2017-09-24 - Désespoir: Kasagami v. Takeo, Second Duel

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Désespoir: Kasagami v. Takeo, Second Duel

The finals of the Ohtori Duelist Challenge Bracket Tournament, with the winner given the right to challenge the current Engaged for the hand of the Rose Bride. Both finalists want it desperately, but one of them has a problem...


Kasagami Araki, Takeo Akamizu, Shizuru Fujino, Utena Tenjou, Anthy Himemiya


Dueling Arena, Ohtori Academy

OOC - IC Date:

09-24-2017 - 02-20-2015

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

The doors to the Dueling Arena open, and a lone figure steps through. Clad in black and red, she casts a long shadow thanks to the setting sun. The beautiful water, the pure height of the stairs, the beauty of the sun cast down upon the Arena floor...by now it's almost lost on Kasagami. For now, at least. Her mind is focused, even as her body is tense. Breaths come slowly, controlled, trying to will away the nervousness. Sword in one hand, she pats the hilt. At the last few stairs before she'd pass through the last gate and into view, she reaches into a pocket.

A watch. Opening it, she kisses the picture behind a small pane of glass.

"Mom...help me out here. I'm so close. This world and everything in it, people who've suffered like we have...if I can have just one ounce of your strength and skill, then I can do this." A deep breath. And then with a flick of one of her bangs, and sway of her coat, she steps forward to take her place.

Her sheath's end touches the ground, and both hands grasp the weapon as she waits for her opponent.

"I can do this."

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

And Kasagami waits because Takeo is late.


Takeo leaned against the pillar his head held low. From the phone his father spoke in a sad and lecturing tone. "You said you'd be there. You promised her Takeo-chan." He couldn't dispute it. He had promised Mika he'd be there. He was going to bring a game system and play some Co-Op game and they were going to have a night. He had promised.

"I know father." Takeo says pinching the bridge of his nose. He. Had. Promised. "Is she ... ""

His father cuts him off. "Is she alright?" The voice is almost angry, but it still soudns sad. "No Takeo. She is dying. You need to re-think your priorities Takeo. You race those bikes, you get into fights, you got into some msterious accident that looked more like you got shot." His father takes a deep breath. "I'm going to be with your mother. I expect you home this weekend. We will discuss this in person and you will come up wiht a plan to be a proper young man form now on."

"Dad, I - "

"SAVE IT." His father's voice is laced in pain and anger. "I am dissapointed son." Takeo hears the words and winces as he also hears the click of his father hanging up.

He turns around and puts his head against the pillar before he draws back and punches his phone into the pillar shattering it and cutting his hand. "DAMNIT!" He doesn't care about the pain in his hand, or the shoulder that had taken a full force impact from Signum. He punches the pillar over and over with that same hand. Blood splattering the pillar and the floor.

He takes a deep breath. He can fix this.


His hand is wrapped in a bandage and his eyes are dark as Takeo marches up the stairs. Technically he's late as the clock hand ticks past the alotted time. His eyes go to Anthy, then to Kasagami and he stops at the designated spot. His eyes, dark and filled with anger. "Pin me." He says to Anthy without taking his eyes off Kasagami. He rips the Medallion off his neck with a snapping of the silver chain and holds it tightly in his bandaged hand. He takes a deep breath, mentally preparing himself for the fight ahead. "I can fix this." he whispers to himself.

But in the back of his head he can only hear his father's words: "She's dying."

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

As the two Duelists competing today assemble, Shizuru Fujino is already up on the balcony where it is traditional to watch, her small table present and her pot of tea a bit cooled waiting for Takeo. ...Only a bit; there is a warmer beneath it, after all, keeping it up to temperature otherwise.

She sips her tea as she looks over Kasagami, watches her kiss her watch. Her red eyes settle on that image for long moments, cold in an otherwise neutral expression. She sips, and sets down her teacup, glancing down at her hand, at the rose crest there, at the engagement ring farther down her finger.

When Takeo arrives she lifts an eyebrow, seeing the emotion in his expression. She considers.

...The vice president leans closer with her opera glasses, silent as she watches the ritual.

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Utena and Anthy ascended the steps pretty much directly in Takeo's wake. There's a reason for this; in the dueling forest, the pink-haired young woman leaned against a tree, out of sight of the main path, her eyes closed, listening for first Kasagami, and then Takeo, to go past.

