On the wall monitor, Welcome, one and all, to ANGELIC LAAAAYYYERR!!! The announcer, over-enthusiastic as usual, yelled into his microphone from atop his seat. He spots his usual unusual suit, bright purple and with a large bowtie. Welcome to this years Kanto Qualifier Tournament, the Tokyo Games!! Were entering the third round now, and the action is only getting hotter and HOTTER!!! The audience, riled by the announcer, begin to cheer loudly and energetically.

On the wall monitor, Weve got a great match for you today folks!!! In one corner, we have a new face on the scene, Ischiko Naokirou and his stylish angel, Yukino!!! Will the blazing strength of his passion be able to overcome the ferocity of his opponent, rookie Fujiwara Kanji, and his lightning fast Angel, the bandaged blur, Martyr? Well just have to see!!!

At the call of the announcer Kanji was already walking out to the layer, silent and unresponsive to the cheering of the crowd as he always was. In his hand he held Martyr, in his mind he still held the thoughts from his previous match, the fight against Kiyoshi in which Daichi had told him to win no matter what. Kanji had indeed one, and further had found that he enjoyed the feeling, but it was somewhat akin to eating bitter chocolate, there was a certain sweetness. Then there was a bitterness, the fact that Kanji could not understand his desire to win, it wasn't numbers, it wasn't a subjective logical desire, it was based purely on emotions. If there was one thing that confused Kanji most of all, it was the onset of his own emotions, he hated being happy, sad or even hating his own emotions, because there was no basis for him to feel those emotions, no logical foundation.

"I'm about as characteristic as you." Kanji glanced down to his angel and mused, all the while climbing into the chair at the edge of the layer. After a moment of sitting there oblivious to the world around him, Kanji took the layer visor and fitted it on his head before pressing the button to fan out the wings, various meaningless numbers and formulas greeting him. Angelic Layer was the closest he had ever come to being human, and he intended to study that humanistic nature despite the lack of substantial evidence.

Looking at Naokirou won't give much insight into the young man's soul as he makes his way out into the arena, the usually shy young man making his way carefully across the platform until he reaches his own seat, Yukino grasped tightly between his hands as if he were a miniature pinnacle of hope. The youth's soft grey eyes turn towards Kanji, watching as his opponent settles in ahead of time. Kanji already has his visor on before Naokirou's even made it to his chair and the poor boy seems somewhat cowed by his seemingly apathetic rival as much as the cheering crowds. Stepping up slowly onto his part of the platform, he eases into his seat and brushes his hair out of his face absentmindedly, setting Yukino gently on the edge of the layer and reaching for his own visor. Voice likely just barely carrying across the table, Naokirou slips the visor on even as he says, "Good luck." The visor is stuck on his head and his expression takes on an edge of determination while the wings spread out on either side of his head. He waits for the announcement, hands fisted together in his lap and knees shakily turned against one another, sneaking a peek or two at the crowds before he does his very best to focus on the layer and, well, just try not to be nervous.

"What will our field be today everyone? The burning magma of the Iron Works? The void of the Moon? Or maybe something as /seemingly/ harmless as the Rose Field? The time to determine your fate is now!!! The announcer yells as the layer begins to flicker inbetween different layer sceneries, holograms of the previous battles fought on the various layer flashing in and out of existence. Finally, the layer settles onto a muddy seabed, fraught with stones and various sea paraphernalia! Ooh folks! Today we have a good one! Youve seen battles in places lost to time, in places resplendent in nature, youve even seen battles in space! But now, this battle will go someplace bold! Thats right folks, this battle will take place in the depths of the ocean!! The sea seams calm nowbut just wait til we get our contestants out there!!!!!

Alright fighters! The announcer yells and sweeps his hands out toward the two Deus dramatically. The time to show your stuff is now! Overcome your barriers and your opponents with your strength!!! Now.its time to ANGELIC.FIGHT-FIGHT-FAIT-OOOOOO!!!!! Pumping his fist with the each repetition of the final word, then pointing down at the layer!

If Kanji had heard Naokirou's 'good luck' or not, he didn't see to show it, far more concerned with his own thoughts, though he was unable to stay in them for long as the announcers over enthusiasm inevitably brought him out of his own thoughts. Kanji looked across the layer to his opponent, seeming to study him for a second but not really gleaning any sort of information off of him. "Good luck." He said finally, before standing up in his chair, holding his bandaged angel up. He had fought on the ocean layer before, it wasn't something he could easily forget as it was the layer that had caused him to think and study on layer physics in the first place. Perhaps now as a more experienced and more present of mind deus he could manipulate the layer to a degree that he couldn't in his early days of playing, perhaps he could show Daichi what all that research was forr.

