Description: Back in form after her recent travails, Clio St. Jeanne decides to have a night on the town in Southtown, a city tense with the threat of war. A few people are dealing with that tension by beating each other senseless for money, and in observing one such brawl, Clio discovers an individual who may be linked to one of the NOL's most sought-after bounties...
Apparently in Southtown, the end of the world is nigh, or so the feeling is in the city right now. The UN's on the march, the Mishima zaibatsu has militarized the nation, and there was the bit where Mt. Fuji got nuked. So tensions run a little high. More than a few people did what seems like the smart thing: they bailed. A few others are in shelters or hiding. But now, on nights like this, with a clear moon overhead and winter's chill on the horizon but not quite here, a few people... unscruplous people with lots of rage to burn... decide to do something else.
Even at the best of times this underpass is away from prying eyes, but with the city in the state it's in there's even fewer 'normal' people about than usual. But the underpass and surrounding area is still lively with Southtown residents of all shapes and sizes, crowded around a central elliptical area which is largely clear, the entire lot dotted with empty metal drums in which burn bonfires for both light and warmth. The crowd is noisy, cheering and jeering, chatting amicably, trying to bury their anxieties in the spectacle of what it is they're observing. And what are they observing?
What else would it be?
In the center area, ringed by onlookers who are as much barrier as they are audience, stand two men of vastly different physiques. One is a giant of a man, muscles upon muscles, his shirtless frame showing the result of intense physical training. The other is... well. The other looks like a scrawny young man who can't be older than 20 and might very well be younger, wearing something that looks like a D&D-playing goth's take on a high school gakuran, complete with a red cross down one black pants leg, shirt open to mid-chest. But despite the very clear different in their sizes, the young man looks... cheerfully confident, hopping on the balls of his feet.
"Alright, folks, get in your bets!" shouts an announcer, from somewhere in the sea of onlookers. "On the east side, you all know him, it's Sano 'the Wall' Asanuma! And on the west side, the fresh meat..." Here, a pause for laughter. "...what'd you say your name was again, kid?"
The brown-haired probably-a-teen looks up at the question, chews it over a bit, and says, "You can call me 'Jaeger'."
"You heard him, folks! One last chance to make your bets before these two slug it out!"
The city that's being eaten by monsters and Gears. Though the line between them is nominal at best. Clio's already tried to defend something as simple as a coffee shop and it hasn't gone well. But she's back on her feet, had time to reconnect with the NOL proper and get herself reassigned. The beating has been a teaching opportunity, that she has a lot to learn and grow compared to the stifling nature of his position back in the states. And maybe it's best for her to reconnect with the joys of the night.
Out of uniform, in a purple hooded sweatshirt that drops to mid thighs, a pair of shorts that don't reach that give her outfit a bit more of a racy illusion than it really is. She has a pair of long socks to fight back against some of the cold, but she does enjoy the bite of the cold on the part of her that's showing. She scratches at an itch on the back of her calf with the boots she's modified with carpentry nails. Not an official NOL armagus, but pointy things to soft parts usually works without the infusion of chi energy.
Clio slinks about like a cat on the prowl, though it isn't very stealthy. The oversized chain and dog's collar she wears makes a steady clinking sound as she walks. But she skulks all the same, watching the fights, seeing what sort of night people remain when a war is crashing down all around them. What kind of hard scrabble life still clings on even when daytime is filled with the omens of apocalypses. Plural.
And one of them is a kid, a term that a girl barely past twenty shouldn't be throwing around so lightly. And one that's standing toe to toe with a hefty man. This just makes Clio grin. She's been around before, she knows just how true the nature of 'size of the fight in the dog' is. And his name, the perfect level of gimmick. Clio gives an approving nod.
Her head twists when the bets are called up. "Let me in on this!" she calls out, slinking by the scattered crowd. "The kid's going to clean up. Mark my words. Or prove me wrong and take my money! Someone's got to be man enough to try."
The night's young and already Clio is feeling how much better it is to be out of the sun and back here around the barrel fires and the freeing feeling of the moonlit nights. It's good to be home.
