2017-06-30 - Navigation: Kasagami v. Saionji, First Duel

From Battle Fantasia MUSH
Jump to: navigation, search
Navigation: Kasagami v. Saionji, First Duel (alternate title: Kingdom Come)

In the second duel of the first round of the challenge bracket, Kasagami defeats Saionji in combat after the dislike between the two duelists surges beyond limit. Other duelists look on in amazement.


Kasagami Araki, Kyouichi Saionji, Kozue Kaoru, Anthy Himemiya, Shizuru Fujino, Takeo Akamizu, Miki Kaoru


Duel Arena }}

OOC - IC Date:

06-30-2017 - 01-30-2015

*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+ Duel Arena +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
  The most forbidding feature of Ohtori's campus looms at the far rear of
  campus, but remains visible even at the main gate. It is an odd structure, a
  great white decagon that slopes upward, forming the support for a hulking
  jade pagoda. This pagoda, however, is made not of tile, but of living
  forest. A dark canopy of leaves forms a vaguely pyramidal roof, supported
  invisibly by the gnarled trees beneath. Though this arena is akin to a
  potted plant on a grand scale, it's hard not to see it as a single discrete

  Entrance to the arena is possible only through a single, grand gate. Bone
  white, the gate sprouts stylized marble wings at either corner, which arch
  up to form a frame for a three-meter diameter carving of a rose, its white
  petals worked so delicately they appear silken-soft. This gate is locked at
  all times, only permitting entry to those with the proper signet ring.

  Inside, a fairy-tale path of white stone guides a visitor through the
  graveyard darkness of the forest, until they reach the center, where a wide
  corkscrew of a stone staircase is driven into the soft earth. Ascending
  feels oddly effortless, though the steps are as identical as they are many.
  At the top is the duel arena, an uncanny place that feels as though it were
  hung from the sky. This stone-floored dueling field is rarely the same
  twice, changing according to the people and emotions that fill it.

<Pose Tracker> Kyouichi Saionji [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Saionji is tall and strong and proud and heartstoppingly gorgeous, in a mopily soulful-eyed sort of way. There's are reasons that he has a following; it isn't some sort of mass delusion on the part of Ohtori students.

One of them is his hair. Let's take a moment to admire it in earnest; greener than emeralds, greener than the still-living heart of the verdant wood, it falls in effortlessly fabulous waves across his shoulders and down his back. In the afternoon light (it isn't sunset today, and the sky is a cold, cheerful blue) it sparkles and twinkles every time he takes a breath.

He isn't breathing very often, though. His breath always gets stolen by the castle.

Upside-down, it spins lazily above the rose-engraved, skyhooked arena, all parapets and flying buttresses and towers, tantalizingly out of reach even as it points inexorably towards the ground. It is simply too far away to make out fine details, but more than close enough to suggest them for the enthusiastic imaginative mind to fill in. Fairies could live there, or knights of old, or mighty wizards, or fair maidens.

You could live there, too.

The distant lights of the castle reflect in Saionji's eyes, and the tiny, unconscious smile on his lips is soft and lovely as a rose. It is, however, as fragile as one, too -- returning his attention to Earth and its many concerns, he draws his katana (a family heirloom, and champion of many kendo tournaments -- his partner in many respects) and listens to the cool winter air sing down its length.

It sings him a tale of new beginnings, a tale of hope, and his smile shifts inexorably into an anticipatory smirk.

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki transforms into Crimson Rose Duelist!
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

If there's two things Kasagami can admire about one Kyouichi Saionji, it's his hair and kendo skills. Those fabulous waves utterly outclass her own roguish black locks, and he has none of her flaws or scarrs on her face. His kendo skills are still ones she constantly compares herself against, even now.

Speed and grace. Her body shivers in anticipation. To reach that castle in the sky, she needs to beat this man. She's been here for at least an hour prior, down on one knee. Her sword's already drawn, out in her hands. They're bandaged, rather than gloved. Someone has been training hard prior to tonight. The young woman's coat flutters on one of the great arches above the Arena.

Slowly, she stands, her gaze meeting both the sound of Saionji's blade, his fragile smile, and the sword in his hand. Her own family's sword is finally propped over her shoulder. Stepping forward, she's smiling too.

The green and black haired kendo artists have a few too many things in common. It makes Kasagami want to destroy the beautiful man before her, it irks her so. Still, her words are light.

"Captain! Do you have any idea how long I've been waiting to meet you here? Ever since I first showed up to the Kendo Club, I knew you'd be an obstacle. And so that's why I've been training as hard as I could, so I could meet you as an equal."

"Thanks. Too bad I'm going to have to break you with those skills I've earned, now." She doesn't sound sad about the prospect at all.

She pops her neck as she awaits the Rose Bride. "May the sharpest blade win!"

COMBAT: Kyouichi Saionji transforms into Green Rose Duelist!
COMBAT: Kyouichi Saionji has cleared the initiative order.
COMBAT: A new initiative order has been generated! Please check it with +initiative.
<Pose Tracker> Kyouichi Saionji [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Kasagami is a much less pleasant thing to look at than his castle, and the kendo captain only does so with extreme reluctance. The wince there is a familiar one; he often avoids looking directly at her in the dojo, too. Discomfort dwells there, but worse still, a tithe of pity.

"Arisugawa was right," Saionji murmurs, looking down the length of his singing blade towards his opponent. "You are like him."

There's a pause, as a passing, heavenly wind ruffles their hair.

"Which is to say that you talk too much," he elaborates, evenly.

Glancing over at the Engaged and Rose Bride, he steels his shoulders. Being near Anthy is always a pleasure, especially here. This is why he's come. This is what it's all about. The castle -- and the Bride.

Lifting his chin, he concludes, with the slightest of sneers, "I expect you'll be the first real opponent I've faced in this arena in quite some time. But it won't be the sharpness of the blade which determines the victor." His voice rises into a bark, a half-roared command that echoes through the relative stillness of the atmosphere, bounces off the gate below and the towers above. "ANTHY! BESTOW THE ROSES!"

