2018-11-17 - TIMELINE 1: Sports Festival Day! Teamwork And Obstacles!

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'Sports Festival Day! Teamwork And Obstacles!

The sports festival continues. The bread-eating contest is especially exciting! Homura gets demoralized and leaves quietly...


Madoka Kaname, Fuu Hououji, Steven Universe, Lera Camry, Mikoto Minagi, Eri Shimanouchi, Kasagami Araki, Niramo Umokeshi, Nori Ankou, Homura Akemi, Mami Tomoe, Nagisa Misumi, Kozue Kaoru


Juuban Public School - Fields

OOC - IC Date:

11/17/2018 - 09-21-2013

<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

"The obstacle course is beginning on the A-track," announces sweet little Tomoyo Daidoji. Her partner in the sound booth has been called away to solve some emergency, and has been replaced by one of Tomoyo's classmates, a boy who smiles too much when he talks.

Takashi Yamazaki is, indeed, grinning like the very devil as he leans into the mic.

"Did you know, the obstacle course was invented by the Egyptians in 500 BC? You see, they had to make it more fun for their workers to be motivated to climb the pyramids every day, or else they wouldn't have gotten any..."

Just barely caught by the mic is another girl's voice, this one long-suffering. "OHkay, that's enough, Yamazaki-kun..."


The track has been cleared of runners, swept for good measure, and then -- then, the obstacles have been assembled.

And it is glorious.

BGM: Universal Studios Sting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65VqlDQnxss

It begins with a series of tires to hop back and forth in between, a foot into each. LOTS of tires. Tires of all shapes and sizes. After that --

-- well, it's too far away for the people assembled at the starting line to see, isn't it? But there are rumors.

Rumors of bread...

"READY!" shouts elementary school homeroom teacher Yoshiyuki Terada, who has replaced his usual well-cut business suit for gym teacher clothes.

He blows his whistle decisively.

The tires await.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

Due to one thing and another, Fuu managed to dodge out of the tug-of-war, possibly among other events, but her luck couldn't hold forever, and the bespectacled girl from Infinity's eighth-grade class now finds herself now lined up to participate in the obstacle course. She's managed to come up with an elastic cord to keep her glasses in place, so the possibility of losing her glasses mid-race has, hopefully, been substantially reduced.

She may not be much for track and field (she's not just on the archery team for geeky love of the traditional sport), but Fuu's mind is turning over what she can see and what she's heard about the obstacles. Raw speed isn't going to be the most decisive attribute, although it certainly won't hurt; there's a measure of strategy to consider in tackling any given impediment to the racers' progress ...

The starting gun goes off, and Fuu heads for the array of tires at a fair clip, judging the spacing as she approaches. Theoretically, it's fastest to hop from center to center, assuming the track beneath each tire is still solid; it's not like anyone had the chance to dig pitfalls, or lay down adhesive, or otherwise trap the ground itself ... right?

Not that Fuu's going to be the first to get there, though - there are much faster runners among the Sister Schools, and Fuu wasn't running full-out in the first place.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (4)] has posed.

Today has been quite full of activities for everyone with any inkling of physical prowess! There is even something for those not-so-much i nthe form of getting to be with friends, or try out a sport event they thought was totally something else and though they would DIE--

But that is in the past. There's a new event that lay ahead, and Steven Universe was lingering near the starting line. Doesn't look like he could probably beat anyone else here; there is a definite stature disadvantage he has. But showing the willingness to do such things is what making a good impression for his new school is all about! A for effort, am I right?!

The rotund little child has begun to get comfortable in his gym outfit now, as he was able to replace his jeans before the terminal velocity challe-- I mean pole-vaulting. Still wore the standard outfit's ascot as a headband though. Shows school spirit, and keeps the sweat out of his eyes!

He will have to make a note to get a proper headband at a later date. Maybe something fashionable to go with it. Hm...

"He sounded like he knew a lot!" the boy comments to the surrounding folks over the sudden change of audio personality.

The call is made to assemble at the starting line. A section of tires lined out await, with something at the far end. Its too far to plainly see. Kinda looks like...

A whistle goes off, and Steven starts running his way toward those tires! "Good luck everyone!" he says, starting to put his feet through the first one.

It doesn't take long for Steven to start tripping up a bit-- but on the bright side, he is smiling and giggling the whole way!

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Lera is still quite nervous.

She doesn't have any way of seeing through Takashi's explanation. As ever, she internalizes it: it seems sensible enough. Egypt is a place she thinks she saw on a map, once, like Iowa and Gondor. Her nose wrinkles, as she waits, until she hears the whistle blow. Then, the tall girl goes running forward, and does a flying leap--

--and she lands in the tires. She manages to come feet first, right into the middle of one donut, and then she begins trying to scurry quickly. It is stunning and jerkily graceful, for a moment. For about, oh, four steps.

Then her foot catches and wham. She slams, face-first, down into the ground.


<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Oh, the cruel realities of drawn lots!

Not long after Mikoto devoured her share of bacon and made a few new friends after demonstrating how to really pole vault, she is called away again. She has no time to find Mai in the confusion of the sports festival!

Which is too bad, because Mai is the one holding the bento. Well, the remaining bento. Mikoto... may have devoured one or two while waiting for Mai to be done with tug-of-war. She may have thought she had enough rice to sate even the most hungry athlete, but every time Mai thinks she's figured out how much food her new stray can eat, Mikoto keeps surprising her.

Perhaps that's why Mikoto has shown up here, even though it would fit her profile to simply ignore the call and go and find Mai and lunch anyway.

Because someone mentioned the possibility of bread in this race.

Surely it's delicious bread, right..?

The history lesson is interesting, but it's cut off, and so Mikoto stops paying attention. The whistle blows, and everyone starts moving, so Mikoto surmises they're supposed to start moving now. There's a second there where she just looks around at everyone assembled to figure out what she's supposed to do.

That delay would, normally, be a real problem in a race.

Unfortunately, navigating obstacles is Mikoto's idea of a good time. She does it all the time. They're the most interesting problems to solve! And these obstacles aren't even dangerous. None of them are high up, there's nothing sharp she has to be careful of. They're just tires.

Hop, hop, hop, and she's not trying to move around the tires or step between their donut-holes. She's jumping from rim to rim, landing on rubber and springing over to the next. She lands on hands and feet, bounding across the obstacles.

Really, why is everyone having so much trouble with this? It's a lot of fun!

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Eri Shimanouchi is stretching right now. Not in any orderly manner which shows that she does it frequently by some routine, yet is still putting in some effort to limber up. Right now she's touching her toes with one hand, using the other to try to keep her hair out of her eyes so she doesn't look like Sadako from the Ring. Then exchanging hands, at one point pushing her glasses back up on her nose.

Yamazaki gets on the microphone though and that interrupts her rhythm, "Huh?" That doesn't sound right, yet she struggled to place why. "That doesn't sound like good workplace safety practice..." She finally decides upon. However now she'll be thinking about that for a while.

Eventually she starts a slow job up to her lane of the starting line. Looking into the crowd, from year to year she just tried to get through this without embarrassing herself too much. People don't usually cheer for her, but she takes a moment to try to see if she can spy Madoka or Mami in the crowd for a wave.

