Why befriend monsters?
It didn’t make sense to Abigail. Monsters and magical girls were polar opposites of each other. Monsters caused chaos and it was up to Magical girls to restore order. Monster girls and dark magical girls might look like humans, but they seldom acted that way. They were prone to mental mutations and serving horrors. Even if a few of them weren’t, they were fighting a losing battle with their own inner demons that would inevitably end with their loss. Even if they could hold out for centuries, they would succumb to their desires at one point or another. If they didn’t want to convert, they were inherently evil. Anyone who chose to hang onto power, to be a danger to others, did not deserve mercy.
It was during this inner monologue that she was approached by a cat girl. For a second she thought it was Kimble, but then realized it was someone else.
”Whoa, you’re super pretty!” Mika walked around the girl, observing her from various angles. ”You’re really floaty too!”
”Oh really?” Abigail placed her hands on her hip. ”You like what you see huh?” When Mika nodded, Abigail just rolled her eyes. ”You’re not my type, in more ways than one.”
Mika tipped her head. ”I don’t know what you mean by that, but I just want to play some Keijo!” She threw her arms into the air. ”I need an opponent!”
Abigail groaned before stroking her chin. She did plan on participating, but that was only because she thought Aurelio was going to be involved. Though he never accepted the impostor’s proposal, and he seemed pretty content with that bimbo Shamrock Sally. ”Yea, well, find someone else.”
”I already decided on you though!”
”We can’t always have what we want.”
”Sometimes we can!”
”But not this time.”
Mika hugged Abigail’s arm. ”Pleeeeeeease?”
With a grunt, Abigail shook Mika off and floated out of her reach. ”Stop nagging you pest!” Mika was looking up at her with the saddest puppy dog eyes she had ever seen. The sight of such sorrow caused her to reel back. Was she being unreasonable here? This was some disgusting cat monster that somehow had lower brain functions than Kimble. While the cat girl was a bit eager for this game of Keijo, she seemed to be on the verge of admitting defeat. Most monster girls would force her to play with them, or get angry at her refusal.
”O-okay.” Mika hung her head. ”I’m sorry. I won’t pester you anymore.” the cat girl turned around and dragged her feet and tail behind herself.
”Wait!” Abigail floated up beside Mika and placed a hand on her shoulder. ”I didn’t realize how badly you wanted this.” She placed a hand on her chest. ”I’m not so cruel that I won’t play a game with you. I just think we should maybe get some teams set up for it?”
Everything on Mika perked way up. ”Really?” Abigail nodded. Mika wrapped her hands around Abigail and hugged her. ”You’re the best, pretty lady!”
”Abigail is fine.” She stroked Mika’s head. ”And your name?”
”Alright, good. Now Mika.” Abigail continued to stroke her head. ”I think that we should go look for a partner and return here as soon as we can.”
Mika took a step back and nodded. ”Alright, let’s meet back here!”
The two departed, both already had an ally in mind.
Having had a pretty full day yesterday, it seemed that this day would be just as busy. That was why Alicia had chosen to take some time out to actually go to the beach while she had the opportunity. The last time she had been down here was for that ‘don’t get wet’ challenge, so being able to do so now without worrying about it was a whole different experience.
Waves swept against her legs as she walked the shoreline, gaze firmly fixed downwards. The water was so crisp and clear that it was easy to see what laid on the ocean floor below. That was what interested her so much now.
Actually, it had been a while since she had gone to the beach. Swimming would happen sooner or later, but right now she was busier collecting seashells. A few were already held in one hand as she scoured to find the best ones she could. They would probably come back to Penrose with her, right? That seemed like something Dan would allow, if he had a say in it.
Well, even if it didn’t work out it was still relaxing. Everyone needed a bit of time to do that, especially on vacation.
”That one looks good,” she said to herself, leaning down to grab her newest finding. It had an interesting speckled pattern on it, and she’d hold on to it until she found something better. Just another relaxing day in a tropical paradise.
”Hey, hey!” Abigail hovered over the trees and descended in front of Alicia. ”So get this, some wimpy monster girl challenged me to a Keijo match. So I figure we’ll cream the twerp good if-” Abigail looked between the sea shell and Alicia. ”Uh.” She folded her arms. ”You collecting sea shells or something?”
Alicia straightened up as someone spoke to her, turning slightly to find Abigail descending into the water. ”Hello,” she replied with a small nod of her head as she greeted her fellow Beacon member. ”As a matter of fact, yes.”