Her hand, in Anthy's, has been trembling for the last five minutes. But it trembled at lunch, too, dropping her chopsticks three times. She spilled her breakfast tea. The same was true the day before, too, and the day before that.

Once Takeo has opened the gate, she looks over at Anthy, guiltily. Her eyes are blue bruises in her face. "I guess now we can go. Sorry."

At the summit, she quietly escorts Anthy to her position, gives her a gentle look that contains within it another, deeper apology, then takes her own, out of the way, out of the fight. She is thinner again, the bones of her jaw, her wrist, too prominent, well-past lithe birdlike beauty and into the kind of unhealthy brittleness that is difficult and uncomfortable to look at directly.

Her fingers are all wrapped up in little cloth bandages, but her face, at least, is relatively unmarred today; the bruises from last time have faded.

Who knows what's under her all-concealing winter uniform, though. She's too proud to limp, but there was a tension to her stride that bespeaks injury.

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

Usually Anthy is the birdboned one between them, and it is strange for her hands to be the strong cage around the trembling sparrow. Utena finds herself on the receiving end of solicitous attention as they hide between the trees. From time to time the shorter girl looks up and over, facing the unseen Dueling Arena precisely, but then returns big aqua eyes to her Engaged.

"They cannot begin without us," Anthy replies in a soft voice to Utena's apology. It sounds reassuring, the way she says it. She's just as attentive on their way up those stairs, and gives Utena's hand a small squeeze before releasing it near the top to see to her duties.

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 dark orchid 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 Takeo Akamizu, 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. The knight's armor reflects bright little spangles of setting sun onto the Rose Bride's crimson gown, then the soft undersides of slender arms as they reach up to secure his rose in place. All of those metal edges seem sharper, somehow, while she is close. Takeo's bandaged hand receives the briefest of looks before the Rose Bride turns to his opponent.

Another duel for the Disciplinary Executive means another shadow-petaled rose for her lapel; perhaps elsewhere on Southern Cross Island there languishes a skeletal rosebush, bereft of almost all its dark crimson children. The Bride tucks Kasagami's token into place with sure fingers, honoring the ritual with all solemnity and no apparent emotion. 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> Takeo Akamizu [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

The second the Engaged pins the dark orchid to Takeo he steps past her and holds the Medallion before him, "I SWEAR TO DEFEND THE INNOCENT!" Mika. Mika was, no IS innocent. He will defend her. No matter who was in teh way, Takeo would do anything to protect and save his little sister. He'd burn huge swaths of the world for her, and right now, as the lighting strikes down on him, transforming and solidifying into neon blue energy in the form of armor. Once they finish striking the neon blue peels off in motes of energy that crackles away in small lighting strikes. He grabs two of those bolts and they solidify into Demon's Bane, the Twin Blades of Arondight. The gleaming white blades hum with energy, lighting crackling up and down the edges.

Once he has those blades he is off and forward, coming out of that storm of lighting bolts as if he was one of them himself. Wordlessly screaming as he closes the distance and leaps at Kasagami spinning the blades at her with a cry of; "LIGHTNING SLASH!" the twin baldes erupting with that crackling energy at Kasagami.

COMBAT: Takeo Akamizu transforms into Chevalier Knight Lancelot!
COMBAT: Lancelot has used Lightning Slash on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki fails to dodge Lancelot's Lightning Slash, taking 28 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Lancelot is Psyched!
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Kasagami grins as Takeo arrives. "The man of the hour! ...Late too. Here I am, a woman of my word! Meeting you once again, just like I said I would, Takeo-kun." She says, faux-dissappointed. But the insults on her lips die as she notices the young man's injury, and that of a certain pink haired woman watching. Frown.

"You're a mess." Pause. "Though I guess you're not the only one." She leaves it at that, as the Rose Bride approaches. She treats Anthy like an object, or a servant, as usual. But her gaze peers at Anthy, warily. Something definitely has her attention as of late. But as the crimson rose is stuck on her chest, she lets the Bride walk away.

Her eye goes wide as Takeo launches directly from his henshin, those twin blades spinning. Lightning crackles, and she gets her sword up just in time! It's not even drawn yet! Just a few inches of steel keeping Takeo and Kasagami apart as he crashes into her, and she refuses to budge. Her coat and clothes singe from the sparking lightning, and finally she shoves away. The floor of the Arena is scorched from the great strike of Takeo. Both of Kassie's sleeves are already split and scorched down to the elbows.

