Description: Eiji decides to try to ruin Duke's already bad day. That... may have been a mistake.
Duke was not happy.
The crime boss had just been torn from his King of Fighters match disgraced. Dragged her to Geese Tower, he did not even have the luxury of a personal audience with Geese Howard himself. Instead, he was twisted and tormented, tortured by his butler Hein. Not his failure to defeat Kasumi was flayed into him, but his own failure to impress his superiors, his underlings, anybody.
And he was going to fix that.
Emerging from the elevator, the securty guards are missing from the lobby. It was the nature of his arrival. Duke's body was a hot, wet scar, every step coming in slow and sluggish. And yet, the fuming rage of the crime boss boiled off him, as he strides forward, no shirt, only slacks. He had to get back to Nagase. He had to figured out what comes next. And above all?
He had to figure out how to secure his own invitation to the World Warrior.
Sometimes, things just don't go your way. Case in point: Duke's King of Fighters' run, which had looked like a sure thing to a lot of people. Team Syndicate was an easy favorite, especially given Duke's almost inhuman ability to take a beating along with Nagase's insane tactical ability. Apparently, the ninjas had other ideas.
Sometimes, though? Sometimes things /do/ go your way. Case in point: Duke needed an invitation to the World Warrior tournament after being unable to get Geese's invite. Apparently, ninjas have other ideas. Eiji had been dispatched to test the crime lord, to test just how much abuse Duke could take. The fact that Wolfgang Krauser was effectively dispatching Eiji to do his potential light work for him was immaterial. Eiji set out to kill each and every person he was sent to "invite," and Krauser knew it.
The Kisaragi ninja waited for Duke to emerge from Geese Tower, trailing the man from a safe distance to see where he was heading. Information was always useful, and part of Eiji's evaluations generally involved seeing how well his marks took to being stalked.
At first, he doesn't notice.
Striding across the silent lobby, his attention was too driven, too focused, too -angry-. His mind was a storm; the repressed rage of his encounter with Hein was sizzling within. Leaving the lobby, he begins down the empty street, the silence all around. Nobody would be here. It as official Syndicate business, after all. He continues down, trying to focus his mind...
And he pauses, down the street.
He sensed that. He didn't know what it was; he couldn't define it. It was intuition. And it was... ninja. Nagase? It could be, the girl so frightened that she could only stalk him. Kasumi? Perhaps she wanted to torment him more. Ryu Hayabusa? Noboru? MAKI!? Duke turns, staring down the street outside of Geese Tower, into the brightly lit line. It was so empty, so clear. And yet, he felt it. "Show yourself." Duke bellows aloud, in a growl.
"Don't make me force you out."
COMBATSYS: Duke has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Eiji has joined the fight here.
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Duke 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Eiji
Eiji smirked under the mask; Duke had scented him somehow. Like Garcia, he was planning to make a fight of it. Very well, Eiji would oblige the angry man. Flitting from alley to alley before gaining easy access to Duke's blindspot, the ninja lurks for a moment.
Test two: A pair of kunai, flung at high speed. Everything he had heard about the man suggested that any violent attempt to end Duke needed to swift, and decisive to the point of overkill. Two kunai probably would not cut it.
But Eiji generally enjoyed playing with his food as a child.
COMBATSYS: Duke dodges Eiji's Kagenui.
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Duke 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Eiji
Duke's agility was often understated.
With the pure rage and offense, Duke often seemed like a hammer, smashing into the face of his opposition, again and again and again. And yet, he was a street fighter. He had a flexible style, that demanded an investment. So when the kunai flash out from the shadows?
Duke was already responding.
Striding forward with heavy steps, the crime boss turns and lurches hard. The knives pass by his ears as he lowers down, hurling aside. With the movement coming to and fro between the alleys, Duke had more trouble tracking the ninja than the knives. And yet, he knew that this was not Nagase. This was a pest. A threat. An assassin to finish up what Hein couldn't. Yellow eyes burning, teeth gritted, Duke -hurls- himself forward into the spot, flinging out a driving, thrusting kick, demonstrating what he does with pests.
