Description: A battle on the stage of the historic Kiyomizu-dera pits Agent Little against the miko, Ayame Ichijo in the 4th round of Rumble. This second crossing of paths plays out with far less harmony than their first.
Daniel Jack was having a difficult time.
Agent Little of Interpol was currently investigating the HitBit situation. The situation was a polite term for the complete and utter fluster cuck that was everything happening in Japan. Hate crimes filling the streets, the edge of open gang warfare outside and inside the Yakuza. The very government of Japan was ready to be torn apart. It was the eve of anarchy everyday, and there was nothing but saving face. Everyone's face was what mattered. That's why the whole thing was corrupt, rotten, diseased.
Fortunately, Daniel Jack had no face to lose in this.
The HitBit was the key in all this. Daniel Jack knew that this was just a pawn in this entire war. One side was using it as a weapon to tear apart one faction, the other was working hard to save itself. That was Daniel going through this still. That was why Daniel was still pressing through, -forcing his way-. He wasn't alone though. Lieutenant Lita Luwanda was giving him the support, and thanks to combined efforts of her and his team; they finally caught one of Daniel's assassins. Until he could make the Yakuza or THEM start talking, though, he had only one recourse. Agent Little was tolerating whatever crap that was chucked his direction, poured over him. He knew that they wanted to use him as a pawn. A piece to be sacrificed, or a tool to turn one against another. When HitBit told him that he was still in, he didn't even care about what the details would be.
Because he had to get to the end of this story.
Agent Little stood by the base of the walkways towards the Kiyomizu-dera, the shrine. The region was misty, with the thick smell of damp air filling the air. Trees and woody shrubs line the path that switched back and forth up the mountainside. It was cold, clammy day, a miserable chill that would cut to your bones. Daniel Jack himself was clad in his Interpol greys, the grey suit with the grey brimmed hat with black shoes and grey slacks. It was a far cry from his old zoot suit, but being wool? It was at least warm. Daniel Jack himeslf keeps a pair of black shades on. On his right cheek, however, was a deep, sutured wound. One that was looking rather scarred, now. Right now, Daniel Jack was just waiting, looking up at the steep cliff face around the narrow path, lined with bamboo stakes alight with lanterns.
He was stuck here, until they finish up his HitBit devices.
Standing near the base as well, the HitBit crew was preparing their tools. The HitBit van was parked, with the image of Hit Bitty painted over for the newest mascot, HitBot. A pair of technicians were for the actual HitBit equipment, one of them naturally setting up and configuring the bands. He never had a problem with the configuration. There was a team of four dealing with the drones, however; this was going to be the camera crew for the cliff face fight. Finally, a doctor and a nurse was on standby for the aftermath of this fight. Right now the tone was somber, relaxed.
Until Agent Little finally opens his mouth.
"Wait a minute. This is a trail to a Buddhist temple, right?" Daniel Jack states with a rising indignation, as the headband is fitted on. He wiggles his mustache, squinting one eye behind his sunglasses. "I read about this, god dammit. Isn't there a serial killer stalking the trails to Buddhist temples or something? A bunch of pilgrims got killed; yeah, yeah. Oh god dammit, is this one of the HitBit fights where they try and assassinate me again?" The HitBit crew proactively ignores what Daniel was saying, averting their gaze from him politely. Daniel Jack's stand goes limp a bit. "God dammit. I'm pretty sure I read that's happening around Mount Otowa. This is Mount Otowa" Daniel Jack sighs.
He was kinda hoping for a 'reveal what terrible thing this faction of the Yakuza was doing' HitBit match for this.
What else did that crafty kunoichi know? Ayame had time to ponder the question since the end of her previous match - a bout that ended not with a clash of destructive force but rather when both participants expressed that they would forfeit the match. Desparate to keep things going and only seeing one fighter left in the courtyard when the other vanished in a puff of ninjasmoke, the official implored the displeased miko to continue on to the next round; a request to which she consented after giving it a moment's thought.
"I wonder," Ayame had pondered to no one in particular, standing at the base of the stairs leading up to the ancient temple. "If they had this site picked out before or after that match..."
Given her combat atire of choice, touring foreigners could hardly be blamed if they thought the miko to be a humble servant of this very temple. All she needed was a large, straw broom, and some crisp, autumn leaves to sweep up, and she'd certainly fit the image.
Each of her matches had been outdoors in crisp, cool air - conditions that hadn't bothered her in the slightest. She had endured far worse in her training. Still, she can't help but smile faintly, her mother's words echoing in her mind that she should have worn a shawl to keep the chill off. The shrine she calls home is a large structure of its own right, but it has nothing on this historic temple compound. Quietly and alone, Ayame traversed the trail from the base of the hill, rune-carved staff in hand.
She cannot help but glance off the sides of the trail with a combination of caution and curiosity. Forests across regions of Japan are starting to get a reputation of not being the safe refuges they should be. Whispers of a killer - or perhaps, multiple killers - abound, cutting into the tourism one might normally expect for the region. It does leave the trails, stairs, and temple site more empty than normal - a mixed blessing, in Ayame's mind. She has not much cared for the close proximity of her previous two audiences.
The miko's mouth forms a persistant frown. She has had a lot to think about since her last match. Time was spent studying the HitBit devices themselves. After protesting their interference in her last match, can she chance donning them for another? Just who is pushing the buttons behind the curious devices?
Near the base of the complex, she notices the staging area where some level of commotion can be heard while her opponent gets prepared with the help of the technicians. With a soft exhale and shake of her head, she continues past, eyes fixed on the prominent West Deva Gate at the top of a flight of steep, stone stairs. Passing by the stone lions at its base, she continues on up until the girl strides beneath the towering arch itself.
Pausing, she glances at the two Deva king statues housed two either side of her, their grotesque, wood-carved faces angled so that their eyes can judge the hearts of all who would dare enter these sacred grounds. It would be curious for a supposedly saintly miko to pause there, as if uncertain if they will find her fit to pass - it would be especially strange for Ayame to do so, given the doubts she has expressed regarding the Old Ways before.
But pause she does, before shaking her head, sucking in her breath, and striding forward. "Irrational superstitions... Tch."
No bolt of heavenly lightning strikes her down before Ayame steps out of the otherside of the gate, now within the grounds proper. A courtyard here in front of the three-storied pagoda tower will serve as the starting point of the match. As to where it goes from here... well, there are no actual /rules/ about that. The drones will keep up either way.
Resting her staff against the stonework, Ayame leans forward with both hands and exhales softly. Who is the greater hypocrite, she ponders. The organizers that are pretending to host a hallowed, honorable match here? Or herself for showing up to inflict this grounds with the harsh sounds of conflict any minute now?
A question for someone else to settle, she decides, reaching into the folds of her clothing to withdraw the signature HitBit headband, ankle, and wrist bracelets. In whatever quiet solitude is afforded her, she equips each of the pieces in turn.
And with that, the headband was calibrated.
With the final touches, Daniel Jack just shakes his head. "Eh, screw it. If I capture a serial killer, that just means the world is a better place. Not like he'll kill me. Probably." He adds the last one quietly. Looking around at the HitBit crew, the Agent of Interpol claps his hands, and rubs them together. Giving a few stretches to the left, then right, he jogs in place a bit, and looks around again. Smile on his face, he looks around a third time. There was... something wrong. But he didn't know quite what it was. "Okay, I'm ready to fight, scuzzies. Where's my opponent?"
There is an awkward silence.
"... Up the stairs." Was the words from the technician, finally breaking the forced ignoring of the detective of Interpol. Daniel Jack's smile fades, as he narrows both of his eyes, taking off his sunglasses as he does so. The agent looks around a fourth time, jaw open as he is ready to say something. Neatly, he points them at the technician. "Now hold on a minute, I was told I was gonna fight at the Kiyomizu Stage. A place real hard to access by camera crew, so you are gonna have those drones film us and whatever my opponent is." The technician dimly nods his head, eyes wide. "Okay, you got that, I got that, we are both right and easy on the same level. Okay, so I'm fighting right there, the Kiyomizu Stage." Daniel Jack points the glasses at the walkway. The technician shakes his head.
"Okay scuzzy lets back up a bit."
Daniel Jack looks around a fifth time, up the steep face of the mountain. "Just breaking this down. You are telling me that I am fighting at the Kiyomizu Stage. And I assumed, because we had to go up that trail, that the trail was Kiyomizu Stage. Now, you are gonna tell me scuzzy, that the trail is NOT Kiyomizu Stage, is that right?" The technician shakes his head. "'Is that right' scuzzy that means you are confirming it is not Kiyomizu Stage." The technician stares, and then nods his head.
Daniel Jack facepalms.
"So why the are we down here?" The detective asks, sliding his hand off his face, looking at the man with a fatigued expression. The technician shrugs his shoulders, and actually uses his words now. "We're down here because this is the best place to get the drones going, and because we can't get the van up." Daniel grimaces, nodding his head. "Okay, so lets back up again. Why am -I- down here, instead of where I need to fight?" The technician tilts his head, scratching his hair. "Well... I don't know! We can configure these things remotely now. You didn't even need to be here, we could just give them and you could put them on along the way. Or when you get there. I just assumed you liked being fitted in by technicians personally!"
Daniel Jack shuts his eyes.
"Okay." The detective just... spits out. "Okay, so my opponent, as I understand it, is not going to be here. My opponent is fitting himself or herself or whatever self at the right site. The Kiyomizu Stage." He opens his eyes, looking up the trail to the temple above. The technician snaps his fingers. "Oh! Right! You just reminded me! You now have five minutes to get up there! Or that counts as a forfeit!" Daniel Jack stares at the technician. There are no words now. He looks up at the temple at the top of the trail again. He looks back down at the technician. "Come again?" The technician looks at his watch. "Well, 4 minutes and 50 seconds now!" The technican smiles at Daniel. The detective does not smile back. He looks up at the trail that guided to the temple, and through there, the Kiyomizu Stage." He takes in a deep breath. His body trembles. And finally, he rumbles out.
