Description: When you've got a public tournament, it's not surprising to have two unknowns show up to the party. Newcomers Saya and Pepper face off outside of Dan Hibiki's Dojo. While Saya gets some encouragement from her classmate, Miko, there's something off about Pepper Green, and something familiar.
Southtown Village. Saya knows the area well -- she has to walk through this fancy-schmancy part of town on her way to get to work every day. All the well-to-do families have their houses here: well-to-do meaning 'anyone who has enough money to move out of Gedo', in her mind.
The girl with dark blue hair glances at her companion from Gedo, a black-haired upperclassman with a sinister gait. A thumb rises to brush against the slick black headband across her forehead. Similar bands -- slightly colder than the chilly January air of Southtown -- are wrapped about her wrists and ankles. "I feel ridiculous wearing all this crap. You're over there smirking at me, why don't you wear it?!"
Miko Kobayashi doesn't mind the cold -- atop of her Gedo uniform is a boy's winter gakuran, keeping the cold comfortably at bay. "Because there's no value in the tournament for -me-, Saya... but you could use the winnings, right?"
Saya brushes the bridge of her nose as she approaches the Hibiki Dojo -- or, as some have called it, the Saikyo-ryu Dojo. She's been coming here as a regular student, lately, as well.
"Tch, whatever, Miko. Just keep your yap shut while I'm fighting." The younger Gedo student tugs at the hem of her gray uniform shirt, making sure that damn thing is untucked. She pulls the leather gloves snugly upon her hands. A light chill runs through her -- though, for the destitute fighter, it's more out of anxiety for the crowd.
There are already a few hundred people gathered outside the Hibiki Dojo -- way more than have ever been -inside- the facility. An ambulance is nearby, and one official in black-and-white ref stripes is ready and waiting. Hanging banners advertise a free one-month membership to anyone interested in learning the style of the one-and-only Dan Hibiki. Banners also advertise the revolutionary HitBit device which the contestant Saya is wearing, that allows anyone following along on the app to get an instant replay right from the fighter's headband.
Saya, for the record, doesn't care about any of that. She looks over at Miko -- who, as stated, is wearing an amiable smirk the whole time. "So who's this 'Pepper' chick s'posed to be? Never freakin' heard of 'er."
As much as the world has come to be lit with a new explosive passion for Lightning Spangles, the girl behind the glitter has managed to stay less in the public eye. While Lightning Spangles is currently holding onto the Red Rookie title, it doesn't mention Pepper Green anywhere... and it would be quite difficult to actually recognize the two despite the fact that they share the exact same face.
Pepper Green wears her auburn hair in two basic braids that hang over her shoulders, and her youthful face is clean of any makeup, allowing a light pattern of freckles to show across the bridge of her nose. Most importantly, the every smiling face of Lightning Spangles is instead much more dour, with gloomy eyes that bely a soul carrying far too much weight. In contrast to Lightning Spangles' new mockery of cowboy attire, the Oklahoma girl is dressed with a proper wool-lined jacket, currently unzipped over a plaid work-shirt that's been tucked into a well-worn pair of jeans. Cowboy boots top it off, but the scuffed leather barely resembles the sparkly footwear that Lightning Spangles does her high kicks in.
This isn't the look of one a young actress backed by one of the largest entertainment conglomerates in the world, and somehow it's even easier to see that it's just a 14-year-old girl without all the showiness.
Regardless, Pepper's accepted the HitBit sponsor's requests to wear their gear, even if it stands out sharply against the rest of her plain appearance. Although it does make a better match to the top of the line iPhone that the girl slips into her pocket as she brushes through the crowd.
"Sorry, took me awhile, seein' as I'm not used to the city," Pepper offers with a southern twang.
The crowds are restless -- for -they- already have pictures of who the fighters are, and they can practically spot the dour-faced Pepper and the sour-faced Saya from miles away. So while some snap off photos of the two, others are trying to figure out how they can make their predictions for the "Guess The Reaction" minigame...
