2016-01-16 - Ohtori Sports Festival, Part One

From Battle Fantasia MUSH
Jump to: navigation, search
Title: Ohtori Sports Festival, Part One

The Sister Schools Sports Festival erupts with a frenzy, as Ohtori shows their opulence with fancy penalties and special guest stars.


Fuu Hououji, Nori Ankou, Ren Aizawa, Endo Naoki, Fu Inubozaki, Iona Hikawa, Fu Inubozaki, Hibiki Houjou, Nanami Kiryuu, Mami Tomoe, Takeo Akamizu
GM: Madoka Kaname


Ohtori Academy

OOC - IC Date:

Sep 23 2014 - 1/16/2016

<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

The Welcoming Ceremony has just ended, and wow, this year's athletics festival sure is at Ohtori all right. The warm September air has just enough of a crisp edge to it to relieve the overshadowing heat of late summer, but right now it's full of fireworks, the finale to a ceremony that can only really be called a 'miniature Olympics' because of the size of the crowd, not the size of the spectacle. There were bands, brass bands and taiko drums alike. There were dancers, possibly professionally hired, with feathered headdresses and sequined skirts (and shirts for the boys, flapping gloriously open in the breeze). There were acrobats, who skillfully replicated, with use of their bodies and some LED-shaded uniforms, the tall Infinity tower, an example of one of the squat Juuban buildings, and elegant Ohtori archways.

Student Council President Touga Kiryuu is resplendent in a color-coded-white-and-red-for-your-convenience custom version of the sleek Ohtori tracksuit. At least it makes him easy to find. Not that it was ever hard -- he towers over most other students, even within senior year, and his commanding, velvety presence looms irrespective of physical height, anyway.

"And now..." he calls, his warm, cultured voice carried by outstanding amplification to every ear, no matter how blasted they just were by the fireworks, "...let the games... begin!"

He fires a blank into the air from one of those sports pistols. This one looks like it came off the set of The Man With The Golden Gun.

And then the students are off, in a buzzing mass of red and blue and yellow, to populate the fields, of which there are several more than usual, a tiered set of sports fields arcing towards the sky in a glorious display of architecture and outrageous budget expenditure. There are several massive, digital boards with constantly updating listings of who's been signed up for what. It seems as though those decisions were made at more of an executive level this year, and that personal requests may have gone largely ignored.

For example:

Group A Infinity vs. Juuban Tug-Of-War - And then there are a list of names. Even as people look at it, a pair of girls who have already twisted their ankles are replaced at the last minute by a pair of Ohtori students, including Nori Ankou.

The tug of war pit is rather magnificent. It starts as neatly trimmed grass, but towards the middle, becomes gooey with all manner of slick and edible substances, like whipped cream, chocolate sauce, jello and candied cherry juice.

The rope is glittering golden. It probably isn't /real/ gold. It couldn't be. No way.

The referee, who looks like they might be a hired professional, waits for the students to take their positions.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Well, there has to be something to do before the archery meet starts in earnest, right? And hauling on a rope is possibly good preliminary exercise for a sport that involves pulling strings back and letting them go ...

Fuu still made a point of bringing an extra pair of gloves, something she can protect her hands with while still being legit gear for field sports or tug-of-war ... and as she sees her name on the tug-of-war list, Fuu silently gives thanks for her insight, tugging the gloves out of her sweatjacket pockets and pulling them on. She can shuck them again if anybody objects and isn't overruled by the referee.

She heads for the tug-of-war pit ... and comes to a dead stop upon seeing how it's been laid out. Grass isn't a surprise; cream and chocolate sauce and the like ... "Well," she muses with a smile, "at least it'll taste better than the usual mud does if any happens to get into the losing team's mouths, right?"

As for the golden rope, she presumes it's just like the decorative rope used for theatre curtains and the like. That would be easy enough to get a hold of, and Ohtori's students (and faculty) do seem to love their tasteful theatrics. As long as she can get a decent grip on it without getting her hands scraped, she's not about to complain; Fuu moves to the Infinity side of the 'pit' and takes a position next to the rope, around what should be the middle - not too close to the pit, but not where she's going to be the last linchpin between victory or defeat if Juuban gets a quick advantage.

Ahead of Fuu and on the other side of the rope is Sora Kumogawa, another member of Infinity's middle-school archery team. "So they roped you into this too, Hououji?" he asks with a grin. "Let's see how fast we can dunk the Juuban team - or at least how hard we can make them work for their win, if they're that good."

"I doubt it's going to be an easy win for either side," Fuu notes, making sure the elastic cord anchoring her glasses is snug and secure without being too tight. She did recognize a couple of the Juuban players' names as well ...

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Autumn and early spring are Nori Ankou's favorite time of the year. It really puts her in the spirit to... well, alright, enthusiasm isn't quite the right term, but she's much less gloomy now. Her long black hair has been tied back with a scrunchy into a low-hanging ponytail.

HITOMI SHIZUKI, on the other hand, has her hair in her usual style. Having been waved in with Nori, she says to the rather dark girl, "I guess we're the replacements... Let's give it our all!" She jabs her fist in the air, just a little, beaming.

Nori smiles back with only slight mordancy. "Yes," she says to her class representative: "Let's." She steps up to the rope, positioning herself behind Hitomi.

"Let's do our best, everybody!" Hitomi cheers. Nori leans out of the queue of aspiring tuggers to say, blinking, "Shizuki-san, in the pit there..."


"Is that actual cherry juice? That could stain..."

"Then we'll just have to do our best!" Hitomi resolves. Nori has no protest.

<Pose Tracker> Ren Aizawa [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

"Let's go Ren!" Comes the excited voice of Ming Zhou, a bubbly Chinese exchange student who has pretty much attatched herself to her classmate in question. "I /love" tug-of-war! We're so going to win!" She hops up and down as she says this, brunette pig-tails bouncing in unison. Ren, of course, is not so keen on their chances, but is trying to look at it like she does video games.

"Y-Yeah! Let's try our best, ok Zhou-san?" She casts a glance over at Endo, smiling. Perhaps it's a plea for mercy? Or perhaps a clever ruse designed to lure him into a false sense of security. Either way, it's a smile!

"That's the spirit Ren! We'll make an athlete out of you yet!" Ming asserts with a nod and a hearty clasp on Ren's back, sending the other girl stumbling forward a bit. "Whoops! Sorry, don't know my own strength! Heh heh..." The exchange student rubs the back of her neck sheepishly, eyes glittering. Ren shakes her head and waves a hand dismissively.

"It's ok! I'm fine!" Though her back /did/ sting a bit. Ow ow ow. Nothing she couldn't deal with, however...

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

Endo likes sports. He had a lot more time for them during his last year of school, before the part-time job and running around doing magical things. But school-mandated sports means he gets to indulge, guilt free. He also has a helmet on. He's come prepared.

But only after he sits through the opening ceremony. He spends most of it staring his at the spectacle, his head ever-slowly tilting to the side until, by the end, he's looking very vertical. "Ah, really, isn't all this a little much?" He repeats his at regular intervals, to be chastised to silenced by his companion and former club-mate, Shinji Akeda. The other boy is taller than Endo, lean from chasing things into and out of goals.

Once names are flashing up on the board and people are getting into place, Endo's friend gives him a shake and hustles him along toward the tug of war line.

"I think this rope might cost more than my home." Endo reaches down to gingerly grab his share of the line, giving a testing tug before leaning out from the line to wave at Ren when she gets into position across the mire of sweetness.

He is quickly wrestled back into line.

"Don't show weakness to the enemy!'

<Pose Tracker> Fu Inubozaki [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Fu Inubozaki watches the final moments of the opening ceremony with a grin on her face. Ohtori Academy has really outdone themselves this year. It was quite difficult to know where to look first with all the dancers, music, and now even fireworks. Ohtori obviously spared no expense in hosting the combined Athletics Festival, but this was Ohtori Academy afterall. That much is to be expected as opulence is practically in their namesake.

For the most part, Fu plays off her reaction to the festivities as cool and subdued as she can. She smiles and looks to be having a good time, but she's not letting Ohtori's display intimidate her. This is in complete and utter contrast to how Fu's beloved younger sister is reacting to everything. While Fu remains pretty calm for the time being, Itsuki Inubozaki is very much wide-eyed with her mouth agape right now over the spectacle. The younger Inubozaki sister carries a look of half utter excitement and half nervous worry on her face that causes Fu to grin that much wider over at her younger sister.

