Disclaimer: I don't own any Azumanga Daioh characters.

Note: This has been sitting around on my computer for a long time now, but I never got around to posting it. Considering all of the other stories that I've started and have yet to finish, I really shouldn't be posting it now. Just a videogame-inspired experiement with more action and less plot. Nothing special.

Warning: There are going to be character deaths in this fiction. Actually, I'm pretty sure that all of them are going to die at some point. However, this is not a serious story so don't take it as such. Having said that, this story also contains strong language, and depictions of explicit violence and gore.

Azumanga Game Series Part One: Versus Mode

Match 1.1

Sixteen figures suspended lifelessly in darkness without details of motion or sound. The figures retained shapes of bodies both short and tall, younger and older, two legged and four legged, male and female. Beneath each body was a disc-shaped platform. On the front side of each platform, the side to which the bodies faced, was a flat display panel that showed a series of values and statistics for each specimen. Gender, age, height, weight, strength, and intelligence were but a few of the significant pieces of information given.

Within the space in which the bodies hovered, time was irrelevant and so were any pre-existing values. The bodies did not sleep, nor did they have any concept of thought as they hung there in the void. They were not creators of their own destinies as normal humans, but instead tools to be implemented at the whims of those in control. They were vessels, none of which held within them any previous convictions or abilities towards inclination.

Suddenly, for two of the bodies, the darkness began to edge away. Two of the discs illuminated at random, and with their burdens they ascended above the others.

The freed discs rose high until the remaining fourteen individuals were but small, invisible bits of matter swallowed up in the obscurity below them. They climbed higher and higher towards the edge of the dark oblivion where two new orifices, twenty feet away from each other, had yawned open to accept them.

Out from the orifices shone a bright, white light. The light fell upon the bodies being carried by the discs and breathed new life and blood into their forms.

Both of the bodies turned out to be girls. One had brown hair that fell just past her shoulders, and the other had similarly colored hair that was cut at an angle above her shoulders. They were of similar size and stature, and both of them came into the light dressed in Summer blue school uniforms.

The orifices that had accepted the girls sealed shut and trapped them into the world of light. The discs that had carried them stopped on a level that was perfectly equal to the surface of a new, larger platform. The larger platform was the roof of a school building. The building was rectangular in shape and completely bare on top. There were no protruding stairwells, air conditioning units, or walls surrounding the top edge. The building itself seemed to be at least forty five stories high and about the size of a football field.

The sky above the building was blue and dotted with clouds. At the building's North end, floating out on a platform by itself, was a massive TV screen measuring fifty by seventy-five feet, height and length wise. Presently the TV screen displayed the number twenty-three flashing in bright, bolds lights behind a scene a nameless metal rock band. The band pounded out a song, the words of which could not be discerned, with a heavy guitar base and thundering drum beat.

The West, East, and South sides of the building were surrounded by stadium-arranged seats. The sections of seats were separated from the arena by several yards, and among those yards was nothing but a very long drop.

In every one of the ninety thousand seats there sat a person screaming and cheering at the top of their lungs. Most of the people were missing features of their faces. On some, where the eyes should have been, there was nothing but smooth skin. On others it was the noses or ears, and there were even those who had no mouths. Those without mouths could not yell, but still they waved their arms and signaled with hand gestures to express their enthusiasm.

Up and down the steps of each section of seats, venders carried trays held up by straps around their necks. Within the trays was an arrangement of items. Some were small boxes ranging in color from white to green to red, and others were tall black cups sealed with a layer of thick wax.

"Ice cold wrath! Sloth! Fresh envy! Get your lust right here!" one of the venders, a man whose head looked like a ball of longish hair with a mouth, shouted his wares as he made his way down from the top row of seats.

A man with no mouth saw the vender approaching and tapped the shoulder of his friend who sat beside him. When his friend, a woman with no nose and only one eye, turned and looked at him, he turned over his left arm and tapped two fingers to his pulse point. The woman nodded and stood up to get the vendor's attention.

"Excuse me," she called, "Two envys and a lust, please!"

