A careful return, a gentle pace. A passionate fight that has no victims. Things that fate might have in store, would one believe in them. Two oddcoloured eyes gaze over the room full of layers, stopping at each attendant. A few of them look up, somewhat surprised and perhaps even relieved to see the two again. Ranmaru and Mikage had disappeared without a word, so it is not surprising that such looks are given. "Hmmm." A calming, gently hum emanated from Ranmaru, who had turned his eyes upon Mikage once more. "Seems they are relieved to see us again." He is slightly unsure if Mikage can see all of the attendants, so describes this for her sake. He gently takes a step forth, leading Mikage around one of the taken layers.


It is sunny outside, but because of the tournament it isn't as surprising that all of the layers are taken. "We registered?" He whispers to one of the nearby attendants. The lady nods gently at the youth and turns towards the layer. "They should be almost done. Just a few more minutes. Please take a seat while you wait?" The lady bows at Mikage, then at Ranmaru, and motions a hand to one of the janitors to get a couple of seats. Ranmaru gives the lady a gentle nod. "Thank you." He claims, turning his eyes back to Mikage. A smile had been ever-present on his face the whole day. He was glad to be back, he still is. And the knowledge of getting to have a battle with Mikage... Kamui to fight against Rei, it all made it that much better. "I'm glad." His eyes turn to the layer to get a good look at what the young ones were doing. A young boy against an even younger girl, and it was quite clear that the boy was the one losing, his big stone golem like angel getting beaten by what looked like a big walking carrot. "The angels they come up with these days."


Even though there had been time in between, time gone from this place, returning to the Piffle Princess still felt like returning home. Mikage takes careful steps at her beloved's side, seeming unusually happy for once. It seems almost as if a great weight has been lifted off of her shoulders and she is once more free to simply be herself. She glances upwards towards her companion and gives a tiny, contained laugh as she nods her head. "Well, you did kind of take me away without a lot of notice." She lifts her eyebrows, tilting her head to the side kittenishly as she nudges the tall boy in the arm. Her pale eyes sweep about the nearby layers, looking at the children and adults as they find a way to play as equals within the layer. A smile curls up the corners of her mouth as she nods her head. Some things don't change, and that is certainly something to be thankful for.


Her attention gets turned towards the attendant as her ears catch the discussion. "Thank you." Mikage chimes in a split second behind Ranmaru himself, bowing her head slightly in polite acknowledgement of the woman. "It seems it was a good idea that we called in to register a layer." She murmurs as she looks towards the indicated layer, lightly holding a small pillow with a black kitten print on it to her chest. "I'd forgotten how busy things get before a tournament." Then, rather than interrupt the two playing, she quiets herself and waits as the chairs are brought forward. Then, she sits down carefully upon one and leans forward slightly to watch the match. Her voice shifts lower as she glances towards Ranmaru, pointing at the golem as she whispers, "He's not paying attention to his health. He's so intent on landing one good hit, he doesn't realize his own health is so low." She's seen quite enough layer matches among beginners to understand just how enthusiastic some players could be, and how it lead to mistakes.


"So it was indeed." Is that a smug smile showing on Ranmaru's face? No, it is probably the light. His body turns away from Mikage for a moment as the seats arrive and are set down on the floor behind the two. The male youth uses the opportunity to sit down quite greedily. There is not as big of a group around the layer at the moment, so the two would be able to see the match perfectly even when sitting down. "I see." Ranmaru nodded. He too was seeing the same thing, perhaps not as clear as Mikage, but he was still seeing it. "One day I was like that too... I think." He scratches his head for a few short seconds. "It's been a long time since I began playing." He seems to find a need to explain himself, but keeps his voice down. He is not about to go and feel the kids bad. "But even those who know nothing can win. By stroke of luck. As people would say in case of the 'Miracle Rookie'." He used the English term, which ended up coming out quite well for his normal attempts at it.


The match between the young girl and the boy however continued without luck. And the walking carrot ended up winning from the big golem. The young boy looks quite down, sad that his strong angel had lost against something as silly as a carrot. A smile returns to his face however as the young girl comes up to him and gives him a hug. Apparently it was a brother and his sister, or so the attendant says as she comes up to the two kanto-qualifiers. "The layer is free. But take your time." And she walks off to the other side of the layer, her schedule board within her hands much like a flight attendant and waits for the two to get up from their seats to transfer to the egg-like shaped furniture. "Ne?" Ranmaru slowly gets up and extends a hand towards Mikage. "Shall we?"


"Well, I plan on getting a lot of practice in before the tournament. Rei and I wouldn't want to be too rusty." There are some higher level players who believe that even a single day off from training can jeopardize their skills, but Mikage tends to take things at a more leisurely pace when it comes to such things. "It's been a long time since both of us started." Few of those Mikage had begun playing with are still around. Many had moved out of the area, much to her sadness. There are a few, however, like her dear friend Fukata and his angel Yuki who still remain. "I doubt many would refer to Suzuhara-sama as 'Miracle Rookie' anymore. She's just 'the champion'." Of course, many, like Mikage herself, remember the whirlwind set of tournaments that lead to her taking that title from Shuu-sama and Athena. "There's always the chance for it, again, though. The layer is as much a measure of skill as it is a measure of the heart." And that, is one of the reasons that Mikage, as weak as she may be, still excels at it.