Having said that, she offered her hands so Abigail could see what she had found thus far. A small sized conch shell, some flat sells, and one shaped almost like a tusk. ”Anyway, I appreciate the offer but I’m not sure Keijo is really my thing.” Like she had told Kimble before, though in this case she wasn’t sure if the team rule applied here. But she wasn’t exactly thrilled about the idea, at least right now.
Abigail huffed. ”Right, right. I don’t think it’s anyone’s ‘thing’ to throw their bodaciousness around.” She looked at the shell without moving her arms. ”Having said that, I pegged shell collecting as a hobby for kids.” She looked away. ”Or for people who don’t know how to swim, or for people who are antisocial. I mean, surely there are more interesting things to do than collect the shells of dead sea creatures.” She floated up to Alicia. ”B-but I must have been wrong, since you’re doing it!” She picked up the shell and turned it over in her hand. ”Anyway, um.” Abigail reclined in the air and slid one of her hands under her chin. ”I’ve wanted to do something with you for a while now. You seem like someone Aurelio respects. And while we don’t have to do Keijo it seems silly not to. I doubt you’ll ever get a chance to play it again once we get to Penrose, and you’ll get a gold just for participating!” She grinned. ”Besides, Beacon needs some representation in the arena. Since we both started on different islands, we could be on the same team.”
”Well I was going to go swimming later. I figured this would be something to take up some time between events,” Alicia explained, not offended in any real way at the implication that she was antisocial, or something like that.
The mention of Aurelio was odd, but she moved past it as Abigail laid out her reasoning. Not necessarily the representation part, but a gold coin was a gold coin, and this was the sort of thing that would only happen here. If so many other magical girls were doing it too, then hopefully it wouldn’t be something that stuck to her once they got home if it went badly. After a moment she sighed. ”I suppose you make a good argument,” she agreed. ”So, what do we have to do to register for the event?”
”I, um, uh.” Abigail scratched her head. ”I don’t know.” She latched onto Alicia’s arm. ”But I’m glad you’re coming along! This is going to be super special awesome!” She was holding onto Alicia’s arm as she floated in the direction of the Arena. ”I’m sure we just have to show up and decimate our foes, so don’t worry too much about it, gheahahahahahahaha!”
This new swimsuit was surprisingly comfortable. Breathed easily, was easy to move in and was vastly more aerodynamic. Not that she'd ever tell anyone, not even under threat of contempt or perjury. After stretching, going for a relaxing dive off the coast, Rina had decided to get to work on her jet ski practice. Hopping onto the vehicle, Rina slammed on the gas, pulling away from the pier it had been docked at, accidentally soaking anyone who would have been on it in a wave of water.
And the people on the dock would have gotten off easy. Unfortunately, Mika was not on the dock. She thought it would be funny to hide on the bow of the boat and pop up unexpectedly. But she didn’t anticipate Rina’s eagerness, and was now struggling to hold onto the boat with all of her might. The wind beat against her, and Mika was having difficulty getting her claws to cooperate. ”Mmmmmm!” She was able to fight the wind currents and get her claws up on top of the boat. It was just enough for Mika to get her eyes above the bow of the boat so that she could see Rina. ”Hiiii Rina!” Her ears were pinned back, but she sounded happy.
“Mika?!” Rina was wholly unprepared for a surprise catgirl on her jet ski. How the heck was she even holding onto that? Same way she climbed that building earlier, she supposed. Not important. She was gonna get hurt if she was clinging to the front of it like that. Pulling off the gas, the jet ski slowed to a halt, almost throwing her footing off from the rather sudden deceleration.
“What the heck-” She shook her head, questioning Mika probably was not going to be good for her sanity. “You know what, don't care. Come on.” She motioned for Mika to get on the back of the Jetski with her.
Mika did not need to be told to climb aboard. She scampered up while the words were coming out of Rina’s mouth. ”Thanks for stopping!” She had been soaked from head to toe, and was dripping all. Mika took her hair and rung it out as well as she could. ”So, whatcha doing, are you busy?” she put her hands behind her back.
“Well I was doing some jet ski practice.” Rina replied, turning around on the seat so she was facing Mika. “So no, not really busy.” The poor girl looked completely soaked. If she still had her jacket, she'd have offered it. That'd be the cool thing to do, right? Yea, of course. Damn. “A-anyways. Why ya ask?” She leaned back slightly, resting her arms on the handlebars of the ski.