***Four minutes later***
"Uck... uck... ugh... uck...." The mantra comes from the detective's mouth as he suddenly bursts into the Kiyomizu Stage. Standing between the gaze of the two statues, the man stops dead. He was covered in sweat, his suit was drenched. Breathing clouds of mist, he bends over, hands on each of his knees as he catches his breath. "Okay. Kiyomizu Stage. Real thing. If this was a big prank, I swear to crap. No more HitBit. No more Yakuza. No more Japan. Just...." He makes a gesture of a mushroom cloud as he rises back up, looking towards his patient opponent. He immediately stops making a gesture of an atomic cloud as he adjusts the motion into a brow swipe as he just realizes what exactly he was facing.
Daniel's Jack's face lights up in awe. "Well butter me up and call me Dolly Parton. It's my savior! Ayame! You saved my life remember? Fell into the underworld, I'm not dead, there was that indi- native american dude too who bailed me out! Nightwolf!" Daniel Jack was laughing, striding over towards Ayame, still covered in sweat. "Man, holy crap, what are you up to? Is this your kind of place? Jesus, I got so many questions for you, but I wanna hear what you-" Daniel Jack suddenly gets a buzzing sensation on his HitBit devices. A warning. Daniel Jack wiggles his mustache.
"Actually lets go for the abridged version, I'm about to be disqualified if we don't start this fast."
Tourism really is dead, Ayame ponders, glancing around at the tranquil site. Occasionally, a silently-stepping, berobed monk will pass by along one of the walkways but otherwise, the miko is left alone. In the surrounding forest, birds sing the hymns they have echoed for eternity and a quiet, cool breeze slips through the grounds. Lifting her right hand, Ayame brushes a length of her strawberry-blonde hair back over her shoulder before releasing another quiet sigh.
And then the mountainside serenity is interrupted by a profane roar from way down the hill. A monk pauses mid-step to frown, a flock of birds takes wing from the evergreens they had been occupying, a rabbit bolts across the nearby garden to vanish into its hidden den, and Ayame arcs an eyebrow, "So much for the sounds of silence."
Nearly four minutes pass since the outburst that shoke the temple finished echoing against the walls and finally Daniel Little barges in, his mutterings all but confirming he was the source of the great disturbance. He is greeted with an impassive stare from Ayame, the miko showing no particular joy or relief at his arrival. Would she have been satisfied with a win by forfeit? Probably not... but scheduling for another match elsewhere with someone who actually shows wouldn't bother her either if that's what the officials decided to do. No hello is offered.
"You have a curious warm up routine, Daniel Little."
Most people will start with stretches, but running a mile up a steep hill and stone stairs works too, she supposes.
Whether she recognized the gesture or not will not be immediately clear as the girl cants her head to the side slightly. His initial sentence gets a reaction though, the shrine maiden's eyes widening, her body motion suggesting a bit of recoil as he starts to approach her. He isn't going to hug her like that or anything, is he?!
"Of course," she replies to his question about remembering her role in extricating the detective from the Underworld, her tone making it sound as if she was a bit offended that he might think her memory so poor that she wouldn't. "Waiting for you," comes her next prompt answer. "After a manner," she interjects regarding the temple. Is it worth belaboring the differences? Probably not. "S-so I have noticed," she balks, taking a half-step back as he draws even nearer as she loses a degree of her imperious composure.
"Of course." she accedes.
Standing up straight, she whips her staff out in front of her, gripping it in her left hand. The weapon is different than the ordinary wood bo staff she had possessed when last they met. This weapon is adorned with a number of intricately carved runes along its surface. They appear to be some kind of language but are clearly not typical Asian kanji or letters.
"Nothing precludes us from speaking as we fight." she continues.
Her HitBit devices are on and calibrated. The drones are in place, their soft engines doing little to disturb the venue's specific setting.
"So begin. I would hate to see you disqualified after running all the way up here..."
COMBATSYS: Ayame has started a fight here.
Daniel Jack, in spite of his fedora, was NOT going to try and hug the teenage miko.
While he was quite happy to see the young lady who saved his life, Daniel's life was cheap and undegradable. He was the styrofoam cup of lives. Easy to use, and easy to throw away afterwards. But afterwards, that horrible realization that while you may be finished, that it wasn't going to be going away any time soon. Daniel Jack, chuckling, was now wearing a broad smile on his face.
But his eyes betray him.
The detective constantly casts glances around him. Focusing on the statues, the various ways into the stage. He was scanning, paranoid of something, something around him. Even as he falls into his defensive stance, there was a constant alertness around him. Daniel Jack brings one foot forward, turning his body at a slight 45 degree angle, halfway between facing Ayame, and facing away from her. The detective brings one hand forward, one hand back; a very clear aikido stance, reflecting his rich history in Todoh-Ryuu Kobojutsu. Inspite of his paranoid glancing, his body seemed restrained, the force of his power wound up. In spite of his flustered approach, and somewhat awkward presence?
Daniel Jack was clearly a practiced fighter.
Reaching the core of his stance, the HitBit devices go off. And with that, Daniel Jack nods, taking a step forward. His approach was slow and dilligent; likely an element of Todoh-Ryuu Kobojutsu's reactive roots for self-defense. A slow, steady approach, watching. Studying. And of course, conversing. "Still, I can't thank you enough for your help. I'm getting a little better about my own adventures now. Let me tell you, I almost had to reach out to you again after the whole Metro City incident. But jeeze, I didn't even realize you were in this. Or you were, uh, a martial artist. Huh." Daniel Jack circles in, trying to corner her, close her in.
"So what's a nice girl like you getting tangled into a bad tournament like this?"
COMBATSYS: Daniel has joined the fight here.
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Ayame 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Daniel
As she waits, Ayame's own stance is relaxed to the point of being almost aloof, as if the fight did not merit her full attention as of yet. Her signature weapon is gripped with one hand, held at an angle so that it crosses in front of her torso, her right arm resting against her side, her eyes never leaving Daniel. She has had plenty of time to appreciate the syngery between nature and architecture their surroundings offer. This will be her first time to see Daniel in action when not being thrashed around by the crushing grip of an ancient, angry Egyption god. That was definitely not a fair situation to judge anyone's abilities as a fighter, was it?
That he is recovering quickly from his sprint up the mountain suggests peak physical condition and in spite his quirky nature, she can sense the presence of someone who has seen his fair share of violence. "Mn."
A slow exhale. "No need to thank me. This land owed you a debt, I merely saw to it that it was paid. Lets not speak of it again."
There is a slight nod as he mentions the Metro City nightmare across the seas but offers no comment concerning it. Now that he is slowly moving forward, maintaining a balance ideal for defending himself, Ayame shifts further into being prepared as well, right hand raised, oversized, white sleeve dangling from her bent elbow. "I confess, I have not paid the closest attention to the other matches beyond my own." Her right foot slips forward slightly.
"As for my own qualifications..." A faint hint of amusement, "We will just have to see."
A moment of focus and her weapon begins to glimmer with a thin sheen of crimson chi. His actual question provokes a faint smirk as she leans forward more, getting ready to move, her sandal bent at the toe. "Nice, huh. Cannot say I get accused of that often."
Her smirk fades, expression sobering, "I would agree when it comes to the tournament, however." Her right hand lifts higher to tap the camera-toting headband before dropping down to grip her glowing staff alongside her left.
"A curious man like yourself must notice all manner of issues with it, I imagine."
And then she pushes off from her left foot. For as patient as she had been in starting, when she makes her move, there is nothing accommodating about it. Daniel's defense against weapons with great reach will be put to the test as Ayame sweeps in, twisting to the right, whipping the end of her crimson-imbued staff into the agent's path from left to right.
A second sweep would follow, her right arm moving out forward, causing the end of the staff nearest her target to snap upward at the last moment, potentially connecting with two punishing hits with one technique. Even as she executes the move, her twist back to the left has her slipping back a step, potentially keeping the long weapon in Daniel's way!
COMBATSYS: Ayame successfully hits Daniel with Medium Strike.
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Ayame 0/-------/-------|==-----\-------\0 Daniel
"Now don't be harsh on yourself."
The flicker of energy that comes over the staff gives Daniel a head tilt. An aura-enhanced polearm. The detective considers that his own art was both perfectly suited and horribly-suited against a weapon like that. If he could get past that staff, she would be highly restricted in getting out of his grips. But, that would depend on him getting past the weapon; if she was quick and precise, he wouldn't be able to get anywhere near her. "I'm sure you're a real nice girl." Daniel Jack watches carefully, considering his options to attack.
Instead, he had to shift gears toward defense.
"It's my job to be curious." The detective begins, as Ayame comes in to test Daniel's concerns. "But there's been a few things I've been noticing." Daniel Jack gestures at the sutures on his cheek as the sweep comes. Daniel attempts to correct his gesturing, bringing his palms up to guide the staff up and over, as he dips in. The problem was that in spite of her waify appearance, she nearly knocks Daniel Jack over from the sheer leverage alone, nevermind the staggering bodyblow that riots into his torso. "Shit! Erm. Shoot!" He corrects as he readjusts his footing, refusing to go down. The second blow comes as he is in mid-adjustment, not even giving him a proper readjustment, hitting him squarely on the chin. "Ah crock of shoot!" He growls, immediately running the back of a hand on his now bloodied chin. He gives Ayame a terse, tight-teethed look.
