Duelist League: Haru vs. Uta

Noodle Arms versus Sheer Chaos. Who shall win? Who shall lose? Who shall spectate? Join in and cheer, heckle, or monch popcorn while the beat of battle pumps in the background. Unz unz unz. 50% more shenanigans.

Carmina Gadelica - Main Square

It has been a week-ish since the Statue was built. Look, when there are episodes in an anime, does anyone /really/ know the timeline? People that update the wiki do. The diehard fans to. Hardcover books about Legend of Zelda chronology come out of things like this. But this?

This is much more simple. Haru and Uta are in Carmina.

The weather is nice right now. It is a midafternoon Spring Day with a lovely overcast. It is a perfect time for shopping, socializing, and state-sponsored entertainment. Both Haru and Uta are duelists in the league and have chimmed to have a show in Carmina's plaza. League members are made aware if they want to watch.

The stage is set. The actors in their place. Kinda. Haru is heading to the square with toast in his mouth. He is going to be late! He is never late! He is always on time. Thats what wizards do, right? He is kind of like a wizard. Yes, he collides with a cute girl on the way to the arena, as anime law requires, but can only offer a muffled 'sorry!' before getting to the empty plaza.

"I am starting to think those long nights working on the statue are catching up with me," the silver haired man huffs. Dignity, man! Dignity! Haru straightens up, taking a dignified monch of his toast. "Sibling rivalry. Prepare for trouble!" he Chuunis. True, he isnt in Dark-Mood-Haru, aka Ruxah mode, but its still fun.
Carmina Gadelica - Main Square

Clop. Clop. Clop. Clop.

The hooved feet that produce that sound belong to Uta's larger-than-average-Grunty wearing, as she is wont to, a purple wig and prosthetic green sylph wings made of some gauzy material, held taut by metal wire. Also, wearing some sort of orange anime outfit. Where does she find them?

That would not be so interesting per se, but the animal just so happens to pull a traveller's wagon, which pretty much consists of a large barrel modified to have a vague "hobbit hole" vibe to it, painted white, and placed on wheels. Both come into view off to a side of the main square, come to a stop, and the grunty yells out, "Battle Costumes for Everyone!"

The door at the back of the barrel creaks open, Uta swivels the three-step ladder-on-a-hinge to reach to the ground instead of resting against the door, and slowly, deliberately walks down.

Still in a full body slime-pattern nightgown, mind you. The loose, long-sleeved kind that reaches to her feet, that is. The kind that goes with a night cap with a pom pom, pom pom which, to fit with the rest of the theme, has small decorations resembling googly eyes (or as close as one can get in this world) and a smile to make it look like a slime.

Uta yawns, stretches, and clicks her tongue a few times while scratching her side. "Yes, yes, Gwenty, we've reached our destination." Ah, Grunties. This world's GPS. Grunty Positioning System.

Look around. The first thing she notices, is the great Wheel of Life, where legacies are passed on, and unfinished business has to be carried on. A cute girl, maybe an Adventurer, possibly a normal schoolgirl in the real world, has now been bestowed, through an accidental bump, with the power of the Toast. The Relay has been passed to her, confused at holding it in her mouth, but soon she'll likely meet a mentor that will introduce her to the ways of Magic, and she will fight for Life, The Universe, and Everything Nice.

For such is the circular nature of Time.

Second of all, she notices somehthing non-round: Haru. Unless, that is, we're talking spaghetti-O's, in which case the noodle arms have come full circle.

"You should get your own ride," Uta suggests to her brother. "Seriously, it might look a bit expensive at first, but you have no idea of how much you're gonna save on toast!"
Carmina Gadelica - Main Square

Haru, bereft of the life giving toast, watches the grunty-pulled Wagon clop on into view. His hand slides to an invisible menu with those noodle arms of his, tapping air, like a wizard. Wizard Air. A dueling request is sent over to Uta while she is getting her bearings as everything about Haru right now is a bit rushed. One thing you can't rush? Fashion.

