Panda Academy for Girls was known for three main things. The near endless amounts of fighting style courses in it, the fact that most girls graduating from the academy left as top-level fighters, and the wild nature of the academy's curricular in general. Originally the Academy was a prep school for upper class girls to learn proper etiquette and be groomed for success, but later turned its focus to teaching girls self-defense after a rise in violence aimed at the upper class. That choice resulted in an unrulier student body consisting of people from both wealthy, noble backgrounds, and those of a rowdier, more delinquent backgrounds sent to the school as a form of rehabilitation. As such, the student body could vary from wild girls from bad homes to the most prestigious noblewomen. The stories from the academy were both amazing and dreadful.
And Kyo wanted to join this school. But…
"Kyoko-Annabelle Mushi, age 13, previous martial arts experience includes jujitsu and judo." The stone-faced secretary read off Kyo's application again, occasionally glancing back at Kyo before continuing. "You want to enter into the Chinese Martial Arts Course along with Theater Studies, correct?"
The woman flipped through the papers one more time before putting them down, looking Kyo in the eye with a frown. "Miss Mushi, you should really just go home like your mother wants. She's told us ahead of time y-"
"No!" Kyo shouted, stomping at the ground. "I'm staying!"
No matter how much she yelled, no matter how much of a tantrum she threw, this stone-faced secretary refused to let Kyo into the school. She didn't run away from home just to get turned away now. She heard this place even accepted runaways so long as they had the skills and tenacity to endure the training, so why couldn't she join?
The woman sighed, opening her mouth to speak.
"May, give the kid a shot." A voice spoke from behind. Kyo turned around, seeing a dark-haired young woman in a black tracksuit. She placed her hand on Kyo's head, ruffling her hair. Kyo frowned, flinching as the woman's hand nearly tapped her horns underneath.
"Elenore…" The secretary frowned, shaking her head. "Please stay out of this. This child is a runaway and needs to go back home."
The woman, Elenore apparently, pouted and placed her hands on her hip. "A lot of girls here ran from home to learn how to fight. Either that or because the cops threw them our way to try and civilize them. How's this one different?" Elenore said, gesturing to Kyo. "And she's got experience too, so she's probably not that much of a troublemaker."
"This one is the half-demon child of an exorcist." Kyo flinched at the mention. Ugh, mom just runs the shrine. Exorcist is kinda' pushing it. "And her mother already called us to explain she can become violently destructive when left to her own devices."
Kyo scowled at the woman, baring her fangs. The woman only shrugged in return.
"Case in point,"
Kyo let out a low growl, ready to say something vile at the woman in turn, but Elenore spoke up first. "Don't let her get to you, kiddo." She gave a smile, placing a firm hand on Kyo's head. "There's an easy way to get into the school, y'know."
Kyo's head was pushed down with surprising force. It wasn't just an encouraging touch. It was a warning to back off. So she calmed down, looking up at the woman. "There is?"
Elenore nodded, turning Kyo's head to a window. "See that girl there?" Elenore pointed to a blond girl outside in a black and white training uniform outside the office. It looked like she was doing forms out in the front of the school.
"Go beat her up,"
Kyo stepped away from Elenore, staring at her wide-eyed. "Huh?"
"What?" The secretary repeated, equally wide-eyed.
"Yeah, just walk up to her and punch her." Elenore punched at the air for effect. "You like fighting, right? Random brawls like that happen all the time around here, you'll be fine. Oh, and wear this." Elenore pulled out a black and white shirt from the duffle bag she was carrying and handed Kyo. It was way too big for her, practically a pajama shirt that went down to her knees, but Elenore just patted her on the back and smiled. "Trust me, she'll get it."
Kyo stared at the uniform, then Elenore. The shirt was a basic white polo shirt with black sleeves with a panda logo on it on the upper left corner. Kyo couldn't help but stare back at Elenore with confusion. The hell's this lady on about? Kyo wasn't against starting a fight, but for someone that seemed to be a teacher of all people to encourage it? That… was weird.
"Um… okay?" Kyo stared at the shirt, then at Elenore, then at the blond girl outside. Better than hearing that stupid secretary. She slipped on the polo, making her way outside and over to the girl.