Taking a step closer to her sister, Fu places her hand on Itsuki's shoulder and gives it a squeeze. "Hey Itsuki, the tug-of-war is first. Are you ready to go?" Itsuki is a little surprised by the sudden shoulder squeeze, but she quickly recovers when she sees that it was her sister that had squeezed her. She then turns and gives Fu a very determined nod of her head. "Yes! Let's go, big sis!" She cheerfully chirps back with much to Fu's delight.

Itsuki's reaction causes Fu to grin from ear to ear and start laughing. She just loved to see her little sister get fired up. "Fuhuhu. Alright! Let's go show everyone just how tough and strong the Inubozaki sisters are!" The blonde-haired Fu laughs again as she ushers her sister over to where her classmates were gathering. "Hi everyone! We're here and ready to go!" The older Inubozaki sister announces loudly while the younger one just nods meekly in greeting before adding, "Um. H-hello. Let's do our best!" Fu shoots her younger sister a sly nod of approval before both sisters take up their respective positions on Infinity's side of the golden rope.

<Pose Tracker> Iona Hikawa [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Iona Hikawa is here today at the sports festival. She relaxes for a brief moment on the benches near where everyone else is, and watches the spectatcle that Ohtori seems to have arranged for this festival. The dancers and the bands seemed. Not to say they weren't great. Iona did find them all kind of neat, but she couldn't help but think that this was all just a little... excessive. They must have a /lot/ of money to be able to burn it on something like this. So Iona sits, smiling but otherwise stonewalled, until the starting gun shoots and everyone starts to run out onto the field, Iona following.

Her gait slows down just a little bit as she sees her name on the board for... tug of war? Iona shifts her direction torwards the tug of war pit... and sees all the chocolate and cherry juice and everything else inside.

Momentary memories, not even twenty-four hours old, re-emerge where Iona found herself being dragged towards a pit of mold. Her enthusiasm drops just a little bit because of it. "I wonder if any of that is molding right now?" She asks herself. There's a brief moment where she considers trying to see if she can excuse herself, but trying to explain why she's avoiding tug-of-war might be... just a little vague and insufficient. So she takes a deep breath, and trudges over to a free spot where she can get a hold of the rope well enough.

Behind her, another girl her age takes a place. Iona looks backwards to get a look at her -- red hair in a ponytail, equally red eyes, and a large, almost encompassing smile. It was so bright that Iona could hardly look directly at it.

The girl waves at Iona. "Hello, Hikawa-san!"

"Ah, hello." Iona responds, not completely sure how to react. There's a smile in return, but Iona turns back to get a good grip on the rope and get ready for the event.

<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

The referee looks along the rope, up one end, then down the other. "Three!" she shouts, her voice rising above the same sorts of chants barking up and down the fields. "Two! One!"

  • TWEET!*

Her whistle blasts and the rope immediately strains between the two groups. So far there's no imminent threat of either team being plunged into the goo pit -- are they evenly matched?

There are plenty of students as-yet unassigned to an event, and the cheering quickly becomes pleasantly raucous, the high energy of a carnival infecting kids of all ages. It's a roar in the background, but somehow it seeps under the skin and through the eyes, into the bloodstream... pull -- pull -- pull!

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

It's not purely about raw strength, Fuu reminds herself as the referee counts down to the start; it's about leverage. Really, pulling too hard can be suicidal in tug-of-war.

Then the whistle blows, and Fuu stops thinking too much about the mechanics of it with her brain; her body has to do the 'thinking' now, her gloved hands wrapping tightly around the rope, her feet planted solidly on the ground with her weight on her heels, her legs *almost* locked to dig her heels in underneath her. All of that happens faster than it takes to think consciously about it; she goes from 'at rest' to 'pulling' in a little over an instant, even if she's not yet actively trying to haul the Juuban students into the goop.

Not the way Sora is, anyway; he's got his feet planted but he *is* actively hauling on the rope like he were on an old-time sailing ship, his teeth gritted as he contributes the raw strength that some girls might not have ... and that some very well *might*, to judge by the Inubozaki sisters' enthusiasm. Among others.

It may not be archery, but Fuu and Sora are both familiar with tug-of-war, and neither of them is about to let Infinity down in *any* event today.

<Pose Tracker> Ren Aizawa [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

As soon as the whistle blows, the tugging begins. Ren feels herself sliding forward, eyes widening to the size of dinner plates. But never fear -- Ming is here! The loud girl grins as she plants her feet down into the ground beneath her, becoming the immovable force within the roaring storm she imagines herself to be. It helps since Ren smacks face-first into her back, which gives her enough time to regain her bearings and start tugging backwards, face already starting to turn red from the exertion.

"Heave! Ho!" Ming cries out, trying to provide as much encouragement as possible.

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

Endo commences pulling. He's spent the first few seconds waiting for the shot wrapping the rope around his fists, making sure he's in prime pulling position. This will probably mean he's getting dragged wherever the rope goes regardless of his choice, but such heroic sacrifices must be made. He's been looking forward to stuff like this, so when the game starts he starts pulling with all the ferocity he can muster. Pacing himself is not something that's even entered his mind.

This seems to be the case for the boy behind him as well, who likewise attempts a full backpedaling sprint the second the rope is live. It's probably a bit much, but his heart seems to be in the right place. A place that is far away from the strawberry pit. They are alike, Endo and friendo.

<Pose Tracker> Hibiki Houjou [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

The crispness of the air - the raucous cheer of amassed crowds - that tangible spirit of cooperation and competition all in one. This is the athletics festival, home to well-organized chaos with students running around in every direction. There's a schedule to keep, last-minute team substitutions to register, those suited to medical care hard at work keeping tabs on classmates...

And, as Hibiki Houjou is rapidly discovering, the problem with many students having the attention span of a cat.

"Have you seen - yeah, Minamino. ...Field C? Isn't that for the elem-" Hibiki slaps her forehead. "Souta's event - I hope she knows what she's doing, going to check on him at a time like this. Who knows how quickly they'll get to our race..."

"Nya? Isn't a race where you just have to run, Hibiki?" Atop Hibiki's head, utterly unruffled, sits a white cat happily cleaning her paw.

"...did your cat just..."


A rapid sprint takes Hibiki to the stands near the pending tug-of-war competition, and she takes a minute to catch her breath. While she does, the cat leaps daintily down from head to lap, and looks out at the pending battle. "Nya...that place looks delicious..."

Wiping her brow, Hibiki nods - and then freezes. "Hang on....Hummy! You know cats aren't supposed to talk, right? Especially not around, uh..." She glances around herself...but a sports festival is, mercifully, very noisy.

"But I'm not a cat, I'm a song fairy cat! Wait..."

"Not the- anyway, as I was saying! Kanade and I are racing together - it's a three-legged race, we get our legs tied together, and we have to stay in sync or-"

For a moment, it's as if the cat is sparkling. "You have to win with Harmony Power! Nya!....and Kanade isn't here! This is a big problem - what should we do?!"

Hibiki's answer is interrupted by a loud tweet of a whistle blast, and both girl and cat look over. Hibiki shades her eyes with one hand, squinting at the side of the battle in Infinity colours. She recognizes a couple of them...and that's good enough for her. Standing up, she pumps her fist in the air, shouting loudly. "Go, Infinity! Heave, ho! Go, Infinity! Heave, ho!"

It's got a good rhythm to it. Maybe those of her school around her will join in...

(Hummy, meanwhile, considers whether to join in cheering, find Kanade, or...ooh, a butterfly....)

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.


Hitomi pulls, of course. She pulls her best and she pulls with strength and desperation, biting her lip with the effort. Behind her, Nori Ankou digs her heel in and does /not/ pull quite immediately. Tension builds up, and she can tell they're moving forwards - so, she goes from anchor to driver, and joins in her own strength.

It's HARD! Nori finds with a shock. Soon enough she's sweating and her arms are crying out. "Guh -"

"Don't give up! Ankou-san!" Hitomi cries over her shoulder. "Just - th, think of it like a waltz!" Nori grimaces at this comparison.

"One two - STEP!" And Hitomi pushes forwards. "You see? One two - STEP! One two - STEP!"

The rhythm helps Nori, at least. And it means that there's a steady pulsing spike in the strength of the tugging when they - and perhaps others - push off together. Yes, that's Ohtori for you - victory by jerks! ... Wait...

<Pose Tracker> Iona Hikawa [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

When the whistle blows, Iona immediately begins to pull the rope. It's not as hard as some others would pull it. Enough to try and prevent the other team from pulling her into the strange liquid concotion, a fate she wants to prevent /at all costs/. So she tries to take it as easy as she can, to try and let the other team expend their energy first before she tries to go for the kill.

Admittedly, that's her plan, anyway. She's not paying too much attention to what her team is doing, though she tries to at least keep some sort of pace with them. Instead, what Iona does is try to lift the rope over her, attempting to use her body as leverage to try and pull the rope.

