2017-08-04 - Rancoeur: Shizuru v. Kasagami, First Duel

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Title: Rancoeur: Shizuru v. Kasagami, First Duel (alternate title: Pride and Prejudice)

The Ohtori Duelist Challenge Bracket Tournament continues with round two, duel one: Kasagami Araki vs. Shizuru Fujino, after school at the Dueling Arena.


Shizuru Fujino, Kasagami Araki, Kozue Kaoru, Takeo Akamizu, and Anthy Himemiya


Duel Arena

OOC - IC Date:

Fri Aug 4, 2017 / I am bad at this

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

Sunset looms orange over Ohtori Academy's campus, even here in the dueling arena back in some of what forest remains here now. Already the rumors and quiet from some have faded into whispering as regards anything happening here tonight... And already there are others across a school that has no sense of what really happens on the Student Council.

As always, the rose signet is the key to this arena, with its great staircase spiraling upward and upward and upward until here: the arena. Sometimes the arena is full, but now the rose crest in the stone is clearly visible, the stone connected to the bells obvious... and the railing in more stone clear.

Shizuru Fujino, Vice President of the Student Council, did not take the stairs. She took an elevator, and is once again wearing her rose signet. Her attire is uniform as always, but more; her white jacket is in attendance, but also the golden epaulettes and lavender cords that mark her as a Duelist, gold edging down this jacket and lavender at the cuffs. She still wears the skirt, however, along with feminine black shoes--flats.

She waits for her opponent to arrive, glancing almost boredly at her ornately painted fingernails.

She is not bored.

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

A kiss on the cheek back at the apartment, and Kasagami is off. Past the gates to the Arena, away from the flowers, and then she's met with the long stairs up. She could have taken the elevator. But no, she enjoys the walk.

It gives her time to think. About all the people that victory here will help her give the lives she wants them to have. And in the back of her head, an opportunity for revenge and a chance at eliminating her own demons and suffering.

Sword leaned over her shoulder, coat fluttering behind her, Kasagami whistles jauntily as she makes her way up. Confident, skilled, and unconcerned, it's what she tries to show off. Inside, butterflies of nervousness and pure excitement fill her. Her smile is almost a grin. She'd be fighting Shizuru, the Vice President. It makes her heart skip a beat in anticipation.

And the sight that awaits her at the top has her smile only growing. "Well don't you look utterly lovely this evening, Shizuru-chan! Dressing up just for me, I'm flattered! Which is just fine. I only hope we can entertain each other to our heart's content! You have /no/ idea how long I have been waiting for this!" The playful words dip into almost a growl. Kasagami holds her sword at her side now, body like a coiled spring.

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

Shizuru Fujino is of course standing alone at the moment, still apparently bored. There's very little that gathers her attention. More to the point, she's not carrying a weapon. She doesn't need to.

Those who have watched her fight know that.

When Kasagami arrives, Shizuru looks up, as if she hadn't noticed her until she spoke up. She smiles pleasantly, dips her head very lightly. A growl. Of course it's a growl. Shizuru offers nothing of the sort.

"My, is that how you look at it? I wonder what I'll do?" A beat, "But I do try to be a good partner. I'm sure you'll enjoy what I have in mind for you."

COIN FLIP: Shizuru Fujino flips a coin. It lands on tails!

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

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 lavender and dark 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 Shizuru Fujino, 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. A rose garden reaches the Vice President's nose before the Rose Bride finishes her approach, so particular a scent that it summons immediate memory, fresh like troweled earth. As a stem shorn clean tucks into Shizuru's breast pocket, Anthy flashes that same small smile -- but it is for the rose, not the young woman. Aqua ruffles trim red skirt, its whispering sweep audible as the Rose Bride turns.

Once more the Disciplinary Executive is denied the Rose Bride's eyes. To all appearances, they prefer elegant pink tracery writ in stone to the vainglory writ in Kasagami's proud stance. The Rose Bride is not slow to pin dark crimson petals into place, never that. She would not disgrace the ceremony so. Neither does she seem eager, though. Is she deferring to the arrogance of the King, or shrinking from her? 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> Kozue Kaoru [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

She ought to be too embarrassed to show her face here after having lost to her brother.

