KOF 2017 - Act 2: Mission 11 -- The Shining Path

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Description: With his family in the midst of a public war with the United Nations, Jin Kazama is left with a moderately peaceful shelter. Only relatively; the schools are in the midsts of tearing themselves apart over But Jin cannot be expected to be tangled in conflict between his family and the world, can he? The question is brought to him by a mysterious sage, a wandering figure with a strange past. There is guidance in conflict; there is conflict in guidance. But Jin must see the paths that lay before him, and his must choose not only his future, but the future of the world itself.

A student seated in the modest shade of one of the schools meticulously trimmed trees; back plastered against the trunk with an open book nestled in a single callused hand. The light filters down though the branches well enough so as to read by without strain, the attraction however is constant waving pattern and gentle noise overhead. Standing out in the shade only because of a bright and crisp white dress shirt he might otherwise be camouflaged enough to be thought hiding. It's a comfortable spot, hiding away there appealed to him on some level. The constant rustle and catching of the wind helps wash away the annoyances the world presented him with a more familiar and meditative white noise. But he was a Mishima. Instead he lounges, appearing relaxed and at rest while visible for all the world to see!

Kazama Jin, the youngest and differently named heir in the Mishima Family. The family whose exploits were once again in the news and stirring up debate all over the world, the country, and the schoolyard. In a place so filled with intrigue, loyalties and company relationships permeating to the point that frivolous gossip, or a falling out with one another could lead to catastrophic business dealings and conflict- between friends or rivals--

Jin read alone.

Not without distant company and onlookers. It was simpler and more pleasurable to ignore them and spend his time reading.

He remained distant for their sakes, and his own peace. There were fewer arguments and choosing of sides to gain favour when he made it so abundantly clear, he wasn't watching for who was supposedly on his side or against him. Choosing sides and taking up arms and cause, politicking for favour was pointless when it didn't lead to a chance at advancement.

A peaceful afternoon indeed. Perhaps only at Justice High, one of Southtown's most elite (and thus ridiculously expensive) campuses, could one find this sort of meditative midday reading break without incident. Japanese pop culture often refers to huge forests as a 'sea of trees,' and the gentle rustling white nose of leaves in the breeze makes that moniker sensible: their gentle, just-arrhythmic-enough swaying gives the impression of waves breaking on a shore. The fact that the other students are giving Jin a wide berth, considering the sort of rich kid Justice attracts, probably says a lot about Jin.

And yet...

A trained fighter, Jin Kazama can almost certainly tell when a 'presence' of a certain type is nearby. Put one way, those people in the world called 'fighters' exert a certain kind of pressure on the energy around them merely by existing. Some can dampen that presence, others revel in it... a few even *weaponize* it as part of their style. But it exists nonetheless. And now there is one... above him? In the tree?

That doesn't seem right.

But if he looks up, or otherwise turns his attention to the tree, he can get a glimpse of someone sitting unobtrusively on a high branch, swinging their legs with a sort of distracted and curious expression. He... seems possibly of the right age to be a Justice student, with a young-ish face, but the freckled cheeks and short, messy dark red hair definitely are not the norm here. Nor is his clothing -- a waist-length black changshan with gold embroidery, and a pair of simple blue jeans -- the sort you'd see on a Justice student, either.

And whether Jin turns to notice him at not, the individual does eventually speak, absolutely regarding Jin Kazama with an emerald-eyed look of indisguised curiousity. "Well. Gotta say, you're not what I expected."

The book claps shut in Jin's hand.

Drawing his knee up the teen then rests his forearm across that upraised knee, huge and heavy looking weighted gauntlets covering the back of his forearm and plain to see from a vantage point in the tree. A pause before he angles his head a little to the side and glances up into the tree above.

Whatever this encounter it was clear they were inferred to be 'looking for him' since there were 'expectations' involved. That they had concealed their presence well enough to get into the tree or premeditatedly been waiting above him until the moment they'd chosen to reveal themselves? It spoke more to this being a surprisingly polite assassination attempt than anything else in his experience.

