A/N: According to Akamatsu, Takane is actually top-class at defense (she also has two female Magistra!), and the reason she keeps losing is bad match-ups (robots with stripper-beams, Negi). Here, there are no stripper beams. She's wearing her school uniform, BTW, not the shadow-only thing. Which, to those that keep suggesting it, she kept intact until she fell unconscious, so merely pissing her off won't make it disappear. In DnD terms, it's duration is 'as long as she's conscious, barring counter-spelling and such'. Probably took the Divine Metamagic feat or something. Arcane Metamagic?
Sorry for neglecting this, but my Nanoha kick just wouldn't stop! On that thought, check out my Green Lantern Nanoha and Blue Lantern (Card Captor) Sakura fics?
Akanema! Magistra Akane Magi!
by Shadow Crystal Mage
Chapter 11: Akane vs. Takane! Really similar names, no?
Disclaimer: The toys come from the boxes of Rumiko Takahashi and Ken Akamatsu.
Akane had enough to time think CRAP! and flashback to all the times this had happened to Ranma– already preemptively wincing about how much this was likely to hurt– when her staff struck Takane's upraised left arm and stopped dead, the shockwave rushing up Akane's arms and shoulders. Before she could loosen her grip, Takane had pulled her forward, right fist already moving upwards in a text-book upper cut as her feet kicked off.
Akane felt herself double over, rising as the magically-boosted fist struck her square. Yes, it hurt exactly as badly as she thought it would.
The thought was a small and petty comfort as her midriff exploded into a flower of pain.
"And a solid blow from challenger Goodman sends Tendo-san flying!" Asakura commented, wincing slightly in sympathy. "Tendo-san is stumbling back, but Goodman-san doesn't seem to be follwing through just yet."
Shampoo sniffed in derision. "Thought so," she said. "Violent Girl still weak, all talk."
Konoka, who'd also winced at the surprisingly sudden attack, gave the Amazon a sideways look. "Akane-chan wouldn't give up because of a little hit like that," she said. "Akane-chan isn't the kind to give up easily."
"Not say Violent Girl not stubborn," Shampoo said. "Just weak."
Akane kept her distance from the blonde mage, slightly hunched over and clutching at her stomach. In truth, it didn't really hurt all that much. She'd taken some of Chachamaur's blows in practice, and even though the gynoid always held back, they always hurt more than this. At least she had some sort of baseline to gauge the blonde now, even if she had held back too. Her self-control was such that it couldn't be all that much. In some ways, the girl was a lot like Negi-sensei in her fighting style, ready to charge in close, reinforcing herself with magic, quite unlike her partner Mei, who seemed more the Squishy-Wizard type.
She'd fought Negi-sensei. They'd sparred during training with Fei and Kaede. She knew what kind of holes his style of fighting had, the kind of things a mage fighting in close are inclined to do or not do. Her mind slipped into now-familiar patterns of observation, analysis, and deduction. Negi's movements, while never telegraphed anymore, had their little tell-tales, allowing her to predict at least his opening move. Takan'es body language was too smug, ready but relaxed, gloating. It kind of reminded Akane of Evangeline when the vampire was in between beating the snot out of Negi. The difference was, Evangeline at rest was still locked, loaded, and ready to kick your so hard it ends up near your nose. Goodman, while clearly ready to react to an attack and probably had some appropriate spells ready, was still relatively open.
And from the look of it, she was a talker.
"Well, you're certainly fast and enthusiastic, Tendo-san," Goodman said, managing to smirk. Her clothes were changing, Akane could see. Her white stockings were black now, and she was wearing high—heeled black boots with a mild case of buckle overkill. It looked too dark to be real leather, and the sheen vaguely reminded Akane of Kotaro's inugami summon attacks. A shadow user, perhaps? Some kind of armor then. This was new. She had a vague idea what a shadow-user could do in offense from Kotaro's inugami summons, but what would it be like in defense? Probably not something she could easily batter down. If it was something easy, it wouldn't be in it's own special subset. "Still, you can hardly hope to do much against someone of my training. While you are no doubt an excellent 'detective'– " our amongst the stands, there was a rush of high-pitched girlish squeals of affirmation. Akane straightened, smiled and blew them all a kiss. The squeals reached a crescendo. Takane rolled her eyes. "– Ahem. While you are no doubt an excellent 'detective'–" there was another wave of squeals, and the blonde ground her teeth in impatience until it died down again. "– I know you familiar with Negi-sensei's… circumstances. You've seen what he can do. I've been at Mahora for far longer, trained more. How could you possibly hope to win against me?"