But Kozue Kaoru is nothing if not shameless. Or if she isn't in this, she at least appears to be.

From the observation deck, she adjusts a scarf across her shoulders- which if anything seems to highlight her loveliness. Maybe she's hoping it'll serve as a distraction.

Just like the white board she has set up on an easel like stand. With the kanji for Kasagami and Shizuru at the top. She has a dry erase marker in hand, "Place your bets. Kasagami or Shizuru? Disciplinary Executive or Vice President? You can pony real money or just go for bragging rights for calling it- doesn't matter to me what you bet for."

Which is when she puts the character for Kozue on Shizuru's side of the board as well as a substantial value next to it with a yen marker. Substantial at least by her standards, not by Kiryuu standards perhaps.

She then puts the marker down- takes a seat and crosses her arms. Allowing herself the time to watch the rose pinning. Again she wonders if /anything/ at all has changed about the Rose Bride.

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

"Of that, I have no doubt, Shizuru. Seeing what that is will bring joy to my heart. So! I'll strive to be worthy of it!" She doesn't bother hiding her grin of anticipation, of fighting, of pure challenge in heart and soul.

Even the presence of the Rose Bride can't stop that. Her good eye peers at Anthy much like one would an annoying functionary, or maybe a bug in a bowl of soup. The rose to her chest, it's only Utena that gets any acknowledgement: with a smile, fond, only to fold into a far warmer challenging grin than the one she gave to Shizuru.

Then she's drawing her sword slowly, slinging it over her shoulder as she rolls her neck. "What I am curious about...is what kind of sword you're going to use. SHOW ME!" Then, she's leaping forward in a rose-scent blurr as petals fall from within her weapon's sheath and from across her coat's back. A good two feet away from where Shizuru started, Kasagami takes a mighty leap, and with a yell of a warrior lashes down towards Shizuru's head. She holds back, just a bit. A testing strike, to see just what Shizuru is made of.

"Dance with me wildly, Shizuru-chan!"

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Rose on the Wind on Shizuru Fujino.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has finished attacking.

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

Peering over the Arena, Takeo crosses his arms and hrms to himself as he watches the Rose Bride do her ritual. He then looks to Kozue and her marker, raising an eyebrow at the number. "I um... I don't have that much money ... " He says blinking a few times. Then a few more. "How about Ten bucks? I'll bet Ten bucks on the Vice President." He nods and then puts his own marker over there. Along with the noticeably smaller sum of Yen. He shrugs a shoulder, he knows first hand Kasagami's dedication, but he also knows Shizuru's cold uncaring ruthlessly immoral and inhuman determination to see things through.

He moves from that betting pool to lean against a support pillar, refolding his arms to gaze down on the two combatants. Without looking back to Kozue he says, "I like the Scarf."

COMBAT: Shizuru Fujino narrowly dodges Kasagami Araki's Rose on the Wind, taking 7 Fatigue damage!  Kasagami Araki is Psyched!  Shizuru Fujino's Fade ability activates!  Shizuru Fujino's Flash ability activates!

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

"Ah, then I will endeavor not to disappoint," Shizuru says, demurring once again, as if she had any intention of offering any joy. But there is a ritual to come, and Shizuru is silent in that stillness; she allows not even a whisper to escape her lips as the Rose Bride brings sacrifice, or in another way, makes of her a sacrifice. Is it wrong to think of it that way?

Shizuru watches the rose at first and then carefully she watches the Rose Briede's face. Still she says nothing as she inhales the scent of roses, as she remembers. Anthy was there, too. And the smile for the rose...

Shizuru looks after Anthy in some fascination as the Rose Bride leaves. So it is that she sees Anthy and the way she looks down, not at Kasagami, goes slowly. Surely it is not overdeference; Shizuru has seen a great deal of that deference. No, she seems nearly afraid... And Kasagami, so terribly dismissive.

Tall and noble, there is the Engaged, and Shizuru is considering those up here. Shizuru can't help but see something in Anthy in that moment, now that Shizuru herself is engaged to become a bride.

But the Rose Bride states the rules, and Shizuru makes no motion at them. She only glances to her once, and smiles, a smile difficult to place for most. Anthy is terribly, terribly, "Interesting."

