As soon as the gun went off, Mikoto let loose a ray of blue sparks, and electricity gathered in her hand like a ball. She threw it in the direction of Kuroko; a spear of lightning flying over the crystal clean concrete. The electric field markings on the ground were not disturbed due to their depth below the surface, but that protection was of no help for those above the ground. Many opponents had been taken out by this simple attack alone, unable to dodge or shield themselves from the raging electricity. However, Kuroko had certain advantages. She teleported before the lightning hit her and wasted no time in appearing directly behind Mikoto, a triumphant smile on her face.
If I can get this close in one move, she'll have no time to— but she had hardly done more than appear at the spot before electricity struck out and hit her dead on. "Guuh!" The charge rattled her insides efficiently, and she hit the ground with a thud.
"Sheesh. You know," Mikoto turned around, scratching her head, "trying to approach me from my blind spot would be a good idea if it wasn't so obvious you'd do that." She sighed and put her hands on her waist. "I guess you don't know, but my body constantly emits electromagnetic waves, and if they rebound from any direction, I know something's there." Not to mention she had been working on upping her reaction speed after experiencing that all-too-close-for-comfort gunshot back at Usan Research Branch V.
Kuroko coughed; she'd been hit lightly, and was not rendered unable to fight. Perhaps Onee-sama wanted to start off by giving her a taste of what she was up against in order to lower her confidence. She gritted her teeth, yet her eyes shone with determination. Though this radar ability made things a bit harder, she was not about to give up. Not only to prove her worth to Onee-sama, but because giving up in the face of a tough opponent was not something a proud Judgment member would do.
Mikoto, still with her hands on her waist, looked down and gave a dejected sigh. "Really, this is stupid. Even if I go easy, there's no way you could even scratch me, you know?" She claimed such a thing up front without even a trace of modesty. "If you apologize for all the trouble you've caused I might even accept your withdrawal."
Kuroko grinned. Complete confidence in your own power – the third weakness. Anyone with that level of strength would have problems seeing their own short-comings, and it easily led to a lowered guard too. Well, Onee-sama did not have a lot of short-comings of course, but in any case; today that blind confidence might just turn out to be her downfall.
She put her hands on the ground and got up to her knees. "Onee-sama, it was you who just said there was no turning back once we started."
"That doesn't mean you're forbidden from using your common sense, idiot." Mikoto sighed, with a rather prideful look on her face despite her scowl. "I'm offering you a chance to walk away with your body in working order here. You should thank me, you know." Truth was, her initial rage had already died off by the time they entered the track field. She might have a mean temper, but it didn't last long at a time (usually).
"My, how noble." Kuroko said, getting up to her feet.
"It's nothing about being noble…" She muttered, reddening slightly.
"But I am hurt, Onee-sama… to think you are not even taking this seriously enough as to try your best…"
Mikoto gave her a scrutinizing look, almost as if contemplating her mental health. "Are you sick or something? If I tried my best, you'd be nothing but a smoking pile of ash on the ground. Don't tell me that counts as a love whip as well."
Kuroko smirked and moved her hand slowly towards her thigh. "In a fight of life and death," she said, "you always have to do your best."
Mikoto opened her mouth to answer, but Kuroko moved at that instant, touching a metal spike in her leather belts – and the spike appeared with a fwop in the air right beside Mikoto's ear, so close it even cut off a few strands of her hair before falling to the ground unceremoniously. Mikoto froze, her eyes wide. It had never occurred to her just how fast a teleported object actually appears; there was no way she could have stopped it. Never mind the speed of bullets; this was close to instant.
Kuroko was smirking again. "You see, Onee-sama? If you do not take me seriously, I could severely hurt you – this was but a taste. I am planning to do my very best in this duel, and I expect you to do your best as well." She would never really hurt the other girl seriously of course, but she would do whatever she had to in order to prove her dedication. As long as it wasn't deadly or in danger of leaving ugly scars (which really was no problem with Academy City's health care), it was good to go in her books.
Mikoto stared at her, her lips forming a thin line and her shoulders trembling slightly. Kuroko crouched, prepared to take any action in an instant; she had never fought an opponent like this, and not knowing what might come next made it all the more exciting. What could she expect, facing the strongest electromaster?
