Description: The French-themed L'Amour restaurant in Southtown's Downtown, in the mind of Southtown Syndicate higher-up Duke, is due for renovation. A fight with one of the world's premiere up-and-coming martial artists, Ryu, should provide plenty of opportunities to bill HitBit Inc. for damages, exploiting their intent to advertise their product through this tournament. Oh, they knew from the start that this would be a thrilling, exciting battle between truly talented and pointedly powerful fighters. No amount of statistical analysis and careful prediction could say for sure just HOW thrilling, or exciting it would turn out... or even dangerous, for all involved.
Southtown. L'Amour. 2 PM, Post Lunch rush.
The HitBit app begins to ring.
The interior of L'Amour was very light in terms of business at the moment. The lunch window was typically unpopular anyways, and there was a lull between 2 PM and 5 PM, where the kitchen staff prepares for dinner. The restaurant was quite fancy, located on the upper floors of a skyrise, with several tables covered with white table cloths and glass wine glasses. Windows were all around, exposing a wonderful view of the east end of Downtown. In the center was a black grand piano, currently unattended. At the far side, where the bar was, it was stocked with the finest top shelf liquors. Behind the bar counter was a katana and its paired daikatana, an unusual addition to the French decor. Ask the bartender, however, and he could tell you its storied history, and how it relates to the L'amour. Typically, with the circumstances, it wouldn't be the site of a fight. However, with the circumstances, it was important to have the fight here.
Very important indeed.
Duke was not surprised as the HitBit gave an alert. He was, in fact, looking at his phone at the time, sitting at a table not too far away from the bar. He was enjoying a filet mignon, or rather, had enjoyed it. He had skipped the dessert, it would be too rich. He recently got a video from one of his employees, a consultant in fact. And he was overviewing the footage for the 7th time now. It was very important to him; there was a project he was running in Metro City that was hitting a hiccup. Typically hiring outsider could be a high-risk venture, but as the video demonstrated, it was hardly a risk at all.
He might even consider a bonus for her.
As the HitBit alert continues, the boss nods firmly at the phone, and presses the button on the app. Already, the riff-raff was coming in. HitBit agents and technicians, with a few 'choice prize' winners moving in to take their places at the table. He hated the thought of such lowly scrub wandering into the fancy restaurant. But there were reasons why. It was not public knowledge that L'Amour was one of the many fronts of the Syndicate in Southtown. But there was a... contract notation about the HitBit. A tiny detail, a meager detail. One that Duke saw, and realized an opportunity to deal with just some minor accounting issues. After all, HitBit made clear that they would cover any damages incurred by the fight.
And L'Amour was overdue for some renovations.
Ryu comes and goes. That is just his nature. What a joy it is for those who like to observe battle that he seems to stride into the right place and at least have a functional enough understanding of 'contracts' and 'being at a place you need to be at a specified time.'
The HitBit loaner phone goes off inside his travel bag. The officials decided not to trust in the good faith of circumstance and vague qualifiers of 'going where the wind blows' or whatever artful term people might describe his wandering, and went the extra mile for absolute clarity: autotuning the announcement of the fight location to the instrumental backdrop of some Lightning Spangles-themed earworm of a hit song... in the company of many already a ways around the Southtown village.
Stoically, and because his thumb has trouble finding the way to turn it off, it so happens he makes the three-minute jog while this is still blaring. The highly wired society that makes up modern civilization has already uploaded this sight to their preferred video streaming sites. Ryu jogging to unfitting music and barely legible new lyrics about L'Amour.
It's still blaring when he gets into the bar. The humor of those who decided to do this with Ryu's contact phone is not shared by the technicians setting up shop in the restaurant, whom mercifully take it right out of his hand and shut it off. His thanks is silent in both word and action - a mutual understanding between men of dignity. There is a bit of a quizzical turn of his head as officials start to attach wristbands and anklebands with the speed and efficiency of a race car's pit crew - likely startled by just how quickly he seems to all get set-up.
His HitBit headband provides slightly more challenge. It ends up a bit ajar around the headband he already wears - with time being at a premium before the scheduled start, there doesn't seem to be much fussing about it. After a few false starts where he assumes it's okay for himself to walk across the smooth, polished restaurant floor, he is at last set free of his momentary captors to at last approach Duke.
The care of the atmosphere of the largely French-themed atmosphere does not apper to be regarded too closely - the man that is almost certainly his opponent casts such an appearance! His facial expression holding an even keel, he stands with fists balled up as he silently regards the Syndicate boss...
He nods once. Intimidated? Eager? Just saying hello? Ryu seems to be of the thought that they both know what they're here for.
The blaring alarm catches Duke's ears.
Duke remains at his table as Ryu arrives. The dark-skinned man is quiet, his yellow eyes fixed on the fighter. In comparison to the gi-clad fighter, the boss was wearing his red suit, a striking and fashionable blend of red and scarlet. He looks towards his phone, and back up towards the martial artist. He made him wait. As Ryu begins to report to the technicians, there is a sudden tremor that cuts through the room, the empty wine glasses shuddering as the crim boss speaks. "So." The crime boss rumbles.