As the match rounds to a close, the pale girl smiles at the young brother and sister, "That was a wonderful match. Thank you for the chance to watch it." She bows slightly to the two, and the girl goes a little red in the face, while the boy just seems to look quite proud. As the two collect their angels and head off, they whisper to each other 'That was the White Storm and the Phantom!' 'No?' 'Yeah!' 'Really?' 'I'm sure of it!' 'Wow'. The conversation gets lost as the two head away from the layer together. Slowly, Mikage pushes herself to her feet and reaches into a pocket of her jacket to pull out her small gargoyle angel. She looks down at her for a moment, and then upwards towards Ranmaru as she nods her head. "Hai. Let's play." She gives a small smile, and then walks towards the egg-shaped Deus's chair, setting down her backpack and sorting through it before pulling out her layer helmet. In a moment, she's plugged in and settled with the visor on her head, blinking as she adjusts a few things. "You can fall-in first, dear heart." Saying this as an aside, she reaches up to tug a bit on one of the wing transmitters, which seems to be stuck.


"You are not the only one who wants to get some practice in. And what better practice than against the toughest opponent there is in this region?" He smiles ever so kindly at Mikage. If Ranmaru would ever get the ability to go back in time and meet his younger self, his younger self probably would not recognize him, as 'this' Ranmaru is less pale and more able to show his emotions. "By the way... you do know you just drew attention to us right. I mean, not that we won't get that the moment our angels get on the layer..." The boy takes a leisure stride to the seats and settles in it a somewhat slow pace. He is taking his time at this, there was no need to rush things. "But you are right." He begins to talk again when he sits, while taking his angel's container out of one of his pockets.


"The Miracle Rookie is no longer that miracle anymore. I haven't been following the championship that much though. Does she still hold the title?" He wonders how well the girl had been able to cope with the changes in the layer system and the anomalies that had come into existence through it. "Hmm." Again that thoughtful hum, so often made by Ranmaru. That hum had been triggered by something, the whispers that followed. He had seen the effect before, like a pebble falling into a pond. Rings slowly moving outwards. The voices of the children who had walked away previously, speaking of the White Storm and the Layer Phantom, seemed to begin to echo. And echo that expanded throughout the room. Words like 'rematch' and 'wow' begin to fill that same room, and soon people begin to flock towards the layer which Mikage and Ranmaru had taken place at.


"Hmm." The male youth takes a quick look about, seeing that the attendant was trying to make sure the people would not be coming too close to the layer. "Alright then." His gaze turns back to the layer. "Guess it's that time then... finally." His angel comes out of its container and gets settled onto his lap. The container is quickly put back into Ranmaru's pocket. "It's good to see you again, Kamui." The visor gets put on his head, before his eyes, and he looks gently at the layer.


Ranmaru's fingers then finally wrap around the lithe body of his angel again, holding it quite gently. "Illuminate the darkness with your soul of bonds!" He suddenly calls out as Kamui suddenly gets flung towards the layer. "Kamui, show us your light! Fallin!" The black feline angel shoots forth...


Its head first as it touched the bright light of the layer, immediately forcing itself to open its crimson red eyes, the rest of its body follows quite quickly. Its fur ruffles violently because of the velocity it had been thrown with! Its limbs seemed to twitch for a moment before exploding to live. Stretching out completely before making a beautiful double flip forth. A motion which is finished by landing perfectly on both knees and one fist, its other arm set before its face. Its tail lashed violently for a moment before the angel actually seemed to 'bother' to get up and take some paces back to his side of the layer.


Kamui's head cocks slightly to the left, it's lips revealing one tooth, allowing for the angel to give quite the smug look. Its eyes illuminate with that yellow-red hue. Ranmaru's angel was ready for battle... yet its smug pose dissipated as it noticed what he was up against. Exchanging it for something happier. "You want to change the layer scenery?" Ranmaru asked, directing his words to Mikage.


"Of course. I couldn't think of many better opponents to get a good match-up with. Besides... Rei has missed Kamui." Unlike many who see angels as separate beings, even if they are controlled by their Deus's will, Miki sees Rei as an extension of herself, and Kamui as an extension of Ranmaru. At least, in that way, the battles between them had quite a bit more meaning than just two dolls fighting one another. She glances in the direction the two children had gone, and then lifts an eyebrow, shrugging her shoulders. "It's alright. There's no real way of hiding from it, I've tried long enough." And try as she might, people who wanted to meet famous Deuses always did find their way. She just dismisses this as she gets the wing of her black headset to extend finally.


Even as people seem to take notice of the two, she just relaxes and gets into the persona of the 'White Storm'. It isn't the same as the kind, pale girl that most would know off of the layer, but it is somewhat of a mask that she has to take to deal with the eyes of others. There is nothing this time to hide her pale hair or her frail form. No matter what they think of her, she is Mikage, deus of Rei, and that is all that matters on the layer. Her eyes become focused as she watches the fall-in of her beloved's angel. Her opponent, her friend, and one of the more challenging of those who have ever faced her.