Crush them under his heel.
COMBATSYS: Eiji full-parries Duke's Medium Kick!!
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Duke 0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0 Eiji
Eiji's hand reaches out and slaps the incoming foot aside with almost contemptuous ease. "Not bad. However," Eiji concedes before leaping skyward. He flips once, then twice, then dives towards Duke with a kick of his own, coming down faster than one might expect even from the ninja.
"You will have to do better than that, if you expect to enter the World Warrior tournament. Lord Krauser will not accept such a loser as you, otherwise."
COMBATSYS: Duke blocks Eiji's Tenba Kyaku EX.
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Duke 0/-------/------=|==-----\-------\0 Eiji
Such a loser.
It should be the World Warrior comment that draws Duke's attention. To snap his focus. Or maybe, the effortless reversal, the careful deflection, leaving him open for the flip kick. Was it Gato, the Kenpo Master? BLood, the Matador? Or most likely, Eiji, the ninja warrior? This should be what catches his attention.
But such a loser.
It is like stepping on a landmine. Duke's scowl nearly explodes off his face, as he snarls. Crossing his arms to catch the kick, he glares back. "Ninja." He growls, as he steps back from the impact, arms burning from both pain and fire. ANd there, point blank, he explodes forward with a seismic stomp, rupturing the ground underfoot as he hurls out a burning fist, attempting to lunge in -deep- with a power punch straight at Eiji's chest.
It was the ninja.
COMBATSYS: Eiji blocks Duke's Seismic Impact EX.
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Duke 0/-------/-----==|===----\-------\0 Eiji
Eiji manages a split-second block, getting crossed arms in front of the incoming punch. The impact, however, is still enough to send the smaller man flying back. Eiji manages to land properly. The smirk is still clear under the mask; appearances must be maintained after all.
"Obviously," he says, his scorn clear, "You should watch your temper. It's going to get you killed some day."
With that, Eiji launches in close before lashing out with a swift punch to the throat before slipping to one side to be ready for Duke's inevitiable retaliation.
COMBATSYS: Duke fails to interrupt Strong Punch from Eiji with Swivel Gun EX.
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Duke 0/-------/-----==|===----\-------\0 Eiji
Only hours ago, Duke pondered if he should hold back his rage.
But the anger of Kasumi, the anger of the ninjas ruining his ambitions fuel him. Hatred pours from him as he transfixes his rage at Eiji, rage at the ninja who was challenging him. As the ninja eggs him on more? The crime boss detonates, a full force roar as he already shifts his momentum as his impact. He begins to sweep his legs as Eiji lashes in...
And then, the punch connects with the throat.
Duke is stunned, his trachea crushed, as he is sent hurtling out of his kick. And for a moment, that would be it. Untreated, it should be a fatal blow. Eiji's block stops Duke cold, as he can't breathe. Gripping his throat, he stumbles, stumbles backwards, choking...
And then, inhales a deep breath, as the damage undoes itself.
Eiji tilts his head to one side as the near death plays itself out. His eyes narrow at the display. "Interesting," he murmurs. "I wonder how you accomplish that. And what its limits are."
Eiji raises a palm towards Duke, gripping the wrist with his free hand. Orange ki illuminates the alley for a moment before lashing out at Duke's chest! Standard punches, kicks, and knives are not doing the trick. Perhaps life-fire will do the job.
COMBATSYS: Eiji successfully hits Duke with Kikou Hau.
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Duke 0/-------/---====|===----\-------\0 Eiji
Testing the limits of his endurance was one way, certainly.
As Duke barely recovers from the fatal injury, the blast of chi comes. The crime boss turns, tilting to move around the fiercesome blast. Chi energy boils forward as it -rips- into his naked chest. Old wounds rend open, as the blast pierces, cutting through him. Duke falls to one knee, groaning in agony.
And he rises again.