She's also not paying attention to the girl behind her. Megumi might find an easier time since Iona's attempting to do all of the work, but she does her level best to keep pulling anyway.

<Pose Tracker> Fu Inubozaki [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Fu begins pulling the rope along with her teammates, but shockingly the opposing team has a very similar strategy. This puts the two sides at a temporary standstill. However, Fu is not about to give up anytime soon! Her sister is of the same mind and she is also doing her best to contribute to the effort. Knowing just how tough this was turning out to bet, Fu sneaks a glance over at her sister. The sight of her sister trying so hard at this reinvigorates Fu's aching muscles. Itsuki was trying so hard these days and not just at this tug of war. The older sister grits her teeth, digs her feet into the ground, and begins to pull some more! "Itsuki! Hang in there! Remember everyone, we'll likely succeed if we try!" Fu, wanting to look impressive in front of her sister, keeps pulling just as Itsuki, wanting to show that she's up to the challenge, keeps pulling on the rope opposite of Fu.

"Aizawa-san! Are you okay?!" Fu asks of her classmate when she sees her nearly pinball off of Ming. But thankfully Ming doesn't seem phased by that and Ren soon recovers. It is at about this time that Ming's and Hibiki's cheers reach Fu's ears. A chant! That was a great idea! "Heave, ho!" Fu cheers as she joins in. "Go, Infinity!" Itsuki adds quite helpfully as the two sisters begin to alternate their team chants. "Heave, ho!" "Go, Infinity!"

<Pose Tracker> Nanami Kiryuu [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

"Do you know, oniisama? The feelings I keep safe for you, only you?"

A breeze lifts, and with it, soft blonde locks float around a blushing face. Long lashes fall to shield the emotion in wet eyes as Nanami cups her hands together, leaning forward as though her yearning would lift her from her toes and bear her through the air.

"I'm afraid, oniisama. That I was never meant to be your sister. That a day will come when I stand between you and your happiness, and the final consummation of our love will be for me to... step aside." She turns her head, her mouth trembling with emotion, as a swirl of rose petals flourishes past her orange gown, rippling the butterfly-like purple bow that adorns her back. "And I feel disgusted with myself, because I know that I would cherish that moment forever, and place it behind glass, and take it out from under my bed and clutch it to my breast and MY GOD do you think that's enough PETALS? Are you trying to choke me to DEATH or just bury me?"

Kneeling at her feet, three school uniform'ed brunettes hunch meekly. One is directing a portable electric fan up at Nanami, another sits next to her with a bag full of rose petals, and a third is holding an old-fashioned camera with a large flashbulb. "Last time, you said there wasn't enough," the fan girl reminds Nanami.

"Did I truly? Because as far as I can tell your ideal aesthetic would involve me drowning in an Olympic pool FILLED with them."

"I'm pretty sure you did," says the petal-bag girl resentfully. She has a fresh knot on her head that she is rubbing meaningfully.

"Augh! Forget it. Just take a few pictures while I have them in my hair. Yes? Like this?" Nanami tilts her face and makes her eyes large as she gazes off into the far distance with a faint smile on her face. The flash bulb goes off.

"Are they testing out the rope?" she asks distractedly.

Her coterie glance in the direction Nanami is looking. "They're participating in the sports festival," one ventures.

Nanami's eye twitches. "They're from those /other/ schools."

"That's... how we do it, remember when last year, we..."

"But not at Ohtori," Nanami fumes. "No, there's some mistake."

"Did you watch the ceremony? It was all about how..."

"Oniisama," Nanami sighs immediately. "He was so magnetic, wasn't he?" Nanami's face suddenly darkens. "No, this will not do. Bring around the sedan." When Nanami says that word, it doesn't mean "car." She lifts her skirts and starts striding toward the field. "I need my things."

<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

The rope jerks back and forth! Muscles burn and fingers strain. It seems as though the rhythm shared by the Infinity crowd and their team is starting to pay off, because, inch by inch, Team Juuban (and Ohtori Friends, who have their own rhythm, for good and for ill) is being dragged towards the goop.

Endo is the first to have strawberry shoes! The stain may not be blood but oh, oh, it is honor spilled upon the field. And now his feet are sliding, and Endo's friendo and Iona are getting awfully close...

...but on the other side, Sora suddenly misses a beat in the pulling, wincing from terrible rope burn! This sends Itsuki flying into her big sister -- Ren and Ming are going to have to work hard to prevent Juuban from capitalizing on this momentary dust-up!

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

And this is EXACTLY why Fuu wanted to wear gloves for the tug-of-war; she needs her hands unbloodied for archery. Sora yelps a brief apology and tries to get back into it, preferably with the less-burned hand now being dominant in his efforts to pull; Fuu just digs her heels in harder and starts reeling in the slack. "Inubozaki-san, are you all right?" Fuu calls out over the roar of the crowd, doing her best to maintain her balance and not let Juuban regain any momentum ...

<Pose Tracker> Ren Aizawa [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Wait... are they winning? They are! Ren sees Endo's shoes get some straberry on them, and smiles real big. "H-Hey! I think-"

The tides change, however, and things start to sway in the Juuban side's favor! "Oh no!" Ren cries out, starting to panic. But Ming holds steady, turning her head to look at Ren over her shoulder.

"You can do this, Ren. Dig deep." Comes to profound words of the exchange student. And that seems to spark something inside of Ren, even as they begin to lose ground, inching ever closer to the pit.

"I won't let you down, Zhou-san!" Ren cries out, letting out a yell as she pulls with everything she has, fingers and arms and legs beginning to burn painfully. <Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed. Endo is getting a little tired after his initial burst of stamina, but the sight of his shoes slowly being engulfed by strawberry liquid redoubles his determination. He digs in as best he can, attempting to drag the rope back and himself away.

"Come on, Endo-san! You've gotten out of shape since you quit the club!" Shinji is still pulling, thankfully a few feet from suffering the same fate as Endo.

"I got it! The rope just needs to stop moving!"

<Pose Tracker> Hibiki Houjou [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

It's not a butterfly. It's even better. For a moment, Hummy the cat is nearly absolutely still, only the twitching of her tail betraying her non-statue status. Some careless person has released rose petals into the breeze, and the cat sits utterly entranced as a handful dance in the air above her. They are pink, and fluttering, and gorgeous. "Nya...."

Meanwhile, however...

"Heave, ho! Go, Infinity - that's it!" As her school starts to claim the advantage, Hibiki breaks off her rhythm to punch the air in victory. It might not be Waon out there, but it's still her school - and so it's worth cheering on. She cups her hands, letting out a whoop -

- but despair! Sora's missed a beat, and the balance is swinging back to Juuban. The brown-haired girl, having utterly forgotten her need to find her three-legged-race-partner, calls out to the field of battle. "Come on! You've nearly got this, just one more pull-"

"nnnnnNNNYAAAAA!" Abruptly, Hummy pounces. After all, these were rose petals, and they were pretty and fluttery and there were oh so many of them and she just had to have one! And so, the white cat pounces into the air.

She doesn't catch a petal. She does, however, utterly blindside her human of the day, knocking Hibiki off-balance. And into a nearby cheering group.

Fight on, Infinity! Don't follow the example of those cheering you on, stay standing!

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Hitomi squeaks in dismay as the rope jerks - right in her hands. She grits her teeth against the pain, though. She has to set a good example...!

Nori cares much less for setting a good example. Her arms do jerk forwards, though, and she winces as she feels her shoulder cry out in interior dismay. Digging her heels in, she sees, feels the moist soil of this rich campus give way beneath her athletic sneakers, until--

A slackening.

Hitomi cheers, but can't let go - Nori, on the other hand, feels an irrational surge of enthusiasm, perhaps at the reversal. She scrapes into the ground and throws herself backwards, twisting - even as she cries out, "They're too strong--!"

"Don't give up!"

<Pose Tracker> Nanami Kiryuu [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Nanami Kiryuu is a professional at what she does, and what she does isn't very professional. Soon she has her skirts lifted daintily, pinkies out, as she shuffles out into the field with eyes mostly closed and a placid smile on her face.

A microphone squeaks as one of the sports announcers begins to commentate. "And it's our first surprise of the day, as Nanami Kiryuu enters the field. What could she have in mind? One thing's for sure, she's going to do it fashionably. As Touga Kiryuu's beloved little sister, Nanami is naturally the most popular girl at Ohtori Academy--what, really?" There's a loud thump audible through the microphone.