”I was invited to a Keijo match!” Mika leaned over Rina. ”The rules say we can’t join up with people whose island we started on, or something, so I can’t grab my usual folks.” Her smile grew with every word she spoke. ”You and I didn’t start on the same island, so we can team up!” Mika placed her hands on Rina’s shoulders. ”It’ll be really cool! You’ll play with me right? We can do boat stuff later.”
Of all the -
Of course Mika wanted to do Keijo. The one thing she really, really, didn't want too. Rina had to resist physically groaning and just telling Mika to get lost. It was difficult to do that in the face of this infectiously happy cat girl. Rubbing her forehead and sighing lightly, Rina gave Mika a small smile.
“Ahhh, fine fine. Why not, got nothing better to do.” She replied finally.
Mika took a step forward and slid her hands down Rina’s back so that she could bear hug her. ”Thanks Rina! You’re the best!” She let go and hopped backwards. ”Alrighty! Take us in and we’ll start the match!”
The arena was a bit different from the one Su and Chloe used the day prior. Instead of a single large platform, there were five smaller platforms. They were arranged like the dots on the five side of a dice, only there were floating bridges connecting the outside floats together in a square, and another set of bridges joining the center float in an X.
The four girls had joined up on the center float. A countdown would start once everyone moved to a corner.
”You look familiar.” Mika was staring at Alicia. ”Yea! I think I saw you in the gift shop!”
”Probably because-” Abigail pointed at Mika. ”You’re about to get, um, re-gifted!” She held up her hand for a high five. ”Don’t leave me hanging, Alicia. Gheahahaha!”
“You got dragged into this too, huh, Alicia?” Rina exhaled, reaching over and giving Mika a pat on the head before walking off to her own corner. “Well lets get this over with. I wanna get back to anything but this.”
Glancing around at the others, Alicia barely managed to avoid smacking her face at the attempted joke. She did return the high five, though it wasn’t the most enthusiastic thing. Well, at least she was friends with most of the people here. ”Yeah,” she confirmed with a nod. ”To both of those comments. I have no idea how this is going to go but hopefully it isn’t too anticlimactic.”
With that she turned and moved to her corner, mentally bracing herself for whatever happened next.
”Ready to do this, squirt?” Before Abigail could move to her corner, Mika ran up to her and yanked on her arm, pulling her down from the lofty height she was floating at. The cat girl cupped her hand over her mouth and whispered into Abigail’s ear. It wasn’t possible for most to hear what she was saying, but Abigail seemed to be insisting intently. When Mika was done, she stepped back and looked at the floating magical girl with a broad smile. But Abigail just shrugged her shoulders, and, after a moment of consideration, nodded. The two girls bumped their fists together before going to their respective corners.
Once everyone was situated, Dan the dolphin appeared on a large jumbo tron. Well, this might have been one of his lookalikes but who really knew.
“Alright ladies and gents, it looks like it’s going to be a match to remember, a dazzling 2-v-2 spectacular!. On one side we have…” Dan looked at a slip of paper. “…Right! Not everyone from Beacon was on the same island. I’m willing to roll with it. And here are the contestants! In the north corner, we have the pride of Beacon, the Archangel herself, SHINIIING SHERRIIIIF ALIII-CIAAA!” He bombastically shouted, to the applause of the crowd watching, including Sylvia who clapped her hands in an amused, eye-rolling fashion.
“And as her partner to the west, we have no other than the meteor-mashing, gravity-defying, heavyweight hitter, DOUBLE-DYNAMITE AAA-BIGAIIIIL!” Once again, Sylvia clapped, this time a bit louder; she gradually started to get into the hype. “I’m just going to call them the AA team and hope they don’t give me any flack over it, hah. These girls might show us some real teamwork skills, and light up any contender!”
He rubbed his bill before going on. “Opposing them to the south, in her new and sleek swimsuit, is the Queen of Steel, the Blade Dancer who’s too cool for school! KAAA-TAAA-RIII-NAAA!” Lily clapped, waving a flag with Rina and Mika scribbled on it as she cheered them on.
Dan then announced the final contestant. “And to the east is The Beast, now released, the tag-team terror, MII-KAAA!” Now Helga clapped, whistling and hollering like a true fangirl.
“Go get e’m, Mika!” Dan now hopped around the middle of the stage, an inexplicable spotlight now aimed at him. “I think we can call them SS, for stylish swimwear. But don’t be fooled; with their love for physical activities and will to win, I think this is going to be an interesting match!” He gestured towards the crowd with both fins. “Contestants, are you ready to butt heads! At the count of ten. One, two…TEN!” He suddenly announced, and launched up like a rocket, with sparkling water shooting him up and away.