"Well if that's how you want to play..." Throwing aside her sheath the rest of the way, she charges for Takeo with a vicious howl! She raises her sword, and strikes!

A distraction! Should Takeo block, she'll then aim her boot right for his chin in a neat roundhouse kick!

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Kassie Kick on Lancelot.
COMBAT: Lancelot fails to dodge Kasagami Araki's Kassie Kick, taking 50 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Stagger applied to
<Pose Tracker> Shizuru Fujino [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Shizuru looks in detail over Utena's condition as she arrives, from sunken eyes to dangerous thinness to bandages on her fingers. Most would find it too difficult and uncomfortable, probably, but Shizuru makes sure to understand each detail before she looks to Anthy and to the two competitors.

Perhaps most interesting to her right now is the interaction between Rose Bride and Engaged, small things that nevertheless stand out to the ice president. And once again, Shizuru lifts her tea silently and sips. She considers after a moment...

She smirks, at Takeo's oath to defend the innocent, lifting an eyebrow. But he does something for her; he's off to begin the battle, and Shizuru comments in her seat, "My. Someone's eager today, isn't he? Such passion..."

Kasagami's talk o injuries gets nothing; instead she watches her reaction to Takeo's sudden assault, ignoring the scorching the arena for the moment but not of Kasagami's sleeves. She watches...

"My, my..." She sips her tea again, but does not take her eyes away from the Duelists fighting now, sitting straight in her seat and leaning forward over the table.

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Utena does not argue the charge, or even acknowledge it beyond a slow exhalation that is almost, but not quite, a sigh.

Her shoulders slump as the two combatants exchange downright vicious blows. She looks over at Anthy, and starts to reach over, to hold her hand again -- then hesitates, drawing away. Her eyes find the ornate floor instead before closing entirely, as though it's too painful to look at anything, even th eground.

But her ears listen, they zone out the clangs and thumps of the battle and hear only the soft breathing of the Rose Bride, the rustles of her gown, the tiny, precious hints of her friend's presence.

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

Lancelot rips past Kasagami and has to dig his blades into the Arena to stop his movement. His face set in a snarl he launches forward running at Kasagami, Arondight trailing bilts of angry lightning in his wake what whip and crack around the Chevalier. His feet pound the arena as he closes in on Kasagmi he sees her sword, and moves to parry it but finds himself kicked and sent sprawling.

He hits on his back and rolls a good ten feet before he crashes into a pillar. His shoulder screams at him from the impact and his hand throbs. Not to mention his chin. He lifts the bandaged hand and wipes away the blood from a split lip. "This is not a game Araki." He says climbing to his feet. "You treat this like your personal playroom. Like Anthy is your object. Like Utena is just somebody to cast aside." He growls and draws back energy into the hilts of Arondight. "HEAVEN'S WRATH!" He cries letting that drawn in energy out and into a concentrated stream of lighting. It whips over the arena toward Kasagmai like a snake. Tendrils snapping and cracking as it rockets toward her. "You always want to know why other's fight Araki. I fight for Mika, I fight so others like her do't suffer. What do you fight for? Your own deluded fantasies of being an Emperor?" He spits a glob of blood to the side. "Well screw that!"

COMBAT: Lancelot has used Heaven's Wrath on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki narrowly braces Lancelot's Heaven's Wrath, taking 8 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Blind, Stagger, and
Stun applied to Kasagami Araki!
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"Are you really that blind, Takeo!? Why do you think I want to be a King!?" Starts Kasagami, but then that lightning crashes down. She swings back her sword, and then sweeps it away wardingly, cutting some of the mystical energy away from her! Still, some of the shock goes through her, and she grits her teeth. The scorching on her coat gets worse, and some of those tendrils lance out hard enough that she loses a sleeve on the black leather.

"So you're fighting for someone you love? Wonderful! That's beautiful Takeo!" She laughs, warm, loud, and pleased. "You really are a true knight. But! Let me answer your question since you're so curious. I might be greedy, I might want to hold this world in my hands, but! It's all for the sake of a better world! This world does nothing but kick people down, steal loved ones, and spread suffering! Without someone strong and wise to rule it, then no one will ever be truly happy! I'm going to be the one to Revolutionize this World, and bring it to heel, Takeo!"

Then her free hand grabbing her coat, she flicks it off right towards Takeo's face to try to trip him up with it! And then her sword slashes from the right in a hard rotating strike, putting her entire back into it!