The detective keeps his center as his own orange energy flares up. With her defenses as they were, he realizes that the attack was to set up her defenses. The problem was, he didn't know if it was to block, or evade. The agent of Interpol approaches, his footwork swift, precise, and balanced. "Anyways, long story short I've had two assassination attempts on me through the HitBit 'suicide' service. Got shoot in the cheek, like I was saying, and another was a rifle round to the back of the head. Only grazes, I think, thank god. How about you though?"
"Any attempts on your life yet?"
Daniel Jack finally commits to a move. He didn't know WHAT was Ayame's defensive reaction was going to be, but he could at least hedge in. The detective moves in, smooth and graceful, into a palm strike at the... staff. Should it make contact, the detective would then push against it, and not... leave. He would keep his hand pressured in against the staff, and then, his other hand. A misdirection? A confusion on how fighting works? The logic behind the approach would become apparent, however, as his footing adjusts.
In tandem with Ayame's own.
It was a gambit. If Ayame broke away, she was fine. Daniel Jack would have to rengage, and the two might be at this for 20 minutes. If she was planning on countering whatever attack he surges in with, however, Daniel Jack was in position, and if she was planning on deflecting, he was in position as well. Both hands in, Daniel Jack would be fighting for control of the momentum of the staff. Every move was met with the same grace and control from Daniel, unless her backdash was excellent. He was not gripping the staff, but guiding it; he wasn't going to overpower her own staff skills. Another step comes, as the detective smoothly transitions from the staff, to the woman behind it. Should Daniel Jack even manage to reach the shrine maiden at this point, he would not attempt to chuck her, not attempt to strike her. He would just carefully move to her leading hand, and make a simple wrench and twist. An effectively disarm... if she wasn't holding a two-handed weapon. The point wasn't to fully disarm her yet, though. Like Ayame, he needed to put himself in position for the follow up. As long as he kept close to her?
She would have significantly less room to play around him.
COMBATSYS: Ayame dodges Daniel's Quick Throw.
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Ayame 0/-------/-------|==-----\-------\0 Daniel
"Really." Ayame replies, waiting in her stance. The glimmer of her staff has faded since her strikes but the menace of the weapon she expertly wields is everpresent. Between attacks, her movements seem slower, controlled, as if she was waiting for something or acting to force something, deliberate with every step rather than simply pressing aggressively.
"After two attempts..." He moves in - awkwardness of his hasty arrival have melted away into the smooth movements of a man who knew exactly the risks he was taking and had calculated the means by which to skew the odds in his favor. "Why chance a third?"
She adjusts her footing, backing up as he engages, moving her weapon against his press but not pushing against angles she quickly finds to be impossible to work through. For several seconds, the two fighters are locked against each other - Ayame ceding ground, not out of panic or desparation, but as part of a conscious, voluntary effort to change circumstances to her advantage - he would only need to make one small mistake for her to capitalize on it.
And the miko tests his reactions throughout the exchange, both hands still gripping her weapon. This close, she is unable to wind up for any truly staggering blows, but the pressure behind each shift of her weapon suggests she knows just now to devote every muscle of her body to manipulating it perfectly without sacrificing an ounce of poise in the process. "I have not had the same trouble... only an impression that every step forward in this event is playing right into the plans of someone else."
Throughout it all, she has been leading with her right, her left hand providing the fulcrum leverage necessary to mold the simple stick into such an effective weapon. But just before Daniel seizes his opportunity, Ayame seems to make a mistake of her own, pulling her right arm in and leaving her left to lead, placing it perfectly within reach of his hand.
He would get his grip, his chance to wrench her delicate seeming wrist, securing an advantage in this point-blank exchange-
But rather than pry her left free of the staff, the weapon moves with the motion, Ayame's right hand slipping free of the rune-carved shaft. But then even the weapon itself only moves so far before it will budge no further, Ayame's left hand maintaining a steely grip on its curved surface while Daniel would find the staff itself almost impossible to budge further.
The nature of the priestess's defense becomes clear in an instant - when she had twisted the near end down, placing her left hand within his reach, it was to move the end of her staff behind her right knee. The curious stance prevents her weapon from moving any further in the direction her left hand has been pulled though does place her at risk of getting tripped up should she take long enough for Daniel to figure it out.
A self-sure smile works its way across Ayame's features as she calmly reaches her freed right hand into the lengths of her left sleeve. "A lot of assumptions are made about the vulnerability of my boujutsu," the confident girl declares, even with her opponent well within the probable dead zone of her staff. "It is a mistake few repeat." she finishes with a quick wink.
Her right hand sweeps out from her sleeve with a backhanded swing - but it isn't with the back of her hand she aims strike against Daniel, but rather the pale, off-white talisman with black inked glpyhs that she flings directly against his chest he need worry most about.
Contact with anywhere on his person would be enough to trigger the energy stored within; several pale-white, ghostly chains of shaped chi would attempt to entangle the agent, constraining, squeezing, and rendering him potentially vulnerable to the miko's next attacks. At this range, the window to respond would be preciously short.
COMBATSYS: Daniel blocks Ayame's Binding of the Condemned Soul.
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Ayame 0/-------/------=|===----\-------\0 Daniel
Why would Daniel risk a third?
"Because last time, I captured the assassins myself." Daniel Jack's confidence was boiling out as he wrenches in. The hand slips away, evading the disarming grasp. But still, this close, Daniel Jack was in the close quarters. "But yeah, not gonna lie." He continues, readjusting his stance in harmony with Ayame's own adjustments. "Somebody is behind this. Somebody is using this to eliminate threats, and humilate a rival gang. The fact they are trying to kill me... a lot... on the public HitBit stuff seems to be trying to make a message too. But the only way I'm gonna find out who? By seeing who benefits with every step I take." There is a buzzing sound now, overhead. Daniel Jack perks up.
"Hey, looks like the drones are here!"
The quadcopters are hovering above as they fix on the duo, intertwined together in harmony. Already, Ayame was lashing out with the counterattack. As the tab emerges with a sweep, Daniel Jack was already bringing his hand up to catch her wrist, to stop it short. While he wasn't -fast- he at least had swift reflexes. The talisman is released still, however, hitting him squarely on the left shoulder. And immediately, the bindings envelope the limb, constraining it. It was even footing now, the both of them. Daniel Jack grunts as he arm is trapped; this was even going to affect his defenses now.
"Neat trick, scuzzy."
Daniel Jack groans as the chains tighten, the detective releasing the wrist. He was trapped now, trapped to commit to an attack, or risk losing ALL momentum. Pinned between an Ayame and whatever this curse was, the detective was shuddering. "Not the first time I've been tangled up though!" The detective suddenly surges with orange chi, the energy flooding against the chains. With the right hand, the energy builds up as he raises his arm, and slashes downward. A slash of energy piles down, tearing forward point blank with a shout.
COMBATSYS: Ayame blocks Daniel's Kasane Ate.
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Ayame 0/-------/-----==|====---\-------\0 Daniel
Even with almost no time to act, Daniel succeeds in one of the only options to save himself - with her swing interrupted, the ofuda is released off course, resulting in a distraction, to be certain, but not the fight steering outcome Ayame had been aiming for.
Then it is her turn to defend herself as he retaliates quickly, having lost almost no ground in the exchange. "There it is," she remarks, seemingly to herself, her tone hinting at... melancholy? A swing of her left arm brings her staff into the path of the world-famous technique, the crimson flickering along its lengths glowing brighter as the two meet.
The disruption serves to diminish the attack's potency but not negate it entirely, the girl pushed back by the force that gets through, a soft grunt escaping her lips, her feet slipping back a half-meter before she catches herself. On one hand, it buys the two time to act again. On the other hand, Daniel had put a lot of effort to get inside the reach of her staff to nullify its threat significantly and now the two are separated again.
A brief glance is spared the recording drones overhead before her focus returns to Daniel. "So they are." A second look is chanced to one side then the other, taking in the temple grounds. Her right hand drops back down to join her left in holding her long weapon. "This venue sure is remote. It almost makes me wonder if we have been sidelined..." Her previous fights were in urban environments, crowds thick. Other matches have taken place at or near major landmarks within the city of Kyoto this round.
Eyes narrow slightly, focus back on Daniel, "Why the assassins? What do you know?" She'll close distance again, though her aim isn't to end up point blank, clearly intending to leverage the advantages her staff gives her in zoning and control. Holding it briefly like a spear, Ayame jams it out straight, aiming to strike Daniel in the sternum, before stepping forward with her left foot, twisting to the right, and delivering a second blow from left to right, the woosh of wind being forced out of her staff's path much louder than the swish of her beribboned apparel.
COMBATSYS: Daniel interrupts Random Strike from Ayame with Jumping Jack Flash EX.
- Power hit! -
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Ayame 0/-------/---====|=======\-------\1 Daniel
There it was.
The Kasane Ate is lashed out, as it comes out into another stalemate. In fact, not even a proper stalemate as with her last attack. As she deflects with her staff, the outcome leaves them both apart. And if they are both apart... that means she has the gap she needed, and the detective was at a disadvantage again. Daniel Jack hurls out a second Kasane Ate to the side with his left arm, a wave of energy cascading out as it rips the chains free. With that, he eases back into his defensive stance of Todoh, one hand forward, one hand back. And there, she asks the most important question.
"What do I know?"
"I know three things, scuzzy." Daniel Jack states gruffly, the cameras hovering nearby. "First thing's first. We're remote here because either one of us, or hell, both of us are gonna get killed, or because something major is happening down here. Every single one of these HitBit fights are designed to play into our mystery figure's hands; it is to humilate rival gangsters, or to cover up said humiliations. I'm getting ready to drop the hammer on the Yakuza now, and somebody is going to make out like a prince from this. The whole thing's being manipulated by at least two parties; maybe more! There is gonna be a gang war soon, but let me tell ya, it won't last long."
And now, Ayame was coming in with the thrust.