Up in the booth, the announcer's face is mashed down against a piece of notebook paper, his glasses pushed askew almost to his ear. One of Nanami's brunettes has a hand on the back of his neck, and a starter pistol pushed against the base of his skull. "Is there a problem, four-eyes?" she seethes coldly.

Out on the field, the commentary resumes. "By /far/ the most popular girl at Ohtori, really no question..." Nanami's smile blossoms larger.

As she reaches the Juuban side of the tug of war, Nanami pauses and curtsies. "Yes, it seems Kiryuu-san is here to pay honor to our guests. Truly one of the gentlest blooms of the Ohtori garden. And what better time then when they are mid-match?"

Nanami takes a few steps to the left and curtsies again. This time, however, she executes her plan. As her skirt lifts, a black trash bag is briefly exposed beneath it. Nanami pauses long enough to draw back one of her feet, then kicks her pointy-toed heel into it hard enough to puncture a hole. As though a spigot opened, a torrent of snakey, wet-looking sea-fauna pours into the dirt hollow in which the Juuban students are laboring. Eels! That whole skirt must be full of them!

They tumble over one another, slimey and outraged, a small pool of salt water sustaining their ire. No wonder Nanami had to shuffle. They wrap calves, get underfoot, and otherwise attempt to express their supreme dissatisfaction with their new living quarters.

"AAAIIIII!" Nanami wails, hurring back with a tatter of trash bag flapping around at the bottom of her skirts. "How can it be? Do all Juuban students carry eels?!"

"How can it be?" the announcer asks. "Do all Juuban students carry eels?"

<Pose Tracker> Iona Hikawa [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Iona watches as first the boy at the front gets closer to the pit, then someone on the other team loses their resolve. It's a good thing, too, as Iona's grip on the rope is also starting to falter, just a little bit. It's still a strong grip, but the fibers are starting to move independently from her hands, causing her own share of rope burns. But this is the time to pull as /hard/ as she can! So she pulls, and pulls as much as she can, to try and capitalize on the sudden change of fortune.

And so is Megumi, taking her cue from the purple haired girl.

<Pose Tracker> Fu Inubozaki [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

The elder Inubozaki starts grinning even wider when she sees that their side is making progress. The Infinity chant must be working! They almost had it! But just then an Itsuki shaped projectile crashes into Fu which causes her to briefly lose her footing and both sisters slide closer to the center of the tug-of-war pit. "Itsuki!" cries out Fu as she tries to make sense of what just happened after the younger blonde crashed into her. Fu's the first one of the sisters to regrab the rope and she soon turns and offers her other hand to help Itsuki back up onto her feet. "We're okay!" She calls back to Fuu while keeping her eyes on Itsuki. The younger Inubozaki sister takes a bit longer to get up, but she soon rejoins her sister in pulling the rope. The two sisters exchange another look with each other before changing grips on the rope so it goes Fu, Itsuki, Fu, Itsuki. The Inubozaki sisters were really giving it their all!

From their position, the sisters can't really make out what's going on with Nanami and her expertly crafted plan. Whatever it is, it must be quite the ord-eel.

<Pose Tracker> Hibiki Houjou [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

In the stands, there as been a complete and total cat-astrophe. From the heap of toppled Infinity supporters, Hibiki pulls herself free. "Hummy...! What do you think you're doing- where is she?" The girl looks around for the paw-petrator of this incident, but where can she be?...

(Answer: Behind the stands. Springing off of Hibiki's arm let her catch a pretty petal, and now she's just rolling in the grass, the embodiment of happiness. ...so, as herself.)

"Ugh...you okay?" Giving up on the hunt, Hibiki turns to give the nearest girl a hand up - and both of them are caught off-guard by the sudden scream. They, along with more than a few disoriented supporters, turn at Nanami's cry and accusation.

And since they were all recently knocked over, it's quite easy to see the claim for what it is.

"Eels?! In a tug of war match?! Wait, how would that even...never mind that! Foul! Red card! Free throw!" The accusations - in varying degrees of coherence - are sure to fly from this corner, at least.

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

"Aaah-what's that? Shinji, do we have eels?" Endo asks.

"I don't have any eels."

There's some confusion over the topic of eels when announced, until one is spotted. Endo tries to point, but also with his hands twisted up in the rope he sort of just starts tugging to the side. Which may or may not be helpful.

<Pose Tracker> Ren Aizawa [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

"Come on just keep pulling!" Ming is not going to give up, and neither will Ren! She looks over to the Juuban side where Endo is giving it his all, too. He's pretty strong! But, so were they.

"Hey, what's the girl up to?" Ming notices Nanami, and then... "Eeels?!" She cries out, grip faltering enough to cause the rope to sway over to the opposing side. Ren yelps, getting tangled up with her, and the two of them slide into the beginnings of the aforementioned strawberry eel pit.

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Hitomi and Nori both look towards the incoming Nanami Kiryuu, because she is a figure that demands attention, as the announcers are finding out. Nori's position as a higher level bourgeoise from a distant prefecture means her reaction is mild surprise; Hitomi blanches slightly.

And then Nanami releases a huge swarm of eels from her skirt, perhaps not for the first time. As the slimy, slithery notochords of the sea burst forth, ungraced by rice or grill, Hitomi does the logical and sensible thing:

"EUWWWWW!!" Hitomi's strong enough of character that she doesn't let go of the rope as an eel decides to coil around her ankle, but all the strength has gone out of her tugging. The most she'll be is a minor anchor now, her face blanching as she tries not to scream again.

Nori gets an eel in her shoe and takes it philosophically. It's kind of annoying, but the smell of the sea is if anything invigorating. However, the slimy wiggle on her calf is telling her that they're at a critical moment. Her shoulders are screaming, but even as everyone's distracted -- she isn't quite.

Crouching slightly, Nori pulls inwards. Her teeth set together with a skeletal click as she feels another eel swim merrily past her. She pulls - and then the rope jerks. Nori can see the taller and older boy is moving his direction, and this seems like a great idea to her - she joins Endo's change of direction. Will it save them!? Or doom them to a watery grave?

It's a very shallow grave, to be fair.

<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

The official starts to tweet her whistle to penalize the eels but midway through her inhalation a cloud of pepper -- released conveniently from a popped paper bag nearby -- causes her to gasp and choke, and the match is not stopped in time to prevent the inevitable.

Juuban's straining to turn the tide probably would have worked if they hadn't been distracted by gooey slimy eels, but the sabotage has done its work. It also makes the inevitable collapse of the Juuban line into the sugary goop a little less pleasant than it might have been otherwise, because now all the cream and chocolate and whatnot is /full of eels/ and dubiously delicious, if at all.

Another official jumps in with her whistle to declare the match in favor of Infinity. The crowd doesn't really understand what happened (with a few exceptions) -- some gape at Nanami's claims as to Juuban, but mostly they just cheer the victors and rush up with towels to rescue the losers.

The nearby digital board flickers to announce the next round's schedule. There's a break of a couple of minutes, and then -- as it just so happens -- all participants in this tug-of-war match, and then some, are to participate in a joint Infinity-Juuban-with-a-few-Ohtori-ringers co-ed baseball team.

The baseball green, that field of dreams, awaits...

<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Pitcher: Mami Tomoe (you stand on the mound, glaring at batters and chucking stuff at them) Catcher: Iona Hikawa (center of the defense, very athletic position) Third Baseman: Fuu Hououji (a lot of fast-moving liners will come straight at you, look out!) Center Field: Nori Ankou (in charge of catching fly balls after a long dramatic chase beneath them) Shortstop: Hibiki Houjou (lots of running and diving to catch difficult balls and throw them to basemen, another athletic position)

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

Endo, despite his best efforts, is soon first to get a facefull of eel-laden dessert. He lets out a cry as he's drug over the line and farther still. He flails as he goes, but he does manage to get one hand free of the knot of rope he's tired himself in. This hand, of course, he uses to reach back and put his partner in a headlock. So it is that both Endo and Shinji--despite the latters attempt to flee--end up rolling around fighting off eels in the strawberry pit until someone manages to pull them free and off to the sidelines.

<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

There are trumpets, because of course there are trumpets, as the Juuban-Infinity Eel Lovers (team apparently named by someone with authority, because there it is, right on the scoreboard -- the name of the opposition has yet to appear) are cheered on by their schools as they take the baseball field.

It's a lovely field. The bases are not made of chocolate or any such nonsense, but they might have a little extra sparkle ground into them from some silver dust or something, and the occasional rose petals sprinkling the yard are definitely nonregulation.

There are hats and gloves for everyone (and bats, though the Eel Lovers will be batting at the bottom of the inning, not the top), and a very enthusiastic P.E. teacher who is eager to help people improve their swing at the last minute. "Settle your hips!" cries the sensei, a dark-haired twenty-something and Juuban alumnus. "Balance your arms! And then... release all your power in one strike!"

