Description: Despite racking up two losses in the Rumble In The Streets, the World Warrior, Ryu, suddenly receives a match notice that sends him all the way up an isolated peak to a ruined temple. What waits for him there is not a mere challenge, but the perfect embodiment of destruction and hatred.
It's been a turbulent series of events, this whole HitBit-sponsored tournament. Nonetheless, he has been taken out twice - he's out of the competition, isn't he? Win or lose, there's another fight somewhere out there, waiting. (He may have missed Lee Chaolan's genius idea as to how to keep him in play.)
Wandering about Machida in the way he normally does - to the extent that walking the world barefoot everywhere fighting pretty much everyone and anyone who steps up is normal in the modern age of convenience and community in the most developed parts of the world - he receives what might be construed as an innocuous reminder of some unfinished business.
He forgot to return the phone. This reminder comes with the announcement to come to the old temple nearby. Near a place he just happens to already be...
The long walk uphill doesn't deter him, up a hazy and overcast day. Before long, he even has company in the form of that noxious, eardrum-rupturing happy pop song that serves as another reminder that it's nearly time for... whatever the purpose of his summoning. Whether it spurs him to go that much faster to the final destination is subject to debate.
What isn't up for debate is the run-down nature of the temple he soon comes across, chancing splinters with every step he walks, of dusty and dirty air threatening to fill his lungs, of a darkness that seems to pervade even with holes allowing in what outside light that may appear. Every detail is in place for the locale... except for other signs of life.
"Hm." If Ryu is lucky, this is one of the precious first times a practical joke has been played upon him, as he stands in observance of the surroundings seemingly devoid of a human soul. If he were of the mind, he might have wondered how the deities worshipped in this place might have taken to the invasive, peppy music on a phone he has zero idea how to turn off were they here.
To most people, there is something unnerving about a human place left empty and abandonded. In ages past, this temple must have held a busy collection of priests to maintain it, but with fallen stones and splintered wood, it's clear there was some form of human malice that led to the current state of being.
As hours passed through the day, the sky had grown steadily darker as black stormclouds gather in wait. As the lone warrior reaches the isolated peak, a crack of thunder explodes, tearing through the last barrier and the sky explodes into torrential sheets of water. It isn't long before thick puddles of mud begin to form in divots all across the destroyed shrine.
With the sudden torrent, it would be easy enough to assume that the phone in Ryu's hand had merely been drowned out by new noise, but any attempt to check it would show that it was completely dead. All of the technology from the HitBit company, in fact, was suddenly without power or connection.
And more than that, the pressure that weighs down upon the World Warrior isn't quite so natural as the sensation of rain playing across his skin. As it lingers, there is a clear malevolence to it that plucks at the most primitive layers of the brain. The warning that the glint in the depths of midnight darkness was not some trick of the eye, but some beast with intent and desire.
"So, this is the power that overcame even Sagat," the voice suddenly cuts through the sound of fat droplets striking the Earth. It comes from a man dressed all in red military clothes, a cape whipping about behind him as he stands atop the stone platform that houses what remains of the shattered shrine itself, his arms folded across his chest.
"All of this potential trapped away behind a mind that dares to ignore the yearning of its body to reach perfection," the dictator says as his face twists into an upleasant smile. As time lingers, little things begin to become impossible to ignore. His eyes are a pure white with neither iris nor pupil, and even from a distance he appears to be standing at least half a foot above the platform itself.
The oncoming ferocity of the elements alone do little to deter Ryu, a man who has already walked a great many parts of Earth in his youth across less-than-ideal travel circumstances, soaking in the experience as much as the elements themselves. Even then, the ominous onset of a freak storm should have one's hairs stand on end...
It's something else. That something else... for all the ruckus of thundering rain and raining thunder, that words spoken as such which should be by rights drowned out from the cacophony of the elements speaks loud, true, and clear to the World Warrior himself, that the phone immediately is dropped onto the wet earth where it will lie forgotten as another disposable electronic.
Even Ryu, stoic as he may be to much adversity he might face, finds his eyes widening for a moment as they focus upon the other intruder upon the run-down shrine... to the unmistakable form of the being in red.
What Ryu asks next almost doesn't need to be said. Vega may yet know intuitively the first thing that comes out of his mouth.
"Who are you?" Those words hardly needed to even be written...! His one free hand starts to tense into a fist on instinct. The rest of him has yet to move... his feet are yet rooted in the pooling mud, as though he were staring down something incomprehensible in spite of them being right there, in the open, arms crossed, with those eyes of his...
With those feet not yet touching down.
His attention is undivided, pooling into a tighter, firmer space yet.
"You should consider yourself blessed," the dictator announces as he begins to float closer to the lone warrior. All of it seems to be completely effortless for the man in red. "There are few in this world who have received the honor to be visited by a god! There are none who can compare to the true potential of my Psycho Power."
As the man moves closer, the oppressive sensation of his aura grow more intense. Flashes of fear, pain, and suffering flicker in the mind's eye, accompanied by visions of attrocities. A normal person's first thoughts would be to flee in terror, yet instinct would grip a soul so tightly as to leave the body trapped in place.
"My soul has achieved a purity that extends beyond the body. I am Lord Vega, and in time the world will know me as its true master." The smile on Vega's face lacks any sense of shared humor or pleasantness; joy brought to a man like this must come at the cost of humanity as a whole. "Consider this moment to be the finest that you will ever achieve, for your body may well be the exalted vessel able to withstand my soul at the pinnacle of its power."
Finally he lowers himself, proving to be more than some wicked apparition as his feet touch the ground. "Now, show me your potential. A final opportunity before I take your offering for myself."