Maybe it's the energy in Clio's voice, but there's more than a few people willing to take her bet... and, they assume, her money. For a second, 'Jaeger' turns his head to the crowd, scanning, though there's too many people for him to see Clio, or even really get a sense of any individual person. There is the sound of betting, though, and that suits 'Jaeger' just fine. After all, if he wins, it's a cut of the house take that goes home with him, which is the whole point of this entire endeavor.
After a brief period of bets, though, it all comes to a halt, the announcer from before making an actual appearance in the ring... an oily-looking man clearly in his middle age, if not older, but dressed sharply in a good suit. "Alright, bets closed. You both know the rules," he says, looking back and forth between the fighters with a sly grin. "No weapons, but other than that anything goes. Loser's the one that either taps out, gets knocked out, or..." He pauses, lets the sentence hang, earning the crowd's loud approval. Apparently these people would be just fine if one of these two didn't walk out of here at all.
"Alright. FIGHT!" And with that, the dude backs out of the arena, the crowd cheering.
Aaaaaand for a second or two, they just stand there. Asanuma cracking his knuckles, perhaps walking very slowly toward 'Jaeger', cracking his knuckles, while the younger man just grins and rolls nis neck a big, punching one hand into the other gloved palm. This... the crowd doesn't like at all, because it is not the bloodsport they've paid for.
But for his part, 'Jaeger' just grins. "Come on, 'The Wall'. Take a swing. I'd go for the first shot but we don't want to let the crowd down so fast, do we?" It's a typical goad, practically amateurish, but given the situation it seems to work. Asanuma's footfalls speed up and he leads off with a very traditional right straight, a fist like a sack of bricks heading toward the smaller fighter's head with deceptive speed.
But just as it would have connected, 'Jaeger' suddenly ducks backwards, a barely perceptible amount, the fist shearing right by him close enough for his hair to ruffle with the passing breeze. "Not bad, not bad. Give it another go."
The crowd's not entirely mollified, here -- nobody got hit yet -- but they're at least not threatening to riot. Maybe this will be interesting after all.
Returning to the crowds, Clio slips around the back and takes ducking views here and there between arms and under elbows. "Fuck," she mutters, hearing the short ebb and flow of crowd murmuring about a fight that's only so-so on the entertainment meter. Even if it's not going anywhere quickly, the fact is she has a lot of her money riding on the kid and she wants to see. Curse the world of being under five and a half feet tall.
Undaunted by the position that genetics put upon her, she gets a distance back from the fight and unclips her chain. Markings glow along the length, magical formulas literally etched into the metal. With a whirl and a quick thump, it embeds above her and she's soon watching things from a much higher vantage point.
After she shoos away a number of roosting pigeons.
And then her arm cramps and she climbs back down to watch the fight on her toes. Not as exciting and dramatic, but less obvious and pigeon-y. It's not the best view, but if the kid was quick, Clio was happy with the thought of being able to pocket a sizeable chunk of change. She just wouldn't let Tsubaki know she was gambling.
Asanuma isn't happy with not being able to tag his opponent, whose evasions are effectively but very minimal, almost like the subtle footwork of a boxer. The problem is that it makes things look too easy for him, so the crowd's getting restless, especially since 'Jaeger' hasn't done anything to strike back as of yet. With a shrug and a sigh, he loosens his stance a bit, nods at his opponent, and simply says: "My turn."
With a swift, sure movement, he suddenly lunges forward with impressive speed, mimicking the same maneuver his opponent started the match with. Asanuma, however, lacks 'Jaeger's speed, and the youth's gloved fist smacks into the shirtless hulk's torso with a wet *THWACK*. The crowd oohs at this development... and then oohs more when Asanuma seems more annoyed than hurt by this, using the younger man's moment of surprise to clock him one across the jaw.
Separated for a moment, 'Jaeger' is turned away, before swinging back around into stance, wiping a bit of blood from his mouth with a grin. "Making me bleed wasn't a good idea, buddy, but I can tell it's gonna take more than one punch to take you out, huh..."
Clio emerges from the crowd as some of them get bored enough to loosen up. Being one of those with money on the line, she has a bit more invested than the ones hoping for a free show of two brutes beating the tar out of each other. Now at the front, she can see what is actually happening. So she rocks back on her heels and rests her hands inside of her hoodie pockets.