Mikoto closed her eyes and drew a deep breath, and her body stopped trembling. Then she looked at Kuroko again, and now her eyes had totally changed; they were serious, determined. Kuroko grinned, even though her entire body was tense in anticipation. The sensation of standing in front of someone with such immense power was making her skin tingle, as if she could feel it in the air and taste it on her tongue. Watching Onee-sama fight someone else was one thing; having that threat directed at herself was completely different.
But Kuroko had complete confidence in her own ability. While lightning strikes might be fast, teleport is even faster. If she fires at me directly, I can dodge, and she knows that already. She grinned. Then, the most logical course of action will be…
"Fine." Mikoto said. "If you really want punishment that badly, I'll gladly give it to you. I swear, Kuroko, you are going to regret this!"
Kuroko teleported before she was finished talking; a second later the area around Mikoto was bombarded with lightning strikes, leaving smoking craters in the concrete ground. Kuroko had escaped out of the danger zone however, appearing at the very border of the duel area. She didn't strike as large an area as anticipated. Is her range limited with a 360 degree attack? Or… She picked out another spike, and just as Mikoto turned around, she teleported it. It suddenly protruded from the other girl's shoe, right in front of where her toes would be. Mikoto stopped again, gazing pale-faced at the leering spike, and Kuroko smirked.
"Are you really taking me seriously yet, Onee-sama?" She held a light tone of voice; almost of ridicule. She wanted the level five to unleash her full power – wanted to prove that she would stand up and face the worst Onee-sama could fire at her. While her chances to win might diminish, this was not merely about winning, but to prove a point. If Onee-sama wasn't trying her best to beat her, challenging her would not mean anything at all. She held up another spike, smirking still. "Next time I won't miss."
Mikoto gritted her teeth, blue crackles emitting from her body – and the ground around her suddenly exploded upwards in a spiral of black dust – iron sand magnetized and extracted from the earth to form a spinning tornado, like a shield around the level five. A shield that, while effectively disrupting Kuroko's view of the electromaster, also functioned as a deadly weapon. The oscillating iron sand had the power to cut through almost anything, including thick glass. If it touched a human, they would bleed – a lot.
The audience was gaping at the raging wall of sand; Kuroko was grinning. It might limit my line of sight, but I know how a tornado works – there's a hole in the middle. Of course, she would never do something as dangerous as teleporting a spike at random into the center; however, Onee-sama could not effectively use iron sand and produce lightning strikes at the same time – of that, Kuroko was certain. Neither could she see any more than Kuroko through that wall of sand, making her completely reliant on other senses. Blocking my view is a good way of defense, but will hardly yield any results in ways of offense. Kuroko was tense, awaiting the next move. If she does nothing, it will remain a status quo, or I will get the first move – and she knows I can dodge it.
As if she'd read her mind, the iron sand lashed out in a furious wave towards her; she teleported into the air, high above the tornado and the field that made up their battleground. From up here, she could even see right down into the spinning sand, and the form of Onee-sama in the middle of it. You are still underestimating me, Onee-sama. She picked out another spike.
Guh – damn that teleporter, it sure is a bothersome ability! Mikoto gritted her teeth, trying to collect her thoughts and form some sort of plan in her head. Hiding behind a wall of sand wasn't exactly her first choice of strategy, but hitting the teleporter with a lightning strike turned out to be harder than she'd thought, and if the other girl really meant what she'd said, staying in sight wasn't very smart either. Still, it wasn't like she could actually strike her with iron sand; that would kill her for sure… Sheesh, why did she want to do this in the first– "Ack–!" She winced in pain as something burned on her upper arm; she clutched the offended area tightly. A metal spike fell to the ground innocently, joining the one she'd pulled out of her shoe with magnetism. Where – above? I completely—! She looked up abruptly, and at that moment, Kuroko appeared by her side, safely within the confines of the tornado.
Mikoto's eyes widened. But before she could even wrap her mind around the big blunder she'd just made, never mind make a coherent decision of what to do now, Kuroko elegantly teleported another spike, tearing another gash in Mikoto's thigh – then she disappeared again just as fast.