COMBATSYS: Vega has started a fight here.
Much of it defies comprehension or reason. Much of what is exuded is so primal as to render the very concept of words and language meaningless unto themselves. The combination of tone of voice, the self-aggrandizing way he refers to himself, and the weight of... evil. This may be the only thing to call it.
All the while, Ryu stands there, wordless. What is there to be said against a man of this caliber? Ryu is not one to beg for his life... he is not one to back down from a challenge. Between the two of them, the ultiamte result of whatever words the two could exchange draw towards a certain conclusion, and Ryu lets his travel bag drop.
Where Vega has the twisted, confident grin of a being of ultimate confidence in their place in life and the scenario before them, Ryu's face remains unmoving - stoic, as is oft described. What emotions can and should boil to the surface, he keeps underneath. For what questions and doubts might have crept up over the recent weeks...
His fists will do the talking.
Vega hardly gets to finish his sentence before Ryu is upon him. Before the invitation is even extended, Ryu has already made up his mind - there is no other option.
Ryu has had the fortune of fighting (mostly) against those who weren't after his head, who weren't overbearing presences of something beyond human. Such never moved to lull him into a false sense of security about whatever challenge comes next. Vega may yet be the greatest he's met, but he remains that - a challenge.
A challenge Ryu chooses to greet with understanding of the situation's gravity by defying it, closing what distance there is. To suggest that this will be his 'finest' moment speaks of a finality that Ryu will not succumb to, as evidenced when he raises a leg up and outwards into a spinning kick that lifts him up out of the joining of earth and rainwater, rapidly rotating towards Vega with one defiant call.
"TATSUMAKI SENPUU KYAKU!!"
COMBATSYS: Ryu has wandered into the fight here.
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Ryu 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Vega
COMBATSYS: Vega blocks Ryu's Tatsumaki Senpuu Kyaku.
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Ryu 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Vega
As Ryu so easily switches into his fighting stance, Vega barely moves, standing ready with an uncomfortable intent upon his face. This is the moment he has waited for over so many years; at this moment a body stands before him that may hold within in it the ability to survive his true power, a body worthy of his soul. It is a rare moment for the Lord of Shadaloo to bask in one worthy of his attention.
Which is not to say he will make this easy. As Ryu's cry fills the air and he twists through the storm like a typhoon, Vega merely raises his arm to the side as Ryu is within reach. Even with the force of the blow, it is only due to the water pooling across the pavement stones that Vega's boots even move an inch.
"Why are you holding back? This isn't the power that fell the Emperor of Muay Thai," Vega taunts as he locks eyes with Ryu. "Perhaps you have failed to master your own potential. I have no doubt that it will awaken on the verge of death!"
As the dictator's words end, his other hand suddenly bursts into purple flames of pure Psycho Power; the sensation of Vega's soul manifesting is hellish. This is a power that is birthed by the expulsion of every good and noble portion of the soul. This is the embodiment of the darkness that dwells within human kind.
With a surge of violence, his fist is thrust forward at Ryu's stomach, prepared to bury within him that very corruption.
COMBATSYS: Vega knocks away Ryu with Medium Punch.
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Ryu 0/-------/---====|=------\-------\0 Vega
What barrels into Ryu's abdomen is...
The pain spreads far further than the point of impact. Every part of his being is bathed in everything Vega's Psycho Power is. Hatred, jealousy, sadness, greed, lust, dishonesty...
The very perfected embodiment of all that is bad about the human condition strikes with such power to do more than vacate wind from the lungs and remove one's tether to the ground for as long as gravity allows it, as Ryu helplessly tumbles and rolls across the ruined road, accumulating the dust and dirt of a road that sees little travel.
For all that he can and does shut out, Vega's power cannot be so easily overturned by trivial matters of 'frequent meditation,' 'rigorous discipline,' or 'clear sense of want and purpose.' To watch one of the world's greatest martial artists, if not the greatest, reel so much that he can only work up to being on all fours as he desperately clings to his breath, labors to re-center himself upon where he is in the world... its colors, its feel, its sounds, its scents...
What inner calm he can bring aganist this is all that stops him from collapsing on the spot, bringing one leg upward to something that comes to a kneel as he wills himself to look the terror in red in their white, frightening eyes, teeth clenching as he renews his will to stand ever slowly and put up his fists once again. To put anything to words after experiencing something of that magnitude, for the very first time...
COMBATSYS: Ryu gains composure.
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Ryu 0/-------/----===|=------\-------\0 Vega
"Certainly you are not so easily felled as this. I have seen the potential that you hold. I can feel it buried within you, trapped behind the weakness of spirit that refuses to call on true power," Vega takes a few slow steps around Ryu as the martial artist struggles in the face of his masterful Psycho Power.
"Fate has gifted a man like you with such potential, but not the will to achieve it. All of the restraint inside of you, a fear of real strength. You trained for years to achieve the goal of holding back that which makes you special, didn't you?" Each word is delivered with a calmness, eased off his tongue with a layer of corrupt pleasure in the face of suffering. "It's no wonder that fate has brought you before me; allowing such gifts to go to waste. The perfect body should belong to the perfect soul instead of a coward."
Finally Vega turns his back without concern, moving to grant some space between him and the struggling warrior. "Perhaps you would be more inspired if you were given the opportunity to feel what true strength is like," Vega offers as he turns back around. That dark aura that surrounds him surges with new power as he summons up his own potential. Lifting up the ground, purple flames of pure Psycho Power erupt from his body, the strength of his unleashed will expanding outward, holding back the torrential downpour in all directions. The stones beneath him begin to crack, grass and weeds ripped from their hidden purchases. A murder of crows, having hidden from the weather beneath what remains of the shrine's roof suddenly takes to wing, cawing in alarm as the urge to hide from the worst of nature is overcome by terror.