Kasagami draws her sword, and Shizuru does nothing. Kasagami rolls her neck, and makes her demand, and Shizuru does nothing. Petals fall, and Shizuru does something; when Kasagami leaps, Shizuru darts to the side, immediately, hard enough that it draws energy to do it, and extends her own right hand. "As you wish."

A crackling burst of thunder and deep yellow lightning brings with it the manifestation of Shizuru's Element, a red naginata of strange, futuristic style that she holds in both hands, its tassel hanging lightly in the air.

"Heh. I wonder something about you too, Araki-kun, since I've indulged your curiousity." he paces, circling, and keeps her eyes on Kasagami's, her stance ready. "Let's say that you win. You defeat our dear, dear Utena Tenjou, in a battle for the ages, just as you wish."

A wide smile appears on Shizuru's face. "What will you do with the Rose Bride? Surely, you've thought of it? A servant, to be done with as you will? As a future bride myself, I'm terribly interested in what you would have in mind."

"...Or would you ignore a girl so dependent upon you, ignore your obligations? That's one sort of King, to be sure. I wonder... If it's one Meioh-san would appreciate...?"

COMBAT: Shizuru Fujino has used But That's Not My Concern on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Shizuru Fujino has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Shizuru Fujino has used But That's Not My Concern on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Shizuru Fujino has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki narrowly dodges Shizuru Fujino's But That's Not My Concern, taking 8 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Shizuru Fujino is Psyched!  Kasagami Araki's Fade ability activates!  Kasagami Araki's Flash ability activates!  Kasagami Araki is Taunted!

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

"Sure sure-" She could just say that since they're both betting on the same person she's not going to pay out. But what's ten bucks? She'll gladly hand that over to him if Shizuru wins.

Still she's a little surprised Takeo even thought to offer it around the wealthy sharks of the Student Council. It's almost like admitting weakness...

"Do you? I've worn it all my appearances since my debut." She replies, "You could almost call it iconic... if you wanted."

Kozue peers at Kasagami, her comment about the sword and- "She really has no idea what she's up against."

Then again neither did Utena facing her. Yet in Utena's case it seemed charming? Maybe she's just biased against Kasagami?


But then with what Shizuru says- Kozue suddenly sits bolt upright. "No way..." Her eyes flicker over to Kasagami. It could be /another/ Meioh- but she couldn't discount the name as mere coincidence. Arms uncrossing, "With /her/? Oh that is /priceless/."

When she leans back again she's doing the equivalent of smirking from ear to ear. While she had her favorite to win here... now it doesn't matter. That tidbit was too useful to her in either case.

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

Looking over his shoulder at Kozue he raises an eyebrow and takes in her appearance, his eyes going to the scarf once more. "I haven't gone to any of those fashion shows. I sort of doubt I'd fit in." He shrugs and says with a slight smile, "But yeah, it looks nice. Brings out your eyes, I like it." He shrugs again knowing his opinion doesn't matter. He looks back to the dual as it takes off wiht the ringing of blade on blade, as Shizuru manifests her weapon his eyes narrow.

He has a flash back, and for once it isn't to a time of Sword and Sorcery. Er. Not the FIRST era of Sword and Sorcery anyway.

Instead he stands, back then with a single blade, facing off against a masked woman wielding the same Naginata he looks at down there now. Nobody scored a hit on each other, instead the two had a quick exchange of blows before he had to leap through a window to escape something else entirely, but in that shower of glass he memorized that weapon. That red naginata that fought to control the Keys ...

He shakes his head coming back to the now. "Who the hell is Meioh-san?" He asks as he comes back to the present. His eyes darting to follow strokes, parries and foot movements. "Kasagami needs to close to take away Shizuru's reach advantage. It's somewhat mitigated by her No-Dachi, but not by much."

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

At first, Kasagami whistles. Shizuru is quick, much so. And that lightning naginata is even quicker. Kasagami smartly takes another leap back, even as Shizuru cuts with something far sharper than any weapon.