As Saya continues walking to the designated fight area, marked with spraypainted lines and tensabarriers, Miko finds herself... staring, as if lost in thought regarding her answer to the sour Gedo student's query. Who -is- this Pepper, indeed? The boots... the plaid work shirt, the wool-lined jacket -- these are all things that remind her of her time in Arizona. Of... Lightning Spangles. Not to mention, the distinct drawl.
"H-hey, don't just leave me like that...!" snaps Saya, as she'd walked a good ten feet before realizing that Miko hadn't moved, or said a word. But, after a moment, a smirking Miko angles the corner of her cellphone towards Pepper, Saya turns around to face forward again.
"Ah, hey." Dark eyeshadow around the Gedo student's eyes makes her look a bit more fearsome than the relatively neutral glance that is flashed towards Pepper. "No big deal. Pretty sure they pay anyway."
Saya glances over to the official, as she steps inside the rectangle. She spares another glance to the newcomer, one eyebrow dropping low as she 'keeps it real': "Now, all that paperwork means I ain't gonna get in trouble for messin' up yer pretty face, okay? You -do- know what'cher gettin' into, right?"
Saya Tanizaki cracks her knuckles, her disdain parting as she cracks a smirk -- not unlike her history mentor who has found her spot amongst the cheering crowds.
COMBATSYS: Saya has started a fight here.
As far as the world is concerned, Pepper Green is a complete amateur entering her first fighting competition here in Southtown. Certainly it wouldn't take a lot of time to look up the fact that the new Lightning Spangles was played by a girl named Pepper Green, she had to be listed in the show credits obviously, but Disney had put a great deal of effort into trying to avoid having a spotlight shined on the young actor.
After all, Pepper Green was a reminder of the tragedy caused in Metro City that some people were still claiming was a hoax or a conspiracy. Nobody in the corporate offices wanted people to think about the fact that their latest star had been violently made an orphan, or that her current legal guardian was her agent. Quite frankly, nobody wanted Pepper Green to step out into a place that would risk all of that exposure, but when she asked to be allowed to go to Southtown to take part in the event, they were also terrified of saying 'no' and looking as though they were controlling her life.
Pepper Green had the talent to bring a tremendous amount of success to whatever she was a part of, or send everything crashing down if the public found out too much and turned on the experiment.
"It's a fight, you don't get into a fight expecting everything to be glitter and excitement, do you?" Pepper responds to the older girl's taunt, taking a moment to perfectly imitate the way she crackes her knuckles, even initially pulling up into Saya's own fighting stance for just long enough to be unnerving before letting it naturally settle into a mediocre street brawling posture.
COMBATSYS: Pepper has joined the fight here.
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Saya 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Pepper
Naturally, as Miko melts into the protective embrace of the crowds, she's pulling up records on this Pepper Green, as well. It's simple enough to find information on a top-of-the-line LG phone -- -way- out of the price range of the typical Gedo student. And before long, she looks back at Pepper with a new respect, distinctly -curious- to see how her young Gedo protege will fare against a fighter with such an interesting pedigree.
Not to mention, it will please Miko's alter-ego to no end to see a -second- Lightning Spangles humbled before her.
Saya of the midnight-blue hair knows none of this. She sees the younger girl attempting to ape her style. And her smirk even reaches a new uptick at the notion that the girl is cracking her knuckles in the same sort of way. "Anyone who thinks that just ain't been in a real fight before!"
And as the ref shouts the word 'FIGHT!', Saya launches off with a rapid overhand strike. She's not putting any rhyme or reason into it, just hauling off as hard as she can with a vicious hook punch, aimed at blasting Pepper's arms aside. What better way to test the girl's mettle than by seeing how she takes a punch, right?!
COMBATSYS: Saya successfully hits Pepper with Strong Punch.