It is a peculiar pleasure to give orders that were going to be obeyed anyway. An illusory control, but nonetheless an enjoyable one. His knuckles whiten around the hilt of his katana, eagerness making him tense.

<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Kozue Kaoru is on the observer's deck, leaning against one of the stone parapets. A well manicured hand hoisting up her chin. Staring outward at the duelists she watches Saionji's quiet wonder. A true believer? Well- the first time she stared at the castle too she was just as transfixed... but the illusion didn't stay.

It was shattered the moment Utena cut a rose from her breast.

Now it's more a vague hope. A distant one. One route of several. She has investment in this path but she can't trust in it being the only one.

Then Kasagami stands up and there's bravado... a flicker in her eyes of something... as the hand drops.

For a time she watches and-

"You know it's kind of funny but..." There's this long pause as her eyes take in the battlefield, "...I don't think I actually care at all who wins this one."

It's not so much about the winner, but the loser for her in this duel. And she kind of wanted to see both of them crushed equally. So long as one of them is, she's satisfied.

<Pose Tracker> Anthy Himemiya [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

The Rose Bride and her Engaged arrived at the designated time, precisely: no earlier, no later.

Red fabric whispers across the smooth arena floor as the Rose Bride makes her stately approach, steps measured beneath the bell of her full skirt. With her she brings a breathless still, the sort that would doom sailors to long days adrift, which permits even the slightest of sounds to carry to the edges of the arena and all its occupants.

True to her title she has two roses gathered to her breast, both hands cupped around them so only gentle curls of green and crimson show. They are fresh blooms, diagonal death wounds still dripping water from their stems, culled from her personal garden that very morning. The duels call for sacrifice and the Rose Bride obliges.

Her face is as calm as the absent winds, her eyes lowered to the beauty nestled between her palms. As she steps up first to Kyouichi Saionji, then Kasagami Araki, she is all demure deference.

That is, to any observers. Each duelist in turn experiences the intimacy of receiving a token from the girl who might one day belong to them. To the regally-maned Saionji goes the honor of first rosepinning. The Rose Bride paces his way with the most polite of sweet smiles on her face, one that broadens her lips and leaves her eyes still and cold. The green stem topped with green petals slides into place without her fingers so much as brushing his uniform. Not until she turns fully away does the expression fall, like cutting the strings of a marionette.

She carries her silence with her to the other side of the arena, where Kasagami stands tall and proud. Exaggerated deference meets aggressive indifference. The Rose Bride takes extra care with the dark crimson rose, gaze lowered and head bowed while she sees the would-be King betokened. Before she turns to go -- did one corner of her mouth twitch upward with skepticism? Surely not. The Rose Bride has no opinions of her own. Then she's away, keeping her pace ceremonial as she returns the entrance of the arena.

The Engaged awaits her there, tall and noble. Upon reaching Utena she turns, skirt sweeping behind, and takes her place by the pink-haired girl's side. She addresses the duelists in a soft voice:

"If the rose is knocked from your chest, you lose the duel." Pleasant, bland smile; pleasant, bland eyes. That windless calm abates with her words, as if the world releases a held breath.

<Pose Tracker> Shizuru Fujino [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Shizuru has looked bored since she got up here. It's true to a point... But the victory she had last time she was in the arena has it own form of satisfaction before it, too, grows dim. So she's held it for a while. She watches the looking at the castle.

A true believer. Sometimes Shizuru wonders about Saionji, about things that she doesn't already know. Arisugawa said that she was like someone else, too. And Kozue finally speaks up...

"My, is that so? Apathy is unbecoming of a Duelist, Kaoru-kun." Shizuru shakes her head, lifting a teacup.

"...I'm quite curious which of these two will win, myself. Will it be Araki-kun...?"

Sip. "Or will it be the pretty one?"

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

Leaning back in a chair, with his hands folded behind his neck, and his feet crossed at the ankle while resting on one of those parapets, Takeo gives a shrug. "Who ever wins still has a long road before Utena-chan." He says and looks down at the combatants from elevated and his lazy position and posture. He looks over to Kozue and raises an eyebrow slightly.

"Don't care huh?" He asks with that playful smile on his lips. "You realize that if you win your match, you might have to face whomever eeks out a victory today. It's best to study their moves while in combat. Judge how they move, how they flow from form to form. What their parry style favors, and which form of attack they cling to first."

He gives the Vice President that same raised eyebrow he just show Kozue and then shrugs. He's voiced his opinion on the matter. He does however examine the Shizuru. Here was somebody he hadn't seen fight, yet she was one of the first to throw her cord on the table at the meeting. He frowns thoughtfully and then looks back out to the match. "I think we're about to start."

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

The avoidance from the Captain has never bothered her. She'd take that over disgusted looks any day. But it's always that edge of pity that's sparked real hatred for the young woman. More than the rumors about him, more than how he always seemed so popular. No, the simple fact she'd been looked down upon for so long is what truly makes the arrogant Would-Be-King furious.

Her smile swiftly turns to a smirk. She's almost biting her lips from sheer loathing.

One brow of Kasagami's slowly narrows. "I have no idea who you're referring to." She isn't quite sure what he's on about, but it doesn't take a genius to know it isn't flattering. A deep breath. No, she has to contain her rage. She'll need it in a few moments.

"Oh don't you worry, Captain, I'll be sure to etch this Duel into your heart."

As for the one in Red? Her presence is that of a functionary, someone with no inherent value other than what she's currently performing. Not a single amount of care, maybe even odd callousness coming from someone so openly passionate as Kasagami. She leans in just a touch to let it be pinned to her. No theatrics. Barely any acknowledgement.

But as she walks away, her single grey eye burns with annoyance. Yet one more thing getting in the way between her and the Power of Dios.