Akane pointed at her. "That," she said, "was so cliché. Definitely not as good as Narm."
Takane grimaced. "Yes, I hated it the moment it came out of my mouth too. But I still have a point!"
Akane's free-hand blurred, a flat white streak spinning through the air at Takane. The blonde made a circular, sweeping gesture with one straight arm, a black, cloth-like square billowing from the back of her hand like a belly-dancer's accessory. The 'cloth' abruptly stiffened in front of her face, implacable as a mountain, and Akane's projectile stuck it square on, bouncing off and fluttering to the ground. The small, vaguely triangular cutout just lay there, mocking and pathetic at the same time.
"Was that the best you can do?" Takane said. Her outfit was completely changed now, with a corset and belt and buckles and all sort of fetish fuel that made Akane twitch slightly and want to cry pervert even as a little part of her mind nonchalantly wondered how she'd look in the outfit, to the incredulity of the more traditionalist parts.
"No, that was supposed to be a witty retort that at the same time forced you to reveal your capabilities without endangering myself," Akane said. "This is what I can do!"
The ground under her feet exploded into a foot-sized crater of woodchips and splinters as Akane pushed off, Newton's laws and chi grudgingly making a small truce as she launched herself forward on chi-enhanced legs. Her attempts at shundo might end up with humorous crashes– she tried not to think of how she and Negi had been equally skilled in the technique until before his fight with Takamichi– and putting chi into stuff other than her cards to reinforce them didn't always work, but she knew where she stood with pumping chi into her legs to make them crazy strong. And since at some point strength equaled speed…
Takane belatedly started moving her legs, arms rising in some kind of block, but she was starting cold, and Akane's extended overacting of how much she'd been hurt had apparently lulled the mage quite badly, making her unprepared for Akane's quick reactions. Akane charged, her staff swinging in an obvious overhead strike. Takane began to guard high, but Akane flipped, tossing the staff over Takane and tucking herself in, rolling under the mage's guard and literally bowling her off her feet. Whatever her weird shadow clothes did, they apparently did nothing to alter her mass or center of gravity.
Takane fell with a surprised cry, beginning to catch herself and roll, but Akane's reactions were quicker, and both feet slammed straight into Takane's face as the detective kipped herself to her feet. She landed perfectly, catching her staff, and she let chi flow into the length of ash wood. It was easier now then when she'd first tried it some time ago while training under the world tree, before they'd found out about Evangeline's resort. Either she'd gotten used to it, or perhaps it had gotten used to her: she had no idea. All she knew was that she couldn't reinforce it as effortlessly as Setsuna could anything she touched.
That didn't mean she couldn't.
She spun the staff to give it momentum, attacking in another wide arc. Takane had fallen after the double-kick to the face, one hand clutching at a bleeding nose– her right one– as her other tried to ward off the staff, the scarf-like attachment on the back of her warding hand, coming to life and shielding against the staff, stopping it cold, then wrapping around it.
"Hah!" Takane cried as she tightened her 'grip' on the staff, tried to pull it away from Akane to disarm her.
Akane smiled widely and spun, putting chi into her arms, boosting her strength to levels she'd once only dreamed about, or used some sort of contrived gimmick to achieve. Takane abruptly screamed as she was suddenly catapulted high into the air in a low, long arc, ending in a big splash that made Mei and the Juusenkyo-cursed people wince. "Hah!" Akane cried back, her hands open and empty of the staff she'd had to throw to send Takane into the water.
"Wow, that moat is seeing a lot of use!" Asakura commented as Akane posed dramatically to the wild cheers of her fans. Hat, coat flapping in all drama, you know the deal. Pity her staff was now floating next to Takane in the water. The blonde thrashed about, trying to get her hair out of her eyes. "We will now begin the count! 1! 2! 3!–"
Akane's head snapped to Takane at the Latin cry. She knew Latin. She'd slowly been building up a vocabulary of Latin words, if only to keep up with the spells people were learning and flinging about. Those words… they boded ill for her.