"Two envys and a lust! 580 moneys!" the vendor replied, pausing in his step to rummage through the items in his tray. He took up two of the green boxes and one of the red then handed them to the person in the aisle seat to pass on to the woman who in turn passed the moneys to the vendor.

"Can I get some wrath?" another man, one with no nose, one ear, and half a mouth, raised his arm and looked over his shoulder to the vendor.

"One wrath! 300 moneys!" the vendor called and stepped down to the man. He took up one of the frosty black cups and offered it to the customer, his other hand held out to receive the currency that the man dug out from his pocket.

"Do you have any pride also?" the man asked as he placed the moneys in the vendor's palm.

The vendor opened his mouth to reply, but at that moment the crowd suddenly exploded into a frenzy of ecstatic screams. Everyone shot up from their seats, some throwing fists to the air while others grabbed at their neighbor in uncultivated excitement.

Out on the surface of the school roof, the two girls had come fully into view. They stood with their eyes closed and arms limp at their sides.

At that point in time, Kamineko, in his announcer's box above the West side of the arena, leaned forward in his seat and adjusted the volume on his headset.

"Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the twenty-third annual, bi-daily, sometimes semi-sporadically, infrequent, on-and-off-again Versus Mode Death Match," he spoke quickly and with professional conciseness in his smooth, baritone voice, "This series is sponsored by the makers of Bean Paste Sweet Buns, and in part by financial support from blood-thirsty viewers like you. I'm Kamineko and I'll be your host today along with my co-host who will be joining us later in the game."

The grey cat swiveled in his seat to grab some papers from a side table and shuffle them quickly together. He scanned over the first paper in the stack, then glanced outward to the arena below.

"This time's series consists of a total of fifteen matches, and it has been decided that each match will be fought until one or both of the competitors is reduced to what are sponsors and the local television networks prefer to call a 'nonviable condition'. The first round consists of eight of those matches and it looks like we're getting off to a good start this year. Round One, Match One is Ayumu Kasuga, aka 'The Rockin' Osakan', versus Kaorin."

Down on the platform, Kaorin had opened her eyes. She took only a moment to stretch her muscles, standing on her toes and raising her arms high, before she slid her right foot backwards and clenched her hands into fists. She brought her fists level with her face, left fist before right, and glared across the way at her opponent.

Ayumu too had awoken, though she made no physical preparations. Her body remained still and relaxed, and the only motion she offered was a dangerous narrowing of her eyes at the other girl.

Kamineko folded his arms on the table and continued his monologue to the masses.

"We all remember Kaorin from the last tournament when she pulled that thundering backbend on Tomo 'The Wildcat' Takino that won her a position in the final round. Let's take a look at that." He twisted his seat to face a laptop computer that was sitting on the table in front of him. The laptop's monitor currently displayed the same image as the TV outside, though it changed when he typed in a series of combinations and hit 'enter'.

The giant TV screen switched from the rock band to a scene of Kaorin standing behind Tomo with her arms locked firm and low around her waist. The girls were bloody and their uniforms were soaked with sweat. From her standing position, Kaorin lifted on her toes and threw herself backwards, sending the Wildcat over and behind her. Tomo's head and neck smashed solidly against the ground, and moments later she slumped lifelessly to the side. Kaorin ended up flat on her back, a broken, bloody mess, but still breathing.

"It was an incredible move, but unfortunately it couldn't redeem Kaorin for her undignified behavior in following round during her battle with Sakaki, aka 'Lone Wolf'. I'm sure I wasn't the only one hiding my face in shame that day."

Again the scene on the TV changed from one of Kaorin and Tomo to one of Sakaki and Kaorin. Sakaki was standing above the smaller girl who was curled up on her side, her arms hugged tightly about herself. Repeatedly Sakaki kicked the girl, then resorted to smashing her foot down on the side of her head. At last Kaorin shoved the girl's leg away and stumbled up to her feet. Instead of projecting any kind of physical offense she turned and hobbled away from her opponent, her face red and wet with tears. When she reached the arena's end, she wasted no time in forfeiting herself over the edge of it.