"I hear they're going to have bread as an obstacle." Says one girl at the starting line.

"Oh." Eri thinks to herself. "I wonder what kind..." She says to herself, cheering up at the thought. Since all kinds of bread except meat buns were options for her. Counting off on her fingers, "There could be sweet bean paste bread... jam bread... cream bread... melon bread... curry bread..."

Putting her other hand to her chin, murmuring to herself in speculation, "... I wonder which would be best. Curry bread could be inconvenient... and that lumpy shape on cream bread might make it hard to get down quickly... it would be easier if they picked a bread that was round... or a..."

And then the thought of a golden ringlet crosses her mind- "...twist..." - and suddenly she goes red-faced at the idea that right now she's thinking of bread strategy when her elegant senior could be watching. Doubly so when she considers that another girl with pink hair could be watching too... could even be cheering.

Now she felt motivated to try her best beyond just not embarrassing herself - but going beyond that into trying to do well.

Suddenly the teacher announces, "READY!" And Eri straightens up like a pole, hands at her sides. The whistle is blown...

And she's off into a jog. She's a step behind the fastest runners, but when she gets to the tires, she tries to go through them at a deliberate pace, aiming each step dead center in her slow and steady strategy, "One-two-one-two-one-two-one-two-" Her long dark green hair flapping swinging back and forth a pace behind her.

She's trying to think of neither pyramids nor bread, failing utterly. Each time she says one she's thinking of pyramids, each time she says two she's thinking of sweet buns. And sometimes a Golden Ringlet or a tiny Pink bobbing twintail is being alternated in against her will.

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

After the amazing pole vaulting with Steven and Mikoto, Kasagami Araki has decided to take a round out of the festival to play the part of Good Student Councilor. She's on the bleachers, boots kicked up on an associated chair. Opera glasses augment her vision as she spies the obstacles and competitors alike!

Another student, younger than Kassie with blonde hair, has been pressganged into making tea, and keeping towels and water nearby for any of the students that need it after events end. What's Kasagami's role, you ask?

She's playing cheerleader it seems, as with some enthusiastic words straight from the diaphram, she makes sure they carry.

Fuu seems to be off in a sensible pace. Speed truly isn't everything, and the Infinity student gets her attention first! "Steady always wins in a contest like this! Goooooo!"

Steve trips, smiles, and giggles his way past the starting line, contending with those horrid tires! One fist flexes! "Keep it up, Steven-kun! Mind over matter, show everyone the strength of Juuban!"

As for the tall Infinity student charging forward with a leap!? Kassie is at the edge of her seat until....wince!

"Yeesh, that looks like it stung. Make sure you have bandaids!" This is offered to the Ohtori student instead of yelled out. Kassie lifts up a tiny little flag, waving Ohtori's symbol around encouragingly!

And then Mikoto is up! Kasagami kicks her boots off the chair, knocking it over, nearly knocking over her lackey in the process. She cups both hands to her mouth!

"Mikotooooooooo! Make Ohtori proud! You're great, you can do it!" Offers Kassie with extra enthusiasm for her new friend! Then she's spying the proper colored uniform with dark green hair eye alighting upon ERi too!

"Now that's some athleticism! Show them what you both have got!" Kassie is a regular sports hooligan here. She tempers it with plenty of clapping and beaming looks at the competitors!

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (7)] has posed.

The day already seems like it has been going on for long enough, yet the sports festival is not even halfway through yet! It's exciting to see all the other students competing against one another and doing their best, but it only makes Niramo a little self-conscious about her own efforts. What if she's not doing as good as everyone else? Will someone remember and make fun of that afterwards?

Despite her luck holding out for the events already taken place, Niramo finds herself being called up for the obstacle course and makes her way over like a prisoner called up for the electric chair. Maybe she's being a little overdramatic, but having to compete in front of others is like their looks are filled with lead. At least the impromptu history lesson on obstacle courses was actually somewhat interesting. But the Egyptians seem to have a weird idea of fun...

Looking around at the other competitators has the Juuban girl feeling like she might have a little chance of blending in. There's quite a few other students running alongside her, and there was some age differences as well. Even the new transfer student was running in this race! Taking a quick breath to try to calm herself, Niramo tries to give herself a quick pep talk. "Alright, I can do this and not mess up too badly. There's a few students who have done other events and i'm still fresh. I can win and I can do-"


"-IT?!" The whistle sounds off with an unexpected shrill cry and instincts take over to urge Niramo into a run, her mutter changing into a shout with the adrenaline kicking in. But her pep talk has taken up her chance to observe the track in front of her closely, and now she rushes towards the rubbery donuts of doom! They're all spaced far enough to make each tire a slight leap from foot to foot, and they already claimed their first victim as Lera goes down.

The short girl hesitates for a split second. While she could take this opportunity to surge ahead and give herself a good chance to not be in last place, there were other events to run after this. Besides, why should she succeed at someone else's expense? Hopping over through the tires, Niramo makes her way over to the Infinity student and kneels down to offer her a hand up. "Hey, are you okay? I wish these could be like pillow tires or something that wouldn't hurt like that..." Oh, and she's rambling again.

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Nori Ankou has signed up for the obstacle course, although she is not entirely certain if it was the best plan. She seems vaguely uncomfortable during the wait, but that may just be because it's declasse. Even so, she has to keep up the side, and she does have pretty long legs. So it wasn't a total loss.

And besides, she does not have room to tire, does she?

Heh heh. Get it? Tire?

And then she advances...

... slowly. Nori seems to be taking the tires seriously which means picking her way through. The up side is that she isn't experiencing Lera's fate but the downside may be that she is beaten to Breads. It also means she is able to glance to her left, significantly, as a certain Eri Shimanouchi blazes by.

<Pose Tracker> Homura Akemi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

The featherweight anchor of tug-of-war's Green Team occupies a shadowy patch of turf on the track's sidelines. Homura Akemi leans forward over bent knees, sunstarved legs out before her, heels down and sneakered toes pointing up at lopsided angles. That porcelain face has been many shades of red today but this is a new one, and suffuses her chin to forehead: exertional crimson. Her glasses keep sliding down her nose, slipping on sweat each time she heaves a gasp, which is constantly.

She's not competing in this event. Right now it feels like it'd take a miracle for her legs to drain of rubber enough for Homura to walk to her bus station unassisted. Someone put a white towel atop her head, but she doesn't think it's helping -- the top of her head just feels extra-overheated, now.

A few students have already come up to her to express concern (and in some cases, to satisfy curiosity), and every time she's gone big-eyed and shaken her head, braid-tips flapping, both too out of breath and too overwhelmed to respond much. There's a teacher nearby keeping an eye on her, and millimeter by millimeter her heart rate is slowing. She'll be okay, probably.

Physically. Even over all the attention her own autonomic functions demand, Homura keeps replaying the moment she flew off the end of the Green Team rope. Over and over, she loses the competition for them, for Madoka... Why did she try? She should have known better, anyone else would have been better...

Then another thought intervenes, as that boy on the microphone makes himself sort of hard to ignore. Is that... is that really how obstacle courses...? He sounds so sure, and Homura doesn't know anything about sports. But that means they're about to start!