She may have the look of disaffected youth, but Clio's attention is tightly on the two fighters. Big and strong, Asanuma isn't moving around like he could be. She figures he's simply used to being big. Strong, tough, named The Wall for a reason, but she doubts he knows just how fast a man his size could be moving in a moment like this.
Then she compares the jaeger. Faster, moving more easily. She put good money on him. Only to watch him try to punch a man with more abs than sense. Clio shuts her eyes and lets out a little sigh. Bye money, you were good while you lasted.
But wait. Clio's eyes open up when Jaeger gives his little taunt. She gets a small smile about her as she licks her teeth. Money might be coming right back home after all. And the fact this kid took a fist like that, well, things might be more interesting than money tonight.
Now the crowd's into it, because, well... now they're fighting. Trading blows. And it becomes increasingly clear, however, that while 'Jaeger' may not be using any particularly fancy martial arts -- he is a brawler, though a fast and skilled one -- he is definitely more than he first appeared to be. Asanuma gets in a hit here or there, but the result is almost more unnerving than when the youth was just dodging the hits; now it seems like 'Jaeger' just doesn't CARE, taking a punch and then shrugging it off like it didn't happen before landing a punch or two back on Asanuma. Now people who made bets with less savvy than Clio's critical eye are less sure about their return on investment.
But it does seem like, tough as he is, 'Jaeger' is having a hard time knocking Asanuma out, 'The Wall' living up to his name. Grimacing a little, the younger man shrugs. "Well... I didn't want to do this, but hey, buck up. It means you're a pretty tough guy."
That statement causes a moment of hesitation in Asanuma, and that's all his opponent needs. One hand comes down to his side and, barely noticable by anyone, his brown eyes suddenly shift to a dark scarlet color. A fluid red haze erupts from his gloved palm, flowing around it in a barely-shaped mass of fluid scarlet, before the 'Jaeger' shouts, "Bloodedge!" and swings his arm around.
The flowing scarlet becomes a bloody crescent, scything through the air and right into Asanuma, who is knocked clear out of the ring, bouncing off a nearby support pillar and slumping to the ground. By the time the shocked crowd looks back into the ring, all traces of that attack are gone, and 'Jaeger' is brushing off his jacket.
With an astonished expression, the announcer stumbles into the ring and half-shouts, "Your winner by knock-out... Jaeger!"
It sure got flashy at the end, but the crowd is as confused as they are pleased. 'Jaeger', for his part, is entirely happy to collect his winnings and get the hell out of there before people start asking uncomfortable questions to which he has no answers. Once the stack of bills is in his hands, he turns to leave... and few, if any, dare bother to stop him.
It's a good fight. At the very least entertaining and innocent enough mutual beatings for the sake of cash. Compared to a Gear, a darkstalker, and more than a handful of soldiers of various nationalities, watching bloodsport was a quiet night.
But then the move. Clio's eyes widen when she hears it, and when she sees it. The tell tale signs. The name she knows. Or at least the epithet. Not much to get full suspicious of. After all, anyone could be a copycat and a name like Bloodedge is sure to attract that. There's no reason to get involved at all. Just collect her winnings, avoid the angry men who no doubt are feeling hustled, and get back to her lodgings.
Screw that, Clio is not the type to leave a curious stone unturned and this one has little flowers painted on it a note that says 'don't turn me'. Not without her winnings, Lt. St. Jeanne of the NOL slips her hood up and starts a more serious bout of stalkery.
Stalking, that is, by way of simply walking a number of paces behind the boy, this Jaeger, and seeing where he's heading off to. Not going to stop him, but it's pretty doubtful he won't notice the girl following him around in the dead of night while he carries a stack of cash.
He doesn't round on her immediately, no; the man called Jaeger just walks away from the fights, along the embankment, occasionally looking off into the river to his right rather than at the streetlights up in the world of normal people up the intermittent stairs he passes on his left. He might even hum a little, throwing his hands in his pockets. If he knows he's being followed he doesn't seem to care much. His pace doesn't alter, his body language is relaxed enough.
But once it's clear they're a good, decent ways away from anyone, fight observer or otherwise, that's when the young man comes to a stop and halfway looks over his shoulder, not entirely turning toward the woman in the hoodie who's in step behind him. He keeps his hands in his pockets; for someone else, that might be a threatening gesture, but since Clio has seen what he can do with his bare hands alone, it's somewhat the opposite. Not aggressive, relaxed. But wary.
