Circuit of Champions - PFW: Eastern Master - Baiken vs Kanda

Description: Baiken decides to spice up her fighting career by challenging for one of the biggest belts around - the Eastern Circuit of Champions Master Belt, against the Iron Dragon of Muay Thai, Olan Kanda. An extremely close battle results. (Winner: Baiken)

Within Thailand, the ring chosen for this title defense is the same as always; so far, Kanda has crushed countless opposition from other Muay Thai practitioners who were not on the forefront, and secured himself as a potential for the next public face of the sport. Only King stands above him... something he allows in his mind. A female, using such a bastardized version and having the nerf to call it Thailand's pride... but all matters in time. She should be defeated soon, before Kanda can move up in the world.
The crowds are absolutely huge, nearly packed to the bleachers with people coming to see the Iron Dragon. If Baiken were the sort, she can see he began training at nearly four years old by an old master, the very same who helped discover and groom Sagat. He has spent 14 years, building a career in effort and tenacity. He is not a prodigal talent or a great mind. It is thousands of hours of training, the sort that would kill a lesser man, that has brought him where he is.
When the Thai announcer beckons for the challenger to come, there is no pomp or parade. Suddenly he is there, striding forward; a man of deepest bronze skin, hair a dark black and cropped short with wayward spikes slicked rearwards. He wears only loose crimson shorts, with wrappings around his forearms and shins. He's of surprisingly average looks, and only about six foot two; yet broad as a barn, with immensely thick shoulders and arms, seeming to have been blessed with long legs despite not towering as much as other practitioners. He almost exudes a density to himself with each step. Most striking are black eyes, the iris yellow; and the sheer number of wounds and scars, ones that surpass even Sagat. He earned them all in the ring, each one a badge of a victory or lesson learned in defeat.
Grasping the top rope in his right hand, Olan Kanda lifts it straight up until the turnbuckles strain and creak. This mild display of strength gives hint to the body he's moulded in his years, slipping within to settle in his own corner. A slow exhale of heated breath, before he leans back on his rear leg and raises his other, forearms held level with his shoulders and hunched head low between. Two crimson streams, each housing a steel dragon, are tied to either bicep.
"I am Kanda." he speaks, voice deep and raspy. "I am here... to break you." The announcer would then do whichever entry Baiken desired, before moving to the center of the room to begin announcing the rules...
"Although this is a Muay Thai ring, this is mixed martial arts. No holds, weapons, or blows barred. Do you both understand?"

Baiken had started to plan this on a whim.

Baiken knew she had to improve. She'd had several bouts where she'd done well, but several others where she'd been defeated. Defeat was not getting her any closer to being able to find and kill That Man, or his monstrous servants, or any of the other freaks she knew lived in and around rings. Fighting drew them, the same way it drew her.

So, she thought, while quite drunk, why /not/ make a challenge? If she won, it might draw some of them out to fight her - and even if it didn't, it would guarantee her skilled practitioners to fight against. She didn't learn anything from defeating her lessers.

She'd sobered up later, but it still seemed like a good idea to her. The only issue was Kanda ignoring her for a time. Eventually, she'd heard back - not from Kanda himself but from some of the officials. Apparently he would have been quite happy ignoring her. She was less than amused, but the road had eventually led here anyway.

Baiken's history is a mystery - to Kanda, and to the crowd. She isn't very well known despite her unmistakable skill; she'd been seen fighting, of course, but she had never bothered to answer questions about herself. She wouldn't say her age, leading to guesses anywhere between twenty and thirty - she hasn't even given her full /name/, entering only as Baiken, one word. And that's fine by her. She isn't here to talk about herself. If anything it's gotten her some interest she would not have gotten if she'd been more open; everyone likes a puzzle, and a strange fighter coming out of nowhere to challenge for a belt is certainly a crowd-pleaser.

When Kanda arrived, Baiken was smoking. She has a long Japanese kiseru, the far end of which is wisping a faint haze; she's not really going at it so much as using it to keep herself busy before his arrival. Baiken taps out the tobacco from the far end while Kanda pulls himself in the ring, out of the spotlight; she tucks it away somewhere in her robe.

She gave no instructions for her entry, because the pomp and circumstance doesn't interest her. She vaults up into the ring, leaping to plant her left hand - her only hand - on the turnbuckle, swinging her body over it and dropping inside. It's more acrobatic than Kanda's entrance, impressive in a different way; it shows agility rather than strength. Her empty sleeve trails as she walks away from her corner, toward the center. She has to look well up at the man, being almost a foot shorter. Her eye narrows just a little.

"You won't be the first to try," is all she says - and given the state of her body, that's probably true. One arm, one eye, and on opposite sides of her body, so caused by different injuries. They look old. The announcer gets a short nod - she knows the rules, and judging by the sword at her hip, she's already prepared to take advantage of them.

