Duelist League: Kauchemar vs Uta

Horse vs Nurse. Come and spectate! Or throw peanuts.

We like peanuts.

Mmm. Peanut. *cronch*

Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

Carmina Gadelica, the Town of Beginnings, now Root City of the Realm of Uruk.

The Dark Element is strong here, so it's only logical that this would have been picked as the location of choice for the battle between a Spriggan and a Nightmare.

Except this isn't the reason at all.

It's just that Uta is on the move a lot these days, and this was the most convenient location to slot a duel in her busy schedule.

"Let's see... Road Trip, ok, I think I can check that one off by now. Practically. Kinda. Dunno, let me see, have I already dropped off Borywick and am I travelling away from Gwen's... or do I have to drop him off at Gwen yet?" A frown. "I'll sort that out later. What's next?" Look down on a lether-bound booklet. "Right, right, the duel is right now... oh, dance lessons at Eas. Right." She closes her booklet, and shimmers it away into her inventory, replacing it with her staff.

"Right! So... Carmina Gadelica, right place." Flick menu open. "And I'm perfectly on time."

She taps her lips, as her eyelids narrow. "...this doesn't feel right. Not at all. I cannot have gotten -everything- right..."

But after a few moments of suspicion, she just shakes her head. "Ah well, I suppose I -can- do something right, for once. Anyway." She slams her staff on the ground, and calls out, in challenge, "Come out, Souji! It's time to battle!"
Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

The Dark Element is Strong! That means it is time for trouble. Make it Double. Appearing from the streets with a basket of fresh summer produce like pears, peaches, and grapes, is the silver haired Artificer. Slam! Not Souji! Souji not-surprise!

The duelist is aware of the schedule, looking around for a bench before taking a seat and plopping a grape into his mouth like popcorn. Monch monch monch.
Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

And it would figure that when Uta gets the location and the time right, she's forgotten just who it is she's going to be fighting. So the only response to her callout, is silence. At first.

Then the peculiar feelings start. The trickle of foreboarding down the spine as ominous riffs drift through the air, in a manner that makes it hard to tell where it's coming from. A brief eerie breeze blows through the streets.

And in that brief moment one is looking in another direction, the Nightmare Were Fang comes to stand right between Uta. Taps her lightly on one shoulder before saying anything with a fangy smirk. "Looking for someone?"
Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

    Asuna is, oddly enough, aligned to the Kingdom of Uruk. Mostly it had something to do with a momentary (and embarrassing) need to align with the dark places in her soul that scare and confuse her. Or used to. Probably has nothing at all to do with min-maxing and getting dark powers. Nope.

    She's here for a variety of reasons. Mostly cause she likes to show Taka the world with daytrips from time to time. And teach her about the world from an adventurer point of view. And to see adventurers engage in the elegant art of stabbing the !@^& out of each other.

    "Asa, is she really safe? She can fight and not get hurt at all?" the little Lander girl asks. She's bouncing on her seat and super excited to see Uta in action. If, also a bit worried for her friend.

    Asuna looks over at Taka and pats her on the head.

    "Well, it hurts a bit, but they can't actually die. For adventurers it's different. And we're all used to this kind of thing by now."

    "So this is how adventurers practice?" asks Taka.

    Asuna nods. "Basically. We also just like to compete, exercise, be active. It's... yeah, it's a bit weird, honestly."

    She will look over to see Haru right nearby. Asuna grins and calls out to him, "How's things today, Mr. Dance Instructor?"

Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

The town of Carmina Gadelica has always been an interesting city to explore, and that goes beyond the construction of the town. The people that call this Root City home are just as varied as the buildings, and it's always good to know the layout of towns.

It's this city exploration that has a heavily armored Pooka walking out of a side alley and blink as he notices the staredown between Were Fang and Nurse. He knew what this was about, and while it wasn't his intention...he might as well watch and learn.

Making sure he's out of the way of the two soon-duelists, Curtana makes his way over to Haru and Asuna, blinking in surprise at the young Lander girl with her. "Wait, dance instructor? You have a hidden talent for being light on your feet, Haru?"
Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

The trickle of foreboding down Uta's spine is visible to the whole audience thanks to the fluttering of her wings -- minimal trembling at the base is amplified, like in a pantograph, at the tips. Wings might be useless for flying, but dang are they great for showtime purposes.

