"Welcome to the second round of this tournament! And this is a duel between two employees of the Angelic Layer corporation! We have the semi-finalist to our local Gods Of The Layer tournament and smalltime database entry personel in our East corner! And then, in the west corner, a layer trainer from the Piffle Princess who's just come back from the Unitetto Sta-ttes of Ameerica!" A pause is given as the spotlights lazily make their way to the entrance. "Some may recognize these two players, they are Fujiwara Kanji and Takayama Kiyoshi! Come on out, deusses!"

It is the first time that Kiyoshi has been in an Angelic Layer tournament, and amusingly enough, it's only on account of his students that he's even appearing at the qualifiers. The young teacher walks out, with a huge grin on his face as he looks around at the crowd, comfortable with the attention, it seems. There's even a group of young players who are waving a little sign for Takayama-sensei. He waves a hand towards them, trying to call to them over the crowd, but ends up drowned out. He does manage a shrug before turning towards Kanji, only giving a thumbs up before he makes his way towards the layer chair. He settles down without so much as any sign of nervousness. Afterall, as a teacher, he's used to eyes on him all the time.

For once since he had gotten the notebook that contained his various scrawls about the way angels responded to the layers, Kanji had not brought his notebook with him. Something inside him had awoken, a slight fire in the pit of his stomach that seemed to draw his attention to actually participating in Angelic Layer. It was Daichi, his friend that had originally done so much for him that asked him what he really wanted to do with Angelic Layer, why he studied it so much. The very question posed many more to Kanji and he started to wonder about his place as a person in school, in life, and on the layer. If he was ever going to get over himself he needed to make an effort to pay attention to the world around him.

Still he couldn't help but to largely ignore the crowd as he strode out on the arena floor, calmly looking toward his opponent and nodding. Perhaps it would be just the battle to wake up his inner senses, and bring back the imaginative child he knew he used to be rather than the cold hard scientist. Settling into his chair, Kanji casually slipped the visor over his face and looked across the layer again. "Good luck Takayama-san."

The seats rise to the layer's level and the announcer takes his time to make some comments having to do with product placement for the angelic layer inc. Of course, most of this does not interest most of the people and he ends up giving up midway. "ALLLRIGHT THEEEN!" Bad Engrish... hurts... people's ears. "Layer~ ACTIVATE!" The soft white light of the layer comes to life and immediately shows a small tint of green as the scenery comes to be. It flickers for a small while until finally settling in order to let red roses rise above the ground. "It is a battle for the roses! Okay, deusses! By now, I am sure you know what to do. But let us all say it out loud!" The crowd begins to cheer and when he raises his hand,

The seats rise to the layer's level and the announcer takes his time to make some comments having to do with product placement for the angelic layer inc. Of course, most of this does not interest most of the people and he ends up giving up midway. "ALLLRIGHT THEEEN!" Bad Engrish... hurts... people's ears. "Layer~ ACTIVATE!" The soft white light of the layer comes to life and immediately shows a small tint of green as the scenery comes to be. It flickers for a small while until finally settling in order to let red roses rise above the ground. "It is a battle for the roses! Okay, deusses! By now, I am sure you know what to do. But let us all say it out loud!" The crowd begins to cheer and when he raises his hand, the crowd chants with him: "ENTERY! AAANGELLLU!"

Kanji looked across the layer as it lit up, roses seeming to grow out of the shining layer disc, petals seeming to blow in an invisible holographic wind. Despite how much he wanted to enjoy the beauty that it presented he could only see it as just another set of holographic programs syching up to create an illusion for others to enjoy. All he could think about was theorizing what sort of programming and just how much they had to do to actually put something of that nature on that layer. Feeling a bit imbittered about his lack of care in what the layer was Kanji turned his attention to Martyr, the bandaged angel. Brushing his thumb over the cloth bandages that were wrapped tightly against the light weight angels upper frame, Kanji held up his angel finally.

"Show them the power of sacrifice, Martyr!" It was probably the most enthusiastic that Kanji had ever tried being, throwing the bandaged angel into the layer and watching it cross the layer border. Coming to life in mid air much like many of the angels did once they crossed the layer border. "The angel descends!"

Falling downward with arms spread out, bandages flailing like small trails of wind behind him. Before hitting the layer Martyr pushed out a hand to catch himself in a handstand, flipping back standing straight and crossing his arms accross his chest like a mummy in a tomb.