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Riding My Coattails on Lancelot.
COMBAT: Lancelot narrowly braces Kasagami Araki's Riding My Coattails, taking 7 Fatigue damage!  Kasagami Araki is Psyched!
Lancelot's Block ability activates!  Lancelot's Parry ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Anthy Himemiya [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Takeo steps past and shouts, before the rosepinning ceremony is even concluded, and the Rose Bride evinces only the slightest widening of eyes. She has seen a great many desperate, passionate duelists proclaim similar things. The smoothness of her face could mean nothing, or could itself be a mild rebuff.

She returns to stand close to the Engaged, who is still taller than her no matter how bowed, whose silhouette still complements her own even bent and downcast. Her own hands fold before her, neat and feminine. The crown nestled in violet curls gleams with the turn of her head -- she sees that faltering hand, but it flutters back to Utena so quickly.

Aquamarine eyes return to the fight, those loudly clashing swords and duelists and their striving to own the Power to Revolutionize the World -- to own her. The barest bit of humming won't reach them, but might touch the straining ears of her Engaged.

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

Takeo says that it isn't a came, brings his righteous words to bear, and Shizuru is watching his footwork. He says that these people matter, and her eyes are on his hands. He gves the reasons that he fights, of Mika and those like her...

Shizuru is no longer bothering to look at him at all. She glances to Utena once, seeing her hesitate, and then to Kasagami who professes her beliefs. She professes beauty, and knighthood. She professes what this world will be under her...

Shizuru sighs, openly, as Kasagami flings her coat. It sounds dreadfully put-upon. She seems almost bored, all of a sudden. But it isn't that, precisely. It's something different from that.

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

The coat is trhown a thim and Lancelot slashes it to ribbons with both blades before dropping to a knee and intercepting Kasagami's massive blade with both of his crossed. He grits his teeth and locks those dark eyes of his on Kasagami's. "You fight to rule the world?" He says with a tone of mocking. "How typical. It's a joke Araki! You couldn't rule kindergartners! I doubt you could rule your way out of a wet paper bag!"

He pushes against the big heavy blade, and pushes to his feet, leanign in. "I'll never follow you Araki. Nobody will ever follow you." He shoves hard freeing his blades and then rushing in shouting, "Now get out of my damn way - BLAZING ZEPHYR!!"

His attacks are not the graceful methodical strikes he dis in their last duel, they're not even the careful strikes and manuevers he uses in Kendo matches. They are visceral, brutal, and wicked. They are however jsut as fast. Each strike, each swing of Arondight is punjuated with the crack of thunder, with the crackle of lighting.

"She's dying."

He hears the words again and wordlessly screams while he lashes over and over again at Kasagami. Trying to drive her ot her knees. Trying to remove a limb. Trying to break her sword. Trying to land as many hits as he can and then get that damn rose off her chest. His eyes are wild as he rages agaisnt Kasagami. He ignores the pain from Signum's wound. The blood welling in his hend from his cut up palm and knuckles. The sharp burn from Kasagmi's gift of a split lip. "JUST SHUT UP AND DIE ARAKI!!"

COMBAT: Lancelot has used Blazing Zephyr on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki narrowly dodges Lancelot's Blazing Zephyr, taking 21 Fatigue damage!  Kasagami Araki's Fade ability
activates!  Kasagami Araki's Flash ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Kasagami's own eye blazes as she meets the power in Lancelot's twin blades. "Shows what you know! Really, we're both fools, talking like we know anything about each other's dreams! Still, by all means, refuse to follow me! Once you see the world I create, you'll want to! Provided you'll even have a choice in the matter, little lightning knight!"

In come those furious blades, slamming down. She meets them head on. A parry, a backstep, and soon Kassie is on the defensive. The speed and violent fury, that rage strikes her again and again. Again and again, she takes it on her sword. The metal holds even as her body is ran through by the shock of lightning, her teeth gritting. Her arms and legs are slashed up, even as Takeo tries to take her or her sword, it's only scraped away cloth and air. Metal holds firm. But she's breathing hard and soon is a slashed up mess.

Not a petal is missing from the rose she protects with her life.

One last blow comes in, and Kassie presses forward to lock blades. Once again, it's her foot's turn to do the talking. First a knee to the gutt, and finally one aimed right to the side of the head. To rattle his brain, and further knock him off his game.