He angles his head back down rather than offering a quick reply. If it came to violence, best to preserve his eyesight rather than be caught staring into the sun above.

"I am who and what I am."

A Mishima. It was more clear to Jin how much of his life was now influenced and owed to his Grandfather. Mishima were beset on all sides by enemies and the envious who sought to topple them and take for their own. The Teenage heir was hiding nothing, if the man had indeed expected something other than this perhaps he was looking at the wrong person.

Not -entirely- implausible, assassination attempt on the wrong target could possibly happen.

Setting the book down against the roots of the tree he's well prepared for this to turn into a life or death struggle without even changing his position against the trunk.

Mishima blood burned hot, quick to anger and slow to forgive. When 'diluted' as his grandfather put it... with Kazama blood. The boy outwardly appears to be more disappointed that someone had interrupted him.

A slow tilt of his head to the side is all the reaction this stranger gives Jin, though he seems genuinely interested at the tenor of his response: 'I am what I am, and nothing more.' Some secret, unshared joke or memory twists the redhead's expression into a smile. If he's an assassin, he definitely is hiding it under a lot of layers right now; there is genuine warmth in the smile, as if what Jin said actually pleased him. Be-sneakered feet continue to swing back and forth as the branch sitter observes the situation.

"You know," he says conversationally, before shoving with both hands and dropping out of the tree to land on the ground. The fall isn't so far that he lands hard, maybe only a handful of feet, and it's clear from his movements that he's practiced at the sort of movement one associates with professional fighters. "They don't give you a handbook for this sort of thing, you know?" Bringing a hand up to his chin, the newcomer taps a finger against his cheek. "Other than like... anime or whatever. Isn't that how this works? You, the hero, enjoying a pleasant day alone. Me, the mysterious knowing figure, maybe standing on top of a tall building? Uh... or something like that."

The hand at the young man's chin covers his mouth and he clears his throat, then brings both hands down and locks his fingers behind his back. It's a weirdly child-like gesture, given the way he talks, but there's still good humor on his face as he regards Jin carefully. "Anyhow my POINT is, all of this... dramatic stuff, where I--" and here, his voice becomes more resonant, affectedly dramatic, "--sense a great power and go to find what rakish young blade stalks among us that I had never sensed before." His voice drops back to its normal tone and cadence. "Or whatever. That IS what happened, though."

The redhead extends a hand, leaving the other to fall at his side. "It's nice to meet you, Jin Kazama. My name's Rei Hazuki. But you can call me 'Frei' if you like."

Jin follows the trajectory of his opponent out of the tree. A light and spry landing that would be surprising if not for the fact the man had already gained advantage over him once already. Not to be taken lightly. Jin rolls his back forward and pushes himself to his feet in one smooth movement using a single leg. Inches taller than Frei the teen probably had a good thirty pounds of weight and most of it muscle; nearly all evident in a broad chest and shoulders a simple white dress shirt can't conceal.

How Jin reacts to being called a hero however. A gauntleted hand reaches up to the back of his head, a portrait of discomfort and confusion. That one made absolutely no sense to him.

The drama, the essence of theatre and way that 'the' story is told. The references to genre, culture and a constant stream of good natured cheer strikes and breaks upon Jin like the ocean crashing against the shoreline. There's no sign of recognition, no acknowledgement or shared understanding. It can be seen in his eyes.

"Oh. ..yes." [No, not really but he was trying to be nice.]

It's about his speed that he was paying careful attention to which hand Frei had coughed into. Just in case it was a subtle and clever way to introduce a weapon, yet reacts without hesitation to take and likewise shake Frei's hand. He doesn't bother sharing his name since Frei already knew it. It was polite... but seemed redundant.

"Pleased to meet you."

Actually, he was rather confounded but you didn't just come out right and say that to someone's face.

As if reading Jin's mind, Frei gives the Kazama scion a slightly crooked smile as he takes his hand back, letting it fall to his side as the other one did. "Yeah," he says, grinning. "I get that a lot." Get WHAT a lot? Maybe he finds Jin's confusion amusing? Certainly there is something weirdly... penetrating about the green-eyed gaze. The person standing in front of Jin can't be older than his early 20s or so, but the eyes... well, the eyes don't lie. And those are some OLD eyes.