"Listen, if you're stalking me 'cause you lost money, lemme just tell ya, you're not gettin' any of mine. I got important stuff to do with it, like getting a place to sleep and some food," he says, keeping his voice casual. "Not tryin' to be a Grinch or anything, just callin' it like it is."
Clio rests on her heel, her hands come out of her pockets. She holds them up, palms out, to show she really isn't armed. Though that does put her hands at level of the collar hanging loose at her neck, and therefore her chain. She has seen what this guy can do. "If anything, I should be thanking you," she tells him, showing a smile and letting her hands drop back down.
Hip cocked, her eyes travel to Jaeger's hands. She doesn't do much to hide the appraising that's going on. "That thing you did. With the red and calling out Bloodedge. Pretty slick. Don't think the big guy had any idea you could pull something like that out. Of course, how many fighters of that class are just walking around a place like this at night?" she asks, head tilting questioningly.
"Never saw it coming." She laughs and pulls her hoodie down. "So what's your real name, kid?" she asks, despite her clearly not being much older at all.
When Clio proves not to be an angry bet-holder -- it's pretty clear from the expression on this youth's face that he's encountered at least one of those so far -- but rather someone just interested in the fight, his body language relaxes and he fully turns to face her. That said, he also keeps a respectable distance; he's more relaxed, but still wary, and not at all bothering to hide it, apparently. "Well, you're welcome. Don't spend it all in one place or anything." A ghost of a smile playing across his face definitely makes him seem more like a cocky high school kid than someone who just did... whatever it was he did back there.
At the suggestion that anything he did was 'slick' or what a 'class' of fighter he might be, the youth runs a hand through his messy brown hair absently. "Yeah the name thing probably sounds like sentai show stuff, but it helps me focus mentally, you know?" Is he actually embarassed about calling out an attack name? If it's good enough for Ryu or Terry Bogard, why not for this guy? "And you'd be surprised. I've been there a couple times. There's some folks who definitely know their fundamentals in that ring." Fundamentals, yes. Crescents of eldritch blood energy, probably not.
But when she finally shows her face, the youth seems to relent a bit on his wariness. "Name's Naoto Kurogane," he says, extending a hand for a handshake with a grin. "And I dunno about someone like you callin' me 'kid'."
"Now that I know your name, I don't have to call you kid, funny how stuff like that works out," Clio remarks. Her overall demeanor relaxes, her eyes slip to a half-lidded look of devil-may-care amusement. But her eyes are still very steady and very on top of Naoto Kurogame. And when he extends the hand, she takes it in her's.
"My name's Clio. Clio St. Jeanne," she introduces with a small grin. "And I haven't been around to too many fights like this in Japan. Little hard to up and travel what with the international incidents and impeding death to all below going on," she remarks with a quiet laugh. "Funny thing is. You're not the first person I've heard use a name like Bloodedge." She pauses a moment, looking for a sign of recognition from Naoto before continuing. "You know, if you want your gimmick to be all you. I know how annoying it can get when someone shows up and your thing is taken."
She grabs the oversized collar at her neck. "Like, you put together this whole thing and next thing you know you get some guy showing up one-upping you by being bigger and louder. Right?"
Later, Naoto's going to look on this moment and wish, as he often does, that he has more of a poker face, more guile and deceit in him. As it is, he really doesn't; you'd think for someone with so many ties to the supernatural he'd be less forthright and simple, but them's the breaks. When Clio mentions that there's another person she's heard of going by 'Bloodedge,' there's a perceptible and obvious change in his demeanor. Still, he manages to keep his voice from going too wild about it. "Yeah? It's not like, a stage gimmick or whatever," he says carefully. "I'm not building a brand or anything. But..."
SEVEN DAYS AGO:
Stumbling out of a dark alley, Naoto Kurogane entered the world. Literally. With a look of wild confusion, he definitely scared the hell out of some passing Southtown late night pedestrians by turning to what appeared to be an empty, dark alley, and shouting "What do you mean, 'find me'? Where the hell AM I?"