"I have a big beautiful Peko named Karen who is," Haru begins. Karen is a Karen. She is speaking to your manager right now about the mere /mention/ of Haru not having a ride. "Around," the silver haired human finishes. For good measure he checks to make sure the huge birb is not in the crowd. "I know the Dueling League activity has declined in the recent months, but are we doing this in our PJs?" he asks Uta. Thought. "That would probably draw more in interest, but you'll want people like Gwen, Ayame, Elly," he starts counting. Really the jist is: If you are going to be scantly clad, double down with two scantly clads.

Minutes later the list finishes, "I already use Cloth armor, but Beach-Outfit-Haru isn't for a few more months." The 'Duel Request' text keeps flashing. "When you are ready," he says, blue eye looking at the request. Time to start casting. Casting what? Unknown! Enchanters are crafty and what they are doing is often part guess work.
Carmina Gadelica - Main Square

Gwen is here in her maid outfit, why she's got a tray held up on her outfit by straps and she's calling out. "Snacks! Plushies of the fighters! All hand made if you like what Uta's wearing you can get your own from the Chain Mail Bikini +1!"

Gwen is going full business here and the plusies of Haru and Uta are pretty damn well made too. Can she choose who to root for? It's hard honestly given Uta's a very close friend who has been adopted and well Haru...
Carmina Gadelica - Main Square

"Uh? Oh. OH!", exclaims Uta. Navigate through her menu. Her nightie turns into a shimmer, which shirnks back into the shape of her everyday MMORPG-style Nurse's Outfit (also available at the Chain Mail Bikini + 1). Specifically, the Season 3 Upgrade Edition! Hey, we have to sell that merch, so we make sure to provide regular season updates. And stay tuned for the mid-season upgrade! Coming soon now!

So there stays Uta, in a combat stance, staff clenched in her hand, when-

Well, she did not see that coming. The ground behind her gives, as in, 'provides': it provides a spike that raises at forty-five degrees, in her blind spot (not many people can see right behind them), and skewers her right through the back and torso, two circles glowing where she's been impaled.

Eyes widening in shock, unable to breathe as she wasn't expecting this (also likely due to the spike is currently incapacitating her lungs), she impersonates the olive on a submarine sandwich while her HP bar drops by a worrying amount from the get-go.

She has no choice but wait until the magic wears off and the spike disappears before being able to move again.

Heavy breathing, as oxygen returns to her system. "That... that was good, I'll give you that," she concedes. But what about-

Uta, the Musical Kung-Fu Nurse who has to cram several incompatible training and fighting styles into one, has already started running towards Haru. Singing a confusing, obsessive melody, sort of like a dodecaphonic jazz piece; tendrils of light and magic dancing in helixes across her staff, focusing on the gem, and as she gets closer and closer-

Two things happen: one, the last few steps are not covered at the expected speed: there is a lunge forward, anticipating the moment of impact with respect what one would nomrally expect. Second, she's thrust the bottom part of the staff, tipped by a metal point, right at Haru, to politely return the skewering she's received earlier.

Third, there is a tangle of raw, chaotic musical magic resonating with the focus gem, dancing all across the weapon. Absorbing that thing is going to... mess with one's thought process.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING, GWEN?!", Uta manages to call out. Well, seems like Gwen messed with -Uta's- thought process...
Carmina Gadelica - Main Square

Gwen calls out. "Captialism! Don't worry you both get a cut from your merch!" She sells a Plushie a moment later and a happy looking lady with very long red hair and gold eyes. Also in some kind of blue ninja costume trots off with it.
Carmina Gadelica - Main Square

There is that Chuuni-level of clenched fist when the Stealthlagmite erupts. A glint of deadly precision from Haru's purple monocle. Damage Mode: Optimized. "Thanks, Uta. Enchanters are not exactly known for their damage per second. I learned a lot from Shiruba and yourself on that field."