The gap was closing, but Daniel had the short end of the stick, literally and metaphorically. As the thrust comes, the detective steps into it as well. Hands pushing forward, he guides the thrust past his chest, stepping in. "Number two." He hastily adds as the staff withdraws, shifting into the second phase. Daniel Jack was surging with orange energy now as he dips down low, the follow up strike coming in from his left. "Real quick: Yakuza might get on our T-List; that's terrorist." Daniel Jack takes the blow cleanly on his shoulders as he dives down fast and low. "And when that happens, they are going the way of the IRA" He states briskly as he seizes Ayame by the back of the knees.
And jumps straight up.
Lifting Ayame up overhead, he whips her back. Orange energy surges from his body to his arms, and from his arms, over Ayame herself. Infusing her with his chi, he spikes her straight down to the stage, with a muttered 'Kasane Ate' And true to form, she is sent slashing down into a pile, the burst of chi rising up as she is hammered down. Daniel Jack lands neatly on both feet."Number three?" He grunts, falling back into his defensive stance once again.
"Found a vulnerability of your boujutsu, sweetheart."
And indeed, he did find a way through her defensive style. Each step, each shift of her staff, each poke, swing, and sweep was designed and executed to leave no opening before or following the technique. She would begin her attacks from a safe position and finish them in a new, equally defensible location. When she chose to fight that way, the only way through was to overpower the attacks themselves, and the result proves to be quick effective. The initial thrust itself would only be good enough to stalemate someone. She has execute the follow up swing to deliver something that will leave a mark, and that's the exact window Daniel found.
Caught, hefted, then slammed right back down into a surge of chi blasting to meet her, Ayame finally lands, catching herself with her hands to keep herself completely face planting. Grunting, the girl pushes herself back up quickly, sweeping her staff in front of her in the process in a move that could have caught Daniel if he thought to close aggressively where she fell. Finding room to breath, she sweeps her right hand down, brushing at her side, as she stands as tall and commanding as her diminutive stature will allow her. "So you seem to think." It takes some acting skills to try and shrug off the combination she just got whipped through, but she certainly seems inclined to try just that. The blood at the corner of her mouth suggests the experience will not be so quickly forgotten though.
Of course, she learned something from Daniel's success as well. He's a gambler. He can't cage him in with the normal tricks... there is nearly always a way through and he is just the kind to take his chances finding it rather than shirking the danger. With a soft snort, she shifts back into a ready stance, staff gripped only with her left hand, right foot slipping forward.
"The Yakuza have been mostly idle for years." Some think the world has become a more civilized place than it was a couple decades ago. Others have suggested that there are bigger threats waiting in the shadows that are too dangerous for the established crime families to take risks around. "Removed, they would leave a vacuum of power..." she considers.
Right hand goes to her left sleeve once more, a telltale sign that another one of those pesky paper charms of hers is about to be put to use. A glance is cast toward the drones once more. The officials on site... they don't seem to be in on it. Hired help, no doubt. Hired by who? "Who is finacing this whole thing, anyway?" she finally asks out loud.
Pulling her hand from her sleeve, a pinkish talisman is held between two fingers and her thumb. But the way she bolts forward next suggests this one is not intended to be flung from range. No, the girl clearly has designs to deliver it personally. Once again, her attack comes as a sequence, right arm drawn back, body twisting to the right as she sweeps her staff out far, aiming to hook Daniel behind the legs.
She twists from there into a strong twist to the left, right arm lunging out as she aims to plant it hard against the Intrepid Agent and slam him backward against the groud, that pink ofuda pressed against his chest. A flicker of a confident smirk would be the expression that accompanies a point blank chi detonation designed to apply additional concusive force. If successful, she wouldn't make it easy to get back up, either, preferring instead to keep her opponent pinned down if possible.
COMBATSYS: Daniel dodges Ayame's Charged Combo.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ////////////////////// ]
Ayame 0/-------/----===|=======\-------\1 Daniel
It wasn't really gambling when the game was rigged, was it.
"Well what can I do Ayame?" Daniel states firmly, looking at the woman. Yes, she was injured, there was no doubt about that. But when push came to shove, he knew in his heart that she was tougher than that. "Yakuza are criminals, all their crime and corruptions are being revealed, and I wouldn't be doing my job if I let them go because somebody else benefits from it?" The detective growls at himself, looking away in anger. "Somebody doing the right thing for the wrong reason is doing the right thing. Even if I know for a fact you're right. They'll just fill in the power vacuum, and more people will die and suffer for it." The moment she begins to draw into her charms, though, Daniel Jack tries to keep quiet.
But then, she says the piercing question.
"Who is financing this whole thing, anyway..." The detective repeats, realization overcoming his expression as Ayame comes roaring in. "Follow the money. My god, follow the money!!!" Daniel Jack seemed to becoming invigorated by the breakthrough, a fresh life filling him. The initial leg sweep is hopped over, the detective moving in dawning brilliance. The right arm comes, and Daniel, hands ready, narrowly catches the blow with both hands at the upper arm. A throw. Daniel Jack carefully and delicately reverses the grab, making elegant steps as he dips down, rotating the arm over and past him. As the blast comes, Daniel was already repositioned at the flank. Almost a full parry, but lacking the most important thing:
An efficient follow up.
Vigoreous energy was flowing over Daniel, the detective almost glowing from it. "Nobody does anything if there isn't any money in it. The flow of money in the HitBit.... yes, that's it. That's what's funding everyone. Who was that rich dude? The pretty young man? Lee Chao Lan? Something like that, yeah, he has the money for this. My god! Genius!" Daniel Jack was overwhelmed with the excitement of a fresh new prespective. Orange energy was flowing over him, the passion the discovery painfully obvious.
And he rewards her with a palm strike with the left.
The palm strike comes with a smooth impact, aiming right for the center of mass with the woman. The follow up was a hand chop, the foundations of the Zoot Suit Riot, the detective signature move. The one two combo comes with Daniel Jack stepping forward, each blow coming with a step. A third step comes, and Daniel suddenly lashes out with both hands. On aiming for a shoulder, another aiming for a hip. Should Daniel Jack get the grips on this last move, he'll reveal the infamous variation of Zoot Suit Riot: The Skiffle Drop. A grab, a pivot, and a flip, to send Ayame herself on her back, face up.
"What other insights do you have, scuzzy?"
COMBATSYS: Ayame counters Skiffle Drop from Daniel with The Sunrise of Broken Dreams.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > /////////////////// ]
Ayame 0/-------/--=====|===----\-------\0 Daniel
It's hard to say if her closing to close-quarters combat was because she was that confident in her ability to execute it, or if it was more to make the point that she has enough versatility to adjust to a fight taking place at almost any range. Wherever the shrine maiden's background might be, the comfort with which she adjusts her tactics makes it clear she did not enjoy the normal high school girl's childhood. No one gets this proficient without significant dedication.
Agent Little twists and manipulates his way through her attempted grapple, leaving himself in a good position to transition into a follow up attack. It seems her line of inquiry has inspired some epiphany, an excitement for the case that manifests itself as a spike in vigor and no small amount of that vibrant orange chi. "Perhaps." Her answer is the opposite - cool, composed, and entirely not caught up in the enthusiasm Daniel suddenly exhibits. Whether she is unsure of his conclusion, or just disinclined to share in his fervor is difficult to say.
She's facing him again then, never relaxing, never distracted from her purpose. Her right hand snaps to meet her left near the center of her staff, each hand on the same side, creating a hold that affords her the maximum maneuverability in controlling the weapon but sacrifices the magnitude of striking power she can accomplish when her hands are on the opposite side. But most striking is the fluidity with which she shifts in and out of using the weapon verses the other skills she had demonstrated thus far.
When his hand snaps out, she twists her staff into the way with minimal movement. Pushing out with both arms, she meets the chop. She backs up, each step matchin his advance, though she is beginning to run out of wall behind her to navigate. The miko can't simply defend if she wants to avoid being cornered. It's when he reaches for her that she aggresses, sweeping her staff vertical then lunging to the side, brushing back his right hand while moving to his right herself.
A twist on her right foot and a quick lowering of her staff allows her to target Daniel's stomach, then pull back up and potentially catch him in the chest should he crumple forward as she intended. Overall, the counter attack was a basic bo technique - surprisingly utilitarian for how flash the girl can be at times.
Of course, when novices do it, each blow is probably not punctuated by a burst of that crimson chi. And they probably couldn't have seen Daniel's movements well enough to counter him fast enough anyway.
He asks about insights but she has something else in mind. "Are you happy with the way your life is going? How it has gone?" She continues along his right side, slipping out from being cornered to claim more open space with a swishing of cloth. If there is one area her style might suffer, limited space would certainly be it. "Have you chosen your path, or did your path chose you?"
Oh dear god she had one of those kinds of moves.
As the first two strikes are neatly deflects, Daniel Jack was keeping his momentum steady. It was only when he stepped in for the finishing throw, did he realize that he was stumbling into a trap. The staff catches him squarely, and it only takes a heave to flip him over and around. Daniel Jack was all too aware that this was going to be a sentence of suck for him.
The blast of chi sealed it.
Daniel Jack hits the boards, crunching it underneath him as he tumbles down. Briskly, he picks back up. His right arm of his suit was torn now, badly wrecked in the last attack. But Daniel Jack was not slowing down. He was focused, driven. And above all, still steady. The typically grim Daniel was still bursting with spirit. And she starts asking about something unimportant. Something small in the whole play of things.
The detective takes in the piercing question that was cutting to his bones. He was already back into his defensive stance instinctively. Already the cameras were going, already everything was back as it should be. Was he happy? How has it gone? Has he chosen his path, or did the path choose him. These were... these were familiar questions. He open his mouth, confidence on his face, to answer them.