This darkness is inescapable and infinite.
COMBATSYS: Vega gathers his will.
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Ryu 0/-------/----===|======-\-------\0 Vega
None could speak so intricately about what it is that dwells within Ryu's psyche - the Satsui no Hadou... the Killing Intent.
The deep-seated destructive desire that truly resides in only a very few number of people, which compels one to greater heights of violence and destruction towards the absolute annihilation of all that would stand before them. The desire that his master Gouken had nurtured Ryu to suppress, to use the art of Ansatsuken as a means of self-improvement and growth... not destruction and death.
Ryu's psyche still collects itself after that one single, harrowing blow he suffered. Vega's words are weapons as much as anything else he could muster. It's not hard to liken some of what he says to that of the demon that walks the earth who told him much the same. All driven by the same selfish desires...
"That's... this isn't..." Ryu, at last, grasps at words as he stands upright, Vega's suppressing presence doing its damned hardest to choke those right back out of his throat.
"This isn't power. This... this isn't strength!" So Ryu declares, as he dares to draw nearer to the great purple flames that erode and tear at the surrounding environment. The light around Vega seems to dim out around them, ensuring that he is the one thing of notice. The one thing that stands there, to hold all attention and drown everything into that vortex of despair.
Ryu draws back a fist as he dares to come within striking range, the flame-like colors of negative emotion daring to swallow everything about Ryu whole. Putting his focus together against what evil would rip apart his psyche, his ability to feel, Ryu begins to reach inwardly into the nothing.
"Whatever it is that stands before me," he speaks much more calmly, firmly, capably against what would silence a lesser man...A nothing that turns black as he steps forward with a single forward punch, leaving a streak of nothing through the purple that it may well be black as ink as he dares to have this fist back up his words, to strike against Vega's overbearing presence and existence.
"I won't let it win!" He transitions to a kiai as the straight punch goes to strike into Vega's being in a single focused attack, magnified by clarity of purpose...
But for how long could he truly hold onto it against one whose entire self goes above and beyond all else he has ever faced?
COMBATSYS: Vega blocks Ryu's Fierce Punch.
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Ryu 0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\0 Vega
Such intensity of conviction!
To even stand before the power that Lord Vega possesses without crumbling to fear is a worthy of attention, but there are still those too foolish to understand the full scope of the threat the Psycho Master holds within him. Moving forward after seeing and understanding the depths of his soul, and the power that he draws forth from that perfect purity.
It is an amusement.
"So you don't intend to simply lay there and surrender," Vega retorts as he brings up his arm, again catching Ryu's strike with barely a hint of concern. A smile is stretched across his face once more as he takes the opportunity to lock eyes with the World Warrior once more. "Words mean little without the strength to support them. Even the most worthless insect can claim they will succeed against the storm, but most are crushed beneath a bootheel without a thought."
As if to illustrate his words, Vega lashes out with a quick, spinning kick aimed for Ryu's ankles, twisting around the rest of the way as he builds up steam to lash out with a violent boot to the martial artist's gut that continues to rise, dragging the man up through the air only to be tossed aside at the peak, right above the dictator's head.
COMBATSYS: Ryu blocks Vega's Death Tower.
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Ryu 0/-------/---====|=======\-------\0 Vega
The strength of one's conviction may allow Ryu to stand as well as anyone can hope to against Vega's entire being, and even then, it is not on an even playing field. Terrible thoughts and evil suggestion fill every mental space one may have against the likes of Vega, but that alone is not what makes him a truly frightening foe.
His fighting techinque, when he applies such power to his movement, itself has few equals. For his focus, Ryu is caught off-guard when the kick gets the ankles, doubling him over anew when the foot comes up to rise, to catch him in the gut and lift him above...
The latter doesn't happen. With a fierce shout, Ryu shoves himself - and Vega's foot - off of him before he can be taken off the ground as he staggers back. He keeps his footing if not the entire momentum of the exchange that goes between them. There is not much in the way of bargaining against Vega's will or action, this compromise of form is as good as it gets even as he hisses from the weight he puts on the left ankle that suffered the worse of the initial strike.
The wet muck and uneven path doesn't help matters much in terms of balance, such things normally easy enough for him to adjust to as though he had always been standing there - such is the stress that Vega imparts just by existing within one's perception.
Forced out of striking range, this would mount to frustration for most. Vega is nigh-on impossible to approach for that aura he projects... and even worse to stand toe-to-toe against, his strength and reach both perfect conduits in which to impart harm against the few that can stand against him.
Ryu chooses not to give in, bringing his hands back anew to clasp over a spherical construct of nothing as he focuses inward to shut everything that caresses his psyche out.
He can feel it gnawing against the shape of nothingness that the energy of the earth manifests through his hands, as though providing another arbitrary cage - a constraint - against his ability to do so, and yet, he continues to will it inward.
A flash of blue challenges the darkness of the purple energy with its own small, comparatively humble light, as Ryu thrusts it forward into the nexus of negativity before him with a single, familiar cry.
"HADOUKEN!!" The manifestation itself visibly struggles to maintain form, almost imperceptibly losing form and speed as it draws towards Vega... but it won't dissipate before it makes some sort of collision, should he not choose to avoid or overpower it (well, any further than he already is just from his presence).
COMBATSYS: Vega overcomes Hadouken from Ryu with Psycho Shot EX.
