It was now time for the God of the Layer tournament, round one, fourth bracket match to begin! At least according to the announcement over the store intercom, calling both Keiichi and Tomoe to layer one. The layer area of the Piffle Princess is rather full with both people who are just around to watch and those who were here to play in the tournament as well. Still Keiichi manages to find his way to the layer easily enough, having the general layout of the area etched deeply into his memory with as much as he walks around here. He flashes his number to the attendant to prove who he is and grins a bit, "I'm here." She nods and directs him to one of the seats, where he settles down to await his opponent. Inugata Tomoe. He'd played with her before, but it's been a while since then. He found himself wondering if she's improved since then or not.

So, Tomoe's first match is Zombie-boy. Eh. No matter. She makes her way to the layer, just a bit disappointed about the single-elimination factor of the tournament. Unless something really odd happens, she's only going to have this one fight. So, she'd better make it a good one. Or at least . . . try her best.

There's a curt little nod as she sees Keiichi, and the attendant directs her over to the layer he's already found. " . . . Zombie-boy . . ." It passes as a greeting. Her head remains slightly bowed as she takes her seat, holding Chimera in her lap as she reaches for the headset.

Keiichi offers a smile towards the girl and a nod of greeting, "Inugata-san." He returns the greeting before setting up his own headset, adjusting it on his head and then turning the power on. The visor flashes to life, putting up readouts and the like in his view, but there is no information to return from the layer at the moment really. He indicates that he's ready to go to the attendant after retrieving Zankoku from his bag, holding him and looking him over for a moment to make sure everything was situated properly. He even slightly adjusts the cloak a bit, not that it would have any real effect.

Tomoe says nothing more as she slips on and adjusts her headset, very careful to keep face obscured. Her eyes close for a moment, as she attempts to focus her attention on the not-yet-powered-up-layer. She lifts Chimera slightly, closer to her chest, and takes a small breath. " . . . Whenever you're ready . . ." She begins to look over her bestial little angel, making some final checks to ensure that everything is as it should be.

Since they both appeared to be ready, the attendant nods and powers the layer up. When the layer disc begins emitting the white glow, she then sets the random scenery selection. The various choices flash by before the nuclear reactor comes forth in the center, various control systems and the like coming into view surrounding it. "You may fall in and begin when you're ready." The timer display is set to 10 minutes and the attendant steps away to do whatever it is they do around this place.

Keiichi watches as the nuclear reactor come into view and tilts his head curiously. Well this should be interesting. He nods and then tosses Zankoku towards the layer, "Reach beyond the bounds of death, Zankoku!" The zombie-angel spirals through the air and passes through the energy field without incident. His eyes open and emit a flash of a red glow while purplish-black energy crackles along his body. He twists about and heads down to land heavily upon the metal floor with a thump, falling to one knee. He stays there and waits for his opponent to appear, silently.

"Zombie-boy?" A chuckle follows this as Ranmaru breaks away from the small crowd that slowly has begun to form around the layer. Of course, it was hard for him to even hide in any crowd, being as tall as he was, but at least he made his presence more known. Of course, he was dressed up in his Layer Phantom robe. A black cloak around him, a nice looking suit underneath, and an ivory white mask on his head to hide away his face. "Morning you two." He states as the layer gets set up and makes a little bow. "I hope you won't mind me observing?"

Tomoe watches the zombie spiral into the nuclear reactor. She tucks in her chin just a bit, seemingly paying no attention at all to that somewhat famous (around here, anyway) observer. There's a very slight little breath, and she lifts her little beast. " . . . It's hunting time, Chimera . . ." And, with that, she throws him into the layer.

As Chimera passes through the layer barrier, his 'muscles' twitch, and that single wing shoots out, stretching long before tucking in a bit. Those heavy forelegs stretch out, then brace him as he makes a heavy landing. Hind feet contact immediately afterwards, and that tri-split tail flicks about in irritation. The beast's central head is held low, and the outer two pull back, watching the zombie warily..

Keiichi shifts his attention towards Ranmaru for a moment, offering a nod of greeting. "Hello, Phantom-san. I don't mind at all, hope you enjoy the match." He grins a bit before returning his attention to the layer, and just as he does the timer starts ticking down to start things off. Zankoku leans forward slightly, still down on one knee for the moment, pushing off in a lunge towards his opponent. As he closes the distance he snaps about in an attempt to deliver a roundhouse kick towards the larger central head. While it may look like he's foolishly rushing headlong into the fight, his deus does manage to keep a good presence of mind to be wary of counter attacks. A simple attack to start things off with, makes sense right?

