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Topic Started: Aug 14 2017, 01:22 PM (464 Views)
KAHO
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What's in a name anyways?
Footing, that was the first thing that came to his mind and the first thing his teacher had imparted. The particulate nature of the ground hindered movement; each planted foot sunk, mired with a consistency of mud. It took effort and time for each step, forcing his strides to not only be longer, but also more purposeful. He could not maneuver with twists and spins, but rather lunges and strides.

Max kept this in mind, as he brought his hand forward to intercept his opponents blows. Dood, the dull pain spread across his inner forearm like wild fire, burning the skin not covered by his wrist guards raw. However, he had little time to process the pain, fueled by urgency and adrenaline, he forced his arms forward, redirecting his opponents force upward.

A shadow cloaked the sky.

Posted Image
"You left yourself open. One should always remain light on their feet, particularly in combat."

A young man with aged eyes yet youthful demure, cloaked pale skin and wispy hair. Lithe and agile, his poise was something akin to a cat, though Max had experienced first hand the belied that lanky frame.

"Kill, Open Tiger Spike!"

An ear splitting roar smacked into him, even though the strike was a good two meters above him, beyond the net. Dood. His reaction gauged a vague sphere blowing past his cheek, deafening one ear. Vertigo soon followed, as the pressurized air disrupted his humors.

Was this it? He was caught out of position, there was no way he could move to intercept. Even if he were to reach it, any action would render it a foul.

He would lose.

No, Maxwell rejected such an outcome; he still had one card up his sleeve! Reeling, his drew his arms upward, as if praising the glorious incandescent above them.

"Yesod Vav Tiferet."

Before throwing them downward.

"Dig! Crouching Dragon's Bump!"

The area around him erupted, sand, air and a vague spherical something thrown up into the air-

Posted Image
A few paces away, a convenient passerby may or may not find themselves within an inconvenient situation. First, an explosion of sand would erupt with all the might of a, pardon the diction, a hidden dragon. This cataclysmic event would be followed by a harrowing scream from the sky.

"Look out below, dood!"

A weird penguin looking creature with peg legs and bead eyes was making a dive bomb from the sky, the declension that follows every ascension.
Posted Image

"Do not let that creature touch the ground!"

"Mercy! I can't take it anymore; just let me die, dood!"

"Hit it! Hit it back up!"

Judgement.

Ultimatum.

A quick time event.

No matter what one is ascribed to, they all mean the same thing. Take action or do nothing; in the end, they both lead to the same thing.

Suffer the consequences.
Edited by KAHO, Dec 19 2017, 04:19 AM.
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The hot sands burned Eri's small, unprotected feet. Ordinarily quite pale, they had begun to bear a striking pink hue like a cherry blossom in winter against the pale white of her sun-starved skin. Her knees, barely exposed with her long skirt pulled up just so, bore a similar sunset pink as the girl crouched beside the surf. Her shoes, already glistening with wet sand, rested beside her, neatly tucked beside a smooth white rock. A dry stick of driftwood in hand, she appeared to be poking a small, spiral shell, purple and red and gleaming wet under the summer sun like precious metal.

But as the shell's sole inhabitant, a rather offended old crab, emerged deftly to escape, Eri paid it little heed. Her eyes were fixed instead upon the scene in front of her. A pair of boys, moving like surf and cliffs, fluid tides of fist pounding against metaphorical rock. It was interesting and reminded her of the base in Yekaterinburg she and father has stayed at once, but with fewer bloody noses and less drinking.

The sudden explosion, however, nearly knocked Eri off her balance; the scampering crab being sent rolling into the surf as the wall of sand blasted the pair. Were they crazy? Being so violent on a public beach! How irresponsible! Even so, the call to action wasn't missed by the small, mute girl in the sand. Rising to her feet, her hair blew dramatically in the ocean breeze like fishing line wrapped around her stick-thin driftwood frame. Don't let it hit the ground, huh? Given what she'd just seem them do, it wasn't likely they were joking around.

As luck would have it, it was heading right for her! Chance!