"Show them the soul of sacrifice! Martyr!" With that, Martyr tossed his angel toward the layer, watching it fly limp until it crossed the layer border, sparking to life, dull blue eyes seeming to come alight like lanterns as the bandaged angel front flipped and dropped toward the layer. He hit the water with a small splash, which was a feat in and of itself, being able to break the water with such little resistance would be a key in the battle. He didn't descend down to the muddy surface however, finding his bouyancey somewhere in the middle, crossing his arms over his chest in the mummy like pose he was known for doing, ready for his opponent.

Having no experience with this layer himself, Naokirou looks surprisingly unbothered by it, rubbing the underside of his chin absentmindedly before he picks up Yukino. He smiles at him quietly, then tosses him lightly in the air, "Do your best, Yukino-kun!" The angel goes falling through the air lifelessly until that border ripples past it. Twisting through the air fluidly, he disappears in a glowing orb of light that shoots towards the bottom of the layer like a star plummeting from the night sky. When he lands, there is a soft boom and then a flicker of wind, leaving Yukino in battle mode as his own visor shifts down into place. Action pose! He doesn't seem to mind being on the bottom, though most might consider it to be a problem in any battle, instead tilting his head up to look at Martyr, every aspect of his position suggesting readiness.

Was it going to be straight out, or was he going to test the extent of his opponents power, Martyr had lately been showing a certain versatility in his attack patterns, a way of reading his opponent without needing to stand on the defensive. It was probably due to the experience of his deus, Kanji had started off as a strategist, needing time in order to be a step or two ahead of his opponents. However as time progressed and Kanji got better at manipulating the layer he found that he was able to push himself a few steps ahead of his opponent by being agressive, it didn't always work, which was why he had to always decide at the beginning of the battle. Like an invisible coinflip in his mind, there was advantages and disadvantages to both actions.

Martyr's legs were powerful enough to carry him through the water at the speed an angel sized dolphin might have traveled, body seeming to slither through the water only dragged back by the items that hung uselessly off his bandaged body. It was moments before he was upon his opponent, swimming past her to the murky bottom of the layer, crouching in the silt and mud and propelling himself up with a dolphin kick to his lower back.

Perhaps it was the drag on Martyr's bandages, or maybe Yukino is simply fast than he looks, but the aerodynamic angel simply isn't there when Martyr's foot comes jolting for his back. Pushing off in a small cloud of stirred silt, the futuristic looking angel flips neatly across the floor, drawing into a steady crouched position on the other side of the layer, his eyes burning blue through the shifting water. A fish flickers by just over his head, but he ignores it completely, not yet making a move but, instead, watching the other angel with far too much intensity. It's likely he's planning, plotting out his next move, his body still despite the swaying push and pull of the water around him.

Whether or not his attack was intended to hit didn't really seem to matter to Martyr, he still conveyed that unreadable sense of duty, his actions on the layer speaking volumes louder than the emotions on his face. When he was hit he did not scowl, when he struck a hit himself he did not smile, there was no wasted effort from deus or angel as they continued their strategy, unaware of anything but their target, deus acting as thought and angel acting as action. Martyr continued after his opponent keeping up with the aerodynamic design of the other angel despite the fact that Martyr was at a slight disadvantage under the water due to the drag. It was more a testament to his ability to maintain momentum even under water, as the other angel stopped, Martry himself continued circling around to the back of the other angel and propelling himself into a powerful thrust of his elbow to the mid back of the other angel.

Again, there's a flare of bubbles as the strike aimed for the thin, quick little angel soars shy of its mark. This time, however, there's retaliation, Yukino diving forward only to brace himself on his hands and, using one foot to kick himself off for the sake of underwater momentum, his other leg flick around, bent for the sake of avoiding drag and aimed directly for the other angel's side, trying to reach the underside of Martyr's ribs in order to wind his opponent. While Martyr may manage being apathetic and controlled, everything about Yukino suggests energy and somewhat chaotic precision.

It was Martyr's style to push his opponents, either toward mistakes or eventual exhaustion at which point the bandaged angel could make a move that would otherwise be crippling to the other angel. He was controlled only because his deus was controlled, he didn't get excited because he wasn't meant to shine brightly, Martyr was a tool, a pawn, and a sacrifice to the strategies of his deus. Having only put himself partially into the attack, Martry was ableto duck under the kick of the other angel, carrying himself under Yukino a small distance under the layer where he finally stopped, standing firm on the shifting floor of the ocean and once again crossing his arms over his chest, waiting for his opponent to force him onto the defensive.