"A waste of time and money that left a lot of fans wishing they'd never shown up," Kamineko shook his head, then returned his attention back to the arena at present.

"Your turn is up, Osaka," Kaorin jeered at the other girl, her lips peeling into a snide little grin.

Ayumu's frown deepened. Slowly she parted her feet away from each other and bent her knees slightly to bring herself into a relaxed Wu Chi position.

"Bring it," came her sweetly accented reply.

The scene on the TV was cut short, and the screen displayed a timer of three minutes. As soon as the clock began to count down, the large bell beneath the TV clanged to initiate the fight.

Kaorin made a mad dash for her temporary nemesis, right fist held back in a position ready for a strike. As soon as Ayumu came within punching range she let her arm thrust ahead. Her fist swung in an arc, but suddenly it veered wildly off track as her feet lost contact with the ground. She watched as the ground flipped up, and then landed behind her as she was spun down onto her back.

Ayumu smiled, having hardly moved a muscle to send Kaorin flying over her shoulder. She stepped back and tucked her hands into her pockets.

"What the Hell was that!" Kaorin rolled over and scrambled back up to her feet, "You don't know martial arts!"

"You're right," Ayumu shrugged, "but I saw a martial arts movie one time."

"That has nothing to do with this!"

Kaorin rushed again and this time didn't bother to concentrate on throwing any punches. She crashed full force into the other girl and knocked her back against the ground. Straddling Ayumu's waist, she reached down with both hands and grabbed both sets of fingers around her throat.

Ayumu growled and reached up to curl her arms around Kaorin's. With her grip firm, she rolled them over to claim the top and then grabbed a handful of Kaorin's hair. She lifted the girl's head, then slammed it back against the ground.

Kaorin felt the impact of the ground to the back of her head knocking her brain forward to the front of her skull. Twice it happened before she managed to kick her leg up and send her knee smashing into Ayumu's groin.

Ayumu, grunting in pain, fell to the side and grabbed one hand between her legs. Slowly she regained a standing position. If she had been male then the blow would have been crippling, but such was one of the advantages of being female, a blow to the 'ego' wasn't near enough to deflate her.

Kamineko laughed softly and narrowed his eyes at the scene unfolding before him.

"One minute down in the Blitz session of round one, and neither of these girls are giving an inch. Kaorin deals a hard blow to Kasuga, but Kasuga is still up. Kasuga grabs Kaorin by an ankle and- whoa my! Kasuga deals a healthy dose of size-five retribution to her opponent's X-Box!"

Keeping Kaorin's leg twisted up at an odd angle, Ayumu crunched her heel down into the apex of the girl's legs.

Kaorin screamed and twisted herself over onto her side, palms flat to the ground. Pain shot up from her hips to the center of her chest, but it wasn't damaging enough to keep her from kicking her leg back and catching the other girl straight in the stomach.

Ayumu doubled over and folded her arms around her stomach. Though the wind had been knocked from her, she snarled and pounced upon her prostrate enemy who ended up flat beneath her weight. She dug her knee into the small of Kaorin's back and curled one arm around her neck.

Kaorin felt the arm clamp around her throat and suddenly her head was pulled up and back. She reached both hands up and curled them about the other girl's forearm in a vain attempt to release the pressure from her windpipe.

"Breath for breath, Kaorin," Ayumu hissed softly by the girl's ear.

"Fuck…you…" Kaorin gurgled. With Ayumu's knee shoved into her back, she took a risk of further self-injury when she pressed her hands to the ground and heaved herself to the side.

Ayumu was thrown, but kept her arm around Kaorin's throat. This caused her grip to shift oddly, and suddenly she felt the girl's head duck and slip out from the crook of her elbow.

Kaorin whirled around, and with the primitive inclinations of a wild animal, fell upon Ayumu and sank her teeth into the vulnerable pulse point of her neck.

Flat on her back, Ayumu screamed as she felt two pointed canines pop through the first few layers of her skin. She pressed her hands hard to Kaorin's shoulder and shoved her backwards. Unfortunately, as Kaorin was torn from her, so was a healthy chunk of her flesh. Screaming louder, she pressed her hand to the now gaping wound and scrambled backwards.