Making a low 'mmmmmm' in the back of his throat, Frei starts to walk a lazy circle around Jin. Keeping a respectable distance -- trying not to seem threatening -- but also very clearly *inspecting* him in some way. "You're definitely what I felt, though. How strange. Hmmm." Step, circle, step. "You'd think with all that power, you'd be out in the world right now, getting involved. I mean, especially since you're connected to old man Heihachi, aren't you?" All of this delivered in a light, conversational tone, as if he were discussing the weather rather than matters of heavy import. "But you're here reading a book against a tree. Hmmm."

Having made a full circle, Frei stops, bringing a hand up to his chin again, tilting his head slightly as he looks at Jin. "You're probably thinking: who's this jerk dropping out of the sky to judge me! Right? I wouldn't blame you there." He shrugs. "I figure you have a lot of questions about stuff. But hey, so do I. And as a wise man said..."

The redhead steps back, then his entire posture changes. One leg goes back, the other arched slightly forward. Hands held straight, one arm crooked so that the palm faces back toward Frei himself, the other held outward as if he were asking Jin to 'stop'. A fighting stance, a martial arts stance.

"The answer lies in the heat of battle. Or something like that," Frei finishes, smiling. "Indulge me, Jin Kazama. Show me what you've got."

COMBATSYS: Frei has started a fight here.

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Frei             0/-------/-------|

In the purest sense this man was correct. Jin was amassing and fostering his strength as fast as he could. Chasing a level the elder heirs Lee Chaolan and his Father had set and were still called disappointments by his grandfather. The phrasing used in addressing the Zaibatsu chairman and unstoppable force that was: 'old man Heihachi?' that forces a surprised blink but otherwise Jin remains stoic.

Raising his forearm he screws his arm around ensuring massive gauntlet is bound tight with the croak of leather accompanying. He was vaguely curious about this new opponent but not to the point he'd sit down and dig for answers. His path wasn't one where he needed much in the way of information or allies.

"You are right on one point. Power is everything."

That was drilled into him endlessly, a painful and frustrating lesson. There was no justice or fairness besides that which you could forge and make real with your two hands. How he would use his-

A short step to the side and forward to open his stance and the arms push forward into stance. Attack was already invited and Mishima did not shy away from a challenge. He could almost hear his grandfather bellowing at him.

It's a straight lunge, direct and forceful as though he intended to punch through 'Frei' and his fist emerge the other side.

Kazama Jin!! Show me your resolve.

His grandfather's words, his grandfather's voice but screaming at him from inside his head.

COMBATSYS: Jin has joined the fight here.

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Frei             0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0              Jin

COMBATSYS: Frei dodges Jin's Strong Punch.

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Frei             0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0              Jin

Jin is fast, and strong. The punch he delivers is good execution, using all the principles of proper martial arts training. But the person he's up against is no slouch either. Still, it's a close call; Jin's fist shears through the air mere centimeters from Frei's torso as he pivots on one foot, moving smoothly out of the way with the flowing steps of tai chi, the stance he had been in. He can feel the wind of its passage, feel the power that went into blow, and can count himself fortunate indeed that he was able to avoid it in time... if only just.

But when Frei's circular movement brings him to a stop, his stance has changed. There is something more forceful about it, now; less flexible, more rigid. His formerly open hands are balled into fists and -- perhaps not helping at all with Jin's seeing Heihachi in his mind's eye -- arcs of blue-white lightning spark and play across Frei's knuckles.

"Hmmm. Do you really think that?" he asks, tilting his head at Jin, a genuine question. 'Power is everything.' But there's something about Jin that makes the redhead sennin wonder if he ACTUALLY believes it. "Certainly, power has its uses, I won't deny that..."

As if to underscore his point, Frei takes this moment to step forward, taking one big and swift movement into Jin's reach, extending one closed fist only to attempt to drive it, lightning and all, into Jin's stomach in one swift, striking motion. A very different side of him than the fluid movements he showed just a moment ago!