Daniel Jack goes quiet, for once. The cameras hover around him, as the detective stops his advance. His mouth was closed now. He just focuses on Ayame. Normally, this was the time where he would be... monologuing internally. But there wasn't anything seen here. Just the detective standing fast, watching Ayame from a distance. The look on his face was stoic, but the man's body was still burning with chi energy.
His expression is more pensive than grim, though.
COMBATSYS: Daniel Jacks it up a notch!
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > /////////////////// ]
Ayame 0/-------/--=====|===----\-------\0 Daniel
Her question posed, Ayame doesn't attack again. Unlike their previous exchanges, she does not pressure Daniel to answer under duress from one of her tricky talismans or nearly dance-like staff techniques. No, this time the miko waits, standing upright, her staff gripped lightly in her left hand. Dark brown eyes blink slowly when the normally easy talking operative fails to respond readily and easily.
A second passes, then another. She doesn't repeat her question nor press him further to answer the question she so boldly asked. How it is even the business of the Japanese shrine maiden in the first place? Was she judging him? Was it a distraction designed to buy her time while he wrestled with the probing inquisition?
Calmly, she twists her staff under her left shoulder, freeing her left hand to reach within her right sleeve. Another talisman is produced - sky blue with fiery orange glpyhs - then held aloft between her fingers as she watches the intreped investigator over it.
"It is important to think about," she observes, reaching up to fold her talisman over with the deft fingers of her right hand. "To really know without a doubt." A twist of her hand and the talisman is folded over again. The glpyhs that decorate its surface seem to align even with the folds, suggesting she is shifting the paper ward to its intended configuration.
"Either we move forward, happy and secure in our choices. Or we can acknowledge that even though we are not thrilled with the yoke resting on our shoulders, we must carry the burden all the same."
Pressing the folded talisman between her hands, Ayame bows her head forward, closing her eyes, looking for a fleeting moment as if to be lost in thought or prayer.
"We must be sure. Absolutely sure." she continues. As she opens her eyes, a soft skyblue glow covers her hands. Pulling them apart, the paper talisman has vanished, leaving only a persistant, blue glow that clings to the miko's hands. Reaching for her staff, she takes hold, the gentle sapphire hue extending over the weapon, replacing the crimson glow that had been there previously.
"The day will come when we find ourselves gazing into the maw of the abyss and either we already know, have already decided... or we will falter and lose our way. That is the fate of those who cannot answer questions like the ones I posed."
She resumes her stance, staff held in both hands, angled in front of her once more. "But that look about you suggests you already know of what it is I speak." A slight shake of her head as she slips one foot forward, the blue glimmer of her staff casting its glow on the walls of the stage. "I cannot even begin to imagine what you saw in Metro. Nor can I fathom how it might have changed you."
A slight pause.
COMBATSYS: Ayame gathers her will.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > /////////////////// ]
Ayame 1/------=/=======|===----\-------\0 Daniel
Daniel Jack stares into Ayame, his mind a mystery. There was a tension between the two that could be felt even through the HitBit. Daniel's heartbeat was steady. His expression was pensive, but calm. He studies Ayame's prayer. People watching in could feel the strange presence of... spirituality? Or something else? Daniel Jack opens his mouth, clearing his throat. And finally, he speaks, for everyone to hear.
"I... have gazed into the abyss, Ayame."
The words come out with a building strength, as a storm that was coming. "And I where I thought I would find monsters, I found people." The detective's tone takes a kind of ethereal presence. "People, Ayame. All around us are people. Not monsters, not outsiders, not paraiahs. People just like us, for better or for worse. And those people... are here Ayame. They are outlaws and outsiders, but they are here. Places like the Twilight Star Circus, even on the streets." Daniel Jack begins his approach on Ayame.
"So I am going to make a difference."
"That is why I am going to work to unite both worlds, Ayame. Unite everyone together, every single world into a single, universal order. And I am going to start here, Ayame. Because I can't... If I can't bring even a glimmer of peace, of prosperity, of righteous justice here, I can't even start a foothold here..." Daniel Jack was nearly on Ayame now, as he draws back a hand. Power and precision surges to his right hand, as he flattens it like a knife. "This is my place, I have claimed it as my own, and nobody can take that from me Ayame. I will not tolerate groundless hate and fear. I'm Daniel Jack, I'm Agent Little." There is a crack as the detective hurls out the flawless handchop, with skeleton-shattering force, right towards Ayame's collarbone.
"And I'm gonna be doing the right thing, Ayame."
COMBATSYS: Ayame blocks Daniel's World's Greatest Hand Chop EX.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > /////////////////// ]
Ayame 1/----===/=======|====---\-------\0 Daniel
Ayame went digging. She had to know - it was more than curiosity, and distracting him just so she could win some inconsequential fight was far from the truth. She went digging, and often happens, she had no idea what she would find.
There is no doubt she thought he would know better. He had been among those who bravely stood against an enraged, rampaging Egyption god afterall. He, more than most in the world, had to know what humanity was up against. He had been cast to the otherside by one of them and was only pulled back at great risk. A portion of his very existence had been consumed by The Butcher. He had ventured into the Metro City incident - the effects of the event continue to ripple throughout the world to this day.
As he speaks, the priestess pales. "You found... /what/?" People? The girl recoils without realizing it. "Just... like us?" The words are uttered as if each sound evoked some kind of pain. Her brow twitches as the words continue to spill forth. He mentions the circus, "I should have known." What better refuge for freaks could possibly exist.
She twists, defensive now, ready for his attack moreso than she is his words. "How could you even..." she stammers, aghast. "After everything they did to you, after all you saw. What happened to you there? What broke your mind, leaving it vulnerable to such heinous notions!?"
He draws back his hand and Ayame braces, rooting herself in place. "What-... what right do you have to claim anything here!?" She definitely didn't expect to find this.
His knife hand drops decisively and her staff raises to intersect, her hands far apart, pushing everything she can into the block. Even braced as she is, the impact force is enough to send the girl reeling, her own weapon smacking into her sternum. The involuntary slide back ends with her half-turning to the right, placing her defensive, left-side forward as she stares back at Daniel with no hidden degree of incredulity.
"Have you gone mad? Are you so eager to usher in the doom of man? Can you even imagine what role we would have in a world where such monsters were integrated? Do you have any idea how much stronger, survivable, faster they are?" She shakes her head, right hand returning to grip her staff once more. "Either you have lost your mind. Or you are possessed."
Sucking in her breath, she pulls her right hand away, drawing with it that energy that was sheathing her weapon. The skyblue chi retains its form, becoming a purely energy staff in her right hand, a sapphire twin of her wooden weapon. She sucks in her breath, a decision made, her tone shifting.
"Either way... you are in dire need of correction."
She is on him in an instant then - a whirlwind of staff strikes, either with the physical one or the one made of pure, controlled energy. She dual wields the two long weapons with the same ease she handled just one, only now the zoning and coverage she had before is doubled, the number of hits she can deliver each instant increased, and the relentlessness of her attacks magnified.
Unless stopped, she would slide to a stop meters past Daniel in a half-crouch, arms at her side, still wielding the two weapons.
COMBATSYS: Ayame successfully hits Daniel with Final Solstice.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > /////////// ]
Ayame 0/-------/------=|=======\==-----\1 Daniel
The chop comes with crushing force.
And yet, Daniel Jack's expression was transforming. A look of... dread. A look of pain, even before. He was looking into Ayame, as it slowly dawns on him what kind of woman she was. As she describes how the monsters could even integrate, the visage of the detective curls up into a snarl of rage. He was overextended, he was off balanced. And she really was on him in an instant; he could only muster the faintest of a block as she explodes in. Daniel Jack freezes in place, as blow after blow comes, and finally, by the end, he is just standing for just a second.
And then, he collapses.
For a moment, there was silence. The HitBit devices showed his vitals dropping sharply, before leveling out. Finally, there is a stifled gag, a pained cough. The detective rolls to the side, clutching his abdomen, before he rises. The remains of his suit jacket and shirt fall off him, revealing his naked chest. But in his eyes, there was fury, and tragedy. Turning back towards the young girl, the cameras fix on the naked chest of the detective, seared with deep welts and wounds by the assault.
"Seriously? You're one of them too?"
That was Daniel Jack's response as he drags himself back into his defensive stance. Already he was hurling himself back into Ayame, his stance staggered. His body was burning, his entire body was burning ruthlessly. With a heave, he actually hurls him at the shrine maiden. "I thought it was weird you could fight so well. To travel across, to channel it. You're a hunter! You're a hunter just like Zach!" Daniel Jack hurls his full force at the girl now, eschewing a Todoh-Ryuu approach to just slam himself and the girl down to the ground. And should he get her down on the floor? He would just wrench her into an armlock, crushing her under a pin as he just wrenches it out of it. All while bellowing: "How many have you killed Ayame?"
"How many have you KILLED?!"
COMBATSYS: Ayame interrupts Crushing Throw from Daniel with A Long Road to Harmony.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////// ]
Ayame 0/-------/=======|=======\=====--\1 Daniel
Panting for breath, Ayame forces herself to stand, turning to face Danial as he faces her, twin weapons held out at her sides, both hands clenched tightly as she waits to see if he can even keep moving at this point. Very few have weathered that storm of attacks and had the slightest bit of fight left in them.
His question goes unanswered but by the sound of the miko catching her breath. She can see the gears turning, the answers falling into the place, the clues adding up to the inevitable conclusion he was rapidly approaching. Breathing in again, she releases a long, pent up exhale, then opens her right hand, allowing the energy staff to scatter into a thousand drifting motes of ambient chi, each fading away in its own time. One by one, he recalls her skills. Clues, something he has chased relentlessly all his life to solve mysteries, puzzles, crimes.