"AH!", Uta exclaims, and she promptly jumps back and away with a double spin in the air, landing with her staff pointed squarely at Kauchemar.

"Oh. It's you. I was looking for-" Frown. "Oh, right! It's -you- whom I was supposed to duel today! I think I need to update my schedule, sec."

She flicks her menu open, shimmer-replaces her staff with her notebook, scribbles something down. "Where was I? Oh, right."

The bureaucratic procedures of sending a duel invite are taken care of, and after that, unless something happens to interrupt her flow, she shimmer-replaces the staff back into existence, and as if nothing had happened, she abruptly launches into her call-response song, alternating between crystalline and ominous, and coalesces tendrils of colored light and writhing sheer darkness into the staff's gem, which shoots a red beam straight for the Nightmare, while a green one engulfs Uta; and if that wasn't a tricky move already, she's already started swinging her staff to smack the Nightmare in the face.
Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

The Duelist League has always interested Xenphia. Competition and training are vital to surviving in this place. The fact is, she's not cut out for it. She is far more suited to Tower delves and helping people out in the world.

Thusly, this is an entertaining spectacle.

She parks herself where she can see, which isn't too hard given how tall she is, and watches quietly, arms folded across her chest.
Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

Haru puts a hand over his chest as if to say that he is offended at his 'surprise' talent. The blue eye closes. Wounded. He would blush but thats a Curt thing. Silent 'N-N-No, YOU are a dance instructor' Tsun is more Haru. "I am, in fact, an excellent dancer. Some have even called it, dare I say," he opens the blue eye to Curtana, "fun." With the young man's stately tone of voice it sounds like fun needs to be properly weighed and measured. He takes one of the pears out from his basket and tosses it Curt's way.

A peach is taken out, "Mind if I give this little angel here a snack?" he asks Asuna, assuming guardianship here, and not to randomly give people's kiddo's food. If approved, the peach goes Taka's way along with a, "Yes, it is the elegant art of stabbing the pixels out of each other," with a tone that makes it really hard to tell if he is /praising/ dueling or admonishing it. Those that know Haru is a duelist already have an idea. Finally he addresses Asuna, giving a faint smile, "Thing are going quite well. I get to see my sister duel off against a fellow Dark summoner. Binders, though, not elementals. That makes for a good day. Will have to make a new dance move for it: The Midnight Waltz." And gives Curtana a look like 'yes, I /can/ dance, see?'. Monch-on-a-grape.
Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

Duel invite is sent, and accepted. Then reflexively takes a step back when Uta starts swinging. At the same time her shield drops from her back of it's own animation and swings itself around the were fang to intercept part of the attack and keep the Spriggan at a fair distance. Of course striking the summon does give some feedback damage to the summoner, but that's part of the class. The parasetic link technique isn't a surprise this time, and Kauchemar will deal with it when the time comes. No, first she does what she does best, start a show. Energizing her own staff to engage the sound amplifying elemental machine components within it, making the skull's eye sockets light up as she shifts it into a mic stand hold.

"o/~ Rock moles are my roadies, Binders my valets.
A Nightmare is my dreadful steed to carry me awaaaay.
My bars are spitting fire, but they'll chill you to the bones.
As monsters and skeletons mosh pit to my tones! o/~"

And as if the auditory assault wasn't enough to disorient someone, that's when she shifts to point her staff at Uta and fire a bolt of enervating energy from it without missing a beat in her own performance.

"o/~ I'm the Bard of the Dread! Hell yeah it's so grand!
Dark Overture, for the Underworld, played by my horrid hand!
I'm the Bard of the Dread! A darkside celeberty!
The dubstep sound, from the underground, and that you can't stop me! o/~"
Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

    "Oh, certainly!"

    Asuna is certainly the guardian, and a peach is a good treat for the little girl.

    Taka looks to Asuna, who nods, smilingly reassuringly. The peach is then accepted. She smiles shyly at Haru, leaning against Asuna.

    "This is my friend Haru, Taka. And this, Haru, is Taka. Klein and I are caring for her now. Oh.." More softly to Taka, "Haru taught me how to dance."

    The Flash was not a natural! But that's a secret. Truly.