COMBATSYS: Jin counters Fierce Punch from Frei with Over The Limit.

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Frei             0/-------/-----==|=------\-------\0              Jin

Did he really think that? Believe in his grandfather?

Seizing the oncoming blow with both hands. Jin is already stepping aside and wrenching the arm with him to force it up behind Frei's back. Drawing his opponent toward and he sidesteps and slides into their back, now back to back he shifts his grip on one arm to set his elbow against the side their head and sweeps his body right throwing with a whipping motion of torso and limb. Catapulting his opponent away in a relatively painless tumble across the turf.

Stitches of blue lightning crackles around the open hand hanging at his side while fingers twitch awkwardly, Jin scowls and makes a very deliberate effort to tighten it back into a balled fist, the blue is overwhelmed by a red lightning that dissipates quickly.

Screwing his eyes shut Jin appears to be chastising himself. Hearing his grandfather's voice like that had made him a little more nervous than he'd like to admit. Using Kazama-ryu in his presence would have been frowned upon greatly, but it was instinctual and fruit of all the many years of training with his gentle Mother.

"Nothing matters more than power."

Good people died because they didn't have the power to protect what was important to them, trying anyway was futile. Back into stance and eyes flicking open to seemingly bore holes through the cheery redhead there's clearly some damage to Jin's calm.

If the man had something to say he should speak it plainly, if his ideals clashed with Heihachi's then he could take it up with the Chairman himself. Why come to me?

The defensive technique takes Frei by surprise, as one might expect a swift and effective counter to do. He appears to be able to roll with the (proverbial) punches well enough, however; as the redhead goes whipping around in an arc described by Jin's countermove, he rights himself at the very last second, landing on the ground in a 3-point crouch, looking up at the potential Mishima heir. 'Nothing matters more than power.' "Hmmmm." That's all he offers, at first, as the sennin rises to his feet, dusting himself off and getting back into yet another fighting stance. The wide set of the feet, the closed fist held forward, are similar to the last, but have a quality all their own. If Jin knows his Chinese arts, this man has gone from tai chi, to kung fu, to hung gar, just since the fight has started.

"Does that mean you think you don't have power?" Frei asks, innocently enough, watching Jin's face for a reaction. "After all, you were sitting here reading under a tree. Which to me says one of two things: you think you're so powerful that you're above all this... or you're afraid you don't have enough power to accomplish what you want and are running from it."

Bringing both hands up to chest height, Frei suddenly slams them both toward the ground, palms down, until they reach waist height, as if pushing something invisible into the ground below him. In response, a ring of stones suddenly erupts upward from the ground, spinning in a lazy helix around the redhead, who gives Jin a serious look. "So, which one is it? Or is it... something else? If power is all that REALLY matters, then show me!"

Frei takes one heavy step forward, then thrusts both palms out at Jin. The ring of stones suddenly fly off, as if the motion of Frei's arms were carrying them away, the rocky projectiles flying at Jin one after another.

COMBATSYS: Frei successfully hits Jin with Shatterheart.

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Frei             0/-------/----===|===----\-------\0              Jin

Clumps of earth bouncing off his flesh and falling to the ground around him after striking. His face tucked neatly behind the v of his crooked elbow with his other arm crossing his body. Jin deflected little of the barrage but he also moved not an inch in retreat or to evade the onslaught. It was a pelting with rocks and while it stung, he wasn't pierced through or dead; that was good enough.

Did he think he had power? Compared to anyone in his family? The gulf between he and they were mountains by his hillside, his grandfather towered over most all martial artists on the planet. Their power however was not his to use, and they weren't allies. They fostered strength in others by beating it into you.

Unfurling his arms and standing tall still after the pummelling stops and there no further risk of filling his eyes with grit and dust. Jin switches gears back into offense as soon as he's confirmed for himself that attack was at an end. A quick one-two combination of left and right as he tries to setup and catch his opponent on the chin after thundering toward him over the broken and rubble covered ground in a sprint. Muddied but still white shirt tails flying behind him after losing so many buttons.

COMBATSYS: Frei blocks Jin's Aggressive Strike.