"Of cour-" she starts to reply when he declares the white and crimson clad girl a hunter, only for her voice to cut out when he throws out another name. THAT one threw her off. "Wh- he..." She shakes her head, pocketing that information for later. She's already learned enough from this encounter to keep her busy for some time, what's one more task on her list?
Her defiant response doesn't seem to calm things down in the slightest, however, as Daniel rushes toward her. She pivots her staff into his path, intending to deflect the anticipated blows to come. But if there is one thing she has had trouble reading, as of late, it's people hurling themselves at her for full body contact. Agent Little crashes right through her guard, tackling the girl to the ground, sending her staff spinning to the side.
Eyes wince as he starts to hyperextend her arm painfully, demanding an answer to the question burning in his mind above all others now that he knows what it his he fights.
Gritting her teeth, Ayame's free arm reaches to the wide sash-like belt at her waist, hand coming away with a loop of beads strung together with a thick cord. It's likely whatever monk had prepared these prayer beads sometime in the past had no intention that they would be put to use like this, but... he's not the one with his arm in a lock here and now!
Gripping the beads, she whips her arm, looping the cord around Daniel's neck. Pulling with everything she can in her compromised position, Ayame wrenches on the loop, twisting it in her hand, fingers pinched tightly between some of the beeds. "I have..." A surge of crimson chi courses along the improvised garrote, the blast giving her the opening she needs to pry her arm free, roll to the side, and come up into a half-crouch. The beads would still be around Daniel's neck to contend with, but without Ayame's grip, they no longer present an ongoing threat.
Panting for breath, she continues, "...been about this work..." She glances up at one of the drones, guaging its distance to be clearly close enough to pick up her words, strained as they might be right now. Her right arm reaches to her shoulder, rubbing it as she inspects the injury his hold inflicted. Eyes snap back to Daniel. "...my entire life."
"How could I possibly recount how many!!"
Daniel Jack might look like he is assault another young lady again.
Of course, he didn't care as he started the armlock into the pin. That was the misery of it. This wasn't even him trying to kill her. This was just... just discipline? He couldn't shake the feeling that he was taking a sick dog, and trying to fix it. Fix her, show her. Maybe with a show of force. As the sash wraps around his neck, he immediately breaks from the grapple to seize his neck. The blast of chi smashes into his own aura, the two mingling and battles as he is stunned just long enough for Ayame to break away. Gasping for air, he stands fast. His body gets loose, suddenly, and relaxed.
And Daniel Jack just sighs.
"Of course you have." The detective states cooly. "Of course you've lost count. Oh my god." The detective moans, covering his face. "Oh my god. A mere child into..." The orange energy roars around him, the flames cascading about his frame. A wind blows from his form; the spirit was a fountain of chi, but the expression was almost defeated. He draws his arms inward, the full force of chi building up high. The detective, drawing in his breath, suddenly contorts his face in anguish. Hurling his arms down, he lets his foot into a stomp, unleashing the shockwave straight down. All with a too soft voice.
"You're the monster."
And the shockwave runs through the stage.
Boards fly to flinders underneath Daniel's feet as they surge up, encased in the same orange energy that the detective hurled down. As the stage groans and lurches, an uproar could be heard within the shrine itself, independent of the detective's own assault. Advancing into the storm of debris, the detective seizes piece after piece, board after board, and with a roar each piece is sent hurling towards Ayame. The avalanche of chi-laced debris leave long contrails of energy as they are hurtled. The only thing that stops it? When Daniel runs out of pieces...
And when the stage suddenly jolts, as its construction begins to slip.
COMBATSYS: Ayame endures Daniel's Mean Business.
[ \\\\\\\\\\ < > /////// ]
Ayame 1/----===/=======|====---\-------\0 Daniel
The miko is silent as she stares back at Daniel, right arm resting against her left shoulder, one knee against the stage floor, her jaw set following her exclaimed declaration. Dark brown eyes, full of defiance, watch as he processes the answer, her focus intense and unblinking, as if everything hung on how he reacted to her words. The implication was clear - how much darkstalker blood stained her hands? How much harm could she have done in her relatively short time upon the Earth?
When he answers, it is as if some degree of tension bleeds out of her frame, her shoulders sagging slightly. As she half-closes her eyes, there is a rare glimpse of real, human emotion - one might expect given the circumstances. For a fleeting moment in time, Ayame looks hurt. But when Daniel covers his face to ruminate upon the revelation, a second emotion slips in, perhaps uninvited. As Ayame closes her eyes and bows her face toward the wooden floor, her right hand still clutching her shoulder, she looks... relieved? The moment lapses, never to be picked up by the angle of the cameras.
The chi coursing over him illuminates the entire room as if the stage was on fire, but Ayame doesn't budge from her half-kneeling position across from him, her long hair whipped about her shoulders by the air currents driven by the heartbroken dreamer. She doesn't even move when he stomps his foot, the shockwave blasting past her with enough power that she has to lean forward into it to keep from being bowled over.
It is only when he utters her name that she reacts, glancing up, eyes focusing on the man burning with unbridled woe.
She is the monster.
As if awoken by the declaration, Ayame lunges to the side, rolling over her staff and coming up to a standing position with it gripped tightly in her hands.
"Of course I am!!"
The assault begins, a maelstrom of chi-infused chunks of stage hurtling her way, board after board striking her as she does little to ward off the attack.
"Do you not realize?!"
A blow to her shoulder sends her turning to the side, but she catches herself before falling by jamming her staff against the floor, before she continues.
"I warned you! This is what it takes!"
A plank catches her in the side of the head and the battered miko reels, nearly falling back, then forward as she overcorrects against the gale-force storm tearing the structure to splinters.
"Humanity does not have the power to fight them!"
She nearly crumples as one board spins sidelong into her stomach.
"I will be their reaper-!"
She finally responds to the chaos by twisting her staff into the path of a board to spare herself another painful blow.
"So that no one else will have to!!"
But she keeps spinning her weapon faster and faster, not in any conscious effort to prevent further blows, for she continues to be pelted by the few that get through, but to build up speed and energy, orange flames roaring to life at the ends of her staff. The visible blood on broken skin is evidence enough of the effect Daniel's determined, unfocused assault is having, but she continues standing all the same.
"I accepted this path!"
It becomes almost hard to see her behind the corona of roaring chi centered on her rapidly spinning staff.
Her next words are whispered, lost in the cacophony of violence exploding around them as the wooden stage faces its final moments.
"It was the least I could do..."
Sucking in her breath, she unleashes a fierce yell as she finally steps forward and whips her staff in front of her, unleashing the built up energy into a singular slug of hyperconcentrated, burning chi suddenly hurtling its way toward Daniel at unreal speed.
COMBATSYS: Ayame successfully hits Daniel with Final Sunset.
[ \\\\\\\\\\ < > /// ]
Ayame 0/-------/------=|=======\-------\0 Daniel
Daniel Jack's foot goes through the floorboards.
The limb slips through, the detective grabbing the floor around him. The entire structure groans as he adjusts his weight. Daniel realized that tearing apart a superstructure of wood, with a chi blast downwards, may not have been the wisest. Daniel Jack stares down into the depths below, a brief flicker of vertigo coming over him. Already, a mere gust of wind comes, causing the very sructure to shake and bend. The agent of Interpol divides his attention, both of the miko, and on the very stage they were on. The assault didn't drive her back. It only made her... mad. Breathing carefully, he draws his leg up, just as the yell comes. The window of reaction time was painfully narrow. The detective twists, hurling around his weight to catch the oncoming blast.
He wasn't fast enough.
The blow lands squarely in his center. A grunt comes out, as Daniel Jack was blown back, blown staggering back into a roll. He only comes to a rest, right between the eyes of the two devas, the stone statues that stood there. And immediately, he rises up from his roll, standing tall, splinters driven into his back. The detective shakes, swaying back and forth. Upon his chest, was a rich, shining-red ooze of a sore, weeping down to his slacks. Daniel Jack lurches forward, toppling over.
But Daniel refuses to fall.
He catches on his knee, and rises back up. He was clawing at the edge of consciousness, digging his fingers into it. The detective's sheer grit, his pure tenacity and furious, diehard nature was digging himself in. It was the same resolve that dragged him to hell and back, and then back to hell, and back.
And he relents.
Deep, rasping breaths come out of the detective as he stands fast. Orange energy builds brighter and brighter on his form, as he takes a lurching step. A groan runs through the entire stage, the very structure threatening to snap at the next move. A sick dog. Ayame was a sick dog, just like Zach. A rabid animal, bred from 14 centuries of hate and fear. Daniel Jack could bring it all down, bring down the entire house now. He was clutching on the edge of this fight. He could just push himself forward a little bit more. Another step comes, as a snapping sound comes. Daniel Jack glances to the side, at the floor, at the damage he had done. To Ayame. And finally, the two statues, staring down at him. And steadily, he drops his guard, shaking his head.
"I won't do it."
"I won't do it." The detective repeats again, the orange energy falling off his frame. ""No. No, no, no. My path isn't kicking your ass, kid. This stage is gonna collapse if I give it to ya." And with that, Daniel Jack sinks to one knee. His HitBit was struggling to get this vital signs with him. Placing a hand on his knee, he just shakes his head, a noise rising from behind him, within the shrine. "I seen monsters kid. I've seen the likes of monsters that... well, you've probably seen worse than anything I've seen before." He shakes his head, his grip on his knee starting to slip. "You are humanity. You are the humanity in people like Mr. Burr, like Vega, like every creep, criminal, murderer, and bigot that crawls on this planet. Monsters are men, and men can be the greatest monsters of all." He wipes his brow, quickly losing his balance in the process.
Daniel Jack falls backwards, into a sit. He was gasping for air.