The injuries are obvious, Eiji could see them before his eyes. But the relentless crime boss hurls himself forward, surging at Eiji with barbaric speed and power. "I will earn my right to the World Warrior!" He roars, descending on Eiji with an uppercut, attempting to smash into his chin. And then, a second one, with equal power, to hurl back at Eiji.
To get any momemtum against the ninja.
COMBATSYS: Duke successfully hits Eiji with Tall Hammer.
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Duke 0/-------/-======|======-\-------\0 Eiji
Eiji's eyes narrow as the chi burns at Duke, then go a little wide as the man stands back up. However, there /is/ a clue.
Eiji tries to evade the punches, but Duke's speed surprises him. Eiji gets launched again, before bouncing off of a wall and slumping to the ground. He groans a bit before standing again.
"Right then," he mutters. Then the ninja launches forward, reaching for Duke's throat. The extended hand glows faintly orange in the night, giving the attack an eerie presence.
COMBATSYS: Eiji successfully hits Duke with Kuuchuu Ippan Seoi.
- Power hit! -
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Duke 1/-----==/=======|=======\-------\1 Eiji
Eiji grabs Duke by the throat, then launches skyward and takes the larger man with him in an explosive leap. He turns once, twice, and then hurls Duke to the pavement. Eiji actually makes a third turn, the upraised palm showing itself again.
Another blast of that copper colored energy slams into the Duke's chest with ferocious strength. Eiji has, at some point, decided not to play anymore. This man represents a unique danger to Lord Krauser, one that cannot be allowed to exist any longer.
Power, raw power.
Each blow was worth five lesser ones, as the crime boss sends Eiji launched into the wall. Duke's momentum carries him forward, as he strides after Eiji with heavy steps. Already, as the ninja launched back, he was prepared to him. But the ninja... the ninja is too fast, like another ninja he had just battled. And Eiji wraps his hand around his throat.
Before the attack is finished, Duke was stunned. Merely smashing into the street gives the audible sound of spinal damage, crunching on impact. That in itself would be enough. But as he is hurled, the energy pierces his chest again, cutting straight to the heart. When Duke lands, he lands like a ragdoll, broken. Dead. Clearly dead. And then, the twitch comes.
And Duke rises again.
Every mortal blow comes with the full force; and Duke's incredible endurance was the only thing keeping him moving. And yet, the damage of every battle was stacking up. "Is that the best..." Duke draws in a ragged breath and exhales, forcing himself to keep conscious. "... The best you can DO!?"
Duke raises his palm.
And there, the chi boils to the base, as the gravitational pressure suddenly sharpens. Crushing down with staggering force, the pulsing waves smash out from him, pounding into the asphalt around him. Should Eiji get caught? HE would be smashed down, crushed down and out of the perimeter of the pulsing waves... until it ceases, the last of the wave disappating around him. There was more than simple rage now.
There was now pride to fight for.
COMBATSYS: Duke knocks away Eiji with Gravitational Wave.
! VENGEANCE !
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Duke 0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\1 Eiji
It's Eiji's turn to go to the turf with bone crushing force. The ninja lets out a strangled gasp as the wave of pure force smashes into him. However, Kisagi manages to stand back up. It's a slow thing, a near thing, but the character for ninja includes the the character for 'endure'. Eiji... endures the pain and the pressure. "You," the ninja spits through the mask, "Are an unrefined /thug/. You are not /worthy/ of facing one such as Lord Krauser. I shall prove it. Now. Upon your very /soul/."
Eiji launches forward, summoning a short blade made of chi, which is brought in hard against Duke's flank!
COMBATSYS: Duke dodges Eiji's Kotsu Kazaki Kiri.
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Duke 0/-------/-----==|=======\===----\1 Eiji
Duke's temper raises again, as the waves end. Duke -waits- to let Eiji rise up. He -waits- to let him speak, and make his move. Duke had heard this, he had endured this. Thug. Brute. All eyes on him have reached their chattering consensus. Rage stews in Duke's sliced heart, his body flayed terribly now. And yet, as Eiji comes to prove it? Duke deftly turns, letting Eiji roar past his explosed flank. The chi blade nearly slices him open, the crime boss's agility reactive to the ninja's speed. But just short.