    "Hello, Haru! Thank you for the food." A pause. She's thinking a moment. Uncertainty and then comprehension lights up the little face. She has to assemble previous information here.

    "I know your sister, Uta! She taught me to see slimes in the sky! And many other things, too."

    Taka's voice is soft, but gets a bit louder as she speaks. There's duel going on, so she has to speak more clearly.

Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

Uta's singing style is purely vocal, no lyrics. But as a Bard and a fellow Sage of Song, she also understands the importance of a good show, so she makes sure that her attack harmonizes with the Bard's, kind of like one of those musical scenes where the hero duets with the villain.

Who is who, in this case, is up for interpretation. And nothing says they cannot both be morally gray...

It would seem that, through some sort of karmic payback, playing nice with your fellow performers (considered as such before being considred opponents) provides an unexpected boon: by syncing and adapting to Kauchemar's rhythm and tempo, she's able to slide her ninja evasive moves into a dance of sorts that manages to synchronize with the Nightmare's attack so perfectly that the little scratch damage she gets is quickly compensated by the tail end of her syphoning technique.

And then, it's counterattack time!

One thing Uta has learned from her duel with Fukasa Yuri though: if your magic is based on singing, go for the vocal cords. Another thing she has learned, this time from Ghostbusters, is that crossing the streams is Bad, but dang does it look cool. So she does just that: she counters Kauchemar's bolt of sheer enervating energy with her own blast of magical water, erupting from her staff as the gem is pumped full of magical luminous blue tendrils with a gurgling harmony. That somehow manages to still harmonize with whatever Kauchemar is doing.
Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

A part of feels like he's getting called out somehow as Haru feigns injury, but he doesn't let it bother him. No, he's used to Haru's sense of humor and just chuckles as he catches the pear. "Maybe one day I can see it myself! Also, thank you very much." The knight notably doesn't mention his own skills with groving with the beat before taking a bite out of the fruit.

A quick scroll through his inventory has Curtana materalizing a bit of caramel candy. Raising a finger to his lips, he discreetly offers it to the child using the bulk of his armor as a shield against prying motherly eyes. Healthy food? For a kid? Never! Let there be some sugary sweets! "From what I heard, Uta is the expert when it comes to all things slimes!"

But now, the duel is underway and heating up! Uta is proof that Haru indeed knows how to groove as she literally dances through the magical assault and fires a blast of water outwards. Focusing on this, Curtana does try to make notes, though a sense of unease fills him as they watch these two casters duke it out. A corner of his lips tightens before he shakes his head and tries to brush it off.
Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

The singing stops after the initial round for now, in part because some of it splashes in Kauchemar's mouth to cut her off. But that doesn't mean the music does. It rarely does when one is dealing with a Bard so into it as Kauchemar tends to be. Every movement is to a beat, even the ground itself seeming to ripple in rhythm as she shifts her position away from the main assault of watery harmonziation after the slog to the face. A fanciful turn at the same time and Kauchemar hoists her staff up over her head.

Darkness briefly casts across the fight. Then erupts into a flashing display of bright colors and rays along to the beat, farther disrupting her opponent.

And somewhere in all that Kauchemar has moved up behind Uta, opening her mouth inhumanly wide as Nightmares are capable of doing, and tries to chomp down on the Spriggan with her viper-like fangs.
Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

The Cait Sith watches, keenly observing the back and forth between the two. She's not really skilled in magic. She has a little bit, but just enough to give her tanking skills the oomph they need.

Her eyes flicker to the side to catch Curtana giving the child a sweet, and it makes the usually sturn faced bun smile. It completely changes her face. For the moment she smiles, she doesn't look scary at all!
Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

It's a jingle. It goes "Vanilla Vanguard!", before Uta's skin flashes white, imbued with sheer elemental Light. Vanilla flavor optional, but likely provided.

"Look, it's how the technique works. You -have- to say the name..."

Whether it's true or not, it's up for interpretation. But she -does- believe it to be true.

Whether she's been taught this or just got it into her head on her own... that's up for someone else to reveal.

One good thing about imbuing your skin with Light Itself: it saps whatever Dark Curse may be lingering, slurping its tendrils in like noodles.

And then... there is not much left to say. Given how close Kauchemar has to be to try and bite her, Uta attempts to smack her right in the teeth.