She tries to swallow down those gulping breaths and pushes her glasses back up for the umpteenth time, and she looks for pink twintails out there on the field. Homura wishes she had enough breath to cheer for her...

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.


Lera takes the offered help from a shorter, younger girl. She blinks a couple of times at Niramo -- and then stands up, dusting herself off with both hands once she's accepted the hand and released it. She bobs her head, once, in a grateful nod. "S-Sure am! Just a little tumble, y'know? It'll..." She winks, and jacks a thumb up, to point it at herself proudly. "...take more than that to keep me down!"

She nods at Niramo. "So, um, let's do our best or something, y'know? Because--um.... cheeseburgers!"

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

From the midst of the tire races, with the sounds of running... and falling... it's hard to hear the announcer! But tires of all sizes and trims are ahead! ...For those who actually go on them, they're very springy, but also tricky to step on. For those who favor the middles... the dirt proves less squishy. For the wtchers, though--

It's easy to spot Mikoto shooting ahead of even runners; her bizarre style takes her forward, forward, forward...!

But that is not exactly everyone, either. Lera's fall gets an audible wince from the Infinity section, and from some of the polite ones in others. ...It also gets a lot of laughter, because come on, that was an amazing fall.

"Ah, will she be all right?" A still different voice comes over the announcement this time, a young woman's with a Kyoto accent and a distant sort of spaced-out tone. "We can certainly see the spirit of our competitors here..."

The blone girl with ringlets Eri is looking for happens to be in the stands, looking--she seems not to hear... bread.

But this brings mor of the middle; Eri starts out well, but her deliberate approach slows her down. ...On the other hand, it takes her past a lot of faster people who keep falling. Fuu remains ahead of many, but not at the front of the pack; her measured approach, like Eri's, is consistent at least.

Steven and those around him certainly seem to be having fun; he may fall a lot, but at least the tires are bouncy, right?

...As for Nori, well, her slow movements do not move her to even the middle of the pack. However, she does look very good doing it, managing to make a tire race seem graceful somehow.

But Niramo? Niramo, at the back, picks up Lera instead of rushing ahead, and while this leaves them pretty far behind, they aren't stuck in the back forever if they hurry!

"It seems we're approaching the next obstacle! ...Caught in a net, is it...?"

Once finally past the tires, some sooner than others will see a great rope net, extended all over the path, making conventional passage impossible. Buuut it's just big enough that they could crawl under it and move forward!

Time to get crawling!!!

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

Measured her pace may be, but Fuu still feels the pangs of exertion as she finishes crossing the array of tires. Maybe the rim-running approach would have been faster, but it seems like it would also have been riskier - step too far in, and the rubber wouldn't likely support a person's weight, or even half of it in the area of a foot pressing down.

At least the next obstacle keeps a solid surface underneath the racers; no, the net's obstacle is *above* where the racers are clearly intended to go. Fuu grimaces briefly, makes sure her glasses are secure, and drops to hands and knees ...

THat's too high. But if she goes flat on the ground, can she -

Not that she's a great fan of American military-inspired cinema, but she *has* seen footage of "commando crawling." She isn't exactly dressed for it, but nobody else is either, are they? With a grimace, Fuu goes about as flat on the ground as she can and starts propelling herself forward, partly with her elbows, partly with knees and feet.

Thank all of the gods that gym clothes can be washed. And that most of the day is already behind them. (And, just a little bit, Fuu also gives thanks that she hasn't filled out as much as some girls her age ...)

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Hop, spring, jump, and it's a strange way to approach the tires, but they're springy, and it makes it easy to leap from one to the next. Mikoto is having fun! She is not, however, paying much attention to what's ahead of the next tire.

Which means that when she comes to the net, she makes an indignant noise of complaint, because she can't jump over that! She could probably try climbing over it, but it's not vertical, it's horizontal. That's not how ropes are supposed to work at all!

It's only after she sees someone else trying to go under the net when they catch up that she figures out what she's supposed to do. She whines, wordlessly, puffing out her cheeks. But she's hungry, and there's supposed to be bread past the net...

So Mikoto gets on her belly, and tries to go under the net.

She gets, oh... let's say...

... three metres in before the golf case on her back gets tangled up between sections of rope, and from there, it's a comedy of cascading errors. Mikoto tries to crawl forward, and gets pulled back. So Mikoto tries to roll away from the tangle, and only succeeds in getting caught up in the ropes even more.

She makes a great and terrible noise of protest as she tries to flail around and get herself unstuck, losing every inch of lead she'd gotten from her unconvential approach to the tires. This is terrible! Why would they put a net here? WHY IS THERE SO MUCH ROPE?!

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

A lot of girls around her are falling. Eri doesn't know any of them though. Her mind just keeps telling her to take the advantages she's given. It's a race after all! And she's not the strongest competitor.

After she clears the tires, she tries to rush into a sprint only to find she doesn't quite have the stamina to do it for long. Dyspneic and her side hurting a little by the time she makes it to the rope, she's grateful for the opportunity to slow down.

Kneeling down on her bare legs, she starts to crawl forward, using her knees and hands. This is much more her speed. Spending time close to the ground. It would be like combing a garden patch for weeds if not for the fact that she's continually moving.

"Keep going-keep going-keep going..." She says quietly to herself with the rhythm of her hands and knees. It gets so sing-songy that eventually it becomes something else. Keep going and weeding transforms into different syllables said under her breath.

"To toro - To toro - To toro..."

Instead of weeding perhaps she's now crawling through some secret place in nature. Trying to focus not on the competition - but getting to the destination.

It's a fun image that her mind holds onto as she goes under the ropes.

Which is when she notes her howling competitor flailing in the ropes a few lanes over


Only missing a single beat she just keeps crawling forward. For a while she's silent in her crawl. Then her quiet chant to herself transforms again. "Neko no basu... Neko no basu... neko no basu..."

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Kassie watches Niramo helping up Lera with interest! Stopping in the middle of a race...

"I wonder...could the nobility of Juuban be it's kindness towards others?" She ponders to herself.

Nori is quite the sight as she...well, gracefully picks her way past tires. Kasagami considers, and smiles warmly. "Show them your impeccable balance, oh Ojou-chan!" She's reaching a little here, but her eye shines it's way to Norin! Keeep going her tone seems to say!

A giant net is the next obstacle! A hand goes to Kassie's heart!

"What will they all do!? Who can crawl the fastest!?" She asks herself, opera glasses back up and peering in judgement of each individual's skills!

Mikoto manages to back-and-forth entangle herself more and more, and Kasagami rubs a temple. "She doesn't know how to give up! ...It's kind of cute. I should have brought scissors. Or my sword." Images of slashing free Mikoto runs through her mind.

"...Nah, probably against the rules." She gives a self satisfied nod, peering over with delight as Eri is working her way through the rope-net-trap-crawl well!

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Step step step TURN step step step TURN and oh she's out of tires. Nori looks upwards and takes a deep breath before her brow knits for a moment. A net?

Nori grimaces a little, raising a hand as if to express horreur at this turn of events. "Oh must we run in the mud? We'll get skin infections," Nori half-whines to herself, before letting out a sigh and pushing herself forwards.

This one, she is quicker about, although she strives not to drag her knees, giving her a peculiar gait, almost spider-ish, with her hips held up high and taking long steps with her legs, walking her hands forwards, repeating the process...