Eri locked hand in fist, gripping tightly, and spreading her stance out just like a volleyball player she'd seen once on television. With an expression of grim determination she opened her mouth to release a mighty cry (which naturally produced no actual sound.) Her knees bent, she thrust towards the... penguin? On a beach? Her confidence was distracted momentarily by surprise.

The contact was sudden and painful, her knees buckling and wrists throbbing in protest under the penguins's weight. It was far heavier than she could've predicted! Eri grit her teeth as she pressed upwards. She was no athlete! Her eyes watered as she forced them shut and her tiny legs began to buckle, burning worse than her sand-covered feet.

It was...getting some air at least...right? Her head swam from the effort. For a moment she forgot to breathe. She really should've just run, she wasn't strong at all!

W-well...maybe someone else would get it...
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KAHO
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"Oh, come on! This is animal abuse, dood!" the creature wailed as Eri's bump sent it airborne once more.

"Nice return!" Following the trumpet voice Eri would find a honey haired young man.

Posted Image
"That's some form you got there. Honestly, I was worried for a second there, thought we were going to have a dead ball."

The young man gave the small girl an approving thumbs up.


"Actually, she was not part of the competition and this is beyond the boundary of the court." If the first man's voice could be equated to brass, this one's was both soft and ancient, an immaculate woodwind.

Posted Image
The willowy man gave Eri a once over, bowing from his shoulder in gratitude.

"This ball, and your game in extension, are both very much dead." He brought forth his hand, which now held a red sack, the outline roughly disfigured to a penguin-like shape. The sounds of muffled protests can be heard from inside.

"What?! That doesn't count! Our ball almost hurt this innocent bystander!"

"Your ball. This one seems to recall that you were the one who flung it here. Now, how about you apologize to the young Miss for the inconvenience?"


"Eh, but it was just an accident!"

"That is precisely why you should apologize, Maxwell."

"It's Max-"

"Maxwell."

The lively boy held his friend's eyes for a moment, before relenting with a sigh.

"Yes, Shifu." Turning back towards the much shorter girl, the young man bowed deeply from the waist.

"Sorry for the trouble, Ma'am. I hope you're not hurt anywhere. We'll be more careful from now on."
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Eri watched them with no small level of interest. They couldn't be more different, could they? The blonde was like an adolescent bull elk, all brash and more antlers than brains, while the skinny guy was more like a snow leopard. Sleek and malnourished, but wily and bristling with a quiet strength. She looked from one to the other as an apologetic smile brimmed across her face.

Honestly it was her fault, she should've been paying more attention. Eri signed out just such an apology, her petite fingers moving adroitly through the words while silently mouthing along with them. Moreover, though...

Eri produced a faded red sketch pad from behind her back, a marker tucked neatly in its coiled edge. She quickly wrote out something before capping the marker and spinning the paper around to face them.

Name: Eri
Status: Pleased to meet you
Opinion: Ball is good, beachgoers are an expected hazard in a game of beach volleyball.
Penalty: Free ice cream.


Wordlessly she gave an approving nod and a thumbs up to the honey blonde boy.

Did she actually know anything about sports? Her bruised wrists suggested no...

Wait, what penalty??
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The beach was a noisy kind of peaceful to a pale girl hiding under the pier, whose experience with such was essentially null. The crashing waves, the squawking gulls and other beach goers. But to someone whose entire life was spent in a quiet, dead, decrepit underground civilization, it was a pleasant cross between loud and comforting. Noise meant life, for better or worse.

One downside to living underground for one's entire life is a lack of sun. And Takara was a spitting image of this. Her pale, scaleless skin was currently and angry pink color, tight in movements and appearance. Hence, hiding under a pier from the sun. She sits patiently under the pier, wincing with each subtle movement and sniffling slightly in pain as she watches other beach goers, unsure of why she is in such pain but not others.

Next to her was a large, wooden chest, at least in appearance, but in truth it was her mimic protector Bao. Takara sat next to it in the shade of the pier, idly watching the other beach goers when there was some raised voices, followed by an explosion of sand. This caused the mimic to stir, opening it's mouth and a tongue and arms erupting out, pushing Takara behind it causing her to cry out in pain. As it slowly stood, she chastised it.