Really, Kasagami should have expected this, but Shizuru's tongue is a horrid weapon indeed. Her eye widens a moment, and there's something flashing over her face. Not quite shock, not quite horror. No, contemplation. Kassie is actually taking Shizuru's question seriously. If nothing else, she respects Shizuru that much, enemy or not.

"What would I do with her? Well, isn't that an odd question! You know, I never actually thought about that. As far as I'm concerned, that girl is little better than a hood ornament."

A snap of her fingers. "Only good enough for display. But neither am I cruel. You see, I can think of one or two people that might actually find worth in her. Once I take the Bride, I'll have the power in my arms to Revolutionize the World! To crown myself King and change everything! After that? The Rose Bride's reward will be her place in someone else's arms, far away where she won't annoy me to death with those damn eyes of hers!"

Her grin falters, and for a moment, Shizuru is given an outright snarl. Her eye narrows, and then, she's gone in a flash. Her blade is swimming in dark crimson roses as she tries to once again come down upon the other girl's head. It's a single, rotating slash from above, two-handed, and meaning to hammer her either into the ground, or across the Arena itself in a fit of skilled, swift rage.

"Setsuna-chan would appreciate a King that doesn't hold someone they hate in their arms any longer than they have to! I wonder if you'll be able to say the same in /your/ little wedding, Shizuru!"

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Falling Petals Cut The Soul on Shizuru Fujino.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Shizuru Fujino fails to dodge Kasagami Araki's Falling Petals Cut The Soul, taking 66 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!

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

The rose of contention stands by her current Engaged; the duelists squabble over her fate, as they have always done. What will the victor do with their prize, once it -- once she -- is in their grasp? Hands folded, the Rose Bride shows nothing but placidity. Is that true apathy, or the drugged shock of a cow in the killing chute?

Kasagami claims she'll release the Bride, free her to be with whomever she might choose (the Rose Bride, choose? A strange suggestion, that). It takes little imagination to see boredom in the slope of her shoulders. But maybe she is just tired.

Nothing about the Rose Bride moves, save her eyes. They do not miss a moment, can hardly be caught to blink.

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

It's what Shizuru did in the last duel in this series, speak and speak and use that weapon of hers. She does it differently this time, however, addresses Kasagami differently and defends differently. But it is her way. So contemplation... Kasagami does seem to respect her that much.

For whatever reason.

"My. How blunt." Little better than a hood ornament, Kasagami calls her. Shizuru's eyes settle, red and mild, as Kasagami actually answers the question. It becomes very satisfying to see that /snarl/ next at the rest of what she said. Kasagami rushes her, and Shizuru gets even more anger than she'd hoped; she starts to move out of the way of the attack, and instead is caught too quickly, able to shove only such that it won't get her head or her rose.

White fabric tears and makes for a brief rain of a few scraps in the air, a clang against her epaulette ringing in her ears and her body bruised hard as she's hit backwards and hits the arena, skidding backward messily with scraped legs and hand as she tries to catch herself. "...My, my," Shizuru answers, as if surprised, using her weapon to drag herself up. Her shoulder is absolutely wrenched. A flap of her uniform jacket hangs down.

"You might not be aware how ordinary relationships are conducted," Shizuru says to Kasagami. "Do you need an education? I know we all have... phases, after all." A smile. It is a pleasant-looking smile.

"But that's a problem you have, Araki-kun. You think acting like a man will do you any good." Shizuru takes a step forward, and another, and then closes the distance to swing her naginata--

But the blade extends, becoming like a chained thing that seeks to encircle Kasagami and squeeze all at once.

"You have no idea how cruel you are. Or naive."

COMBAT: Shizuru Fujino has used Love's Chains on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Shizuru Fujino has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki perfectly counters Shizuru Fujino's Love's Chains, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Critical Counter!
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki's counterattack, Turning the Petal's Edge, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Shizuru Fujino!

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

"Apparently-" She let's the word linger like she's savoring something sweet. In this case, this fact, "-her girlfriend."

Tilting her head sideways towards Takeo, "If it's the Meioh /I'm/ thinking of she's a University student at Infinity. Owner of Meioh tower. Wealthy. Intelligent- already making headlines with her scientific discoveries."