Kaorin stood up, spitting pieces of Ayumu-meat from her mouth. Blood had smeared from the bottom of her nose all the way around her mouth and down her chin. With the back of her hand she wiped at the mess and then spit one more time.

"Ugh," Kamineko made a face and reflexively wiped at his own mouth, "Move over Meat Companion! (1) Kaorin helps herself to a bite of Kasuga's neck. Technically that makes Kaorin a cannibal, but I tell ya folks, I've bitten a few humans in my time and I gotta say that they don't taste real good."

"You taste like ass," Kaorin sneered.

"You'd be the one to know. Ya spend so much time kissing Sakaki's," came the soft-spoken, yet biting reply as Ayumu lifted her hand away and started to her feet.

Kamineko reached for his cup of coffee.

"Kasuga gets her distance, checks the blood on her hand. By the look on her face you really get the sense that she's never quite experienced a real bite before. A different story for Kaorin who probably got the idea from her match with Kimura in the last tournament," he paused to sip his drink, but no sooner had he taken in the liquid than he had to spit it back into the cup, "Kasuga's up, but suddenly Kaorin's on her again! Kaorin pins Kasuga and absolutely unleashes! Left hook! Right hook! Left! Right! Kasuga's gettin' her ass kicked! Forty two seconds left on the clock! Kasuga thrashes but Kaorin keeps her down! Another punch delivered by Kaorin!"

Every punch that Kaorin delivered was fully fueled with a significant amount of pent up animosity. She pounded her opponent with an energy and form similar to that of a child who had gone out of control.

"Don't! You! Ever!-," she panted one word for each time that her knuckles connected with Ayumu's face, "talk like that about Miss Sakaki!"

The blunt trauma to her head had Ayumu seeing the world in shaky hues of grey and red for a few moments. Her lips busted in two separate areas, her nose had crunched under the first few blows, and Kaorin must have been wearing a ring of some kind because her cheeks and forehead became heavily gashed. Fighting unconsciousness, she began to deal blows of her own as much to Kaorin's stomach and kidneys as she could.

Half of the crowd booed and the other half cheered at the unraveling scene. Cups and other miscellaneous items were tossed at the arena by several incensed individuals; however, none of the items landed on the platform due to the gap between the two areas. The rest of the crowd, those who had not placed any bets on the fight and who therefore had no particular interest in either of the competitors as long as one of them was bleeding, cheered on the aggressor and began to uniformly chant the demand for a kill.

"This match may end sooner than we had hoped, folks," Kamineko drawled as he set his cup of coffee back on the table. "It may be all over for Kasuga, but Kaorin only has nineteen seconds to finish her off before the Blitz round ends."

If Ayumu remained supine under Kaorin for much longer, she would no doubt lose consciousness. It would then only be too easy for Kaorin to drag her to the edge of the arena and throw her over, and she wasn't about to give Kaorin such an easy win. She retracted her arms and brought them together in front of her to protect her face. If she could just make it past the Blitz round then she would still have a chance.

The move hardly fazed the livid Kaorin who continued to deal out a series of wild punches, shifting the aim of her attacks to Ayumu's exposed stomach.

Kamineko pounded the side of his fist once to the surface of the table.

"Incredible! Kasuga gives up the fight and goes on the defensive! Kaorin hardly seems to- Wait! Kaorin gets up! She grabs Kasuga by the hair! Kasuga tucks up and doesn't move! Kaorin gets one arm around Kasuga's neck, but it doesn't look like she'll have enough time to strangle her because the Blitz round ends in four! Three! Two! One!"

At that moment, a loud buzzer blared throughout the entire stadium. The majority of the crowd stood and cheered, others simply staying in their seats and clapping.

At the North and South ends of the school roof, two new platforms rose up and became level with the roof's surface. The platforms were similar in size to the ones that had carried the girls, but they each bore different objects.

Kaorin dropped Ayumu and ran to the South end of the arena. There she picked up the item that had been delivered.

The item was a thick, brown book that looked to be several decades old. On the cover of the book, emblazoned in large, orange letters were the words "Book of Omniscient Theory." Underneath the words was an image of an odd-looking, orange cat.