All of this would have been easy grounds for Baiken's challenge to be rejected, but the Iron Dragon is hungry for a good battle. It has been too long, and watching a few of her videos the potential was clearly seen. Unlike many, Kanda is not in the category of those who must irrevocably win. Only irrevocably advance. None who had so many defeats as him starting out, even with a master training who ended up giving up on him, could have developed a true ego. If anything, a prodigy is precisely who he looks down on; and why Adon sickens him more than any other in the art.
"You are at least humble and not a showman. We came here to fight. I am interested in nothing more." he allows, beginning to lightly bob his knee towards the other girl. There is a glance to her missing arm, but perhaps surprisingly for the girl he makes no mention of it. No judgements, positive or negative, about her potential prowess in the wake of such a handicap.
"There is a difference between you and me." he finally states, eyes hardening. "You... fight for yourself. But I never have. I fight for my nation. To regain the pride it lost, with Sagat's fall and Adon at the helm. And I fight for the honor of my art, turned into the flamboyance of acrobatic pyrokinetics. For them..." A hand gestures at all of the Thai citizens, many holding up huge banners and other such things. "...I cannot lose. Resolve and tenacity... is how you get strong...!!"
With the rules finished, the referee slips backwards and brings down his hand.
"FIGHT!" Kanda starts to move. Unsurprisingly, he's much less fast between the pair...!

COMBATSYS: Kanda has started a fight here.

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Kanda            0/-------/------=|

COMBATSYS: Baiken has joined the fight here.

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Baiken           0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0            Kanda

Kanda has one thing right: Baiken is no prodigy.

She didn't know the first thing about fighting in that time that Baiken rarely thinks about anymore: the time before her home burned and she lost her arm and eye. She forced herself to train as soon as she could; a sword was one of the first things she learned to hold in her left hand, having been right-handed before she lost it. It's still what feels the most natural in her left hand - not pens, not anything else, but her blade. She practiced. Continually. Kanda is right; tenacity, resolve, and determination are how you get strong. Without her goals, she would never have come as far as she has - now her life is built on it. She wouldn't know what to do if those goals were taken away.

The politics of Muay Thai are lost on her. Baiken doesn't follow them. She knows who Sagat and Adon are, but she doesn't pay much attention to either of them - they're not the person she's looking for and she doesn't seem likely to end up fighting them anytime soon. Honestly, they bore her a little - but that's not what gets her to speak again.

"What I fight for," Baiken says, voice slightly sharper, "is none of your business. I'm here today to fight you - and that's all you need to know." For Baiken, it's damn near a speech; she doesn't say much at most times, and she says less about herself than anything else. Her eye follows Kanda, never looking away as he raises his leg. She switches stances herself, left side forward, hand resting near her blade's hilt.


Kanda is big. He's not extraordinarily tall, of course, but he's taller than Baiken and much more broad; she probably weighs half of what he does, if that. He starts to move, and so does Baiken - faster. All in the same motion, she draws her blade and does not immediately use it, holding her arm across her body as she runs forward; she holds the sword point-down as she runs, blocking even while she advances.

Baiken comes out of it in a sudden slash. She's still holding the blade reversed, point-down like it was a gigantic knife; she uses it like one too, a short chopping gesture right to left with the edge of the sword. It lacks a significant follow-through, letting her bring her body and arm back to that defensive guard position far faster than she otherwise would, having closed the distance and trying to stay inside Kanda's easy guard. There's an area where she's almost too close to kick - knee yes, but a full-out kick? Not so much.

COMBATSYS: Kanda interrupts Suzuran from Baiken with Khao Loi.

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Baiken           0/-------/--=====|===----\-------\0            Kanda

"Hahaha! Well said. Then we'll end the petty banter. Let us see which reigns supreme within this ring..." It seems the pair might be more kindred spirits than he anticipated. No-nonsense brawling, a test of skills earned hard in a painful crucible, there might be no better match for someone who's walked the same path -- he may not be crippled, but he's certainly showing the lack of restraint from a lifetime of sparring partners and tutors in every ripped scar. Nothing is aesthetic about them... they almost look like scales in places, one of the reasons he is known as the 'Iron Dragon'.
Rather than advance, Kanda simply stops, shifting up to defend his upper body and face perfectly. The first violent chop rips into his forearm, a splatter of blood managing to pierce even his considerable defenses with a grunt. But then he shoots forward, twisting upwards. Like a rocket, his knee suddenly finds Baiken in the ribs, stopping the return swing and attempting to launch her into the air. None of the fancy antics seen in Adon or King here. He follows the purity of Sagat's crushing attacks... only lacking the flexible addition of external chi. "Hnn!!"

In some ways, they're the same. They both have someone to hate, and hate is the most powerful force on the planet in some ways. The reason for the hate varies, of course, but they are both empowered by it - and yet neither one of them hates the other. To Kanda, Baiken might be a challenge, a test of his skills; to Baiken, he definitely is, a challenge to be defeated to reassure herself that she's getting closer to the time when she can kill That Man, and to push herself to become ever more capable.