The entire stage groans, the mere shift of weight nearly sending it crashing down below. Sitting there, legs forward, Daniel Jack keeps breathing, his eyes half-lidded. He was fighting still. "You could have helped out the local neighborhood. You could have worked hard. You could have even ended up in Interpol, fighting the real monsters. Terrorists. Dictators. Megalomaniacs. Gang Bosses. Instead... you call yourself a reaper." Daniel Jack just shakes his head, before just shaking a finger at Ayame. "My god, you are just a kid, and you've traded your childhood for genocide. But..." Daniel sighs.
"But I still believe you'll realize what a bum deal that is."
Men, were coming out to the stage now. The commotion. They must have come out because the commotion, the stage that was breaking, the fight that was unfolding. But it wasn't the HitBit crew. They came as two crowds, two seperate crowds. Tattoo'd men. But after a moment, the shouting turns away from the pair fighting, and to each other. Cleavers were coming out, cleavers and guns. Daniel Jack turns around slowly, falling down to a full prone heap. Staring into the men, as blood pools around him, he just moans out. "God dammit, its Yakuza. God... dammit..." Daniel Jack sees the criminals, as the commotion turns into the beginnings of a skirmish. The Agent of Interpol struggles, trying to stand, trying to rise. It wasn't going to happen now, as he feebly surrenders, lying belly down. "Hey, Reaper." Daniel Jack grunts. "You gonna help me up here? You gonna break it up yourself?"
"Or are you gonna run off to chase shadows, Reaper?"
COMBATSYS: Daniel is waiting for something...
[ \\\\\\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Daniel can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\\\\ <
Ayame is unable to watch the actual impact, her whole body bent forward at the waist, leaning to the right, both hands gripping her staff and propping it against the floor to keep her upright. Her face is hidden behind a main of matted, blooded strawberry-blonde and crimson drops from pooling red behind a gash clean through her previously pristine pristess regalia. Each breath is a struggle against the pain inflicted by Daniel's wirlwind of attacks and it is there that she waits, posed exactly how she was when she unleashed her last attack.
As the stage groans, the battleworn miko coughs, her left hand breaking free from her staff to wipe her tattered sleeve across her mouth. Whether she hears Daniel's dogged advance is impossible to tell, for she still does not look up. Maybe she is waiting for him to come attack her. Maybe she thinks she deserves just that. Or... maybe she's just waiting for him to get close enough so that she can strike him back down and finish this encounter the definitive victor!
It is when he speaks that she finally looks up, right cheek reddened by a streak of blood seeping down from her hairline over her forehead, body still moving with each much needed, deep breath.
And even after all that? Daniel's declaration that he won't kick her ass then and there is answered with that oft-present smirk of cynical certainty, as if to suggest that she did not consider such an outcome a remote possibility from where she stood, even battered as she is.
The smugness fades quickly, replaced with a quiet, intense stare at the operative. A soft exhale, bordering on a snort, answers his admission to the things she must have seen in her lifelong pursuit of carnage. As she is filed alongside the worst humanity has to put forward, the girl responds with a... smile? It's a strained expression, as if the single-minded demon huntress hadn't already planned on how to behave when compared to such repugnant individuals, and somehow, a forced, faint smile that might look sincere or may come across patronizing ends up being the expression she defaulted to out of not coming up with an alternative.
He lists off things she could have done instead of pursuing the gruesome path she spoke of and now he gets answered with more silence and an accompanying shrug, smile fading briefly during the gesture, eyes closed briefly, only to return as she completes the shrug and opens her eyes again. For him, right now, there is no anger, no simmering rage, only mute, accepting acquiescence to all Daniel has to say.
Her smile finally fades when he sums her circumstances up as being a bad deal. "Perhaps in another lifetime." come the first words she uttered since unleashing her attack.
The girl glances to the side, surveying the stage in all of its structural disarray. "I suppose it is fitting we would still be at odds..." she murmurs faintly, clearly thinking to herself.
Others spill into the stage and Ayame's demeanor shifts. That mien of stubborn, imperious aloofness returns, mouth curling into a frown as she stands up a little straighter in spite her condition, gripping her staff with a right hand clenched tightly to conceal the shaking. Daniel did warn one or both of them would die here... and the men pouring into the ruined stage seem just the sort that could make certain that was the case.
"Here, you are not my enemy," she remarks, her tone almost hinting at amusement as Daniel Jack asks for a hand up. "Get up. I did not hurt you that bad." Leaning forward and crouching down, she rests her staff on the floor and extends her arms to try and pull Daniel up against her shoulder so that she could use more of her body's strength to help him up. "My hands are clean. I have never killed a person." Semantics are great for splitting hairs.
"I will not leave you, but..." She glances toward the skirmish starting to break out. "I do not see how this is any of my concern either..."
"You only get one lifetime, Reaper."
The words come from Daniel Jack gruffly. At least she wasn't abandoning him. But that meant that -he- was the one that was gonna have to do this work. As the miko reaches a hand out, he takes it, pulling himself upright to a stand. Immediately, he throws an arm over her shoulder, to make her his crutch. "Yeah, sure. Maybe when they start sprouting horns you'll care. God dammit I'm getting too old for this shit." Daniel Jack brings his fingers to the sutured wound on his cheek. And for once, it wasn't torn open again. "Eh, thank god for small miracles."
" I think you actually didn't bust my face open Reaper."
A gunshot goes off, and the detective glances up. It was an outright staredown now, one gang roaring into the other gang, with a single member on the right hand side holding a recently fired pistol over his head. Daniel Jack groans. "God dammit, are you sure this isn't your concern? God dammit. Mother- dammit." The sputtered curses come as Daniel Jack takes in a deep breath. He reaches at his chest, patting around a second. Looking down, he sighs. "Lost the badge though, I think. Eh, get a miracle, take a curse." He looks at the gang fight just ready to break out, and he shakes his head. With a heave, he pushes off from Ayame. Looking back, he starts walking towards the skirmish.
"Well, its my concern."
Daniel Jack struggles towards the gang, every step a challenge. He stops after three, still under the gaze of the two statues. "Hey! Assholes! Break it up!" The detective bellows, waving his arms in the air, before pointing a finger in the air. "You're on candid camera!" The quadcopters were, in fact, fixed directly on the gang fight that was on the cusp of breaking out.
"What the hell is this on about, scuzzies?"
Cleavers and guns. The old analogy doesn't apply when there's plenty of both knives -and- guns, on both sides. And there's plenty of interplay between the two -- there is no clean division between one side and the other, as members of each side have already moved into contradictory positions. Punches and kicks have already been thrown, noses are bloodied, and cuts are beginning to swell.
Daniel's outburst seems to have momentarily drawn their attention. If one side were to pull their trigger, all hell will break loose.
As the detective notes, they are all on camera. The ones holding cleavers are probably alright from a legal standpoint, but the ones holding guns are in treacherous waters.
It quickly becomes obvious who the leaders of the two factions are, as heads turn to them for guidance -- their eyes are locked onto one another, and their handguns pointed at one another. One is Eichi Suzuki, leader of a Kansai-based clan of yakuza associated with the Yamaguchi-gumi. And his rival is Senzo Hattori -- whose clan only recently broke away from the Yamaguchi-gumi to join its Kobe-based spinoff.
Tensions are hot -- the leaders won't even look away from one another. But with the pressure of the fighters upon them...
The Rumble Committee's hired security guards have moved into position by this time, armed with riot shotguns and shields. There's about two dozen -- about as many of the hired guards as the yakuza they're cornering. It's already a scene -- and yet, their shotguns are not brought into position. The Rumble security guards are just watching for now -- their top priority is now on the innocent bystanders who had hoped to visit the legendary Kiyomizu-dera.
Irritable at the standoff, Suzuki sneers. Without breaking eye contact with Hattori, he calls out in a loud and yet level voice, "... I ain't the gamblin' sort... but I was -kinda- hopin you'd win that, Detective."
Uneasily, the Yamaguchi-gumi pull back into a more cohesive group, keeping their weapons hot.
Their former brethren in the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi do the same.
And one by one, with the guidance of Suzuki and Hattori each making placating hand gestures, the members quietly lower their weapons. The leaders are the last to put their weapons aside, leaving only a tense stare-off between the two.
The members of the two factions look up to Daniel and Ayame -- not really sure what to make of all this. Some are confident, even defiant -- does he even have the authority to do anything here? And a handful even begin the walk downhill, not even the least bit interested in putting up with the bloviations of a foreign police officer.
With a grunt, Ayame supports Daniel against her shoulder, glancing up as he checks for the damage on the face that has seen far too much abuse for one tournament (or not enough abuse, depending on who one asked). "Are you suggesting that it would NOT be more interesting if they sprouted horns?" she replies dismissively, the clearly implied sarcasm not actually present in the miko's neutral tone of voice.
She's quiet as the Agent struggles deciding on exactly how to approach the situation. When he pushes off and glances back at her, she breaths in deeply then answers with a long, drawn out sigh of tangible annoyance, eyes shifting from watching Daniel's back to studying the violence just then starting to break out. Only when Daniel stops does she bother to catch up in three comperatively easy strides, staff held loosely at her left side as he starts shouting at the congregated yakuza.
By the time Daniel's shout echoes over the ancient grounds, blood has been let but the guns have remained silent. The tension is thick, but the triggers have yet to be pulled. Frowning faintly, she waits a few seconds to see what response the Interpol agent gets, attention shifting as the Rumble Committe hired security moves into place.
"How fortunate there happened to be over twenty security guards assigned to a remotely staged fight." Ayame observes dryly. The agent's interference seems to have abated an immediate breakout of gun violence and death, at least, as evidenced by the slow bleedoff of faction members. Ayame glances around the area again, taking note of the recording drones, security guards, properly cordoned tourists, before finally settling her focus on the evident leaders of the opposed groups. She smirks softly as one mentions a preference for Daniel to have won the bout, but doesn't add anything beyond that.