She turned to Asakura. "Hey, doesn't that count as incanting?" she said. "That's against the rules, right?"
"Sorry," Asakura said sheepishly, shrugging. "It's just the name of whatever she did rather than the full incantation, so it just counts as calling out her attack."
"Crap," Akane said as a shadow fell over her. She leapt, rolling perfectly to dodge the several double handful of dark spear-like ribbon things that stabbed at her.
"Tendo Akane, prepare to die!" Takane raged from where she was standing on top of a large, dark, hooded shape that looked vaguely feminine for some reason.
"That sounds so strange coming from somewhere outside my head," Akane murmured as she turned to face the dripping wet high school girl. "Need a comb?"
"That was a cheap, dirty, underhanded trick!" Takane cried as she slipped off the giant shadow-form's back, landing with a wet squelch on the ground in front of it.
"I'm a practitioner of Musabetsu Kakuto Ryu," Akane shot back. "Cheap, dirty, underhanded tricks are what we do!"
"And contestant Goodman has somehow managed to bring out some kind of gigantic… puppet… thing," Asakura said. "Where exactly was she keeping that? It's not breaking any rules, unless those ribbon things really are bladed–" Takane began to whistle innocently "– but really, where'd that come from?"
Akane dodged again as more ribbons struck. A shadow covered her, and she instinctively pushed off as a gigantic fist slammed into the wooden floor where she'd been. Splinters bounced off her coat, and she snagged a rather big piece of of wood as it flew by, pumping chi randomly and haphazardly into. She landed on her feet in the split-second of recovery as Takane pulled her construct's weapons out, feeling the wood suddenly getting hot and crackling in her hand. She threw it at Takane, and one of the ribbons rose to swat it out of the air.
The wood, already messed up by the chi improperly injected into it, reacted violently at the added kinetic energy, the wood tearing apart in a cloud of dust before suddenly exploding in a cloud of blinding flame, the heat crashing like a wave on onlooker's faces and disappearing like a lit cobweb. Takane reacted instinctively, raising her hand to shield her face, the puppet copying the motion.
When Takane put her hand, it was to briefly see Akane's grinning face before receiving a face full of sawdust.
Her reaction was also instinctive. As she cried in surprise and raised her hands to slam them into her face to try and relive the pain the only way nature knew how, Akane, taking a moment to gauge relative distances, grabbed the girl by her legs and, keeping her straight, pushed her up.
Takane barely managed to register surprise before she was clobbered in the face by her own construct's giant fists.
"Wow," Asakura said as the mage was rendered unconscious by her own technique, the puppet and shadow-clothes dissolving away back other school uniform as she fell to the ground. "When Tendo-san says she deals in cheap, dirt, underhanded tricks, she's not messing around, is she? It looks like Goodman-san is completely knocked out, so this match goes to Tendo-san! Whoa, listen to that crowd! Are they… Are they chanting the Final Fantasy victory theme?"
Akane, taking the cue, did a victory pose. What else could she do?
"Good job Akane-chan!" Konoka congratulated as Akane came from the stage, which was quickly being rebuilt by the construction club. "We knew you could do it!"
"That," Asuna agreed, grinning widely at Akane, "was evil."
Akane shrugged, grinning back. "Well, with so many bad influences in my life, it had to rub off eventually."
Konoka, Asuna and Setsuna looked over their shoulder at Evangeline, who was looking a bit pensive and thoughtful.
Akane chuckled. "This might surprise you, but not even remotely what I meant."
Asuna stared at her incredulously. "There's someone even more evil?"
"Why do you think the 'Chamo steals panties' plan even came into being?" Akane said. "I've been through worse."
They shuddered at the thought, even Konoka.
"Wow Akane-san, that was amazing!" Negi cried as he ran up to them. He held up Akane's staff, still dripping wet from floating in the water. "Here, I got it back for you!"
"Thanks, sensei," she said, ruffling his hair and impulsively giving him a kiss on the forehead. "That was really sweet of you."