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Saya 0/-------/-------|===----\-------\0 Pepper
Showing a great deal more ambition, Saya is first out of the gate, while Pepper is left standing there. If anything, what happens next suggests that Saya really does know what she's talking about. It's obvious that Pepper is attempting to lean back, let the brutal punch go flying past her, but it doesn't happen. The hit is clean and catches her square in the chest, sending her flying back to bounce into the wall of people.
Not an auspicious start to a fight when it looks as if one party can barely stand three seconds after the fight starts. Some of the crowd is already starting to boo, clearly disappointed that they wasted their time showing up to a fight with some little kid getting the crap kicked out of her.
Now moving with no sense of training or reason, Pepper pulls herself away from the crowd, saying nothing as she starts to get some air back into her lungs through thick, heavy breaths. What stands out about the girl at this point is that she doesn't show any signs of anger, annoyance, or fear despite what just happened. No, instead there's simply the quiet, unnerving focus that one might expect of a machine.
And then she simply surges forward in a reckless motion, charging head on to tackle Saya in the gut, arms held low as she aims to yank the older girl's legs out from beneath her and send her sprawling onto the ground just in time for a quick kick to the chest.
COMBATSYS: Saya fails to interrupt Power Throw from Pepper with Wriggle.
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Saya 0/-------/---====|===----\-------\0 Pepper
Saya doesn't often think much in fights. Her sense of strategy boils down to: Is the fighter still standing? Then you need to hit them again. But every so often, a friendly little voice is there to egg her on, to suggest different courses of action throughout the duration of a fight. A voice not unlike that of her friend Miko, well out of earshot -- the voice of training, and experience, from long afternoons of practice in the Gedo courtyard.
Says grins at the complete effectiveness of her alpha strike, the thought of Pepper bouncing back against the arms of the crowd setting off all sorts of pleasurable sensations through the Gedo bully. Her head tilts first to the left, then to the right, with a crack, as the brawler advances upon Pepper. The boos from the fight-hungry crowd, the unsteady stance of her opponent... it all gels with memories she's had from her school.
Everything except the quiet, unnerving look from her opponent. Saya's eyebrow quirks high. Maybe the girl -liked- the punishment...?
<< Grab her. Put her out of her misery now. >>
Saya frowns at the voice in her head. "I thought I told you..." she begins -- only to find that Pepper is moving in a -most- unpredictable fashion for someone who just got driven into the crowd. It's not one she's unprepared for -- but Pepper's speed and the intruder in her mind are enough to cause her grab for Pepper's abdomen to run much higher than required.
Saya finds herself tumbling backwards, and grits her teeth in pain. The collision with the street outside the Hibiki Dojo is noted with some concern, but a little bit of road kibble will come out in the wash, she reassures herself.
But as Saya begins to rise, she finds herself kicked in the chest. Her eyes go wide for the moment before her head is slammed back into the pavement. Seething, she begins to push herself back on the offensive-- but thinks better of it, rolling back and springing back to her feet. "So you -do- know how to rumble..." she offers, with an appraising smirk upon her lips.
As soon as she puts Saya back to the ground with the kick, Pepper starts to walk away, casually walking toward the dojo with an ease that suggests she either doesn't expect to be attacked while moving about or that she doesn't really care. So far in the match, it's incredibly difficult to tell which motivation is the true one.
"I told you," Pepper starts in response, as she comes to a halt near some of the production equipment, "you shouldn't be in a fight if you're scared of somebody busting up your face a little bit." The crew near her doesn't seem to quite know how to react, leaving the girl alone as she picks up one of the unused pieces of bracing for the HitBit advertisements, it's banner still wrapped tightly around it.
"But if you're worried, I'll try to swing away from your face." The girl takes a few practices swings with the plastic-wrapped metal pipe before apparently being satisfied and turning back toward Saya.
"And a cast will just get you some sympathy attention, right?" Pepper lets that statement hang in the air for a moment before suddenly surging forward at Saya, using the long reach of the pole to take a wide swing aimed squarely at the other girl's knee.
COMBATSYS: Saya interrupts Random Weapon from Pepper with Break the Darkness.