This is not relevant advice for fielding at all, but at least she's enthusiastic.

<Pose Tracker> Iona Hikawa [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Iona continues to pull and pull, and pulls alongside that redheaded girl whose name she doesn't recall. Oh, well. Iona sets that aside as the two pull the hardest that they can. It's a testiment to her discipline that she doesn't even know there are eels on the field. She /does/ hear the announcer talk about eels, though she just dismisses it as Ohtori jealousy. What? Of course Juuban students don't all have eels, that's crazy.

Which may explain why it's a complete surprise as Iona gets yanked into the goop. She lands with a soft ploop, getting everything on everything else, and a mere few moments later Megumi joins her in the sauce.

The two girls sputter and gasp as they try to extract themselves from the saucy pit.

Megumi is the first one up, though. "Well," Megumi says as Iona sits up and removes an eel from her shoulder. "We tried our best, and that's what's important, right?"

A hand is offered to Iona, which the latter looks at for a moment, before nodding and taking it. "Yes, you're right." She lifts up from the pudding and the two girls look at one another. Are the bonds of friendship forming? Is this the start of a lasting friendship that will test the bonds of time and be the sort of thing Iona is looking for?

The glowing board signals the start of baseball. Both girls look at it for a moment, before returning to each other, Megumi with the cheer to blow away mountains. "Do your best, Hikawa-san!" And then Megumi heads to the bleachers.

Iona watches the girl disappear, before turning and accepting a towel while heading to the diamond.

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mami Tomoe has chosen her own hat, in bright Ohtori yellow, with a golden ribbon-bow decoration to the side. ...Sport is no excuse not to be fashioanble. And indeed, her sporting attire is /perfect/ as she steps out towards the field, nodding fiercely towards their enthusiastic advisor.

...She doesn't... Actually /say/ a whole lot, though, because she's ordinary Mami right now, and instead casts her eyes about to the stands.

This is not the same as her reaction when she learned what position she would play. /That/ was different, with less of an audience, as she went, 'Wait, I'm the /what/?'

Her glove has glitter on it, for luck. Her eye is set.

...It's... not a coincidence that, as she approaches the pitcher's mound, /somehow/ Mami completely missed the messiest event thus far.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

The victory in the tug-of-war is a much-appreciated early high point for the Infinity Institute contingent, Fuu included. Sora has to go get some medical attention for his rope-burned hands ... while Fuu has been drafted onto the baseball team.

Somebody really doesn't want her rested up for the archery meet, do they ... ?

With distressingly strong doubts that a 'no' of any intensity would stick with the decision-makers, Fuu changes into what she needs to wear for the baseball game. T-shirt and gym shorts may not quite cut it; at the very least she needs a catcher's mitt and a suitable cap to keep the sun out of her eyes. Fuu takes her place at third base, adjusting her glasses and her cap (which bizarrely, has a Gundam-style yellow V-fin attached to the front of it), and settles into a relaxed but ready stance, watching Mami at first, then shifting her attention to home plate so she's ready for what the batter will have to offer ...

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

After that horrid faceplanting in the delicious yet pre-salted dessert heap, Nori Ankou was quite glad to get a brief delay so that she could at least rinse the sugar out of her hair and shirt-tail.

Especially in the glamorous shadow of Tomoe-sempai. The briefing from the baseball coach makes Nori nod as she adjusts her hat and tightens her glove. "Settle. Balance. And strike!"


Nori stands on a grassy plain, the wind stirring her hair and passing through her as huge gorgeous clouds streak overhead, as the rotating wind generators of the Tanegashima launch center move scenically in the distance. Something like this... https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/ac/5cmcos001.jpg

Nori closes her eyes...

And opens them again, shaking off that intense impression. No, she thinks: I'm still here. I'm in school. This is the sports festival... She shades her face with the leather glove, to squint towards the tiny but distinctive outline of Mami on the pitcher's mound, near the horizon. Fortunately, the curvature of the Earth is not enough to fully conceal the batter's cage from her sight!

<Pose Tracker> Hibiki Houjou [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

In the end, Infinity is - perhaps a little shadily - declared the victor of this match. First point to the tallest school!

It's a short-lived victory, though, as Hibiki finds herself...grabbed rather suddenly. "Wha- you must have the wrong person, I certainly didn't bring a cat-"

"There's no time to explain! Nishijima-san said you're athletic, right?"

"Waon said that? I mean, kind of, yeah..."

"Great! Come on!"

And so - with a cat batting at drifting petals left in her wake - Hibiki finds herself hurried to the baseball field. She manages to catch a glimpse of the latest board on the way, and boggles briefly at the team name... But that's about as much time as she has for ponderings.

Fortunately, she'd been planning on running with Kanade later, so she's already set for sports in general. After all, this is the festival for such things. A hat, a glove, she's good to go.

"All my power, huh? ...all right! I'll catch with all my strength, sensei!" Grinning eagerly at the advice, Hibiki tips the bill of her cap (adorned with a treble clef for some reason), peering carefully at the batter. At at her teammates, of course - but it's game on, right?

...was baseball the throwing one or the kicking one?

<Pose Tracker> Iona Hikawa [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Iona, now that she's dried up her sauces and other chocolatey goodness, grabs her helmet and a glove... when someone hands her a mask. Without even blinking she places it on and heads to the batter box area, crouching and looking directly at Mami. She points her fingers in various ways, to see if the blonde pitcher will understand. Does Iona?

Not one lick. She's sure that she's doing /something/, she's just not sure what.

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Of /course/ Mami understand. Mami nods intendly, staring at Iona's fingers, and then makes two small gestures with her own ungloved hand in return.

Mami Tomoe has no idea what she's doing. Mami Tomoe is /never/ going to admit that.

<Pose Tracker> Nanami Kiryuu [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

At the edge of the field, some sort of party cannon goes off. A fluttering rain of confetti falls around a group of adult men jogs onto the field. Their uniform is recognizable to any Tokyoite: white with orange fringe and black letters. And what do they spell?


"Say hello to Tokyo's very own Yomiura Giants!" the announcer shouts, sounding as confused about it as anyone else. "Yes, today the Sister Schools will be taking on a professional team?"

The Giants line up in two rows, and in the center of this very-athletic aisle, three brunettes hurriedly push out a medical-style changing screen on wheels. At the end of the aisle, Nanami steps out and begins to stride through, hands folded humbly over her ornate gown, her butterfly-bow rippling behind her. The brunettes tense, two entering the screen, another readying her thumb over a stopwatch. Nanami doesn't even seem to notice the screen as she steps through, not breaking her stride, and she emerges from the other side as if her pace never changed. However, in those few seconds, her gown has entirely changed to a Yomiura Giants uniform, and she wears a glove on one hand. It's Italian leather, never used.

One of the girls jogs behind her and meekly puts the Giants cap on Nanami's head, and the stopwatch girl shakes her head in disappointment. Leaving Nanami with a microphone, she hurries away.

"Hello, guests of Ohtori Academy! Please feel welcome to our modest campus. As Ohtori is well aware of your storied athletic histories, we felt it would be impolite not to offer you the sort of competition you feel yourselves worthy of. And who could doubt your claims? After all, your presence here indicates you are all the very best that Japan--no, the world--has to offer, in every possible way... fufu..." Her laugh is almost inaudible. "So, please favor your hosts, and show us how you score goals in your quaint hometowns."

The Giants all look confused. Some seem to have thrown on their uniforms rather hastily. But one of them claps his hands twice and whoops, and the others jog into the dugout with the precision of a Swiss watch.

"All right, then," the announcer says nervously. "It looks like, uh, Tomoe is on the mound. Who will the Giants send to bat first? I've been watching a lot of their games lately, I know they have some of the best in the league, but I'm going to guess that they'll lead off with..."

Nanami is walking out with mincing steps and a sunny smile on her face. She blows a kiss to a cheering bleacher full of Ohtori kohai, keeping an eye out for the red mane of her brother. When she reaches the plate, she taps it twice with her bat, and swings her butt the way she's seen batters do in old movies.

"...Kiryuu," the announcer says. "Nanami Kiryuu."

<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

It's at times like these that the spirit of the Sister Schools really shows. Because they could cry foul and they could gasp or jeer, but instead, like the low rumbling of an earthquake, the scream rises and it is joyous. What honor -- what glory -- what student could hope but dream to pit themselves against the beloved home team of Tokyo? Win or lose, this is an unforgettable opportunity, and somewhat inadvertantly Nanami may win accolades for this move from many others.