Ranmaru places his hands behind his back, beneath his cloak, and nods at Keiichi to acknowledge the deus' words. "I wish good luck to the both of you." The young man replies and turns his gaze towards the layer, only to see that the duel had just begun. A smile appears on the youth's face, as he always enjoys watching skilled players pitch their angels against one another.

The zombie's strike lands pretty much right on target. The big central head jerks heavily, and Chimera grows, hunkering down a bit. His heads pull back slightly more, and his tail lashes about just a bit more violently . . . but he doesn't otherwise move. All six eyes lock steadily on Zankoku, but the beast stays put. The oversized wing folds almost neatly over the beast's back, partially covering the boney ridge down his back. As for Tomoe - she seems even less responsive than her angel.

Keiichi's mind was fairly focused, he was planning things out several steps in advance attempting to keep one step ahead of his opponent. No attack came, giving him a little more leeway as well. He smiles a bit and lowers his head slightly, watching the angels from his vantage.

On the layer, Zankoku recovers from his attack swiftly and shifts into another one. He twists into a low spin and kicks out at one of Chimera's large forepaws, and hit or miss he jabs a fist up towards the central head's jaw area as well. The beast may not be attacking back just yet, but that didn't mean he could take things easily. He had to keep attacking to win, and so he would.

Crouched as he is, with his weight dispersed over all four feet, the kick at Chimera's forepaws doesn't really do much. The continuation of the kick against his jaw merely causes a quick jerk of his head - and the beast sudden lunges forward. The jaw that had been kicked opens wide, and the monstrosity roars as those massive teeth attempt to slam shut against the offending zombie-foot.

On the layer, Zankoku swiftly snaps his foot out of the way of the chomping bite, the movement causing him to roll off to the side. He stops in a crouch and lunges up while he draws his fist back, dark energy crackling along his forearm. As he gets close he slams his fist forward towards the beast's central head nose. He wasn't missing a beat here, fluid and continuous movements. Keiichi seemed satisfied with this, still smiling in his seat.

Even as the bite misses, Chimera steadies himself for what comes next. That fist slams into the beast's nose, but he simply pushes into the strike, jaws opening wide again. Chimera attempts to bite again, but this time, those two outter heads shoot forward, as well - all three toothy jaws seeking out some of that probably-not-very-yummy zombie flesh.

On the layer, Zankoku recoils slightly after his strike hits and he feels Chimera pushing back. His other hand comes forward in an attempt to shove the head off course, sending the bite into his shoulder. The recoiling hand moves to intercept the ram's head knocking it completely off course, but the viper manages to chomp into another area of his body. Overall he seems to avoid the worst of the attack, but it still registers a decent hit to his life meter on the board. With a slight grimace he wrenches himself free, dark energy crackling about his form as he does. He hops back a few steps, attempting to round the circular area a bit to make sure Chimera won't have a straight shot at him. All the while, the energy about his form begins to increase in intensity. He finally halts and clenches his fist as he hunkers down, obviously drawing a great deal of energy from the layer. What was he up to anyway?

Zankoku hops back, and Chimera presses forward. There's one of those /surprisingly/ loud roars - the kinds that draw attention from people watching other layers - and both outer mouths open wide. There are two small, sharp, snapping sounds, and the beast lets loose with two breath-attacks. From the serpent jaws sprays that thick, sticky, corrosive black goo, and from the cervid jaws, a blast of frigid air riddled with sharp frozen shards. And . . . the beast is still rushing forward. He's going to either slam into the zombie, or the control panel behind him. Either way, something is going to get at least a little busted.

On the layer, Zankoku doesn't really move out of the way of Chimera's onslaught. It's not that he doesn't want to really, but he figures the energy field surrounding him would help protect his form from the various things being thrown at him. The acidic goo doesn't even reach him, impacting on the energy field and splattering about it as if it were a physical sphere. The icy shards pass through unheeded though, smashing into him and forcing him to stagger back a step, and when Chimera comes in to bite he lifts both arms to block. Chimera makes quite the dent in the life meter, but Zankoku only grins. His opponent did the worst possible thing to do at the moment, he got close. The energy surrounding his body crackles and becomes unstable before blasting outwards with a tremendous force. It rips through the area and destroys most of the surrounding consoles and such, leaving a decent sized crater and a gaping wound in the reactor. That probably wouldn't be good given enough time, and in fact an alarm begins to go off with red lights flashing. A voice picks up over what speakers were left on the layer. "Warning: Core temperatures are rising beyond acceptable limits. Non-essential personnel should evacuate." Oops.