”Yoink!” Abigail folded her arms and soared towards Rina’s position. ”Don’t get knocked off too quickly, I wanna try some things before I move onto the cat.” Rather than flying directly into Rina, Abigail orbited around her. After making three full rotations, she flew straight up in the air and attempted to dive bomb Rina with her chest.
Mika was galloping towards Alicia, like a cat in full sprint might run. ”Here I go!” Mika took her tail and splashed some water up on the bridge she was running on. She then attempted to stop by extending the claws on one of her fingers. This caused her to go into a drift. Once she swung completely around, she retracted her claw and continued to slide backwards. She kept her shoulders low and her hips high.
“They opened with orbital chest battery and the assertive slide?” Dan chuckled. “This is going to be one game to watch folks!”
“Or a short one,” Dolly countered, still fixing her mic to the collar of her coat. “Like Kanagawa’s Spectral Tornado, they may just as easily be trying to finish things as quickly as possible in order to end the match before it can be prolonged. This is an especially potent strategy in Keijo, with its concepts of ring-out. Sustaining injuries in a drawn-out slugfest will only jeopardize your chances in the next round.”
“Heh, well don't worry about that since you're not gonna beat me.” Flight, huh? Being able to fly would make her job a lot easier, but she wasn't gonna let herself be outdone so easily. Abigail went for the dive bomb, and Rina did what she did best. Evade then counter. As soon as Abigail went for the dive, Rina leaped gracefully into the air, before spinning so her back was to the other girl, before letting gravity to the work and slam her butt into Abigails back.
Alicia wasn’t sure if she appreciated the running commentary that was likely to come, but she put that out of mind, needing to focus on the battle. Important, as Mika came in with a quick moving slide. Thinking fast, like would imitate like as Alicia ducked low and turned so their butts met. Mimicking how Mika was poised, she didn’t get pushed as far by the energy of the blow as she might have otherwise. ”I hope that wasn’t your best shot,” Alicia called back, taking a step forward before springing in reverse to deliver her own modest blow as she got used to how this worked.
“Rina isn’t even breaking a sweat with this. You can see how she just effortlessly glides out of the way to counterattack!”
It didn’t look like there was much Abigail could do. She missed, and nearly collided with the floor in the process. But she managed to catch the floor before slamming into it. Once she did that, she locked her arms and torso upright facing her rear to Rina. The impact was solid, and could be heard throughout the coliseum.
“Rina has the edge in speed, but what are Abigail’s arms made out of? I don’t think steel beams could have taken a shot like that.” Dan squinted his eyes. “Wait.” They flew open. “I see what she did now folks! She used gravity magic to increase her density!”
“An astute observation, and a clear indication of the advantage that energy-based magical girls have over those who utilize more concrete substances in their magic. With gravity magic especially, a ring out is made much more difficult. Indeed, the plan of action here may be to destroy the platform underneath, rather than trying to knock out someone so physically secure. The question then, however, is whether or not Katarina and Mika can do so, when both are lightweight strikers.”
Sure enough, anyone looking on from the distance could see the platform Abigail was holding onto was further below the water line.
”I don’t think you understand the gravity of the situation!” Abigail shoved herself off the platform, and allowed herself to fall back onto it. Once the platform was pressed deep enough into the water, Abigail dramatically reduced her weight to maximize the acceleration off the rising platform.
Mika had a firm grip on the mat. Her claws wouldn’t let her move very far, but she also wasn’t making a lot of headway fighting Alicia. ”That’s okay! I’m having a lot of fun, even if I’m not doing great.” Mika blushed as Alicia repeatedly bumped into Mika. ”You’ve got a firm butt Alicia, but it’s like my dad used to say: Nothing’s tighter than a crab’s butt in high tide!” Mika’s tail and backside swiftly changed into something akin to lacquer armor. Her tail in particular was much wider, red, and had a fin at the very end. ”Oops! That’s a lobster.” It didn’t stop Mika from trying her attack again.
The platform sunk low into the water. As soon as it started rising, the Archer braced herself for the sudden acceleration as the platform launched itself upwards, even clearing the waters surface. Rina let herself be launched into the air, but in true athletic and acrobatic fashion, she did it with as much grace as one would expect of her.
“You're kinda annoying, you know that?” Rina grunted, landing near the edge of the platform. “I don't got as fancy tricks as you do, but don't expect me to be easy.”