She won't say Setsuna Meioh is out of Kasagami's league. Given that she's on the Student Council of Ohtori that puts people like that squarely in her league. Her expression spasms as she watches the result of Kasagami's two handed slash. And then she frowns. "It's no longer that kind of battle I think... Akamizu-kun." If it were and Shizuru wanted to win like that... then Kozue knows what she would do.

Shizuru isn't going to do it though. She'd bet money on it. However she doesn't want to necessarily reveal /what/ Shizuru is either. That's useful information to keep to herself.

"If the Vice President wins now it won't have anything to do with her naginata..."

And yet, at the same time, even now. Her money is still mentally upon Shizuru. She's the most dangerous opponent she knows in the kind of battle this has now become.

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

As Shizuru hits the Arena floor, it's a split second break. A moment to gather a breath, center herself from the roiling emotions that Shizuru is digging so well into. Mentally, she sees Shizuru's game to an extent. To beat her down. But her heart is another matter, and it stings. Still, there's an absolutely sadistic look in her eye as she watches Shizuru get back to her feet.

Dealing with emotions, the future, her own desires and this woman in front of her is hard. Beating said woman with her sword is so much, much easier.

Unlike normal people, there's no regret in such a violent action, at that. "...Ordinary relationships? Why would I ever want something ordinary!?"

There's an outright, dismissive laugh from Kassie's throat. "First of all, there is no man in this universe that could possibly please me. Might, wisdom, strength, and overwhelming charm! Those are the qualities of a Queen! I'll settle for nothing less!" Proclaims Kasagami proudly.

That long blade swings, and Kassie movies to intercept. Another two-handed swing at the ready.

"Acting like a man? I'm acting like a King, Shizuru. Male or female has nothing to do with it! Only she who grasps the crown in the end! Power and the ability to wield it make no distinctions on something that petty!"

There's a loud gasp as that naginata becomes a chained serpent, trying to pull and squeeze and wrap her up. Kasagami's words fumble, gaze on the physical action more than that last little barb. But the wince from Kassie is enough to tell it struck home. Nearly so that she has to first kick herself into a deft dodge-roll onto the Arena floor to avoid the first strike of her chain-naginata. She doesn't rise immediately, instead, slashing her sword. She grips the back of it half-way down the blade, starting a dance of slashes, and spins in place. Rather than wrap herself, she lets that chain wrap her sword. Petals spin around her.

Shizuru might have seen steps like that. Kassie dances a heated, swift salsa dance in a small circle, until finally she lifts her blade up in the air. With a savage yell, she swings downwards, the coils of chain thrust off of her blade in one single motion.

But it's not the only thing that's returned to Shizuru. Amidst those many chains that get thrown off, dark crimson rose petals amass and rush for the VP in wild lines of the cutting things. Each one is like a throwing knife aimed to the heart. And a rose, incidentally.

"A King must be cruel at times to rule, Shizuru!" Even she can't deny her own shortcoming. But neither does she agree to it.

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Dance in the Petals on Shizuru Fujino.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Shizuru Fujino narrowly braces Kasagami Araki's Dance in the Petals, taking 12 Fatigue damage!  Shizuru Fujino's Block ability activates!  Shizuru Fujino's Parry ability activates!  Cripple applied to Shizuru Fujino!

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

"Huh." Takeo says evenly as he watches the fight. He remains leaning against the pillar, arms crossed as he looks down on the fight taking place. His eyes darting to each fighter as they move, dodge, fail to dodge, parry and strike. He winces as Kasagami uses that no-dachi with deadly efficiency. "She's gotten better since our fight." He says evenly. Then he looks to Kozue, "University student huh? I've seen that tower too, I bet she can afford a lot of quality bacon." He nods once and looks back out to the fight. "Shizuru-Senpai's chain attack was kind of cool. I wonder if she can use it to regian her footing?" He shrugs again, his eyes watching the two swirl and slash at each other.

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

Shizuru doesn't mind a bit of sadism. Truth be told, she doesn't entirely mind the pain still going through her as a result of Kasagami's blows. Garnering that reaction, that passion, that's more interesting. It gives her something she can use. Maybe some would be concerned with guilt...