With her eyes closed. She -does not- look Kauchemar in the mouth.
Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

"Taka," Haru considers the word for a second. Being a touch fixated on words and their meanings, he considers. "I'll have to have you write that for me some time. Here is how you spell my name: Haru Nox." He takes his time with children, its a completely different side. Haru's spelling of his name translates to Spring. Whereas Nox is a different language, Latin, and doesnt translate well. "Spring. Night. Nice to meet you, Taka."

With introductions done, Haru offers the basket of fruit up to Asuna for her pick. Haru is plowing through the grapes though. Finger food. "You and Klein have a wonderful child, I hope she grows strong and kind like her guardians. Ah! Uta touches the lives of many. Has she told you of Slime Labs yet? I put new glass in a few months back. My research into Enchanted Glass greatly benefitted the viewing and holding vats."

A grin to Curtana on the dancing front, "Every morning in Shibuya, my friend. We do the Shuffle. Unless Im out. Or asleep." Ok, half of the mornings in Shibuya. "I could teach you how to do it. Dancing is something I do mostly for fun. People seem to like it," he monches on a grape as his eyes and ears turn towards the duel that is heating up.
Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

    Asuna watches the fight and raises an eyebrow. Okay, Kauchemar's attack there is no doubt the stuff of, well, nightmares (cringe pun!) Fortunately, Curtana comes to the rescue. He doesn't even know he is, but creative handling of a situation is key.

    The Flash uses the candy to divert Taka's attention away from the duel. "Would you like something sweet?" It's like asking if gravity would like to keep pulling things down.

    Taka, thoroughly distracted, misses the whole scary nightmare part of the duel. Which is good. Asuna is going to have to stay on her toes. An all-dark focused battle is a bit too fertile for bad dreams. She should really have thought that part through! Next time she'll take Taka to a Soujiro duel. More stabbin'!

    "Thank you!" Caramel taken. Energy++.

    The child turns her attention back towards Haru, then, "Asa told me about that place. With many slimes. And you can pet them! If you wear gloves. I want to try that! Do you have gloves like that, Haru Nox?" Adventurers can, after all, seemingly have everything one could ever wish and pull it out of thin air.

    Asuna sighs gently. Bullets dodged so far. She can get back to the conversation, as well.

    "Thank you, Haru. She's truly our treasure." And thus the name. And no, that name is not what's on her inspect, but that's OOC complicated!

Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

This would be one of those moments where things seem to slow from perception, but since Uta has her eyes closed she wouldn't see Kauchemar's own gaze shift to look at her and see her attack coming. Or maybe it was a big of that divination foresight kicking in. Or maybe it was a reflexive response. No one will ever know for sure.

What is for sure is that just before Uta's strike connects the Nightmare's form ignites in a glorious hellfire aura. It seems to dampen the blow, as Kauchemar only stumbles back a bit from the impact. Snaps her fingers and her Binder Shield drifts back to her, gemstone 'eye' seeming to glare at the Spriggan as well. "Well, I think it's time we let your friends come out to play."

Kauchemar starts smacking the end of her staff on the ground, creating a steady, marching rhythmn, that slowly but surely increases in tempo... until she hoists the staff up, and swings it forward to point. "CHARRRRGE!"

A ghostly sword hurtles through the air past her towards Uta. And then another. And a couple of spears, and an axe spinning violently in a downward arc. There's even some gauntlets and armored boots that manifest to roughhouse her up. It might take Uta a moment to catch on to what magic is being used here, but when she does she'll recognize it. Just the wiley Nightmare changed it from slimes to her spooky binders.
Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

    There was that question about spelling. Which Asuna has to handle, because Taka canont. For reasons. It will give her the Lander bzzrts of confusion!

    "Taka," says Asuna, smilin. "As in treasure. Klein gave her the name, because we took her from a locked chest." And totally broke the poor fleuret in the process. But considering the new, far more powerful rapier on her hip, Asuna did not suffer without a main weapon for long.

Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

Peaches and Caramels. Taka is a treasure of sweets! Haru approves. "I do have gloves like that," the Artificer tells the child, "I'll show them to you the next time we are in Slime Labs or my Atelier." As for the name there is a soft 'ah' to Asuna, "Perfect. Though she seems quite diligent and sharp like a hawk, too." The fun of words meaning different things.
Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

Xenphia's attention slides away from the child back to the fight. Just in time to grimace. Karuvhemar is engaging in some terrifying things. She is not a fan, given the way her floppy ears angle backwards and her nose wrinkles. Maybe it's the Paladin in her, the dark stuff is just kind of creepy and weird.