- Power hit! -
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Ryu 0/-------/---====|=======\-------\0 Vega
Finally the World Warrior is starting to show some signs of talent. Vega was able to claim Sagat's retainer through the darkness that was instilled by this opponent. This body holds within it the rare nature that would make it an ideal vessel for his Psycho Power, and the mere thought of it being controlled by one so incompetent to not even manage a base resistance against Lord Vega would be insulting.
"Finally, you begin to show some real spirit; I feared that you would be nothing more than a disappointment." Vega's arms cross over his chest as he eyes the martial artist more intently. "I have seen such a perfect evil within you; insulting Sagat as he was foolish enough to offer you mercy when he thought his victory assured. Your actions were a moment of beauty, stealing from him his victory and demolishing his world."
Even as Ryu's power begins to be summoned forth, Vega care for little more than to watch. Just what has this warrior managed to achieve in his fight against his own true nature? Pathetic as it may be to run from power, there can still be a pleasure in examining an incomplete work of art. Standing before Lord Vega is a sculpture by a mere amateur using a the finest material, begging to be remolded by a true master.
Let it stew and sit, for soon enough Ryu would learn the error of his conviction. Perhaps it would be the final moment of despair, or perhaps once more the warrior would manifest his potential.
Either way, none of it was enough to stand up to his Psycho Power, and soon the opportunity to achieve the perfect body to join with his soul would be seized.
"YES! Release your power and I will grant you the pleasure of seeing how much strength you have surrendered for your idealism!" Vega shouts as he witnesses the chi being called forth, pulled from the ether and thrust forth at him. "This is what you surrender to your conscience!"
Using only a single hand, Vega swings his fist around as if throwing a punch. Despite moving with incredible speed, eyes as skilled as Ryu's could see the way Psycho Power is gathered at the point of the fist through the swing. As the dictator's fist reaches his waist, it surges into a crackling orb of power, thrust forth against the Hadouken.
In and instant the chi is shredded into nothingness, obliterated in the blink of an eye. The rain falling about the roiling ball of energy sizzles into steam as it leaves dry, singed path stones in its wake as it barrels down upon Ryu with pure menace.
COMBATSYS: Ryu endures Vega's Psycho Shot EX but gets knocked away!
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Ryu 0/-------/<<<<<<<|=======\=------\1 Vega
The Hadouken is trumped, and before Ryu can fully draw his hands back, he has another handful headed for him - a shot of psycho power that nearly blends into the haze of hatred that Vega projects. Even if it proves hard to see - how well-trained his eye is notwithstanding! - it's elementary to merely feel before it can even make some sort of physical contact.
He hastily throws up a forearm as if to guard against it, but such is futile. Lacking experience against such power, it washes over and envelops him as he's thrust back into an amateurish stagger like a smaller child shoved down by a much larger one. Venomous words resound even well after they are first spoken - a reminder of a terrible thing he committed upon the greatest Muay Thai master to walk the land in the name of simple triumph.
The re-opened wounds fill in for where it might seem on the outside that simple physical injury might not, as Ryu fights to stay upright. His heart starts to beat much faster, as mastery of his mind over matter is thrown into the chaos that Vega himself would want him to accept. Somewhere along the line, he comes to a physical stop as he slaps a foot down against the path to mark that this is his stopping point. He'd fall back no further.
Vega is his opponent. An understanding he has of almost anyone - an opponent, a challenge. Something to show, something to learn, something to experience. Another human being, a fellow fighter. That his own techniques would be not used to end their existence upon this earth, no matter society's opinions of their worth.
It's too easy to consider Vega less than this, as much as it is to paradoxically consider him more than this, and the struggle reflects plainly in Ryu's eyes as the adrenaline pumps, and the things that bubble under the surface keep saying it: kill or be killed. No restraint, no mercy - Vega will not be showing him any. Should he?
That Ryu moves to strike back at all, however token it must be, does little other than delay answering the conflict. It's a faster turnaround than Vega might expect, but one where he is in danger of being blindsided by a surprising return volley. Ryu closes back in, eyes refocusing upon the mocking master of Psycho Power. His fists unclench - surrender? Defiance of feeding into him?
Ryu seeks to lay hands upon Vega and brave the exuding evil. His master may have left him, but he has not left his master - answering the call to give in not with a closed fist or manifested energy, but to grab Vega and fall onto his back, lifting up a leg to guide Vega in a toss over himself.
Deep within, something craves for more. No matter how centered his convictions, it is impossible to silence - he simply chooses to shun it.
COMBATSYS: Vega dodges Ryu's Tomoe Nage.
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Ryu 0/-------/<<<<<<<|=======\=------\1 Vega
The opportunity to show his true self, without hiding behind the mask of "Kamon" simply to allow himself to inludge in battle is a wonderful experience. For far too long, Vega has allowed himself to enjoy bathe in quiet power as he builds up Shadaloo from the shadows. All of those victories and accomplishments have helped him achieved so many goals...
...and yet it ignores the very fact that Lord Vega is the greatest soul on the face of the Earth. He is the mightiest of warriors, and the throne he claims as his own shouldn't be one trapped out of view. The entire world should know to bow before him.
The respect and fear that should be by right his own is so casually collected by pretenders of no importance.
Monsters in the shadow they call "Darkstalkers."
Criminals and thugs struggling against each other for mere scraps.
All of these are mere flickering candles, shrouded and overwhelmed by the true power that Lord Vega wields. The power that has remained hidden away for far too long. No, soon enough the world would need to know its place, with all pretenders tossed aside or made to bend the knee.