Duke rises from his chair, and immediately begins unbuttoning his suit jacket. The crime boss takes off his jacket, hangs over his arm. He then does the same with his vest, and then, his undershirt. Topless, the man's chest was carved with deep, grey scars. Most prominant, of course, was the scar upon his neck... which come all the way around. The man strides towards the technicians, yellow eyes almost glowing at he comes forward. Looming over the technicians, there is an air of menance as he steps amongst them, looking around with those frightful eyes. "I believe, gentlemen." The crime boss rumbles, his baritone cutting to their bones. He extends his arm with the clothing on it towards them.
"I need my equipment as well?"
A sigh of relief comes over the HitBit crew, as they move swiftly to take care of his suit jacket and clothes. The remaining beginning putting on the wristbands, the anklebands, and of course, the headband. As Duke was being prepared, the great titan speaks to his stoic opponent, his tone polite, but slightly menacing. "It is a pleasure to be fighting the World Warrior." Duke states, as his wristbands are calibrated. "I was concerned that I would need to hold back against my opponent. It would be insult to hold back against a fighter of your... prestige." The calibration is completed, and Duke turns back towards Ryu, fixing his eyes on him again. "I hope your missteps in your belt fights were calculated, Ryu." He suddenly rumbles, as he steps towards the fighter, uncomfortably close.
"There are no room for mistakes against me."
One glass falls over and rolls about the table it takes residence upon, as though the glass itself were willing to play dead to that single word - 'So.' It seems appropriate to start the next paragraph with 'so,' in respect and awe of how it carries. It seems to eclipse the mention of an actual name just from what power echoes from just the statement, the enunciation, everything.
So the Duke stands before Ryu as they are. The looming extends to a shadow that seems almost exaggerated under the lighting of L'Amour, briefly obscuring the finer details of the scarred, powereful man to the human eye. 'The great titan' may be understating the breadth of the shadow he may cast over where Duke stands in the world. His back turned to Ryu for the length of their calibration to the HitBit equipment, few would dare stand where they were by the time Duke's eyes would fall back upon all those who were... smaller.
Ryu, physically, a prime example. Shorter and lighter, Duke's shadow grows ever greater over him as he approaches with the pleasantries that pass muster in word as polite. Fighters tend not to be a small lot, especially among the male population... but standing before Duke, he appears positively scrawny. He seems physically smaller in comparison to Duke with every step forward the crime boss, takes.
"I wouldn't ask for anything less," comes Ryu's response to Duke's careful words of warning - and on his part, an apparent omission of his own thoughts about his loss to Baiken. How much does that register to him, in a world where storied careers frequently crumble after their first publicized stumble? Few of words, the tone of voice speaks nothing of fear - nothing of hesitation.
It would seem naive - bordering on tone deaf - in the greater picture of a world of layered powers, shadows, and light, but somewhere within the dread of Duke stands a man - a fighter - who stands neither out of ignorance nor defiance.
It sounds as though a man who has found exactly what he were looking for, once again, raising his forearms in that familiar, even iconic, ready stance, daring to add movement to a room and time, an atmosphere, a populace that would be deathly still in the presence of one of Duke's power.
He could also be compensating for the public embarrassment of that fight alert, but such likely remains the domain of wishful satire publishers.
"I'm ready." These are words that not many may have ever spoken to Duke in the face of imminent violence.
The rumble comes back with a surge as the man doesn't back down. It might be respect. It might simply be a lack of disrespect. Ryu had nothing but the fight, as far as Duke could see. No ego to shatter, no ego to stand against. This man was just a fighter. As Ryu walks away, taking his place, the rest of the crew gets into position, the audience taking their seats for what they expect to be a dinner and a show.
And to that, the crime boss just laughs.
It is a deep, dark laugh, rumbling across the room. Duke stands 10 long strides across from Ryu, a clearing between the tables. He expected there would be a great deal of damage. He hoped this place would be trashed. And naturally, HitBit would be repairing any damages. And suddenly, the restaurant's books would balance again. It was win-win.
Except, of course, maybe for Ryu's sake.
The crime boss stands astride, facing Ryu. He strokes his salt and pepper beard, turning his head slightly, before straightening it again. He releases his beard, and falls into a kind of fighting stance. Arms up, he balls his hands into fists, and brings up a kind of boxing stance. He nods firmly, and gestures his fists towards himself.
"Come at me, World Warrior."
COMBATSYS: Duke has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Ryu has wandered into the fight here.
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Duke 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Ryu
The HitBit folks all go about the usual routines of getting everything set up. Cameras are okay, adequate(?) space for a fight between two fighters of the highest caliber, everything should be synched up and ready for schedule.
Ryu is without further ceremony for readying himself - his sharp eyes weigh upon the sight of the fighter before him. Their size, the scars... the latter must tell many stories about their struggles to get where they are. Every fighter has one... where they came from, how they got to where they are now, and sometimes... where they're going.
The moment the magical word that is 'FIGHT' is yelled, their cares and locations take an immediate backseat - with the speed in which Ryu closes in that gap between Duke and himself, it would seem as though he were intent to take the offensive even without the confident invitation of the crime boss whose scars speak of defying death itself. Already, he's accustomed himself to the slickness of the ground beneath his feet, where even a single mistake in footing might see one slip.