Or maybe she just thinks people should be swinging swords at each other personally. Hard to tell.
Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

Spin backwards in the air, land into a fighting stance, staff extended like a spear. "Fire. Why does it always have to be fire."

A sword zips, spears, an axe (is it a golden one? What if Goldenblade weilded an axe insted of blades? These and other questions completely fail to befall Uta).

"Oh, hey, I know this one!", Uta beams. "Woo! Practice time!", she exclaims, and begins to... straight-up *punch* them out of the way, in the most straightforward way possible for the genre: with a lightning-fast fusillade of blurry movements where her punches and kicks go so fast to look like multiple instances are present at once. Repeated, machine-gun like explosive noises from her diaphragm are also mandatory.

She comes closer and closer, approahcing through a series of carefully spaced spin-kicks where one foot pivots on the ground while she does a 180 degrees rotation, the foot that was trailing behind now being ahead, lathering, rinsing, and repeating.

Until she's up close, at which point she simultaneously summons, through careful modulation of her curt yells, a jutting rock to eject her closer to Kauchemar, and, sweeping her arms around herself as she spins in the air, a giant slime around herself...

...ready to splatter right on top of Kauchemar.
Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

While Curtana may have given more aid than he initinally intended, he's still quite helpful! Even if he didn't succeed at all from hiding the candy from Asuna, but clearly he got her approval. "You're welcome, and you have such fine manners as well." It's a compliment but very true. He's seen his fair share of greedy children.

Curtana is well aware of just how nasty slimes can be to equipment if they're left alone to snack on it for a while, so the mention of slime-proof gloves is fasnicating to him. But what they are used for...? "...I rather have a good dog. Man's best friend, after all." But the chance of him getting a dog? There's a better chance of him dressing himself in comfortable clothing.

The duel is frantic and furious, especially drawing surprise once Uta starts -punching- her way through the assault. He wasn't familiar at all about this aspect of Uta! And when she summoned a giant slime around herself to slam into Kauchemar? He got a bad feeling about this. "Possible splash zone incoming!" Moving forward, Curtana swings out his kite shield in front of him to protect those nearby from a potential tidal wave of slime.
Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

Incoming! Kauchemar however, doesn't seem to be too phased by this peculiar turn of events. If anything, she's gotten accustomed to just how chaotic fighting Uta can be. To the point that... well, plan for it would be entirely wrong to say. She's learned to adapt her own chaotic and disruptive ways to try and accomidate, after the many times they've dueled each other as friendly rivals.

Ripples of water swirl around her hooves and Kauchemar skates out of the direct impact zone. At the same time she channels elemental energy into her staff as she holds it up defensively, forming a jagged obsidian barrier for the shield slime to slam into, the barrier fragmenting at the impact to send several shards digging into the slime, even as it splatters some over her and the ground in return.

But then while Uta is on the rebound Kauchemar removes on hand from her staff and clenches a fist as rose vines manifest around it, topping the knuckles in thorns. "The Baroness sends her regards!," Kauchemar quips, invoking the original creator of the technique, before lunging forward and using her Were Fang strength to try and punch right THROUGH the slime to get to Uta!
Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

Oh no. Not a slime wave! Xenphia, much like Curtana, pulls out her own kite shield. It's well cared for, but pretty plain and not at all fancy. She sets her feet and lifts the slab of metal up in a protective posture.

She looks down and suddenly regrets her like for skirts. She's going to need a bath after this, isn't she?
Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

It's one of those things that surprise people. Uta often starts battles casting left and right, and then, BAM. When one least expects it, she goes full wuxia martial artist. Just like Kauchemar just now shows off some of her own physical prowess.

The audience will hopefully love the sudden double twist.

The slime explodes, and hopefully, thanks to the protections of the Duel System, spectators will be spared damage (that's the whole point of holding these events only in Root Cities -- going through the Duel System that keeps things reasonably safe).

"Ah! Elly!" Uta beams, despite the seriousness of the situation. "I'm on my way to see her. She's offered to give me dance lessons. Offer I've accepted."