The next second felt like it was a mile long. Mikoto stared at the spikes on the ground like she'd shut down, while her internal status bar shot right up into MAX DAMAGE; something snapped inside her mind. Her pride, which always gave her the utmost confidence when facing opponents, had just received several blows in a short amount of time – and now this annoying little midget of a teleporter was playing with her as if she was just prolonging her own victory. Needless to say, this did not sit well with the level five mindset.
With a dangerous CRACK, the iron sand dispersed, and lightning tore through the dusty air in every direction; the on-lookers pulled back, as if that would save them from the furious electricity. They were safely outside the range of the battlefield however, contrary to Kuroko. The longhaired girl teleported upwards, and a lightning strike snapped past her shoulder; she appeared at another spot and was almost hit again. Leaving the battlefield was the same as surrendering, and the electric charges were everywhere at once, striking close to fifty meters in all directions, including upwards. Obviously Onee-sama had finally grown truly serious. Of course, that was what Kuroko had wanted; still, this was dangerous. I can't just rely on luck like this. Even if the air is thinner, it is better to stay above. She teleported up another fifty meters, above the raging electricity, and gazed down, feeling the chill winds tug at her short-sleeved T-shirt as she fell, and teleported again to stay up.
It was just luck that saved her hide there, really. Trying to calculate her movements in 11 dimensions while fierce lightning snapped past her elbows and knees and tugged at her clothes was possibly the hardest thing she'd ever done. How long could Onee-sama keep up a 360 degree attack like this anyway?
Just as she thought it, she realized the raging electricity was already scattering. The dangerous storm evaporated into small crackles, leaving a dusty cloud of sand in its wake.
She's got some ungodly amount of luck. Mikoto's initial burst of rage was calming, giving room for common sense once more. Thinking more clearly now, she realized keeping this up was a good way for depleting her strength, but not so much for actually winning the duel. If Kuroko wasn't hit yet, she had probably evaded it completely. A small smile tugged at her lips. She wants to fight seriously, is that it? She drew a deep breath, closed her eyes and allowed her senses to stretch out over a wider area, through the dusty air. In that case…
Kuroko landed on the ground an estimated ten meters or so from Mikoto. Her clothes were ruffled from near-hits, and there was a stinging sensation in her entire body, but it didn't bother her too much. She was happy Onee-sama had pulled back: There was no doubt whichever one had grown tired of using their ability non-stop first would be the one to lose. Perhaps Onee-sama could only keep up that kind of wide-area attack for a limited amount of time?
She had barely gathered her wits when she heard the sound of footsteps – suddenly, Mikoto charged at her through the dust, electricity surrounding her fist, which she raised in preparation to strike. Her face was dusty, the wounds on her arm and leg bleeding, but her eyes shone with determination – and her mouth formed a wide, terrifying grin. Kuroko's eyes widened. A direct charge? Did she sense my position, or guess it? She dodged sideways, barely avoiding the electric punch, and gritted her teeth; she's open right after an attack – she moved to deliver a punch of her own; however – what? Her eyes widened as electricity snapped from Onee-sama's bangs and shoulders, and Kuroko teleported mid-punch, avoiding the short-range explosion of electric currents that followed right after.
She reappeared some distance behind her roommate, pulling out a new spike in the process. She's got short-range defense as well as long-range attacks... She would have to end this now if she was to be the one to end it at all. But where do I hit her? The thought of hurting the other girl was still unsettling –
"Time to get rid of those annoying things!" Mikoto was already facing her again, blue sparks erupting from her bangs in angry bursts – the spike in Kuroko's hand was ripped out of her grip, and the remaining spikes in her leather belts left their sockets as well, heading right for the electromaster –
"No way – electromagnetism!" Kuroko stared at the spikes in disbelief. I completely forgot! The metal objects slowed their flight before reaching Mikoto, pointy ends aimed at their owner; then they suddenly thrust towards her like living bees going in for the sting, shooting through the air and hitting the ground with a clatter. Kuroko gave them no more thought, appearing at another point beside her roommate. With no more spikes, her options were very limited, and she was growing tired from the continued use of her own ability. I have no time to waste. I have to beat her the old-fashioned way: By reaching her physically and teleport her into the air. It was a last-resort move, and hardly foolproof. If I can surprise her, it might just… She sprinted forward; Mikoto turned, sparks flying from her fringe.