Kaorin smiled widely at this new weapon, though she frowned slightly at the book's weight. It seemed a lot heavier than it should have been. Curiously, she opened the book and found it to be hollowed out. In the hole that had been created, there were two items. The first one was a leather gauntlet with a word engraved into the side of it. Lifting the gauntlet, she brought it closer to her face and narrowed her eyes at the inscription.

"Credence," she read aloud.

Carefully fastening the gauntlet onto her left forearm, she then reached into the book for the second item. It was a dagger, and on the hilt of the dagger, the word 'Self-Righteousness' was carved. As soon as her fingers touched the weapon, she felt an energy snake its way up through her hand, arm, and then throughout her entire body.

Over on the other end of the arena, Ayumu, her face bleeding and her abdomen aching with an insinuation of internal injury, had limped her way to the second item that had been delivered. She picked up the item in both hands, and after a quick examination, concluded that it was an ordinary, wooden baseball bat. Across the side of the bat were two words that had been burned in.

"Autonomous Deliberation," she muttered the inscription to herself.

Suddenly from behind her she heard the sound of running footsteps. She turned just in time to miss a swipe to the ear by Kaorin who fell forward with her own momentum. As she caught a glimpse of the girl, she noticed that there was something different about her.

"Submit!" Kaorin growled as she spun back around and made another jab for her enemy.

There was nothing that had physically changed about Kaorin's looks, but now she seemed to have the faintest bit of a red aura that showed most prominently around the edges of her body.

Ayumu jumped back and gripped her bat tightly in both hands. Keeping her feet shoulder-width apart, she straightened her back and kept her stance steady.

"That's a kinda strong word, don't ya think?" she remarked smoothly.

"It's only sound advice, Osaka," Kaorin replied smugly. "Clearly I have an advantage over you, and your only hope is to beg for mercy." Dagger in her right hand, she advanced upon Ayumu and swung the blade in an upwards arc from right to left.

Ayumu lifted the bat in front of herself and cringed when the blade embedded into the wood. Again she stepped back and gave her weapon a firm yank to disengage it from the intruding metal. Her jaw tightened as she looked upon the new form of her adversary, taking particular note of the dagger and the gauntlet on the girl's arm.

"Your advantage isn't so clear to me. I'd rather have this bat than that dagger."

"That's what makes you the stupid one of the bunch," Kaorin exclaimed as she took another swipe at the girl.

Ayumu dodged the attack with a swift side-step.

"That's crazy!" she shouted, "Who do ya think you are?"

Instead of indulging Ayumu with an answer, Kaorin leapt forward and aimed a slice directly across the line of the girl's stomach.

Ayumu jumped back and then retaliated with a clean sweep of the bat that impacted the side of Kaorin's shoulder. The blow sent Kaorin to the ground, and Ayumu raised the bat over her head.

Kaorin grunted as her body connected with the concrete platform. She brought her hand to her injured shoulder and looked up just in time to see the cylinder of wood coming down on a path leading straight towards her head. Gasping, she rolled to the side a moment before the bat cracked against the ground just behind her.

Ayumu raised the bat again.

"Ya think that your weapon makes you better than me?" Her tone took on an abruptly hateful tinge. "That dagger is nothing! We're on the same ground here!"

Kaorin glared up at the other girl as the bat began to descend again. Keeping low to the ground, she twisted herself around and lashed the dagger outwards towards Ayumu's ankles.

With the leverage of the bat already carrying her slightly forward, Ayumu had not been able to back up from the dagger's reach. She felt the blade cut into her left ankle, slicing the tendon at the back of her heel just above the top edge of her shoe. Shrieking suddenly, she transferred all of her weight to her right foot. If she fell, there was little chance that she would be able to get back up.

Kaorin climbed to her feet and grinned.

"I told you," she said triumphantly.

Ayumu sneered and hopped back on her good foot. Her left foot had gone limp, and her previously white shoe was now soaked in blood. The pain began to set in several moments later, wrenching upwards from her heel and igniting a swift rush of tears.