It is largely as Duke said - there is no room for mistakes. There is only room for learning, growth, and - as he takes to leap into the air to cover the rest of the distance between himself and Duke - compacting his stature prior to thrusting one leg forward in the air, the arm of the same side extending forth, the other leg bent inward and the opposite arm's fist clenched, arm pumped, leaping upon Duke with a fierce jumping kick.
It is punctuated with a sharp kiai that, for its higher pitch and volume, could shake the very glasses that seem hesitant to stand ground to Duke's bellows and laughter themselves.
Ryu ponders little more - all that there is before him right now, in the now, is a fight. This aggressive opening should show no doubts about his willingness to take on a figure who is rightfully feared by those in the know (and many who only would know by their instinct alone).
COMBATSYS: Duke interrupts Strong Kick from Ryu with Crack Up EX.
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Duke 0/-------/-======|==-----\-------\0 Ryu
In the brief moments before Ryu makes his attack, everyone with their HitBit would see the numbers surge on Duke. ALL of the numbers. The statistics were overflowing; even with the calibrations, every bar was maxed out. It takes a few seconds for them to normalize; by the time that happens, however, the people watches were... taking cover. As Ryu comes hurtling in with his jump kick, Duke smirked for just a flash.
And then he explodes into flame.
The waves of violet energy erupts from the crime boss's entire body the smirk transforms into a gritted snarl. The chi boils out from his body in hot jets, igniting a nearly tablecloth, and with it. As the jump kick comes, Duke responds with not only the full force his chi energy, but by hurling himself straight into the kick. A train runs into a train as Duke slams himself into the foot, giving a sharp crack as it snaps his left shoulder. In turn, the crime boss hurls out an immediate counter punch, smashing his fist with equal power straight into Ryu's chest. The terror wasn't the pure power, the resulting shockwave of chi ripping across the floor of L'Amour. No, the terror was a simple fact:
There was a second punch.
The first blow was simply to stop the kick, not to knock his opponent away. Duke was already drawing back his left arm as the first punch comes, tightening it as the sound of cracking comes again. The sheer force of his muscle was -crushing- his cracked shoulder. Winding back, he wouldn't let Ryu hit the ground yet. The second blow would explode into an upper cut, catching Ryu as he falls. Another shockwave of chi would pulse out around him, the scars on his body turning bright red as if they were hot irons. The second blow WOULD be meant to blow Ryu away. Another tablecloth ignites, as the crew begins to break out the fire extinguishers.
It had begun.
To top off the combination, the one thing that cushions Ryu's return to terra firma is a table that transforms from a functional piece of restaurant furnishing into an uncountable number of splinters that scatter in such a way that it may instead be akin to a shrapnel grenade, chairs tumbling over and sliding across the slick floor under threat of causing a chain reaction. One couple that sat nearest to the zone of battle has wisely chosen to vacate - the only victim being a spilled glass of wine staining a rental tuxedo, which is undoubtedly a far kinder fate than what could have happened if they stood their ground.
The bright white coloration of Ryu's worn karate gi is the only thing that can say 'oh, there he is' when, even sitting up, he is obscured by the ruin surrounding him.
The glass that rolled onto its side earlier is, for the moment, spared destruction as it rolls in a wide circle away from the World Warrior himself.
He is not left in recoil for long, thrusting his legs back up to a standing position. Ryu has never been one to truly doubt anyone he's fighting - everyone has something to share, something about them that stands out and defines them.
The overwhelming brutality that governs Duke's first two punches - is acknowledged with a harsh exhale as he flushes out the stabbing pain in his upper back out of his mind, sucking in air into lungs that by all rights should have caved in from the very first blow, from a jaw that should have receded into his head entirely from the second. The HitBit on his forehead holds its position, showing early proof of the construction material's durability as it spits out what statistics it will as he wipes at his mouth with his left forearm.
Duke having now enforced a distance between them, however brief it may be, Ryu chooses to press Duke himself to advance in his own challenge, drawing back his arms and cupping his hands vertically over a sphere of empty air that fills with blue light.
Drawing his focus into the void of sensation and thought, his own famous chi manifestations, understated as they may be compared to Duke's vulgar expression of power, he clenches his teeth as he thrusts the contents forth into a blue, forward-flying ball of chi. The famous "fire" ball known the world over, as it screams across the gap of space that still yet exists between the two combatants.
"HADOUKEN!" He calls, heedless of the strain he puts on his lungs after suffering the abuse they did under Duke's incredible strength.
COMBATSYS: Duke endures Ryu's Hadouken.
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Duke 1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0 Ryu
The HitBits stabilized, the meters reflect the status of Duke. The titanic fighter blows Ryu away, and almost immediately, Duke was thundering after him, his face a glower. Every motion comes with a sharp crack, as his shoulder breaks again. And again. And again. The HitBit could see it, the readings showing that his shoulder's bones were snapping again and again. It was pain, pure pain. They could SEE the pain on their little meters and updates.
And Duke does not care.
Ryu surges back up on his feet, to the furious glower of Duke. Every step comes with waves of energy rolling over his body to the floor. Duke was practically sweating energy, pouring from his naked chest. His yellow eyes were burning, and the World Warrior was... already bringing out his signature technique. The infamous Hadouken, often imitated, never duplicated. The fireball is hurled as Duke is closing the gap between the two. The audience gasps as the crime boss does... nothing. The fireball lands squarely into the titan's chest.