Getting a closer look now, Kyo noticed a few things. The girl was pretty cute for one. A short bob cut hairstyle with a raindrop hairpin, bright blue eyes, and a pretty flashy uniform too, a bit more decals on it than Kyo's. She had a sort of regal aura to her, like an heiress or princess. She was small too, just a barely shorter than Kyo. I don't really get to fight people my size… It was usually either her mother or trainees at the shrine and dojo that fought her, and it was mostly as a sparring dummy. Fighting someone without the worry of taking a purification rod to the face might be fun, even if she felt a little bad about beating up this girl right out the gate. Hope she's not as weak as she looks.
The girl stopped her form and turned to Kyo as she approached. The two stared at each other for a moment, the blond girl looking over her before speaking up.
"Are you a new student?" She asked.
"Uh, yeah. Sorta'," It wasn't really a lie, if that Elenore lady was right about this anyway.
"Oh…" She smiled, pointing at Kyo's uniform. "That's a pretty big uniform for you then. Is it a hand-me-down?"
"Yeah… sorta'," Kyo was quiet for a while longer, scratching the back of her head. Just punch her in the face, huh? She felt bad to just attack the girl out of the blue, but she did get permission so… "Hah!" She thrust her arm forward, palm out and ready to nail the blond girl right in the jaw, but to her surprise the girl actually swatted her strike aside.
"Oh?" The girl looked at Kyo, surprised at first, but returning to a polite smile soon after. "You're a pretty straight forward, aren't you demon girl?"
Kyo narrowed her eyes at the girl. "Kyo-Annie," She growled out.
"Oh, I see," She took a few steps back. "Alright then demon girl, I'm Reyna-Mei Song, Chinese Martial Artist in the Sapphire Dorm." She canted her head. "So, did you want to fight me?"
Is she not taking this seriously? Kyo clicked her tongue, cracking her knuckles. She was going feel bad about beating up someone so prim and proper, but if she was going to act cocky about then… "What do you think, blondie?" She shot back.
For a split second, Reyna frowned, narrowing her eyes ever slightly before returning to a brighter expression. "I see…"
Kyo could help but smirk a little at the reaction. Aw, did I hit a nerve, princess?
"Very well Kyo-Annie, I accept your challenge." Reyna smiled, placing a fist to her open palm and bowing before taking a fighting stance, a rather elegant one at that to her. Palms out and relaxed, legs spread out, and breathing steady. It was annoyingly serene. There was something about that calm smile that felt like a taunt. "No need to hold back. Let's have a fun fight."
Kyo huffed, taking her own stance, nails stretched out and sharpened, stance low, a more feral look to Reyna's elegant stance. "It'll be for one of us," She swung at Reyna face without hestiation, and again Reyna pushed Kyo's palm aside and struck her right in the face in a fluid motion, making her stagger back a few steps.
"I hope you didn't expect me to be easy prey, demon girl." She said, the calm smile twitching to the smallest of smirks. "I'm stronger than I look."
Kyo regained her footing, stepping forward and striking out again, this time feinting her palm strike, pulling back at the last moment and kicking Reyna's leg. Seeing the wide-eyed shock of pain on her face from the hit was a good bit of vengeance, seeing Reyna go to her knees even more so. "I didn't want someone easy anyway, blondie." Kyo shot back, getting nailed in the chin by Reyna's palm.
Kyo staggered back, wiping the bit of blood dripping from her lip. "Heh, okay then." She rolled her shoulder, settling into a proper stance. Hands in a claw-like position, one out in front, one near her hip. "Hope you don't mind getting that uniform dirty when I knock you into the dirt, princess."
Reyna smiled back, just barely holding back a confident smirk under her polite surface. "Oh, no need to worry about me. Just don't hold a grudge when I send you to the infirmary, demon delinquent."
Oh, I'll show you a delinquent! Kyo shot her back arm out, putting a bit of power behind it and nailing Reyna's side with her palm, digging her claws in a little. She immediately pulled it back as Reyna staggered to the side, swinging her leg out and kicking at her shin, then switched legs and kicked higher into hip, switching legs one more time to knee her right in the chin as she bent down, though Reyna dodged that one, rolling to the ground.
As Reyna rolled, she swept Kyo's ankles with her leg, tripping to the ground. Reyna quickly got up, raising her foot over Kyo and stomping right at her hip, letting out a shout as she did so.
It was like a hammer hit her right in the side, shocking her system as she crumpled, mentally cursing as the pain slowly faded. Reyna then pushed her away with the same foot, taking a deep breath afterward.