Then, taking a deep breath, the girl holds her angel out on her forearm. "Spirits of wind and water, soul of the binding storm, will of the earth, heart of my heart. Be my wings... Rei! Fallin!" She draws her arm back and then snaps it quickly, sending the small angel tumbling towards the layer. It takes barely a split second before the angel passes through that invisible barrier, flaring to life. Her eyes flash white for a moment as her wings flare out, catching the air beneath her as the bat-like appendages force her upwards. Two sweeps of those great wings bring her to a soft landing as her talons click on the bare layer. Slowly, her wings fold back onto her shoulders, caping there as she flexes her legs, tail twitching. It seems almost as if she were checking the status of each system one by one. Then, her eyes pale back into their greenish tone, looking across towards Kamui and giving a soft, creeling sound of greeting.


She knew that this was a time for battle, but battles with this kitten of an angel always felt like some sort of strange dance of souls. Thus, the angel and the deus both look forward to such events. Mikage glances upward slightly, and then nods as she reaches forward, letting fate determine the scenery that this dance shall be played out on.


Kamui's head snaps down and soon his whole body wobbles. The layer changes underneath its feet, but soon Kamui is able to find his balance quite quickly. Its head turns up again, showing a definite emotion. Happy. That is perhaps the best way to describe Kamui at the very moment Rei made her sound of welcome. Its eyes glimmer like a candle flickering in the night, a play of its eye's lights. It raises one of its clawed hands and then perches down careful before it dashes forth on all fours. The angel stops again, right in front of Rei. The angel moves so easily over the rope, as if it were second nature to roam such tight areas. Ranmaru came to realize that this dance of souls would become quite limited in movement as Kamui was unable to truly fly, unlike Rei. So there would be a definite disadvantage here. This thought however is cast aside as he watches his angel's antics, welcoming Rei like a long lost friend. The angel is purring and rubs his head against Rei's chest, then taking a step back and, still on all fours, looks up at the gargoyle angel. It gives her a nod. The angel understood what was expected of him, but let Rei know with that one single nod that it would treat her like a friend nonetheless.


"Shall we dance?" Ranmaru asks. He reaches, or rather, unfolds an arm towards Mikage. Like a gentleman asking his wife for the dance at their wedding. This motion was mimicked by Kamui, stepping back on the rope and extending a hand forth in the same way. Kamui follows it up with a motion of its full body, jumping with a back flip to his side of the layer and getting into a prone-stance, only with its arms extended outwards to keep balance. Ranmaru follows up the movement of the 'offer' as well, however in a different way. The youth bows forward and brings the hand to his heart and lets it rest there even as he comes back up. "To you, the opening move."


Fate, at times, proved to be an interesting mistress. The rope layer made things a bit more difficult, but there is no challenge these two cannot face together. Mikage nods her head slightly, giving a small smile, which fades when her mind, her spirit, become concentrated onto the layer and her angel. The small gargoyle gives an affectionate rub to the cat-boy's ears when he is near, and then politely steps backwards. A battle, a dance, something in-between, the usual feral nature of this angel is lost against this particular opponent. Instead, Rei waits patiently until Kamui has taken his place, her tail swaying with a steady rhythm that must run in tune with Mikage's heartbeat.


"Of course, my love." And then, words are gone for the time being. The gargess leaps into the air, landing with one foot on the rope, and then propelling herself towards Kamui with surprising speed. There is a moment where it seems as if the wind may catch her, but as a creature of the wind, she judges her jump right, landing just in front of her companion. In a wide arc, she sweeps an arm outwards, attempting to move it high, like the opening motion into some elaborate kata.


Kamui gave Rei an inspecting look as the attack came in, trying to calculate where she would land. Its calculations however were slightly off, and when it tried to move back to escape the hand, it forgot the effect the rope would have the moment Rei would land. The angel jumped back, but because of the momentum that the rope held downwards at the point of Rei's landing, the force of his jump ends up being inadequate. "Shh..." Ranmaru starts a word and bites his lip to stop himself from finish it. Somewhere in the back of his head there was a little chibi-Ranmaru hitting himself in the head with a hammer for not having realized something that simple. He played on this layer before after all.


The tip of Rei's arm singed over Kamui's lower belly, something that ends up blowing him back at the same time. Kamui is a very light weight angel, and when hit is easily damaged. Its arms flail for a short moment as he gets close to the rope and soon catches it with its arms. The angel dangles on the rope for a few seconds before getting itself back up on the rope and balancing once more. It gives Rei a quick look, making sure she was still in a place he could hit her before suddenly jumping forth, trying to mimic Rei's attack! One hand slightly held back, flat, to be unleashed upon Rei when coming near her. He lets himself fall down in front of Rei and quickly reaches for the rope above him, then letting the force of him coming down create a new upward momentum to lash out towards Rei, flashing past her and ending up in midair for a moment.


The tip of Rei's arm singed over Kamui's lower belly, something that ends up blowing him back at the same time. Kamui is a very light weight angel, and when hit is easily damaged. Its arms flail for a short moment as he gets close to the rope and soon catches it with its arms. The angel dangles on the rope for a few seconds before getting itself back up on the rope and balancing once more. It gives Rei a quick look, making sure she was still in a place he could hit her before suddenly jumping forth, trying to mimic Rei's attack! One hand slightly held back, flat, to be unleashed upon Rei when coming near her. He lets himself fall down in front of Rei and quickly reaches for the rope above him, then letting the force of him coming down create a new upward momentum to lash out towards Rei, flashing past her and ending up in midair for a moment.