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Frei             0/-------/---====|===----\-------\0              Jin

The first blow in the combination, the left, slams into Frei's suddenly upraised forearm with a resoundingly stinging impact. The second finds the sennin's palm coming from the opposite direction, shunting the majority of the blow's force off to the side. If he were the aggressive type, Frei could press his advantage, Jin having recklessly surged into his guard and taken a chance on that blow, but for now the redhead seems content to back off a step, getting back into a loose stance once more, the more fluid shape of a 'soft' martial art. Both Shaolin and Wudang -- Buddhist and Taoist -- influences in this style, it would seem.

"No answer, huh," Frei says gently, tilting his head to the left somewhat, watching Jin's reaction. "Well not everyone's the talking type in battle." For a moment his mind slips to Ryu, the fighter where 'the answer lies in the heat of battle' can be attributed. More importantly, to something else Ryu had said, while fighting with Frei: that fighters can say more with their fists. And what exactly did Jin's fists say? Shaking off Frei's technique, rushing in, making strong, swift attacks even at the risk of opening himself up to further hurt. But not without confidence. It's not that Jin has no doubts, but rather that he doesn't let himself hesitate.

Perhaps fighters DO speak better with their fists. But in his own way, Frei's not a fighter. Perhaps his style is to ask a direct question... and let Jin's fists respond, as needed.

"You said that you are 'who and what you are'," Frei says, carefully, circling slowly, one leg crossing in front of the other in a sideways stalk. "But who ARE you? I can feel it... that well of power within you. I'm sure you're not using it, not really; but is that because you *can't* use it? Or you *won't* use it?"

Kicking off the ground, Frei drives back for Jin, arms creating graceful spirals in the air. Tendrils of bright, azure water flow in the path of his motions as Frei ducks low, swinging his arms down, attempting to entangle Jin in the helices of water at close range; once they're in place, the water freezes immediately into sharp, cold chains of ice. "Who ARE you, Jin Kazama?"

COMBATSYS: Frei successfully hits Jin with Ebb and Flow.

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Frei             0/-------/--=====|=====--\-------\0              Jin

Who was Jin? He was an Avenger. There was no-one left to save, the only path left open to him was this quest for retribution and a modicum of Justice. Not the least part a hero. The intense cold surrounding the binding chains of ice turns Jin's breath into an exhaled plume of white. Seemingly completely immobile with every limb snared in place. Face turned down and eyes shrouded in shadow. These were worthless taunts to encourage introspection and hesitation where none was necessary.

"I've already told you."

The statue of a teenager growls since his patience was wearing thin. A chime and sharp crack the only warned before the shattering of bonds with at least one arm tearing free. The grab for crown of Frei's head, to drawing him up and in close before pulverizing knock delivered brow to brow.

"I am --who I am!"

Not Mishima enough to abandon his happy childhood with his Mother; nor strong enough to seek revenge as a Kazama without Mishima training. The strength he needed for his revenge was otherworldly; he'd endure any measure of punishment to achieve it. Use any edge he possessed.

The red material of his armguard scarred and torn where he'd wrenched it free. The complete lack of hesitation and effort it must have taken he'd be tearing the skin off his arm just for the chance to strike back at someone who thought they had him bound or backed into a corner. A brute of a man -- or a desperate one.

COMBATSYS: Frei endures Jin's Stone Head.

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Frei             0/-------/=======|=======\-------\0              Jin

There is nothing about the person that Jin is fighting -- not his relatively slight build, nor his seemingly momentum and energy-based fighting style -- which suggests that he is in any way durable or 'tough'. And yet, when the potential Mishima heir comes for Frei, the sennin plants both feet behind him, takes a deep breath, and as Jin breaks free of the chains of frost, pulls his elbows back at waist height, fists balled. He waits.

The impact is inevitable.

Jin can feel the *crack!* and pressure/weight of his headbutt connecting against Frei's own forehead. But the critical thing is that the redhead *does not move*. If Jin's got time to look down, he can notice that the earth itself is actually, and very subtly, *holding him in place*. Does nothing to lessen the impact, but it does mean that for a brief and very crucial second, Jin Kazama is EXACTLY where Frei wants him.