She is on Eri's left again. No reason.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (4)] has posed.

Hot-footing it down the tire path takes the wind out of someone pretty quick, especially if they are low to the ground. "THis counts as leg day for a while!" he calls out. A look to the side and he sees Lera fall and land hard. "oooooh..." is all Steven can say in turn coupled with that seething noise one makes usually after getting a bad scrape.

Meanwhile, Mikoto, the girl that did the perfect pole prop-up (go ahead, say it 5 times) is hauling through this obstacle like it was nothing! Someone has a bright future in sports. "I'ma comin'! I'll see you at the next step!" he calls toward Kasagami. He ain't giving up!

Steven is most likely one of the last to make it through, and takes a moment to catch a breather, nefore looking ahead. "It looks like... a lot of rope? OH wait! THeres an area udner it! "Heh heh heh heh!" laughs the little boy, who getting on his hands and knees and getting all dirty from playing in the sand was a normal day. "Now it is I who has the advantage!" proclaism the boy, as he crawls through the fibrous jungle!

...He still isn't very fast. The advantage isn't real. Or perhaps it is all the fun had along the way that is the true advantage?

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (7)] has posed.

Helping Lera up to her feet takes both hands, considering just much taller she is than herself, but seeing that reassuring wink and thumbs up helps assures Niramo that at Lera won't need to visit the first aid tent. That, and she just has a great attitude despite this pitfall! "Right, I just don't like seeing others get hurt. We can do this!" The mention of the sandwich of grilled meat and cheese makes the Juuban girl immeditately think of that mysterious land of cowboys and fat business men. Ooh, was she from America like Steven was? "Then, for cheeseburgers!" With a quick look to make sure Lera is back up, Niramo turns back to facing the gauntlet of tires!

Aah, she's so behind now, but the gratitude that Lera gave her for helping is enough to reassure Niramo that she did the right thing back there. Maybe if she push herself hard enough, she can make it to where she's in the middle of the pack again...? The net is somewhat of a concern as she nears, though. It's too high up to step through the holes, and that seems like a good way to tangle yourself up in a web of rope. Thankfully, those ahead of her already figured out that little puzzle and have gone under. "This part shouldn't be too bad..." It's time to make up for lost time!

But just as she's about to start crawling under, a yowl of fustration very much like a cat cuts through the people cheering the racers on, and Niramo spots the person who cleared the tires with ease in serious trouble. Why did she take a golf bag through with her? Was it some sort of self-imposed challenge? A sense of deja vu washes over Niramo as she stares at Mikoto for a moment before she grumbles before running over the lanes to make it over. "Curse you, conscious!"

Half-sliding under the net and crawling on her hands and knees to the entangled girl, she makes her way over. "Hold still for a second, okay? I'll help you get free!" Even if Mikoto didn't hear her in her panic, the ravenette sits up and starts tugging on net holding the golf case fast, pulling hard to help save the 'fly in the web of the spider'. It takes a few tugs, especially on one hole that is wrapped around a handle, but the case is free. Then it's on to any limbs that might be caught as well. "Okay, i'll stay and help keep the case free, okay? Just do your best!"

This is very likely going to count as a loss for Juuban, with no chance for her to get ahead now, but that's the furthest thing on her mind right now. Even if they're on opposing teams, Niramo just can't stand to leave even complete strangers in distress.

<Pose Tracker> Homura Akemi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Is... is Madoka out there? The soft rectangles of Homura's glasses lenses are made even softer by a haze of steam. She smudges them off on her yellow gym shirt while the whole world fuzzes myopically around her. There, better...

But they've all run so far already! Where did everyone-- she scans the field with wide eyes, open mouth fish-gasping still. Everyone is so fast! To Homura, even the person in last place is pretty quick. Some of them even have time to stop and help each other, and she lingers a bit watching Niramo give Lera a hand up. It looks so nice.

The girl with the pretty curls is out there, and then, isn't that green haired girl also in her homeroom? A blonde girl with glasses goes under the net, then the cheerful roundish boy, and then the girl with long black braids -- Homura picks her out easily, it's like spotting someone with nearly the same backpack across a crowded school hall -- gets all tangled up... she'd hold her breath, but that's just totally out of the question.

Homura curls a fist over her racing heart and tries to force it to slow through sheer will. At least no one can really spot her over here... Her skinny back heaves less and less quickly, but it's taking a while. They look like they're having so much fun. She hopes Madoka is, too, now that she's out of the way.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

In Mikoto's rising alarm, she hears a voice..!

'Hold still for a second, okay? I'll help you get free!'

By now, she's thoroughly entangled, and struggling only seems to be making it worse. So she cedes to the voice, growing still as Niramo carefully disentangles her from the many terrible ropes which make up this awful, awful net. Once she's free, she can look up to her, golden eyes shining with gratitude.

"Thanks!" She says, and it's the first word she's said since she arrived at the race. Unlike the impression of some reticient girls, when she actually does speak, it's not quiet or fearful at all. It's just very, very relieved!

Together, they won't make it out of the ropes with any sort of speed, but at least Niramo can keep Mikoto from panicing about being trapped in a net again.

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.


Lera keeps running. She ends up getting ahead of Niramo again, with those long legs. Her stride slows, however, as she sees the rope. She swallows -- and then she drops down. She doesn't fall into a commando crawl like Fuu. She goes for something else entirely.


...she tries to slide, face-first, under the rope. This works shockingly well, but she comes up covered in dirt and mud on the other side, and turns her head.

She blinks, rapidly, at Mikoto.

"Y-yikes," she says. "That girl's just helping everyone..."

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

The rope ground crawl looms ahead--and our competitors rush into it in... in a variety of ways, we'll say. To some surprise, Eri starts making up a lot of ground on this obstacle; she's not the first to reach it, but she does move both steadily and quickly along the way. The Gardening Club cheers!!

....Steven's advantages don't translate to speed crawling, no, but the fact that he's not afraid to get dirty serves him well. His smaller size isn't so bad either.

This shouldn't discount the yowling of the flailing cat who's found her way onto the course--that is to say, Mikoto. A number of the competitors wince glancing her way, either because of the noise or because of sympathy, but few stop. ...Niramo does, however. As a result, Mikoto is freed! ...But do nice girls finish last??? Both Niramo and Mikoto are far behind by the time they get through the ropes.

Nori's... unique gait stands out, all right. It's also instinctively a little terrifying to those in the crowd who are afraid of spiders. Nevertheless, she and Eri make up some of the front by the end of the ropes.

And Lera? Lera's catching up! ...She's catching up but she is also extremely dirty. ...Dirtier than Fuu, who is moving right along as well.

"Is it a special American style?" one of the announcers--the older-sounding one--seems to wonder aloud. "How nice that we've seen such kindness and sportsmanship in our student bodies, however. Will it continue?"

"There may be no help for the next obstacle. Here, we see..."

Bread. Bread, hung there, waiting, entire lines of it. Filled breads--melonpan, curry bread, yakisoba bread, cream-filled bread... and the dreaded super-spicy curry bread. Any of them could be the one. Any at all.

But they must be eaten to continue.