"Ouch Bao! Twas only sand for now. Let thine see." Takara said, stepping around Bao to watch the sand clear, and hear an odd shouting from the sky. She looked up in a bit of shock to see a creature plummeting from the sky above what appeared to be two humans, only to be hit up by a third participant a little ways away.

Takara slipped passed her mimic guardian, Bao uttering a chortling in protest as he moved to follow. Takara sprinted across the sand and slid to a stop near the edge of the encounter between the three people, not yet speaking but watching and listening. Bao soon loped over, standing next to Takara and waiting for the possibility of combat.
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KAHO
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The black haired man raised an eyebrow as Eri began her motions. At first, his pupils narrowed, like a cat raising his haunches, trying to determine the intent and reasoning behind her gesture. Much like a poised hunter, it only lasted for the briefest of moments before he clued into Eri's predicament. If she was attentive enough, she would note that true comprehension did not appear on his features until after she had written her note.

On the other hand, bowing from his waist, Max, on the other hand, was oblivious until his companion helpfully pulled him upwards to read Eri's writing.

"Pleasure to make your acquaintance. You may refer to this one as Shisi," the pale man gave his own name in return, inclining his head once more.

"So, you're mute huh?" Right on the head, it seems tact wasn't a trait the young man put much weight into. Furrwoing his brow, Max brought one hand up, extended a short distance from his torso.

"Let me see if I still remember this. . ." Gesturing to himself, the honey haired boy then proceeded to sign, albeit a bit choppily.

M.

A.

T.

Mat.

"Max Sinclair! Full time adrenaline junkie and part time amateur foodie!" he responded, thumping himself once in the chest before extending his hand for a handshake. "Right back at ya, Eri!" His face then lit up when he finished reading the rest of Eri's message.

Max had no idea what to think about Eri referring to herself as a hazard, but he definitively understood her last sentence.

"Ice cream? I wouldn't mind grabbing something to eat." Nothing worked up quite an appetite as frolicking in the sun, which, judging by the sheen on his skin, have been for quite some time. Glancing at Shisi, Max saw the immaculate man slowly place both his hands (and the struggling bag) behind his back.

"The dead have no need for sustenance."

"Then what a great time to be alive!"

"Regardless, your celebratory dining may need to wait."

Posted Image
"It seems we have a pair of challengers," Shisi remarked, turning towards Takara and Bao. Though it was the girl's sprinting that had drew them Shisi's awareness, it was Bao that currently held his pale eyes.

Instead of his chest head, however, Shisi was looking at the mimic's emancipated body. Those taunt limbs, that poise and stance, it was of a creature who was ready to pounce, and very capable of doing so.

Raising the red sack towards the duo, Shisi spoke "Are you here to test your mettle?"

Max, on the other hand, was notedly less excited as his senior.

"Wait, but I thought we were going to get food?"

"Do you believe you deserve a reward? If this one remembers correctly, you lost every set from to ring out." Well, there wasn't much Max could say to that.

Nodding apologetically to Eri, the honey haired man turned towards the newcomers.

"Fine, lets just get this over with already! You guys want to play ball? Let's play some ball!"
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Ah, so they figured it out that quickly, eh? Maybe they were sharper than they looked...

So her secret was already out, then. Eri grinned, sliding a hand into the pocket of her skirt and in a single fluid motion slapped a button upon her shirt with an audible click!

Please excuse me, I'm mute,

the small bit of tin read in proud, balloon-like lettering. From the faded blue and many minor scratches across its surface it definitely looked to be quite old. Which made sense since it looked like something an elementary student would wear.

More importantly though...

How can this be more important than food?!

Read her next message, scribbled angrily onto her sketch pad. She'd even added an angry face shoveling an ice cream cone into its mouth into the picture for extra emphasis.

If it must be a challenge, the losers must pay for snacks!

She added. Before they could blink Eri had already scampered her way into the referee stand beside the volleyball court, a whistle from an unknown source in hand (in reality it'd been given to her for protection, but this was practically an emergency!)