Certainly this layer took quite a bit of getting used to. Not only does it surprise Kamui after the first attack, but it surprises Rei. She hadn't really intended on striking Kamui quite this early. She gives a bit of a surprised sound and tries to turn, nearly toppled off of the narrow rope as Kamui moves about. She lowers into a crouch, gripping the rope to steady herself. Of course that is when the cat-boy comes up quite unexpectedly with his own mimic of her attack. There is a flash, her wind powers sweeping up to try and protect her even as she is caught off-guard. A bit of a green aura hangs in the air for a moment as she steps backwards, the wind supporting her from falling even as the blow hits hard against her belly. Shaking her head, giving a small grimace of pain, the gargoyle seems to focus this energy forward.


With red flaring around her legs, the wind swirling and casting the ropes back and forth, she lashes out forward with one leg, and then quickly with the other in a spinning move, trying to catch the catboy while he recovers from his previous attack on her.


"I hit?" Ranmaru whispers to himself and quickly seems to look at Kamui for something. A moment of relief shows on him before turning his attention back to Rei. "Gnnn." She was already attacking, and it would be hard to get out of the way at such a critical moment. His eyes moved quickly over the layer, trying to find something, and his angel followed. It pushed itself down, clutching to the rope and then used solely its arms to fling itself back. It was a miracle that Kamui ends up coming untouched. That was, there was no damage showing. But by the slight change of posture in the feline angel, Mikage might be able see that the maneuver had cost the angel quite a bit.

The angel takes a little while to get back into a balanced position, gently moving on the rope. Its movements had looked much more dexterous previously. "Come on Kamui, don't let us down. We have to win this one..." It was a mere whisper of Ranmaru's, aimed not only at his angel, but also at himself. Kamui, on the layer, sends his deus a quick glance to acknowledge that he 'heard' him and then turns back to the battle at hand. It begins to move slowly and increases his pace pretty quickly and somewhere halfway between Rei and his starting position, Kamui suddenly seems to rocket forwards, apparently the energy of his previous escape is still there and needs to be let out. And it's let out in the form of a rapid attack, behind Rei! Kamui appears behind her in an attempt to catch her off guard, trying to attach himself to her by stabbing towards her pauldron and then trying to quickly lash out with its claws.


The diamond hard claws of Kamui dig into the metal of the gargoyle's pauldron, making a scraping sound like metal upon metal as they sink inward. She hisses slightly as pain lashes through that shoulder, turning her hand towards the cat-boy as the other claw comes towards her. It is then that a barrier, seemingly invisible to the naked eye, forms between her fingers and his striking hand. The power prevents the attack from doing even more damage as she pulls backwards, trying to free her arm in the process. When the attack is safely prevented, she closes her eyes for a split second, and then opens them once more, closing and opening her hand in the same sequence. When her hand opens, though, a flash of blinding light extends from it, along with a force of power intent on driving Kamui backwards.


Mikage, as serene as always, only glances upwards slightly to look at her opponent. Many times, a lot could be understood by watching the body movement of another. Even if her angel is quite a bit more damaged than generally seen this early in a match, she doesn't seem alarmed by this. Even her usual quickness of breathing is gone. After a moment, her eyes are set once more on her angel, and the duel at hand.



Before moving away from Rei, the angel quickly shows that he was sorry to have hurt Rei. Kamui never had struck Rei this badly so far in the beginning, so it was unsure as to what to do. It jumps back a few inches towards Mikage's side of the rope and gives her a quick glance before turning it to Rei again. It seems somewhat like the angel is putting up a show for something. "Careful, Kamui." Ranmaru whispers, giving the entire layer a good glance before concentrating on Kamui again. The angel nods in return, knowing firsthand what to be careful off. As much as he had gotten away from Rei's initial attack, the effects were still lingering. So it closed its eyes and put its trust into Ranmaru's abilities to steer him. This was something that drew hard on Ranmaru's abilities as a deus, and it was quite rare for angels of Kamui's type to hit Rei shortly after her blinding attack.

With that in mind, Ranmaru still set Kamui forth to try and hit Rei. Its movements were somewhat sloppier as it begun to run forth on the rope, and they were less fast than if Ranmaru would be letting the angel correct its course... but he was doing surprisingly good. Kamui ran faster and faster and soon was within range to attack Rei. Ranmaru let Kamui lash out down towards Rei's feet, thinking that was a position she would not suspect to be attacked from. "I'm having fun." A smile had appeared on Ranmaru's face early in the game, and it only grew as the match went further in. The people around them had grown quiet, as if their thoughts were resonating with these deuses, not wishing to break the concentration of the two.


Certainly, one could start to wonder if the surgery had left something fundamentally different in Mikage. Her angel just did not seem to be acting quite as normal, or at least was not reacting as quickly as one would expect. No matter what one would suspect, it doesn't appear that Mikage has any great plans in store. Rei simply does a flip backwards, moving away from the impending attack and leaving quite a bit of distance between herself and Kamui in the process. It is the first time that the normally agile gargoyle has managed to dodge an attack during this match. A small smile forms once more on Mikage's lips as she nods and looks up. "Un... me too." Still, she isn't one to be distracted for long.