No hesitation at all from Kasagami. One booted foot reaches out to strike the Arena floor hard, and she's rushing for Saionji with all of the blatant fury she's known for. She stops a few feet away, another kick to the ground, and she's in the air with a high, leaping strike! Both hands on her nodachi, and she brings it around in the textbook, hard, brutal arcs a weapon meant for cutting down horsemen is used for. Only here, it's aimed to try to slice through shoulder, chest, and diagonally down towards where Saionji's rose is pinned.

Hers so far is a game of leverage and reach as she puts all of her speed and power into it the blow.

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Rose on the Wind on Kyouichi Saionji.
COMBAT: Kyouichi Saionji narrowly counters Kasagami Araki's Rose on the Wind, taking 13 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Kasagami
Araki is Psyched!  Kyouichi Saionji's Reverse ability activates!  Kyouichi Saionji's Tactician ability activates!
COMBAT: Kyouichi Saionji's counterattack, Cross of the Rose, partially gets through, doing 10 Fatigue damage to Kasagami Araki!
<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

She gives Saionji this brief look at his command for Anthy to bestow the roses, but then her eyes are upon the Rose Bride. It felt like a copy of the last two duels she watched. The only difference being the participants, and the roses she bestowed. Part of her wonders, if she had recorded footage of the duels... would she be able to notice even the slightest difference in Anthy's actions?

Shizuru snaps her back into attention, "You would say that wouldn't you Shizuru-chan?"

But the Pretty One? She actually snorts in a definitively unladylike way, as she turns herself around, leaning backwards on the stonework. At the not too subtle insult towards... a certain someone. "If that's the way you think... I hear he's available right now." They're not alone right now. It won't do to hint at the truth.

Takeo speaks up though, and without looking at him, she casually waves a hand. "That's not how I fight. And if analyzing someone's fighting style were enough..." She looks his way fractionally, only the tiniest hint of a smirk on her expression, "...then wouldn't you already be wearing the Rose Bride on your arm?"

The fight begins, and she doesn't turn back to watch immediately. She only does so a few seconds after to see the results of the leaping strike.

<Pose Tracker> Kyouichi Saionji [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Lucky Strike - Maroon 5 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuYoHikgEro

Anthy doesn't even touch Saionji, but he trembles anyway, when she's near, vibrating at a soundless frequency. He can smell her long after she's gone, taste her in the skin on his teeth (which forms unavoidably despite his twice-daily exercise in tooth hygiene -- if nothing else in this world, bacteria is eternal). He's thinking about her, long after she's gone.

That's always true, but right now it's more true than usual. He eyes her longingly; her withdrawal very nearly brings a tear to his eye.

It does not blind him from Kasagami's approach, however, and as she leaps at him he pivots, hard, taking his rose effortlessly out of reach (also, less importantly, his shoulder and chest) and his own sword into play, horizontal to her vertical. Strike and counterstrike rend a cross in midair. All this effort immediately brings sweat to his brow; this will, indeed, be a serious battle.

All of his battles are serious. Every time he moves, he moves for HER. For THEM. For their future.

He doesn't hesitate to strike again while he's in close; it's rare for a girl to have a reach advantage on him, but that nodachi is, unquestionably, longer than his katana. Strike again -- and again, and again, inexorable as the tides, and as impossible to escape.

Enjoying the sense of momentum, his smirk broadens. It's his turn to talk some trash -- still he can taste roses, and they fizz in his veins.

"You know, there's something I've always meant to ask you, Araki!" Strike! Strike! Strike! "Why is it that you want to be a 'king'? Why not be a queen, as is natural?"

COMBAT: Kyouichi Saionji has used The Oceanic Me on Kasagami Araki.
<Pose Tracker> Shizuru Fujino [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

"My, Kaoru-kun, are you implying something?" she asks about whether she would say that. But there's amusement in her tone; she doesn't really go far with it, instead looking to Kozue as she snorts, replies to her obvious insult. On one level, she appreciates Kozue keeping her secret...

She laughs, softly, a hand over her mouth. "My, is he? But I'm engaged. I can't be concerning myself with such things."

She looks between Takeo and Kozue next, at the talk of the long road, the way to fight...

"Mm, yes. Regardless..." A warm smile. "I'm so glad that you're here to explain these things to us, Akamizu-kun. You're very kind to pass on your wisdom to your competitors."

Her eyes flicker back to the Duel in short order. They're certainly moving. That high strike... "If she tries just to overpower him, she's likely to fail. But using leverage... Maybe."

She sighs, suddenly. Strike, strike, strike... "Saionji-san is certainly acting with vigor. Hmm."

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki perfectly dodges Kyouichi Saionji's The Oceanic Me, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Dodge!  Kasagami
Araki's Fade ability activates!  Kasagami Araki's Flash ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

It's immediately a severe dance, one that almost takes her by surprise. Kasagami expected an arrogant, wasteful start, taking it head on without considering her seriously. No, unlike her appearance, the man actually does take her seriously from the start. That, as his sword is a swift cross towards her as she overextends just slightly, earns her a slash straight through her sleeve almost up to the elbow. The cloth of her uniform flutters more now, darkened flesh on further display.

Kasagami is vaguely reminded of a hunting dog by the way he approaches: fast, and fierce. Forced into a backwards running battle, a series of feints, slashes, and momentum that has Kasagami whirling in circles to swing her blade back around in time just to keep him at bay. Sweat too blossoms on her brow. Her heart hammers.

Another strike is met. Her good arm burns already. Her eye is wide, adrenaline pumping. A laugh is already escaping her. The mood is set, and then subsequently shattered.

"Why I want to...that's pretty forward, Captain! But fine, I'll tell you! Because I want to rule everything and everyone! And you see, there's simply no man on this or any other world that's able to capture my heart and it's desires! So it's only natural that I wear a crown, and have a lovely, wise, deadly Queen at my side!"