Moreover, if she was the referee, it would guarantee her not having to pay but still getting fed. Or at least that was the logic she was operating under.
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Takara, panting slightly from the sprint over, watched the exchanges occurring between the two parties, or at least between two of the three people there. There were some hand-signs for a brief moment (worrying Takara that it could be a spell, she took half a step back) but it seemed like the conversations were civil. That was, until it seemed like their presence garnered attention and the third member seemed to be addressing them directly. Taking a visible gulp, she took a step forward to the man with the sack, her concerns being for the creature in it.

Unsure if the accusations (if they even were such) to mettle were with ill intentions, she warily bent one knee, bowing slightly to the man with her arms extended towards the sack. "Sir I prayeth thee, is that creature all right? It appeared to me and mine that this poor thing was being harried and I admit to know not your customs." She spoke, trying to keep an eye on the man with concern, but her eyes constantly darting to the bag.

Bao on the other hand has still locked in place, a hand now slightly extended behind Takara as if to pull her back at a moment notice. While lean and taught like a coiled spring, Bao's mannerisms still appeared very lazy, slow and deliberate. It's open chest mouth and lolling tongue facing the direction of the man with the sack, as if sensing the closest danger to his charge.

And then the tension snapped, or perhaps fizzled out. The other gentlemen's exuberant nature softened Takara's taught nerves. Shifting only slightly, she looked up towards Max. "B-ball? What tis this playball you speak of?" Soon a flurry of motion from Eri that Takara could barely keep up with.

While temporarily entranced by the magic voice box, Takara returned to a standing position, a little more lax as Eri scurried away into the stand, leaving Takara more confused and Bao a little more tense at the movement.
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Both Shisi and Max stopped as Takara, rather than moved to position for the game of ball, instead decided to ask about the ball in question, dropping to one knee. The pale man would be the first to recover.

"This creature. . .?" Shisi confirmed, holding up the bag for Takara's inspection. Upon being referred to, the struggling within the bag intensified.

"Save me, dood! These guys are horrible, they haven't even payed me yet, dood!"

"Fret not," the taciturn young man responded. "This creature is a demon, reincarnated as such to balance their accrued karma. It neither requires or warrants one's sympathies.

"Too cruel, dood!"

"Uhh. . . " Max's train of thought had become a wreck. So they didn't want to challenge them to a volleyball match? He was already hyping himself up for another round, so the honey haired young man could not help but feel a little let down.

"Its like, you hit the penguin between both teams, and whoever drops it first loses. Except this ball also kinda blows up, I guess?" It was a simple game of volleyball for the most part, aside from the blowing up part. Obviously, the "ball" the two boys were using wasn't exactly normal either, though that may've been lost upon the recluse girl and her pet.

Looking off to the side, Max could see that Eri had already taken a proactive spot upon the referee's chair. He gave the girl an envious grimace as Shisi continued their explanation.

"Its a game which requires speed, technique and coordination, making it ideal for training." Placing both hands behind his back, the young man's fighting spirit diminished near instantly.

"The threat of being blown to bits only adds to the excitement." Shisi smiled.

"Welp, guess it was a false alarm," Max announced cheerfully, resting his hands behind his head. "With no challengers, it means we can all go get some grub!"

"Don't be foolish, Maxwell. The dead have no need for food," Shisi spoke, venom bellying his calm tone. "Do you now remember this one's words? Both you, your ball, and your game are dead."

"But Shifu! You can't honestly expect me to be you? Besides, you get way too competitive over a game. . ."

"It may be a game now, but the skills you learn from it will serve you in the future." Shisi sighed then, relenting. "Though, this one suppose your word does have merit." Turning towards Takara and Bao, the pale man bowed forward then.

"How about it then? You two seem capable, would you mind lending your time to assist in the refining of this one's junior?"

Max groaned audibly, once more denied food.
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Eri was being to sympathize with Mat/Max more and more every minute. She sighed inaudibly right along with his groan, once more finding paradise to be just out of reach. That pale boy was too cruel!