Baiken isn't caught completely by surprise when the knee rises for her. She knows what Muay Thai practitioners are capable of. She is more surprised by the lack of impact from her blade; generally even quite skilled fighters react when live blades are in play, in her experience. He's an actual professional, then, willing to take on anything. Good.

Less good is the fact that, having committed to her run and quick slash, Baiken isn't capable of pulling back fast enough from the knee. It does launch her into the air, but Baiken somehow manages to turn the launch into a controlled arc; she's no less hurt from the blow, but she's able to control her movement at least, turning it into a somersaulting flip.

Baiken manages to land on her feet, only a couple steps further back, with a grunt - either from the previous impact to her ribs or from the slightly staggering landing. One blow like that isn't going to take her out, though; pain is transient, and thus something she can ignore. She crouches for a split second before lashing out with her sword as she rises; while before she'd favoured a short cutting motion, this time she performs a wide sweep in a diagonal upward arc, covering a lot of the distance in front of her and attempting to prevent the taller Kanda from getting too close with a high-line attack.

COMBATSYS: Kanda blocks Baiken's Tetsuzansen.

[    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Baiken           0/-------/-======|====---\-------\0            Kanda

Immediately, Kanda returns to his traditional stance with arms raised, again lifting up his knee. When she approaches, a few brutal kicks are leveraged, but easily navigated around; only intended to keep her at bay, such fails rather notably before she lunges in close to strike at him with earnest strength. But his response might be one that wasn't expected; he instead leaps forward right /into/ it, and twists to kick downwards at her blade. She strikes his shinbone, one reinforced destroying countless rocks, denting metal, one of the strongest points in his body. The skin is cut, but tensed muscles dull the strike heavily. Having made the ascension awkward at best, Kanda then twists around, stamping down before doing a short hook kick aimed to catch her in the upper body, snarling once more. He's using raw range now that she's close by, trying to make a proper evasion all the more difficult...! The crowd is cheering him on, but it's likely they would have otherwise. She wields a blade very well for one with a single hand -- he had been right to treat her like an equal, or it would have likely found it's mark twice, further than it already has...

COMBATSYS: Baiken blocks Kanda's Spin Kick.

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Baiken           0/-------/=======|====---\-------\0            Kanda

Baiken's skill with a blade is undeniable, one hand to use it or no. It's not entirely any one style, either - appropriate, given she's mostly self-taught, but it's enough to catch other students of the sword off guard at times. That, at least, is something Kanda doesn't have to worry about; it's not his specialty, so the unorthodox deviations aren't likely to surprise him, since he may not recognize all of the orthodox maneuvers in the first place. He can just take it as it comes.

One of those 'unorthodox deviations' is that Baiken occasionally puts her sword away. The lack of a second arm means she can't use her off hand to punch or block. She does that now, sliding the katana back in its scabbard when she can't land a solid blow. She does it barely - /barely/ - fast enough to catch the spinning kick with her open hand, letting it slide her a couple feet along the arena rather than drive into her side. It makes her hand tingle with the impact, though; he's strong. So is she, for someone of her size and build, but Kanda still has height, weight and raw strength all on his side.

Which is why, once again, she uses agility.

Baiken throws herself to the ground. It looks like a bad strategy, and maybe it is - but she catches herself on her hand and manages to swing her entire body into a tripping kick, coming in at Kanda's lower legs, where his comparative height is a disadvantage rather than an advantage. She tucks her legs back toward her after the spinning kick's follow-through, pushing with her arm to shove herself into a squat, then rising up from there. Her eye is - well, it's not /murderous/, but she's definitely looking more than a little intense there. She's being pushed around, forced to move back toward the edges of the ring. She doesn't like it.

COMBATSYS: Baiken successfully hits Kanda with Strong Kick.

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Baiken           1/-------/=======|=======\-------\1            Kanda

Training, training, training. That is what is being used by Kanda. He has surprisingly adept vision, and his actual motions to attack or advance in the short term are anything but brief. He's bleeding from a few places now, but so far it has been a relatively minute affair. He won't be defeated by such scratches, unless a couple dozen more at least are inflicted upon him. Going to unarmed does surprise him, even if he says nothing of it. His martial skill should be superior, and that is sufficient to make him confident.
Too confident.
When the sudden thump down happens, it's similar to Capoeira. Kanda's reaction is to once more use his shin to block. It partially succeeds. Baiken ricochets off... straight upwards. Suddenly, she lands a full-force shot directly into his groin, so hard that he's lifted an inch. It wasn't intentional, but such is the flow of battle sometimes. Eyes bug out, and pain more than damage rips through his iron frame as he staggers to the ropes, giving the breathing room desired. "...!!"
And then he roars, rushing forward with a few heavy pounds of his feet, pumping his arms and leaping into the air. A whirling kick follows, both at once; this assault is mastered for use against an evasive opponent, with the intention of colliding explosively with Baiken's form directly beneath before he brings up his elbow and lets down a titanic strike, aimed to strike her dead in the top of the head and launch her like a spiked football right into the yielding floor of the ring proper!!