Clearing his throat, Naoto looks Clio over. She seems, if nothing else, street savvy... and halfway normal, which seems like it's kind of at a premium in this city he's been steadily surviving in, friendless and lost, for a week now. And if there's someone out there who can use the Bloodedge...
"Well... the truth is, I'm looking for someone," he says, in the tone of someone admitting a sheepish act. "That's why I'm in this city at all. If you don't mind my asking, who's this other person? They might know something about who I'm looking for."
"Build your brand. Fighters need gimmicks. Take a look at all the big ones and you'll see they have something that stands out. I mean, you have your fashion sense, but that's only so different, yaknow?" Clio points out, trying to be friendly. Bits of her are starting to feel sympathetic for the kid. He knows something, that she can figure out, but she's not getting any sort of anger off of him. He's kind of like a puppy, and Clio has a soft spot for puppies.
"A lot of people are looking for people. War does that kind of shit," she tells him, sighing and reaching behind her head to rub at the back of her neck and look back toward the distant city under threat. "If it's someone you care about, can you let me know? I do sort of a thing during the daytime, rescue work and such, I could look for you, tell them you're looking for them and maybe where you could be if you'll let me know." That out of the way vagueness and desire to help, she actually answers his question.
"If this has anything to do with bloodedge's, maybe you should just go home. People get hurt. And I can see you're tough, but some things aren't worth it." Clio St. Jeanne is a woman that definitely believes things can be worth it, the strain in her voice suggest that it's hard for her to even suggest that track and line of thinking, but she does it, because sometimes that's a good thing to say. Even if she doesn't genuinely believe it.
Naoto's head turns away slightly at the word 'war,' a weird gesture combining incredulity with confusion. Newspapers are still a thing, thankfully, or at least enough of a thing that in the past week, he's been able to gather that some very serious shit is going on wherever he is right now, a place that's recognizable as Japan... but very definitely not the Japan where he was attending high school and doing other things. Still, he hadn't really thought of it as a 'war', since the headlines haven't resorted to calling it that just yet, perhaps thanks to interference from Mishima. But...
"Yeah, it's someone I care about," he says, slowly and carefully. In his mind, he can picture her clear as day, but when it comes to actually describing her? "She'd definitely stand out if you saw her. A pale blonde, wearing black ribbons in her hair... they kind of look like... rabbit ears? Her name's Raquel." No matter how nice Clio seems, the 'Alucard' surname gets withheld for the time being. After all, even where he was from, Clavis and Raquel were special, and not well known, and in a few cases not well received, either. Who knows what the truth is here?
"I'm not really a fighter. At least I don't LIKE fighting. But I showed up here without any cash and picking up a part time job's not exactly easy right now, you know?" he says, grinning a little wolfishly. "Hopefully when things get back to normal I won't be roughing up local boys under a bridge for cash."
"Raquel, Blonde, bunny ear ribbons. I'm guessing about your age?" Clio asks, nodding along and committing to a mental image. "She cute?" she asks, grinning to match Naoto's, "She probably is." A short laugh. So the guy had someone in mind, he had something to do with bloodedge. That was some information. Plenty to go off of, but there was always more to glean in a situation like this.
Clio flicks one of the spikes on her collar as she thinks, humming and buying time as she listens to him talk about fighting. "Hopefully, for a given value of normal. I kind of like the night life myself. You find a lot about a person when you get them in the dark," she comments. "Listen. You say you don't like fighting, but you got a gimmick and everything. So, don't take this the wrong way, but I'll give you my winnings if you're willing to show me what you've got." Clio's smile is, by now, definitely as wolfish as Naoto's.
"Hell, if you're good enough, at least it'll let me sleep safe knowing you can handle yourself trying to help someone out here."
He actually laughs at 'about your age?', which probably just makes Naoto seem especially crazy, but he nods. "Yeah. She'd look around 17 or 18," he answers, which doesn't explain why he thought that was so funny. Maybe because Clio asked if she was cute? The fighter who was going by 'Jaeger' -- 'Hunter' -- not that long ago doesn't answer that. "We're close, if that's what you mean." And then his body language closes itself up pretty well. That's probably the end of THAT conversational thread.