"Are you desperate now, or what!" And a blast of lightning tore through the air in a horizontal line, scattering dust everywhere. However Kuroko was already at Onee-sama's other side and immediately grabbed her by the wrist. Mikoto jolted, surprised that she'd try the same thing twice – and then she was in the air; thirty meters up, to be exact. Kuroko could hardly believe she'd succeeded – she prepared to teleport up and move Onee-sama down so as to not have her seriously hurt by the fall, anticipating her to be so scared by the imminent hit with the ground she would not shock her to ashes – but Mikoto pulled out a coin from her short's pocket and aimed it downwards while she fell.
What the –! Kuroko instantly teleported out of the way, and the powerful blast of electricity hit the ground with a blinding force; the sky crackled with the sound of thunder, and dust and concrete scattered everywhere. Kuroko gazed at the scene from her new position with wide eyes, seeing something like an electric shield surround Onee-sama, and her fall was slowed enough to allow her a safe landing on the ground beside the enormous crater that had appeared in the track field.
"Wha –" Kuroko gaped at her, completely flabbergasted. She had not even imagined something like that would happen.
Mikoto huffed and wiped her forehead, turning towards her. "Magnetism can also be used to trick gravity, you know." Her voice was solemn, and she raised her arm; in her hand, aimed right at Kuroko, was another coin. Kuroko's whole body froze. Her eyes darted everywhere, trying to plan her next move and calculating distances and axes…
"You're obviously tired, and your calculations are growing slower." Mikoto said. "I can fire this coin in 0.95 seconds, and it will hit you with three times the speed of sound. Will you be able to dodge it?"
Kuroko gulped slowly, staring at the threat of the small coin in Onee-sama's hand. While the railgun itself was impossible to dodge once fired, with nearly one second of charge she could easily avoid it – but that was it. There was no way she could produce any more tricks to try and beat the other girl, and she was only growing more and more tired as time passed. Yet Onee-sama still stood regally, perhaps sweaty and breathing more heavily than usual, but obviously still able to go on. Every advance Kuroko had made after the fight grew serious had been countered with ease, and even if she could keep dodging, sooner or later she would be too tired to even use her ability. There really was no reason to prolong this duel.
But even so, Kuroko did not want to just give up. Giving up was not an option; it never was, no matter who her opponent might be. As if she was fighting for the very right to live, she would not give in before she was unable to move at all. She grinned, crouching like a tiger, eyes shimmering with excitement.
"Then fire, Onee-sama, and let's find out."
Mikoto's eyes widened slightly. "Wha – are you stupid?"
"Oh, don't tell me that put you off?" Kuroko straightened up and gave a loud snort. "Really, are you scared of fighting me?" She sighed dejectedly. "Honestly, Onee-sama, how am I supposed to take you seriously when you hesitate in facing your opponent? Are you not the level five electromaster?"
Mikoto flinched, and her teeth gritted; her eyes seemed unnaturally light, as if she was feverish. The concept of firing a deadly railgun at her own roommate was probably making her determination waver. There was no way the railgun could be toned down to a non-lethal level and still be a railgun.
"You – you are seriously annoying!" She said, but Kuroko could still see her hand trembling.
The teleporter smirked. "Of course I am; I am your opponent, after all. Did you expect me to give you good advice or applaud your nobility? Why, am I seeing you shiver, Onee-sama? Are you perhaps on your last bit of strength as well?" She smiled arrogantly. "I guess I will have the honor of seeing you parading through our dorm room in my hand-picked lingerie after all!" Mikoto's expression grew more and more furious for every word, yet the tremble in her arm didn't seem to cease. Kuroko smiled again. "Prolonging the end has given me the opening I need. I know how to beat you now, Onee-sama."
"Eh?" Mikoto stared at her.