Uta quickly summons a second slime as the blow descends, to offer a second layer of acidic protection, before-

Well, it would seem that Uta was keeping a utility belt of syringes tucked away under her uniform, the leather on her side being enough to protect her from poison damage. The shards and liquid that broke, though, might not have encountered as much protection on -Kauchemar's- side...

"Oh, don't punch me there!", Uta adds as an afterthought when it's far, far too late. "I keep my syring- whoops."
Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

    Taka is now watching the fight. With Asuna studying the battle, but not so much for technique as to ensure it's not too scary. She is frequently looking at Taka's face and relieved that nothing seems to distress her.

    And the fight goes on, and Taka is excited and clutching at Asuna's arm. She's a biased little girl, and just keeps calling out encouragement to Uta. Honestly, Asuna is biased in the same direction. I mean, that is her bestie out there.

    As time goes on, though, and Taka seems untroubled by the fight, Asuna does what every new parent must. She starts to worry and second-guess herself. I mean, is it /really/ good that the little girl is this excited by a duel? Is this like, going to turn her into an axe-murdered someday?!

    While Asuna has this silent little meltdown, worry is on her face. But then Uta pulls out, well, a totally Uta moment and she starts to laugh. It can't be helped.

Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

"... I was wondering where the needles where," Kauchemar muses as she pulls back from the blows. It would seem she only got a few shards of poison laced glass dug into the back of her hand, which she uses two fingers from the other hand to flick off. Some manner of arcane protection shielded her from getting cut up worse.

Opting not to stay so close to Uta's vicinity at this point, Kauchemar stomps a hoof and a plume of black and purple smoke briefly billows up around her. Which vagely takes an equine were fang shape before wafting away... and no Kauchemar. She must be doing the moving on the edge of your field of vision again.

To which she can be spotted shortly later off to the side... just as the gleam is reflecting off the horned skull of Grindcore as she points the staff at Uta and unleashes another beam of enervating energy from her blindside.
Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

Curtana doesn't receive any damage from the slime wave. Honestly, the fact he could have gotten hurt didn't even cross his mind, this was a duel after all. No, it was a wave of icky slime splattering those unprepared that he was worried about. As for the Pooka, he's splattered a bit which messed with his usual gleaming platemail look and his shield is layered with slime, but it's all good here! "Just need to polish a bit more tonight."

Giving a thumbs up to Xenphia, Curtana is happy to see another kite shield user around, since they tend to not be popular around the lands of Yamato. "Nice job guarding there, by the way. I'm Curtana." Sure, he could always just Inspect her and get her name, but that's just rude to do. Giving a thumbs up, he glances back at the duel but keeps his shield at the ready. Uta is likely going to call up more slime, honestly.

Letting out a low whistle, he shakes his head at the two talented fighters. "They're really going all out, huh?"
Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

    Taka, being a child, has so many questions suddenly come to mind as she watches this duel. This results in a high-speed quiz round with Asuna from question to answer.

    "They are talking nicely to each other. Are all adventurers friends?"

    "They are talking nicely, yes. And most of us know each other at least a little. But they are both in the Olympus Alliance, so they probably cross paths all the time."

    "How do they know when to stop?"

    "Oh their hi... hm. They kinda get tired and know that they are done."

    "Is Uta the strongest adventurer? Or are you? Or Soujiro? Or Klein?"

    "I honestly don't think it works like that. It kinda depends on the situation. But Uta is really strong. So are Soujiro and Klein. Um, and I do okay in a fight. With Tomoe, I'm strong enough to keep you safe."

    "Where do their adventurer babies come from?"

    "Well our babies come from... whaat? Sorry, umm."

    The shoes on the other foot, as Asuna is now having her own brrzzrrrt! moment. The Flash elegantly fumbles words for a while, then does what any skilled parent would do in her shoes.

    "Oh wow, she vanished!"

    Yes, that's right. She has distracted the child. She's truly on the path to masterful parenting!

    "Oh no! Uta! LOOK OUT!" cries Taka loudly.

Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

The fight goes one for aeons, fulls of twists, surprises, formal dancing, crushing depths, air guitars, song, punches, undermining, formal dancing air guitars (don't ask), and all sort of showy flash that makes audience hang on with their jaw firmly sweeping the floor.

Metaphorically, of course.