"You didn't tell me anything," she whispered, her absolute disgust of the other girl's arrogance becoming more obvious by the moment. Since she was unable to perform any kind of offensive move now with one non-functioning foot, she reaffirmed her grip tightly on the bat and held it like a baseball player prepared to swing.

Ready to finish the match once and for all, Kaorin lunged forward and directed the dagger's blade in a quick sweep that was level with Ayumu's throat.

Ayumu waited for the girl to come within striking distance and then swung the bat as hard as she could. Unfortunately, swinging the bat meant leaving her vulnerable to Kaorin's oncoming attack, and she had waited just a moment too long. She saw the blade coming but was unable to dodge it in time, and within a moment she felt the cold steel of the blade slashing a deep line right across the top of her neck. Blood burst from the wound and spattered in a semi-circle pattern against the concrete.

The crowd stirred into another uproar. The majority of individuals who had previously been cheering for Ayumu now cheered for Kaorin. Up in the higher rows, people began to break out their binoculars to get a better look at what was going on.

Coughing harshly, Ayumu fell to her knees and gripped one hand to the gaping injury at her throat. Blood drained down her neck, over her fingers, and into the blue top of her uniform. Her mouth filled with the coppery taste, and yet oddly, after several moments, she was still alive and wheezing for breath.

Smiling more softly now, Kaorin stepped up to the hunched girl and wiped off the blood from the dagger onto the back of her shirt. She then shifted her grip on the hilt, positioning the blade to point downward.

"I'm sorry that you won't make it to the second round this year," she said as she lifted the dagger and held it centered over Ayumu's back. "But that's what you get when you choose the wrong weapon."

Ayumu gurgled in several breaths before she was able to form a reply.

"Neither weapon," she gasped softly, "is wrong…" She dropped her hand from her throat and held it to the bat, right hand clenched above left. "But the way ya use 'em…"

Kaorin frowned and canted her head down to hear what the girl was saying.

Up in the announcer's box, Kamineko was also frowning as he held a pair of binoculars to his eyes.

"I can't make out what's going on down there, but I think Kaorin might be cutting a deal with Kasuga." He paused as he adjusted the focus on his binoculars in an attempt to read Ayumu's lips. "Kasuga hasn't fallen yet and Kaorin's poised to end this at any moment…The crowd is growing impatient. I can only imagine that everyone is wondering why this is still going on, and I'd very much like to know myself."

"You can't be serious," Kaorin tightened her free hand into a fist at her side and glared at the other girl. "You're bleeding to death by injuries that I caused, and you have the gall to sit there and suggest that I've fought you incorrectly?"

"You…heard me," Ayumu rasped.

Just as the stinger of a dead bee is still a threat, Ayumu Kasuga was an intellectual force to be reckoned with whether she was in a classroom or crouched in a puddle of her own blood amid masses of individuals who lacked sufficient senses to understand. She waited until Kaorin had shifted into her peripheral vision, and then with the last bit of energy that the remaining portion of her life-blood would allow, she flinched suddenly in the ninety-degree direction and sent her bat smashing into the girl's knees.

The sound of crunching bone was audible to the nearby audience who groaned, some laughing, and others covering any ears they might have had. At that point all around the stadium, money from previously called bets was snatched back and a mixture of optimism and curses was shouted at the two fighters.

As soon as Kaorin fell backwards, Ayumu hauled herself up and staggered to the screaming girl. Without hesitation she raised the bat, and brought it down upon Kaorin's head in a quick, hacking motion.

Kaorin didn't have much time to feel the pain in her legs, or her head. By the second fall of the bat, her shrieking had been cut short. By the fourth fall of the bat, her skull shattered like a watermelon at the beach.

The last of Ayumu's breath was spent on an overwrought scream of her own. She wailed until her lungs would not constrict any further, and then finally dropped the bat by Kaorin's now lifeless body. She collapsed against the ground and curled up on her side, exhibiting every symptom of a girl who had gone crazy with grief. Her face contorted, and though she heaved with sobs, she could make no sound. The scream would be the last sound she would make for the rest of the tournament.