The counter attack comes smoothly.
Duke's pressure lets off, as the crime boss shifts. A single hooking punch, aiming to drive -deep- into Eiji's gut before he escapes. Not a coup de grace, not an execution. But a simple, straight blow, designed to crush and cripple. There was no smirk, no arrogance. Only careful, precise martial ability, fueled by grit-teethed fury.
And the execution, staggering.
COMBATSYS: Duke successfully hits Eiji with Medium Punch.
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Duke 1/-------/=======|=======\=====--\1 Eiji
Eiji lets out a whoof of expelled air as the strike grazes his ribcage. His eyes go wide; that much damage? On a /grazing hit/? Combined with his ability to shrug off even killing blows, Duke could very well be a monster. As unrefined as this beast is, the challenge he might present Krauser might be worth the punishment he'd face at first.
Then again, it'd be better if he did not have to face Krauser's punishment at all. Eiji lurches to one side, then /vanishes/.
He appears behind Duke's left side, throwing a chi-augmented kick aimed launching the big man skyward...
COMBATSYS: Eiji can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Duke interrupts Yami Kari from Eiji with Dive Bomber.
[ \\\\\\\\\ <
Unrefined, and uncontained.
Duke only 'grazed' Eiji's rib cage; with the level of effort, he may have very well shaved off the bone. Duke's relentless power and aggression was only held back by the level of damage he takes on every exchange. But he just keeps taking exchanges. Every failure, every blow is enough to kill a man, enough to kill him... and he crawls back. Even as Eiji disappears, he was pushing forward, his yellow eyes scanning. He was relentless.
And he proves so much, as Eiji reappears.
The kick comes, and Duke manages to avoid getting sent skyward. The means of doing so? -Smashing- himself into the kick, letting it pummel through his chest, shattering his ribcage once again. Gasping up blood in his mouth, his body twists as he overcomes Eiji's momentum... by -stomping- a foot hard at his face. Carrying the momentum forward, he finally descends, -grinding- his target into the pavement, driving it into a crater. He does not release his foot from the pin. Dust rises around him, as he peers down, breathing hard as he wipes the blood from his mouth...
The kick feels like it should. The kick feels right. The thunderous impacts, the ground-shaking blows all feel like they should. But when the dust clears?
There is a log under Duke's foot. There is, tacked onto the log via a kunai, a very nice envelope that contains an invitation to the World Warrior tournament. Eiji did not have enough time to prepare the bomb, though.
Meanwhile, the Kisaragi ninja limps across a rooftop, barely keeping his feet. Eiji escaped with his life, and was grateful to do so. He'd have to hope Krauser would agree with his assessment, though. Failing to do so would make Duke's planned abuse look like sweet mercy.
More ninja tricks?
Duke scowls down at the log, as he pulls his foot off. He scans around, not dropping his guard, as continues to force his breathing. He waits... and waits.... and... and his fists drop. Was that it? What did it mean? He turned back down at the log. And there, he notices the envelope.
He pulls it up.
Opening it, he pulls out the paper. And he realizes what this was. An invitation. Was this... was this a test? Duke's resentment only shudders through him. Nobody had the authority to test his ability. He wasn't done with the ninja. With every ninja, every meddling figure. Staring down at the log, he smashes his foot down again, shattering it to splinters.
And then, he falls to one knee.
That was practically four mortal battles in a row. First Alma, then Kasumi, then Hein, and now this. Duke... Duke could feel the flickers of weakness. He needed to recover. He needed to rest. And.... And Duke realizes, as he looks at the invitation.
He would need to prepare for the next fight of his life, soon enough.
Log created on 20:10:25 01/27/2018 by Eiji, and last modified on 18:30:40 01/28/2018.