But that would be for later. Now it was time to bask in the joy of battle. Soon enough he would break the World Warrior. Sagat would be annoyed, but the dictator could offer his lieutenant his just reward before Vega removed what remained of Ryu's soul from his body and took it for himself. With a new body, that would be the perfect chance to unleash his full power and take what was his by right.
First steps first. As the martial artist lunges out for Vega, the dictator simply smiles as his body is suddenly shrouded in Psycho Power, vanishing into the void as Ryu stumbles through empty air and is greeted by a soul-chilling laugh as Vega reappears in the air behind him.
"Such potential, squandered by an unworthy soul. You see now the potential of my Psycho Power, restrained only by the imperfection of this body. After I humiliate you, defeat you, I will take your body for my own, and the world will bend knee to me or be consumed by the destruction I can unleash! And it's all because you were too much of a coward to accept your strength!"
Still laughing, he comes flying down at Ryu, his hands linked before him as they are shrouded in Psycho Power, flying down with strength that would take a lesser man's head clean off.
COMBATSYS: Ryu dodges Vega's Somersault Skull Diver.
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Ryu 0/-------/<<<<<<<|=======\=------\1 Vega
Ryu's entire body freezes as Vega feels as though they pass right through them, as though he might've come close to just snatching him outright then and there. An unforgettable experience that he would never speak of again, were the fates willing, as his very blood stands to freeze to ice under the pouring rain.
All that pales to hearing Vega's laughter from behind himself, as Ryu stands erect. He no longer looks to Vega's face, as those words echo, the mockery seems to go unchallenged... Ryu takes in a deep breath.
"I see no potential in your Psycho Power," Ryu states as calm as a body shaken by an experience no mortal body should ever happen upon can. Vega descends quickly, the very air and rain parting at his descent...
"I only see ruin and a want that will never be satisfied...!"
So Ryu proclaims as he crouches low, allowing the terrifying dive to just pass by him with a clearance so small as to be merely glancing, raising up a leg to strike out behind him with a shout.
A backwards kick that compresses the air around it as it is thrust towards Vega's person, a forward momentum unhampered by the muck that slowly sinks Ryu within its soft, moist character, continuing to fight the mockery and temptations of Vega alike the one means he has to him - to keep fighting.
Fighting without, fighting within, fighting encompassed.
COMBATSYS: Vega dodges Ryu's Joudan Sokutou Geri.
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Ryu 0/-------/-<<<<<<|=======\=------\1 Vega
As Vega flies past Ryu, he's quick to twist about in the air, coming to a complete halt above the shattered paving stones, the muddy water beneath his feet spreading out as the invisible hand of his Psycho Power cushions him, allowing him ample time to react to Ryu's retalliation, crossing his arms once more over his chest as he floats just out of reach.
Thus far the battlefield truly seems to favor the dictator; as the martial artists is forced to contend with mud and water on the ground, the laws of reality bend to the very power that Lord Vega possesses.
"With all your might, you can't even manage to strike a clean blow, and yet you proclaim that you can't see the might of my Psycho Power?" Vega lets out a sharp, mocking laugh. "Then you are blind to far more than your own potential."
"And for that, you will be blessed with suffering."
From his floating position, Vega flies forward with his leg extended before him, violent Psycho Power blooming up from the very ground beneath him as he channels that divine purity of evil into his assault. Were it not for the sensation that tugs at the hindbrain whenever the dictator's power is manifested, it would look almost silly.
COMBATSYS: Ryu blocks Vega's Strong Kick.
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Ryu 1/-------/<<<<<<<|=======\==-----\1 Vega
The rain erodes the surrounding stone that once made up this proud place of worship and spirituality. Over years, the weather will one day allow nature to overtake man's designs, patterns, and structures as decay surrounds the two fighters with their every blow.
The analogy has some resemblance to the goings on. Vega is a storm without end, a relentless torrent of energy, power, and ill intent. Ryu stands as a rigid structure that is being worn down, bit by bit, piece by piece...
The forearm he raises to the empowered kick sees Ryu losing footing, his legs spreading apart as his stance lowers to make up for his loss of balance. The guarding arm falls low, as if to go limp, as he re-centers himself after the latest missed blow that committal would have seen him claimed by counterattack were he not on the ball.
Suffering is a succinct term for it. His body shudders under what stresses Ryu puts it through - going full-tilt against a foe that seems to reach further than he can strike, who can strike harder than he can withstand, who can move faster than he can follow.
Ryu closes his eyes. He can't un-see the hatred that surrounds Vega, as it pierces deeper and deeper into his subconscious.
Cracks go through the metaphorical shutters, as he draws his hands back. Were this any other circumstance, of a person of far less malevolent means and horrifying power, such a battle would've been the happiest thing to have happened to him in some time.
Joy and sadness... he cups the nothingness again, shooing out all he can until all that remains is just the fight. The energy that gathers within the pouring rain that rises to a fevery pitch - a squall that could knock any man flat - glows a red, fiery hue.
Ryu's resolve sees the light grow in greater intensity as he stands at the cusp of despair and the limit of his mental endurance, gritting his teeth again as he dares to open his eyes to a fierce glint within.
He won't give in, even at the brink - does he choose death?
"SHAKUNETSU!" He calls out as he thrusts his hands forward, the massed ball of fiery chi hurtling heedlessly through the rain that would extinguish it.
Ryu chooses to keep fighting, even at such a disadvantage of positioning and what Vega might consider reason from their perspective...!
COMBATSYS: Vega dodges Ryu's Shakunetsu Hadouken.