The last three strikes are cut short as they hammer into her sword, Kasagami bringing it up like a shield between Saionji's and her rose. She steps back, wary of getting caught in the flurry of blows from the man. Another leap, backwards this time, and she lands with a thunk-thunk of boots.

Her sword's tip dips into the sheath of her blade as she ends up in a bent-kneed position. Her next charge is a zig-zag, a line that with her magical speed might as well be a blurr. To those who've seen her fight?

She's gotten faster. The tip of her blade this time streaks horizontally, lashing out from her sheath as it aims to cut instead for his arm in a flash! Worse still, a flurry of dark crimson roses slice out, aiming to cut and debilitate wherever they can, a small storm of bloody roses!

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Dance in the Petals on Kyouichi Saionji.
COMBAT: Kyouichi Saionji fails to dodge Kasagami Araki's Dance in the Petals, taking 29 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Cripple
applied to Kyouichi Saionji!
<Pose Tracker> Kyouichi Saionji [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Rivers In The Desert (Instrumental) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiUb2ImpzaQ

"Hah!" Saionji barks out another laugh, mingling with Kasagami's with bemusement and scorn. "You think yourself a rival in romance to men such as us?" The royal 'us'; presumably he refers to himself and his best friend. "Pathetic."

There's nothing pathetic about what happens next, though. While the kendo captain is amusing himself with the image of 'king' Kasagami -- he prefers to laugh than to weep at such an indecorous vision -- he's unable to respond adequately to the storm of roses, nor the blade at its heart. It tears a long gash up his jacket sleeve, and the last of his smile is gone, now.

Anger makes Saionji ugly. An enraged vein pulses in his forehead, and rather than turn red he turns pale, livid. That is, except for the line of red dripping down his chin from the edge of a petal that he couldn't avoid.

"How twisted... you should be put in your place. I can't think of anyone better to do it than myself."

If one had hoped that Kasagami's scoring the first solid blow would slow her opponent down in the slightest, one would be disappointed. He speeds up too, in spite of a slight limp in his left knee, slicing through the leavings of the roses with reluctance but nonetheless ruthless precision -- he hates to see the flowers misused this way.

Not a one of his next strikes are designed to claim the rose at her heart. It would be wrong to call them dirty blows; he fights nobly, without corps-a-corps, without pretense. But nonetheless they threaten to back Kasagami towards the edge of the arena, where her mobility would be greatly hampered; and to force her to swing her nodachi widely to cover the many angles that he assaults, which is, to be sure, exhausting.

"The throne is meant for no one but me and my Bride, and no pretender will stand between us and our destiny!"

COMBAT: Kyouichi Saionji has used Parched Labyrinth on Kasagami Araki.
<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

"Engaged?" Kozue feels a pang of sympathy there. Just a singular one, and they both know why. There's something more she'd like to say but she can't here. So instead. "What does that have to do with anything? Maybe you should cultivate a reputation for scandal... a tryst here. A tryst there."

A glance towards Takeo, "Maybe our knight over here would be up for it. Hmm? Doesn't the prospect of an affair with someone... off the market make it seem all the more... tantalizing? Every man desires what they can't have, after all."

Her attention turns back on the duel as Saionji asks- Why not a Queen? And then there's Kasagami's answer...

She smirks.

"Araki and Tenjou are really breaking boundaries for the rest of us. A King... a Prince..."

She chuckles, and glances at Shizuru, "... maybe the two of us ought to get behind them after all. Let Tenjou be our Prince. Let Araki be our King. Bettering the lives of women everywhere. How terrible are the two of us for getting in their way?"

However Saionji's answer causes her to look over the arena. As he fights back, there's this dark look in her eyes, "I changed my mind. Perhaps there's someone I'd like to see win this one after all..."

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

Takeo Akamizu looks to Kozue and gives her that playful smile again. "Oh, the last time I didn't get a chance to analyze Utena-chan. We just sort of ... fought." Then he's offered a Tryst. He just turns those brown eyes of his questioning toward Kozue. "The woman I am ... with ... We may not have said we're together, but I refuse to harm her heart anymore than it already is with her brother. As such," He shrugs a shoulder and flips that long hair of his over his shoulder at Kozue. The action speaks for itself. "Whatever happened Two-Thousand years ago was another man. His name was Lancelot Dulac. Mine is Takeo Amamizu, and I am my own person."

Folding his arms over his chest, his eyes watch the movements of the two fighters. Moving form form to form. Stance to stance. Evaluating each strike, each parry, each artful and graceful dodge. "Despite what you may think of them, they're both very good. I'm certain I could smash the Captain, but it wouldn't be a cake walk. Look at his low form, it's one of his more deadly stances." He hrms. "Kasagami-san for her part makes excellent use of her No-Dachi. Left and right walls for parries, with a near picture sankutzu and her neko-dachi is gorgeous."

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki narrowly counters Kyouichi Saionji's Parched Labyrinth, taking 3 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Exhausted
applied to Kasagami Araki!
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki's counterattack, Turning the Petal's Edge, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Kyouichi Saionji!
<Pose Tracker> Shizuru Fujino [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

The Duel progresses onward, and Shizuru continues to watch and sip her tea as Saionji and Kasagami clash. She sees the honor in Saionji's movements, the vulnerabilities that that affords because it is difficult for her to see 'honor' without seeing weakness, if dimly.

Her mood is souring.

Put her in her place, Saionji says. Shizuru's lips curl into a smile.

But she doesn't even look at Kozue as she asks the question. "Oh, yes. I am." A pause, and then a faint laugh. "My. Me, scandalous. That might be entertaining." A glance to Takeo, too... And then he answers. "My, 'harm her heart' he says. What a conscientious boy." A shrug, "And it might've been so much fun. How very disappointing." ...She doesn't sound very disappointed. "How nice for you to be your own person."

She looks back to Kozue and chuckles lightly. "Aaah, you're right of course. It's the noble thing to do. It would advance feminism terribly. We could sit back, and allow them to protect us. All would be simple."

"We're quite terrible, Kaoru-kun. After all, we're here. We must be."