Shizuru is not. Kasagami mentions not wanting something ordinary and Shizuru looks at her as if she /knows/ something, in the way that she so often does. "A Queen," Shizuru repeats. She says nothing about it for now. Instead, she waits through that gasp, those fumbling words, and watches Kasagami's movement, her spinning petals. She attempts to pull Kasagami's weapon free in lieu of Kasagami herself, but doesn't commit hard to the motion. Suddenly the chain is released and Shizuru has her weapon free again, pushing the naginata forward as she cuts down two of the petals, and ignores more of them even as they obviously cut into her sleeves, one across her hand--more across her hand as she shields her rose.

"Says the would-be tyrant," Shizuru says boredly, clapping with her weapon to try to knock Kasagami back, to keep her on her toes as she continues, "Do you really think this world will allow you to wield such power as a woman? Certainly, there's Revolution," Shizuru says, "But power makes many petty distinctions. Do you think the first I've met who aspired to rule over others?"

A light shrug, and suddenly Shizuru is moving faster, hacking with broad strikes stronger than she has a right to be, one, two, another, another, to batter Kasagami back and force through her parries.

"Back when they had Kings, it was much easier to rise up and murder your ruler than it is today."

COMBAT: Shizuru Fujino has used Unfettered Advance on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Shizuru Fujino has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki narrowly dodges Shizuru Fujino's Unfettered Advance, taking 5 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Kasagami Araki is Quipped!  Kasagami Araki's Fade ability activates!  Kasagami Araki's Flash ability activates!  Stun applied to Kasagami Araki!

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

Kasagami doesn't back down, even as Shizuru advances. Those broad strokes hammer into Kassie, and she's forced to meet them with both blade and dancing boots. A move to the side, and she parries, only for a light slice across her midsection ripping fabric. Another blow, a spin aside, and she just barely loses a cuff of her flutter coat. One blow nearly touches the rose, only to be met with her clothing's gauntlet-like gloves, biting into them.

By now, Kassie is staring hard into Shizuru's eyes. Her fatigue in them has nothing to do with her body. It's her heart that's slowly wavering before the coldness in Shizuru.

"You compare me to people who've come before you? Do you have /ANY/ idea what I want out of this world, Shizuru!?"

Her passions rise, and rise, and rise. "I don't need to shove a sword down your throat to take over, Shizuru-chan! No, no, no, I like this much better! Aren't we enjoying ourselves! Finally getting to let loose with every desire that we have, to fight for what we want! Why acting so bored? Doesn't this make you excited!?" Her words are a bit unhinged, lost to the pain growing in her heart, the doubt for her dreams, and the adrenaline making her savage and manic.

"Because you are on the battlefield where I will lay claim to my dream! And no amount of the world's petty ideas on whether a woman can be a King or not will get in my way! If this world, if all of the gods in it and demons alike have a problem with that, then let them come! For the sake of this rotten, corrupted world, I will become a true King and erase everything outside of my Justice with the power of World Revolution!"

Kasagami's knees, faltering, come straight. All around her magic of the heart grows as she reaches deep, touching her desire to rule, her deepest Ambition. Her coat flutters valiantly on unseen winds, gripping her sword, she holds it blade-out towards her opponent. Her words fall silent.

Her wide-eyed, passionate gaze is unflinching now, and her body ready to spring. All she needs is the right moment.

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Crimson Ambition on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki accepts Kasagami Araki's Crimson Ambition, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Bind Break! All of Kasagami Araki's debuffs are cleared!

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

"She really doesn't get it. Does she?" Kozue murmurs when it comes to Kasagami's cruelty. "How either of us feel when she acts like she's exempt..."

The girl shakes her head of blue hair- and can see the visible shift as Shizuru changes tactics. It's almost like she's trying to prod a charging bull with a needle thin rapier. One swift strike might do it in- but only if the bull doesn't run them over first.

Can the bull even feel any other?

To her it feels like Shizuru is having to whack her with the blunt, having seen that she can't penetrate the skull or the heart.

After a time of watching the back and forth she finally replies back to Takeo and his comment on the battle flow-

Then she looks out of the corner of her eye, a slight smile playing on her lips, "You know. Kasagami and you... seem a little alike in some ways..."