COMBATSYS: Baiken just-defends Kanda's Jaguar Slayer!

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Baiken           1/-------/=======|-------\-------\0            Kanda

Baiken doesn't consider it 'going to unarmed' after being armed before. It's just two parts of a unified style; sometimes you need a hand free, and sometimes you don't. Fighting one-handed changes some of the assumptions compared to most fighters, but Baiken has had years to get used to it; she's never fought any other way.

And Kanda is right. The move /does/ bear some resemblance to capoeira. Baiken just doesn't think of it as such.

That wasn't quite the way Baiken intended to clear some distance, but she isn't going to turn it down. She completely fails to look sympathetic; it's just something that happens sometimes, and it's not like she intentionally went for a low blow (though Baiken is not adverse to a dirty trick, that isn't the trick she goes for most of the time). She's made him angry, she can tell.

The wild rush comes at her all at once. Baiken pivots, drawing her blade again - but this time not for offense but defense. She doesn't try to do anything to the first strikes, the whirling kick, but get out of the way; she sidesteps, then sidesteps again, the kicks whirling past so close that they hit her loosely hanging sleeve on her right side. Kanda is moving fast and powerfully enough that he doesn't get tangled in it, but merely fails to hit anything Baiken cares about.

It's the last strike that Baiken defends, powerfully. She holds her sword above her head, almost parallel to the ground, and Kanda impacts it. It's not an offensive parry; there's nothing Baiken can do, for a moment, but hold it there, braced against the incredible downward force in an iron grip. If her blade wasn't one of the best money could buy - because Baiken takes better care of her weaponry than she does of herself - he would have good odds of breaking it; as is she manages to hold it, the reinforcement showing its worth.

Baiken keeps the blade held there for a long moment - and then all of a sudden she pushes against it differently, twisting so that the blade is now at an angle rather than flat over her head. She uses the sudden redirection of force to push herself sideways, parallel to Kanda, and stomps the ground hard as she does. "TATAMI GAESHI!"

This might mean nothing to him until a block of green chi - almost like a mat, a traditional tatami - flips up from nothingness from horizontal to vertical. It sprays a burst of pink chi as it flips, launched off the mat - even if Kanda is too far away to get launched into the air when the chi appears under his feet, the sudden spray might be enough to catch him!

COMBATSYS: Baiken successfully hits Kanda with Tatami Gaeshi.

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Baiken           1/------=/=======|==-----\-------\0            Kanda

The impact of the elbow can be felt by those in the front of the stadium seating, air billowing off in all directions as Kanda growls. For a few moments the strength battles against the girl's own, likely denting her heels into the floor, before he's deflected away. Off-balance, the sudden rageflip sends him up into the air with a growl of surprised pain, before his back is pelted with an endless onslaught of that tiny chi. His smoking body crashes face first, and he rolls to a stop a distance away. "... You are strong. If I underestimated you... I'd already be down." He then flows back to his feet, before bringing up his forearms again. "But I cannot fall here. If I fall... then the pride of Muay Thai and my country will fall with me...!!" Unsteady now, he still weaves forward, undeterred by her evasion. Twisting around, he does an extended kick, bringing his heel to bear in an attempt to collide with it against Baiken at maximum range, letting out a kiai at the same moment. It doesn't seem he's about to give up so easily against her, although the flow of battle is going against him... is this truly how big the world is? Nonsense. He's content... with just this country. Here, and only here, he is not allowed to fall!!

COMBATSYS: Kanda successfully hits Baiken with Heel Kick.

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Baiken           1/---====/=======|==-----\-------\0            Kanda

"You did that when you didn't respond." Apparently Baiken /does/ hold a grudge, at least a little one. "I challenged /you/, not your public relations crew. Did you think I couldn't be here, that I wouldn't have a chance? Or were you afraid I'd win?" Baiken grins. Baiken's grin is not a particularly friendly or reassuring expression. It's about a hop, skip and a jump from 'crazed'.

She still has the slightly feral expression on her face when Kanda strikes. She ducks, low, and is /almost/ fast enough to avoid the blow - almost but not quite, judging by the solid impact against her shoulder. It stops her forward dash before it really starts, preventing another attack like the very first of the match, causing her to stagger back, pained. Her blade is back in its sheath, though, and there's a faint sound of...


Baiken twists her torso and, somehow, something flies out of her previously apparently empty sleeve. It's not a hand and arm; she wasn't lying about being one-armed. Hands have more than three fingers, and arms aren't a black chain with thick links. What it appears to be is a box-like framework that three hooks are attached to like fingers. Baiken flings it past Kanda, grabs the chain with her hand and yanks it towards her, attempting to hook the claw into the back of Kanda's shoulder and dragging him closer to her, off-balance!