Rei, on the other hand, seems to think it prudent to try that little technique again. On the rope, Kamui would have trouble using his other senses, at least that is what her mind tells her. So, she draws back her hand once more and thrusts it forward, sending out another spray of light and force from her palm. Repetitive, yes, but at least keeping her opponent blind might keep him off-guard.


Catching Kamui Off-guard was not the best tactic against the feline-hybrid angel, since its deus was paying quite a bit of attention. And the angel itself tends to be quick on its feet in most circumstances. A few steps are taken back and Mikage gets another glance. The angel then turns back around and blows a Kiss at Rei. And then he waits, he lets Rei recover from the last volley of attacks for a moment. In some ways, a battle between these two angels wasn't the most glorious battle. But at the same time it was just beautiful to watch, two loved ones fighting each other. Ranmaru had wondered sometimes if in some ways the two had expressed some kind of feral ritual, to see who was 'boss'. But he himself never thought of it like that.

This fight however has a much different objective, such thoughts did not even apply. "Ready? Let's go." Calmly Ranmaru speaks those words as Kamui dashes forward. Its eyes had recovered and this time it just tried to get close to Rei and... Kiss her? He stopped right before the lady gargess, opened its arms and tried to catch her with his arms. If he'd be able to catch her, surely he'd be able to kiss her. He just hoped she would not be too startled, as his claws were sharp.


Rei isn't one to pass up an opportunity to catch her breath, and the gargoyle steps backwards, her wings shifting and her tail drawing backwards as she places a hand to her chest, watching with a somewhat confused expression. The tone of things had shifted, and somehow she seems to sense this. Her head tilts to the side, ears twitching curiously. It almost seems as if she doesn't understand exactly what Kamui is doing. At times, he was a dangerous and feral adversary, but at other times he seemed like a kitten wanting attention. But then again, weren't most cats that way? When he comes towards her again, even if it seems as if it will be for something like a kiss, she draws backwards, giving a warning sounding creel as she looks up towards the timer.


Then, she simply leaps upwards out of the way, showing her quick moves once more, effortlessly avoiding Kamui's grasp as she spins in the air and lands nearby on the rope, trying to use her body's own momentum to sway the rope enough that it might unbalance Kamui. Just incase that doesn't happen, she swats the rope with her tail as she grips it with both hands, making it sway wildly and become quite hard to stay standing on.


As Rei spins upwards into the air, for a small moment, Kamui gives a sad look upwards at the gargess in the sky. It's those big cute eyes much like those of the Puss In Boots of a certain well known CG movie. This look gets discarded, the angel looks down towards the ground for a moment, before looking back up as the rope starts to wiggle. A nod is given to Rei. As much as he understood he had to fight, there was however for him always time to play around.

"Good." Ranmaru replied to Mikage, turning his joyful eyes to get a good look of both the deus as well as Rei. "Don't you think those too fit perfectly together?" He asks, slightly nervous. While its deus talks about him on the layer, Kamui ends up getting smacked with the rope as it springs up. It quickly grabs a hold of it and seconds later is hanging on it for dear life! Arms and legs wrapped around it and giving a disturbed look at the floor beneath him. Heck! He was not going down! No way! Rapidly it climbed back onto the rope and tried to quickly make its way towards Rei to try and attack her, as it was apparently wanted, in the form of a scratch at her chest. It was hard for him to keep his balance, but he figured that it would probably be equally hard for Rei to get the right momentum to get away from him!


Get away from him? That was something Rei had nearly no ability to do. She braces herself, clinging to the rope with hands and legs as she does so, ducking her head and letting the claw hit against her back and part of the armor she wears over her shoulder. Then, the motion is just a bit too much, causing her to lose the grip of her feet. Over the edge, the gargess tumbles, holding on with her hands as she looks upwards towards Kamui. It's quite likely that she's a bit surprised to be in this position at this point in a game, but she also just seems not to enjoy this particular set of scenery. For the time being, she just hangs on for dear life, as if trying to figure out if it would be best to try to climb back up, or just let herself fall and use the winds and her wings to catch herself.


It is doubly strange for a deus to look up from a match when in this sort of position, but Mikage does so quite easily, blinking slightly as if she were in a dream-state. "Mmm... Hai." She agrees in a soft voice, nodding her head slightly as she sees the precarious situation of her angel. "They've always seemed to belong together." This, of course, is Mikage's interpretation, as Ranmaru did not remember their early meetings. "I'm not doing so well today." She admits, and then shakes her head, letting out a breath and setting her concentration once more. If she didn't keep her mind on things, she very well might lose.


"Careful... don't want it to already be over." Ranmaru whispers to himself, and lets Kamui respond like a gentleman. As good as this battle might be going for him, winning was not something he cared for. Not against Mikage. Kamui gently treds over to Rei and crouches near her position, slowly moving a fist downwards so that she could not cut herself on his diamond claws. He intended to help her up onto the rope. Its deus smiles. "I don't want Rei to fall." He explains himself. "Winning is not important to me. I play against you to have fun."


The competative spirit at the layer which Ranmaru normally showed to those other than Mikage was not present today. There was no reason for it to be present. There was joy and a fighting spirit that took its place, one which had at first seem somewhat alien yet comfortable and gentle. "If it was not for them... our lives might have looked so much different. In some way, we owe Kamui and Rei quite big of a deal. As well as, in some ways, all those we've played against in the past."