A few seconds later, she clarifies, "... it must be your swordwork."

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

Takeo Akamizu raises an eyebrow and looks back over his shoulder at the blue haired girl. "How do you mean?" He asks with a confused look on his face. He peers back at the fight taking place below them, and then back to Kozue. "We don't even use the same type of sword."

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

Can a girl be King? Not a hair on the Bride's tightly coiffed head stirs, even as aquamarine eyes dart and chase.

Kasagami wants a Queen, but the prize she currently vies for is a Princess.

It might beg the question: does a Princess seek a King, or a Prince?

No one is asking what the Rose Bride wants, as usual. If they did, they would get no direct answer.

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

Shizuru expects no less of Kasagami than unflinching response to her strikes. She acts accordingly, swinging flush at Kasagami's more vulnerable trunk and arms and waiting for each maneuver, implacable. Kasagami repels each strike well enough.

Shizuru stares back into Kasagami's eyes, but Shizuru does not look fatigued, though certainly the pain in her body is significant. She looks deadened, empty.

She is shorter, but Shizuru gives no ground either. Kasagami calls out to her and her passions rise, but her heat is met only by Shizuru's chill.

"Are we letting loose our desires?" Shizuru asks. Kasagami asks why she's acting bored, and Shizuru's expression does not change. Doubt, pain, adrenaline...

Shizuru listens, but she listens in a way that reads amused. For all that the marks of Kasagami's sword are obvious upon her, Shizuru shows no urgency in listening to what she has to say. She waits, as Kasagami prepares erself, looking to see that she is holding her weapon out towards her, ready to spring, waiting, waiting, waiting for an opening.

"Did it occur to you, Araki-kun, that had I any strong desire at this moment it would not be to spend time with you?" She laughs, openly, warmly, as if at a shared joke, but there is nothing warm in her eyes.

"Your dreams are a child's dreams. I wonder if I shouldn't ask you to draw a picture for me?" A beat, "Next you'll tell me you really do believe some god will look kindly upon you for your actions."

Shizuru laughs again, and steps in, ever-so-casually, to swing straight at Kasagami's chest, staring her straight in the eye as she sets her blade towards her rose.

COMBAT: Shizuru Fujino has used Dreams on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Shizuru Fujino has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki narrowly counters Shizuru Fujino's Dreams, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Kasagami Araki is Quipped!
COMBAT: Shizuru Fujino is unable to keep fighting!
COMBAT: FINISHER! Kasagami Araki's counterattack, Bloody Rose Storm, partially gets through, doing 56 Fatigue damage to Shizuru Fujino!  Critical Counterhit!  Shizuru Fujino is unable to keep fighting!

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

She's still cold. Shizuru Fujino is still cold in Kasagami's burning heat, and she hates it! Never once has the Vice President lost her cool. She hasn't howled, or screamed, or charged her madly. No, she doesn't meet Kasagami's heated passions that she lays out against those she fights. It gives her strength to fight monsters, Duelists, and magical girls, and Dark Generals alike. But here? It gives her no edge. If anything, her heart is sinking from the realization alone.

Kasagami shudders when Shizuru says that she wouldn't spend time with her. The implications are obvious: that she's worthless, unattractive, and generally too terrible to be around. That she has no value, like a piece of burnt out charcoal. It hurts. Coming from someone that she can't help but respect from position and poise, it cuts deep. She stumbles forward. Perfect stance dropping.

'Your dreams are a child's dreams.'

The dreams of a fool, so easily lost and crushed. /HER/ dreams? That hopeful heat dies in that moment. But what replaces it is nothing more than fury. Shizuru would step on her dreams and shatter them as if they didn't matter. Just like the Demon did to her mother's body. How it tried to sweep her away and crush every hope she had. An old memory sparks. Of the last moments before her mother died. How she whispered to Kasagami.

Shizuru steps in casually. Kasagami, nearly prone on one knee, is anything but casual. Her strike is swift, and utterly without mercy, or even conscious thought. By her standards, it's sloppy. Saionji would curse her for such a terrible, animalistic strike. A single swipe towards the oncoming Shizuru as Kassie sits on her wits end with her heart in shredded little tatters.