"Sorry Takeo, but I can't afford to lose, not when I'm this close!"

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Boot to the Head on Lancelot.
COMBAT: Lancelot narrowly braces Kasagami Araki's Boot to the Head, taking 4 Fatigue damage!  Kasagami Araki is Psyched!
Lancelot's Block ability activates!  Lancelot's Parry ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

An elbo drops to counter the knee and then, Lancelot drops to allow the leg to sail over head. He leaps back and lands in a crouch panting heavily. His eyes lock immediately to the rose on Kasagami's chest. "I'm dissapointed in you son." THe words come like a blade far sharper than any blade that could pierce his armor and stabs directly into his heart. He takes in a shuddering breath. "I can fix this." And then he stands up straight. "Get ready for dissapointment Araki." He says in a rough voice, parched form the anger he's expressed so far in this matchup.

Seamingly from nowwhere lighning crackles and streams along the ground to center on Lancelot who begins to walk forward. "Hang on sis." He says softly. "Thousand ~" He says in a normal tone of voice, his eyes still locked on Kasagami. He begins to pick up speed, Lightning continues to stream in and crackle around the knight, and around those blades. "Thunderclap ~" He says a bit louder, and is now running toward Kasagami.

With a crack of thunder, Lancelot launches at Kasagami. 'RUSH!" His baldes moving far faster than any eye can follow. Each strike releasing the stored energy of a thousand bolts of lightning. Each strike cracking with thunder that deafens and booms and shakes the heavens.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Lancelot has used Thousand Thunderclap Rush on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki counters Lancelot's Thousand Thunderclap Rush with Crimson Rose Cage, initiating a BEAMWAR! Please see
+help beamwar for further information.
BEAMWAR! Kasagami Araki and Lancelot's attacks collide. Lancelot has the advantage!
BEAMWAR! Now accepting mana bids for the first of three rounds! Now accepting new BEAMWAR entrants in this round only!
COMBAT: You aren't currently in a BEAMWAR. To see the BEAMWARs in your location, please type +beamwar/here.
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

As Lancelot summons his lightning, streaming and crackling around him faster than the eye can see, Kasagami sucks in a breath. That lightning could scorch her to the bone. Not even a matter of roses, she could left to a crisp, again. Kasagami can feel the passion, even the desperation in his eyes.

She, at least, feels the same way. As he rushes for her in that same lightning-enhanced way he did at their first duel? She remembers his words well. How she relied on her gaze too much. Kasagami concentrates, and walks forward. A hand slips into her pocket, and rubs along her watch. She can't see it, but she knows her mother's smiling face is there. Strong. Warm. Loving.

"You'll have a place in my court, brave, wrathful knight. Now fall by the technique of the Araki family!"

She grips her sword in both hands, and pulls both back so that her sword is upright in a stabbing position. And then she advances, her eye narrowing. Her vision is all but nil in the fury of Takeo's assault. Then, she meets him.

All the while, every step she takes leaves a dash of roses. They coat her weapon and entire body, leaving afterimages with every step. For just a moment, even as Takeo's lightning rocks the heavens, the world around her shudders as she who would be King's magic and will manifests.

BEAMWAR! Kasagami Araki has placed her bid! Lancelot still needs to bid!
<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Anthy's humming is in Utena's ears, and she could be in the kitchen that cold winter morning, doing dishes and making omelettes in a nimble dance of two people cohabitating a small space both gracefully and effectively.

A tiny smile stings her lips swollen. It looks so out of place, both here -- which is normal -- and on her face -- which is not.

It fades almost as quickly as it came, as blades start to ring into a crescendo. That means the bells will follow soon enough. Which means it's almost over.

Closing her eyes more tightly, which wrinkles her brow, Utena tries to summon to herself the memory of the kitchen, again.

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

The fight is brutal by this point; Shizuru frowns thoughtfully at Kasagami's choices of attack, letting her vision continue to catch Lancelot slashing away as best he can. The insults between both she lets pass without any real emotional reaction. She watches the wounds delivered, watches the roses, hears talk of dreams... There are things she can use, in all of this.

Shizuru continues to sip her tea, hot on her tongue, nearly as hot as she sheer rage she judges from down below in the Dueling arena. Not only the rage of thunder, which ripples her tea all the way over here, but with the rage of something different.

Kasagami makes a promise, and Shizuru stares dead-eyed at her at what she says to Takeo. The lightning rocks the world, and Kasagami advances.