And Duke forces his way through it.
The blast tears across his body, scouring his form. His body begins to erupt into a giant welt, a swollen sore with a fat crater in the epicenter of the blast. And the man was not slowing down. As his burned sore begins to weep fluid and blood, a fresh flash of fire boils from his arms. Surging to the ground, the windows rattle as another shockwave roars out. He is nearly on Ryu as finally, the crime boss draws back his right arm. With a heave, he slams his fist forward into a haymaker, attempting to smash his opponent with a wild right to the shoulder. Up close, the World Warrior might notice something about the brute.
Duke's chest was already scabbed over.
COMBATSYS: Ryu just-defends Duke's Strong Punch!
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Duke 1/------=/=======|====---\-------\0 Ryu
Duke does not give Ryu much time to appreciate the subtleties of a chest wound knitting itself in inhuman time. Ryu hardly even has much chance to draw his arms back from launching his Hadouken when Duke barrels all the way through it without reservation or much ill effect. It is one of the most frightening places for mortal man to be, in the path of a rampaging Duke.
The HitBit should report numbers consistent with an elevated heartrate, of something that should give way to the suggestion of a fighter's altered emotional state that tends to be the norm when one recognizes that utter pain is en route that one could do little against.
Ryu's does not change. One technician idly wonders if it's because it's not perfectly fit on his head, due to the headband. The others among them, too excited to see the actual fight, have one up on him as they see it.
Ryu moves /into/ Duke moments before the cocked back right arm fully extends into its strong punch, shoving an open palm into the fist right at moments before it would extend.
It does not stop it. Duke's punch would be flung largely unhindered.
There should be a crunch. When Duke's arm is fully extended, the sensation of touch should report as much, much too soft even when the average punch of his would hardly be deterred by the physical mass of a typical human body.
In that split-second, Ryu lets himself be an extension of Duke's limb, that he himself be swung forth WITH the punch. A bone-crushing haymaker in intent is, thanks to this choice, converted into a far more manageable (but still incredibly dnagerous) shoving force where his primary challenge is no longer standing up against unwavering power. It becomes a test of maintaining balance and form with the left-over momentum of being shoved back by a force that could go through a number of walls at once.
It is not an easy test. The slick floor ensures there will be added distance regardless, even as he sweeps a leg out to catch himself and cancel the momentum best he can. Another table topples over from impact by his hip, elbowing an elegant vase with a tacky plastic flower that had long overstayed its welcome...
Ryu's backwards slide ceases, largely unharmed. Earning a momentary respite, he draws in another breath as he further refocuses himself against the brutish crime boss. He could have a moment to further catch his breath.
Instead, he turns back, supporting himself on his left leg as he raises his right, back facing to Duke as he responds in kind with a backwards heel kick with such strength it visibly slices the air on extension - a less showy display of power compared to the chi shockwaves that have subtly tested his balance - on a crash course to Duke's upper body with little additional ceremony other than a kiai, keeping his strength focused on the points he is directly striking with.
COMBATSYS: Ryu successfully hits Duke with Joudan Sokutou Geri.
-* CRITICAL HIT! *-
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Duke 1/---====/=======|=====--\-------\0 Ryu
The meters begin to surge on Duke again.
The crushing fist is suddenly and deftly... managed. Managed is the best way to describe the perfect finesse in play. The momentum is carefully passed through, passed around, passed to the ground. The floor snaps, the tables fall. There is a crash as the vase falls to the ground. Anger surges in Duke, eeveryone with a HitBit could see it, watch it unfold as raw data and statistics. The roaring lion was turned into a mere pussycat. The counterattack comes, and Duke, in his arrogance, just prepares himself for the next blow. He lets the kick come, he lets it take him the chest.
And Ryu breaks through.
The description of what was happening was... familiar to those who followed the World Warrior tournament. Ansatsuken was only vaguely understood by most of the people in the world; Duke himself was probably only aware of it as 'the style Ryu used.' It was an assassin art, a killing art. The heel slams not simply 'hard' into Duke. That wasn't the root of the power. The root of the power was the precision. Duke takes the blow to his body, and the titan... steps BACK. The meters suddenly drop for the fighter, as a scream erupts in the audience.
The kick had caved in his ribs.
Exposed bones tore out of of the crime boss's torso, the ribs like spider legs out of his body. Screams and babbling spread, and the technicians turn white. The meters were dropping now. For a moment, it looked like... there was a terrible fear now that Ryu had just killed a man. A ripple of dread falls throughout everyone, as for a pregnant moment, they watches to see what was left. And slowly, it dawned as they stared at the injury. There wasn't blood coming out now.
It was fire.
Violet flames begin to flow from his chest like he hit a gas main. The chi energy is a fountain, boiling forward. The meters suddenly -explode-, with several older models of phones having the app crash from a buffer overflow. Lag drags the entire network down as everything overflows. Duke's expression went from shock into -pure- rage. If he was sweating energy before, now he was BREATHING it. Every gasping breath from his chest came with a fresh fountain of force. The crime boss draws both of his arms back, as before everyone's eyes, the sucking chest wound... begins to close. "gggggRRRRAAAAAGH!" Comes the roar of the Man That Hell Spat Out as he slams both of his arms together. There is a shudder in the entire building for a moment.
