The group of Neo-Shogun newbies watched with interest as the gown-wearing zombie took the stage to face off against the much larger NetMafia grappler. MongolMan continued growling and laughing in equal measure, obviously not taking her threat very seriously, and from step one, appeared to be adopting the very same stance she'd just seen him use. His next actions also offered nothing new: a crazy bum rush that would be very difficult to fight back against or sidestep. Fortunately, she had a trick in her arsenal that used an axis he didn't have covered, and flew straight into the air. There was an odd, audible gasp, seeming to radiate in a perfect radius around the ring, as she took to the air. Wasteland had mentioned earlier that flying might break the rules for leaving the ring, but either it looked like a jump and those were okay or otherwise, there was no rule against it, because all that it appeared to warrant were cheers for Mullonde safely beating the odds.
For his part, the mafioso seemed to demonstrate none of the cunning that one might expect from someone who makes a living off of physical fights like this one. He stared stupidly forward, wondering where his target had gone, once she was out of the way, leaving him very close to the edge of the ring. Before he could even turn around, Mullonde, smashed him in the back using a her GutsImpact battlechip, sending him hurtling out of the ring much farther than Upside had gone earlier, so much so that he slid into the crowd. Oddly, he really did "disappear" into the crowd; it was hard to tell where he ended up after the first few people he ran into fell over. Nobody appeared to be injured, but it sure seemed like he was the type of guy who'd want a second chance. Despite that, he didn't come back out of the crowd...
The crowd accepted it all at face value and began cheering as Mullonde tore her gown off, seeming more excited for her challenge than any of the other rings, just based on volume and presence around the ring. Despite that, no line seemed to be forming to challenge her yet, besides her allies. Her allies had a couple of thoughts of their own, starting with Messenger. "Wow, it's pretty rare that you see someone mud-wrestle without getting a single speck of it on them!" she remarked, sounding genuinely impressed but perhaps lending unwanted attention to the bit of trickery that had occurred.
"Hee hee hee... Zombies in the skies! Hee hee hee...!" Wasteland gleefully noted. "I was hoping your fist would go all the way through and grab a hold of his heart, though!"
"You grabbed a hold of my
heart, anyway," Puppet-Show attempted to encouraged her with a playful smile on her face, a little reminiscent of Dee's, but with a little less mirth and a little more... something else. The lady looked surprised, all the same, when it was revealed she'd be the next competitor. "Oh my... I'm not much of a wrestler," she warned Mullonde, seeming hesitant to go up at all.
"Aw, go on, silly! If you lose, all that does is make Mullonde look better. It's all good!" Messenger goaded her.
"Hee hee hee hee! Don't worry, Mullonde won't kill you right now, probably!" Wasteland giggled menacingly. "I don't make any promises when it's my turn, though!"
"That would require me to win, Wasteland, and I don't think..." Puppet-Show sighed, while Messenger pushed her up into the ring from behind.
In the mean time, Plastique approached; she'd been resting up still, presumably, and was the only one in the dugout to wave over at this point. "What?" she asked simply, lowering her eyebrows and already seeming skeptical just looking at Mullonde's sneaky grin. "Am I supposed to wrestle you two on one with Puppet Girl? Cause I don't-" she began snapping, before Mullonde interjected, explaining her plan. "Bombs, huh? Putting them there and detonating them is easy, but hiding them secretly won't be. There's no space under the ring so I can't sneak in that way. I guess I could pretend to be doing maintenance or something..."
"Or we can go back to the first plan... A two on one match! If you throw Plastique to the corners of the ring, that'll give her the perfect chance to set the explosives discretely, right?" Messenger recommended, pleased to offer sneaky suggestions despite her good-girl image.
"... Why do I have to get thrown around?" Plastique complained, but she stepped inside anyway. "Fine..." she groaned, then adopted what looked like a surprisingly practiced hand-to-hand stance. "I'll be ready to place them... If
you can actually toss me," the Neo-Shogun recruit challenged. She'd have a low center of gravity, due to her stature, but it looked like her style was much more defensive. As for Puppet-Show, she smiled awkwardly and raised her hands, but it was hard to say she had much of a stance at all. She was probably just imitating what she'd seen the others do so far. "It'll be pretty embarrassing if we lose two on one, Puppet Girl..."
"I think the whole thing might be pretty embarrassing regardless," Puppet-Show offered. It seemed like Plastique was going to stay in defensive stance until Mullonde came at her; it might be best to try something sneaky rather than locking hands with her in traditional wrestling style, in order to quickly toss her to at least two sides of the arena so she'd have a chance to plant explosives. Puppet-Show, on the other hand, was going to stay in a quote-unquote "defensive stance" simply by virtue of having no idea how to attack without making herself look like an idiot, exposing her lack of practical combat knowledge.
If Suzume had time to look elsewhere, she'd notice a couple of other oddities going on around. For one thing, the crowd was loud, but only around her own ring; although there were viewers everywhere, those around the other rings were standing around pretty still and quiet, while the ones surrounding Mullonde were shouting excitedly, shaking their fists, and etc. Showbizz seemed to be exclusively talking about Mullonde's ring, though it was hard to see what she was saying. Alex and the psychic were seemingly wrestling their own battles, but the silver girl wasn't even watching Escort entering the ring with her... Instead, her eyes were rooted on Mullonde's. She was posing dramatically, but with her lips tightly shut, and making no motions to leave her ring and come towards them... Yet, anyways. Across the ring from the silver lady, Escort was watching her curiously, raising one eyebrow and both hands. Suzume had seen what Escort was capable of and likely knew that few fighters had a chance against her in a battle, much less hand-to-hand combat.
Perhaps to Suzume's surprise, she received a message, not from Yasu or from Arch, but from Escort:
I know this isn't the best timing, I apologize, Miss Mullonde. But something strange is happening... I suddenly realized I recognized this woman, but I must confess, I cannot remember where from. Her appearance is so distinct that it is hard for me to think how that could be the case. The whole atmosphere of this event feels wrong, somehow, does it not? Ever since you began wrestling, I'm finding it even stranger. It may correspond to your showmanship, or it may be something else.
For now, please continue to try to draw attention and inform me if you see anything odd, and I will endeavor to do the same.
For now, the easiest way to draw attention was probably with the plan Suzume had already started, which would put a lot of eyes on the sporty zombie, the sexy puppeteer, and the bomber who, while grumpy, had a pretty nice butt.