The rest, though... Naoto looks at Clio incredulously. "I mean, I don't really need your money, but uh..." And then he pauses, looking at her closely, squinting his left eye shut a second. He doesn't NEED to do this, exactly, but sometimes it helps, and it often disguises what he's actually doing. The Eye of the Hunter, passed down in Naoto's family for generations. The ability to see someone's life force. It doesn't always predict who might be a fighter or not in this world, but he's noticed for people who can actually fight worth a damn, sometimes there's... yes. Something about her.
Cracking his knuckles, Naoto opens his eye and rolls his head on his neck a little bit. "Well. I don't necessarily like beating up on a woman, but somethin' tells me you aren't a normal kinda girl if you're askin' me this. Keep your money," he says, shifting one leg back into a loose stance. "How about you keep an eye out for Raquel for me and we'll call it square for the demonstration?" He's certainly not lacking for confidence, that's for sure.
A smile comes about Clio. "Good to know," she says. "I'll keep an eye out for her."
She watches him closely as he considers her offer. And then he takes it. "Nice," she says, more to herself than Naoto. Her hand reaches for her chain's weighted clasp. With a click and a flip, the chain wraps around her arm, the end of it that was formerly around her waist floats into the air before she catches it in her free hand. Her boots scrape on the ground and she adopts a more low, bobbing pose. "This is all square. I don't like the idea of anyone being kept away from someone they care about," she tells him as the violet chi flows through the length of chain on her arm and in her hand. Sparks of a dark, fire like energy.
Clio's smile is eager, she chuckles and with a skip, launches herself toward Naoto. A quick, testing swing of a chain covered fist toward Naoto's midsection. She moves like a dart, but her attention is on Naoto, tracking him, planning her next move with a careful attention. She isn't really wanting to hurt him, or get too hurt herself. She's studying him for just what he might be.
COMBATSYS: Clio has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Naoto has joined the fight here.
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Clio 0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0 Naoto
COMBATSYS: Clio blitzes into action and acts again!
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Clio 0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0 Naoto
COMBATSYS: Clio focuses on her next action.
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Clio 0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0 Naoto
COMBATSYS: Clio successfully hits Naoto with Medium Strike.
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Clio 0/-------/-------|===----\-------\0 Naoto
Well, that was unexpected. 'Fire chain' is definitely a step above the sort of fighters Naoto's been punching under a bridge for the past few days. It shows in his reaction; he either isn't taking it seriously, thinking it's some kind of trick, or he's not sure what to make of it. Either way, an attempt to snag the chain just results in the chain itself smacking into Naot's arm painfully, making the brawler wince a bit and step back. That burned... and there's definitely more to this girl than meets the eye. "Okay. Well. Fool me once, etcetera, etcetera. I'd ask if you're ready, but... you probably are."
And then he kicks off the ground, closing the gap with surprising speed, ducking low before hurling himself upward, one fist extended, gold blades of light surrounding the rising wake of attack; he attempts, quite simply, to uppercut the chain-wielding woman right under the chin, carrying her skyward before inverting himself in midair and heel kicking her right back down to the ground. "Crusader!"
COMBATSYS: Clio blocks Naoto's Inferno Crusader.
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Clio 0/-------/-----==|===----\-------\0 Naoto
Test the first made. The kid is made of stern stuff. But, he's not necessarily the fastest out there. He comes at her fast. Very fast. Okay, he's one of the faster ones out there. Clio reassesses the situation.
She twists her arm, curling it around in front of her, the chains seem to move and twine tightly as her metal covered arm takes the brunt of Naoto's blow. The shock is enough to reverb through her, telling her how potent this kid is. The second thing telling her he's legit is the fact she's using his force to ride upwards until she can push off of him at the height.
With a bit more air than Naoto, Clio flings the spike end of her chain down at him. Only, not quite at him, it flies past him and embeds itself into the ground. "Catch," she tells him with a grin before she yanks herself bodily after her own chain anchor. Her foot leads the way, the violet chi flaring up along her boot as it careens toward Naoto's airborne self.
COMBATSYS: Naoto parries Clio's Chain Bomber!