The showdown is now nearing a close.

The two contendants are facing each other, with all the tension of a Western movie. Or a samurai movie. Same thing.

Point is, after some tension-building cuts to the scene as seen from various angles in varying degrees of close-up, Uta whips out the last of her syringes. Her eyes glint.

And Kauchemar knocks it off her hand with one of her techniques.

That was the last drop. Both metaphorically and literally: in utter shock, the Nurse now runs screaming (loudly) for the Nightmare, unleashing her full fury in a blur of punches and kicks.

Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

When you get two people highly in tune with the music, it puts on quite a spectacle. And beat for beat matching each other's moves almost perfectly. To the point that Kauchemar succeeds in syncing a rhythm that parries one of the knug-fu flurries Uta throws at her. Monsters of various kinds are put on the field on both sides of the conflict... Though it's usually easy to tell what belongs to who because anything that isn't a slime is likely not Uta.

Then she succeeds in blasting one of the needles out of Uta's grasp before she can use it. Which gets a smirk from the Nightmare, a reminder that deep inside, she's still a bit of a jerk with all that Dark-ness. "Good, the last thing I need at this point is more horse traquilizers," she retorts. "My hand still stings from the last time I got that point."

Then karma decides it's going to keep things even, and a very furious Spriggan is screaming to rival her own and blitzing her. "Hells bells, and here I'm the one with 'Tantrum' in a technique name." With her staff in hand and her Binder Shield assisting, Kauchemar manages to intercept the initial stage of the frenzy.

Except this time, Uta keeps going. The Binder Shield tries to intervene between them again, but gets knocked aside. Which is followed up by Uta kicking Kauchemar in the gut hard enough to make her wheeze and skid backwards, having to drag the horns of her staff on the ground to keep from going head over heels.
*CLANK* The shield hits the side of a building, and not being a sharp point like the sword, bounces off.
Kauchemar gets back up to her hooves slowly, using the staff for support. "Are you finished?" She raises one hand, as if to start another spell.
And then the shield smacks into the back of her head from that rebound, keeling her over forward. It rattles off to the side, rolling slowly to a stop.

Kauchemar just groans. "On second thought... I think... that's enough..."
Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

The match intensifies, showing a spectacular flurry of spells and strikes, blasts and blows between the Horse and the Nurse. Conversation slackens off between those observing the match, and Curtana keeps watch for more splatting slime to come his way. But the more he watches, the more he realizes he's not going to do well when it comes for his turn to fight. So far, it seems like his best bet is to just hope he puts up a decent show for those watching before the duel ends.

Curtana's eyes are drawn to the shield as it richochets off a building, so he clearly sees the shield slamming into Kauchemar's head. Wincing slightly at that, he shakes his at the phantom pain. "Yeah...I think the duel is done."

Making sure the duel is actually done, Curtana walks forward towards Kauchemar and starts chanting a spell under his breath, working on restoring the Were Fang's health. "Excellent match, you two. Remind me not to get on your bad side!"
Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

    The match does go on, with an intense volley from opponent to the next. For a long time, there is cheering and excitement. Taka is a high energy child, after all. But that gives way to concentration. Trying to understand what is happening. Which mean she's thinking hard.

    Asuna stays attentive to the match, but eventually just settles her attention on Taka, whom she eventually pulls into her lap. To the astute eye, the signs are obvious. A bit of squinting, a yawn, a loss of focus here and there. This results in a sleeping little girl, eventually settled into a comfortable position to fall asleep in the Flash's arms.

    When the match concludes, Asuna rises, holding the little lander against herself. She offers a little wave to Uta and Kauchemar as she comes in just long enough to say, "We both really enjoyed the match. You are both incredible performers and fighters!" A look down at Taka, then back up, "And now I better find a place to settle down for a bit. I'll talk to you later!"

Carmina Gadelica - Town of Beginnings

The blaring of the victory fanfare finds Uta exhausted, confused, and mildly disconcerted. "Wait, I won?", she asks between pants, as she looks around. "But... but... my needles...", is all she manages to stutter before, noticing Curtana and Asuna, she offers a wave to both, raises her finger as if for talking and-

-collapses, supine, one the ground.

"...I think that's enough as well..." Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. "...nice duel by the way. You... you..."


"...my -needles-..."