Touga Kiryuu is indeed in the stands, his fingers tented in front of his mouth, leaning forward with the intent interest of a gamesman.

But it's green hair, not red, which is much closer to the field. In the batting cages, warming up, is Kyouichi Saionji, Student Council flunky (and rival of the aforementioned Touga). As he whips his bat to and fro, he mutters, "Well, at least she didn't demand to go fourth batter." No one will hear him but the mournful wind torn behind his practice swings.

The umpire barks, "Play ball!"

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mami Tomoe has done the weird hand gestures the pitcher is supposed to do. She has her uniform perfect. Her hat is on just right, and her arm is limber. Surely, everything is set for the high schooler to make a great showing. Surely...

Surely they're....

Mami's eyes widen, almost imperceptibly. To anyone who knows her, this is as good as actually staring. ...She only doesn't stare open-mouthed because she is elegant by so much practice. But she wants to.

Well, no. A part of her wants to do something very differently as she sees Nanami Kiryuu, of all people, apparently behind this. And...A... professional team. Everything looks awful for just a moment.

...Everything, until the batter is announced. And then?

...Would it be /wrong/ to just hit Nanami with the ball?

...No, that's not what a baseball ally of justice would do. ...And someone would probably notice anyway.

"Right!" Tomoe says from the mound. She takes a breath, puts her hands together, and lets herself feel the weight of the ball. She turns partially to the side, winds up. Her twin trills glow in the sunlight. She readies--

And Mami Tomoe throws a baseball as hard as she can!!!

<Pose Tracker> Takeo Akamizu [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Second Base. This is where Takeo finds himself, and he tilts his head, when the Giants... THE GIANTS are announced as the opponant. Takeo does not like to loose. e gets into a baseball stance and adjests his glove.

He watches as Mami prepares to throw the ball and he hangs his head. It's not that she's throwing the ball. It's that they're playing professionals and there will be no Magic Shenanigans this time, so no need to transform. And it's not a sword fight, so let's face it. Takeo has WATCHED baseball, but the last time he played the sport was in Gym class, and the last time he played regularly was when he was Five and he wanted to be like Ichiro Suzuki before he went and joined the American Baseball league. "No matter. I'll play ball. I will represent Ohtorri." He takes a deep breath and lets it out. "STRIKE THE LOOSER OUT MAMI!!"

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

What is Kiryuu doing playing against us so often, Nori thinks from her position half a subprefecture over. She adjusts her cap. She can hear it fine of course, it's not actually that bad, just spiritually remote.

I guess she's gone past even Ohtori, Nori thinks, her eyes going to the field's turf.

But then there's a motion -

Nori straightens up as she sees a pitch. Maybe...

Nanami is a rather impressive young woman, after all. She might hit it right at her.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

The Yomiuri Giants? Against an impromptu *cross-schools* team of teenagers?

... and Nanami Kiryuu-san is leading off to bat for them?

Fuu lets out a sigh, and settles in a little more comfortably at third base - not *relaxing*, but there's no point in being excessively tense, it'll just slow her down when she needs to react. Mami-san launches the first pitch, and Fuu watches, getting ready in case it comes flying her way.

<Pose Tracker> Hibiki Houjou [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

"...you're kidding, right? I'm not that good a pinch-hitter, Waon-chan..." All Hibiki can do is punch into her glove at the thought that they're going to have to face off against pros...

Though on the other hand. They get to face off against pros.

She looks to her left, at the Ohtori high-schooler on second base. And to her right, at her fellow Infinity student. And finally, back to the batter...

"...wait, isn't that the same girl who found the eels?..." Nanami Kiryuu, huh? Time to find out how good she is...

<Pose Tracker> Iona Hikawa [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Iona nods alongside Mami. She understands that Mami understands. There's a lot of understanding going on.

No one must know the truth.

Her attempts to learn baseball on the fly is ground to a halt by the sounds of a bus arriving to the grounds. Her eyes widen the moment she sees what emerges from it. "T-The Giants?" Iona knew of them by reputation, but had never seen a game. What sort of money does that school throw around? And did the Giants really have nothing better to do?

Iona's eyes remain wide even when the rest of the schools start to cheer. Really? She rolls her eyes just a little bit. This isn't worth her time to be stomped into the dirt by someone way out of her league.

Then Nanami walks out of the dugout and takes her position at bat. Okay, so do they not have dignity? Shouldn't an actual Giants member be playing?

But after a few moments, there's a smile slightly forming on the girl's face, as she looks up directly at the pitch Mami is throwing. She's had to face overwhelming odds before. If it's the fate of the game that they lose...

Then she will change it.

<Pose Tracker> Nanami Kiryuu [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Nanami catches sight of her honored older brother and sighs happily to herself. "Oniisama... yes," she whispers. "I look cute. I am the cutest one on the field!" Itsuki, on the sidelines, may notice Nanami glaring at her for a few seconds.

"Not old enough to worry about," Nanami decides.

She is grinning as Mami winds up, and when the pitch comes, she squeezes her eyes tight and swings with all of her love! But she opens them when she feels nothing, and glances to the side, watching the ball ping off the fence, nowhere near her strike zone. "Hah!" she barks. "That means you're out!"

"Strike one!" the umpire calls.

"What?! Why?" Nanami demands, but her brunettes are nowhere near, so she turns to demand the answer of Iona. "Why is that a strike?"

The next pitch, Nanami swings at even harder, missing again. "Strike two!" Fuming, she sets her feet again. Maybe if she keeps her eyes open...


"Yes!" Nanami shouts, prancing off the base.

"Foul ball!"

Nanami prances back.

Nanami is infuriated as she prepares herself. She looks Mami up and down. "Lovely uniform, by the way," she calls. "The vertical stripes were a... necessary choice for you. Very slimming. Oh! And that elaborate... thing, on your head. It is good of you to put safety before style when needs must. With that on, you will not be struck by any passing vehicles."

Nanami feels flush with power, like a vampire after feeding. When the next pitch comes, she strikes it far out into the outfield.

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mami can hear Takeo's cheer! She beams over his way, albeit in a subtle, restrained sort of way. She's not exactly a baseball /expert/, herself, but...

She sure isn't going to tell anyone that.

Instead, she lifts her head high, trying to inspire her teammates (and herself) with a show of confidence. Strangely enough, she sees the same in Iona... And that helps her, too. It's going to be just fine.

Mami /throws/, and--

"My, Kiryuu-san. I'm glad you seem to be having so much fun," Mami offers after the foul ball. But--....

Her little salvo is not really enough in the face of what Nanami says next. Mami blinks, once, surprised at the compiment--but then it isn't a compliment at all. As Nanami powers up...

Mami can't help but reach one hand partially up to her hat, involuntarily, her smile rather abrubtly faded.

The next pitch is awful. Mami's heart sinks as she turns, ostensibly watching the ball, but mostly trying to hide her face from a certain middle schooler.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Fuu isn't even the target of Nanami's viciously barbed and venomous tongue, and *she* winces at the insults being levelled at the pitcher. Isn't there some kind of rule against excessively vicious psychological warfare tactics? Maybe not in the book of baseball rules, but ... oh, maybe in the Geneva Conventions?

Still, if Nanami-san wanted to inspire the Infinity/Juuban/Ohtori players to play to their utmost, she just succeeded at *THAT*; Fuu is coolly, utterly certain of that much. She, at least, doesn't intend to let Nanami Kiryuu get past third base if there's any (legal) means by which she can stop the pompous little ojousama from advancing to home plate.

But it's up to the outfielders right now; Fuu can only stand ready to catch the ball if it comes her way.

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.


The ball flies upwards with the momentum of inevitability. It actually takes Nori two full seconds to realize that at that angle, propelled by the immense strength of Nanami Kiryuu's passion, the ball is coming right at her! ... ish.

Nori runs forwards, accelerating herself across the field and watching the ball as it goes... fortunately there is nothing for her to run into out here, or trip over (for once), so this goes more or less as planned, except for when she leaps to catch and the ball instead slams down like the tiny fist of an unusually angry god into the turf near her.

No instant out, sadly.

But it's right there! Nori crouches down, picks the ball up, stares at it for another precious second - then looks up. Hibiki's hair catches her eye first, despite her being slightly further away, and so Nori throws the ball with great enthusiasm and indifferent form towards her!

Hikaru Shidou has left.

<Pose Tracker> Hibiki Houjou [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

There's a whoop from somewhere between bases two and three when Mami's second pitch evades Nanami's bat - but it's brief, and Hibiki's focus swings back to the batter. Swing, batter, swing at the obvious foul-

Nope. Even Nanami won't be fooled three times in a row. Then her barbs come out, and for a moment even Hibiki is stunned quiet with anger.