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Saya 0/-------/--=====|======-\-------\0 Pepper
Saya wrinkles her brow at the way Pepper's personality seems to have shifted about. She circles around, not unlike Pepper -- a fact which she hasn't quite caught onto yet.
<< She's copying you. >>
Saya squints back at Pepper, staring hard at the younger girl as she throws the line right back at her. A line which Saya -knows- she was the originator of. "... Heh, whatever floats your boat, little girl." The midnight-haired girl spits onto the ground, almost as if to ensure that she's trying something her opponent hasn't copied yet.
A little ways down the street, a couple men in business suits seem to be paying some mind to the fight. They're not part of the crowd, but they're... a little out of place for the neighborhood, since most of the 'suits' actually stick to the financial district or the more expensive north end of the Village. But they don't watch the fight long -- in fact, it seems that only two were watching, while a third was picking the lock of one of the door. On verbal signal, the suits disappear into the house.
Miko looks away from the three men, returning her gaze to the fight. Understandably, Saya has trash-talked with the best of them, and Pepper's pseudo-intimidation isn't really up to Gedo standards. Even if she -is- taking up random pieces of scenery.
When the threat of a cast is softballed her way, Saya simply responds with a feral grin. "IS THAT SUPPOSED TO INTIMIDATE ME?!!" she responds, her voice reaching blood-curdling ferocity. Instead of allowing her knee to be a helpless target, she rocks her shoulders back and slams her knee into the pole, stopping the weapon dead. With both the pole and her knee reverberating from the contest of wills, Saya lunges forward with nothing but sheer momentum, swinging her right fist in a fierce punch aimed at Pepper's jaw. Unlike Pepper, she will -not- be avoiding the face -- nor will she be stopping with simply one blow. With her right foot now forward of the left, she hops off somewhat, dragging her temporarily-numbed leg behind as she reverses her fist into a hard elbow thrust to the abdomen, and then snaps her right hand back to its full length for a followup blow.
Standing free from Pepper, she flashes her teeth back at the smaller girl, shaking her head. "You're about five years too early to set foot on Gedo, ahahaaha!"
Each hit takes Pepper clean, accompanied by sharp grunts of pain as Pepper is knocked to her knees by the ferocity of the retaliation. Her cheeks is swollen and she coughs violently as she tries to recover from the blow to her vitals. It's a pure reaction of the body to injury, the feeling of parts not functioning properly, the need to reset.
The moment Pepper regains her breath, she gets back up. This time there's no quippy remark, simply an uncomfortable silence. She's still not angry or scared or frustrated. There isn't any sort of cheeky smirk to suggest she has some other plan that is being achieved, it's purely uncomfortable.
And she doesn't even seem to be interested in regaining her fighting posture.
Instead, Pepper glances down at the now bent pipe in her hand and simply slams it down against the pavement with an efficient strike that finally snaps it. With a quick follow-up swipe of her wrist, the second half of the pipe and the banner go sliding off, the banner unfurling as it catches the wind and starts to drag what remains of its brace with it.
With that unusual bit of debris to cause a distraction of sorts, a good portion of the crowd doesn't notice the sudden crackle of electricity flowing through the remnants of the pipe in Pepper's hand, sizzling with power now mere moments before she lobs it at her opponent, the energy clinging to the metal as it lashes out at the Gedo girl.
COMBATSYS: Saya blocks Pepper's Thrown Object.
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Saya 0/-------/--=====|======-\-------\0 Pepper
Miko looks down at her cellphone, quietly looking over the statistics of the fight. The data flows freely from the HitBit sensors, and a university student standing immediately over the Gedo upperclassman is able to tell something's different: "Hey, how'd you get all those numbers to show up? Mine doesn't..."
Miko frowns, tapping herself on the cheek, as if she's more lost in thought than anything else. But the older student behind her just... seems to lose interest, going back to viewing his own screen.