Shizuru sips her tea. She watches Utena again, looking away from the action, and only then is she watching the Duel itself. again.

She sighs, but this one is quieter. Her thumb runs over the stones of her engagement ring as her tea is set down.

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

The blades ring out. Any other time Lancelot would have loved the challenge. The sheer speed and vicousness of the attacks from both opponants has to be an awe inspiring sight. The blades lock, they release a series of blows are exchanged. Steel rings on steel. Sparks and lighting fly everywhere. All lancelot can do is swing his baldes. Try to get that flower off her chest. Drive her back and take the power to fight for his sister.

"Have you heard yourself Araki? You don't want to save the world, you want to be in control!" He says, manuevering and strikign in that swirling mass that is the two duelists. Somehow heard despite the thunder that cracks and ripples over the arena. Over the lighting flashes and visible whip-cracks of the release dbolts of lighting. His strikes begin to come on faster and faster.

BEAMWAR! Lancelot has placed his bid!
BEAMWAR! Kasagami Araki rallies, overwhelmingly driving back Lancelot! Kasagami Araki has the advantage!
BEAMWAR! Lancelot takes 19 damage! Kasagami Araki takes 0 Fatigue damage!
BEAMWAR! Now accepting mana bids for the second of three rounds! No longer accepting any more BEAMWAR entrants!
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Everything is sparks and clashing blades and roses being rent black by the shocking power of Lancelot. Sweat drips off of Kasagami's brow, and the pair clash again and again. The Disciplinary Executive's eyes aren't even open any more. The light and lightning pouring off of this dedicated knight is blinding. She moves on instinct, training, and the sounds and feeling of the other young man's magic. She presses into the worst of the scorching lightning. Yet, somehow, she almost seems untouched for the moment. Sure, her clothes scorch and electricity runs through her hard enough that she's held firm in an almost rictus, demonic grin. Her face is one part agony, and one part pure ecstacy. This is a fight! To struggle against this strong man makes her heart sing loud!

Swing, spin, step. She barely keeps up with his strikes, as they get faster and faster. The roses trailing her grow thicker, like a royal robe swaying behind her. And then one strike starts to go for the rose.

Her magic shudders. Wasn't Kasagami's blade parrying the left blade? How did such a big blade get to the other side so quickly? The details might be lost in the melee.

Her own strike somehow go faster. And worse, every now and then, her sword is somewhere it wasn't a fraction of a moment ago. As fast as she's become, she's still not matching Lancelot's speed. No, more and more, Kasagami's sword and stance simply is as her magic and roses draw more tightly around her.

BEAMWAR! Kasagami Araki has placed her bid! Lancelot still needs to bid!
<Pose Tracker> Anthy Himemiya [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

It grows more difficult to hear that humming between the crash of sizzling thunderbolts and beneath the more usual sharp bright sounds of striving swords. The little tuneless song continues nonetheless, surfacing on odd islands of quiet between shouts and strikes.

The Rose Bride tilts her head when Takeo speaks of saving versus controlling. That is all, no change of expression nor waver to her not-a-song. If aquamarine narrows some, it is only in reaction to the searing electric arcs. And after all, it looks from the angle of her chin like she must be watching Kasagami, not him.

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

Ducking under one strike and parrying three others, Lancelot launches into a series of counter attacks and parries that would mystify anybody with no magic watching the battle. You promised her. He had promised her he'd be there. He had said he'd there and they would game and laugh and watch TV. He. Had. Promised. He broke that promise. Why? He doesn't honestly know. He jsut had. And now. Now ...

"She's dying."

Tears fall from Lancelot's eyes as he screams and presses his attack. Mika. If he had just ... No. He had to fix this. He had to beat Kasagami and then beat Utena. As soon as Kasagami falls, he'll challenge Utena right now. Then he can save Mika. He can fix this.

The blades come even faster. Lashing and striking at Kasagami. Trying to drive her back and create an opening. Lancelot worldessly screams. Ringing Arondight against the Araki family blade. It bathes him ina shower of sparks and cracking lighting that causes his wild eyes to look even more feral. More the look of a wild man that the teenage boy who is just afraid for his sister.

BEAMWAR! Lancelot has placed his bid!
BEAMWAR! Lancelot rallies, overwhelmingly driving back Kasagami Araki! Lancelot has the advantage!
BEAMWAR! Kasagami Araki takes 20 damage! Lancelot takes 0 Fatigue damage!
BEAMWAR! Now accepting mana bids for the third of three rounds! No longer accepting any more BEAMWAR entrants!
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

'She's Dying'.