COMBATSYS: Kanda Toughs Out Baiken's Kabari!

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Baiken           1/--=====/=======|====---\-------\0            Kanda

"...You are right. Seeing a disabled female with minimal fight experience... I did not think you would be up to the task. I was wrong." There was only a small amount of time before this admission of personal guilt, as opposed to some explosion of anger, denial, or bigotry. "My pride in my art... should not become the pride of myself!!" When chains erupt out and capture the man, he's already beginning to hurtle himself forward once more. He lunges into the air, the actual art of tugging doing anything but tugging him off balance. Once more he performs that brutal scissor assault, aiming to snap them closed over Baiken's upper torso, before slamming down his heel. Stepping forward, he then lets out another snarl before letting loose a titanic kick, thrusting out with all his might towards her midsection, the air roaring like a dragon as he aims to fold her over and send the swordswoman hurtling back to the turnbuckle opposite!! "I... cannot lose!!" he repeats, yet again. The crowd looks more worried than pleased, and most have taken to booing at Baiken. Until... "<< SILENCE. That she fights well... gives you no right to disgrace her...! In this country, we always admire STRENGTH!! >> Whether she actually speaks Thai or not, the crowd does immediately shut up, and if anything their respect for Kanda seems to grow...

COMBATSYS: Kanda blitzes into action and acts again!

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Baiken           1/--=====/=======|====---\-------\0            Kanda

COMBATSYS: Kanda successfully hits Baiken with Jaguar Tamer.

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Baiken           2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|=====--\-------\0            Kanda

COMBATSYS: Baiken fails to interrupt Dragon Tamer EX from Kanda with Sakura.

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Baiken           1/-<<<<<</<<<<<<<|=======\-------\0            Kanda

Disabled? Female?

If Kanda wanted to make Baiken angry, he's managed it. Her face reddens as she fights it down, and then decides not to. "You think this has made me weak!?" Baiken jangles the chain as she pulls it back in, shoving it back in her sleeve; now that Kanda knows it's there, there's a faint visible lumpiness at the side of her robe, but it really doesn't show. "Hardly!"

Baiken doesn't speak Thai but she does speak Crowd, or at least understands it. She can tell what Kanda does, and she can tell that they don't like her - not here, not fighting their champion. Screw them, she immediately decides. She doesn't need to worry about them. She needs to worry about Kanda.

And apparently she has to worry about him quite a bit, because she wasn't expecting him to suddenly accelerate like that. The brutal combination strikes her torso, knocking her around - but Baiken is angry enough to, as she sometimes does, lose her head. She rotates, bringing her entire body's momentum around in a single thrust with her sword, pink chi glittering on it but doing little else.

The thrust fails to connect as the colossal kick strikes her in the stomach. Baiken goes flying like she was a ragdoll, slamming into the turnbuckle and sliding down it. It looks, for a moment, like she's not going to get up from it - but she does, grabbing at the ropes and pulling herself up on sheer willpower more than anything else. Baiken shakes her head once, then again, trying to clear both dizziness and the fit of anger, getting herself under control and forcing herself to concentrate.

It seems to be working. It's just taking her a moment. Her lips peel back as she focuses on Kanda, still up, still ready to fight. It doesn't look much like a grin this time.

"I did before I fought you." Kanda states with absolute candidness, keeping his forearms raised up and bobbing his knee slightly. He doesn't sound apologetic, only factual. He has already acknowledged her strength in this fight. The past is the past; and her ability to be affected by that is likely what has struck her down in this instance. Reach wins out, even with the swirling sword the kick impacting first, although he's cut in the stomach superficially all the same. A bit more, and they would have certainly traded wounds. But... He advances without any hesitation, before suddenly leaping forward, bringing up his knee in a brutal motion that's intended to slam her right back into the damaged turnbuckle, taking full advantage of her mental state -- she wants no mercy, and she shall have none. All Kanda cares about is victory, at any cost...! A demon haunting the back of his mind, believing as long as it's not for himself, such twisted thoughts as just...!!

COMBATSYS: Kanda successfully hits Baiken with Medium Kick.
- Power hit! -

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Baiken           2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|=======\-------\0            Kanda

Baiken regains control of herself before Kanda comes in. It's not perfect; she hurts, she's still angry, but she isn't giving up and doesn't seem likely to enter a berserker rampage. Letting her fury loose is something she's managed to avoid doing to anyone except the most twisted of monsters; that's a line she is not yet willing to cross.

He still comes in too fast for her. Pinned in the corner, there is relatively little Baiken can do to evade - she can't go left or right because of the ropes, at least not without also going up. She was about to do just that, in fact, when the kick slams her right back into the turnbuckle. There is a crunch. It's hard to tell if it's Baiken or the ring.

Bruised and battered, there appears to be little Baiken can do - and yet she acts anyway. She runs - forward, of all things, directly at Kanda. It looks like she's going to run into him, in fact, until she ducks and slips under his arm, just to the side. She accelerates so fast she blurs, barely visible to Kanda and probably completely vanishing from sight for the crowd. Her arm moves even faster, a single blow with the sword that Kanda won't even feel, even if it hits.