And then, she shockwave comes.
Every single window of L'Amour explode outwards as Duke hurls out a cataclysmic cascade of violet and red fire. The volcanic eruption hurls out before him, the audience's ears popping from the atmospheric pressure change. Tables explode around, the piano is flipped. The technician's equipment begin to spit and static, the pure chi blast nearly frying them. Duke pours the hot flames directly forward, directly into the one man who tore him open. There wasn't respect now.
There was only hate.
COMBATSYS: Duke knocks away Ryu with Sledgehammer.
- Power hit! -
! VENGEANCE !
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Duke 0/-------/---====|>>>>>>>\>>-----\1 Ryu
Ryu's heel slowly draws back as a matter of routine. It doesn't cross him immediately as to how wet his heel feels, for it has never gone in that deep. The calm that passed in the transition from mitigating the force of a great strike into a hard shove and the conversion of this defense into a firm, focused offense...
For his ability to shut out the world around him and keep all attention between himself, the opponent, and little else, the worried murmurs cast a paradoxical hush upon everyone, and Ryu sees it when he faces back to Duke.
His eyes widen and his fists unclench. In that moment, did he... succumb? Has it finally come to the surface without him noticing? It--
No. That he expresses concern at all would dismiss the motion, and yet, did he just truly, in one blow... kill...? He stands in fear of himself, looking upon the collapsing crime boss.
Then, there is fire, and Ryu's fists rise anew. The chest wound appears to fix itself - he had never met an opponent so capable of recovering from this. It begs the obvious questions from those nearby. Is Duke even still human? Who was it that they drew into a promotional battle against the likes of Ryu, as chi blasts outwards from the man whose scars tell tale of a man that defied - and continues to defy - death itself.
For Ryu, it was a matter of routine to not pay the greatest heed to vulgar expressions of chi manifested power. It takes immense talent to project to such a level, and is a sure indicator of strength, this is truth. However, As a man who values the fight itself, regardless of the opponent, normally it seems wasteful - disciplined in his choice to focus all only into what is needed for a strike or a defense, and little else. He could weather a persistent breeze, a sudden shake, a bitter cold, a blazing heat radiating from one he was fighting... all that mattered was the fight itself between two warriors.
Duke is among the first to challenge this, their roar punctuating a sentence of metaphorical words that aptly describe the novelty and utter terror of this scenario, and all is let loose. Glass shards fly about him. A camera situated above and just behind Ryu looses its hold on the ceiling and smashes into tiny expensive bits.
The World Warrior's efforts to even put forth a respectable defense - some gesticulation involving arms bracing themselves in a typical defense - is lost to the volcanic eruption of Duke's hatred and anger.
Ryu's footing is forfeit under the immense explosion, blown clear of L'Amour proper out not the door, but the frame above it. He tumbles out of a cloud of debris and utter destruction, landing face-down. The HitBit camera around his heat - still mostly functioning aside from a small crack in the lens - with interesting surges being reported in the numbers.
He may be, for the first time anyone has recorded his vitals in plain numbers, probably emotionally shaken on some level. Adrenaline starts to pump as a body's natural response to great duress. Duke may have lost himself to his emotions in the name of striking down a foe, and his opponent...
He stands back up. To add any other steps or descriptors before and after this action would undermine the speed in which he decides, wills, and acts to do so.
Duke's blood being left as artful footprints from every instance that foot moves, Ryu's eyes narrow. He won't let himself give into what just struck him, as blood streams down over one of his eyes, his jaw... there's a good dab of it pressed around his knee on his gi.
To decide Duke is less than human for his ghastly powers of presence, regeneration, and sheer destructive force, to condemn him as something to be destroyed... that's not a choice Ryu is going to make of him. To shut out doubt, fear, anger...
And embrace nothing.
Standing just outside the door, he draws his hands back to focus the nothing into a sphere. A reddened sphere - fire. Few fights have ever tested him so in such the heat of the moment like this one, and it is important, above all... to fight for the fight itself, to master oneself, to not let him deteriorate mentally and emotionally to Duke's anger...! The levels that should reflect a human being under emotional duress subsides at a level that, subtly, may paint Ryu in just as inhumane a picture as Duke may himself now appear.
"SHAKUNETSU!" He calls, thrusting his arms forward as the ball of (actual) fire surges forth, spiraling along through the ruin and lingering waves of Duke's chi manifestations that warp and contort the visible air in heat waves.
He is not content to sit back and let the fireball lead the charge alone, choosing to move in behind the red, flaming chi on its warpath across the distorted heat of a restaurant that may now be on fire, unwittingly kicking aside the tumbled glass that has against all odds remained whole.
This fight is not yet over, even if it remains skeptical he could still stand - let alone hold his focus - should he suffer another grievous volley.
COMBATSYS: Duke endures Ryu's Shakunetsu Hadouken.
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Duke 0/-------/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>----\1 Ryu
The sound of glass breaking on the third floor would scarcely have garnered notice, with all the destruction raining down on the first floor restaurant of L'Amore. After all, Duke is not known for his subtlety -- the entire building -shook-, so it just stands to reason that collateral damage would occur on some other floors as well.