"AH! Violent Girl cradle robbing now?"
Akane resisted the urge to draw back like she'd been burned, keeping her movements smooth and natural. She was an actress too, after all. She was many things. Currently, she was someone who'd just one against a mage. She would not get mad over this. Such a loss of control was unbecoming of a detective, and besides, emotional reactions clouded one's reasoning and compromised one's logic. Besides, she was above these petty little feuds! She'd fought evil mages, demons and amoeba lolis! She need not rise to such baiting. She was more confident than that, more secure, more–
Kaede's fist closed like iron on Akane's wrist. "I don't think that's a very good idea," the ninja said pleasantly. One of her eyes was open and staring at Akane intently.
Akane blinked. Her right arm was drawn back, ready to throw her staff like a spear. Chi filled it, a crimson, burning chi, and it was slightly warm in her hands. It was aimed right at Shampoo's forehead. She hadn't even realized she'd moved. The Amazon was just drawing back from where she'd been leaning on the railing, wide-eyed, and Asuna and Setsuna were both holding on to the staff, while Negi had both arms around her torso and looked like he was bracing himself to push her back.
Slowly, deliberately, Akane let go of the wood, which Asuna quickly plucked from her hand, taking a few steps back, while the others sighed in relief.
"Oh, how wonderful, a group hug!" Kasumi commented. The tension shattered like so much glass, and the 3A girls all deflated Akane and Asuna breaking out into nervous laughter, while Kaede's laugh sounded more genuine, though Akane didn't believe it for a minute.
"Yes, Kasumi-chan," Akane said, voice suddenly tired. "A group hug. Just my friends congratulating me on winning my round."
The Nerima people were staring at them, confused, though Shampoo's face was settling and quickly making a turn into anger. Had this been back home… well, someone would already be in pain. In fact, the Amazon looked like she wanted to bring things to their traditional conclusion– that is, a mindless orgy of censored violence.
Cologne jabbed an elbow at her descendant's torso, and the girl jerked in surprise, staring at the elder. "A most interesting match, Tendo Akane," Cologne said. "You've certainly changed your tactics since I've last seen you fight. Quite revolutionary of you, taking the initiative and not allowing your opponent to dictate the battle by simply reacting to their new techniques." Her dry gaze took in every martial artist from Nerima. "It was… well done."
Akane tried not to blush at the compliment. Really, she didn't. Really.
Because what did she care about other people's opinions? All that mattered was that she won, and that she knew it, and that she was the best. Since when did what other people think matter?
Her father nodded solemnly, arms crossed. "I wish your mother were alive to see this," he said. "She would have been proud."
Akane's face flushed, and she whipped her hat off her head to hide her face. She didn't want people to see the tears.
"All right!-!-!" Ranam cried as the construction club finished its work. "It's time for my match! Now you guys will really see something!"
"What, you're going to make a presentation of beating a little girl to a pulp?" Asuna said innocently.
Ranma's face fell slightly. "Oh yeah… well, in my match after that, prepare to be amazed!"
"You're going to beat Akane to a pulp?" Setsuna said, just as innocent.
Ranma's face fell even further. "Oh yeah, she won, so we're matched up, aren't we?"
"Ranma! How dare you beat Akane to a pulp!" Ryouga cried.
"Vile enemy of all women!" Tatewaki agreed. "Face heaven's fury!"
Kaede helpfully held the two back as they ranted at Ranma.
"Beat her well, Ranma-sama!" Kodachi cheered.
"Hit face hard!" Shampoo suggested. "Violent Girl can't get uglier anyway!"
"Well, definitely after that…!" Ranma tried again, rallying.
"You'll beat either me or Negi-sensei to a pulp?" Setsuna suggested innocently.
Ranam stared at the match-ups, then a the little boy who was currently lending Akane a handkerchief and sighed loudly. "Damn it, CAN'T A GUY GET A DECENT FIGHT AROUND HERE?"
"Moving on to match no. 8! It's the Master of Musabetsu Kakutō Ryū– huh? Oh sorry, my mistake– practitioner and heir apparent to Musabetsu Kakutō Ryū, Saotome Ranma, versus Evangelin A.K. McDowell, of the Mahora Jr. High Go Club! Say what you will, folks, but challenger McDowell's some kinda ten-year-old doll! But what's her combat like?"