She lifts her right hand to go back to rubbing at her cheek, perhaps absently reflecting on the bruises Daniel's final attack left. "What brings both of your groups all the way out here, right as we happened to be having our match?" A sideglance is made toward Daniel before Ayame coughs softly, moving her hand from her cheek to covering her mouth with a corner of her battle-torn sleeve, "Not, ah, that it is any of my concern, of course..."
Daniel Jack stands fast again, staring down the combined might of two Yakuza gangs.
Needless to say, he was more than grateful when the convienent security force suddenly arrives. It looked like this was going to be 'revealing incident' instead of 'murder the hell out of Daniel incident." And for that, Daniel Jack was hunky and dory about it. As the crew comes, the detective relaxes a little bit. Not too much; the moment he starts to go into 'too much' he nearly faints. Regaining his footing, he prepares to throw himself right back into the gangsters with more questions.
And Ayame is the one stepping up now.
Sure, she was stepping up after Daniel went out there alone. But she was still stepping out. Maybe she found something that was her business. Daniel Jack raises his eyebrow as Ayame was at his side. As one of them said that HE hoped to have won, well, Daniel just shrugs, shaking his head. He was in it not to win it, but to get to the bottom of this mystery. This was... huh. THis might have been the last fight, the last bit of information, the last bit of evidence. He opens his mouth, as the gangsters start to split. But Ayame beats him to the punch, asking her own question.
And Daniel Jack says nothing.
No, Daniel was listening now, as he shuts his mouth. Observing. Making himself... inconspiciousish. Because he was the man. A pig. The law. And Ayame? She was a reaper. As the medical crew makes its long ascent to the stage, Daniel Jack was content to cross his arms, into the stable, grim stance of Master Todoh. Watching. Waiting.
And letting Ayame ask his questions for him.
Why so many brightly-uniformed guards? It's a good question, and Ayame can probably be excused for not following the Rumble twitter account that posted an explanation a few days ago. Purportedly because of the numerous attempts on Daniel's life, security has been stepped up a few notches. The Rumble Committee has been deploying security personnel to each site beforehand, and only when they're in place do they let the fighters know that it's time to fight. In this case, even more guards have been deployed to ensure the sanctity of the fight location: it would have been very bad for Daniel and Ayame to have inadvertently destroyed the national treasure that sees hundreds if not thousands of people each day. It would have been very bad, because while Mt Otowa is isolated from the more tourist-friendly Path of Philosophy, it's still a highly-rated stop on most tours of Kyoto. The temple's Main Hall (Hondo), of which the stage is only a part, was built atop 12-meter-tall "keyaki" pillars assembled without the use of a single nail.
Which is just one reason Senzo Hattori is having a spectacularly bad day. He takes noticeable offense to Ayame's words, even if her tone is as placid as can be. He's been quiet thus far, but he bristles at what he feels is an attack, grinding his heel into the stonework.
"You. You of all people should not question me, miko." He can tell she's not employed here, but he can recognize the outfit of her station -- one similar to the people he sees more regularly. "-I- come here every day to pay my respects and to partake of the waters."
The Otowa Waterfall is kind of a big deal -- and it's just a little ways away. It's less picturesque, and the dribbles of water streaming from three different troughs would hardly qualify as a "waterfall" by most estimations, but it's nevertheless a fairly popular attraction. Each stream provides a different benefit - longevity, success, and love.
"Your stupid -fight- was the first problem. And then this asshole..." He thumbs back to Suzuki.
Suzuki doesn't seem to take anywhere near as much offense as his rival. "/This asshole/ made a special trip out here to pray, 'cause we could use some freakin' luck -- when lo and behold, look who's stinking up the joint! I don't need this shit... "
He starts to turn to leave, taking a potshot at his rival: "Pfft, whatever. Have fun talking with your wife, Hattori, I know I sure did..."
Hattori lurches forward to take a swing at Suzuki, but he's held back by his men -- and summarily threatened by Suzuki's men. Glowering, he holds his ground, but it seems he's forgotten about Ayame and Daniel for the moment...
Suzuki smirks at the exchange, pivoting as if he's starting to head back towards the train station. His eyes scan over to meet Daniel's, that smirk firmly cemented into his face. "Ain't no one got hurt today. I bet you think you're some kinda hero, spook."
His eyes slide over towards Ayame, then -- and it's not a -polite- look, either, considering the toll that the preceding battle has taken on her hakama. "Yeah."
As Daniel is merely observing, and the security guards aren't really paid to -apprehend-, Suzuki and his men turn to leave. "Well, enjoy the shrine. Boys, let's roll."
Hattori glares daggers into Suzuki's back -- but if left to his own devices, he'd be happy enough to continue along his path to the so-called waterfall in hopes of salvaging something out of his daily visit.
Why wasn't Daniel Jack apprehending?
Well, while they are flashing guns, are obvious gangsters, and the whole laundry list of awful pathetic crimes, there were issues of logistics. Daniel Jack didn't have the resources to perform a mass arrest. He couldn't just cuff 'em and the like. And while waving around guns was a breech of -something-, Interpol makes arrests as a coordinated, fell swoop, in response to a fixed list of criminal actions. After all, Article 3 of its charter made it clear; ' “It is strictly forbidden for the Organization to undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character.” At least in theory. Interpol's hammer only comes down when the is neatly tied to criminal commerce that crosses national borders. And this? While it is criminal?
Was strictly local.
Thus, Daniel Jack was in fact keeping restrained. The best he could do right now was in fact stop a firefight from breaking out. Inspite of his battered, defeated body, he keeps himself as a sentry, as a guardian, arms crossed to keep watch on the gangsters... and Ayame. He was patient. Observing. Face grim but stoic.
But when Daniel is called a spook, something bristles.
A wave of chi energy erupts over him as the insult comes. The detective takes a step forward, and nearly collapses all out again. falling to one knee, he digs a fist before him, taking in several hasty breaths. Slowing his breathing down, he takes a deep inhale, followed by a slow exhale. The fire dies down, his temper retracts. "He meant government agent. Probably." Daniel Jack glares towards the retreating gangsters. "So the two gangs are turning on each other... yeah, it is a civil war..." THe detective mutters to himself, considering carefully what was said. With a heave, Daniel rises back up again into a stand. He looks back at Ayame a moment, considering the gaze of Suzuki... and then looks away. "You... probably should get changed."
Daniel Jack pauses a moment.
"-I- probably should get changed."
As Senzo bristles, Ayame doesn't flinch or back down. She was a lot better at getting people to talk than making friends, and he was talking at least. Whether she was asking for Daniel's sake or simply sating her own curiosity would be hard to say for certain. A sideglance is made toward Daniel when Senzo explains that being here is part of a daily ritual - no doubt, one conducted at a predictable point in time each day at that... such was the exact moment their match was scheduled. "No wonder they are serious about enforcing start times, hm?" she murmurs to the Agent before shifting her focus to Suzuki.
His group's presence seems a bit more coincidental... maybe he isn't telling the whole story. But what can she expect, given the circumstances? Her mouth twitches to a faint smirk as the violence looks about to errupt anew only for the expression to fade when she gets a second, lingering glance. Her right arm lowers, sleeve draping down across her waist as the battle-torn priestess takes a few steps back from the railing.
The shift in position allows her to better witness the sudden struggle errupt in the prickled Interpol representative. She doesn't move as he drops to a knee, his fervor dying out by necessity if anything else.
One last glance toward the now vacated walkway, "The splintering... someone outside of the yakuza is manipulating events to trigger it, especially around these tournament matches. I do not think this event is financially motivated. It reeks of corrupt politics."
A half shrug punctuates her observation on Daniel's investigations. "Someone is shaking up the criminal underworld of Japan... Perhaps this is more interesting than I thought."
At Daniel Jack's look and suggestion, Ayame exhales with a soft huff of annoyance, her left hand joining her right in front of her, her staff held horizontally across her thighs as she whirls to face away from him.
"I will be keeping an eye on you." she states, her voice neutral, "When it comes to... those other matters, I will oppose whatever it is you think you are going to do here, in my homeland. You have been warned."
One last glance is cast over her shoulder, "Good day, Agent Little." With that, the shrine priestess strides away, her pace noticeably slower than the one with which she arrived. She can only keep the show of not feeling the effects of the fight going for so long, after all.
COMBATSYS: Ayame has ended the fight here.
Left to their own devices, Hattori and his retinue roam about the lower Kiyomizu complex. Each member of the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi group fills his cup from one of the three streams of the Otowa waterfalls, and by and large, they're model citizens. When Hattori heads upstairs to the "omikuji" fortuneteller's wall -- after drawing his fortune from the numerous cubbies on the wall, he spends a moment to contemplate his thoughts. Judging from the men surrounding him, though -- this would seem to be part of his daily ritual.
He needn't worry about Suzuki and his men, either; the handful of his men who had descended when Daniel and Ayame first interrupted them are keeping watch by the gates, making sure that the Yamaguchi-gumi descend without further incident.
The Rumble Committee guards keep their distance, staying at full attention now that the tense situation has been resolved. The referee bows respectfully to Ayame as she passes; of the Rumble staff, only the medical technicians would even be trying to get Ayame's attention as she passes. She may be able to escape their clutches, but Daniel won't be so lucky, as the primary team is quick to descend upon him as soon as he leaves an ample opening.
Their reconnaissance mission complete, the quadrotor drones return to the truck they call home. The nondescript black truck closes its bay door, making it the first of the Rumble vehicles to retreat from the battle.
Log created on 22:20:33 02/14/2016 by Ayame, and last modified on 22:36:20 02/20/2016.