If she were facing towards her, Mika would have been met with a very confused expression from the Seraph. “Is that a good thing or a bad thing?” It wasn’t any sort of saying she had heard before, though there was a good chance it was all made up anyway. She seemed like the type to do that.
Still, if she had not glanced back she probably would have missed the appearance of the lobster tail, and the disadvantages posed by it. Without the running lead up she was better equipped to handle it, and Alicia chose to take advantage of that as she spun, darting to the side and then launching herself forward to pounce upon the catgirl chest first.
“Alicia’s no slouch for mobility either!” Dan pointed. “Look at that reversal!”
“A classic Gale Twist transitioning into a Mantora Snap,” Dolly detailed, two fingers pressed against the temple of her head. “Impeccably performed!”
Mika turned just in time to see Alicia’s attack coming. But she didn’t have time to do much more than take it directly in the face. ”Mmmph!” The blow sent Mika’s head reeling backwards, but she was prepared to counterattack. She was able to pass her tail between Alicia’s legs and press the tip against the small of her back. In doing this, Mika just had to curl her tail to pull Alicia and her together. This prevented Mika from falling off the edge, and made pulling away from Mika for a second attack difficult. Mika’s shorter stature kept her head level with Alicia’s breasts. ”I see why Kimble likes you so much now. ”
“A tail?” Dan scratched the side of his head with a flipper. “The tail bone is part of your backside, I’ll allow it. It looks like Mika’s trying to play an endurance game. We’ll see how Alicia responds.”
“Dangerous ruling, Dan,” was Dolly’s response. “Before official rulings were made fifty years ago, the North Pacific Keijo Association was dominated by Beast Girls who took advantage of the ‘tail-ok’ rule to manifest all manners of limbs from their backside, giving them an insurmountable advantage versus their tailless opponents. Truly, a dark age.”
”I don’t care how easy you are, I don’t date girls! Gheahahaha” Once Abigail was in the sky, she flew away from Katarina and towards Mika and Alicia.
“Wait, I think I know this play” Dan leaned in. “With Abigail’s gravity magic, she might be going for-” Once Abigail was over Alicia and Mika’s platform, she increased her density again and plummeted to the platform. “It is! It’s the flying butterfly, falling rhino!” Abigail slammed into the edge of the platform with her backside. Because Alicia and Mika were at the opposite end… “She whiffed it and catapulted friend and foe into the air! They’re flying over the center of the arena! They look like they’re headed straight for Katarina!”
“No!” Dolly squinted, leaning forward from her desk. “It could be intentional! A teammate sacrificing play was what earned the Queens of Music their stunning first place victory in the Cross-Dimensional Keijo Extravaganza! With one ally in the mix to mess up the recovery attempts of their foes, it could certainly spell an end to Team SS!”
Despite her best intentions, Alicia couldn’t help but blush a bit as Mika brought up Kimble and her interests, though such taunts were to be expected given the nature of what they were doing. There was enough distraction anyway with the lobster tail wrapping through her legs. ”Bold talk for a lobster,” she huffed.
Then their conversation fell short in an explosive manner, the magical girl kicking through the air as they found themselves hurtling through the sky and starting to spin in the process. Unaware of their destination, Alicia’s wings shot out from her back and with a handful of flaps pulled her away from Mika and back towards Abigail. She didn’t want to be taken out by her own team!
”I think we may need a new strategy,” she observed, wings vanishing once she had landed near Abigail. At the very least coordination would minimize the chance of them taking each other out.
Rina watched Abigail take off after Mika and Alicia. Only to use her gravity magic to once more slam into their platform, sending the two of them flying towards her direction. Alicia was able to stop herself, but Mika seemed a bit less fortunate. Leaping into the air, Rina intercepted Mika, holding out her chest so it would hit the now lobster girl first, hopefully slowing her momentum so she wouldn't be knocked off the platform.
Mika’s face made a wet slapping sound when she came in contact with Rina. A jellyfish-looking appendage popped out of her back to act as an air break, which slowed her down the way. ”Thanks Rina!” Mika turned around. ”I almost had her too!”
”Having trouble with Mika?” Abigail puffed out her chest. ”You might have better luck with Katarina, she’s too fast for me to pin down.” She swung her head around to get a crick out of her neck. ”Guess we’ll switch. Let’s just keep an eye out for an opening. We’re not fighting two seperate duels here.”
”Rina, I could really use some armor!” Mika turned her back to Rina and rubbed her shoulder against her. ”Gimmie a chainmail bikini!”