It is a full frontal assault of the chaotic stunlock nature! What is that majestic stike to abdomen? He needs that to breathe! Magesbane, I say, Magesbane! A followup with a mental assault to boot? Why, there are practically paralysis effects sparking off of his body as if Utachu nas used Lightning Moves and its super effective. The Enchanter pulses a spark of Air magic to back-step dodge him from it going more then a graze, but the status effect still holds strong onto his Avatar.

"And looks like you picked up some tricks from me. How," he coughs, "entertaining." They /are/ doing this in Carmina to entertain people, after all! "Starting out heavy with the debuffs, I see," the Wave Arte user coughs as he puts a hand to his head. It was never about the damage. It was leaving him in a vulnerable state early on. "Who would have thought," he grins. Thats the thing with dueling Uta. CHAOS!

Two of Haru's token ioun stones fly away from him, finding Uta's either flank. They begin to charge up, their effects lacking the telegraphing nature of chant or color. "Don't let Gwen distract you, dear sister," he grins in a villain's glint. Orbs be charged and at the ready!
Carmina Gadelica - Main Square

"Take out the squishies first, isn't that how it works?", Uta smirks at Haru. There is an attempt at Chuuni, but the thing with Uta is, most of the time she's not very good at it. The melancholic smirk is the result of far too many personal experiences. Experiences that Haru likely shares as a fellow squishy.

"But Gwen is very distracting by is very nature!" Turn to address the Sylph. "What do you mean you're selling- wait, I get a cut?" Silence. "Why am I suddenly fine with it? It's -annoying-!"

Uta dodges away from being into easy range from the Ioun Stones, whatever they are to, with leaps propelled by sonic booms, and it looks like she's doing a pretty good job at it, until a chilling wolf-like howl causes Uta's pointed ears to perk, but when she does, it is too late. A shard of glass pierces her right in the larynx, with the glowing red aura marking where the material impacted against her throat.

The songbird has been skewered; its song, cut off. The magical tendrils of light unravel, dissipate in the air, leave nothing behind.

The red glow soon tinges with darkness, and like a cursed tattoo, writhing malignant black arabesques spread all over her throat, and inch their way towards her shoulders. Her HP drops accordingly, and one can see her beginning to sweat. The weakness creeping in in her expression.

But if there is one thing she has learned from her brother, and in this duel in particular, it is that when everything is turning dark, when all light appears to fade from the world, when the Night appears to engulf everything, that is when you have to tap into your inner Chuuni. Find that power you're supposed to complain about having to hold back.

And so, Uta jerks her face forward, knits her eyebrows in concentration, gnashes her teeth (did she just grow pointed fangs, or is it an illusion?), turns her pupils red, and-

From the still slowly expanding black lines, some sort of black vapor begins to rise. Faint at first, but it grows enough to become some sort of thin, magical Dark layer surrounding Uta, partly hiding her from view, like a Thing from Nightmares.

She doesn't say much at this point. She just hisssses. Part because she has to project this image of fear, but mostly because of her damaged larynx.

And does what she can do with the main source of her magic out of commission: zip across the battlefield like a shadow out of nightmares, and punch you in the face as hard as she manages.
Carmina Gadelica - Main Square

Trading attack for attack. Uta Lanius Capture (read: Bird Capture), Haru skewers the songbird with a needle. Uta puts Haru's mind into a muddle, he prepares a stunning circuit of halcyon.

More or less? Its Debuff time! One can practically hear the 'Go the <bleep> to <sleep>, Uta' in the pulses of the Ioun Stone. Which is quite rude given she just woke up. Sleeping in won't hurt, right?

It does if you are having a nightmare, which Nightmare Mode Uta is in with Chunni Moves unlocked.

The ioun stones return to Haru, all four of them draining out of their signature elemental colors into a form of black-and-white Noir. The color drains from Haru as well, giving his already monochromed outfit an additional level of grayscale with the exception of his blue eye which gleams like a sapphire as he moves around in an unsettling fashion: Half-framed. It almost appears as if he is lagging by the way the Adventurer moves away from the assault.