A look over at Takeo. "I don't doubt that they're skilled fighters, Akamizu-kun. But there's more to winning a duel than skill with a blade."

A shrug, "I wonder if he will put her in her place?"

COMBAT: Kyouichi Saionji narrowly counters Kasagami Araki's Boot to the Head, taking 11 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Kasagami
Araki is Psyched!  Kyouichi Saionji's Reverse ability activates!  Kyouichi Saionji's Tactician ability activates!
COMBAT: Kyouichi Saionji's counterattack, Cross of the Rose, partially gets through, doing 10 Fatigue damage to Kasagami Araki!
<Pose Tracker> Anthy Himemiya [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Swords, large and larger, shriek and sing and grind. From her place near the arena's entrance, the Rose Bride need hardly even move her eyes to watch the fight, and nothing else, and so it is that only the occasional ruffle of wind moves her. Certainly the striving of two passionate combatants who seek to possess the Power of Dios and, thus, her does not. She is quite used to that.

Still, though... she watches. The sweeping bell of her skirt is a perfect feminine counterpart to the straight clean lines of her Engaged.

Nagisa Misumi walks over from Ohtori Academy.

<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Takeo's response to that actually causes laughter to bubble out of her lips, "Calm down." Kozue waves a hand at him again, "You're acting like it was a serious offer. As if she weren't out of your league anyhow." A chuckle and she rolls her eyes, "As if I'd be one to judge you on what your past life did. Sheesh."

Her eyes shift right back onto Shizuru, "I don't think anyone on this council knows how to have fun except the two of us."

The analysis of the duel though causes her to roll her eyes, "Still so serious. Arisugawa-senpai is the most skilled fighter on this council, Akamizu." There's a look back Shizuru's way, "And yet, she's already been eliminated, hasn't she?"

It's only at her final comment that Kozue answers Shizuru, "Oh? Are you hoping he will..." The smirk on her expression is dark, "... so that he'll try to put you in your place too?"

Kozue has the feeling that if Saionji did that, there wouldn't be anything left of him once that duel was done.

There's a moment when her eyes are fully absorbed in the duel. But just for a moment, when Kasagami tries to give Saionji a boot to the head.

"Show of hands. Who on this council hasn't wanted to do that?"

She doesn't raise her hand of course.

<Pose Tracker> Kyouichi Saionji [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Kasagami brings up her hilt to block Saionji's blade.

Saionji brings up his blade to block her boot, which may, all in all, do a good job of encapsulating the difference between them.

He doesn't follow up, instead gazing at his katana, which withdraws from the leather unbloodied -- by design. He's not here to shed blood, and any rivulets Kasagami thinks she's dripping are rather sweat. There's only one thing he'll cut, and he has the precision to guarantee it.

"You shame the club," he says, shaking his head, flicking the dirt off the edge of his blade even as his hair flows magnificently behind him. "Strike at me properly, Araki."

Backing off of her, he stares across the arena for a long, hungry moment, soaking in Anthy. She is his panacea, his soothing draught. His holy grail. His.

When he looks back at Kasagami, it's with naked disgust. From heaven to hell -- the juxtaposition, it's too much.

Awaiting her blow with readied blade, he again cuts the arena with the swerve of his chin.

"Are you a dunce? You cannot do all of those things, not at once. If you are King, the revolution would depose you. And any beating of the heart that you might induce in a woman is surely that of fear."

He's puzzled, but slowly a truth dawns on him, like a flickering spotlight across a bleak concrete lot.

"Do you think that no man would have you because of your accident, is that what drives you to such unbalanced extremes? Araki... not all men would be so cruel."

He quickly holds up his free hand, forestalling the implicit conclusion. "Not that I could. I fear my heart is promised to another."

COMBAT: Kyouichi Saionji has used Not All Men on Kyouichi Saionji.
COMBAT: Kyouichi Saionji accepts Kyouichi Saionji's Not All Men, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Kyouichi Saionji is
Reinforced by Kyouichi Saionji!
<Pose Tracker> Takeo Akamizu [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Takeo does not raise his hand either.

He looks over to Kozue and smirks slightly, "Arisugawa-san hasn't faced me." he waggles his eyebrow playfully then looks back to the fight. "As for fun. I have a lot of fun. I doubt either of you have experienced the joy of wind in her hair while on a motorcycle going stupidly fast." He smiles fondly, wishing that winter would jsut be over so he could replace the Radically Red Motor-bike lost at the beginning of winter at Tokyo Tower. "I also really love bacon while playing the latest Call of Honor." He grins.

Takeo then looks to Shizaru and gives her a wink. "If skill doesn't determine the victor, then what does Senpai?" He holds up a hand, that playful grin on his face still present. "And before you say luck, we can all agree that is definately a factor sometimes."

<Pose Tracker> Nagisa Misumi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

The click of a mechanical stopwatch, another obscure span of time mapped, its end seeming as arbitrary as its start.

"Utena-san beat Saionji just a few minutes after she first picked up a sword," he agrees with his sister. "Skill doesn't mean anything compared to passion."

A startled plink of a black key seems to accompany that word. It is a strange one to hear from Miki's lips.

"If you're doing this for fun," he remonstrates with Shizuru and Kozue, "you won't be doing it for long."

<Pose Tracker> Shizuru Fujino [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Shizuru lets the matter die as best she's able, laughter or not. She isn't interested in that kind of entanglement on the council to begin with. She laughs faintly at 'shame the club', and looks back to Kozue again, meeting her eyes for a moment.

"It seems not. What a pity. We could all really stand to relax." Shizuru says, as if she doesn't come off as the most relaxed person in a ten-mile radius on any given day.

Juri being mentioned gets a raised eyebrow from Shizuru, though Miki answers that pretty well. She finds it... Interesting, when he says that, watching him for a few moments longer.

"Ah, what shall I do? You must be right... Kaoru-kun." Shizuru smiles wide.