Still, there was a chance if the hermit and treasure chest decided to play ball (not just metaphorically) that this could still be salvaged. She blew her whistle loudly, throwing an arm defiantly in the air which she was pretty sure she'd seen done during a soccer game before. It wasn't technically relevant in this context.

However her meaning was quite clear, meaning she was with Shisi here. Let the game commence! The only alternative would be if that asked her to join and frankly Eri's arms and legs were still throbbing from before. Between that and the pressing hunger growing inside her by the minute she might actually die if she tried that.

It was difficult not to envy athletic people like those boys.
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Takara looked expectantly back to the bag and the blonde for the explanation. She was quite surprised by the response, taking a step back aghast and tripping over her own tail, falling onto her rump. Takara spun around and hopped back up to her feet, grimacing at the bag now, her previous face of concern completely gone. Bao dropped into a more hostile pose at Takara's movement, now in a half crouch, his arms spread out wide as he lets out a chortling growl.

"A foul demon thou say? Then consider mine previous apprehensions dissipated."she spoke to the blonde. Takara leaned in close to the bag, glaring at it causing Bao to take another step closer with her, now towering over Takara and the blonde. "I have no sympathies for vile creatures such as thee. How dare thee try to prey on mine kindness."

Takara looked back at Bao in his offensive pose and pat him softly on his arm. He softened up slightly, relaxing. "Well now if this 'playball' thine speak of is what thou were doing earlier and is an apt punishment for this creature then me and mine will participate." At the shrill of the whistle, Takara started walking to the game field.

"Now it may take me and mine a moment to decipher this game as you say. Please permit us a learning curve to teach us." Takara requested.
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Shisi smiled in response to the two's, or rather, Takara's, affirmative answers.

"Very well. Then let us take position on the court."

Thus, following some easy to understand directions, Takara and Bao would find themselves on end of a net. The net itself was wide, spanning around ten meters long and almost three meters off the ground. Notedly, there were no markings aside from that. On the other side of the mesh, stood the honey haired boy.

"Wait a minute, why am I the only one here!?"

"Both Takara and her partner are newcomers. It would not be honorable for me to play." Shisi, who now stood perpendicular to the court, held the demon penguin in his hand.

"C'mon, dood. You still owe me a sardine from last game. . ."

"Besides, battles in real life are hardly ever mandated or fair. This will prove an healthy exercise on facing greater odds."

"No way! Nu-uh!" Looking at Bao, Max was already intimidated by the Mimic's toned physique and gaping chestful of teeth.

Shisi ignored his protests.

Posted Image
"The rules are simple, even more so than conventional volleyball. Suusan, here," he gestured to the blue penguin. "Has the tendency to explode when thrown. As the players, it is your duty to keep Suusan in the air as long as possible."

He nodded towards the net.

"This is the boundary. Each one of your domains are on either side of the net. If Suusan explodes on your side of the net, it will be considered your loss." Aside from that, getting hit by an exploding penguin would no doubt cement that sentiment.

"Each team may only touch the ball twice before sending it over the net. Failure to do so would be considered a foul."


Turning towards Takara and Bao, Shisi asked them "This one hopes his explanation was clear enough?"

Erstwhile, Max was busy fantasizing about his next meal. Or, at least he would be, if he wasn't busy clambering onto Eri's high chair.

"Get down here, Eri! I'm not going to suffer alone!" Max shouted. "I'll get you two scoops- no three scoops if you join my team!" The man surely was desperate now, resorting to bribery.
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There was a flash, a loud blowing of a whistle, and a sudden blur of movement from the tower as a mess of black hair and pale skin leaped over Max's desperate face, her tiny white feet using the boy as a makeshift diving board. She seemed to soar momentarily; her thin, delicate frame floating elegantly as though time stood still just to hold her there.

Then, like a titan she landed hard upon the sand, sending up a tiny cloud of hot silica which curled about her person like a burning mist. She stood abruptly; tall, looking victorious and regal with stars in her eyes. Eri held up her sketch pad, thrusting it as high as her short arms would allow with the phrase 'Death Before Dishonor!' scrawled upon it in bold black lettering. With a flourish she hurled it aside, ignoring the aching feeling in her scrawny limbs (and the freshly added sand in her eyes) for another feeling.