Saya seems to enjoy the shift in Pepper's demeanor. No quippy remarks? Good -- that's the look of defeat. She seems pleased with that, even -tickled- with that... right up until Pepper vents her anger on the pipe in a Sith-like rage. Anger leads to hate, hate leads to an electric charge getting added to a metal pipe right before it's flung at the unarmed Gedo student.
"Rrrrrrngh!" she howls, thrusting her left forearm into the pipe, which makes a rather loud and hollow sound before bouncing off. Saya holds her reverberating arm off to the side, her teeth chattering at the same resonant frequency until she shakes it off by pacing to the side in a predatory circling gesture.
Saya... realizes she'd started to sulk, and begins to break into laughter. "What's wrong, little girl, did you run out of my words to throw back at me? How about -this-, huh?" And while her right shoulder rears back as if to throw another overtelegraphed punch, she starts to run forward to close the gap between the two.
And then suddenly changes tack, leaping into a patented Saikyo Dojo move: the DAN KUU KYAKU. If allowed to execute in its entirety, the practiced technique will launch a left knee at the orphaned girl's head, followed by a spin kick from the right, and then an overhead kick scything down from above. "KUU! HA! KYAAAA!"
A small sigh escapes Miko's lips, at that.
COMBATSYS: Saya successfully hits Pepper with Strong Kick.
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Saya 0/-------/-======|=======\==-----\1 Pepper
If there's anything to be taken from all of this by the crowd, it would seem to be that Pepper can certainly take a few hits, but the girl probably shouldn't have entered a fighting tournament if she can't even try to mount a proper defense.
As Saya comes flying in, Pepper once more tries to move out of the way, but the knee clips her head, leaving her dazed and open to the rest of the Saikyo combination to put her through the paces. The overhead kick comes down violently enough to once more put Pepper on her knees, now with a trickle of blood spilling down across her face, brighting the reds in her auburn hair.
With all of the distractions during her previous bit of elemental play, it's no wonder that most of the crowd seems to be abuzz with questions about who even let this kid sign up for a fighting tournament without making certain that she actually knew how to fight.
A great many of those are suddenly silenced as Pepper's hands suddenly begin to glow with boiling energy that flows through sickly shades of green and purple, similar to the tone worn by some of Gedo's most prominent students (although students might be a bad way to describe people who spend so little time in class). Flying forward without any hesitation, Pepper goes for Saya's legs, aiming to snare them out from under the older girl in a grip that yanks both legs up to Pepper's shoulders as all of that Chi starts to flow into the Gedo girl's body, saturating it until the younger girl slams her down to the pavement on her back, at which point all of that energy explodes outward.
COMBATSYS: Saya fails to interrupt Never Let Go from Pepper with Silent Jealousy.
-* CRITICAL FAIL! *-
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Saya 1/----===/=======|-------\-------\0 Pepper
Miko watches the battle with bemused interest. Pepper is... an interesting one, she has to admit -- though she is somewhat forced to pay attention to the statistics on her screen, out a matter of curiosity.
Saya has a much more visceral sense of the battle, as each of her devastating Saikyo-ryu techniques lands with resounding success on her opponent. Saya is not particularly afraid of the sight of blood -- which is a good thing, since it's all over the Gedo student's knee as she pulls it back away from Pepper.
Saya smirks, curling her hands up in a boxing stance, wholly unlike that of the Hibiki Dojo's master. Old habits die hard, after all. But when Pepper starts glowing green and purple, Saya's stance falters a shade. Purple? Green? What the hell is all -that- stuff going on? Saya has certainly seen people manifest chi before, but those colors...
Ugh. The disgust is apparent. The colors don't -match-.
Saya realizes she's been spellbound by the colors. Not even Miko's psychically transmitted warning helps snap her out of it, as she realizes what's going on about half a second too late -- her attempt at slamming a knee in her opponent just resulting in helping Pepper out. Saya's knees rise up, as does the rest of her, as she finds herself brought aloft. "What the fu--"
Saya's thought is not allowed to be completed, as she's -slammed- downwards, cracking pavement. Energy courses through Saya, earning Pepper the truest expression of agony that has yet been loosed from the Gedo student's lungs. Rough, coarse, and even a bit garbled. And after it's over, with loosened chunks of asphalt hitting the ground a few seconds afterward, Saya pivots over to one side.