But finally she allows herself to process her irritation at a different remark. She decides instead, "I typically wear a helmet." But... He did ask a question. Something that demands an answer.

"...A lot of things determine victory. Passion is one. ...The other is this question: how far are you willing to go to secure your victory? That determines quite a bit. Pretending at honor... That's just a good way to lose. Take Saionji-san as my example. He was great once. Maybe he will be again. He's promising in this fight."

Only then does she answer Kozue, not raising her hand at all. "Him trying to put me in my place would be... entertaining. The same is true of most anyone on the council."

"Regardless... Pure skill bores me. Arisugawa-kun has more than anyone we're likely to find anyway. She's certainly more skilled than I am."

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

She would never admit it, but Kasagami is impressed, and not for the first time. The curve of her lips twitch in a scowl. Her good eye narrows. A sucked breath, and she lets it all go as he backs off.

"...We're not in the Dojo right now, Captain. My aim here is to crush you and achieve victory. If you want me to show you up, then meet me in the Club." Snarls Kasagami vehemently.

But even more than that beautiful chin, it's his words that slash. "What are you talking about!? Do you have any idea...bah, you wouldn't know!"

And then he makes one final strike for her heart. And both of her eyes, good and bad, go wide. Her heart goes deathly silent for a moment, pain flaring in her body, and she clutches her side. Old nerves fire with phantom pains, and she openly seethes.

Her scream is one of pain, and the kind of rage approaching unhinged. It seems that Saionji has touched more than a single nerve. Almost all of them, in fact, with his words.

"Well of course you couldn't, Saionji. And do you know why? Because a man like you, any man, couldn't calm the feelings in my heart. No. NO! You don't understand ANYTHING AT ALL if you think my 'accident' pushes men away from me. No, no, no, no, NO!"

When she lets out a breath, sucking in a shudder of pain, her eye has a bloodshot edge to it. "What drives me to extremes is the HATE in my heart for a world that stole everyone around me! Do you have ANY IDEA what that feels like, Saionji!? If I can't rule this world, let the cool waters of my chosen Queen quench that feeling, then I may as well just TEAR IT TO SHREDS!" All around her, her body is hot, and dark red roses spill from once was sweat and the shredding of cloth. A coat of roses arises across her shoulders as he finally lets her feelings flow. Her once perfect stance is marred. But the look in her eye furious, desperate, and above all? Driven.

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Crimson Ambition on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki accepts Kasagami Araki's Crimson Ambition, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Bind Break! All of Kasagami Araki's
debuffs are cleared!
<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

When Takeo says Arisugawa hasn't faced him, Kozue finds herself taking Kirara's advice.

He gives him a look like he just said something dumb. That continues as he talks about a motorcycle. She smirks. She continues not to say anything. Almost aggressively.

Bacon while playing the latest Call of Honor. Now her head just slumps.


With a singular word her mood is soured- like a plink of an black key.

It means you're becoming a man.

"And you're not- oniichan?" The word hasn't been spoken from her lips forever. And even then it carried a different honorific. It might be startling to Miki in that sense in its disharmony.

"Don't tell me you're not intending to have all sorts of fun with your new fiance?" Her fingers play upon the stonework, a quiet tapping rhythm, "A duet here... and there..." The tapping stops... Her eyes falling upon her twin, "...maybe everywhere..."

She leans her head back as Kasagami starts shouting no, no, no, no, NO!

"Those two out there seem to have the same idea if they win. They're so... passionate. Don't you agree, oniichan?"

<Pose Tracker> Kyouichi Saionji [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Boulevard of Broken Dreams https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5EXKDlf44M

Saionji is honestly taken aback by Kasagami's response. It's a lot more than he bargained for (and also a lot different, he was trying to be magnanimous!!), and he takes several more steps back from it. This is worse than swording, and the limp twist of his lips clearly expresses the regret he feels in unstoppering this hose.

Still -- there's one part of the tirade that he can identify with, and it bursts out of him in turn in a blackly distressed groan.

"You think you're the only one who's had someone stolen from you? You think you're the only one who curses the heavens? Who dares not weep lest you dissolve?"

Tears dart at the edges of his eyes, but manage to remain unshed through a tremendous act of gallant self-control. He has to be the bigger man, here. This is his kohai... it's his duty to steer her onto the right and proper path.

"Such selfishness. There are better uses for your feelings than to worship destruction. Better outlets." His torn jacket flaps as he shifts his hips, adjusting his stance; there is the faintest glimpse of a book, within. "You're not just unable to become 'king,'" the airquotes are audible in his voice, "But unworthy, too. But never fear..."

And then he strikes, with impossible speed but gentleness, too, a strike that could harm little but a rose. Hit or miss, he'll emerge far upon her other side, across the arena once more.

And a few green petals drift in his wake. They smell of salt.

"...I can show you the way."

COMBAT: Kyouichi Saionji has used Sometimes Men on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki fails to brace Kyouichi Saionji's Sometimes Men, taking 12 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
<Pose Tracker> Shizuru Fujino [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Shizuru finds herself not bothering to watch the interplay between the Kaoru twins for a bit. She hears Kasagami's responses, her justifications.. Her anger. Kasagami is shouting, hearing about her 'accident', and Shizuru is stonefaced.

She's stonefaced until she hears Kasagami mention what she wants from her Queen and what she'll do from the world otherwise. She lifts an eyebrow, once.

Then, she smiles.

Saionji has more to say himself. It might be touching, if Shizuru were the sort of person to be touched. He calls destruction selfishness and mentions worth, and Shizuru stares down.

"...How sweet," she says, in the tone one might use to describe a dead mouse.

<Pose Tracker> Nagisa Misumi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

The roar of anger that tears across the arena is distant, but even so its ferocity would make a boy of lesser composure than Miki flinch. Instead, it is his sister who manages that, by putting two images in his head in quick succession: Anthy with Saionji, and Anthy with Kasagami.