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Ryu 1/-------/<<<<<<<|=======\==-----\1 Vega
Analogies, metaphors, fables...
It's all completely meaningless as far as Vega is concerned. Words have their place, but they only have meaning when they are backed by power and force. Poety and literature is useful for those who seek to find meaning in pointless, limited lives; a distraction from the inevitibility of their own death.
Lord Vega is unconcerned with mortality. This is hardly the first body that has held his soul, and it will inevitably not be the last. So many martial artists waste their lives attempting to achieve mere physical perfection, but Vega was different. It was so many years ago now that Vega met the man that introduced him to Psycho Power, began training him in the techniques.
The man who never grasped them firmly enough to become a true master of Psycho Power. Whose life was ended once there was no more that Vega could learn from him, so that no rivals for his power could follow the same route. There is no greater potential than that of Psycho Power, and once Vega had purified his soul, all that would remain was for him to find the perfect body to contain it.
The body that now stood before him, struggling to achieve any manner of success. Once more summoning forth an incomplete power, refusing to become whole for such patheticly human reasons.
As the fiery chi is thrust upon him, Vega merely smiles once more, summoning forth that dark power to vanish into the void. The hadouken is met with nothing more than the final, clinging remains of Psycho Power left behind as Vega reappears before Ryu.
"Do you see now how lost you are? In this moment of desperation, bask in the knowledge that your restraint has cost you dearly. Perhaps this fight would have been a challenge if you were not so cowardly."
With his words left to hand on the air, Vega lashes out with his right hand sheathed in Psycho Power. He lunges for Ryu's face, grabbing him, engulfing him in the flames as the dictator hauls back and slams him violently against the paving stones.
COMBATSYS: Ryu interrupts Power Throw from Vega with Shin Shoryuken+.
+ Epic Hit! +
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Ryu 0/-------/-======|=======\======-\1 Vega
Before he knows it, cliche as it is to anyone who knows those words, Ryu's taken by the face. The powerful hand of the master of Psycho Power could very well crush his skull in his grasp and give him a quick, merciful death were it not for the repeated mention about finding use for Ryu's own body.
Ryu's own defense is inadequate to pull Vega's hand off of him - the desperation that encroaches is real, palpable, and adds to the tapestry of purple that Vega's emotions mainfest themselves as among the visible spectrum of light. The only 'victory' Ryu manages there is that he keeps his feet on the ground in pulling down, pulling back, fighting an inevitability as the flames overtake him, to move to snuff out what consciousness of his may yet remain to be cognizant of who he is, where he is, what he is, why he is... and to a more extreme extent, when he is. All is pain. All is hatred. All is... wrong.
The other arm that doesn't struggle goes limp. His anguished cries are drowned out in the downpour. Sound becomes a foreign concept. There is nothing but pain.
One of the foremost teachings of Gouken in mastering his technique was to grasp hold of nothing. The nothing is right there, all around, for Ryu himself to take. He just has to... reach out...
His limp arm's respective hand balls up to a fist, but that alone will not save him, nor convince Vega to return whence he came. The nothingness remains all around his perception, a complete void in which to mentally retreat, to gather, to fight.
In a strange way, it is this gesture that seems to help Ryu refocus himself even as all stands to be lost in one, final, decisive slam like one might treat a piece of refuse, as the free arm cocks back, timed coincidentally - maybe even purposefully! - when Vega rears back to be rid of him.
The fist hurls itself into Vega's abdomen, and Ryu's head breaks free as the typical sensations of the human body slowly return to his perception. He, too, is fighting them, for none are important in this one exchange.
"Shin," he utters, breathing heavily, even choking as the rainfall could drown him with how heavy it is.
His other arm, striking the same place as the force of the blow could suspend Vega in mid-air, heedless of the Earth's pull. vertically his fist goes, managing somehow to strike with both elbow and rising fist at once.
"Shorukeeen...!" The strength of his voice is weak, but that is not important. The power in his fist climaxes to the utmost as it shoots up one last time, going completely vertical as Ryu himself takes to the skies under the power of one of the mightiest forms of the legendary Shoryuken, launching Vega along with it...
Ryu's own landing would not be soft, as the mounting injuries to his body grow much too great for even him to stave off. Vega pushed him to the limit... and now, beyond.
It is fumes that remain, and a foe like Vega would surely not be felled with just one terrific blow...
All at once, Vega finds himself in the air. Time feels so utterly slow in this moment as the downpair at the shrine is mixed with deep red storm of blood droplets, hanging in the air like stars in the sky.
Across his chest, it feels as if his body has been torn in half. It's somehow worse than the sensation of reality tearing at his flesh when he attacked the Ultratech Expo.
This is his blood.
The dictator's clothes have been torn asunder, the front of his uniform leaving his chest completely bare as blood pours down from the impossible wound. He should be dead. His hat is gone, lost somewhere among the debris of temple ruins, his hair a dishevled mess, a few clumps clinging to his forehead, soaked in water and blood.
Vega hits the paving stones with a wet thump. He lays there briefly motionless, broken, shattered. Were his mind clear, he would most certainly think back to the scene he'd seen on recordings so many times, of Sagat, his face light with surprise as his chest is cleaved open by this very same hand.
The pavement stones all across the temple begin to shatter. Water boils on the ground and in the air.
Despite the horrifying injury, Vega pushes up to his feet, his body crackling with unrestraint power. Too much power. Through every cut on his body, small plumes of churning Psycho Power escape, slowly tearing the wounds further apart. The massive gash in his chest appears to be some rip in reality itself, through which purified anger and hatred spill out into the world.