All the smiles and good nature of Kiyoshi seems to vanish in an instant. His eyes close, his face slackens, and from the inside of his coat, he removes a strange... ghostly looking angel. He strokes over the angel's form for a moment, and then stands to look out over the layer and it's field of roses. "You will never be forgotten. Your spirit lives on. Akuma." There is no joy in the young teacher's fall-in, he simply throws the ghostly angel towards the layer. Tumbling, stumbling, Akuma falls towards the layer, seeming as if she will strike into the ground. However... at the last minute the angel stops abruptly in the air as if someone had hit the breaks. But, wait... is the angel -hovering-? Yes, her decayed looking feet don't seem to be touching the ground. Long tendrils of dark hair hang over the limp neck as the angel slowly lifts her head, her innocent face showing a stark contrast to the moldering appearance of the rest of her body. With a groan, she announces her appearance.

With the two angels now standing... and floating... on the layer, the announcer doesn't even wait! He activates the buzzer after setting the timer and shouts: "ANGELIC! FIGHT-O!"

At the call of the announcer Martyr seemed to spring into life, he didn't even seem to bother with the previous strategy that his deus had employed. Daichi had gotten to Kanji, his words had struck a chord and the young boy who would do anything for his dear friend had decided conciously to change and thus threw his old strategy out the window. There was no need to test, there was no need to watch and wait, he needed to prove that he could be just as much of a Angelic Dues as anyone else in the tournament, he wasn't just another brainiac with no cares beyond unlocking the potential of the scientific community. Sprinting across the layer, Martyr proved just how much speed he had in the first move, pushing foward with everything he had causing rose petals to fly and dance around him like angry red moths. The bandaged angel reached the other, and without a moments hesitation launched into a leapint kick toward the side of the angels head.

"Watch me Daichi..." Kanji whispered to himself.

If Kiyoshi notices any of the internal struggle of his opponent, he shows no sign of it. With his hands lightly gripping his knees, it appears that all the young teacher cares about, is his angel. Akuma, on the other hand, just hovers there as the attack comes towards her head. *woosh-thump* The blow strikes against her arm, but how did her arm get up in a blocking position? Is she that fast, or is this some sort of extension of her undead powers? Groaning from within, Akuma shows an empty, black void as she opens her mouth, lined by decaying, green teeth. She turns, and tries to bite down on Martyr's leg, the tendrils of her hair seeming to try and reach out to entwine the bandaged angel's leg.

Perhaps it was his nature, but Kanji seemed to automatically gather information from that initial strike, even though it was more than he was used to doing. Martyr seemed to be facing a counter offensive angel, one that would wait for its opponent to attack before launching a more powerful strike in return. Admittedly he was used to more frenetic fights, which excited the dues a little bit, forcing him to recede a little bit within himself to consider what had just happened. Martyr had connected with his attack and Akuma had launched a succesful counter attack, only through his quick reactions had the bandaged angel been able to twist in such a way that his forearm was offered in place of his leg, the other angels teeth ripping into the bandages as Martyr pulled away revealing the glowing hieroglyphics peeking from under tears in his mummified upper body. While he had been bitten his other arm went for one of the kopeshes hanging from a loop under his sash, pulling it with quick speed to spin and slash at the undead angel hopefully.

Slowly, Akuma's eyes open, glowing faintly red from within the sightless sockets. Still, it almost looks as if the ghostly angel were watching, reading, and somehow figuring out the rhythm of her opponent's movements. So, when the slash comes towards her, she simply lets it cut across her form, leaving only a little bit of green ooze where it cuts below her kimono. There is a cry of pain, like a child being hurt, the type of thing that could tug at the heartstrings, but it doesn't appear that Akuma is truly damaged. Even as that piercing call echos on the layer, the angel's bony hand shoots out, trying to grab at the bandaged angel's neck. Her nails seem to threaten to cut further into the bandages that wrap her opponent.

Martyr doesn't seem to change his expression during the fight, even when he's in the middle of the fray he looks as though he's ready to die, blue eyes staring with a sense of boundless duty. Akuma's bony hands extending didn't seem to catch the bandaged angel off gaurd, or rather his reaction was fast enough that he didn't seem phased. Jumping back just as the nails extended toward his neck Martyr hit the rose covered layer in a short slide, causing yet more petals to fly up angrily around his body, red on white and black. Circling quickly around the side of his the unded angel, Martyr closed in quickly thrusting his elbow toward the spine of the whispy angel.

With a shudder, Akuma seems to... disappear? However she manages this particular feat, it manages to keep her out of danger from the powerful attack towards her spine. When she re-appears, it is behind Martyr. Her head tilts to the side with an audible click, and then she moves forward in a staggering, abrupt motion. Another of those wraith-like hands slashes outwards, her void of a mouth seeming to breath in raspy, clicking breaths... as if she were threatening to suck out her opponent's very soul.