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

The rope ground crawl looms ahead--and our competitors rush into it in... in a variety of ways, we'll say. To some surprise, Eri starts making up a lot of ground on this obstacle; she's not the first to reach it, but she does move both steadily and quickly along the way. The Gardening Club cheers!!

....Steven's advantages don't translate to speed crawling, no, but the fact that he's not afraid to get dirty serves him well. His smaller size isn't so bad either.

This shouldn't discount the yowling of the flailing cat who's found her way onto the course--that is to say, Mikoto. A number of the competitors wince glancing her way, either because of the noise or because of sympathy, but few stop. ...Niramo does, however. As a result, Mikoto is freed! ...But do nice girls finish last??? Both Niramo and Mikoto are far behind by the time they get through the ropes.

Nori's... unique gait stands out, all right. It's also instinctively a little terrifying to those in the crowd who are afraid of spiders. Nevertheless, she and Eri make up some of the front by the end of the ropes.

And Lera? Lera's catching up! ...She's catching up but she is also extremely dirty. ...Dirtier than Fuu, who is moving right along as well.

"Is it a special American style?" one of the announcers--the older-sounding one--seems to wonder aloud. "How nice that we've seen such kindness and sportsmanship in our student bodies, however. Will it continue?"

"There may be no help for the next obstacle. Here, we see..."

Bread. Bread, hung there, waiting, entire lines of it. Filled breads--melonpan, curry bread, yakisoba bread, cream-filled bread... and the dreaded 300x spicy curry bun. Any of them could be the one. Any at all.

But they must be eaten to continue.

<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Jap Up Beauty https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BB8ZXD-AVI

Madoka's twintails are just barely visible from amid a cluster of excited girls at the far end of the track. A few have rather strained smiles, like they're holding something back, but she's accepting more genuine congratulations from most of the others, for winning one of the sprint-length races.

Ah -- it's the Ohtori Track Team, there's the captain with her signature hairdo (aggressively punk, especially for Ohtori), who's made a good showing today in various events. Madoka, who's been handling the attention okay but retreating, heel over heel, from the sheer pressure, is now backed up against the wall -- and the captain's hand lands next to her shoulder.


A flush spreads across Madoka's nose, and it isn't just from the entreaty to join the track team. She tries to bow her gratitude -- doesn't get very far, there isn't much space between them -- looks left, looks right, and ducks under the captain's arm to escape into the crowd watching the obstacle course, her cheerfully red ribbons streaming behind her.

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Lera is catching up, but she is covered in dirt. Worse, some of that dirt is mud, which makes her clothes heavier. She is moving a little slower, as some of the stuff sloughs off her. But, her eyes widen as she sees table after table of bread -- and those widening eyes are especially visible, because they're white and gold against a face stained mostly brown-black with dirt. Her smile, too, is in stark contrast.

She ignores the danger of the spicy curry bun. There is only one thing to do.

"BON APPETIT!" she screams, before she storms forward. Her hand is outstretched. Mud slips, dripping down in a big glob off her arm...

...onto the grass...

...and her foot slips on it. Then, Lera goes from running to flying. Except, Lera has not yet learned a flight spell. She is crashing. Her eyes go wide with something quite unlike delight, as she sees her goal ahead of her: the Char Aznable Memorial Cream Puff, so named because it is three times larger than most cream puffs. Her mouth opens.

BGM Change: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gH476CxJxfg

Her head smashes into the bottom of the cream puff. Perfectly baked crust is smashed open, and lightly orange-colored cream drips down, as she lets out a muffled scream of panic -- and stands up, hands on the cream puff that has now engulfed her entire head. She yanks on it with her hands.

It does not budge.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Once her head clears the rope, Eri makes a move to stand up quickly. And then breaks into a sprint again, having regained some of her stamina in the interim. Even though she's quickly in side splitting dyspnea again there's a light at the end of the tunnel.


Her eyes light up as she sees the bread and catches her second wind.

Glorious bread. A vegetarian's delight. All the carbs she could eat. "Bread-Bread-Bread-Bread..."

Eri keeps rushing forward until she realizes something is dripping from the hanging bread. Her hand reaches out - and she recoils at the last second, "Oh no!"

Her lane contains... the Yakisoba bun.

Frantically she does a little dance from side to side, as if uncertain which other lane to go to, her expression fraught in indecision. Eventually she cuts off one of her fellow racers- "Sorry! Vegetarian!"

And grabs the Melonpan off the hook, holding it in both hands as she jogs and eats the cookie dough flavored sweet bun between both hands.


Chomping down on it as she continually dogs forward, she enjoys the sweetness of the treat as she eats it at as rapid a clip as she can manage while still running. "-oishi." She says to herself as she continues running.

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Nori emerges and straightens up with a toss of her hair - and she looks back at Lera, looking astonished at how nasty the girl has managed to get. Nori, well: You don't go through an obstacle course immaculately, but she's a lot closer.

And then they have, in front of them, a greater obstacle. Bread.

Nori's eyes widen. Carbohydrates! Her peril, her promise; her pleasure; her pain.

BGM INSERT: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bel8q8fOjk0

She raises her head up as she moves into a steady lane. This bread looks sweet - Nori has no time to consider it more as she turns, clasping it neatly on her teeth as she pulls it off the hook with only a small tear of the crust...

And she steadily eats it as she continues an advance. Now that her field is clearer she can try to make up some good time. Right?

Nori's eyes attempt to turn back to Eri but something large and orange gets in the way. Her eyes narrow again with incredulity as she says, "mmfh! mm mmh m mmm mmhh!" around the bun.

(Subtitles: Camry? What the h*ck did you do to yourself?)

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (4)] has posed.

Oh no! That cat master girl got caught in a tangle of ropes! Another cat power revealed! But at least that Niramo girl helped her out!

A look to Lera, who is called out for her amazing special American style! "Wh... there's a special American way to do things?!" As he crawls he just squints at her. "Nngh, man, no one taught me any of the cool stuff before I left! Why do I find out about it after I am gone!"

That is how it always is, it seems. Ya don't know what is cool until it is gone!

The boy steams forward from the rope crawl section, to heading toward some kind of... lump on a rope? Or some kind of hook. A ook to the left and right shows different lumps, some more recognizeable as...! "Food! Or... bread?!" Some kind of baked good is up there.

Hearing the rules, he looks to it. Its kinda up there. "Nom!" Steven vocalizes, biting at it. Next, with a small hop. "Come on!" He actually was rather hungry. Workouts apparently do that! And everyone seems to be really liking theirs! "Gimme!" he says to... the hook apparently, as he makes one final leap at the bread, mouth open, ready to grab and devour it!

He might not even reach it, but he will keep trying until he does somehow!

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (7)] has posed.

Working together to help Mikoto get free to the other side of the net is dusty and tiring work, but that simple 'thanks' makes it worth it. "You're welcome! Just...maybe you could go on your back next time, and pull on the rope?" And there goes Lera, making up lost ground with a rather spectatular slide! Wow, she made that look so easy! Niramo's feeling a little roadrash from her little slide from earlier.

But now the rumors prove themselves to be true! The infamous bread finisher is up ahead, and with the finish line in sight! And with help being restricted for the next segment, Niramo can finally try her best to succeed despite how far behind she is now.

