[Soul Society]
(Kobayashi Household)

Momoka takes the last bite of her mushrooms as she listens, chewing thoughtfully. "...well, unfortunately, I have not been quite free enough to partake in recent years. But perhaps one day." She offers her usual small smile, but there's a prickle of warmth in it. It disappears behind a napkin before too long as she wipes her lips, and nods in a show of gratitude.

"It was very good, Setsurou. Thank you." Of course, he'd probably planned desert too with how thorough he's been.

(Engineering HQ - THE ARENA)

"I see. Perhaps you would like to move this conversation to a more horizontal setting?" Waltz's rockets don't last forever, after all.


Chouko spits blood as she picks herself up, her vision blurry and the entire side of her face lacerated and bruised. Sakadatsu looms over her, right fore arm hanging limply, but keeping his balance with the secondary arm. Around him, a dozen remote gauntlets the size of his fists float, designed somewhat after Chouko's own gauntlet. The beast growls, but has halted his attack for now.

"...do you see now? You cannot win this fight. You still are not ready. You are on the right path, but you still need to mature. The fact that you are attempting this out of anger only clarifies that fact. Yield."

Chouko holds her ground for now, taking out a small capsule and breaking it with her teeth, the stored Keikatsu energy recovering some of the damage. Inefficient, perhaps. But it was a stored capsule of her own energy, it held none of the feedback issues of normal keikatsu. "You know I can't do that, pal. Like the last time..." While it might seem like she's gearing to go into speech mode, a sudden shoulder-mounted rocket catches Sakadatsu straight in the faceplate, and she's gone.

Sakadatsu roars, his faceplate mangled and blackened before it retracts back into his furry flesh. He vaults about in a restrained fury, the gauntlets swinging around with each movement of his fists, ripping apart the covering rocks provided by the arena. "TECHNOLOGICAL TRICKS AND DECEIT, IS THIS ALL YOU AMOUNT TO, TAKENAKA CHOUKO!?"

In the dust and debris, Chouko frantically dodges the storm of blows, letting loose occasional burst fire at the gauntlets to test their defense. Her voice rings out from the still active surrounding speakers. "Man, you should know better than that. You've got strength and size over me, I'd be murdered."

Sakadatsu comes startlingly close to Chouko with an overhead two-gauntlet slam, creating a crater she escapes with a burst of shunpo. "And that is why you are not ready! You are relying on everything but your own power! Your cleverness is a boon, but in times of war you cannot escape every situation with wits!"

Chouko responds in kind with a rapid-fire chain of shotgun blasts, littering Sakadatsu's side with bullets. "Bull****! That's just the arguments the haters and-" She's cut off as a gauntlet catches her from behind, and a second slams brutally into her. She sees stars and blackness at the edge of her vision for a moment before being thrown bodily across the arena again, catching on the ledge with an opportune grab and hanging there for a few moments before climbing up and rolling over, staring up with a few ragged breaths.

"...in some instances, you cannot rely on wits alone." Sakadatsu pads forward slowly, letting forth an irritable growl. "You need courage as well. You are not fighting with courage. And so you are not worthy."

Chouko's ears are ringing enough that she's tuning it out. She idly thinks about an old man and a clock.