Bouncing lightly on the thick mud of the floor, Yukino follows through with the kick only to flip over and wind up on his feet; as he does so, however, the nimble angel draws something between his hands, something silvery and bright. As it suddenly cuts through the water, it looks remarkably like a gold yoyo on a silver string. He uses the momentum from twisting over to jump high, trying to get over the other angel and, as he twists on his way down, he pulls that string taut and attempts to draw it down sharply over Martyr's neck as he lands behind him. It's a somewhat weird attack, but he does seem to enjoy the action part of the fight.

It was just what he wanted, Martyr watched as the other angel attacked with his cold collective gaze, his body standing firmly on the silt layer until the angel came close enough for him to react. He had read enough of the angels movements to be able to move out of the way, what was most impressive though was that the bandaged angel did not have to move far. A sidestep out of the way and he was in the golden zone so far as defense went, watching the yoyo like object pass through the water where he should have been. Martyr did not counter attack however, his arms were still crossed over his chest and he still looked as though he was waiting, picking his moment to strike out at the right time.

This time, when he lands, Yukino doesn't go after Martyr again, only crouching in the silt with one leg extended for balance while his fingers brace themselves beneath him. He is in a position that will allow him quick movement without making him an easy target, but he doesn't make any moves on the other angel, just staring at him intently. He looks vaguely annoyed, but it's hard to tell considering the wavery status of the water around them.

It seemed as though Martyr had had enough time to plan, either that or he didn't want to allow his opponent time to think, either way the bandaged angel was off again, moving quick under the surface of the water, his strong legs and light frame allowing him that liberty at least. Without sparing a moment to the other angel, Martyr was quickly upon him, leaping up from the murky bottom and forcing himself down with a pose reminescent of super man, attempting to strike the angel with speed alone rather than putting any force behind his attack.

It's long enough. Yukino is gone by the time that Martyr comes for him, throwing himself backwards and somewhat to the side, only to land neatly on his hands once more. He balances on one foot while the other leg bends forward towards the moving angel, meaning to slam his leg out at just the right moment to hit Martyr in the stomach while he's in the middle of moving downward. There isn't a lot of consistency in the movement - it's all flexibility and grace - but he seems to be able to draw it together in time to attempt the strike, though it's hard to tell if he's planning far enough ahead to get out of the way when necessary.

It almost wasn't a surprise to fans of Martyr's battle style when the kick seemed to connect with the bandaged angel, many had come to expect the angel to suddenly look like he was hit. As was expected though the kick passed straight through a spectral image of Martyr and the bandaged angel was nowhere to be seen, it didn't make it any less amazing to see though, being able to do that trick on a layer with as much resistance as water was truly impressive. True to call, Martyr appeared just behind his oppenent, the khopeshes that had been hanging at his side drawn and raised slightly, then with all the force he could muster he brought both blades down toward either shoulder of the angel, harkening the cheers of the crowd as many noted it was about that time that the angel was ready to begin his final assaults.

Impressive or not, it can't be overly expected that the fragile looking angel that Martyr goes for manages the handy trick of disappearing quite as well himself. The swords tear apart a ghost image that lingers from the sheer speed of Yukino's dodge, followed swiftly by an abrupt kick from the side, a rush of water the only thing to preclude it. It's a brutal assault, wild but apathetic to the other angel's seeming greatness, disregarding those sudden blades with all the arrogant bravado of a teenager.

"Interesting." Kanji said more in a whisper than actually talking, his eyes never once lifted from the layer, he didn't seem to care about the audience or the deus. Rather it was just him and the two angels on the layer, the fast paced chess game in which he needed to keep two steps ahead of his opponent in order to pull out with a victory. However his opponent had managed to gain a step, getting closer to the point where Kanji had not planned, scaring the boy into thinking that perhaps he needed to dump his plan altogether. It took a couple of moments of thought, but he was able to convince himself otherwise, it seemed that the other angel had expended quite a bit of effort in dodging Martyr's previous attacks, if Kanji kept up his offensive while not putting Martyr fully into the attacks at hand then it was possible that he could keep his plan.

Martyr was still travelling at the same speed, he seemed to quickly move away from the kick, quick enough that his body seemed to displace the water for a moment causing a small pocket of force to form where he had been before crashing in on itself. With that same speed and force he pushed himself back into an offensive, this time feinting with one of the curved blades while charging forward with knee toward the gut.

With the water moving as it does and the two angels kicking up that mud off the floor, it should be no surprise that Yukino falls for the ploy of the distracting blade from above, but his head drops just in time for him to see the knee. He can't avoid it, but rather than taking it in the gut, he puts his hands out and lets the jarring force go through his palms and up his arms. Rather than fall to the ground in a great show of weakness, he instead drops only enough to stabilize and dodge, while cradling his arms to his chest, and thrusts one of his feet out, aiming for the other angel's stomach just above the hips.