The whole assault on Haru looks like it shifted into a horror genre. Haru even has that 'I am not a vampire' dodge back with a hand extended out to brush past Uta's face. Calm down. *crunch* There is the sound of a connecting attack as he evades forward before he runs out of dueling arena and goes into the crowd. Still, there is plenty of arcane traps along the way for Uta to deal with. Will he ever use an offensive Arte that is cleanly visible?!

Hands go up to the crowds to beckon them. Are you not entertained?!
Carmina Gadelica - Main Square

"I'm not sleepy," The nightmarish Uta hissess through -no, seriously, are those fangs or illusions?-, the gauzy aura of smoke or vapor allowing a glimpse over the dark tattoo of poison stretching further onto her shoulders, and reaching up to her jaws. Particularly keen eyed people who aren't put off by the terrifying image she projects might notice that the small beads of sweat on her temples are intensifying.

Noir vampire horror. A nitty gritty story of crime and immortality, of castles and slums, and of a corrupt Transylvanian police department on the take from the local undead nobility.

Also dames you know they were danger the moment they walked into your crypt with that cigarette holder. They probably hide a wooden stake with an ornate pearl handle in their purse.

Uta's dodging away from the spheres seems to go well at first, but she gets slower and slower, more and more sluggish. Getting out of that nightie looks increasingly like a bad idea as time progresses.

And so she is, close to Haru, as he seems to not-so-politely beckon her to rest; but it's par for the course among siblings, and so, as her eyes feel heavier, heavier, heavier...


The metal-tipped bottom end of her staff swipes up, to trace a gash on Haru's abdomen.
Carmina Gadelica - Main Square

Is the crowd not entertained, then? Not with sparks of magic and madness? Shards of glass that can cut as deep as needles to the bone or the power of earth itself in unexpected twists? Where are the cheers? The gasps? Perhaps defense is boring. Is it boring them?

The blade comes out to Haru's abdomen, leaving a trail of a red line that won't go away as his health saps away. Hand goes to face for Haru. Flip of the silvery hair. "I see we have failed to spark the depths of the hearts and minds of our benefactors for whom we fight." A grin as he doesn't dart around like a Dark Souls player that keeps spamming dodge rolls. He walks backwards. Hands outwards. The show needs more. MORE! Shenmi, we need your razzle dazzle! Daiyu, we need a half-time show.

Alas, Haru can't summon Adventurers. He can summon Elementals. As the Artificer steps backwards, the ground begins to herald the entrance of one of his stronger summons: Terra. Rocks come from the Plaza itself, smacking together a torso as if drawn by magnets. Legs as thick as pillars. Arms that turn to drills at the forarms. "Terra, lend me your strength. Show them something they cannot ignore," he says in that stoic 'the world didnt give me enough attention so Im going to Limit Break on you' deadeye gaze..

The silver haired young man puts a hand atop the shoulder of his Earth Summon as his other hand extends outwards towards the Kung Fu Nurse. "Terra. Magna. Fortis. Trabem. Conuenerunt. Tenebris. . . Annihilatio!" With each word from the Wave Arte's chanting lips, the arena darkens. Haru pulls enough arcane energy from the area that enchanted lights flicker. It is not unlike a vaccum, a void, as the ground itself trembles at the feet of the four meter tall behemoth. Vrrrrrrrrrrr.

It is charging up now. A light appears at the center of Terra. Her drill hands split in half to draw the turbines stronger. They turn so fast they are circles of white diamonds turned black by Arcane force. Two of haru's Ioun stones join, taking the north and south position to the arm's east and east. At the center? Raw energy. The remaining two ioun stones create a line, targeting Uta. Then 'Annihilation'. Release.