"That's...!" he starts in alarm, but he bites that off and turns back to the duel, trying to avoid rising to the bait like he always does. "That's not going to happen," he says resolutely. "And I'm not like them. So make all the disgusting duet jokes you want."

He always chews back down his most angry retorts. Having the high ground is his coward's consolation for disengaging from the worst of Kozue's behavior. But he can't quite get over her effort to turn his shining thing into something fleshy and banal.

"...because you'll never play another real duet again," he completes his thought aloud instead of in his head. "Will you?"

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

Raising an eyebrow to Shizuru he then shrugs. "Leave the visor open. That's what I do." He raps a knuckle against the side of his head. "Gotta protect the noggin." He winks to the Vie President and then looks back to the match. "Passion huh? Interesting concept. I suppose we each have our own method, and arguing would be pointless." He shrugs again.

When Miki berates his sister, Takeo looks between the twins and recognizes the tone and stances. He's had both with his own sister before. Sibling arguments are always fun. He remains silent on that front and goes back to watching the fight taking place below them. "You have to admire their determination though. Kasagami-san is very ... passionate as you put it Senpai." Oh look. Happy change of subject.

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

For a moment, and only a moment, Kasagami's rage subsides into something softer...and perhaps, far more telling of her true feelings. She laughs. It's bitter, but short, a ghost upon the sounds of the Arena.

"That's the tragedy, isn't it, Saionji? If it were just me, I wouldn't mind being cut down, burnt up and tossed into an alleyway. But it's not." Her final words even as tears form in Saionji's eyes are almost flippant. But they don't match her steel grey orb.

That eye sheds a single tear in turn.

Only to turn to a grin. Her voice is louder, proud, tearing herself from the depths of rage and sadness long passed. "Isn't selfishness the singular quality of a King, Saionji!? No matter how noble their means, it's always for something close! Conquest, taking care of the line, or just making sure their state is strong enough to fend off enemies! Kingship is an inherently selfish pursuit! So yes! I am a selfish, greedy woman, and I embrace that with all of my heart!" Comes Kasagami with a yell of pride. A rake until the end, she doesn't back down before Saionji's imperialistic might.

Her arms reach wide for a moment, and then close. His strike with such speed, she less sees it and more feels it instinctually. It catches on the bare hilt of her sword, as she drops backwards in turn. Another slice, and cloth just barely inching away from that flower fluttrs down. A cross to her chest, with no damage, evaded just in time thanks to her sword alone. His skill, once again, outclasses hers.

A roll back onto her agile feet. She pauses, and is silent. The scent of salt, and the hand of a senpai offered her? It leaves her with smoldering fury. Her feet wriggle out of her boots, and she tosses them aside. She can't chance any single amount of slowness.

"I appreciate your concern, Captain. And maybe I've been a little too harsh, but..."

Her good eye narrows to a slit.

"Let me say it just once. There is no path you could trod that I'd be interested in following. You should prepare yourself to follow in my own destruction-soaked footsteps."

Her legs splay, she takes up a solid stance. She twists her back so that her blade faces her opponent nakedly. And then, in one thrust, she's barreling for the man openly. A single thrusting attack with every bit of her strength and fury. Her feet leave craters where she charges, and her blade thrusts forward towards Saionji without a single hint of mercry.

"Because the path of a King is conflict and warfare alone!"

And then she strikes. Her blade is not one strike, but three all at once. Reality shudders, rosen mirrors all driven up at once. A single slash aimed for the arm, to forestall a counter. Another from above, a feint, in case of a counter, and then finally? That slightly slower slash from the right towards the delicate flower. There's not a single violent killing blow here. Only single tactical strikes, vaguely mirroring her senpai, even as her magic makes a single blade come down in three instead.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Kasagami Araki has used Crimson Rose Cage on Kyouichi Saionji.
COMBAT: Kyouichi Saionji narrowly braces Kasagami Araki's Finisher, Crimson Rose Cage, taking 98 Fatigue damage!  Kyouichi Saionji
is unable to keep fighting!  Kyouichi Saionji's Block ability activates!  Kyouichi Saionji's Parry ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Kyouichi Saionji [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Wake Me Up When September Ends https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVO8sUrs-Pw

Saionji is stung by Kasagami's total rejection; tears already shed redouble, hanging in the air like diamonds even as he falls back against her barrage.

He parries the first strike, sending waves of jarring resonance between them, and spins away from the second, leaving it cutting nothing but air. But he cannot be in three places at once -- at least, not when his heart is already in two.

More green petals drift on the wind, and the bells toll an ending.

There's no more salt, though; the kendo captain faces this defeat with dignity. And he faces the raging, furious girl who would be king with a blend of seething frustration -- his fist clenches -- agonized resentment -- a glance at Anthy, further away than ever -- and still, even now, after all of this, that unquenchable, inextinguishable bit of pity.

"I guess we're in agreement, then," he says, a bit hotly. "For your twisted path is none of mine." He shakes his head, brings his fist to his chest, barks. "I will have none of it!"

Whirling, his hair fills the space between them with glory, and though his words are for the victor, his eyes are only for Anthy... and the castle above, untouched by all this ugliness.



"I'll pray for your defeat, Araki. Because the last thing the world needs is to be more like you."

<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

"It's not? Not ever? Not once did it cross your mind?" Kozue cocks her head to the side like some kind of curious bird- and then she drives it home quietly.

"Aren't you becoming a man?"

But then Miki asks her a certain question. "And here I thought you had no hope for me." The temperature in the air between them, drops a few degrees. "If I said yes, would you drop out?"

She's obviously not being serious. Noone in this world could mistake her as such. "Would you give up on this farce?" She presses.

And then after a lingering pause, as green petals flie through the air and bells peal. "You don't need to answer that- Miki." As she switches back to her usual way of referring to him. It carries a touch of ugliness, just a shade, nursed from years of resentment between them, "Because I'll never live in your shadow ever again."