But in this case, it seems that collateral damage was -expected- from such a fight, for it's on the third floor that the glass is blasted -inward-, rather than out -- by the foot of a Japanese man wearing black clothing. He'd approached from the eighth floor, and had rappelled down, waiting for the moment in which Duke invokes massive property damage.
And yet... on the second-floor awning overhanging a building across the street, a much more diminutive invader had been perfectly content to watch the fight from her cellphone. Dressed in a casual yellow jacket with sensible sweatpants, she'd be perfectly at home anywhere on the streets of Southtown... if not for the fact that she was seated perfectly comfortably atop an awning which would surely have collapsed for anyone possessing less dexterity and exercising less caution than she.
She looks up from her cellphone at the sound of breaking glass. And grits her teeth, tucking her cellphone into her jacket pocket.
And then she vanishes, with little more remaining than a wispy cloud of smoke.
There is a high pitched whine.
The aftermath of the explosion left debris and sobs. The entire center of L'Amour was... a memory. Tables were sundered, and some pieces were even sent hurtling through the windows. The entire building had suffered a bombing for all purposes; the fires around them were actually smothered by the sheer power of the blast. As the technical crew swiftly moves to deal with the remaining flames, the audience sputters and moans. And yet, standing tall, was the one who caused it all.
And Duke's meters were not going down.
The type of treatment that Duke's body was enduring should have killed him ten times over. And it was, in little ways. While the HitBit network system was flooded, the local systems were much more finetuned. And the ones that weren't being rebooted from the last overflow error, could see that Duke was suffering a constant series of heart attacks and organ failure, his lungs having collapsed twice now over the sheer force of him breathing. And yet, he was alive. He was more than alive. He was hearty, and enraged. There were few words between Duke and Ryu now. Only a flood of anger.
Into a stoic wall.
There is a thunder throughout the building, as Duke focuses on his opponent. He had only a single mind now, to destroy this man. Another rumble comes. And soon, it becomes all too real what was causing the tremors. Every step this titan was giving was sending shockwaves up and down. His chest was closed up now, his front covered in hot red scars. His eyes were weeping flames, his mouth was retching the fires up. Fire, fire, fire was still pouring from his body. He was unaware now of what was taking place within this building, there was no Japanese man in his eyes.
Only his opponent building up another fireball to send his way.
The blast of fire was even larger than before, the flames within spreading faster and faster now around them. There was only fire now, as the audience pleads and panicks. But as the second fireball is sent into Duke... he forces his way through it. The flames tear open his body, tear open his chest. For a moment, a twisted, charred flash of his organs could be seen, as the meters go insane again. Finally, a meter drops down from Duke's block of max outs. And another one.
His body was shutting down.
"GRAOOOOGH!" Comes the choking cry as Duke hurls himself through the flames, his own violet fire swirling amongst it. Like a djinn from the smoke, he hurls himself at Ryu, dipping low Pure power was fueling him as his biometrics start collapsing. His limbs were tearing open hot wounds on themselves, his body was now bleeding for real now. Blood was mingling with chi as he fires an uppercut straight up for Ryu's jaw, hitting low first, then high. And then, whether it landed or not, he would hurl out a second upper cut, aiming to hit low first, and then high like the other.
COMBATSYS: Duke successfully hits Ryu with Tall Hammer.
- Power hit! -
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////// ]
Duke 1/------=/=======|=======\=======\1 Ryu
Ryu was anticipating Duke would follow soon after the Hadouken. Neither man are standing to back down. Charging back into danger, into flames, into a far grimmer picture than he might have ever thought...
He would learn to appreciate the real weight of Duke's fury in mere moments. The Shakunetsu Hadouken's flames explode outward as though against a wall as the man that would not die turns what should be Ryu's leading approach into their own, and Ryu brings a fist back as though ready to strike.
No, it was Duke who was more ready. Relentless, unceasing, everything from the neck up becomes pain. His body seems to miss the fact where his abdomen was the beach landing for the war path against his jaw.
He pops up. The second uppercut... there comes a line where 'uppercut' seems to cease to become a thing and instead becomes 'a blow that should kill.'
Where Ryu is struck is irrelevant. Where he goes...
He goes up. Through the ceiling, through yet another, the barriers of human construction doing nothing to slow his ascent.
One certain guest may even catch sight of Ryu's ascent, as far up as they are. He does not keep mental count as to how high he's flying. Only that he's going up, up, and up, a human being clad largely in white, red, and looks like... purple? He must've headbutt a wine glass somewhere along the way.
The descent is devoid of sensation other than a hard thud near Duke's feet after a bounce, engulfed within the maelstrom of Duke's power given shape and form. His sense of time's passing goes numb, incapable of cognizing or recalling any point between that first hit or the impact against the ground as he lies on his back.
The worldly sensations of being a living human being all come flooding in. Pain is well-noted. Sound. Sight. Smell.
Faint as they are, a turn of his head shows him a picture that had left his notice - suffering. People are screaming. Afraid. Hurt. Caught in the cross-fire, with the building's structural integrity now in question in wake of collateral.
Ryu, the World Warrior, lies sprawled and defeated before the world at large against the almost mythical-seeming underworld figure that is Duke. One hand lies atop his chest. The other, on the ground...
Twitches. Fingers curl slowly into a fist. The bloodied, battered body of a warrior of whom no fight should be left...
