, right from the get go.

The next time Mizuno Anzai sees Mikage, he is going to have to tell her how much he hates that move.

The energy batters Rayse, who raises his arms in a cross block and resists it as best he can, his Deus noting the movement of the other Angel. "Flyer," Anzai grumbles. "Just great." With his Angel the only one at a disadvantage...this is not a good terrain at all, and the ram attack would knock his Angel down, down down.

"Move," he whispers, and Rayse does just that, sliding down as Karasu charges in, his body just barely getting underneath the flying Angel. As he slides under Karasu, Rayse's fists jerk up in blinding succession, a hard one-two toward the exact same point on Karasu's body.

Rayse's fists slam upwards into Karasu, but the 'flyer', if Karasu can really be called such, moves it's arms in a strange fashion. They wrap around Rayse's incoming arms in a bizarre fashion that joints really shouldn't allow, and reduce the impact of the blows as much as possible. Still, Raien's left eye twitches as the feedback system lets him know that there was a penetrating force to the quick combination. Looks like this is going to be another one like Keiichi, who manages to penetrate Karasu's guard. Not exactly what Raien was hoping for.

"Joy." Karasu's force takes it over the outcropping, and it releases Rayse's arms after using them swing itself onto the side of the rock. There, the strange angel's legs wrap around the outcropping, giving it just enough grip to not slide down any further. It opens its mouth, as if to speak to Rayse, but only a loud series of clicks come out, and the mouth closes again.

Anzai, oddly, also twitches his eye at the damage indicator. "That's it?" he mutters, shaking his head. For all the seeming frailty of its limbs....this Karasu is built hard and heavy. The withdrawal of the other Angel is noted, and Anzai sighs softly. "Sou ka," he whispers, then grits his teeth. "Rayse! Iiiiikeeeeeeeee!"

Down on the Layer, the little grey-haired Angel clenches its right fist, opening ints own mouth in a silent scream, perhaps in a wordless rebuttal to Karasu...or a means of focusing - for Anzai his mind and his Angel its power - for the next blow. "HISSATSU!" Anzai shouts as Rayse uncoils, driving his fist down and through the stone beneath his feet, seeking to break through and into his opponent.

While Karasu is certainly an unusual angel, it's not well equipped for something as unexpected as its opponent piercing through the ground to hit it. It takes the hit in the torso and pivots all the way around on its waist, the back of Karasu's head slamming against the rock cropping below even while its legs are still gripping what's left of the rock securely. That's rather grotesque in shape, and doesn't look like it should be physically possible. Point number two for Karasu's creepiness, it seems.

Point number three comes when it snaps back upwards, a headbutt aimed straight at Rayse's ... feet? A headbutt to the feet, not exactly a traditional attack, but there it is, nonetheless.

Raien just keeps watching, his face devoid of any emotion whatsoever. For now.

Anzai is often enough accused of unpredictability on the Layer, and while he certainly could never have /planned/ for the other Angel to attack in that manner, his mind is quick enough and his Angel fast enough to respond effectively. Rayse's right hand pulls free of the stone, trailing dust and small chunks of rock as Karasu's head drives inward. "Ni!" Anzai calls out, Rayse's left hand dropping down to block the strike, a bit of shock rippling up his joints, the Angel's fingers seeking whatever purchase they can manage to grasp on Karasu's slippery head.

"SAN!" Anzai shouts as Rayse's right fist comes up again, then drives downward for Karasu's left eye. No matter how slippery the Angel, a good headshot will seriously cramp their style.

From its position on the rock, Karasu doesn't have a lot of room to maneuver, and one of its arms bends backwards in a bizarre display, knocking the blow off course and into Karasu's shoulder instead. The force of the blow knocks Karasu back downwards for a moment, and its head slams back into the rock outcropping with a twist at the last second, causing just a little more damage than last time.

Raien doesn't look that worried, but it looks like Karasu is certainly taking a beating. As its Deus' watches on silently, Karasu just hangs on the outcropping and doesn't move. Is it biding its time? What a strange thing to do when one is losing.

Anzai is sweating now from the effort of concentrating, although his expression is a trifle...confused as he glances across the Layer.

"Raien-san," he says as his Angel plants both hands on the rock ledge and sweeps his left leg downward, attempting to dislodge Karasu's grip....although that'll be hard to do considering the other Angel's rubbery nature. "You can't win if you don't attack!"

It's hard to tell if Raien is having a difficult time concentrating or not, with his emotionless gaze, but if one had experience with him, they'd know he was concentrating quite hard right now. The sweat beads on his forehead are not numerous or easy to see, but they're there. His concentration has greatly increased since he started playing this game, but it's still not what he wants it to be at. To be fair to him though, controlling Karasu already takes an exceptional amount of concentration normally, so he may be being a bit hard on himself to expect more.

"...Wait for it." That's all Raien says, and his eyes don't lift from the layer. He can't afford to let them right now, after all. As he speaks, Karasu's mouth opens again, a loud rasping sound echoing outward and all but neutralizing the kick with an invisible force, indeed pressing further against Rayse's feet. It might threaten the angel's balance, but the force is not likely enough to knock Rayse over. Unfortunately for Karasu.