Kyo was slow to get back up. Her side was killing her now. For just one hit it sure had a lot of power behind it.
"Had enough, demon girl?" Reyna asked. "I might break a bone or two if we continue. I'd rather not hurt a new student that badly."
"Can it," Kyo dusted off her shirt, getting back into her stance. There was no way she was giving up after taking a hit like that. She wanted revenge. "I'm just getting started! Bring it!"
And the fight continued, soon starting to draw a crowd. Several students in started gather. At first they were just casually glancing, then slowly started pile in, and eventually…
"Don't lose to that new girl Rain!"
"C'mon new girl, you can do it!"
"Rain can't grapple worth a damn, just try throwing her!"
"Keep knocking her down Rain, you'll wear her out eventually!"
It was more distracting than helpful, but appreciated in a way. And to Kyo's surprise, the blond princess was a popular student here. Most people were calling her by name, even the older kids. And, annoyingly, she was getting way more encouragement than Kyo.
After a few more traded blows, narrow misses, and bruising connections, both girls were on the ground, gasping and panting for breath, too tired to stand. The crowd soon dispersed after, chattering about how the fight went, giving out congratulations to both girls, and even some groans and moans about losing bets.
Wait, they were betting on this?
"Geez…" Kyo wheezed out. "What… kind of place… is this to… to just… let kids brawl like this?"
"It's… just how it is here…" Reyna answered.
"Yep, the first rule here is to always to be ready to defend yourself and show no mercy to your opponent. It's how we straighten out the delinquents." Elenore walked over to the two girls, sitting between them. "Well, a few other rules too, but that's the big one."
Kyo sat up, rubbed the cheek and feeling the swelling pain from where Reyna punched her.
"Oh, Instructor Elenore," Reyna sat up as well. "Was this your idea?"
"Yep. I needed a good distraction while I schmoozed with May about letting a certain little imp here in the school."
Reyna pouted. "We have enough delinquents here as is, Instructor…" She said, looking over at Kyo. "And I'd rather not have to deal with someone like this in my grade."
Well screw you too, princess. Kyo rolled her eyes
"Yeah, but this one's a good egg. Scouts honor." Elenore patted Kyo on the back, giving an almost mischievous smile.
"Good eggs don't attack me in the middle of my practice."
"Hey, she told me to do it!" Kyo shot back.
"And you just blindly attack someone you don't know because you're told?" Reyna answered.
"I don't wanna' here that from the chick that gave me a black eye."
"Says the girl that dug her claws into my stomach."
"You want round two, blondie? Cuz' I can dig 'em in a little deeper." She slammed her forehead against Reyna's, who pushed back.
"I'll be sure to keep you down this time, demon girl." Reyna pulled back and headbutted Kyo in the nose, knocking her down.
"Sonnuva-" She gritted her teeth, sitting back up and clutching her now bleeding now. "Oh, it's on now, you stuck-up little-"
"Maaan, look at those youthful sparks flying." Elenore teased, pushing the two a part with surprising ease. "How about you guys hobble over to the infirmary before you do that."
The two looked at Elenore, then each other. Both looked away.
Kyo spoke up first. "Fine," She said, standing up. "C'mon, I'll help you there."
"No," Reyna stood up as well, unsteady. "I don't need assistance. I can walk there myse-" She staggered over, nearly falling until Kyo grabbed her arm. "Stop being stubborn, stupid. I don't wanna' help you either, but I'm not some punk. Just take my hand, I won't scratch you or anything. For now."
Reyna paused, frowning. "Alright then…" She pulled herself up, leaning on Kyo. "But if you scratch along the way I'll give you another black eye, demon girl."
"I have a name, y'know. And it isn't demon girl."
"So do I, and it isn't blondie."
"… … …" The two were silent after that, walking to the infirmary.
"Kyo-Annie?" Reyna said.
"You can just call me Kyo. And what?" Kyo said.
"You're going the wrong way. The infirmary is in the side building."
Kyo stopped, staring out at the smaller building a ways from the main one. She pouted, glaring at Reyna. "Then tell me where to go, you stupid princess!"
"I would if you didn't take the lead, you stupid delinquent!"
"Shut it, blondie!"
"Make me, demon girl!"
From behind, Kyo could hear Elenore laughing. "Hehehe. Ah youth~"
"Shut up..." The two said.