Kanji's eyes widened a little bit as he watched the layer, he was used to angels dissapearing on the layer. However when angels dissapeared they usually had some sort of momentum, Akuma didn't, for whatever reason she was just not on the layer for a moment, appearing behind Martyr and once again seeming to try to grab him, ragged breaths coming and seeming to illustrate some unearthly hunger. Martyr, like his deus might not have always been seen as aware of his surroundings, but there was a strange depth to the way he acted, as though he already knew what was around him without having to look. Sidestepping away from the slash, Martyr spun on his heel in a crouch attempting to sweep the other Angels feet out from under it, not giving up despite the strangeness on the layer.

Since Akuma really doesn't have her feet on the ground to begin with, it's difficult to knock her feet out from under her. When the limp, undead legs are struck, they lash back with just as much force, if not more, than how much used when they were attacked. Luckily, the lashing motion causes Akuma to float backwards, driven away from the distance she might need for a counter attack. So, instead of striking out, she gives another of those deep moans, and just floats back and forth, seeming to be using the time to formulate some ideas on how to handle this quick angel.

Just as he struck the moaning angel Martyr was struck back in his extended leg tearing through the black fabric of his pants and causing the light weight angel to roll back from the force of the strike. Face down in the roses, Martyr seemed to stay down for a moment, before slowly forcing himself back to his feet. There was no doubt in Kanji's mind that the force of Akuma's strike had been much more devestating than Martyr's own strike, there was no doubt in his mind that if he wasn't careful it could easily happen again. Wobbling a bit as he found his balance, the bandaged angel finally drew his other kopesh, crossing his arms across his chest and staring back with that same dutiful face, fully intending to sacrifice time for his deus's continued consideration of the battle.

For an angel that seems to have been brought back from death, Akuma seems to use every second she has to the best of her ability, figuring out exactly what sort of things she could do against someone who is quite a bit more speedy than herself. She floats forward with that same, unearthly motion. No footsteps, only the feeling as if something might be coming for you, something... inhuman. So, as she tries to close the distance between herself and the bandaged angel, a clump of her hair snakes out, as if it were trying to grab hold and wrench down on one of Martyr's arms.

Ready for sacrifice, Martyr doesn't move beyond pulling his arm into a position where he can still move it at a limited range, still gripping at his kopesh as Akuma's hair wraps easily enough around his arm. The struggle between the two begins, Martyr keeping his arm up while the hair of the other angel attempts to pull it down, all the while it still seems as though the Angel is biding time, watching his opponent with the same depth as his deus continues to watch the layer. Kanji meanwhile is trying to find a chink in the armor, the strange ways of the opposing angel certainly did offer some challenges for him, he needed to find a way to use his previously gained skills against the Angel that didn't seem to react to his strikes.

While her opponent may be stunned into not attacking, perhaps by the gruesome nature or by the fearsome prospect of her form, Akuma has no such reservations. She groans once more, and seems to charge forward, her ghostly arms extended as she barrels towards her opponent. It almost seems like she intends to sweep him into a hug, one he may never return from. Her taloned fingers flex, and her mouth opens as it seems as if she may go in for a quite... disgusting kiss.

And thats when he started, with nearly untracable speed Martyr swung his kopesh in his free hand catching the hair that had his arm nearly pinned. Using the force that he had gained by pulling back against her entangling tendrils of hair he started moving back with blinding speed, his image seeming to blur agains the layer leaving a trail of rose petals to mark where he had been. Suddenly the trail seemed to stop and circle around barreling toward the undead angel in a rush. Somewhere along the way one of the kopeshes were thrown out at the undead angel, missing her and striking the ground behind her, stuck handle up in the layer, moments after that Minoru appeared before the other angel suddenly, kopesh wielding hand crossed under his other shoulder while his free hand thrusted forward in a quick strike to the nape of the angels neck. It didn't seem particularly powerful, and it wasn't, but it didn't seem like the end of his attack either, just an extension of an upcomming attack.

With most of her concentration on the offensive, it's difficult for Akuma to pull up her arms into a defensive position to take the brunt of the slice across her arms. A bit of greenish blood spits out from her arms, but once more... she doesn't seem to show a great deal of pain or damage from the attack. There is a gasping, crackling sound from the angel's lungs as she floats backwards and leans slightly to the right. Once, rather than attacking with arms and legs, her hair whips out as if it were a set of additional limbs. Not only is it fast, but it's sharp as well, the tendrils lashing out to try and catch hold to Martyr's arms, perhaps to try and stop them from hurting her, or at least to do enough damage to them to slow him down.