With a yell, the earthly bonds around his feet receding, the sennin reaches out and attempts to snap an arm on to Jin's extended hand, the one holding his head in place...

COMBATSYS: Frei successfully hits Jin with Ride the Autumn Gale EX.

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Frei             0/-------/-======|=======\==-----\1              Jin

Grip achieved, Frei lets out a wordless kiai, kicking off the ground and rising skyward, both his body and Jin's surrounded in a swirling mass of wind. Their ascent an angled spiral, at the apex of their journey Frei swings Jin's entire body around and, using the gathered wind for force, just... *lets go* of the Kazama fighter's arm, the burst of wind sending him flying.

As he touches gently back down onto the ground, Frei lets out a breath... and then rubs his forehead, muttering in a barely audible, sotto voce tone, "Great joke opportunity about using your head, totally wasted. Bummer."

Getting back into another tai chi-esque stance, Frei tracks Jin with his green-eyed gaze. "That's a circular argument," Frei says, louder, intending to be heard this time. "Not necessarily incorrect. But unhelpful. Even speaking with your fists, you haven't said anything differently than the words coming out of your mouth. It's all about power. But you know?"

And here, Frei lets a weary smile spread across his face. "I don't see that inside you, Jin Kazama. I feel like everyone -- maybe even you -- are scared of rage, of anger. Like a fire that will consume you? But that's not what I see." His smile fades and a rare and serious expression spreads across the freckled face.

"I see a man drowning. I think there's something in you, but it's not fire. It's water... dark, deep water where you can't see the bottom. You're not afraid the fire will consume you; you're afraid the water will drown you."

A pause. "You're afraid that who 'Jin Kazama' is will disappear, because of power. Am I wrong?"

That brief moment of jarring white and stinging pain as brows collide. Then all the captured Jin can do is watch impotently as the wind begins to rise. A caged beast would pace and rage; he could do neither and only glower. The cracks in his cage appearing only moments before he and the shards of it are thrown into the air.

The smash when he hits the ground is hard enough to feel through the soles of ones feet at a dozen spaces. Having crashed down on his back and bouncing with a half roll so that he comes to a stop with his head crooked beneath him and the breadth of his shoulders pressed to the ground supporting him in this tepee formation with his buttocks aimed at the heavens.

It's exceptionally undignified. It should bother him more, but it doesn't. Calves curling up and planting his hands on the ground the youth kip-up's back to his feet and makes a show of putting his hand to the back of his neck and working his head through a twist and turn back and forth.

"If you are going to talk so much to your opponent. The wind makes it difficult for you to be heard."

He'd heard enough of what was said. Perhaps that was just another trick in his opponent's assorted bag but he caught words and the general gist. The stranger was wrong though, he wasn't afraid.

"I need power to accomplish my goals. Everything after that is an afterthought."

Or so far off... a dream within a dream. If he accomplished his goals then he'd have to find a new reason to live and path to walk. He would not be then who he was now. That, would be a relief. There would be a peace to that outcome.

Back into stance, digging in where he'd fallen Jin can't help but hold a grudge with Frei's assessment of him. His foot grinds down and he sinks his heel in, the same leg that would normally be wearing the black uniform pants decorated with burning flames. There was something about being that cheerful and nosy that put him right off his game.

Heaven help him if he ever met a girl like that.

COMBATSYS: Jin enters a meditative state.

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Frei             0/-------/-======|=======\====---\1              Jin

At the suggestion that his windy attack makes his loudmouthed screed hard to hear... well. Frei can only give an embarassed smile. He even rubs the side of his head, sheepishly, in a sort of tacit agreement. "Yeah, well. I think you heard me loud and clear anyway."

Jin doesn't attack, doesn't make a move. He merely takes a moment and simply... centers. It's the sort of move Frei can appreciate. Not everyone has the ability to stay calm or collected in combat, after all. That said... the sennin can tell that there's more going on under the surface than Jin's stoic expression and minimal conversation reveal. Ah, to be a psychic and be able to know what it was. As it is, he has to rely on good old fashioned intuition... and a healthy dose of having done this song and dance before.