The surrounding crowd raved at Ayumu's sudden come back. At the West end of the arena, a separate platform ascended quickly between the arena and the stands. The platform carried a penguin who waddled her way onto the rooftop and over to the two fall girls.

The penguin seemed to be just like any other Antarctic resident of the same species, though instead of black she was a curious shade of very dark blue. She went first to Kaorin and stood over her for a moment to assess her condition. She then did the same to Ayumu before turning towards the announcer's box and raising both of her wings towards the sky.

"Match 1:1 goes to Ayumu Kasuga," she spoke, her voice booming out over the entire stadium by way of a small microphone that had been attached to her chest.

The crowd burst into rounds of screams and cheers. Fights broke out in several sections and one man even fell to his death over the edge of the stands. The TV at the North end displayed the results of the fight. It first showed each competitor's stats, then the damage done to each girl, and the amount that the attacks had been worth.

Kamineko exhaled and leaned back in his seat.

"Amazing, amazing, amazing! If you didn't see it here, you won't see it anywhere else. For the first time in two tournaments, The Rockin' Osakan brings home a win and secures herself a place in the second round. Let's get a quick recap of that last move."

In the bottom right hand corner of the TV, a section of the screen showed Ayumu in slow motion, twisting around and breaking Kaorin's knees in. Kaorin's shock was evident in a frame-by-frame basis as the bones in her legs broke backwards and she collapsed. Ayumu stood, and for the next minute the audience was treated to a close up of the scene they had witnessed just moments before. As Ayumu repeatedly smashed the bat over the girl's head, flying bone chips and grey matter were brought into stunning life thanks to the TV's state-of-the-art LCD screen.

The scene replayed again and Kamineko brought it into a freeze frame the moment before Ayumu whirled about. He took up his Intuo3 Grip pen and digital tablet that was linked to the lap top.

"I missed this before," he said, using the pen to draw a circle around the image of Ayumu's hands, "but we can see here that Kasuga had this set up. Right here she's really got a good grip on that bat, and in the next frame, here, she's able to just nail Kaorin right below the knee caps. That should be a lesson to all future competitors. Don't get ahead of yourself until your opponent is either crushed or laying in several different pieces. Now I'm gonna turn things over to Eiko, our correspondent in the field, and maybe she can tell us a little more about what happened down there." Turning from the laptop, he reached for the radio panel to which his headset was digitally linked. Depressing one of the com-link buttons at the bottom of the panel, he spoke again into his headset. "Eiko? How about it?"

Down on the arena platform, Eiko, using one hand to keep her ear piece pressed to her ear and the other to hold her microphone, stood beside the penguin who had initially called the match. Behind her, two maintenance men were busy cleaning up what was left of Kaorin while two more hauled Ayumu onto a stretcher and carried her from the roof top.

"Thanks, Kamineko," Eiko responded loudly in order to be heard over the sound of screaming fans in the background, "I'm here with the tournament paramedic responsible for assessing competitors' injuries." She turned to the penguin who bowed politely. "Ms. Penguin, the first question on everyone's mind is why Ayumu Kasuga is still alive after that supposedly debilitating cut to her throat. I mean we all saw the cut, we all saw the blood, and yet Ayumu was able to turn things around and make that come back. How is that?"

"Well," the penguin shrugged slightly, "The cut was deep, but the angle was too sharp and the blade missed the carotid artery. A few more minutes and Ayumu would have bled to death, but the blood loss, comparatively speaking, wasn't that bad."

"And what about Kaorin?"

"An obvious cause of death. If funerals existed for these fighters, hers would be closed-casket."

"All right then," Eiko laughed and turned back towards the camera. "Back to you Kamineko."

"Thanks, Eiko," Kamineko smiled and disengaged the com-link. "And we'll be right back with Match 1:2 of Versus Mode Death Match after these brief messages." With that, he cut the line and removed his headset.

(1). As opposed to Hamburger Helper. I don't own them either.

Note: And no, I don't have anything against Kaorin. Anyone who reads my stories should know that my like or dislike of a character carries no weight with what happens to them in the stuff that I write.