Not for long, though - three or four past Kanda, Baiken slows down. Her sword is already in its scabbard again. She just sits there for a moment, breathing hard, forcing herself to stay concious and in the battle - and /then/, if she's connected, the single mighty slash makes itself known with a bloody spray.

COMBATSYS: Baiken successfully hits Kanda with Garyou Tensei.
- Power hit! -

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Baiken           0/-------/---<<<<|======-\-------\0            Kanda

Baiken is fast. Far too fast; all that the huge man can do is explosively flex his body with a roar, lifting his arms in the air. Each of them slither past him in tandem, before the myriad slashes combine into one. There's a gout of blood... before the Iron Dragon drops to his knees, then thumps down to his hands. Breath comes quick, as a pool begins dripping beneath him. "No..." he states, reaching up to grasp the rope nearest the turnbuckle and rise. "I did not come this far... conquer the Eastern world... to lose it now...!!" He twists towards Baiken once more, again resuming his fighting stance shakily. "COME... You will... have to kill me!! You have that resolve, do you not...?!" This shall be the last break in the fight, the only respite he might have. The rest will happen fast. But he will reign as champion... there is no other alternative he can live with!!

COMBATSYS: Kanda gains composure.

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Baiken           0/-------/---<<<<|====---\-------\0            Kanda

Baiken isn't really up by all that much herself. In her experience, endurance is a matter of willpower, though; if she can just push herself a little more, she can keep going even when her body doesn't want to. She'll pay for it later - she always does. That doesn't stop her from doing it, though.

Rising, Baiken turns. There is no attack, which surprises her. She expected him to charge at her, to come forward and try to take her out before she can take /him/ out. That he's taking his time regaining his composure is unexpected - and, honestly, a bit of an advantage if she can take advantage of it.

"You won't die today." Baiken rolls her neck. That's the only warning Kanda gets before she's on him again, overriding her body's complaints, her bruises, her injuries - she's pretty sure one of her ribs is cracked, it's certainly tender enough for it. She comes in with an overhand slash; she only has one hand to do it so she puts her body into it, slashing forward and down with all her strength before returning upright. One blow is sometimes all that's needed, and one blow is what she's using here and now!

COMBATSYS: Kanda blocks Baiken's Crushing Strike.

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////                    ]
Baiken           0/-------/---====|======-\-------\0            Kanda

This time, Kanda defends against the assault with what is indeed the hardest part of his body; stamping forward, he shifts up his elbow and drives it into the descending blade of Baiken's weapon. It hits true, splitting skin, but stops dead on his bone. Just how hard must he be, to repel such a direct attack?! "This ends now...!!" Suddenly, Kanda lunges upwards into the air, hefting up his heel. Before dropping it down in a brutal axe motion, aiming to strike Baiken atop the head and slam her down upon the canvas, throwing every last vestige of strength and power he has in what might be the one remaining competent move he can summon up for the remainder of the fight!!

COMBATSYS: Kanda successfully hits Baiken with Thip Trong EX.

[                        \\\\\\  < >  /////////                     ]
Baiken           0/-------/=======|======-\-------\0            Kanda

Baiken wrenches her sword back rather than let Kanda take it away from him - with his arm. She has to admit that that would be a novel and unpleasant way to lose it; the fact that it probably stings more this way is not lost on her. Anything to take him out, to just make him stop /moving/.

This is a harder match than she thought it might be; after he ignored her, she thought he was worried about a quick loss. Baiken is excited, though that may be at least partially the adrenaline. She may even be... enjoying herself. She hasn't done that much in years, but if any time is the time, it's now; fighting is the only thing that really makes her feel alive anymore.

Kanda's blow impacts Baiken - not quite where he expected, perhaps, as she threw herself to the side, taking the blow upon her shoulder rather than her head. It looks like it's downed her, slamming her to the ground and struggling to rise. If Baiken was sensible, it /would/ have taken her down... but nobody has ever accused Baiken if being sensible or sane.

She rises. Somehow. Even she doesn't know how she does it, forcing her body to act for just a little longer. Sword held in the reverse posture she started the battle in, she doesn't slash so much as thrust; pink chi glitters on the blade, exploding out when her blade is at full extension, little wisps fluttering down like cherry blossoms as she aims at his center of mass. She's not really in any condition to call her shots. "Keep... /fighting/!"

COMBATSYS: Kanda endures Baiken's Sakura.