It crackles like dark lightning. Roars like abyssal thunder. A spell without parallel, ULTIMA! Wait. Wrong series. Magitek Cannon! KADOOOOOSH!
Carmina Gadelica - Main Square

With exceptional effort and a trembling hand, Uta finally finds a moment of rest from the incessant attacks to extract the shard of glass from her throat. Those lines of cursed poison, though, they keep expanding, now spreading through her cheeks and the upper part of her arms despite all the effort and concentration Uta puts in trying to slow them down.

Her throat is still not in full shape, but she begins to intone-

Too weak, too slow. Haru doesn't mess about. It's a discharge of energy so powerful people can probably see it from miles away.

Or... 'people can probably stop seeing anything for miles', because... Dark?

Simultaneous discharge of massive energy from all directions.

It's a soul-rending scream that comes from the Spriggan. Her Health Bar plummets faster than a brick being shot into a black hole, and it's pretty obvious that she'll be into the red before anyone has the time to say "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious".

But this does not stop her from a last, desperate attempt at getting to Haru. Dash, run, take the blast full-on, blast which blows away the protective mist, the possibly illusionary fangs. It feeds the writhing defacement on Uta's body, which grows verdant with doom, a twisted and thick doily of death whose rounded arabesques are now twisting into the pattern of jagged cracks. One can see her muscles tense as if she could feel the pain of her body actually undergoing the process symbolized by the drawing.

This might make her stumble, but doesn't make her stop. She narrows her eyes, as she puhses on, wobbling, pearls of sweats clearly visible on her forehead. She lets out one last battlecry, as she goes for haru with the pointed tip of her staff again-

And that is when the eye beam hits.

The full-on blast in the face sinks her already meager HP into the red, and when the interface declares Haru the winner, she's standing there, frozen in place, on the tip of one toe, other leg raised, like some oddly balanced statue of a forward-leaning battle flamingo thrusting its spear towards the enemy, the tip mere millimiters from contacting. A statue, one has to add, which hasn't been washed in ages, considering how it's all black by now.

The pose is too unnatural to persist for an extended period of time, so it isn't long before the Spriggan tips over and crashes onto the ground.
Carmina Gadelica - Main Square

The magical in the area flicks back on like a backup generator turning on. "The Magitek Beam," he says he looks to charcoal flamingo Uta. There she goes, tip and crash. "Ladies and Gentlemen, this duel today was thanks to the Duelist League. If you are an Adventurer who would like to partake, please contact your local Duelist League representative. This was Haru and Uta, we thank you for time." He says this as he steps down a stairway made of stone from the four meter roost of his summon to the ground. On the final step, Terra goes back to normal and returns the rocks she borrowed to construct.

Haru points a finger at Uta and a water gun is created from the tip, cleaning her off. "Thanks for the duel, Uta. I was starting to wonder if all the crafting had dulled what we worked to hard to hone together. It feels like only yesterday you introduced me to the league. Now," spprrraaaaaayyyyy, "we are league advocates." He puts a hand on his hip while his other hand is the fire hose, "Not a far cry from Angelic Layer, only more skin in the game. Literally."
Carmina Gadelica - Main Square

The explosion of cheering and confetti finally decides to take place. It seems like the crowd had been entertained all along, it was all a clever ruse to hide its true intentions, after all. Or perhaps they were left too breathless by the exhorbitant display of sheer power to react.

But now it's safe to do so, and after some initial chaotic confusion, during which Uta manages to reply "...it seems to have dulled things for me... I haven't dueled properly in months, and it shows. Hopefully I'll be able to get back to it soon..." to Haru as she wobbles back to her feet, a few people do approach Haru and even the still stunned and confused Uta to mingle with the athletes, discuss the bettle, express their political opinions, reiterate old cliches, and share what they claim to be the best recipe for Imp'ed peko eggs (not before a long ramble about some quest they went on, of course).

Still, the goal seems to have been reached. Among the disparate subjects in varying degrees of pertinence to the recently finished duel, participation in the League is brought up by a few Adventurers. Seems like there might possibly be new joiners soon.