Frei doesn't attack, either; instead, he too centers himself, unmoving except for his hands, which swim in lazy but not patternless circles in the air. There is nothing so flashy as a 'burst' of his aura, or anything of the sort, but Jin can definitely sense A Change in his opponent, spiritually speaking. The energy of the air is changing, resonating.

"You still didn't answer my question. I feel like you're willing to throw your entire life away for something, but not because you think that thing is worth your life. You're willing to do it because you can't see what's on the other side."

Frei's hands come to a stop in a ready stance, his face serene as he stares down Jin. "Power is less important than will. A great power is useless without the will and the wisdom to control it. And will can take many forms, but one of them is hope: the will to survive in the face of overwhelming odds, in the face of fear. So let me ask you one last time: who are you, Jin Kazama? Are you someone who TRULY thinks power is the only worthwhile end? Because if so..."

Frei's extended hand closes into a fist. Scarlet flame erupts from said fist, coiling around the sennin's entire body like a sinuous dragon's tail.

"...that would be a tragedy in the making."

COMBATSYS: Frei gathers his will.

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Frei             1/-----==/=======|=======\====---\1              Jin

The sennin might have arrived at the closest possible point of understanding regarding Jin Kazama's life of any other living member of the human race. All that remained could never be adequately conveyed, deep feelings of hurt and loss that lead to the decision to embrace an outcome like this, with clarity accepting all of the costs involved. The beast that killed his mother would die.

Not even survival mattered more than Vengeance.

The kickoff throws Jin forward. If his opponent will not come to him than he has no choice but to advance, the likelihood he was charging straight into another trap was high but this was simply how Mishima do (perhaps with the exception of his Uncle Lee.) A shoulder height snapping kick evident as he leaps into the fray with knee already rising and cocked only for him to feint and drop low into an ankle sweep instead.

All this time Jin remains silent.

He's said his piece and hidden nothing from the man, this Frei could keep digging into his motives forever and a day and find only what was honest and plain. Not articulated well and never elaborated on but it was pure, dangerously coloured with an angry teen's righteousness and wrath.

COMBATSYS: Frei blocks Jin's Fierce Kick.

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Frei             1/---====/=======|=======\===----\1              Jin

Jin says, "swept... into sitting down relatively unharmed and only faintly perturbed by the events?"

For all his mysterious, didactic speech in this fight so far, Frei has indeed been taking Ryu's advice: listening to what Jin's fists have told him. All the sennin can see at this point is a drowning man, adrift on a dark and formless sea. Not powerless; if anything, that power is the sea in which he's drowning. Jin Kazama is a man without a future, and that is exceptionally sad, to Frei's eyes. Hope is the most precious thing there is: the belief that somehow, tomorrow will be better than today. But hope cannot be given, or taken. It must be found within. It starts with belief.

As the Kazama fighter runs at him for yet another attack, it occurs to Frei that Jin might... not be ready for that. Not today, at any rate.

"I kind of knew this would be your answer," the redhead says quietly. "But I kinda hoped I'd be wrong."

It's the knee that gives it away, and Jin almost gets away with it, but at the last second, letting the instincts of his body build his reaction, Frei notices the prepared knee. Instead of banking it all on a high evasion, he drops to one knee, placing a hand on the ground. The sweep is powerful, but only to the extent that it could take Frei by surprise. Allowed to prepare for it, to use his elemental control to bolster himself much as he did with the headbutt, a crushing impact becomes bruising instead.

For a moment, the two combatants are low to the ground, near each other but not... exactly. It may be more surprising yet, however, that Frei stands up and takes a step back from Jin, rather than making a counter attack of some kind. He exhales a long, slow breath... and then drops out of stance, rather than giving any indication he plans to keep fighting.

"I guess that's all for now," he says, and Frei definitely sounds... disappointed? Sad, even? Maybe some combination of the two. But when he looks at Jin, there is compassion in his gaze, his features soft, his lips bordering on but not quite forming a smile.