That naginata indeed brushes briefly against a petal of Kasagami's rose, even lifting it just a touch. It would take a slight flick to remove it. An easy, humiliating victory for a girl so clearly fallen.

"...Go ask Him what he thinks in person!" Kasagami's boots land behind Shizuru. Her coat has fluttered off from the motion. The tip of her nodachi sticks into the ground as she can barely hold herself off. The roses on her clothes are gone. The red is out of her hair, and she can't help but sob so lowly than only Shizuru would et to hear it.

If she can see through the consuming wrath of Kasagami's roses, crashing into and through her to tear not only into the rose on her chest but her body, with all of the fury of someone brought low into the darkest, most desperate of rages. There's nothing but thorns within these petals.

Then, Kasagami collapses, unable or unwilling to see the results. Tears drip down her face, hot and heavy, as lavender petals fall around her like rain. And as she cries, her own rose falls from her chest but one moment later.

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

Even in apparent triumph, Shizuru shows no passion.

But she sees Kasagami's shudder, at her cruel words. She sees the way she stumbles, sees her perfect stance drop, and so Shizuru continues. She continues talking of dreams, and she contnues to move herself towards Kasagami's rose, naginata moving. But as she makes her strike, as her weapon begins to knock free that rose, Kasagami speaks up very quickly, moving from her knee for that swipe towards Shizuru's rose. Shizuru's eyes freeze before the /force/ of the strike rushes through her, not just her rose, hurts against her previous injuries and sends a shock through her entire body in the process. But worse are the roses and thorns themselves, crashing against her, hitting skin in places and shredding her rose. She remains still; she does not look down. She does not say anything.

"...Hm," she says instead, as if wholly disinterested, standing up the rest of the way and looking down at the weeping Duelist at her feet. She tilts her head, considering her crying.

As she does, the bells toll once again, and the Vice President lets her Element fade.

With a helpless shrug towards the Rose Bride and the Engaged, Shizuru starts walking for the elevator without another word.

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

"Doesn't matter. Even if you've got different swords- different magic. The two of you have a similar... style in a fight."

However the duel is reaching it's climax. Shizuru's words a bridge unto it. And like as if she were listening to a composition, she pauses to reflect on the earlier movements. Upon what Shizuru brought up before- and her opponent's response. The back and forth between them.

It's all for this moment. The one she's been waiting for. The Shizuru who has taken so many wounds that she shouldn't be standing. The Kasagami who is wounded in pride and spirit. The passion and the cruelty, the hope and dreams of them both.

And then- Shizuru makes her declaration of dreams. There's an angry strike-

And then one duelist is on the ground in tears. And the other is on the ground. And then the look of disinterest on Shizuru's face. She etches this moment into her mind...

"You know..."

She looks up, and considers the weeping form of Kasagami, rose on the arena floor, "...I think Kasagami actually did get the better of her a little."

It seems like a gross understatement for her to say that if one is watching swordwork. But is it really? When the faintest glowing ember of passion and interest hidden away fades into the wretched chill of apathy and ambivalence... to her it's more of a tragedy than a roaring fire being dimmed just a touch.

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

Shizuru hardly needs her naginata; with mild eyes and light tongue she flays Kasagami raw, skin and scars and all. No sword, no matter how beloved, how tensile a feather it might be despite its length in its wielder's hands, can counter words.

That takes emotion.

Emotion, Kasagami Araki has aplenty, enough and more to compensate for her opponent's apparent lack. It seems not to matter to the strange, mythic tides of the Duels whether her rage is light or dark. That it overwhelms, with ferocity and force and sheer fathomless depth?

Perhaps the dark crimson rosehead thuds first to the arena floor, but lavender already scatters and rains through the air, and even the closest of finishes is still a finish. The bells peal out the Disciplinary Executive's victory.

The Rose Bride looks to the fallen Shizuru, absorbs her shrug. Do eyes lower, is that gratitude? Deference, even in the Vice President's defeat? Whatever Shizuru gets, Kasagami receives nothing at all, not that she is in any position to.

When they're out of sight, the Bride and her Engaged discuss the comparative charms of tofu versus chicken in stir fry tonight.