Dust covered and mud splattered, she rushes up for one of the lower ranging breads and clasping both hands behind her back to resist the urge to help get it. There's already a few taken, but if she can just get it on the first bite...! Twisting her head around and lifting up on her tippy toes, teeth flash down on an innocent looking loaf of bread before being pulled off the hook with a sharp pull. But innocent looks can easily hide the most furious of heat, and with a tenative bite...

...cool sweet cream hits the taste buds and lift the spirits!

With finally something to help cheer her on, and cool cream to help ease the bread down, Niramo takes a deep breath and starts to chew like mad. Cream leaks out to splatter on her face as she bites, but it goes unbidden as she pumps her legs as hard as she can to make up lost time. Can she devour it all and make it to the end in time?!

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

The way the net starts jerking around as Mikoto struggles is enough to make Fuu pause briefly, glancing up in worry, then looking around to see who's getting *that* badly entangled in it. It should be impossible to get that badly ensnared, she would have thought ... But fortunately for Mikoto, somebody's already coming to her aid, and with a quick smile of relief, Fuu turns her attention forward --


-- and just stares at Lera's wake. How *did* she do that? I mean, true, baseball is an American sport and that looked an awful lot like somebody stealing home base, but ... really? Is the ground even that smooth? It didn't feel like it to her.

Fuu finally resumes advancing towards the next, and arguably most lethal obstacle in this course full of deathtraps: the bread of dread. Not that it looks particularly dreadful, but she *has* heard the rumors - that there's always one roll which is *super* spicy, a thousand years of suffering all folded into one innocent-looking baked good.

Fuu finally crawls out from under the net, giving herself a cursory dusting-off as she picks up speed towards the dangling rows of culinary peril; she picks her lane, lines up her path, and jumps with her mouth wide open, sinking her teeth into the delicacy of her destiny.

A very hot destiny, in fact. But, given that her tongue remains intact beneath the taste of fire, Fuu imagines that she could have had far worse luck. Her pace slows considerably, partly so she can chomp down on more of the curry bread without crossing the line, partly because her eyes are watering and she doesn't dare try to wipe at them right now. Once she finishes the bread, finishes the course, and washes her hands, *then* she can worry about how badly she's tearing up.

.... At least that's the finish line ahead of her, right? Other students seem to be progressing in that same direction.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Nice girls might finish last, but at least they get through. Mikoto smiles, chipper, as they emerge from the ropes. "Helped lots!"

But there is something which distracts her from this glorious blossoming friendship: the smell of food. Mikoto's head snaps towards the hooked bread, and she springs off in that direction. There's just one... little... problem...

Getting trapped in the net put them at the back of the pack.

Much of the safe bread has already been plucked.

And Mikoto is hungry, and not thinking about whether this food might be dangerous.

So Mikoto leaps towards the bread, mouth open wide, and chomps down -- on a 300x spicy curry bun...

Momentum is a difficult thing to defeat. Mikoto's jaws tear the bread from its hook, and it goes down with her as she hits the ground. Swallowing is as much a reflex as anything deliberate.

Half of the curry bun falls to the ground, unsupported, as her teeth chomp through it. Her eyes water. Her hands clench the dirt where she's fallen.


A monstrous howl of pain erupts from behind the racers, as a shadowed creature charges forward! A demonic cat, fiery heat pouring from its jaws, eyes like embers -- where did it come from?! And how does it mean to ruin the race?!

It means to - to charge past the finish line in a blur of motion -

- to knock over a carefully-placed Student Council observation chair -

- to leap onto the leader of the Ohtori Track Team, leaving a bootprint where the captain's face once was -

- to charge through the bleachers in a storm of dust and motion -

- and leap off of the top of the bleachers into the distance below -

- well, whatever evil plan it had in mind, it's gone now.

<Pose Tracker> Homura Akemi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

"Here, Akemi-chan. Drink some more water." The teacher behind her, a woman with hair in a steel-spun bun who's been doing this a very long time, has already figured out that sometimes it works better to just tell this girl what to do. Obedient and on her way to recovered now, Homura turns to take the offered cup in both hands...

...and sees Madoka! She'd been looking entirely the wrong way, of course, but now that Homura's looking the proper direction there's no mistaking her even in a crowd. She already feels like she'd know that shade of pink anywhere. She's at the center of all those girls, which makes sense to Homura, but then, then--

"A-ah!" Who flinches more when that hand lands by Madoka's shoulder, Madoka herself or the girl watching her from across the crowd? The cup bobbles right out of Homura's hands and upends most of its contents on her sleeve, but some water gets on the teacher's nice sensible flats, too.

"Oh no! I-I'm, ahhh, I'm sorry Ijiri-sensei..." Homura wilts, and the paleness her face had regained as her heartbeat slowed, well... consider that ground wholly lost. She matches Madoka's ribbons across the way. And looks for them, after a short sheepish eternity grabbing after a cup that seems to want to actively bounce away from Homura's hands. Why did that girl-- is she okay? Madoka looks so... Homura feels like she understands that look on Madoka's face, just a little, but what she doesn't feel is brave enough to find her and say so.

Neither does she feel bad, exactly, for the Track Team captain's face after the rampaging cat-demon is done with it.

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

"It seems that our competitors are hungry for victory," the Vice President's voice continues pleasantly, and she says it so smoothly that it might make people question whether that was a pun or not. But soon enough, this obstacle is reached. The bread... The dreaded bread.

Fuu gets her bread, all right, and the fact that she slows down may mean she isn't first, but it does mean she doesn't fall forward into terrible spice. ...This, apparently, is a problem that can happen, because:

"My, what a unique approach from the Infinity team," Shizuru comments as the crowd finds that there is now a cream puff engulfing Lera's head. That's a thing that happened; that's real. The reactions are a mix of mostly varying degrees of held-back laughter (or not held back at all), with a teacher sighing openly and hanging her head.

Steven... well, he tries. He really does his best. He catches a lot of eyes in fact in his efforts, but he just isn't quite tall enough. He jumps, and jumps, and jumps, and--finally a passing girl in Juuban red stops to grab the line and pull it lower so that Steven's next leap gets the bread. "Keep at it!" she encourages, and then gets her own bread...

...And promptly falls over. It's not the death bread. Just "Gh--What... what is this flavor...!?"

Nobody can answr Nori's question, not really. But her steady lane serves her well; through a lack of getting caught up, she's starting to pull ahead of those who are getting tired, and perhaps most importantly for Ohtori, she's looked good doing it. There may be some sparkling going on before she pulls the bread. ...The running will probably handle the calories.

"Ah, they're getting close--"

Eri darts across lanes, leading to that racer tripping, which is only the start of misfortune. Eri gets her melonpan, and forward, forward--

Here's where misfortune comes in. Surging from behind, from all the way in the back, is the sudden approach of a blur of motion. The howl of pain gets a number of racers to turn and look in shock, but the demon cat cannot be denied. A chair falls over; a captain's face is smooshed--and the cat is gone.

"Someone found the spicy bun!" the Vice President declares cheerfully. "Let's give the monster cat a cheer, shall we?"

...She's from Ohtori. A wild animal showing up just isn't strange there.