His eyes blink twice in unsion, a hiss escaping between the space of his teeth. It's not over - even if he lies on his back, it's not over. How much further will this one go - how far can he go? To what end would the fury be satisfied with their result...?
The HitBit scores blip, as Ryu rolls to support himself up with his arms, facing up against Duke. His opponent - no more. No less. There must be a decisive point in which to pacify this battle for the both of them, that there be a true end...!
Much like he refused to allow Keith to end himself before him, so, too, does he choose to extend this same mercy wrapped in one's fist as he staggers to a crouch, his expression surging to something more... vibrant.
Something, underneath the visage of a quiet, serious young man whose passion for fighting is unsurpassed. There's something there. Something that casts a shadow before Duke, bubbling under the surface.
Something horrifying, for what little space there is it needs to express itself - the simple act of fighting.
Flecks of red may go unnoticed around Duke's aura, as Ryu never quite rises up in full to something resembling a stand.
It starts, all too humble-looking, all too inoffensive in comparison to what blows have been exchanged, like a raised fist to the gut with his right hand.
COMBATSYS: Duke endures Ryu's Shin Shoryuken EX+.
[ \\\\ < > //////// ]
Duke 1/-======/=======|=====--\-------\0 Ryu
There is an impact. Between the two of them, it is as though all motion freezes. Even his (regular) headband, most visibly prone to the laws of physics and movement, seems to halt entirely in motion where the ends currently flutter.
"Shin!" Ryu rises nearly to a stand with a punch from the opposite arm, going to the jaw. Here, Ryu and Duke may even see eye to eye for that very moment. Eyes of two men who push far, who threaten to push themselves too far, in pursuit of a singular goal. His attacking arm is nearly a perfect right angle. Horizontally straight bicep, vertically aligned fist, all cocked and ready to go, as this motion stands to suspend Duke in mid-air. The concussive force is well-contained within the mere point of impact, shooting out nowhere else...
"SHOOOORYUKEN!!" Ryu calls with a deep, reverberating fierceness that echoes across the entire establishment as the bent arm goes completely straight for a third, final, destructive blow that at last expresses a shockwave as Ryu rises up, up, and up with the strength that his fist carries him - and, one would suspect, possibly Duke with it.
Would it be enough to sate Duke's desires of violence, and put a decisive end to a battle that must cease before further damage can be done.
This punch... the Shin Shoryuken, straddles the very line of being a masterful technique, and a motion only worthy of killing - a line that seems to be straddled as Ryu grips with the urgency to end this fight for the sake of those around him, and a darker desire buried beneath the surface.
Duke launches Ryu through the ceiling.
That was the end of it, for the brute. The sheer force was like a rocket. Duke fires him away, and the brute simply stands there. He does not look down at his prey. He just stands there, seething with the white hot fury, as the waves and waves of energy erupt forth from his body. Unable to control it, he begins to pound his fists into the floor away from Ryu, shuddering it under his fists. Fear seizes everyone watching. Waiting. Hoping.
And then, a sound comes beside him
What happened next was in slow motion. Duke turns around, to look up at the figure of Ryu ascending, his yellow eyes locked in rage into the fighter. He turns back to the man who had brought the purest challenge in the fight, face contorted in rage. His body pivots, and he is facing Ryu as he begins the Shin Shoryuken. He doesn't defend. He just... endures. The force knocks him airborne, the sheer power knocking him off his feet. Yellow eyes go distance, as the force twists his jaw and face into deranged shapes. His entire body seems to swing and shake, as sharp negative spikes run through the HitBit. According to the readings, Duke died three times in that Shoryuken.
And for a brief moment, it even looked like it took his head off.
The decapitation had to be an illusion. It had to be a lie. And yet, for a moment, Duke's spinal column was exposed in a flash. Metal infused with bone, the image comes for a moment before his neck snaps back in place. The biometrics begin to flicker, and then, fall. A silence falls over the audience, the HitBit crew, as slowly, Duke lands on his feet. He it seems that... that the life was snuffed out. Did... Did Ryu kill him? They didn't want to say. They didn't want to risk anything. There was, for only a moment, a low chattering and applause.
Suddenly, the meters begin to surge.
Duke's biometric flash back on. The effect was a chain reaction. First was the low-end phones suffering another buffer overflow crash. Then, high end phones. Then, the network server. The local machines in turn begin to crash as well, as the sheer flow of energy comes. The entire building rumbles. Duke's eyes reopen... and a gust of wind comes as pure chi energy gushes from his body. His mouth opens as chi boils out. Pain, pain, pain rattles his very existence, as he holds both of his arms high overhead.
"Run! Everyone Run!'
It isn't clear who said that. But why? That was clear. Screams of panick come as the floor below begin to crack. Not fall though, not yet. But deep, red fissures roar through the floor, as the building continues to shake at the foundations. People were running, fleeing as Duke raises his arm and foot straight up. With the force a nuclear bomb, he slams his arm, leg, and whole body right for Ryu, as his body becomes consumed in the fireball. The fissure comes, and the entire floor collapses as the explosion tears apart the entire resteraunt. The staggering force, the purest force.
And the biometrics begin to fall once more.
COMBATSYS: Duke can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Duke knocks away Ryu with Ground Zero.