"YOU WORTHLESS INSECT!" bellows the warlord's unrestrained vitriol. "PATHETIC COWARDLY WORM!"
As the dictator shouts, the temple itself begins to shake. Gravestones collapse, rotted board burn purple, trees are left bare as their foliage disintigrates.
"I WILL RIP YOUR WORTHLESS SOUL FROM THAT BODY! PERHAPS YOU'LL BE LUCKY ENOUGH TO SURVIVE AS A LOST SPIRIT LONG ENOUGH TO SEE ME USE YOUR BODY TO DEMOLISH EVERY LAST BIT OF HOPE AND JOY THAT THOSE WORTHLESS MAGGOTS HOLD DEAR!"
The flames gouging through his flesh explode outward as they surround Vega's entire body. An unnatural power birthed through the purity of one man's evil will. "RAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGHHHH!" he bellows as he is blinded by unrestrained fury, throwing himself forward, arms stretched out before him as he bears down on the World Warrior, the flames of his relentless rage shearing a gash through the earth behind him.
COMBATSYS: Ryu just-defends Vega's Super Psycho Crusher!
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Ryu 0/-------/-======|>>>>>--\-------\0 Vega
Ryu derives no joy from his eventual return to the corporeal world of the living, and all its sensations, in the aftermath of the great punch that humbled those that seemed unstoppable. What blood is on his fist seems to wash off in the rain as he stands cognizant of continuing to live, to exist...
The rising stones around him break his stride, stumbling and wincing at what may be happening, what monstrous thing he may have awakened in that moment... those who would have died up to this point would have considered themselves among the lucky. The truly fortunate. To lay eyes upon what lies beyond the colors, to the impossible shapes of his wounds, watching him tear himself apart out of hatred...
Ryu shudders and further shrinks under the hatred that blankets outward from ground zero. Aggression. It stirs and tickles something deep inside. Already at the very brink of annihilation, Ryu's senses become deprived anew as something inside senses it - an end. A glorious, final, bloody, complete end befitting of...
His fists tense again, as the little monster that Vega seeks deep inside looks ready to come out, say hello, and have the horrid murderuous misanthropic equivalent of a spot of afternoon tea with another who has allowed themselves to be guided, empowered, and defined by their negative emotions... Vega's threats, to a chorus of disaster all around them, ever tease the worst, to stir up anger and hatred in kind. Ryu has no longer any choice, should he dare wish to stand...
No, I don't want this.
This isn't me.
I am not my anger...!
His opinions on who or what he is are invalid before the undiscerning, indiscriminate power that has no equal on this planet. Vega is the undisputed master of his own power, of his own self. Something Ryu fights to claim to be true of himself, for in the belief of his own mentor, the will to kill and destroy is lesser than the desire to improve himself through trials and challenges.
Ryu's latest trial is to prove this, decisively, with little to no hope of standing his ground. Not even the birds that flew away from agitation could get away far enough...
Ryu doesn't stand his ground against Vega. Nothing could stand and survive that.
Ryu doesn't overturn Vega's attack. To strike back with any sort of intent to hurt would only make it stronger.
His greatest defense, drawn forth from a wellspring of what wisdom he has accumulated in his trials so far with his own struggles is to no longer feed into it, to give no further weight emotionally to what coaxes, even demands, he come forth with his own ingrained fury and aggression...
Ryu walks away, angled towards Vega's left, eyes closed as he inwardly meditates about shutting out what surrounds him and his every step. Even covered in the contrails of hatred, stepping where there's only anger, breathing where there is tragedy, living where there is nothing but pain...
Ryu defends against Vega's emotion given form by choosing not to feed it, standing strong against incredible wind shear as he continues to take his steps at a leisurely pace. To falter at all would to be sucked into the very tail-end of it, much with the same result as even being struck head-on...
A silence falls upon where there used to be a shrine. Where there used to be something, anything, that suggested the presence of life, a new scar upon the face of the Earth...
And there Ryu stands, a ways off. The culmination of Vega's power when used to just this end, and Ryu stands as a sore thumb off to the side of it, back turned to Vega. Such power has cleansed away the storm clouds above, leaving nothing but upturned earth and fragments of stone and wood all around.
"If that's all your strength accomplishes," Ryu at least speaks, voice carrying among the emptiness as the ends of his headband sway in the gentle breeze that follows, "I pity you."
His mind grows clearer with every moment in the passing of the great wave of tragedy, turning to where Vega may yet be, to size him up free of distraction, worry, and doubt even as his accumulated wounds desire to slow him down... he may have found himself his second wind yet, disadvantaged as he might be to one of Vega's caliber.
That he doesn't do anything at all other than stand tall and refuse to give into Vega's entire being in mind, body, and spirit is far greater than any true counterattack he could muster.
COMBATSYS: Ryu takes no action.
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Ryu 0/-------/-======|>>>>>--\-------\0 Vega
The purity of Vega's rage at this point is undeniable.
Witnessing the way that the power consumes his body, it is utterly terrifying to imagine what might happen should he ever obtain a body capable of surviving his full potential. This is not a man who would use even a fraction of his power to the benefit of others.
Even describing what stands here now as human is difficult. In this moment, it would not be impossible to view Vega as nothing more than a spirit possessing a host. Would it even be possible to kill such a creature or would this essensce find some new host to claim it's own and continue on with it's vile desires.
The Psycho Power surrounding Lord Vega begins to draw back as he hovers at the end of his destructive path, blank eyes staring death down upon Ryu with that unrelenting fury.