The little grey-haired Angel's heel slams into that force wave again, and Anzai's hands clench into fists as he focuses, keeping his eyes on the Layer and his mind in the game. Wait for it, Raien said, and there's a good chance it's not an idle boast.

That having been said...Anzai has never been comfortable waiting for his opponents to set the terms.

"We'll see then," he breathes as Rayse plants his right foot against the outcropping and pulls himself back up to the top of the ledge, snapping a quick kick at Karasu on his way back up.

As Rayse starts to pull himself back up the ledge, Karasu snaps back upwards again, blocking the kick with it's elbow to minimize the damage. If only that were all that happened. When the kick collides with the elbow, instead of meeting a strong opposition, the elbow just bends backwards on itself, and Karasu's wrist turns around to grip Rayse's foot. Yanking down on it hard, Karasu intends to slam Rayse's face into the rock outcropping, hard.

Raien doesn't smile, but speaks quietly. "Better?"

The collision of joints goes poorly for Anzai, and damage indicators flare all along Rayse's left knee. "Shimatta," Anzai snaps, his eyes narrowing tightly as Rayse drops to the ground, Karasu's hand reaching out for the little Angel's foot...


Rayse flexes his good leg and leaps backward, arching his back over the grasping palm, completing a full backflip, his right leg tensing in mid-air as he seems to hang suspended for a moment over Karasu. The moment passes, however, as Rayse drops downward in a hurry, driving his right heel for the extended arm, bringing his whole weight down behind the blow.

As Rayse flips over Karasu's grab, the bizarre angel's hand reaches down and takes a firm hold of the outcropping, tensing the arm before suddenly pulling itself up from the side of the outcropping with impressive force. For the briefest of moments, Karasu sails upwards, intent on clearing the outcropping entirely.

No such luck.

Rayse's heel slams down into Karasu's torso, pinning it straight away to the outcropping like a butterfly pinned by a needle. However, Karasu's legs bend back underneath it, the knee joints bending backwards as well, creating an almost chicken-like look as it is slammed into the outcropping, and absorbing almost the entire force of the blow by shunting it into the rock below. Nice trick. Almost a foot note, one of Karasu's hands gives an almost harmless looking chop towards Rayse's very same heel afterwards. It looks more like a 'I hate you too', than a real attack.

Anzai takes a breath, and then a risk. Karasu's blow slams into the back of Rayse's damaged leg, dropping the Angel's body downward onto the hand for an instant.

It might just be enough.

The little Angel rolls over and reaches his hands down for the rubbery substance that is Karasu's arm, trying to rapidly pull on the other Angel's limb until it runs out of stretch and brings the body inward. And when that happens, there is an odd flicker across the Layer.

"Hissatsu!" Anzai shouts as his little Angel's hands flicker forward, driving in with a series of powerful punches, aimed for the centre of....well, Anzai doesn't right know if it can be called a chest, so let us simply call it mass. "Tenshin!" the Deus calls out, the Angel's hands moving faster than the eye can catch now, then suddenly rocketing forward for the other Angel's head in one last strike.


Karasu is battered by the repetitive attacks, though they seem to do almost no damage at all on their own, the final attack to the head seems to hit a critical spot, and Karasu's arms and legs flail wildly before collapsing onto the outcropping, bent every which way.

Raien raises an eyebrow again. This was a familiar feeling. He'd last lost control of Karasu when fighting against Keiichi's angel. It looks like this one was of a very similar vein. "... Hnh." Not exactly what he had expected from a simple combo, that last hit had really brained Karasu more than it looked like it would. The Deus crosses his arms and lets his face return to its usual state, not saying anything further. He's ready for this, it won't be the end.

Anzai grimaces - even that did nearly no damage, he notes, and Rayse's shoulders and elbows are bleeding heat, warning lights blinking yellow in Anzai's visor. The young man shakes his head, his little Angel lashing out with a rapid kick with his damaged leg before backing off a few steps.

Crippled as it is, Karasu takes the boot square in the head and flies off towards another outcropping, slamming into the corner of the rock on its back. But instead of falling down into the lava below, it just stays where it is, twitching for a moment. It quickly becomes apparent that one of its arms has grabbed onto the top of the rock, while the legs have braced themself against it. It hadn't really absorbed the impact, but it kept Karasu from falling. That was enough, by Raien's view of things.

"... Troublesome." Raien speaks, and offers no clarification as to what he's referring to. The sweat on his face is more apparent now, and it looks almost like /he's/ the one in the hot seat, as it were.

Meanwhile, on the Layer, Karasu's legs tense, and it pushes itself off of the outcropping in a leap towards Rayse. An arm flies up out from under the mantle as if to clip Rayse's chin, but it whiffs, the mantle flaring out in Rayce's face from the force. Karasu brings a foot up square in line with the opposing angel's torso, and slams it outwards, expecting to knock Rayse clear off of the outcropping this time.

Anzai grimaces at his visor display, which is blinking rather insistently with regards to his little Angel's arms, the heat from the previous attack still caught up in its systems. "Must be the volcano," the young man mutters, his eyes blinking rapidly to keep the sweat out of them.