Briefly, because...the ball is in the air! "Get ready - we can't let her have a home run in her first inning!" The shortstop runs, and run Hibiki shall. There's a poof of sod, and then a ball being hurtled at a running shortstop...

Hibiki leaps up, catches the ball against her stomach, and comes to a skidding halt. First base is lost. Second..."Here...you...GO!"

A girl, running toward the base, hurling a baseball with all her might. Second base, perhaps the best chance to stop this run...and close enough that only one person on the field can make the call.

The word resounds. "SAFE!"

<Pose Tracker> Takeo Akamizu [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Takeo Akamizu watches the ball sail after the connection and moves to base, jsut in case his glove is needed. He kneels and the loud SNAP of the ball slamming into his mit, his head looking to Nanami to make sure she doens't go anywhere else. With a nod, he tosses the balllightly back to Mami. "Nice pitch Mami!" He says witha genuine grin.

Then he looks to Nanami, points two fingers at his eyes, then points those two fingers to Nanami. His expression grim.

<Pose Tracker> Nanami Kiryuu [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

"Hah! As expected!" Nanami chirps as she skids onto second. That's what she thinks she did, anyway. She actually ran there with her palms held around the level of her shoulders, fingernails tucked, heels kicking gaily with every step. She hops a few times happily, before glancing at Hibiki. "If you give me your student ID, you might find some free lunches on your account if I make it to home," she says. "These things happen."

The first Giant up to the plate looks vaguely embarrassed to be batting against schoolchildren, but he also doesn't want to patronize them. Besides, he's getting a paycheck for this. He wiggles his butt, which Nanami finds vindicating. Then he smashes Mami's next pitch all the way to Saitama.

That's what it feels like, at any rate. That ball is nowhere in sight. If a Giants fan is going to retrieve it, they'll have to organize a search party with posters, police, and bloodhounds. Nanami crosses home plate with an insoucient chirrup, while the batter jogs lightly around the field, reassured somewhat by the cheers of the home team fans. They seem to be a very positive bunch. But there's no way they are going to win this game. Unless...

"Third up to bat is... Nanami Kiryuu! Again. Somehow."

Nanami bats every other time from then out, and every time, Mami strikes her out. In between, the Giants hit deep drivers, but they only manage to get one more of their number home before Nanami strikes out with the bases fully loaded. 3-0 Giants.

As the Giants jog out into the field, Nanami takes her place on the pitcher's mound, switching repeatedly from a left-handed stance to a right-handed one as she considers which angle might be more flattering from oniisama's vantage. As the first Sister Schools batter steps up, Nanami is trying that pose where the pitcher has the ball in her glove, tucked behind the small of her back, and is bending forward while looking meditative. Her pale blonde hair tumbles profusely out the back of her baseball cap.

"I hope you're ready," she warns airily. "I won't go easy on you. This will just be my regular pitch, but if you prove worthy, I will show you..." Nanami flicks her hair over her shoulder as she rises to her full height. "Angelic Supremacy Ball Kiryuu."

Nanami does not strike out a single one of the batters.

Oh, they might strike themselves out, if they swing when they shouldn't. But about half of them will walk, and the other half will sooner or later get a sweetheart of a pitch. All nine of the starting members of the Eel Lovers will enjoy the easiest trip to the base of their life, unless they psych themselves out.

And then someone manages to convince Nanami to take a literal powder break, and a Giant demolishes the three upcoming relief batters in a row with pitches that would get pulled over on the Autobahn. Itsuki, Hitomi, and Megumi are sent back to the bleachers almost instantly, and it's on to the next inning.

By which point, the score will be?

<Pose Tracker> Takeo Akamizu [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed. Coming to bat, Takeo nods once to Nanami. He narrows his eyes and dos the finger point to his eyes, and to Nanami again. He's watching. Alwaaaaays watching. Then he sets himself and gets ready to swing.

The first few are balls, and he let's them go. The third he notices is in what he has dubbed, the sweet spot, and he swings with all his might.

There is a loud CRACK as bat connects to ball, and sends it flying toward Left Field. He winks to Nanami as he sprints past. He makes it to Second before the Giants manage to save Left Field. He screams to a stop and decides not to even attempt to go further, professionals vs High Schooler.

He stands on second, ready to sprint to third if he's able.

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Nice pitch?

Mami turns and catches the ball, relying on instinct more than anything else. She feels a bit slow, acutely conscious of each movement. But the team comes together...! And Mami mostly tries to avoid looking at second base for the moment, as well as avoiding looking to the stands. Instead, she'll just have to pay her next attention to the batter coming up.

"I'll get the next one!" she calls to the others, tugging the bill on her hat down a little farther. She throws...!

The vindication of striking Nanami out like ten times wars within Mami with the utter dejection of attempting to strike out professional ball players.

But striking out Nanami repeatedly /does/ feel incredible.

Once they actually switch sides, though, Mami takes a breath, trying to swing the bat to warm herself up a little bit as she's taking her turn.

Mami has no words for Nanami this time. She just sets herself in place, widens her stance, and thinks back to... every time she's watched Sayaka swing a bat.

This proves a mistake at first, as the first pitch comes and she swings /straight/ past it, still jittery and expecting Nanami to say something again.

The second comes, and Mami's too tense; she swings her bat /just/ too late. That's two down. Two, against /Nanami/.

She takes a breath. She's sure she can imagine how smug Nanami must be, but she's not looking at her face. Instead... She waits...

She /swings/, and this time with a loud crack it /connects/, and goes flying out into the outfield. It soars. It goes beyond where she thought it could, and with a half-second's delay, Mami starts running.

...But the professional outfielders do their work well, and before Mami makes it, the first-baseman catches the ball.

...On the way back, she shifts so her ribbon catches the light better.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

There really would be nothing more satisfying than wiping the metaphorical smile off of Nanami-san's face by nailing a home run, thinks Fuu as her turn at bat comes around. And with the first two pitches, she swings - genuinely whiffing the first, and coming credibly close on the second pitch to be launched her way.

After that, Fuu decides it's probably just as simple to get walked. It's an easy decision; three Nanami pitches in a row sail over the plate so far from the strike zone that Fuu could code a boss battle in the intervening space. Nanami looks just a little irritable by this point, and Fuu prepares for another actual swing - to make it look good, if nothing else.

(Not that she thinks Nanami Kiryuu deserves to look THAT good.)

The full-count pitch is faster and straighter, and the sharp *crack* of bat meeting ball even catches Fuu herself by surprise. Too bad it sails straight over the third-base foul line, giving some fan a lucky souvenir. The pitch after *that* is another ball, and Fuu walks quickly to first base, relieved not to have plowed into a disaster.

.... and even though she's an Infinity student, Fuu suspects that a vengeance-fueled Nanami would likely find some way to make her life difficult even there. Hopefully that was enough to more or less mollify her.

<Pose Tracker> Nanami Kiryuu [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Hit the lights. Focus the projector. It's time for a sports montage.


Nanami blinks, confused by Takeo's gesture. What's that mean? He's looking at her? Well, good, right? Nanami beams, though she takes care to turn her chin sharply from the prettyboy. Sorry, boys. She's not in the market for more brothers. "Hmph!" she chides him happily.


"You..." Nanami seethes at Fuu, squeezing the baseball as though it were a stress-ball. "Is there even anything wrong with your eyes? Or are you just one of those girls who wants to look smarter than everyone else? WELL? Which is it? Because you don't look nearly smart enough to wear glasses."


"Oh, it's Tomoe again," Nanami says in honeyed tones. "You know, I think you're a natural at this. I wish I could have been born with such ability." She sighs wistfully. "When I'm at bat, I have a strike zone a mile wide." Somehow she knows /that/ term. "But somehow when you're there, you manage to shrink that area down to mere inches. Is it some Tomoe family technique? Some special stance?" She puts a finger to her chin, appearing for all the world to be in earnest thought.


"Houjou, is it?" Nanami greets from the mound. "You look like a fine athlete. Someday I hope to have your strength..." She tucks her chin, looking legitimately sad, even repulsed with herself. "I am to blame, for my own indolence. If I had your strength of character, I would have forged myself into something worthwhile... not plush and adorable like this. I could become stringy, ungainly with my own athleticism, my cheeks whittled hollow by my own willpower..."


"I apologize on behalf of the Student Council," Nanami tells Nori. "You should not have to bat with the smell of seaweed in your nose. Oh, oh, it's just cropped up, I have no idea from whence..."SIXTH INNING

Nanami takes another look at Fuu's glasses, and pegs her in the leg with the ball with all of her (somewhat noodley) strength.