"I really did come here because I sensed a great power, you know," he says, conversationally. "And it really was you. It could be not even *you* know it yet, but there's potential in you, Jin... unforged, raw potential. A lot of it. But you're... out of balance."

Shaking his head sadly, Frei turns his head upward, looks up at the tree branches he was sitting on when this all started. "You don't have any reason to trust me, I know. And I probably sound very preachy right now. But I'm going to give you some advice anyway." Turning his head back to Jin, he gives the Kazama-style fighter a serious expression. "What I felt in your fists was a destroyer. You wanted to tear me down, break me apart... and not without good reason. I came out of nowhere, provoked you, attacked you. But being a destroyer... it's a waste of the things that are good in you, Jin. And I know they have to be there, because if they weren't, you'd have given in to that power you have, that I can sense."

Lacing his fingers together, Frei stretches his arms up, arching them over his head. "But someday you're going to have to come to terms with it one way or another. And... you're probably not going to accomplish that lying around at school reading books."

COMBATSYS: Frei takes no action.

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Frei             1/---====/=======|=======\===----\1              Jin

He--?! Likewise straightening from his crouch though still at a loss, Jin focuses more on the withdrawal. Why did this feel oddly familiar? When his mother withdrew her hand or held back to avoid harming him further ...she was teaching him. It felt like a failure in that there was traditionally some expectation he was meant to understand or take in a lesson during a session.

"... Perhaps that is so."

Would Jin even be in school if it were his choice? If it were not a legal requirement of the country and a demand placed upon the Mishima heirs that they excel in all facets of life. Projecting dominance in all things martial and social was as much a part of the Mishima as the Zaibatsu, or the self-titled martial art only family members were practitioners of.

Jin was strong. He himself already and understood knew his life had no balance, Mishima karate was foundationally based on crushing ones opponents, to the point it damaged the users limbs with the force of attacks. Hense the protective armguards. The man's observations regarding Jin are faultless but up to this point yet to tell the youth anything he doesn't already know. Except- Whatever this great power was, if it didn't come when called or respond to threat then it couldn't be counted on or used, it made no impact on his drives and aims.

It might not even be his, perhaps there was someone else lurking nearby throwing off Frei's aim, or senses or something.

"I would have forgone attending school to train if it were allowed. This is my purpose and perhaps no-one can understand that but me."

Perhaps the stranger was right, eyes closed and still angry with himself for having these feelings Jin turns away. His shirt torn and dirtied he was no longer presentable to remain at school and the point raised that school was pointless regarding his ambitions resonated within him. He could hardly be expected to remain under these conditions.

"Your insights are appreciated."

He was strong, he had power and Jin could barely lay a finger on him. Jin was in no position to fault Frei if his strength was insufficient to match the others. Experience was as important as training, being still green and lacking in the former he might one day be a respectable opponent. Jin makes no move to recover his book though instead raising a hand in an offhanded wave of thanks as he turns his back to walk off toward the entrance.

COMBATSYS: Jin takes no action.

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Frei             1/---====/=======|=======\===----\1              Jin

For a moment, all Frei can do is tilt his head at Jin's laconic response. He hears the words 'are they, though?' line up in his head to be said, but swallows them at the last second. He's done enough; perhaps, too much, actually. Jin is young, after all, and this was all a bit of a whirlwind situation. Nothing would come of forcing the issue, after all. Any decision Jin makes that isn't his own, is a waste of time.

"I'll leave you be. Thanks for indulging a stranger's whim. If you ever decide you n--" He pauses, makes a face briefly and course corrects swiftly, "--could USE help of some kind, then I'm happy to offer it. But... think about what I've said, okay?"

With that, he half-turns, clearly ready to leave. "Just... be sure to make decisions you can live with afterwards. Feeling regret because you could have done something and didn't? It eats away at you. Trust me on that one."

And with that, the red-haired sennin turns and goes, leaving Jin to his own devices... whatever they might be.

COMBATSYS: Frei has left the fight here.

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

Log created on 20:06:27 09/19/2017 by Frei, and last modified on 19:55:48 09/21/2017.