The people who are standing about them show light shades of confusion. It was probably rare for two people in an official duel to show this kind of behavior towards eachother. Especially two such highly ranked people. They were both Kanto-qualifiers after all. "I can feel that Kamui is having fun too. He does not want Rei to fall either."


A same nudge is given to Rei, as she strokes her head past him he strokes back. In reply to Mikage saying that they will show Ranmaru and Kamui the strength of their hearts, Kamui brings a hand to his 'heart' and bows his head gently. Distance had already been made by Rei at that point, so there is no point for him to move back. He lets Rei increase her momentum of movement, trying to calculate how best to move. And finally, at the last moment when it would appear as if Rei was actually going to hit Kamui,he lets himself drop down to let Rei rush past him, grabbing the rope with one hand while trying to lash the other towards her in an attempt to catch one of her legs.

"I'll let you sleep when we get home." Ranmaru smiles as he continues to talk to Mikage. "Just don't exert yourself too much.'


There isn't a sign of too much exertion on Mikage's face. She seems mostly calm, no sweat pooling on her forehead and no quickness of breathing. Still, it's clear she isn't quite 'with-it' today. Everyone is entitled to have an off day, right? As Rei blows right past Kamui like a charging bull, she drops and grabs onto the rope, evading the attempt to catch her legs as she does so. She spins around the rope, releases, and lands once more on her feet before charging forward again with the same speed.



Dodging at this point was slightly harder. Kamui is still below the ropes when his attack misses, and to get up would both mean getting into the range of Rei's attack as well as there being a chance of him being caught off-guard. But if he would not move back up, she could trample him, and that would mean he'd fall off. A worried look appears on the young deus' face as the predicament reaches him, and a quick choice needs to be made. He guides Kamui to hang on the best he could and make sure his hands would not be hit by the trampling feet! And as if magic hit, Kamui is able to hold on, he is even able to get a quick 'lash' out towards Rei's feet as she rushes by, but quickly is forced to hang on for dear life once more.


Rei pauses for a moment, as if she were unsure of what to do. This seems almost like a replay of earlier in the match, and she becomes torn between taking the opportunity to attack and helping her companion. Her tail twitches for a moment as she looks up towards her deus with a questioning expression, creeling. "Fight with all your heart." The pale girl repeats and bobs her head in another nod towards her angel. Still with a worried expression on her face, Rei darts forward. For a moment it seems as if she will disobey her master by helping Kamui, but instead she leans down and grabs onto his hand quickly, yanking him upwards and giving him a somewhat wild toss into the air. What follows, is a blast of icey cold energy strikes which extend from the gargress's fingers. If he dodges, at least he has a chance to land on the rope once-more, but if he can't adjust himself fast enough in the air with that infamous 'kitty gravity' that most cats posess, then he's likely to find a face full of snow and ice.


Kitty gravity is one way to describe it. Like magic the feline angel seems to be able to get out of the way. Using the 'kind' throw of Rei, the angel was able to get back up and move further than it normally would have. It actually launching him back enough for it to shift its balance and begin a descend earlier than what would have been expected. In some way Ranmaru wondered if it is through his angel's actions that Rei is holding back so much, and glances up at Mikage again, giving her a reading look. "Are you okay?" He asks with a worried look on his face, trying his best into reading Mikage. In some ways, he realizes that he already knew the answer behind that distracted look. He could understand it remotely, and he hopes secretly that whatever he had in store for Mikage would not freak her out. Just to be sure he quickly glances as Kamui for a quick moment, who had landed on the rope a little while ago and was ready to attack again. He rushes forth at Rei and throws a half-witted punch at her, trying to catch her off guard by being as simple as he couple possibly get.


As the force of her attack blows past Kamui, Rei seems to look a little puzzled. Of course, she's used to the speedy angel, but it was better when she could actually manage to hit him once or twice. This distraction seems to extend onto the deus as she looks up, nodding her head slightly towards Ranmaru. "Just thinking." She admits, and rubs at her head. Normally she is quite able to keep a rope around her thoughts, but today they seemed to be invading quite a bit more than usual. Rei gives a little screetch, drawing Mikage's attention back down once more. "Ahh, gomen ne, Rei. I promise, I'll try harder." She sighs and then finally seems to focus on the layer.


It seems that this occurs almost at the last moment as Rei just barely manages to get out of the way of Kamui's swipe at her. She creels and then draws her arms backwards, focusing energy above her head as waves of red aura spread over her arms. As she sends her arms dowards, spiraling blades of energy extend out and sweep forward towards Kamui, crisscrossing in the air in their dizzying pattern.


A similar energy, much like that of Rei's Spirit Force is witnessed for a short moment. It seems to draw away some of the speed the blades seem to possess before Kamui actually takes his time to dodge. It was a combination of using his own ability to use Spirit Force and the effects that seemed to have on the layer on rare occassions. He performs two backflips in a row and lands on just his feet. "Nya!" The catboy strikes a fighting pose and at the same time casts a smile into Rei's direction. "I think I know what you are thinking about." Ranmaru admits to Rei's deus and looks away in a slightly embarrassed manner. He seems slightly nervous about something and is rubbing his hands against eachother repetatively. Kamui quickly rushes forth again with the intend of unleashing another quick volley of attacks on its opponent, swiping left and right as to scratch at her armor and push her around.