"Tomoe," Nanami ventures. "You have something on your..." She indicates on her own head where Mami's hat accessory would lie. "Oh... right it's... never mind!"EIGHTH INNING

Nanami scowls as a brunette clips and files a chipped nail.


Wait, what about the sports part?

The Giants are an unstoppable force, and Nanami is a consummately moveable object. For every ruthless victory they rip from their foes, Nanami hands them an equally devastating loss.

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.


Nori purses her lips a little. Nanami's words have given her pause, and perhaps bruised her ego, even if it is one of those complicated and perplexing sideways bumps that are not uncommon in the realm of Ohtori Academy.


Nori is holding the bat differently now... she's rather sore but she's also managed to break in her muscles with the exciting adventure of 'not being very good at batting.' Her style has gotten looser and looser, and now when Nanami hurls that ball forwards --

Nori doesn't swing. She TWISTS the bat round, holding the club+1 as if it were a guitar, and pivots around for a sudden blocking bunt! Up it goes, towards somewhere between left and center; Nori though is already off and running, huffing.

Seaweed isn't a bad smell!

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

As Mami makes her way through the innings again and again, swinging bats and getting actually fairly used to pitching, there is one constant: Nanami /talking/.

By the fourth inning Mami has stopped even trying to actually /say/ anything in return, and her demeanor has become considerably more businesslike than it was before.

By the sixth inning, Mami has already estimated exactly how much magic it would take to gag Nanami Kiryuu for an hour.

...In the seventh inning, Mami presses her lips together and swings despite everything. ...But doesn't do so great. Again, Nanami wins that round.

But in the /ninth/....

In the ninth inning, Mami is already sure there'll be some new insult waiting, some new awful thing. She doesn't even remember what she did to Nanami in the first place to merit it. But she's holding up the bat anyway, trying to keep her breathing under control. ...Secret Tomoe family technique....

When the pitch comes towards her, Mami feels tired, to the point where she's almost relaxed; she /wants/ to go curl up somewhere unnoticed. But she sees the ball, and she starts to swing, running on habit, maybe, for what she'd usually do for something flying at her.


The ball goes flying through the air. Up, and up. Mami blinks, and /stares/ at it. ...She almost forgets to run.

But only almost. /This/ ball sails out of the outfield, and Mami sprints the bases before somebody comes up with a rule that lets somebody try to /catch/ it.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Fortunately for Fuu's leg, she's a good girl and drinks her milk. It's going to take more than a noodly throw to do more than advance Fuu to first base, without even having to score four balls for the walk. As for the taunting about her glasses ... well, if Fuu suspected that Nanami didn't buy the best of report cards, she might actually challenge the ojousama to a contest of grades. She's got more important things to do, though ... like finishing this baseball game so that she can go practice for the actual archery meet.

"... and so we meet again, Kiryuu-san," Fuu calls out solemnly as she comes up to bat in the ninth. "Our final battle, I'm certain. Have you made your peace with whatever gods saw fit to bless your life?" She unshoulders her bat, points it dramatically at the outfield, then settles into her ready position, watching carefully with just a hint of a smile gently curving her lips. As if she knows something.

The first pitch of the at-bat is so obviously off-target that Fuu stifles a yawn at it. "If you've tired of your career as a baseball star, I'm sure we can end things more cleanly ..."

The second pitch has more force and less accuracy; Fuu doesn't NEED to lean away from it, but does so anyway. She also doesn't need to mock Nanami any more, and she *doesn't* say anything further.

The third pitch: right down the center at a decent clip, and Fuu swings as hard as she can, eliciting a *CRACK* of impact that she's actually ready for this time. She runs, watching the ball's flight ... is it going to clear the outer fence?

.... why yes, yes it is. Probably.

Fuu just runs as hard as she can, not wanting to look back and see the ball being hurled to the next stop on her circuit of the bases after all. If it cleared the fence, fine; if it didn't, she'll find out the hard way whether she looks or not, and if she runs hard enough she *MIGHT* get across home plate before the ball cuts her off in a fielder's hand.

<Pose Tracker> Takeo Akamizu [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed. Takeo Akamizu sighs slightly and shakes his head as he prepares to take the field again. He moves to the batter's box in this, the Ninth inning, and adjusts his helmet. Then spits to the side. Because that's what he's seen other baseball player's do. He nods once to Nanami and then, he does a few practice swings, before he once agian spits to the side. He nods to the pitcher. "Bring it." He says before he sets himself to bat, eyes narrowed.

He isn't sure he's even going to get to swing, as the first three throws are all balls, and one of whihc nearly takes his head off! He does the finger to the eyes, then points at her agian wiht a dour and serious look.

Then he recieves the final pitch. There is an ear spitting crack as Takeo sends the ball somewhere near the Moon Kingdom's domain. (That's what he likes to think. In reality, he sent it to left field again. Not for planning, but because he hit the thing in teh wrong spot. Again.) He sprints, while the Left Field tries to figure out what's happening, as he sent it deep into the outfield.

Takeo is fast, and if he cna't slide at least ONCE then he isn't playing baseball. "It's what Suzuki Sempai would want." He says ans he pumps his arms and legs furiously and rounds third base. The Catcher, standing, throws off his mask to better see the ball as it sails toward him. Takeo hit sthe dirt in a slide that kicks up a lot of dust. He blinks up at the catcher and says very calmly as the Umpire declares him safe, "Um... Could you sign my Baseball? It... It's for my sister...."

Yeeeeah. He'll believe that.

<Pose Tracker> Nanami Kiryuu [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

"Are we going to lose?" 08 asks 31. 08 was first draft pick out of the minors. Baseball is his whole life.

"Maybe," 31 sighs. "If the kids play real smart." He has small bar themed entirely around him in the Golden Gai, with his first game ball hung on the wall with his signature.

"Are there reporters here to tell everybody we lost?" 08 wonders. "Maybe."

"Think she'll let us pitch?"

"Maybe," 31 says again.

Nanami is standing on the mound with her head thrown back. "O ho ho ho!"

"On second thought. Not a chance," 31 says.

Nori is on base when Fuu strikes her glorious blow against ojoukind, and by all rights, she should have sent both of them home. In any fair game it would have been a home run. But a sprinting Giants outfielder sails through the air past Saionji like one of Fuu's arrows, spearing the ball, and it zooms in a three-point pass all the way back to home base just before Nori can reach it. Mami just barely avoids the same fate, but brings the score even through Saionji's incompetence.

"The moment has come, then," Nanami retorts to Takeo. "I hope you are ready to face... my final attack!"

Nanami inhales, then slowly lifts her knee and chambers the ball. The sun is beginning to set as she draws her arm back, and as her body goes taut, the light hits the fence behind her, and the broad wings of a seraph seem to spread from her back. When she opens her eyes, the righteous fire of Oniisama Heaven blazes in them.

Angelic Supremacy...



Nanami snaps her arm forward, and is forced to hop a few steps on one leg, overbalanced. The ball whizzes lightly through the air. It's really wobbly. It might be an all right curve ball. Or slowball.

"It's a REALLY SLOW curveball!" the announcer gasps in histrionic disbelief.

And Takeo knocks it into the next life and scores a homer.

As he's getting his baseball signed, Nanami falls to her knees and starts wailing. The brunettes get the hospital screen around her before the tears show up.

<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Nanami might be distraught, but she's the only one.

The crowd -- all three schools' worth -- rushes the field. Someone is smart enough to pull the cord for more rose petal confetti, and there is a loud and messy moment of joy, all beaming teenagers and flailing limbs. The Sister Schools team are the heroes of the moment, and this day will be spoken of for all of history (or at least until everyone graduates and institutional memory has forgotten it).

Among the jubilation strides Touga Kiryuu, tall and magnificent, his booming laughter a golden, baritone bell. He schools his features to pure seriousness as he approaches his beloved younger sister, however, and gently clasps the side of her face in one enormous palm. The other love of his life, his cell phone, is gently clasped in the other hand; today of all days, surely he is very hooked into all of the proceedings.

"Well done, Nanami. Your brilliant play has brought all the students of Ohtori such joy." He knows his audience, and doesn't say 'the Sister Schools' for a reason. "Now, come," he commands, "It's time for the three-legged race!"

Slinging an arm around her shoulders (and a thumb across his phone), he gently guides her off the field -- and other students begin to scatter to their next events, as well. They know where to go because the massive digital board has once again blinked its updated list.


Three-Legged Race - Nanami Kiryuu and Touga Kiryuu

  • blink*

-Nanami Kiryuu and Touga Ki

  • blink*

-Nanami Kiryuu and Tou

  • blink*

-Nanami Kiryuu and Kyouichi Saionji