Still, there is a race to finish. Lera, unfortunately, becomes part of a pile up. The good news, however, is that the bun is delicious inside. Steven is small and behind, but still finishes! Niramo couldn't quite make up the distance she lost by stopping to help everyone, but she's certainly building a reputation. It's the steady ones--Nori, Eri, Fuu--who lead forward, with fine scores for their schools.

"What determination!"

...As people finish, though, the rumors are already flying. A mystery... and also the three-legged race set to happen next.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Eri fumbles her half-eaten loaf as Mikoto barrels on by - "What!?" -unable to catch it as it deflects off her palms like a hot potato-

-and lands on the ground.

A disaster!

Except she swiftly bends over to scoop it back up. Surely she won't...

The girl dusts off the edge with the bottom of her gym shirt, getting a small amount of sticky dirt smudged on before-

"Five second rule." - and keeps chowing down, with eyes straight forward on the carnage ahead.

It feels like she's running into a war zone... an apocalyptic event. The fiery visage of the demon cat still seared into her memory. And yet - the demon keeps going, fleeing off the fields like a storm that just passed through.


Chew Chew.

By the time she finishes the bun and the race, she's in the top three.

"... I actually placed this year." She declares to herself, before she cants her head to the side in thought. "Noone's ever described me as determined before." That's a pretty delightful thing to dwell on.

Afterwards, she searches for a napkin to wipe off on before she heads to the three-legged race.

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Lera does, in time, manage to yank the cream bun off. She doesn't actually eat any; she was covered in so much dirt that the idea was disgusting, and she gags when she yanks the cream bun off. Unfortunately, at this point, she is part of a pile-up -- and any notion of winning the race is gone, as other students surge past her.

She straggles across the finish line, rather akin to a walking wounded who has wondered too far from the disaster site. She crosses it -- and then falls over, legs and arms spread out. She groans, aloud.

"I'm not moving," she declares. She is a combination of cream filling, mud, and exhaustion. "Staying riiiiiiiiight here."

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (7)] has posed.

Breaaaathe, chew chew chew. Breaaaathe, chew chew chew. There's a -lot- of cream in this bread, and it takes more than one deep breath to make her way through it all. Trying to eat it all, make up for lost ground and not choke inbetween breaths in a lot harder than expected, but she's starting to make up for lost time!

Then an ear-splitting agonized cry of pain, the sound of countless agonized damned souls breaking free of Hell roars out from behind them all. A chill of fear and dread tingle down her spine, and Niramo twists her head behind her to see what sort of monstrosity could be attacking. Was it some sort of giant mechanialized ghost?! All she sees is eyes of pain, a mouth roaring out flames, and the Juuban student throws herself sideways and onto the ground instinctively, all so she wouldn't be in the path of destruction of the inhumane -thing-!

Running the rest of the way over the finish line is an exhausting afair, but with her mouth clear of bread and not becoming a victim to some sort of demonic cat attack, she had to admit one thing. "That...was actually a lot of fun...but what was that thing?!" She sort of feels like Lera and just wants to fall over right where she stands, but that is just going to make her more dirty. Ugh, a shower is so in her future, but at least she was nowhere near as dirty as the cheeseburger-loving American.

All things considered, Niramo knew she wasn't going to even make it to 5th place, but she managed to help others and get a good snack for her troubles. But honestly, winning wasn't the main thing here, it was seeing other succeed. Maybe that's why the sports festival is so fun to watch? Pondering this and trying to wipe some sticky cream away from her mouth, Niramo starts trudging over to the three-legged race and hoping her name doesn't come up.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

Fuu manages to polish off the curry bread just in time, swallowing the last bite just before her foot passes the threshold.


She nods to whomever is staffing at the finish line and heads in search of the water station. She *did* work up a sweat, in addition to the spiciness of the bread parching her throat like a fireball in a desert. Hopefully she can avoid being an athlete for a little bit ....

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (4)] has posed.

"Aw maaan!" Steven says, stomping a foot. He can't throw something at it, 'cuase it would hit the floor and he has to eat it. Nothing is nearby to use to stab it with or something to bring it to him.

And then one of the other participants stops by and hands him his bread! "T-Thanks!" he says kindly, holding the bread like it was a christmas present. He immediately begins to run forward, attacking his bread with his face! It had an... odd aftertaste. Slightly sweet. A flavor he didn't recognize. Possibly a fruit. Not bad, just... different?

Maybe he can find out the flavor later.

And with that help, he finally makes it to the finish! "I didn't expect a mid-course snack!"

Walking up, he sees that there is yet another possible step ahead! "...I hope that cat lady will be okay," he ponders while viewing what the next challenge is. "Well, this might get awkward." His height once again may cause problems. Hopefully he is either paired with someone short or another that is fine with bumbling and just having fun!

<Pose Tracker> Nagisa Misumi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

"Good news," Rina says breathlessly as she jogs up. "You're with Lera Camry. She looks pretty fit."

"Ri-ra?" Nagisa asks, mystified.

"Li-ra," Rina corrects.

"Arienai!" Nagisa blanches. "W-we can pick our own too, right? Why don't I just..."

"Oh no you don't," Shiho cuts her off, putting palms against the solidity of Nagisa's back and starting to shove. "We get points for every pair that places, not every student, so it's much better for it to be someone from another school."

"Maybe there's some exchange student at Juuban?" Nagisa laughs lamely.

"Nagisa-chan! You don't need to talk to her!" Rina scolds. "You just need to run with her."

"Did you find a headband?" Nagisa asks faintly.

"You bet," Rina says. "One of your fans had one."

"She's a genius to bring a spare," Nagisa breathes, reaching out to accept the strip of red cloth gratefully.

Rina and Shiho exchange glances. "It's not a spare," Rina hedges.

"Hm," Nagisa agrees distractedly. With the ease of agile fingers she plasters it across her forehead and exchanges the ends between her fingers behind her head, and tugs it tight with a decisive tug. Dragging a sunkissed spray of bangs free of the band with a push of her fingers, she nods in satisfaction. "Okay," she says. "I'll try."

Over by the fence, a headbandless girl makes a faint noise and clings to chain-link weakly. Her fellow fans have been watching her supportively, and they hurry over to tend to their pining little comrade.

"Kashiwada-san, are you okay?"

"Hang in there, Kashiwada-san!"

"It's..." Mayu answers in a daze, as her headband flutters behind the stride of bare tawny thighs. "Just a lot..."

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Soon, the course is made ready once again--but this time, not for obstacles and mud, but for a race wherein the obstacles... are the racers themselves!! One can easily imagine that the announcer said exactly that instead of, "Participants in the three-legged race, please check your ties before we begin."

...She does seem to be having fun, at least.

Meanwhile, the pairs have been assigned in many cases, some by athletic students and club heads, some by faculty directly, and each has been given the cloth and some help, so that they can be stuck together as is required. The ties stick one leg each close to the other, such that they can't easily escape. Such that...

"An exercise of trust and openness among classmates and fellow students, the three-legged race is a particular favorite of Ohtori's very own Sugiura-sensei, so be sure to do your best!"

Not that Shizuru actually asked her. She'd just claim Midori is modest, that's all.

Of particular note are a few pairs:

Lacrosse giant Nagisa Misumi and exchange student Lera Camry, an athletic combination!