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Clio 0/-------/-----==|===----\-------\0 Naoto
Perhaps the clue that this has all gone very wrong is that Clio jokingly says 'catch' and, as the spike flies past the brawler, that's exactly what he does. Rather than continue its path toward the ground to be Clio's anchor, Naoto reaches out and snatches it with snakebite reflexes, and as his own trajectory heads toward the ground, he pulls, hard; the result yanks Clio off course enough so that she shears right by him in midair rather than delivering a kick right to his precious face.
The chain is still in Naoto's hand as he lands on the ground a short moment after Clio, and as long as he has it, he'll use it to his advantage a final time. As he lands and pivots toward her, Naoto yanks the chain a second time before letting go; the ideal is that it will push her off balance, or make her stumble, enough so that his followup blow -- a swift dashing step across the distance between them followed by a lunging knee right to Clio's stomach -- will have a little extra English on it, as it were.
COMBATSYS: Clio intercepts Banishing Fang EX from Naoto with Bad Moon Rising.
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Clio 0/-------/---====|=======\-------\0 Naoto
Well, she did tell him to catch it. Clio didn't really have anyone to blame but herself in this situation. She hammers into the ground with a crackling flare up of the strangely dark fiery chi. "Shit!" she curses at the miss. "That was pretty cool, I'll give you that."
She's talking to herself before she's yanked forward, off balance, stumbling forward. In fact, she even drops to her knee while her arm rolls to pull the chain into a tight coil about her arm once again.
All of a play for when Naoto tries his own charge in toward her. With a laugh, she twists, flipping upward and back. A soaring backflip of a kick with a pair of nice and heavy spiked boots. Clio's chi leaves a streak in the faint after image of a burning crescent moon before she lands back down on the ground a good several feet away. "This is fun, I'm liking this," she says through breaths. "I like you, Naoto."
Unexpected, and the kick does slam into Naoto's shoulders, sending him skidding more than a few feet backwards, his shoes kicking up gravel as he slides to a stop. When he does actually stop, there's a brief pause as he brings his hand up and massages his neck squinting one eye (the left one, again) shut and sucking in a breath through his teeth. "Those are some interesting moves. You're definitely not one of those yokels back there who just like slugging it out for the hell of it." He raises his head a bit, giving Clio an appraising look. "Though I dunno what kinda girl gets her kicks tradin' punches with a dude she just met on the street."
He punches one fist into his opposite palm, then gets back into stance, hopping a bit on the soles of his feet. "You've got real fancy moves, though. Tactical, tricky. I can appreciate that. Problem is, though, all the tricks in the world won't get you that far if you don't have the power to back your plays!" And then he, perhaps unwisely from a tactical standpoint, ducks in close and attempts to slam his fist into Clio's solar plexus from below, a standard gut punch. He might not be high on tricks, and he's not exactly a meat wall like Asanuma back at the fight, but he can put some force behind that punch when he wants to!
COMBATSYS: Naoto successfully hits Clio with Medium Punch.
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Clio 0/-------/=======|=======\-------\1 Naoto
Just stay ahead of Naoto is all Clio really needs to do. She's having fun though, and this is technically scouting work of a more proactive bent. "Thanks, I'll take the compliments," she talks, walking about slowly, pacing, ready. She'll just gauge how slow he is when he comes in to strike. Easy as pie.
It would turn out that the pie in this case is very, very difficult and hurting and winding when it hits you in the belly. Clio gives a sharp 'woof' sound when Naoto's fist finds itself not directly in the middle of her gut, but right at the side where it can stitch and leave a nagging pain once all the adrenaline gets out of her system.
"What can I say," she coughs, "I'm a strange girl." The talking is just a momentary action to buy time for a quick reverse strike of the spike to get her a bit of space and a chance to catch her breath.
COMBATSYS: Naoto blocks Clio's Random Strike.
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Clio 0/-------/=======|=======\-------\1 Naoto
"Don't feel bad," Naoto says, pulling his fist back just in time to throw that arm up in front of him to intercept the chain spike before it hits him in someplace important, like the facemeats. The weapon skids along his left arm, the one that's short-sleeved, and the point of the draws a thin line of red before Clio pulls it back. Looks like that was a successful defensive measure, but not one without cost. What the NOL officer may notice, as Naoto gets back in stance, is that the bloody line closes up quite rapidly... as in, visibly, before her eyes. Naoto himself doesn't seem to notice.