It seems to take quite a bit of effort from both the angel and deus to draw away from the powerful counterattack of scratches thrown at her. She grimaces for a moment and then leaps off of the rope, flapping her wings as she catches the air currents and begins to glide upwards. Rather than diving into another attack, Rei focuses all her energy between her hands into a blue glow. As this begins, Mikage's eyes close, and the upper area of the layer begins to swirl with clouds. Some of the onlookers begin to gasp, knowing what is about to come. Even Ranmaru should recognise the charging of Mikage's most powerful technique. The angel roars as sparks begin to fly from her fingers, eyes flashing bright white as her power focuses on the summoning of the storm.


Ranmaru eyes the timer quickly, and then gives a look at the attendant, who in return just gives a smile. His attention turn back to the layer where stormclouds had begun to settle over the layer. "Hmm." An amused hum escapes the boy, seeing how this time, such drawing of this tecnique drew on her. Much less was the answer, which was the source of his amusement. He realizes that Mikage can finally enjoy playing this game to its fullest of extend without driving herself to the land of the near-unconcious. "Quick, Kamui." He whispers to himself, hoping that his angel would be able to get a few attacks off against Rei before she would unleash the wrath of nature. Unlikely, but still possible. After all, he had been in this position on multiple occassions. Kamui dashes forth again, trying to get behind Rei and draw away her energy using its special technique.


When Mikage's mind is truly on the layer with her angel, the pair can be a fearsome force. There is little chance of an attack striking her in this frame of mind. Quickly, with a speed that seems almost unearthly for this particular angel, Rei manages to get out of the way of the impending attack. She turns in the air and roars, flapping her wings strongly as she beats against the winds her own storms are carrying. Then, she catches an updraft and disappears above the clouds. As soon as she does, the storm begins to break. Wind lashes, lightning crashes, and rain and hail beat down on the layer below with the force of nature's fury.


The feline angel is forced to jump left and right to get out of the way of the incoming forces of nature. The realization that he had failed to hit her in time had hit him fast and hard, so all he could do was dodge the lightning, hail and other damaging features when they came pelting downwards. It was hard to move on such a small rope and Kamui was forced to maneuver by jumping back and forth over the rope. Something that, as well trained as he was, drew forth too much energy than what was initially intended. Ranmaru could see that Kamui had begun to slow down, and the fatigue had become quite high. "Guess it is almost over." One of his hands went to the side of his body and rubs gently over his leg while quickly getting a good look at Kamui. The angel had come to a halt quite close to him and gave the boy a desperate look. A nod was all it needed to run up to Rei again, at quite the fast pace... to lunge at her.


As the power of the storm ebbs away, the gargress decends once more to earth as her wings bring her down towards the rope with a gentle glide. It almost seems as if she were quite calm after expending the energy of the storm. Even as she lands and capes her wings once more, and both the eyes of the deus and angel open, both seem as if they had finally returned to being themselves. Fans of the White Storm give a cheer at seeing this, and fans of the Phantom cheer their deus for managing to dodge the brung of the damage from such a powerful technique. A group of girls begin to cheer, 'Go go Rei!' while a group of boys call out 'Come on, get her Kamui! You can do it!'


Rei raises her head slowly, and just hops over the incoming Kamui, lightly extending one leg as if she were going to step on his head and use it as a launching pad to get herself further away.


Kamui lifts its eyes up at the sky as Rei seems to go at him. The timer was slowly reaching zero and Ranmaru was counting down in his mind. The feline angel crouches down and sets its gaze upon the approaching gargess. "Kamui..." He knew he was being cheered on, even though he was only half-hearing it, but he also knew that his angel was in trouble. It was hard to see, but the movement of Kamui had become less agile and dexterous. "Hang on in there buddy, its almost time."


A small, almost invisible nod was the feline angel's response, slowly reaching up again and suddenly pushes both of its hands forwards. There was not enough speed remaining in him to get away so all he could do was take the attack head on. He rammed his fists forwards as fast as possible and settled his feet around the rope to get a more sturdy position. The back of Rei's foot, when it finally came down, rammed right onto Kamui's arms and it was not hard to see that, even though he just had blocked it, he had taken a lot of damage.


"Your heart is stronger now, my angel." Ranmaru states gently and lets Kamui do a counterattack by pushing its hands forwards to try unbalance Rei, followed by a quick jump over her and a simple crouched landing, turning around to face the Gargess once more.


As Kamui's life bar falls below her own, and the time ticks down, rather than continuing to attack, Rei simply stops and balances carefully on the rope. She gives a small, encouraging sound towards her partner, and then glances at her deus. Mikage nods her head slightly and smiles, leaving the match just as it is, a close match between two very capable deus. A couple of people seem to want to see a last attack, but most seem to accept this as a fitting end to such a match. "My heart is stronger because of you. You and Kamui." A few girls give a little 'aww' sound. So, the duel timer ticks down to its end as Rei bows her head and gives her own, slightly toothy sort of smile towards Kamui.