[                         \\\\\  < >  /////                         ]
Baiken           0/-------/=======|=======\=------\1            Kanda

There's a savage desperation here, one that has turned the Iron Dragon reckless. The crowd is cheering now, for both of them; a fight this close is certainly one worthy of being acclaimed, no matter the outcome. The eruption of chi slams into the man, but he doesn't stop. "YES...!! TO THE DEATH!!" he roars, before suddenly leaping into the air and twirling. Before once more using his deadliest weapon; as he comes down, he exhales, clenching every muscle, tensing every tendon, swirls of petals dissipating off him as he aims to drive his elbow -- still cut deep and bleeding from the earlier strike -- directly into Baiken's face. The wind billows around him from the speed, a finishing blow well-known enough in his homeland that many have stood up with baited breath, waiting to see what the end result will be to this exceptionally close battle...!!

COMBATSYS: Baiken just-defends Kanda's Kradot Chok!

[                       \\\\\\\  < >  /////                         ]
Baiken           0/-------/=======|=------\-------\0            Kanda

It would honestly be harder to have a battle much closer than this. It's one of the most narrow victories (or losses) Baiken has had in quite a while. It doesn't matter that she hurts, that she's on the verge of collapse, or that she's absolutely going to regret the way she feels tomorrow: it is a Good Fight. She needed that.

Kanda comes in with an absolutely brutal blow. If it hits Baiken, she is down for the count, and she knows it - and there is nowhere for her to go, not at that speed and power. Her only hope is to trust to her blade without hesitation, and in a moment of Zen, she does just that - moving without thought, letting the proper motion flow without her consciously needing to direct her movements.

She catches the elbow on the flat of the blade, a sideways mirror to the way she caught the impact at her head earlier in the fight. Her body trembles as she strains to hold him off; that sword is locked, she can do nothing with it but prevent Kanda from slamming into her.

But there's her free arm, her non-arm. With a clink of chain, subtly different than before, Baiken drops something else out of her sleeve and swings her torso to get it moving without moving her sword arm more than a centimeter. It comes out like a spike, with one blade pointing upward and four more downward, but the extra blades click up into place almost immediately. It looks odd, like five knives set into a central core, forming a star shape. It's already spinning from the movement of her body and her sleeve, but it picks up speed almost like a saw when she flicks it out, the core discharging its built-up tension all at once. (She spent ages winding that up earlier!)

COMBATSYS: Baiken successfully hits Kanda with Zakuro.

[                       \\\\\\\  < >                                ]
Baiken           1/------=/=======|=====--\-------\0            Kanda

Desperation is a terrible thing, at times. Right now, that elbow is his path to victory. She should have no ability to defend against it; bearing down on her with all his weight, all the stone-shattering power he has, kept up in the air by her resisting form. But he had not expecting one thing -- the sudden strike of her blade from within the sleeve. He had noticed something odd there, but never thought it was anything like that... a sudden brutal typhoon of blades rips into him with little defense, cutting deep into his chest and side. Blood is almost immediately thrown up, indicating a punctured stomach, all force leaving his elbow as he thumps down to a kneel before her. "...Not..." he declares, before suddenly twisting into a rising uppercut, aiming to strike it brutally across Baiken's face with all the force he can muster... before reaching feebly for the side of the rope, desperate to not fall over. "GOING... TO LOSE...!!" From the amount of blood being lost, it's clear who has won the war. But on the battlefield... that can be far less important!

COMBATSYS: Kanda has reached second wind!

[                       \\\\\\\  < >  ////                          ]
Baiken           1/------=/=======|===----\-------\0            Kanda

...Only for the desperate Muay Thai to catch hold, doubled over but still standing. The fire in his eyes, the suicidal drive to never lose... it's clear now that victory will not be so simple against him. "Come... I said... TO THE DEATH...!!"

COMBATSYS: Baiken dodges Kanda's Sok Phung.

[                       \\\\\\\  < >  ////                          ]
Baiken           1/------=/=======|====---\-------\0            Kanda

The man is absolutely determined. Baiken respects that. It is hard for anyone to keep moving after all the damage he's taken; she's not much better, and the only reason it doesn't show as much is because she has taken mostly blunt damage but hasn't broken any of her limbs. (Ribs, yes. But it's hard to see ribs.)

The fact that he's still moving is nothing elsee than astounding. The fact that he's still /attacking/ is insane, as insane as Baiken can be at times. It's madness - but Baiken isn't going to turn away from this. If he wants to keep fighting? He can keep fighting.

The fist comes up toward Baiken's face. It never gets there; the agile samurai weaves around it, letting Kanda's injuries do some of the work for her. She's a lot less agile than she was when she started this, but his wounds are worse and that's sufficient for the moment; it whistles past her, close enough to muss her long hair.

Baiken grabs at the arm once it's past, wrenching painfully. If she gets ahold of it, she pulls Kanda closer - just in time for his already injured midsection to be introduced to the blunt hilt of her sword, used like a bludgeon. It's a painful move, a damaging one simply because he's already so badly hurt, and has a good chance of throwing him back and away or down. "Stay down! Don't you have someone else you want to kill?! You can't do that if you're dead!" Her voice is strong, but not actually all that loud, as these things go - loud enough for Kanda to hear her over the audience, not loud enough for the crowd to make out what she's saying.