Off-stage, Mousse began to whimper. Cologne, finally managing to catch a clear glimpse of Evangeline, froze and fell off her staff, to the complete surprise of those around her. Akane, who'd moved up to where her family was to get a better view, blinked down at the matriarch with the rest of them.
"Great-grandmother?" Shampoo said. "Is well?"
Cologne twitched, eyes wide in unearthly terror. The Monster is here, the Monster is here, the Monster is here, the Monster is here… her mind kept repeating, locked on childhood memories of blood and ice and thousands of soulless puppets…
Ranma stood on the stage, relaxed but ready. He wasn't about to me suckered by the girl's appearance. He'd learned that lesson from Hinako-sensei, at least, though truth be told, the fact he was surrounded by water on all sides was a bit bigger cause of concern. The girl looked pretty distracted to him, definitely out of it, as if she had something on her mind. Foolish. Didn't she know that was a quick way to get your ass handed to you in a match?
He'd have to go easy on her. After all, she was just a little girl, he didn't want to hurt her too badly. She might have some kind of weird aikido moves or something to get through the prelims, but there was no way she had the strength or power for more, and given the format of those matches, she might have had help. Well, there was no one to help her now. Just him and her. He kinda felt sorry for her. She was just a speed-bump to him, really. He dearly wanted to get this over with so he could fight the other participants. Those girls…! And that KID…!-!-!-!-! Heck, even Akane had turned out to be a surprise. She'd added some Kung Fu to her moves. He felt his eagerness rising, and longed for this joke of a match to be over. It would be interesting to see what else Akane had learned…
"And now, the eighth match… FIGHT!"
Ranam opened his mouth to offer the girl a chance to surrender… then his eyes crossed, and he made a strangled gurgling sound.
Evangeline blinked, and looked down at the boy passed out on her fist. "Oh, sorry. I was lost in thought…"
There was a crash of a body falling heavily against wood, followed by the near simultaneous impact of many mouths against the ground.
"Holy shit!" said Nabiki.
"Holy shit!" said Genma.
"Holy shit!" said Ryouga.
"Holy shit!" said Soun.
"Holy shit!" said Shampoo.
"Holy shit!" said Ukyo.
"Holy shi– er, OH MY!" said Kasumi, embarrassed.
"Divine Excrement!" said Kuno
"Holy shit!" said Kodachi.
"Creepy little girl with thong…!" Mousse whimpered.
Cologne just rolled into a tighter fetal ball.
Akane laughed her head off, her whole body getting into it as she bent over, clutching her stomach, in more pain now than it had ever had during the fight with Takane. "Oh, kami…!" she breathed. "That was the funniest thing I've ever seen. Bwahahahahahaha!"
Setsuna looked up at her, blinking. "Um, Akane-san, you do realize your next opponent is Evangeline-san, right?"
Akane froze. Then, with absolutely no change to her expression, she curled up into a fetal ball and started shaking right beside Cologne…
Negi stared at Akane's reaction, frowning. "Now, really, she's not that ba–"
A memory of his own training with Evangeline crossed his mind. Soon, there was yet another fetal ball on the floor…
A universe away, Green Lantern Takamachi Nanoha felt a chill, and wondered why she felt an urge to curl into a fetal ball, shaking in terror. She only ever did that when…
The thought of Evangeline entered her mind.
She spent the next few minutes doing just that….
- To be continued...
A/N: Fetal position. Because Evangeline is JUST THAT SCARY!-!-!-!-!
I had some vague thoughts about making the fight between Takane and Akane some epic battle, with distractions, Shikigami, epic attacks and junk, but really, does that sound like them? Miss Stripper and Ranma ½'s joke character? Somehow, I can't seem to get into it. If you want Adaptational Badasses, check out my 2814 series of fics. Evil!Tomoyo is one of the most fun things I've ever written…
Much better to save it for (*GRINS!*) the Evangeline/Akane fight! After all, Ranma and Akane's fights are next to each other and Ranma's is the last one. I'm surprised none of you noticed…
Please review, C&C welcome.
Until next time, this is Shadow, signing off.