"Your bleeding wounds have already given me the answer!" Kuroko declared, pointing at her accusingly. "Even if you can strike down or magnetize my metal spikes, you cannot stop them when they just appear – meaning, my teleport is superior to your electricity!"
Mikoto's mouth formed a thin line, and Kuroko's smirk widened. "This will be the last move, Onee-sama. I intend to win this, and I will win as long as you still hesitate in taking me on."
"You're…" Mikoto muttered, a piercing glare filling her eyes, "you're a moron. I already went all-out on you; I didn't hesitate at all!"
"Ah, was that really going all-out?" Kuroko stood with a smirking, confident posture. "You pulled it back before I was struck, did you not? Or were you actually unable to hit me?"
"Gh—" Mikoto gritted her teeth.
Smugly, Kuroko continued: "Surely you can't be referring to the iron sand; you knew I'd be able to dodge that."
"If you really want to die, just say so!"
"Ah, Onee-sama, I am merely proud of my own power and have complete confidence in my ability to control it." Kuroko claimed, still annoyingly smug. "Also, I trust you to be able to control your ability. Obviously, that's the exact opposite of what you yourself do."
Mikoto's eyes widened again, but this time, they filled with rage; electricity spat forth, and Kuroko tensed. "I – HAVE – ABSOLUTE CONTROL!" Mikoto roared, and then she fired – the beam of reddish glowing hot electricity tore through the air parallel to the ground and scattered dust everywhere, a thundering sound following it a second later. There was no way to dodge a railgun after it was fired; even a speed esper would have trouble reacting to a beam of lightning travelling at three times the speed of sound, and even if you did not get struck by the beam itself, the shockwaves from the blast alone would knock you off your feet. Kuroko had already teleported by the time the coin was fired though, landing some meters away where a lot of spikes were lying on the ground. She bent and grabbed one, then teleported again when another torrent of lightning struck down at her position.
She appeared in the air some distance away, feeling a moment of triumph. There is no room for hesitation now. Hit her in the shoulder; it's efficient but not deadly. She could feel the tension in the air as she raised her hand, finding the best spot to aim – but then an explosion of black iron sand rose from the ground between her and Mikoto, and she lost sight of the level five; and this time, the iron sand was not spinning like a tornado, it was instead tearing through the ground like a war machine trashing through the forest. A wave of sand as tall as a house splitting into different directions and travelling at random over the track field; to Kuroko, it felt like being in a small rowboat, seeing the immense waves of water towering above her.
She gaped. She would teleport, but she had no idea where to; the iron sand was covering a large area and moving about as predictably as the stormy sea itself, and she would not like being hit by a wild strike. Furthermore, she did not know where Onee-sama was, or if she was moving at all.
What do I—? Something flashed in the corner of her eye; she gasped and turned, and saw Mikoto as she came sprinting at full speed right through one of the trashing walls, a scary grin on her face – Kuroko stepped backwards and raised the spike, but another wall of black sand erupted between them; and then Mikoto's hand came shooting out of the wall and grabbed her arm.
Shit! She had no more time to think; did not even have the chance to calculate one single number. An electric charge tore through her body, and she screamed; the pain was immense, much worse than anything she'd ever been served by the other girl before. The iron sand around them was drifting to the ground, as harmful as snow now; yet Kuroko did not notice, falling to the ground back first, and landing on the dusty surface with a heavy thud.
Mikoto watched her, heaving for breath, the cloud in her head finally settling down. The teleporter was lying on the ground, eyes closed, her arms and legs red and sore from the burning electricity that had struck her.
"You're not so big mouthed now, are you?" Mikoto asked, grinning despite her heaving breath. It felt like she had just run a marathon of considerable length; she was completely exhausted.
She got no answer, and then a whistle sounded somewhere; the duel was over.
But still, Kuroko did not answer, nor move at all.
Slowly, a slightly panicky feeling filled her chest. Her breath hitched, and she froze up, completely unable to move any way at all. "Kuroko…?" Somewhere inside her, a voice cried for her to check if the other girl was still breathing, check if her heart still beat – but she couldn't move a single finger.