"I am glad to hear that, and so is Kamui. But..." Ranmaru pauses for a short moment and turns his stare down towards the layer where Kamui is slowly approaching Rei on his two legs. "Nya..." The angel's pace is somewhat disturbed and one of its hands disappear underneath its armor, near the chest and takes out a small plastic bag. It was teenie tiny, but still it was visible for those who were watching close enough. What was in it soon disappeared into Kamui's closed hand. Ranmaru gives Mikage a nervous glance as this goes on and looks away towards the crowd. And when the timer finally hits 0... the layer does not power down. A nod is given towards the attendant by Ranmaru. "You see... I have trouble speaking my mind sometimes, and often Kamui has been able to do those things I don't dare to do, or don't have the ability to do. But this time, we both are capable of doing something important." Ranmaru tries his best to escape Mikage's gaze, were it set on him and instead looks at his angel.


Kamui finally has arived before Rei and then bows down, onto one leg. Its feet are wrapped around the rope, yet he seems quite able to keep his balance. It reaches his two hands upwards, one supporting the other, the top one still closed. "Our life is like this rope. Every step makes is shiver and move, lines through the sand that have traveled together for a while. I have tried my best to make sure our lines will forever be able to run paralel to eachother. And now... well." He blushes and finally looks at Mikage.


Kamui opens his hand, reveiling a tiny golden ring and gives Rei the cutest look it could possible give. "Meow..? Meow?" It asks Rei with a purring voice. "Will you marry me, Mikage, my love?" Ranmaru finally relieves the hand that had sat at his leg for a short while and brings it up over the layer towards Mikage and slowly opens it. What appears is a beautiful golden ring with a blue diamond set in it. Not too big, but well noticable. The light generated by the layer quickly begins to play with it and the blue glow that is generated starts spreading even outside of the layer.


Surprise would be a bit of an understatement, especially with how distracted in her own thoughts Mikage has been for the vast majority of the battle. Her mind had been trying to wrestle with the changes in her life that had occured so quickly. Her heart and mind struggling to find meaning and purpose in a life that she always thought would be short-lived, and now seems as if it may have a chance at something of a normal span of years. The difference between the love she clung to for fear of never having that chance again, and a love that has grown and become her saving grace.


Rei's eyes follow Kamui's approach as her ears fold backwards, not knowing exactly what to expect. She certainly doesn't expect the match to end without a loud buzzer of sound and the usual lights showing the winning deus. She tilts her head and gives a strange, almost mewling sound of question as she twitches her nose, watching the cat-boy with awe-filled green eyes. Eyes that echoed the curiosity of the deus, who looks up from the layer to Ranmaru, her own motion echoing her angel's as her head tilts to the side, her pale blue eyes searching him questioningly. There is a nervous quality, almost as if her mind figures things out a moment before they happen and doesn't quite have the time to come to grips with it before it all comes crashing down on her. He is actually doing it... actually asking her to marry him... asking her to share her life with him. When he finally looks up, she bites her lip and just looks as if she had a strange mixture of joy and surprise on her face. Then, she seems to relax, acceptance showing on her face as she closes her eyes.


Strangely, it is not Mikage who responds first. As it was Kamui who first asked, so it is Rei who responds first. She gives a nod of her head, and then whispers in that seldom heard voice that sounds strangely musical. "Yes... from both of us." And a moment later, Mikage's own voice echos the sentiment, "From both of us..." And, rather than just accept the ring, she joyfully leaps forward and seems to pounce towards the cat-boy, seemingly to knock him off of the rope. But then, something strange happens, the layer switches and changes to the pillow layer, giving both of them a soft place to land.


Then, with a smile on her face, Mikage opens her eyes and looks across towards Ranmaru. "Of course, I'll marry you, Ranmaru-ai..." She says and nods her head slightly, her joy showing through her eyes and in the antics of her angel. Those around begin to talk in hushed voices, some of the girls seeming to blabber about how they wish their boyfriends were that romantic.


"Thank you..." Ranmaru stands up and looks away for a moment, reaching a hand up to his visor to take it off and at the same time wipe a hand past one of his eyes, getting rid of a tear. The layer slowly dims down with Rei laying on Kamui, the ring set on her left-side ringfinger, having been applied by Kamui during the 'fall'. The crowd backs away a littlebit to let Ranmaru through. He strides most slowly towards her and settles at her seat just as Kamui had done upon that rope and holds out the ring, waiting for Mikage to raise her hand to him. His head is set upwards towards Mikage's face, he looks very proud in some ways, one of his eyes looks a little wet from the tear he had smeared away earlier. "I promise I will be a good husband." He pleads, another tear slowly taking form at the corner of his eye.


"Silly boy." Mikage replies, reaching her right hand out to lightly run through his hair, the other hand reaching out to let him place the ring on her finger. It is only after he has a chance to place the ring there that she looks up towards those around them, giving a somewhat sheepish look. "Ne... I think maybe we should go celebrate somewhere... a bit quieter?" She suggests, leaning to give him a soft kiss on the cheek before collecting both Rei and Kamui from the layer, holding them lightly to her chest ontop of the pillow she had been holding there previously. She reaches out for his hand, and motions her head towards the exit, not wanting this to be any more of a spectacle than it already had become.


"Un." Ranmaru carefully places the ring and then stands up again, wiping away the newly created tear of happiness. "Lets." He blushes thanks to the kiss that had been set upon his cheek. He takes one of Mikage's hands to his and then begins to slowly walk away. People quickly spread to let them through. The attendant feels up her cheek and looks around before dashing off to tell her fellow co-workers. Its not every day that something like this happens.