And then she's quiet, because of Saionji's final words. She wanted to see him crushed- but now she finds herself in agreement with him.

There's this casual wave to the others on the platform, as she pushes off the stonework, "I've got things to do." There's a wave without looking at any of them, "Later."

She starts her way towards the stairs downward.

<Pose Tracker> Anthy Himemiya [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

As ever, the pair by the great arena entrance have the best seats in the house. They bear witness to all the rage and passion and naked desire. The Rose Bride, in particular, endures the latter each time Saionji burns a look in her direction.

Every time he does, she is watching Kasagami instead. He never once catches the eye of his love.

As Kasagami never looks her way, gives her not a single thought beyond the object she is, the would-be-King will never know what is in her maybe-Bride's eyes as she watches, nor whether that gaze bothers to stay even a moment after Saionji's attention leaves.

Bells peal, telling all within earshot that Something Momentous has occurred. Green petals flutter to the arena floor and the Rose Bride clasps her hands before her. There's an air of finality to the gesture, small though it is.

"Congratulations, Araki-san."

There is nothing in the words, nothing in the smile. But it is still more than she has given Kyouichi Saionji this entire time. She turns to the Engaged and together they take their leave, only beginning their usual chatter once they're away.

<Pose Tracker> Shizuru Fujino [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Selfish. Greedy. Woman. All of those things at once, and Shizuru watches as Kasagami declares it good, something to be proud of. She uses her weapon to rebuff Saionji... But her words do it better.

Almost, Kasagami's learned, but she's still so far away.

Regardless she soaks up those feelings from both, lingers on watching Saionji with tears in his eyes longer than is decorous. Her expression is null, not even the standard bored amiability.

There is a purity in Saionji as he stands there in loss, a purity that irritates her,leaves her staring long. But only a little... Because the Rose Bride is moving, along with the Engaged. And Shizuru has not missed the Rose Bride's subtle movements here and there. What must she think of all this...?

"Ah, well," Shizuru murmurs. "It doesn't matter." But the Duel is over. Shizuru takes another sip of her tea.

"Skill, passion... And selfishness, hm?" Shizuru smiles, and finally looks to Kozue as she moves to leave. "Goodbye, Kaoru-kun."

A beat, "Ah, Kaoru-kun, I think you upset her!" She looks slowly at Miki and sips her tea again.

She's done being serious for a bit.

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Somewhere in all of their fury, Kasagami's hair is cut free. Saionji's strike finally managed to cut that ponytail to make her black hair flutter. Even as his flower is sliced apart, she takes a step back, and looks to the ground.

All of Saionji's emotions, all of them, she could accept. She even starts to grin as victory is certain.

"Divergent paths...would you hate me more if I wished you luck after me?" It's almost playful, if it wasn't full of malice.

And then she's looking away. She shudders, it's as if Saionji has gripped and ripped away some small part of her victory viciously.

"And I'll pray you never give me that look again, Saionji. People who give me pity are my worse of enemies."

Not once does she look the way of Anthy Himemiya. Bells toll. And then she raises a single hand. She has an obligation.

"Thanks, Rose Bride." Her words are dismissive. She remains, still, just another obstacle does Anthy to Kasagami.

<Pose Tracker> Nagisa Misumi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

"What?" Miki thumbs his stopwatch uncertainly. How does Kozue know what his music teacher said? Certainly no one else has been making that comment.

Miki can't be baited out forever on the same topic. Of course his heart rises a little just at the idea of Kozue playing again, but it's such a tired little motion that it causes no shift in his mood. "As if there would be a point in answering," he sighs away his sister's mercy. He is already dreading the discomfort of their bedtime routine, the silent tooth-brushing at night that follows days like this. He tries to focus on what he's here for as Kozue departs.

"Kasagami Araki," Miki whispers to himself, considering the name. He makes note of the fact that the would-be king pays Anthy so little mind. Shizuru gets his attention just after with her light comment--the other 'engaged' present today. One who has evinced no interest in girls to begin with.

"I haven't been able to upset her for years, Fukushachou," he tells her, weary enough that he doesn't dissemble. "I annoy her no matter what. 'Upset' is different."

Standing up from his seat, Miki gives the arena one last lingering glance, watching the departing train of red skirt for a moment, then looks back to Shizuru. "I'm sorry, Fukushachou, but the only reason me going after her would cheer her up is that she'd laugh at me."

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

Leaning back, Takeo looks to Miki. "Take it form somebody who is loosing his sister." He says softly. "Cherish every moment. Even when they laugh at you, because eventually," He shrugs and stands heading toward the door. One hand is rubbing the back of his neck and the other waves as he heads out the the door. "She'll be gone."

And with that, Takeo exits the viewing area. Off to the land of Video Games, and Bacon. He does stop however and take out his phone. He types a quick message to Mika that reads simply. "I miss you, and love you." He pauses. His thumb over the send button. He smiles softly, and hits send Tucking his hands in his pocket he whistles as he heads down the stairs.

Instead of video games he goes to catch a bus.

(The song he whistles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pV472RktExA)

<Pose Tracker> Shizuru Fujino [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Pity, hm? Shizuru files that away dimly, pairs it with what she's already noticed about Kasagmi and deduced. But straight from the source is useful. ...Less useful is noticing her treatment of the Rose Bride, but Shizuru takes tha, too.

Pity. What a strange emotion.

The Vice President looks over at Miki, indeed the other 'engaged' present. That solidifies her preference in the minds of most, doesn't it? It's practically a gift. But he answers back, wearily, tiredly.


"Ahh, I see." This is a situation where a normal girl might consider pity, probably. "It's quite sad, the way things are between the two of you." She goes for sympathetic, instead. A beat after Miki's answer. "...That's how I've known her, too," Shizuru 'admits.' She looks finally to Takeo. He offers that very emotional statement...

Shizuru looks to the arena again.

"Ah, do take care, Kaoru-kun. I think I'll stay here and finish my tea before I leave." She smiles.