Graceful Nori Ankou and noted bad girl Kozue Kaoru!

The helpful (and short) Niramo Umokeshi with adorable Steven Universe!

...And of course, the lovely Mami Tomoe and the bombastic Sayaka Miki.

Each has had a chance to get near the starting line, and all they have to do, in theory, is make it to the other side. There are no obstacles, just lanes large enough for each of them. ...But... The circumstances, well...

As for her, Mami Tomoe did not sign up for the three-legged race, precisely. ....She did not precisely 'sign up' for any of the events, content to cheer people on from a comfortable place on the bleachers with tea, without needing to sweat or risk mussing her hair or have to conceal how good of shape her magic allows her to be in. At least she's with someone she's met; the older girl smiles Sayaka's way as if she isn't about to look ridiculous, somehow elegant even in the Ohtori gym uniform. "Let's do our best, shall we Miki-san?"

Everyone gets the opportunity for such encouragement... But not long enough, before another teacher fires a blank into the air, and the race begins with a bang!!

<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [None] has posed.

"And just what do we have here?" Comes blue-haired figure in Sayaka and Mami's periphery. She's wearing the yellow Ohtori gym uniform with bloomers that she's worn of her own accord, they're not the standard. "Miki-chan, how lucky are you to have drawn such a gorgeous partner?"

She crosses her arms as she assesses Mami Tomoe properly at short range, "The mature elegant type? You're exactly the kind of girl that my big brother could fall head over heels for..." Then looking to the side as if in thought, with a palm to her cheek, "Or do I mean me? Sometimes... being twins - mixes even me up."

Passing by close enough to brush Sayaka's shoulder, she pretends she's not looking at the girl's expression extra hard as she crosses over to her lane

"Ankou-chan? Ankou-chan?"

She pronounces as she looks around without any sense of respect despite the fact that she's never met the girl, doesn't know her.

When she's pointed out to her though, Kozue gives her this smile as she places herself shoulder to shoulder, "Now don't be getting any ideas while we're bound together. It's such a vulnerable..."

There's a pause, as if searching for a word and turns her head enough to be saying the words right beside her ear, "... position... to be in. Don't you think?"

This girl can't be real right? Either way she holds still as the two are tied together.

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

By the time that the three-legged race starts...

...Lera is not cleaned up. This is how Nagisa Misumi finds her and, for the first time, meets her. A tall, bedraggled girl of 5'8", her red-orange hair is matted with mud and cream filling. Her face is covered in the same, and the effort to wipe it away has mostly left streaks of cleanness. Her uniform is a sight: crumbs, dirt, and stains mean that this T-shirt and pair of shorts will be burnt rather than kept.

She looks at Nagisa, eyes blinking slowly, and then raises a hand. "Hi!" she says, in English. Then, she switches to (surprisingly fluent) Japanese. "I'm Lera Camry, from Infinity. Nice to meetcha, y'know? It's..."

She looks at the course.

"...It's been a day," she says. "But let's do our best, right? That's, um, the spirit of competition o-or something!"

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Nori Ankou looks towards - who is this? The sort of person who -

She blinks once as she puts it together. Kozue Kaoru... THAT Kozue Kaoru...

And she's coming up there. She's placing herself *alongside* Nori.

The contact with another person is a little unusual for her, a child who was not often hugged when small and who is unsure about the habit even now. The feeling has a certain slinky intimacy to it even as their ankles are lashed together. Then Kozue makes the discomfort gain an entirely new dimension, one reaching into the world of adults -

And Nori, who had not been sweating a lot beforehand, starts doing so now. Her cheeks bloom, if with pale diffidence compared to some people with beetlike tendencies.

"W-well," she says. "Our legs are the same length, at least, so at least we have that going for us!"

It's true! Get a measuring stick. Nori looks at Kozue, slowly, her deep blue eyes a little bit terrified. "-- I've never done a three legged race before," she admits.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (4)] has posed.

"Ohhh this might be tricky," thinks Steven. A look to the course ahead. Should be easy enough, right?

Teams are assembled, and the Gem Child gets assigned to... the name wasn't immediately familiar, but seeing who it was does help! "Hey! It's you!" he says, excitedly. Even better, she was closer to his height than everyone else! "Name's Steven, I forget i-if I introduced myself!" he says kindly, though nervousness is present. Because now he could mess up someone else's chance of winning if he messes up! THE PRESSURE IS ON.

"Ah... okay, which is your better leg you think for this?" he asks Niramo. He has no idea if that matters on this, actually!

As he looks at the supplies to set up, a thought occurs. "Should we start with making sure to step forward on the same foot first? I haven't done this before!"

<Pose Tracker> Nagisa Misumi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

"Hai mai neimu iz Nagisa," Lera's new partner sputters out breathlessly. "Hello aa you faine? Sank you."

This is like being in front of the board, for Nagisa, except worse. A real live English speaker... for a girl who has been so bad at doing her English homework, this is very much like a sinner meeting the Devil at last, to answer for all the wrongs she did in life.

Her hair color is similar to the foreigner's, though hers is bleached and Lera's is presumably natural. She's notably shorter than Lera, too, but even with her posture curled back in nervousness, the impression she gives is mostly of sleek strength. Juuban invested her with a track uniform instead of a gym uniform, too, so she's in a midriff-baring training top. Her stomach has the hard smooth concavity of a metal spoon.

"Aa, Japanese?!" Nagisa startles. Then she nods repeatedly. "Right, the spirit of competition! So... we'll do our best."

Sitting down and tying her leg to Lera's, Nagisa seems to forget she speaks English. It's not a rare phenomenon, to not really trust a foreigner's Japanese. "Do you raiku... Jya pan?" Nagisa asks. "Toukyou... sugoi biggu da ne..."

As they stand, Nagisa tugs her ankle against Lera's, testing. "This iz... numba wan." She moves their conjoined leg forward to demostrate, sweating at the temples from linguistic stress. "Wan, tsu, wan, tsu... okay dess?"

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (7)] has posed.

There's not really a lot of time to clean up before the race, sadly.

A wet cloth got most of the dirt and grime off Niramo's face, but she's not looking nearly as clean as she did this morning. Thankfully, she doesn't have to worry about that, as her partner is just as dirty as her. "Oh, Steven-kun! I saw you during the tug of war match and you were amazing out there. Uh...I kinda didn't do so well in the last race, but i'm be sure to make up for it here!" That's right, being tied to another person is going to stop her from running off to help another duo up...well, as long as Steven doesn't get the same idea himself.

Though, there's just something a little depressing about being paired off with an elementry student based on her height alone. She's in her 7th year now, surely she should be taller to match, right? Maybe she should look for some of those stealth heel shoes she heard about?

"N-no, it's fine. I managed to hear your name in passing, so...oh, right! I'm Niramo, and lets work together on this, okay?" She steps next to Steven and lets her left leg be tied up with the foreign exchange student's right leg.

A pondering look goes on her face before she nods. "I think that would be best, and we try to keep a beat...you know, like a drummer does in songs?" The Sound Wizard of America has to know about that, right. "And...I haven't done this in ages, so we'll cover each other. It'll be alright!"

After all, there doesn't seem to be any demonic fire-breathing cats here now. She's so glad Takk wasn't around her when that happened.