- Power hit! -
Another silence passes through Ryu as he touches back down upon the ground in another crouch. He has little strength left in him to stand, body covered in dust, soot, ash, blood, and that aforementioned bit of wine. He does not dare turn his eyes away from his handiwork, watching the macabre scene of Duke's... demise?
He might be willing to believe that he truly did, and the applause rings hollow as he watches... this was not the end that the HitBit corporation would be pushing for, would it? To take a life in the name of fighting... was there no way to convince Duke, body, mind, and soul, to cease?
What angst that could begin to take root is soon to recede as Duke explodes to life once again. Ryu is frought with a conundrum - if Duke is a man whose body has never given him cause to stop, to what end is there for him to accept defeat? What pushes a man of such power and ability so? Curiosity would dare to overtake base instinct.
Survival? That is what the rest around him bank upon, for good reason, as Ryu's flesh sears from the building of heat, energy... danger. He can't rise fast enough to run.
The willingness to know when a fight is over, in which to walk away. Both men express this flaw in their own ways. Ryu dares not look behind him as Duke bounds forth again to Ryu's swimming, fuzzier vision as an amorphous blob of power.
No. This is not an insurmountable wall - there is a fighter beyond this, even if his eyes no longer wish to acknowledge anything beyond the light that would blind this fact.
A wash of blue light envelopes Ryu's form as he deftly throws his forearm against the first impact. That won't stop Duke. Every attempt to push back, to fight him away, each blue-blessed impact grows ever fainter...
"It's over," Ryu finally gasps out real words, to speak above the fury before him that blinds, deafens, and stands to destroy, "don't--"
Ryu's words are lost to the fury. To touch into his humanity as one who cares for the well-being of others, to fight back the desire to destroy and annihilate an opponent as the ultimate end of fighting... Duke, by any reasonable measure, was beyond reason. If the Shin Shoryuken couldn't stop him...
All Ryu has going is his willingness to push back against force that will not stop, each second being in proximity of this man physically weakening him. The floor gives way under his feet, and the very point in time where his balance is compromised, the tug of war between an unstoppable offense and a resolute defense tips in the favor of the former.
Ryu's scorched, shattered self flies violently across the street, past the evacuating crowd, and into a building on the opposite end, where the flames of chi that envelop his body dissipate.
To the joy of all, the HitBit headband - its camera now warped, melted, and useless - at least can reflect upon Ryu's vitals.
He's alive. More alive than a man who has suffered as much as he does should be, but he's alive. That anyone could make it out of there is nothing short of a miracle.
What remains of his consciousness in the coming hours will be filled with questions to meditate upon.
COMBATSYS: Ryu takes no action.
COMBATSYS: Ryu can no longer fight.
The HitBit finance department is in fits just thinking about all the widespread property damage that's just taken place -- damage they're legally contracted to pay for. (Not to mention the ruined HitBit devices -- the least of their worries at this point!) The HitBit legal team isn't going to rest tonight either, because the finance department will not stop freaking calling them. All because of sketchily-worded legalese and the unfortunate decisions of a crazy, interminably complicated piece of software.
But that's neither here nor there. The L'Amore is ruined -- little more than a write-off at this point. The floor is destroyed, the walls exist only in the barest sense, and the splintered tables and barstools lay out in the street alongside shards of shattered glass. Only a few people were injured in the evacuation; self-preservation counts for a lot, after all. It's a miracle there weren't -more- injuries.
For the most part, the rest of the thirty-story building is thankfully intact; government-mandated earthquake standards are pretty much the only thing ensuring that the restaurant's subframe -- now plainly visible to any bystander -- was built independently of the skyscraper's shock-resistant mounting.
Which isn't to say the building didn't shake -- oh, it definitely shook. The windows on the first four floors have been completely blown out from the concussive force of Duke's last-ditch attack.
The sound of Ryu's body wasn't the last fallout of the attack. Instead, it is that of a man hitting the wall of a neighboring building, and then rebounding back to land in an empty alleyway. On his back is strapped a cardboard shipping tube, and on his bared wrist is a tattoo marking him as one of a long-established Yakuza clan.
The shadowy, flame-haired figure that flickers into existence beside the man two seconds later is less concerned with that. One deft slice of the kneeling figure's knife liberates the shipping tube from the would-be thief's shoulder. A hasty shove rolls the man onto his back, and another casual gesture migrates the man's wallet to its new home within her pocket. The encounter lasts mere seconds, the shadowy visitor leaving behind only a puff of smoke.
"The-the boss will be fine," stammers Nagase to no one in particular. No one is up on the rooftop with her, after all. As she carves open the hastily-duct-taped parcel like a Christmas gift, the pale-skinned tech-ninja insists, "H-he's -fine-, you'll get p-paid for this."
The cardboard package falls away, and a gorgeously ornamented scabbard is revealed within. Nagase brings gloved hands to the sword's decorative handle, drawing the blade out of its saya. Her eyes can easily spot the exquisite craftsmanship of the sword -- clearly Japanese in origin. But then the Iga ninja's eyebrow twitches, as the caption provided by her advanced surveillance suite's optical recognition system differs from her own expectations.
She squints at the caption once more, hesitantly... then smiles. "Why -hello- there... what are -you- doing here...?"
Log created on 15:43:56 01/24/2016 by Ryu, and last modified on 15:02:56 01/25/2016.