“Chainmail Bikini?!” Rina stared dumbfounded at Mika for a moment before simply accepting the request. “Fine, fine...uh, lets see.” How could she do this? She might have been metal spec, but aside from making big giant swords with her bow, or turning metal into sword shaped objects, she didn't have much magical affinity for metal making. “...ah, maybe...?” Getting to work quickly, Rina finished Mika's request. A simple chainmail bikini...made up of tiny, blunt swords.
”Let’s keep an eye out and back up the other if we see an opening!” Abigail zoomed towards Mika, flying over the bridge headed towards the center platform.
”Alright, take two! I’m off to face Alicia!” Mika charged down the bridge opposing Abigail. Would they meet in the center?
Alicia shrugged, swinging her arms a bit in an impromptu stretch or two. ”That shapeshifting magic gives her a lot of tricks up her sleeve,” she admitted. Not impossible, just annoying to have to deal with.
”Besides, like you said we aren’t fighting alone. Teamwork is one of Beacon’s greatest advantages, so we should use it. I’ll keep an eye out for openings if they show up.” With that said she turned back to the fight at head, ready for the next clash to begin.
With a nod to her partner she broke into a sprint, moving to meet with Mika at the center of the bridge. This move would be tricky, but with Abigail airborne she felt it would be for the best. So as she drew near she hit the deck in a slide of her own that would take her under Mika. At which point she turned and let her wings toss her upwards, butt slamming into the catgirl to send her skywards as well for her partner to hit.
Admittedly if it didn’t work they would probably end up as a tangle of limbs on the bridge, but that was a risk she was willing to take.
Right, well, no time to sit around. Rina moved after Mika and Alicia, deciding to stay a healthy distance back for now. Her best play here would be to support Mika here. Run interference and help make sure the other girl didn't get knocked out, and take a shot if she thought she had an opening.
”Wha? Alicia?” Abigail was visibly confused. She had just suggested switching opponents, but Alicia had decided to lead an attack directly on Mika. The gravity girl fret her brow and flew forward even faster.
Mika on the other hand was fully prepared for her run-in with Alicia. When she prepared to slide under Mika, she hopped into the air. But Mika did not stay in her current shape. While in flight, her body stretched and morphed into an elephant seal. Mika weighed nearly a ton and was about three meters in length. A far cry from what a male would weigh in at, as they can be up to eight times as large as the females. Elephant seals were among the largest animals in the world after all. But this was little reassurance to Alicia, who was under the most intimidating looking grey blob she had ever seen. She likely had no time to appreciate the tiny chainmail bikini on it’s neck and tail. There was little Alicia’s wings could do before the shear size of this lad Mika’s form.
”Gunna seal you away!” Abigail wasn’t too far behind. While she was a potent spellcaster, not being able to directly effect her opponents did hamstring her capabilities a bit. She was still able to increase her density mid flight before slamming her butt into Mika’s flabby form. Mika flew back just far enough to miss Alicia, but the impact caused the entire bridge to briefly sink underwater. ”You otter watch out! That won’t work twice!”
“Whoa!” Was all Dan had to say about the play.
“Hrmm.” Was Dolly’s own response, her brow knitting at the full-body transformation of Mika. 3/4ths of Keijo was meant to celebrate the beauty of a nubile magical youth’s form. Turning into an elephant seal? Not very celebratory.
Abigail landed beside Alicia. After such a close call, one might expect the gravity expert to look a bit frazzled. But she still wore a confident smile. ”How about you go flank someone. I don’t think Mika can stay like that forever.” Abigail probably couldn’t keep herself so dense for long either. Even the strongest gravity girls had notoriously mana hungry spells. The seal and gravity girl lunged at each other again, and again. The entire arena was shaking from having its weight limit exceeded.
For a moment, Alicia could swear she saw her life flashing before her eyes. Never would she have expected that her end would come in such a ridiculous fashion, but it seemed that she had been a bit too clever for her own good. All she could hope was that Abigail would claim she had died doing something heroic, rather than leaving her as a cautionary tale about trusting magic dolphins.
Her wings were forced to redirect, pulling her ‘upwards’, yet even that might not have been enough had Abigail dived in with the clutch save. Coming in to land, the Seraph was left gasping for breath before flashing her partner a weak smile. ”Thanks, I owe you one.”
At the suggested strategy, she nodded. ”Sounds good”. Remaining on the ground, she looked to slip past the titanic confrontation and get around to where Katarina was for a sneak attack. And while she might not have any offensive magic, the glare off the water would brighten suspiciously if anyone looked at where she was.