As strong as his strikes and lightning are, that is what truly hits Kasagami. Her eye opens, wide. She sees the tears rolling down the young man's face, the wild desperation. He's afraid. Not of this battle, not of her, but of something. For someone. She doesn't know the details, but in her mind, fire lashes hot. Two loved ones turn to ashes for the millionth time. Again and again, as the fire closes in, and then sharp blades kiss her.

The feeling of a sword slashing for her breaks her out of her reverie brought on by Lancelot's shout. She's in a bad position. Her guard is weak, she stumbles back, and it's only as she draws her sword up defensively that she saves her rose. The rest of her isn't so lucky. A cut down her chest, several slashes and scorches at her abs, and she's even forced to abandoned her boots now melted at the bottom. Her uniform now has jean shorts, and the end of her long bang is burning, just slightly.

A slash to her pocket, and she's driven back. Something falls. Lightning smashes into metal. Not of a sword, but of a pocket watch. Kasagami's eye turns to watch Lancelot's lightning devour the timepiece, and the little picture of her mother smote to mere dust from his falling bolts from his blade.

"I'm not going to offer you trite sympathy, Takeo. Save her, or die trying." Her voice is a whisper.

"But you won't do it here! If I fail to take the Rose Bride, then this world, my perfect Kingdom will never come to be! The people I love won't know peace and prosperity!"

Teeth grit.

"And I won't obtain my vengeance! CRIMSON ROSE CAGE!"

Kasagami steps lightly to the side, letting Lancelot's sword barely scrape past her rose, opening up another cut at her arm. That sword reaches back, and then she puts everything into one final slash!

The world pulses. In the moment of a single breath, there's a blade hissing towards the rose from the side. Above, that same sword exists, Kasagami standing tall and slashing downwards. To the other side, a slash aiming down diagonally. As the smell of a burnt picture reaches her nose, arms hold her blade. Left. Right. Up. Down. For that single moment, Kasagami's blade and her hands are in rose-petal fractal, the world twisted on infinite panes of glass.

BEAMWAR! Kasagami Araki has placed her bid! Lancelot still needs to bid!
<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"Nobody will ever serve you Araki! You're a goddamned FAKE!" Lancelot shouts as he moves in to counter that strike. The ringing of Arondight on the Araki Blade adds an almost musical tone to the bass crash of thunder, and the flash of lighting. Mika. God. Why didn't he jsut go see her. Why didn't he ....

"Im dissapointed in you son."

Only he hears those words. His father's words.T he words hit him right in the chest as if they were Kasagami's blade bearing down on his heart. It breaks. Tears fall more and he screams once more wordlessly and moves in on Kasagami. One way or the other, this was it. This would decide who faces Utena. He tosses one of the blades aside, not even wathcing as it dissipates into crackling energy and grips Demon's Bane with both ahnds and dives in at Kasagami, the point aimed right at Kasagami's rose.

BEAMWAR! Lancelot has placed his bid!
BEAMWAR! Kasagami Araki rallies, her Crimson Rose Cage exploding through Lancelot's Thousand Thunderclap Rush for a total of 216
Fatigue damage! Kasagami Araki is victorious!
BEAMWAR! Lancelot is unable to keep fighting!
<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

All that energy. All those clashing blades end in an explosion of movement by both duelists. Lancelot stands on the other side of Kasagami panting. He holds Arondight, point down to the side. His eyes wide and filled with tears. He can feel them pouring down his cheek and they fall to the ground. There to land on the petals of his flower that had fallen a second ago. Wordlessly he screams to the sky over the arena. His injured hand balled into a fist while his left grips Arondight tightly.

He had failed. And she was dying.

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

Roses dance in the air and sit in lapels surrounded by sartorial devastation; roses slide and multiply on slices of reflective sky between acrid bolts of lightning. A single rose, dark orchid of hue, suffers decapitation and bleeds petals to the intricate arena floor.

Commensurate with that decisive severing the bells peal, and the round reverberation of their proclamation crushes all sound before it. In their wake the humming is no more, blown apart like the most ephemeral of aural cobwebs. With a sussurus of petticoats, the Rose Bride steps forward into the ring of just-ended combat.

This is new; this is different. Such does not occur often upon this stage.