"I meet a lot of strange girls," he says, finishing his thought from before. "Like, a *lot*." Maybe this is his way of summoning Raquel, who would almost certainly not put up with the idea of being called 'strange' by Naoto, but alas, this doesn't happen. "Anyhow everyone's a little bit strange if you dig down deep enough. Nothin' wrong with that."
He pauses, glancing at Clio a moment warily. He's not sure if she wants to fight until she's exhausted, or until she's got proof that he's not gonna get mugged on the street for his hard-earned money. Since the latter seems definitively proven, he assumes the former, and doesn't take any offensive move for now, letting Clio decide the pace of this little spar. "Gotta admit, you're the first person to fight like this I've met here. What made you learn all this stuff, anyway? Especially magic," he adds, speaking carefully. "That's definitely not easy stuff."
COMBATSYS: Naoto takes no action.
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Clio 0/-------/=======|=======\=------\1 Naoto
Taking a few steps away, Clio is ready to continue. And that this guy can heal himself on top of everything else. That's a kicker. Something to take home to Tsubaki, Hazama and Kagura. Moreover, that Naoto isn't an aggressor, even in the face of a friendly competition. So Clio St. Jeanne lowers her guard. She flips the spike over in her hand and points it down.
"You did enough. Good tag, I got cocky," she admits well enough, hand at her side. "I am going to bruise in the morning." She laughs and stretches out. "But that was all in fun. Gets the blood flowing." She stands up straight from her deep toe touch and hooks the chain at her collar again, whipping the length of it around her waist like a belt.
A smile comes to her face as her hands go back into her pockets, mostly to put some gentle pressure on her side. "I learned it because I can do it," she tells him, "And because I can do it, I can maybe give some people a hand. Someone's got to be out here too keep the monsters at bay." She shrugs and gives a bit of a 'what can I say?' grin. "You get to choose who you are in the dark. Feels more real to me to do this sort of thing. Why'd you learn to do what you do?" she asks in turn.
COMBATSYS: Clio has left the fight here.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
'Someone's got to be out here to keep the monsters at bay.' At that line from Clio, Naoto gives a very genuine smile indeed. He's of the same mind, for sure, though her followup question -- where did *he* learn how to fight -- throws him for a loop. He still doesn't know where, or maybe even *when*, he is... and without Raquel to tell him, it's probably best to keep a low profile on some important facts. So while it's clear that he's not revealing the WHOLE truth of the situation, he does make eye contact with Clio to give her the most honest answer he can.
"I learned to survive. Haha, I learned pretty fast, too." It's impossible to banish the memory of Raquel Alucard asking (more demanding): 'do you want to live?' And nothing has been the same since. He had wanted to live. Because like this woman, apparently, he had something to protect. "But I've got stuff that's important to me too. Worth protecting. So I figure, if I'm gonna have these abilities anyway, I'm gonna use 'em for that."
He eases out of stance, letting that fight adrenaline drain out of his body a bit, and nods at Clio. "Was fun. I don't really like fighting, believe it or not, but uh... where I'm from there aren't many people who'll have a quick, casual fight just for kicks. It's a little more... tooth and nail." He shrugs. "Who knows. Maybe if I hang around here more I'll get a taste for it."
COMBATSYS: Naoto has ended the fight here.
Naoto Kurogane; Survivor, self taught, capable fighter, some kind of regeneration, has connections with a woman named Raquel, possible connections with the Bloodedge. Information learned from a simple fight that the young man professes to not enjoy. A lot of information for little more than a belly ache, but with a lot more cash at hand for the immediate future. All in all a very, very good night for Clio St. Jeanne. And so she smiles and nods. And then she turns to start walking away.
"It's not all fun and games though. I try, but sometimes the nice ones can be literal war machines. So be careful about women bearing pumpkins. Maybe I'll see you around, Naoto, and if I find your Raquel, I'll let her know you really like her and you're out here looking for her. Watch your back out here, but trust you'll have some people looking out for your own," she tells him as she's leaving, occasionally stopping to get a few more words in and to suck in a bit of pain from the growing stitch in her side.
Log created on 23:52:12 12/08/2017 by Naoto, and last modified on 04:53:11 12/09/2017.