Moving with the same speed that his previous attack had, Martyr quickly danced his way out of the lashing tendrils, moving once again around his opponant, crouching low to catch the handel of his blade sticking out of the layer waiting for its owner. For a moment it seemed as though Martyr would overshoot his opponent moving past her, however as he reached a few inches past the other angel he stabbed one of his blades into the ground using it to change his direction without losing his momentum. It was a matter of moments before Martyr was once again upon Akuma, leaping heatedly toward her bringing both blades down toward her shoulder in a resounding downward slash.

It should have been a much more devestating strike, for whatever reason Akuma didn't all seem phased by Martyr's high speed, high powered attack. Being a light weight angel it was obvious that he didn't quite have the power it took to make a dent in the defenses of heavier more defensively minded angels, but he couldn't be called a pushover when it came to dealing out damage, he had the potential to do quite a bit even to an angel with such an iron tight guard. Whether or not he was going to be able to do the damage needed to the other angel remained to be seen, at least he had the ability to react quicker to threats than most angels. As the fingernails once again lashed out, Martyr was forced to retrieve his blades from the angels shoulders, quickly dodging to her other side, spinning around and preforming a quick slash toward her side.

This time, rather than allowing herself to be hit once more by the blades, Akuma shudders out of sight once more. It seems that she sometimes can sometimes manage to be speedy, or is it just some other kind of trick. A groan gives away her location, at Martyr's side as she reappears, her hand lashing out towards his neck once more, threatening to move downward and slice a long gash across his chest.

As strange as it seemed, Martyr seemed to be preserving himself for the first time in the battle, in the beginning he had taken a few strikes and it showed on his lightweight frame, bandages were marred, pants were ripped and there was slight concaves in his frame where he had been bittin and pinned. He didn't seem however to be moving as though the pain were getting to him, his body reacted with the same speed it had been producing throughout the battle, dancing again around his opponent, ducking under her lashing nails and lowering to his back. In the same fluid motion he kicked out toward her as though he was forcing himself to stand, trying to cause as much external damage as possible at this point.

This time, Akuma just moves slightly to the side, watching the path of the kick as it comes racing towards her. She breathes with raspy breaths as she lifts her head, lifting her body somewhat into the air. It's difficult to tell just how much damage there is on Akuma if one weren't watching her lifebar. All the wounds seem to have no pain whatsoever to the undead angel. So, she moves her wounded, bleeding shoulder, reaching out with one of her boney hands. Then, the hand moves quickly to the side, as if trying to sweep it across Martyr's bandaged face.

As soon as he was back up on his feet Martyr had to step back to avoid getting his face getting slashed by Akuma's claws, moving around her arm and pressing his attack. Martyr seemed to be fighting with more purpose than in his previous battles, his movements didn't seem so mechanical, he didn't seem like he was going through the motions. Instead of conveying a sense of duty and sacrifice the bandaged angel was instead seeming to say in his movements that he had something to prove to someone else. As he moved past Akuma's extended arms, Martyr stopped as he came to her side, bunkering down suddenly feinting an attack with one blade while swinging out hard with the other at her midsection. If he couldn't do rely on his damage output he needed to rely on his ability to keep hitting her.

But there is little worry about hitting Akuma at this point in the match. She simply doesn't have the energy left to avoid the attack, and thus, even though she can read it coming at her, it still hits her quite hard. With a groan, her head falls forward as if she were going to simply fall into the grave once more. But then, with a shake, her head lifts once more and she moans deeply, lashing out with both her arms and the tendrils of her hair, all of them trying to slash at Martyr. Perhaps it isn't the most graceful of attacks, but it seems she hopes that quantity will do more than quality.

At first the attack wasn't expected to do much, after all Akuma had a wierd way of making the most devestating attacks that Martyr could toss out seem like nothing but passing shots. However when it had not only went through but had a great effect on the undead Angel Martyr started to get a bit comfortable with the battle, watching placately as she seemed to stumble forward. Could it have been that she had been defeated in that one attack? She rose again and Martyr was almost instantly put on gaurd, having to work hard to dance around the tendrils of hair that lashed out him before finally flipping back as her claws lashed out at him. Putting herself into a full attack seemed a bit desperate to both angel and dues and when Martyr landed he shifted his momentum back toward his oppontant once bring both blades from his sides in a wide scissor like motion toward Akuma with as much force as he could muster after working to dodge.