Moving in close may have seemed a bad idea on Chimera's part, but since when has Chimera been cautious? Even still - the reduced distance is just as bad for Zankoku. That energy pulse snaps outward, smashing into the surrounding mechanisms, and slicing into the bestial angel, as well. There's an additional smashing sound, and a slight convulsion in Chimera's chest - and then, another jet of acidic black goo shoots out from the wounds, explosively bleeding through the monstrosity's mane. And the beast does not hold still. As if the damage is completely unnoticed, he barrels forward, attempting to smash those heavy curling horns against Zankoku's desiccated chest.

The acidic goo splashes onto Zankoku's body, sizzling and causing his life meter to go down even more. It was impressively low this soon into the match really, Keiichi had to admit. It seemed Chimera and Tomoe had indeed improved. On the layer, Chimera's bite doesn't find home as the Zombie angel shifts to the side and leans away. Using the close proximity his hand lifts up, hand clenching into a fist. Dark energies crackles and springs out into a dagger of sorts. His hand comes smashing down, attempting to slam the energy blade into the side of the central head of the beast. While the two continued to fight, another message comes over the intercom while the alarms continue to go off. "Warning: Core temperature continues to increase, it is approaching critical levels." Keiichi tilted his head slightly, this fight better end soon or something bad could happen.

Lights begin to flash, and a siren blares as the reactor becomes increasingly unstable. And, as it does, the zombie stabs that necrosis-ridden blade into Chimera's massive central head . . . and hit stabs true. There's an intense, deafening (on the layer, at least) roar, and those heads lash fiercely, jaws snapping open and shut. Chimera's legs kick and spasm, and his tails lash about dramatically. All in all, /not/ something one would want to be caught amidst.

As for Tomoe, she remains silent and unresponsive, simply watching the layer and the death of her poor little pup upon it.

Sadly, Keiichi had forgotten about the beast's violent death throes. A critical error it would seem, because the thrashing about smashes Zankoku up pretty good, sending him into disabled status. In fact, his life meter was even lower than the beasts. He blinks and shakes his head, actually laughing out loud and leaning back into his chair. His arms pull tight around his stomach as he continues to laugh, at himself. He should have known better, what was wrong with him? The buzzer indicates the end of the match, as both angels lay disabled on the layer, and Tomoe's scoreboard indicates that she is the winner. The attendant announces as such too. Keiichi is still laughing when he speaks, "I can't believe I did that."

"Wow..." Ranmaru blinks for a moment, slightly surprised that one of his biggest rivals had just lost to miss Inugata. But then, he does not pay attention to how far people get, so he wasn't entirely too surprised. After all, he had predicted that Tomoe had a lot of talent. "Congratulations." He rubs his head for a moment and turns his head over to the area where the people are waiting in line to be announced. Soon he'd have to play against his fiancé, but he still had some time. "Yo, Misaka-kun. I think this disqualifies you from being my rival this tournament." He chuckles teasingly.

Tomoe remains quiet as the layer goes back to normal, leaving only the two monster-angels on the layer surface. There is no sign of any sort of victory celebration on her face - she remains as neutral and, one may dare say, glum, as if she had lost. Which she was entirely expecting to do. Her eyes close, and she carefully removes her headset, making sure that her face remains as obscured as ever. Through the curtain of her hair, she looks over to Keiichi, with just a bit of a frown, then stands. Her eyes remain on the zombie-boy even as she untangles her angel from his, and she speaks very softly. " . . . Next time, I'd appreciate it if you weren't fooling around." Her voice is very soft, and a bit cold. She knows his level of skill - did he really think so little of her as to hold back /that much/? There's a bit of a huff, and she turns her attention to Chimera, looking over his damage.

Keiichi manages to contain himself after a moment, shaking his head as he removes his headset and leans over to pick up Zankoku. Well at least he would have time to clean him up and make repairs. He pauses and looks towards Tomoe with a little grin, "Ah, you underestimate yourself Inugata Tomoe. It is true, that by all rights I thought I would win." He peers down towards Zankoku for a moment, shaking his head. "But I fell victim to overconfidence. I wasn't playing around, it was simply a tactical mistake." He looks back to the girl for a moment, "One I won't make again in the future, I assure you." He picks up his bag and offers her a nod, then makes his way out into the crowd. At least he could watch the rest of the tournament without much to worry about now, right?

There's a very soft noise, and a slight shake of her head, as Tomoe walks away. Looks like she's in this thing for more than the single battle, after all. She wonders if Eisaku has had his match, yet . . . she would like to watch it, at the very least. Or at least /some/ of it. She can /probably/ take care of Chimera's repairs and maintenance rather quickly, and should at least be able to check.