And then the two teachers appeared, kneeling beside her roommate, checking her pulse, her eyes, her limbs. "Are you still with us? Don't fall asleep, stay with us." The man slapped her cheek gently as if trying to wake her up. But Kuroko didn't react.
"We have to get her to the infirmary," the woman said, just as urgently. "Move over, here they come with the stretcher…"
There was a real fuss for several minutes; afterwards, Mikoto could not clearly remember what had happened. She was suffocating on the horrible feeling seeping into her chest.
When Kuroko came to, she was lying in a bed, clad in a white hospital gown and with a lot of plasters covering her arms and face. She was confused at first. Why was she plastered? She tried to move her hand, and a stinging pain travelled from her fingers right up into her head, making her wince.
"Kuroko!" Mikoto's voice erupted from somewhere to the side; Kuroko tried to move her head slightly, and managed to get a view of the other girl as she came over to the side of her bed. She held a can of Coconut Cider in her hand, and her upper arm sported a plaster where the spike had hit her. She was still clad in her gym clothes, and had a fine layer of dust covering her skin. Kuroko smiled tiredly.
"Onee-sama, you ought to shower after such a work-out…"
"Jeez, don't start talking like my mother first thing." Mikoto huffed, putting the soda can on a table beside the bed and sitting down on the chair that stood facing it. She gazed at Kuroko worriedly, almost as if scanning every single scratch and bump. "Are you feeling alright?"
"Oh, I am having the greatest time of my life."
Mikoto lowered her head, and curled her fingers up on her thighs. "You idiot, it's nothing to joke about." She muttered. "…you could have died."
Kuroko snorted. "Onee-sama is too kind to even consider using your power to kill anyone."
"That's not what I meant!" Mikoto bit back, reddening. "I was – I didn't–!" She paused, bit her lip, and then sank back into the chair, pulling her knees up as if wanting to hide behind them. "Truth is, I was having so much fun I completely forgot to restrain the electricity…" She bent her head, hiding her face in her knees. "I was sure your heart had stopped when they put you on that stretcher…"
Kuroko's heart was definitively beating now, at least; almost painfully so. One month ago she would never have imagined the sight of a troubled Misaka-san could ever move her this much, but now, she truly felt the blossoming feeling in her stomach. She could imagine Onee-sama's down beat form as she stood by the vending machine to buy that soda; possibly, the older girl had been worried to bits all this time.
"Aah, please don't worry, Onee-samoaaaah!" She tried to move her arm again and was instantly struck by a fierce stab of pain, making her gentle sentence end in a rather horrible sound of pain.
Mikoto looked up abruptly and then leaned forward, stretching out to grip Kuroko by the arm. "Kuroko!"
Kuroko tensed the moment Mikoto's fingers touched her skin, as if her body prepared for another round of electric frying; however nothing happened. Onee-sama's grip was gentle, and she stared down at her worriedly. That sincere expression made emotions explode in Kuroko's abdomen. "Aaah, Onee-sama, Kuroko does not deserve your worry! Please don't gaze upon me with such a hurtful expression on your face!"
"Don't act like some dying hero in a shounen manga!" Mikoto barked, growing red-faced. "I just don't want everyone to think I'm a bully or something you know?" She folded her arms and looked away, but her pink cheeks were totally obvious. "You asked for it too; honestly, today has been a hellish day for sure! I even got detention because of you!"
"Ah, Onee-sama, did you lose your temper again?"
"It's your fault, you moron! And what's with again?"
Seeing her red face now, it was hard for Kuroko to imagine she had just a while ago had been fighting Onee-sama in a rather harsh duel. To think that such a frightening power resided within the girl sitting on the chair in front of her, blushing cutely with a scowl on her face…
"Don't stare at me like that, it creeps me out!"
…somehow, Kuroko figured whoever got the job of picking out the people to gain the strongest powers in Academy City could have made a more careful decision.
"It's not every day I have to go to such extremes to win a mere duel," Mikoto muttered, scratching the back of her head with an annoyed look on her face. "It feels like I'm still burned out. Honestly, you really know how to press a person's buttons."