The sissor motion results in... something most would find more than a little gruesome. The two blades come together, and close with a sickening click. Akuma's arm twitches, and then falls down to the ground, still writhing with some sort of last movements. Akuma looks down at her arm, and then up once more. A frown forms on her innocent face, as if she were saddened by this course of events. Her hand, however, manages to pull itself up, dragging the arm behind it. It crawls along the floor to right beside Martyr and begins to whack at his legs with the severed part of Akuma's arm as the ghostly angel just floats there, watching.

It seems that the battle is coming to its final paces, Martyr's legs slashed by the hand at the ground, causing him to stumble back for a moment before gaining his balance again. Stepping back a couple of paces, the bandaged angel looked worse for wear as he once again took his waiting position, crossing his arms over his now sparsely banadaged chest, hierglyphs glowing a bright blue from under the rips and tears that he recieved from the majority of the battle.
Akuma just sits there, blinking once or twice as she watches her arm give the last of it's attacks, and then fall dead. She lifts her stump of an arm and then lets it fall once more. She looks upward towards her deus. Kiyoshi, simply nods his head and lowers it, as if he knew that the end was inevitable at this point in the match. With the timer ticking down, there simply isn't enough left in Akuma to win against the speedier angel. So, she gives another of those creepily cracking moans, and lowers her own head... waiting for the end to come.

"Are you watching Daichi-sama... This is me." Kanji said to himself, it seemed the stop of Martyr's offensive was for the dues. His eyes weren't focused on his surroundings like he had said he was going to be, instead he had drawn himself back into the quiet observation of the layer, his mind seeming to lead him forward as always. Perhaps he wasn't ever going to be more than a quiet eggheaded researcher, but at least he was comfortable in what he did, at least he could prove that despite his attitude toward things in general he was able to fight with all his capabilities.

Martyr seemed to respond to his deues's voice once swinging his arms out like partially spread wings, after a moment in that pose he began his sprint forward, once again kicking up rosebuds causing them to trail around him, dancing against his light frame as he sprinted, kopeshes boucing and sparking against the surface of the layer. He wasn't moving as quick as previous attacks, but he was gaining momentum at least, and as he came upon the other angel he converted all that momentum into force preforming a cross slash with all his strength and gathered force.

As the slash comes towards Akuma, she does nothing to defend herself. It hits her full force, driving her back through the roses, and finally... tipping towards the edge of the layer. For a moment, she hovers there right at the brink, and then... falls backwards into the lifeless reality beyond. Above, the buzzer rings out, announcing the end of the match. Akuma's limp body, missing her arm, falls to land on the ground below. Kiyoshi, for all of his skill as a teacher, has never been a high level deus. So, he sighs, and then the smile returns to his face as he stands up, gives a small wave, and then decends his seat down to the floor level once more to retrieve his angel.

Pressing two fingers to his forehead, Kanji reaches with his other hand to pull his visor from over his eyes, looking out once again over the layer. "A battle of roses."

He said with a quiet inflection, roses usually were attributed to beauty, but more so toward the unspoken ideal of being unassuming. Every rose after all had its thorns, meaning that a rose wasn't so much beautiful as it was decieving. Maybe Kanji wasn't an obviously powerful deus, perhaps he didn't fight with all of his heart like some of the dues's on the layer. But he still had a hidden quality, an ever encompassing sense of movement, an etheral awareness that attracted him toward strategic games like Angelic Layer. Martyr was a sacrifice, a pawn for his abilities, and that is why the bandaged angel was unassuming, he wasn't designed to shine, rather to show off the dues's intellectual capabilities in battle.

The roar of the crowd brought Kanji back to reality and he looked across the layer once again. "Thank you for the duel Takayama-san."

"MARTYR! WIN!" The announcer shouts, as the picture depicting that angel appears on the scoreboard as the crowd gets louder and louder due to the good, and especially somewhat unique... match!

"No problem." Kiyoshi says with a bit of a laugh as he picks up Akuma from the floor, stroking her slightly. Other than that, Kiyoshi is all smiles as he waves once more towards the audience, and then heads off the layer floor. His chances of doing well here weren't likely, but he was here to show his students that anyone can play, even a silly teacher who isn't well known for advanced dueling skills.

Retrieving Martyr from the layer, Kanji held up the angel for a moment for the crowd to react to him, Kanji had never liked crowds but he couldn't deny that they were here to watch good games and good sports, if he couldn't supply either then there was no point in entering the tournament at all. Still Kanji seemed somewhat unresponsive to the crowds screams, seeming to tune them out as he once again receded into his own little world. Perhaps he didn't know why he fought in Angelic Layer, but that would never stop him from putting all of his brain power into a fight.