"You have our congratulations, Araki-san, in your victory here this evening." 'We'? Maybe it is the royal 'we'. Maybe it is a true plural. Maybe she's just distancing herself from personally congratulating the young woman. "Please look forward to a letter; you will want and need what is within, before issuing any further challenges."

That duty discharged, she spins immediately and sweeps away, directly to the young woman who is still her Engaged, who still needs her. She is back at Utena's side swiftly, and reaches to recapture any willing sparrow-shivering hand that flits her way. They leave together, as they always do, and Anthy is chattering about doing something delicious with tofu as soon as they reach the first step down and away.

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

Takeo's tears as the battle wears on are something that Shizuru sees, but when Kasagami offers what is not comfort, what is not sympathy, what is nothing of the sort...

Shizuru actually starts laughing faintly from the balcony, picking back up her cup and letting it hover at her lips. A little more laughter still, when Lancelot calls her fake.

They fade shortly thereafter. Vengeance... Prosperity... And Lancelot's scream. Shizuru continues to watch, voyeuring this terrible pain as surely as she watches Kasagami, the Engaged and the Rose bride. This sort of misery...

She remembers somehing, sips her tea, sets eyes on the Rose Bride and--

Shizuru leans in more closely. The Rose Bride has stepped in directly, and offered congratulations. This is... different, and Shizuru looks thoughtful down at the others.

This time, the Vice President will stay and observe for a little while longer. The bells still echo in her mind, but things do not to her feel very finished.

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

"Oh I assure you, Takeo. The world loves a brilliant King."

She comes to a stop at the opposite side of Lancelot, and she lets out a heavy breath as her swords fade into one. She looks like a mess. But the smile on her face is pure ecstacy. She can't even hear Takeo as he cries, as Arondight is leaned on. Her sword is sheathed agonizingly slowly, still smoking, but otherwise unmarred. The old family sword once again has proven it's worth. Her own rose is untouched.

The falling petals of Takeo's, whisper quiet, sings of her victory. Bells peal, and Kasagai laughs joyously. She won. After all of her effort, her struggles against so many strong Duelists, she's won.

"I...I finally did it! All of that training, that struggling!" She sounds like she's going to break down into tears of elation.

Kasagami puts one hand on a knee, reigning in her laughter as Anthy walks forward. Her grin is wide. She matches Anthy's gaze, and for once, she doesn't bother trying to act uncaring. Instead, one might imagine her as a ravenous wolf for just one moment.

Or perhaps a covetous, greedy King.

"A letter? Fine! I'll be looking forward to it! Enjoy your time with the Engaged, Anthy." Her voice is almost jovial.

Then her gaze turns to Utena in turn. A smirk. She says nothing. Does she really need to say anything to the pink haired one at this point? She kisses the hilt of her sword only to raise it to the Engaged, and then begins to walk away.

"Mother! Father! Your little girl is going to become royalty. I'll make this world one you should've lived in." She mutters to herself. And then, she's gone.

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Takeo's scream rings in Utena's ears, and she finds herself accompanying Anthy up to the heart of the arena without quite realizing that her feet, bowed boots and all, have led her there.

She places a hand on his shoulder and squeezes. "Dude," she mutters. "Mika. Like, go to her already, senpai... she doesn't need you here."

It's a conversation they've had before, but it feels more urgent now, it intensifies her voice, bringing out some worried vibrato.

She doesn't catch Kasagami's look at Anthy because of it; she is too busy looking at Takeo. But she doesn't escape the salute, which flickers at the corner of her eye. She stares back -- she stares past, and nothing is in her eyes but weariness.

And then she and Anthy are gone.

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

Anthy Himemiya nods. Knows a very nice selection of poisonous plants. Have you toured the gardens lately?

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

Lancelot depowers, his armor drifting heavenward as it disintegrates into those blue motes that peeled away earlier. He looks at the hand placed on his shoulder and his eyes, red rimmed lock on Utena. He can't see much, mostly the pink hair. But he knows her. Knows the pink hair, the voice. When you've faced someone in a battle like they have, you even know their touch. Even if it's just the calming touch of a friend.

He doesn't respond. His eyes close as he tries to shut the tears off. When Utena leaves, he makes his own way. Not even looking back as he makes his way to his dorm.

COMBAT: Lancelot transforms into Chevalier Knight Lancelot!
COMBAT: Lancelot transforms into Takeo Akamizu!