"No amount of electric charges can make me shy away from you, Onee-sama." Kuroko announced. "But please refrain from treating our fellow students the same way..." She couldn't say her current predicament was wonderful, even if she had wanted to.
Mikoto reddened again and huffed, as if trying to cover up her embarrassment. "I don't need to go all-out on anyone else. Besides, it doesn't help if you shy away from me when you still come up with crazy things like this – and by the way, where is my underwear?" She had been forced to keep wearing the ridiculous frilly underwear left to her in gym.
"Aaaah, Onee-sama, every lady needs to wear proper garments… it would be better if you just realized this!"
"There's nothing to realize!" Mikoto barked, reddening even more. "Give me my belongings back, you pervert!"
"Aaah, but, Onee-sama, Kuroko does not have them here!" Kuroko shrunk away from the fuming form above her, and winced as pain wracked her body. Mikoto stopped abruptly, worry flashing in her eyes again; then she sat back down and folded her arms, huffing.
"Whatever. I'll just change when I get back to our room."
This sentence that seemed innocent enough made Kuroko break out in sweat; her face was suddenly dreadfully pale.
"Hm, what?" Mikoto asked, a suspicious undertone in her voice.
"N-nothing at all, Onee-sama." Kuroko grinned stupidly.
"Somehow that expression tells me the exact opposite. What is it? Something about our –" She cut off, growing red again, "Did you do something in our room—?"
"No, of course not, Kuroko would never—!"
"What the hell did you do, Kuroko!"
"Aaah, I swear, it's just a little surprise for Onee-sama!"
"No more surprises! Tell me now, or I will –" She stopped suddenly, reddening at an alarming rate and gazing at Kuroko's plasters; the guilt for having reduced her roommate to this state still lingered in her chest.
Kuroko's heart soared. "Aah, to think you're this worried – Kuroko will gladly accept any punishment as long as it will erase the doubt in your heart!"
"Wha – what the hell is that supposed to –"
"Even though I could not beat you today to prove my love, Kuroko will continue to press on – until Onee-sama finds me worthy of being your partner! Please make me your personal slave as punishment for today!"
"Wha-wha-whaa?" Mikoto pulled back in panic. "You really are sick!"
"Indeed, I am lovesick, Onee-sama! My heart is bursting for you!" She stretched her arms out as love clouded the pain in her body.
"I-isn't that dangerous? Don't look at me like that! If you're hurt, you should stay in bed!"
And such, the days go on in Tokiwadai middle school… By the way, the track field was repaired within a week, but the duel that had reduced it to look like an area used for test bombing remained a legend in the school forever after.
One day I thought, "Would it be cool to have Mikoto and Kuroko fight each other?" and I decided to give it a go. And the answer to my question is, I guess, yes. It was pretty cool.
Writing it was loads of fun and very challenging. When writing action scenes like this, I consider three things: The abilities of those clashing, the personalities and/or circumstances of those people (this includes battle experience), and the battleground (which includes any outside interference like a bystander getting involved or something). All these factors are important for the outcome of the fight. As such, if this duel took place on another battleground than the track field, it would have been completely different.
And it could have been completely different with this setting too. That's how it always is. I have already rewritten it several times, and ended up with this variant, which I'm quite pleased with. This duel was a little experiment, and I wanted to make it as long as possible. Still, if Mikoto had a personality like Accelerator…
Anyway, if they were going at it for real (meaning, fighting to kill), I imagine it would be a pretty boring fight: First to strike wins. There's no doubt Mikoto is much stronger than Kuroko, but even she can't dodge a teleported object (unless she somehow learns to sense things moving through other dimensions and reacts quick enough to stop them somehow… I guess). In that case it's not about level of power, but rather who strikes first; that's my theory on the subject.
I hope you enjoyed this little fic, and if you for some reason didn't, here's a cookie for your time! *omnom*
Grammatical note: I tried to fix the amount of times I've used the word 'several' after it was commented (I never even noticed I used it!), both here and in part 1. I think the result was a bit better, though I found few synonyms to use in its place, so I had to wrack my brain a bit. I hope it's less of an eyesore now! =)