Rina had no words. If she had been asked about what her day was going to be like, it was not 'teaming up with a seal in a game of keijo.' How was she even supposed to react to this? She hadn't a clue, so she was just going to decide not to think about it. Instead, she needed to focus on winning. She needed to make sure Mika had enough support and she could reasonably try taking one of the other girls out while they were dealing with...the seal.
Remaining vigilant, Rina prepared herself for being attacked, constantly checking her blind spots. Lo and behold, it wasn't long until she noticed the glare in the water brighten. Aicia, huh? Rina braced herself, intent on meeting Alicia's blow with one of her own.
The elephant seal did turn to face Alicia, as it was interested in keeping up it’s attack. The light served to blind Mika in one eye, which caused her to wince. It gave Abigail the opening she needed to land another attack. When her buttocks collided with Mika’s head, it forced it inside of her blubbery body. this caused Mika to downgrade into a smaller seal.
”You’ve got a bony tush!”
Mika and Abigail continued to ram their bodies into each other. Each time Mika’s shape got a little smaller, and Abigail’s breathing becoming more labored.
The hard part, Alicia found, was not just to brighten the light. It was to keep it that way without shifting even when she herself had moved slightly to the side. A minor deception, but not worth thinking too much about as she did so before darting in. Were someone to expect her to come directly from the center of the glare, they would be disappointed as she came in from the left, body check delivered via her chest with a hopefully not-entirely-prepared target.
They wouldn’t want Katarina feeling left out, after all.
Mika was losing stamina with each traded blow, so she needed to act fast. Obviously, she couldn't trust the bright light. Hitting it dead on was silly, even if that's where Alicia was hiding. So Rina flanked it, leaping chest forward from the right side intent on hitting Alicia with her chest.
It seemed both of them were a bit too clever for their own good. In her attempt to outflank, Katarina had done the same. Which meant they just ended up missing each other and landing where the other had been standing before.
Turning, Alicia cut down on the light show now that it was no longer helpful. ”I suppose it’s a good thing I don’t have to worry about swords,” she noted, taking a few steps back for greater speed as she went for the hit. With a spring upwards at the last second to get a bit of height on her in the process of doing so. Simple, but fancy tricks had been getting her in trouble lately. Maybe this would work better.
Well, that was somewhat amusing how they easily missed each other. Well, whatever. As Alicia made her move for a direct charge, Rina made a charge of her own. At the last second before they hit however, Rina spun, digging her feet into the platform and directed her butt towards Alicia, hopefully catching the other girl off guard, with her momentum sending her off balance so she could follow it up with another attack.
Abigail and Mika were pressing their chests against each other in an attempt to get past the other one. Mika looked a little more beat up, but Abigail’s feet being on the floor was an indication that she finally ran out of magic. They were breathing hard, and looked like they could be knocked over by a feather.
”You broke your promise!”
”You were a fool to trust me!”
”You seemed reliable!”
”You are- Really? I do?”
”Well you did!!” Mika huffed. ”Why did you do it?”
Abigail looked away. ”I was jealous. I’m sorry.”
Mika groaned. ”I forgive you.”
Abigail fell backwards into the depths, with Mika too tired to realize she was following after her.
“Ohhhhhh! It seems like we have a double ring out!” Dan folded his fins. “At least they are going to stay hydrated! It’s up to their allies to snag victory.”
“Indeed! Keep your eyes wide open, everyone! Only the fastest of both teams are up now, and a game-ending strike could happen in an instance of inattention!”
Not expecting Katarina to spin and redirect as she did, the modest jump worked in Alicia’s favor as she was able to use her wings to stabilize herself. Gracefully landing, a splashing sound drew a look out of the corner of her eye before Dan announced what had happened. ”Sounds like it’s just us now.” Odd, she wouldn’t have expected a mutual KO out of that fight. It was something to ask about later.
Flashing a smile at her opponent, she took the defensive for the moment, letting her have the initiative. ”Not much point in drawing this out. Definitely didn’t expect to come out of this before them.” Her hands began to glow, slowly rotating beams of light flaring into existence to make things more difficult for Katarina when it came to coordinating her attack,
Just because she was placing herself on the receiving end didn’t mean she had to sit there and take it after all.
Hmph, this light was making it hard to see. Rina frowned. Well, fine then. If this was going to be their final clash, might as well take it head on. She was out of ideas here, anyways and definitely didn't mind not being the winner...did that make her a bad teammate here? She quickly brushed the thought aside. Wasn't like she could really do anything else anyways.