Raien's initial feint is successful in one sense - Rayse bites, flowing in toward the blow and ducking downward to evade the presumed strike. He does, however, continue sliding around the other Angel, using the flowing mantle as a visual shield, shaking his arms out rapidly to bring them back up to full functionality.

As Karasu loses sight of Rayse for a moment, it continues sailing right on past the angel, and only an arm shooting out to catch the edge of the outcropping protects it from falling down below. Perhaps that earlier 'flying' was a clever ruse of some kind. Whatever the case, Karasu now dangles from one arm above the precipice, and its legs do their best to push against the rock, though even Karasu's limbs have their limits.

Rayse's arms are sliding back into the green now, not quite back to normal, but the opening presented by Karasu is too good to pass up. Anzai's eyes flash as Raien's Angel dangles, and his own little Rayse leaps into the air once more, flipping to the attack and then driving both heels down toward Karasu's hand.

Watching the match, Raien's face, as usual, doesn't show any emotion. Fighting games are his cup of tea. He knows an end coming when he sees it. Karasu may have some life left in it, but the hyper-mobile joints, while immensely useful, have limits on how much stress they can endure, and Raien knows that limit is fast approaching. As Rayse flips into the air, taking the offensive, Raien stands to his feet.

Karasu yanks its arm with full force, sending itself flying upwards, a foot clipping the rock sending its body into a spin. Rayse's attack whizzes by Karasu narrowly, almost clipping its shoulder as the spin takes it higher into the air. Higher, and then back down, in a whirl of cloth as Karasu's left arm arcs out towards Rayse's form with the spin.

Rayse turns in a spin as well, circling in the opposite direction as his opponent, and as Raien's left arm slams into the grey-haired Angel's back - Rayse's damage levels hovering in the danger zone - the little Angel's hands jab up toward the elbow joint, jabbing in three places.

Rayse leaps away and claps his hands together. "Seal!" Anzai calls out.

Karasu's arm takes the hits, Raien not thinking them worth avoiding, and then it happens. Suddenly, Karasu's arm dangles limply, swaying back and forth at the elbow in an unnaturally limp position. Raien's eyes widen slightly, as he was not expecting those strikes to have such an effect. His emotionless mask is temporarily discarded, and he gives a polite smile towards Anzai. "...Nice, Mizuno-san."

"... Demo...."

Karasu crouches down, its legs tensing for a moment, and it leans to the side, it's back almost entirely towards Rayse. The head rotates 180 degrees to look at Rayse even though Karasu's body is facing the otherway, and the white eyes stare unblinking, before the mouth opens once, and there's a loud and harsh click. What happens next is seen by Raien in slow motion, but only because that was how Raien had to envision it to make it stick. Karasu leaps towards Rayse and snaps its upper body around like a rubber band, which sends the angel into a full body spin. The mantle whirls about as Karasu's left foot hooks out towards Rayce's head. Even as it does so, Karasu's hip joints pivot and twist, weakening the kick, but sending other foot out towards Rayce's torso in another hook shot. Karasu was winding down and Raien knew it. This was probably the last attack from Karasu... one way... or another.

"Uwari da."

Anzai flows forward.

The little grey-haired Angel leaps in toward Karasu, diving in toward is opponent and spinning in a tight spiral. His arms suddenly flash out to either side in mid-rotation, left hand grabbing the incoming headshot and right hand pushing off the other kick, The bidirectional strike accelerates Rayse's motion, and the little Angel spins inside Karasu's guard, his right leg tucking in tight to his body, left knee rising up toward the point of Karasu's chin.

Raien's eyes widen further as Anzai's angel not only dodges the attack, but counters it. Karasu gets cleaned right upside the chin, flipping about several times in the air before falling to the lava below. Or at least, that's how it was probably supposed to go. The angel's hand shoots out at the last second, and catches the edge of an outcropping on its way down, its body slamming into the rock forcefully, but not quite dropping... at least not yet.

"... Stubborn." A moment passes, and Karasu's arm, the one that still works, pulls the angel up once more. A short hop afterwards, and Karasu manages to charge headlong towards Rayse once more, in an imitation of its first attack of the match. Not much left in the angel now, its inner reserves all but spent.

On the layer, Rayse raises his arms to block the attack, which sends the little Angel stumbling backward, his feet splaying on rock...

....on air...

"Shimatta!" Anzai calls out, pounding the console in frustration as his Angel drops down, down, down....and into the lava below, his lifebar drainign entirely.

Anzai leans back in his chair and groans. "GOod fight, Raien-san," he says. "Good fight indeed."

Raien visibly relaxes as Rayse is pushed off of the outcropping and falls down into the lava. Relax may be an understatement, though. It would be more accurate to say he deflates like a balloon, a loud sigh coming from him as he practically falls back in his chair and puts a hand to his head. That was MUCH harder than the other layers he'd fought on before. Karasu lands haphazardly dangles dangerouly on an outcropping, and Raien just lets it do so for now, his concentration pretty much spent. "...That was rough..."