"PITY?! You dare to look down upon me, you insignificant worm!" Just looking at the warlord as he bellows, the boiling plumes of Psycho Power seem to have torn further apart at his flesh. As he shouts, small wave of energy erupt even from his mouth in this moment of unrestraint. "There is no end to the destruction that I will unleash to punish your insolence!"
What remains of the Psycho Power that sheathed Vega is not fading away, instead it's drawn down to his hand, sheathing it in corrupting power. "Look upon the gaping maw of Hell that awaits your worthless soul!" With a simple motion of his hand, the crackling ball of Psycho Power barrels down on Ryu, throbbing with hatred until it's practically upon him. In that moment, the dictator clenches his fist and the orb erupts outward in all directions with a burst of Psycho Power that vaporizes the ground beneath it.
COMBATSYS: Vega knocks away Ryu with Psycho Field.
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Ryu 1/---====/=======|>>>>>>-\-------\0 Vega
It may yet have proven a prudent first step to choose to resist and walk away from the destruction. His fight with Vega is but one on a divided front. One that requires a constant, utmost, unwavering attention, as one of the two fronts are quick to remind the World Warrior himself.
Ryu stares upon Vega head-on as the would-be dictator of the world and all that he could reach retorts with their endless wellspring of fury - the very thing Ryu tries to keep at bay. There is a twitch at his fingertips as though suggesting that this would be the moment to strike Vega down, to move in and claim the kill of...
I won't give in. This thought dominates Ryu's actions, as his body continues to pump adrenaline and deal with the residual pains that grow ever more prevelant as his attempt to pull together his calm moves gradually towards its side effects.
The ball of Psycho Power envelopes the Ansatsuken student, who finds quickly that if he won't be torn within, Vega has little issue tearing him without - wounds open further, a scream of pain is distorted as even sound within this burst are fractured and torn asunder as to not even resemble in the slightest what the original sound /is/.
I won't give in...!
Ryu clings to humanity as someone who has transcended compassion may yet settle to tear away at enough of his human self that he could give up the ghost and comfortably allow Vega in. That he doesn't explode into a fractured, twisted mess of blood and bone...
It could well be that the humanity he desperately clings to is his undoing, his desire to achieve greater mastery of himself as much as his art is his undoing, as much as it is his willingness to try and withstand these trials and come out his stronger his boon. The paradox could be mulled over for a time to come, if consciousness allows.
His body no longer does, and Ryu is violently deposited into the bowl-shaped gap in the ground on his back after managing to bounce against soft, wet earth by some means that eludes understanding. A tensed fist clings as long as it will to the pretense of strength and a willingness to fight, before the rest of his body convinces it there is none left.
His vision starts to swim, the bright gray of a sky cleared by catastrophe mixing with the flickers of purple - and flecks of red? - in his sight. The only words that escape his lips are muffled, pained groans.
Does he choose not to give in, even at cost of his life or perhaps even his soul...?
COMBATSYS: Ryu takes no action.
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COMBATSYS: Ryu can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
Overwhelming rage continues to tear through Vega's flesh. It would seem impossible for a body to still be standing with the way it plays through every tear in the warlord's skin, the gash in his chest from the Shin Shoryuken is nothing more than a gorge of Psycho Power that practically threatens to cleave his body in half from waist to shoulder.
And yet still Vega steps forward. No longer floating, his power too unbalanced to manage such finesse at a moment like this, he half drags himself toward the crater through the increasingly muddy ditch left in the temple summit. Every violent urge in his body prepared to unleash hell upon the World Warrior when he once more rises with that insufferable defiance.
But then the warlord reaches the edge and stares down at the broken body before him, sunk at the bottom of a muddy crater. There is no more resistance, no insults daring to question the might of his Psycho Power. All that's left is victory!
Still burning, crackling with energy, Vega throws back his head, filling the sky with a blood-curdling laugh devoid of mirth.
"Pathetic cur. Such bluster and courage, now lost in the face of true power. I will enjoy tearing your soul from your body, bit by bit."
With a confidence that replaces steadiness, Vega slides down the slope of the crater, coming to a stop next to the broken body before him. Both hands reach down to, clasping the World Warrior by either side of his head as they glow with that malevolent energy. Darkness surges forth from Vega's soul, lapping at that of his falling oppoent, gleefully tearing at the edges of his very being in the playful manner of a cat with a meal. It would be all to easy to simply separate the wheat from the chaff, but punishment is due.
But Vega's imperfect body can only withstand so much in its broken condition. The flames of Psycho Power begin to flicker, fading away as too much strength is focused in on the broken martial artist.
With a look of surprise, blood suddenly erupts from Vega's lips with a violent cough, his hand drawing back to clutch at the vicious wound torn through his chest. The Lord of Shadaloo may have an immortal soul, but this body is not yet capable of surviving so much of his power being set loose, not after suffering such a critical injury.
"Curse this body!" Vega cries out, blood dripping down his chin, mixing with the relentless rain into a light red waterfall. "Fate grants you one last mercy... although you will consider it a bane as you know true fear. Your body shall be my vessel, and no stay of execution shall save your soul from my vengeance!"
With a last, desperate surge of effort, Vega's Psycho Power tears pierces reality, tearing open a portal into the void for the Psycho Master as he struggles return to his sanctuary before his body is lost.
And Ryu is left in solutide. Not a soul beyond the broken World Warrior a top what little remains of the ruined temple.
Not a soul, but in the distance a drone hangs in the air, struggling against the storm. It's camera eye taking in these last few moments through a haze of rain.
COMBATSYS: Vega has ended the fight here.
Log created on 15:10:07 02/07/2016 by Vega, and last modified on 20:54:08 02/08/2016.