So without delay, she sprinted towards Alicia.
There was a really strong urge to kick here, an impulse that Alicia had to quash as Katarina moved in. Instead she took a few steps back, waiting patiently as Rina drew closer. In the last moments she acted, wings extending and rocketing her up into the sky in an intended vertical dodge.
Ideally Rina would find herself unable to stop before toppling off the platform by her own momentum, but Alicia didn’t quite trust that her reflexes weren’t good enough to avoid that. So she would wait to see how it turned out before doing anything.
Rina narrowed her eyes, leaping into the air in a front flip the moment Alicia began her ascent. With a flip she placed one hand on the ground before pushing off the platform and launching herself butt-first towards Alicia.
It seemed Alicia’s preparations had been wise, with Katarina having quick reflexes to dodge the gambit. But she didn’t expect her to go airborne instead. They collided, Alicia sent tumbling off balance and barely managing to arrest her fall before she hit the water.But it was a close run thing, and she could practically feel the moisture kicked up by her wings as she skimmed the surface.
But she used this, sweeping across the arena and building up speed. Faster and faster she went, until she banked in and swept in at Katarina, with her chest thrust forwards . Not the most elegant of strikes, but there was only so much you could do with the available combat options.
Well, since this had apparently been turned into a contest of athleticism now, Rina was fairly more confident in her abilities. Her strike hit, her butt smacking Alicia right in the face it felt like, before being smacked off to the ground. Angling her body so she landed feet first near the edge of the pool, Rina only took a moment to observe her opponent circling the water before positioning herself back near the center.
Wanting to go ahead and finish this, she met Alicia's blow, jumping towards her chest-first.
Compared to the other side of the match, Alicia and Katarina were really building up to a climactic finish. How else to describe it as the latter jumped to meet the oncoming blow head on?
With the speed at which she was moving, there wasn’t much Alicia could do to react that would make a difference. All except one thing, and she braced herself as her flight shifted. Not in direction, but in form instead as she spun herself like a corkscrew with the propulsion of her wings to aid her. A small edge, but hopefully a useful one that kept her skyborne instead of faceplanting into the water.
A grunt escaped at the impact, their bodies colliding in one match up of power and speed and smarts. For a brief moment there was nothing to do, vision spinning and body carried by momentum or lack thereof. Then it was over, she was still flying. Making sure she was not about to hit the water, Alicia looked for any sign of Katarina. Was it over?
Rina was pretty sure Alicia was bigger than she was, that was the only reason she won this little bout, yep. The Archer couldn't stop herself from being flung off the side after the impact, and Alicia could hear a splash of water as her opponent hit the water. A few seconds later, Rina surfaced, knocking some water out of her ears.
“And it’s over!” Dan clapped his fins together. “Alicia and Abigail progress to the next round! Good match everyone, but things are only going to get more exciting moving forward”
Hearing the splash of water, Alicia came in for a landing on the platform as the match concluded. ”Good match,” she called, offering a hand to help Katarina out of the water.
Accepting the hand, Rina allowed herself to be pulled out of the water and back onto the platform.
“Well, glad this is over with.” She exhaled. She felt exhausted. Was it normal to feel this exhausted after something like this? It felt like mental fatigue more than anything.
”Rina!” Mika pranced over to the girl and gave her a bear hug. Her arms even turned into bear arms for the occasion. ”That was a close game! We got one of them, even after she lied!” She jumped up and down. ”I’m glad you came along. This wouldn’t have been as much fun with someone else. Wanna get an ice cream?”
Abigail had also pulled herself out of the water. ”Heh...” She walked over to Alicia. ”I guess we’ve got a break until our next match starts. We should probably make use of it.”
Alicia wasn’t sure how she felt about the notion of round two, but she kept that to herself as she waved to the crowd. She nodded to Abigail, the team temporarily reunited for now. ”Yeah,” she agreed. ”I was going to stick around here a bit, see how some of the other teams play. But I’ll be here for the next stage.”
“Gah-! Mika!” Being crushed by bear-cat-magical girl was only a mildly uncomfortable experience..and It did give her a rare opportunity to return the hug. Returning the hug, Rina wrapped her arms around Mika, reaching up between her head as she started patting and petting the other girl's head, slowly increasing in aggressiveness as she replied.
“Ice cream sounds good. I think I'll pass on any more Keijo.” Truthfully, she didn't really enjoy any of this, but as long as Mika had fun, she guessed that was okay.