Martyr doesn't at all seem effected by the layer itself, he moves with grace and confidence as he continues to push his unrelenting offensive. Dodging to the right of the leg, the bandaged angel continued to move trying to produce the attack he needed to finish the match completely, eyes seeming to glow with that sense of duty as he pushed forward with grace and forethought. One quick swing of his sword was enough, he didn't need to waste his energy or push his attack too much yet, all he needed was to keep the other angel on the defensive, whether it was by dodging or taking the brunt of the attack, Martyr didn't seem to care.

Whatever Martyr's ultimate plan is, it seems to be working pretty well as Yukino flips neatly out of the range of the attack only to continue lightly bouncing across the floor until he vaults up into the middle of the water itself, bringing himself to float there for a moment. He's done it to put some distance between the two of them, swimming slowly backwards while trying to keep an eye on Martyr.

Not letting up at all, Martyr spun around to follow the other angel, his powerful legs once again carrying him through the water at a pace that nearly matched the other angels. He didn't at all look fatigued or hurt, his face was as serene as ever, even as he was pushing an agressive offensive that would send most other angels into panic. Perhaps it was his demeanor that allowed him to remain unscathed, a conservative outlook equating to conservative movements. Or maybe it was something else entirely, something hidden shared between deus and angel, whatever the cause Martyr looked in his prime as he continued forward, taking himself to just under the other angel. With a powerful push off he used his momentum to propel himself up toward the other angel, a torpedo in the water, both his blades poised at his sides until that moment that he came upon the other angel. That was when he swung, both arms up and out like scissors threatening to cut through the lower half of Yukino.

While he was perfectly fast enough before, Yukino has worn himself out swimming and bouncing, it would seem. As the other angel rockets towards him through the water, the slighter angel is taken somewhat by surprise, managing only to hold his arms up defensively as the hit comes towards him. He is struck, but he twists away at just the right moment, just barely saving himself from taking the full brunt of it. Though definitely weakened by this point, the angel makes a last ditch effort to bother with attacking, throwing himself towards Martyr as he attempts to cannonball into his stomach.

No dice. Martyr twisted away from the attack with relative ease, once again putting himself in a position where he could push his offensive without any major interruptions. As Yukino came in beside him looking a fright of damage from Martyr's previous attacks, the bandaged angel pulled back a bit staring back at the other angel. It was his apathy, his sense of duty that seemed to still shine, he didn't care if the other angel was going to dodge his next attack or not, his job was to do as much damage as possible for the sake of his deus, for the sake of strategy. Being a pawn in a game meant nothing more than that, there was no glory or honor in what he was about to do. Almost immedietly after pulling back, Martyr rushed forward, sparing the use of his blades to bum rush the other angel with his elbow, all his power and force behind the attack with none of the lasting damage that the blades would cause.

Both Kanji and Martyr watched in unison as the other angel careened away from the hit, both knowing before the blow had even landed that the match had been over. As advantageous as the layer was to light weight angels, it also posed a certain threat in that the damage caused on the layer was usually quite a bit more devestating than a regular strike on a regular layer. The reason was tension, something that Kanji had invoked in his own angel design by wrapping Martyr's upper body in bandages. By creating tension the person who was striking naturally exerted more force to overcome the tension, it was really because of the human brains own inability to apply numbers to something without the advantage of retrospect that it worked, fighters naturally used as much strength as they thought they needed, which was usually quite a bit more than was actually needed. It was a double edged sword, the reason Martyr had been able to go through the battle unscathed and end it so quickly in the first place, a true manipulation of the layer as Kanji had wanted.

The announcer was stunned into silence, but only for a moment. "WINNER MARTYR! The bandaged blur pulls out with a devistating victory with two minutes left, proving himself as a tough competitor in these games for the second time in the tournament. What will future battles hold for the Bandaged angel and his silent deus? Only time will tell."

Kanji's seat lowered to the layer and he picked Martyr up off of it, rubbing his fingers over the bandages before slipping the angel in its protective pouch at his hip despite the cheers of the audience to show off the angel. Once again, and like always, Kanji paid no mind to the audience, they were distractions from his thoughts, and he needed to think in order to feel comfortable with himself. The chair lowered to the ground and Kanji began to exit the arena, turning to the boy that he had been fighting. "Strategy defines the game, one step further and you would have had me on the defensive." He said with a quiet inflection, not seeming to really even look at the boy before turning to leave again.

Naokirou says something nice and smiles at Kanji, but ultimately just escapes the stage to go get his angel repaired.