COMBATSYS: Kanda fails to interrupt Armed Combo from Baiken with Khao Loi.
- Power fail! -

[                      \\\\\\\\  <
Baiken           1/-----==/=======|

COMBATSYS: Kanda can no longer fight.

[                      \\\\\\\\  <
Baiken           1/-----==/=======|

Kanda can see it. Vulnerability. Weakness. Baiken is not giving him any mercy, just as he demanded. When she begins to slither for him, he slams down his foot, before roaring out once more. "I LIVE FOR MUAY THAI!!" He begins to drive up his knee, only for her to slam him in his wound. This causes him to falter, missing cleanly -- and then he's slammed upon his back, the wind rushing out of him. He does not immediately move to rise.
"The winn... The winner is..." the announcer begins, before blinking and turning back behind Baiken. With the pace of a snail, Kanda is dragging himself back upright. "I can... still fight..." he states, in a scathing tone. Twisting around, all his weight falls against the ropes, the only thing keeping him up. Trembling forearms can no longer even reach his chin, and his legs are completely flatfooted. "Come... come...!!"
The doctor attempts to slip up and grasp Kanda from behind, but a sudden elbow strikes him in the chest. Testament to his weakness, it only knocks him off to land with a thump, although the fight has not been officially called either way. "You wish... the belt...?! Then take it... TAKE IT!!"
He attempts to throw a punch with no force and no speed behind it. Were Baiken to stand still, she could stop it with an extended palm. Nobody can say this man is not far beyond the norm... even with a potentially mortal wound, somehow he clings to consciousness despite having no ability to fight!
Solemnly, the referee then brings up his arms... and crosses them. "Continue..."
Baiken, it seems, is going to have to put him down one last time.

How the hell is he still moving? Baiken is tough. She knows it. The injuries she's taken would have disabled most people; she's breathing shallowly from the cracked rib, dizzy, bruised, and it's an effort to hold her combat stance. But with Kanda's injuries, she would be out, and probably glad for it. Kanda... isn't. He's still trying to fight her when clearly incapable, even after everything. Her respect for him goes up another notch.

His punch comes at her. It's barely an attack; Baiken deflects it not with her sword but with her scabbard, swinging it on the sash she wears for a belt to interpose it. It's good wood; there is a hollow sound as he hits it, but he doesn't seem able to knock it away from her any longer.

Baiken considers Kanda for about three seconds. Then the referee. There is only one real option here, and Baiken takes it.

She doesn't draw her sword or pull anything else out from her sleeve (the Zakuro gimmick is still barely peeking out, as she didn't have time to reel it all the way in). She just steps forward, does something strange with two of her fingers - bending them in such a way that the knuckles on her middle and index fingers are the only points of impact, stiffening her hand almost painfully - and drives the two-fingered punch directly into a point on Kanda's forehead. She knows the places you can hit someone and they tend to go down, and she's picked one of them. She hasn't even done it too brutally; compared to his other wounds, it's nothing at all.

Only after that does she let out a shuddering breath, then take another painful one. All that, and she still did it.

Willpower and the body are two separate things, sadly. Despite the feeble thump to Baiken's scabbard, when she strikes out again with her two fingers and then nails him dead in the forehead, something else happens. His brain rattles, his body disconnects, and a flood of blackness overcomes him. He thumps to his knees, then down to his face. This time the referee waits a good ten seconds, before slowly raising his hand. "Winner... ...Baiken!!"
The crowd makes no immediate reaction, as if trying to settle on what just took place. Before finally beginning to cheer and hook. "KANDA!!" "WE COULD SEE YOUR PASSION!!" "YOU ARE MUAY THAI'S FUTURE!!" "GO FOR THE WORLD BELT NEXT!!" Apparently despite his loss, the people of his homeland still accept him and the devotion he clearly showed...
Although so deep within the darkness, one can only wonder what thoughts must be haunting his dreams.

The roar of the crowd doesn't appeal to Baiken in the way it appeals to many people. She fights for her own purposes, as Kanda pointed out earlier - for herself, and for reasons she doesn't share. She came here to better herself, and to entice other people to challenge her; some may be the monsters she's looking for, and others may be challenges she has to overcome. She doesn't really care what the audience thinks of her, and she has no interest (or ability) to be the future of Muay Thai.

Baiken does not address them. She raises her hand while ducking her head, forming something vaguely resembling a salute; it's hard to tell whether it's to the crowd, the referee, or both. She's accepted her victory, at least.

She then looks at the doctor who tried to help Kanda before. She jerks her head roughly in Kanda's direction - and then Baiken turns to walk (almost shuffle; she hurts) back to her corner, out of the spotlights. They hurt her eye all of a sudden; she's had enough of them for the night. Let them cheer their fallen champion; what does she care?

She got what she came for.

Log created on 18:02:29 01/01/2015 by Baiken, and last modified on 01:53:49 01/02/2015.