And coughs up the former contents of her stomach onto the asphalt as she shakily starts to push herself to her feet. That... was unpleasant.
Saya wipes her mouth off with the back of her wrist, clearly displeased at the way things have proceeded. And yet... she raises her guard, however shakily she is.
Just don't expect a witty retort for a moment or two.
The blow is significant, but what continues to stand out is that Pepper doesn't show any signs of excitement over the sudden change in fortunes. She's managed to silence her opponent for a moment, managed to show that she does in fact belong in a fight, but there's no sign of victory on her face. It's not expressionless so much as simply focused.
Something about the way she's acted this entire fight suggests that the outcome of it, win or lose, is not what she's interested in. Either that or she believes that it's important to wear a proper poker face.
After the violence of that sudden attack, it may take a few moments to realize that not all of the energy in that explosive attack actually managed to vanish. With the sheer volume of it, some lingering swirls remain on her hands, perhaps changed by the effectiveness of their conduit.
Regardless of the cause, however, the result is simple. Pepper tosses the energy from her left hand to her right, and then hurls it Saya before she's even completely managed to get back up to her feet, all without bothering to offer another word.
COMBATSYS: Saya fails to interrupt Reaching Out from Pepper with Desperate Angel.
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COMBATSYS: Saya can no longer fight.
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Saya doesn't -expect- to get able to really recover fully... that's just not a luxury granted to those in a street fight. But there is something she -does- hope to do -- and it's to put her energy to good use in much the same way that Pepper had, her body suddenly overcome with a crimson fog. Red -- as a perfect contrast to the dark green. Her muscles tense, and the veins on her face begin to swell...
But Pepper's violence is much too aggressive for even the punch-first-talk-later hostess of the Sleeping Dragon to contest -- the energy slams into her, knocking her backwards. Her steel-toed boots carve caverns into the asphalt as she tries desperately to stand her ground, but just as the brawler swings her fists forward...
The crimson energy dispels, lost in the smoke of a fading green-hued attack. Saya collapses to her feet.
Further down the street, three guys in business suits emerge from the house, completely unnoticed by anyone else. Two are carrying a rather large wooden crate, and it seems to be quite heavy.
Miko heaves a huge sigh. For anyone who saw the approach of the two Gedo students, it would seem that the young woman is sad at her friend's loss in battle.
Whereas the truth is, she's quietly ensuring that none of the observers are able to take notice of the men stealing the crate, or disappearing into a side alleyway.
And that's that. Pepper waves her hand and the very last lingering bits of chi are dismissed back into the ether after what turned out to be a very quick, brutal fight. The blood dripping down from her scalp has begun to trail along her nose, and her cheek has swollen quite noticably from the earlier violence unleashed upon it.
"I guess I need to work on the intimidatin'," she says with her distinctive twang. "It's a lot easier when you just ignore it and focus on hitting the other person, you know?"
Reaching into one of her pockets, she pulls out an old, patterned bandana and begins to wipe up the mess that's forming on her face at about the same time the referee declares her the winner, which leads to the medics rushing out onto the field to check on the competitors. Despite appearing to be in better condition by virtue of still being conscious, one of the medics is quick to lead Pepper off to the side for examination (having been informed by her employer to keep an eye on the girl).
There's no grand celebration, at least not from the winner. The crowd seems to have completely changed its tune from the earlier booing to excitement at a surprise turnabout. HitBit will certainly be pleased by all the excitement even a match of unknowns seems to be generating.
COMBATSYS: Pepper has ended the fight here.
Log created on 17:25:59 01/23/2016 by Pepper, and last modified on 22:43:23 01/23/2016.