The relentless protests of her bottomless stomach!

Eri nodded towards Max, giving him a stalwart thumbs up. With this kind of hot-blooded passion, how could she lose?

Moreover, what kind of person gets this motivated by ice cream?
Edited by Legacy, Aug 24 2017, 11:40 PM.
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Takara nodded her agreements as she drug Bao by the hand into their end of the playing field. She listened with rapt attention, meanwhile Bao stood motionless, paying little attention. Once the rule explanation was finished, Takara nodded enthusiastically to Shishi. "Yes sir! I believe it so!" she said before looking to Bao who looked.... just the same. Takara smiled and laughed, holding a finger up. "Prayeth thee, one moment."

Takara then went on to explain it to Bao once again, miming some motions of hitting the ball, pointing to where they need to hit it to, and just trying to pound in the point of not letting it hit the ground. Once she was sure Bao would understand it as much as she could, she gave another thumbs up.

She did have a little bit of sympathy for Max, but figured it would be fine considering his impressive strength and ability, his familiarity with the game, and the fact the Takara and Bao were beginners. But that changed in a flurry of black hair, as Eri joined Max's side of the field. Takara was back to being nervous.

Takara and Bao spread out slightly, Takara closer to the net and Bao farther,
as they readied for the game. "I believe the two of us are ready to punish this demon." she said with a nod. Then a sudden look of panic. "Hold!" she cried, sprinting over to Bao. "Now Bao, NO EATING thous demon. Tis a game. A fun. Not for eating." she said with a tiptoed pat on his chest before running back to position. "In all seriousness now me and mine are ready."
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Whereas Shisi offered a bemused smile at Eri's dynamic entrance, Max was able to breathe out a sigh of relief. Having someone on the court at least allowed him to account for the two hit rule, even if his team mate was a person near half his stature.

As for Takara?

Shisi nodded, though his eyes held warning.

"Your vindication is noted. May it serve you well in the match." With that statement, Shisi would then turn towards Eri, handing the demon penguin into her hand.

"Your team may serve," the corpse noted, throwing a pointed glance to Max, silently asserting that Eri will be the one to start the game. Though, judging by the brevity that SHisi went over the rules, and how green most of the members were, she should be fine so long as Eri got the ball/penguin over the net.

Shuffling a few steps back, Max oriented himself diagonally from his partner, bending his knees and ready to receive should Takara and Bao return.

"Its all on you! Show them the raging sun of your spirit!" He wasn't complaining about the actual blazing sun. At all.

"Wait, dood! Not too hard! I bruise easily, dood!"
Edited by KAHO, Aug 27 2017, 11:19 AM.
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Eri's confidence wavered. They actually wanted her to serve? Getting a few lucky hits in without collapsing was one thing but...

Her eyes darted to her partner, clearly burning with a mix of determination and desperation. Well, she supposed it couldn't be helped then. Letting him down felt like not feeding a stray dog while it was watching you have lunch. Even she wasn't that greedy with her meals.

Eri took her writhing ball to the corner of the field, struggling a little to keep it balanced in her hand in the hot, shifting sand. Part of her felt a bit bad about attacking it like this, demon or not. She loved all living things, as she was called to. Eri shared a looked with her penguin comrade, hoping to find some sympathy for her own situation. Please forgive her. Even if it hurt a little, she'd try to take it easy on him. Someone was counting on her, after all!

Eri bent her knees, focusing her steely resolve and red-eyed gaze on her target before tossing it into the air with an uneasy heave of her scrawny arm. With a flourish she brought her dominant hand back, giving the penguin's smooth, feathered skin a hard slap! A shock went through her hand and a shudder followed it down her arm. Still, as she hit it, she willed as best she could for it to go over.

Please go over the net!

The penguin soared, not especially fast or especially high, but it was just enough! It sailed just over the net, avoiding touching it only barely. Maybe they could do this after all!
Edited by Legacy, Aug 28 2017, 02:55 AM.
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Takara nodded her consent and made sure her and Bao were in position on their end of the field. Takara was stationed closer to the net to send out the ball or to receive it from Bao, Bao further back to do do the heavy serves and returns. They waited patiently for the serve, Takara with hands together for return, Bao... still lax and arms lazily hanging to it's sides.

