The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)
Batty was having a bad day. He had let two unknowns slip past him in the hallway, and as hard as the collective army of guards tried, they had not found the intruders in the network of hallways that made up the backstage. He had received a verbal lashing from his boss and was demoted several ranks in the Order of the Guards as a result.
He had hoped the surprise concert-match with Dia, pictured on the buttons that adorned his chest, might cheer him up.
Had he not sat in a chair to watch the fight, he would have fallen over when Dia’s opponents came on the stage. The two that had slipped past him were dressed in beautiful outfits and ready to battle with his favorite beauideal.
He could do nothing but watch as the two sides clashed in the arena. However, it quickly became clear to him that Dia was not in a tough position. She seemed to take every attack the duo threw at her with grace and confidence. Batty relaxed as his favorite beauideal lived up to her image.
The guard had relaxed until Harlan’s transformation. The entire crowd became tense at the sight of an unknown ability creating the ‘Blossoming Harlan’ dubbed by Fiona.
Dia flapped her wings and attempted to climb back in the air, but Harlan quickly closed the gap between them. The modified Zenotote punched at Dia’s chest, and Dia spun to avoid the strike. As the fist flew next to her body, the green Beauideal shuddered. It seemed like Harlan had enough force to break through a wall.
She instantly focused her ability on the modified Zenotote. X allowed Dia to be the best at a selected something than everyone else in the ‘room.’ Immediately, she produced more brute strength than Harlan. Dia punched back at her opponent, which echoed as it landed squarely on the Zenotote’s face.
Harlan was unfazed. Her ultimate form was created with three primary improvements in mind—strength, defense, and speed. It took years and several iterations to reach perfection, and it was an uncharacteristic brute force approach that she frowned upon, but she figured the form would have a time and place for use. She responded with a punch to Dia’s stomach, at which the Beauideal gasped. With a flap of her wings and hands held on her stomach, Dia quickly retreated to the air. It was unbecoming for beauideals to simply duke it out.
“♪You’ve done well, I see. An ultimate form granted by your ability? Unfortunately, it will be nothing.♪” She sang to her two opponents on the ground. Her singing did not falter, and the crowd began to cheer their star on.
Dia quickly communicated to X:
‘We are in a bind, aren’t we?’
You shouldn’t have challenged them so recklessly… yes, we are. It seems that form prioritizes attack and defense, and we can only become better than one of them.
‘Can you estimate how long she will have that form?’ The Beauideal realized she would have to stall to win in the end.
In response to Dia’s request, a countdown appeared in her vision. Unbeknownst to Harlan, the green Aqueenian’s Needaimus had accurately predicted when the transformation would end within several milliseconds.
Dia quickly switched from being the best at attacking to the best at defense as Harlan jumped off the ground. The modified Zenotote made a powerful uppercut while her dress and long ‘hair’ flew wildly in the air.
Dia spun in the air but quickly moved her wings to regain control. She smiled at her falling opponent.
“♪I’m afraid I can no longer feel the pain you give!♪” she happily sang. The green beauideal planned to wait out Harlan’s ability before finishing the fight.
“♪Fiona, the time is now!♪” Harlan replied.
The modified Zenotote disappeared in a flash and reappeared over Dia’s head. She kicked Dia in the back, but the beauideal felt nothing but a tickle. Fiona joined in and tried for a kick, which was equally ineffective.
Another flash moved Harlan to the front of Dia, and another blow was hardly felt for the winged beauideal.
Fiona gritted her teeth as she saw no way to take down the winged beauideal. Her ally’s confidence and powered-up form were all the blue princess could find trust in. She moved Harlan behind Dia and zapped in front of the winged Beauideal while preparing to make another strike. Dia smiled as she planned to take the harmless blows.
Before either of the duo struck, as the Zenotote scientist was behind Dia, Harlan quickly reverted back to her normal scaly body. The beauideal was unprepared as two kicks hit her from the back and front. Her defense remained the best but was now back to its original state, and each blow was given with as full force as the other girls could muster.
Harlan thought to begin singing, and Fiona joined in with rambling, incoherent words in an attempt to follow along. The three of them fell to the ground.
“♪Dia the star, with wings so wide it only makes sense you would be ranked so high. ♪” Fiona quickly zapped next to the green Aqueenian and grabbed her wings. “♪Now bested by two strangers, what will come? ♪” Dia gritted her teeth and forcefully moved her wing to throw Fiona off, but it came too late, and she only succeeded in adding a little softness to the impact. Dia hit the ground hard but quickly began to push herself up.
Harlan finished as she used the fall to drive her scaly elbow into the grounded Dia. Fiona appeared next to the two and helped her teammate up.
The crowd was silent as they waited for Dia to get up. It took the announcer far longer than it should to give the final conclusion:
“D- Dia has lost?” he shouted. The music played for a minute longer to wait for a moment where stopping wouldn’t be so abrupt, then the crowd cheered with mixed emotions. “That means… her winning streak has finally ended?” the announcer gasped at the realization.