And then the serve!

Takara readied herself and as the ball, or demon, sailed over the net carefully, Takara calls to Bao. "I've got this one Bao!" Bao was still fairly motionless, only the slight tilting of his chest head was any indication that he was tracking the ball.

Takara carefully paced backwards a couple steps and planted her feet, angling her arms and slapping them up to contact the penguin demon. With a slap of her forearms, she rebounded the ball gently back over the net, with similar force of the serve, sailing just over the net. Takara winced, shaking out her sunburned arms after the return.
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"Nice! A near net shot!"

"Indeed. In volleyball, a serve becomes a foul if it touches the net. However, hitting it too high gives the opponent more time to react and to prepare a return. Thus, a serve that barely goes over, at the bare minimum of strength is ideal."

"Don't tell me you're going to make comments on every move, Shifu!"

Regardless, the penguin barely went over, retracting its limbs as best it could, forming a spherical, if slightly oblong, shape.

"Another net shot!?"

"Indeed! A bump is the ideal way to return a low shot."

. . .

"Disciple, isn't it your turn-"

"Shoot!" Max made a break forward, crossing the distance to the net.

A bump can easily return anything from a spike all the way to low shots. It is dependable and constant, with very little room for error. Its one weakness lays if the user puts in either too much strength or at too flat of an angle, which would cause the ball to go straight. Sadly for Max, Takara made none of those mistakes, whether by fluke or intention.

The ball dribbled barely over the net. Already, it was half way down, leaving no room for a bump, much less a set.

"Make or break- Toe hack!"

Reeling his torso forward, Max slung his foot back, before spinning it forward in furry.

"Uwooooooh!" His toe made contact with the material, denting the elastic. Then, with massive rebound, the ball flew straight up. Sweet spot!

"Eagle Ascent!"

Grinning with pride, Max turned to his partner.

"Eri, go! Combo attack! Spike it!"
Edited by KAHO, Sep 1 2017, 12:27 PM.
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S-Spike?! Was he serious?!

Even as ridiculous as it sounded, the tiny, pale girl's body charged forward of its own accord, driven by his determined command. Her underutilized lungs burned and her legs struggled against the sand. How many times did she have to think about it? She wasn't athletic at all!

Eri kicked up clouds of sand behind her as she made a beeline for her target. She only had to use the opening Max had already given her! Her knees bent low as she approached, like a pair of white, coiled cobras as she prepared to jump. Her mouth opened in a silent, but triumphant yell as she tightened her thighs and pushed hard off the ground with everything she had!

...

.....

Jumping a measly couple of feet in the air, Eri collided comically with the net before her, nearly bouncing off of it if the ball hadn't come down squarely on her face. She flinched hard as the ball bounced off her nose and newly bloodied lip, sending her falling in a daze to the hot, sandy ground. Hope faded, and ice cream became nothing but a distant dream. This was the end of her victory run!

Goodbye Nippon! Forgive us, Coach Nakada!
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Takara listened to the masters commentary, happy to still be receiving guidance and clarification for rules. She mentally logged away that tidbit of information for later, when it would be useful again. But in the meantime, a return was sure to be in route again. She hoped Bao would hit this one, or maybe she should bounce it to Bao to hit? She tried to plan a bit, still nervous about any impending explosions. And speaking of...

Takara watched in amazement as Max ran to the ball and instead of hitting it with hands or arms, he kicked it up, high into the air. Feet! So you can use feet too? That opens a few more options. Undoubtedly painful options probably, but better for Bao. "Bao, thou can kick it up too! Just as he hath done!" Takara called.

The crossbreed and mimic waited and watched high as the ball descended into viable play areas and tensed for the return!

-smack-

Takara gasped in shock, running to the net and dove under it, trying to catch the ball lest it hit the ground. She wouldn't want it to explode right next to an injured competitor. Arms stretched out, fingers spread, her belly scraping the sand in desperate hopes.
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