Description: Though seeking a battle in the ruins of an old temple, the fight that Ryo finds is not quite what he had expected. Faced with the overwelming power of a Valentine, how will the Dragon measure up?
Ryo Sakazaki. The first King of Fighters. Mr. Karate II. The Invincible Dragon of Kyokugen. He's a man with many names, and many titles, and you'd think a guy like that would have found himself content with being a legend in his own time. You'd think that he wouldn't bother with things like tournaments, or glory, or wealth. That he had reached all of that and more.
You'd be wrong.
For Ryo, it's never been about fame. Glory is for the vain. Wealth has never been an aspiration, though the prize purses of tournaments are the only thing that keeps him and his family afloat. Sakazakis. Great with karate, but garbage with money. But no. None of these drive Ryo to seek out the most challenging tournaments, filled with the greatest and most lethal fighters in the world. What fuels him is the test. The truth of his fist. To overcome all limits. Kyokugen is an art of the extreme. Everything a master of Kyokugen does is meant to push his boundaries and overcome his limits. Even down to eating the spiciest foods known to man, or climbing the tallest mountains with nothing more than a karate gi and a dream. This is why one seeks out the World Warrior Tournament. It's not about winning or losing. It's not glory or wealth. It's the never ending quest to become stronger; to become better than the person you were before.
And that is why Ryo Sakazaki had come to this.... very spooky old temple. He had heard that a demon stalked these grounds. A demon that possessed the power of the Dark Hadou. A power he had nearly experienced himself, when he had fought Ryu. A power that, just having felt it emanating from the fighter, had filled Ryo with a fright that chilled him to the bone. Something new to overcome.
Now, in the midst of a violent storm, he stands in the darkness, his body outlined in a misty aura as the rain pelts off of him. He's not clad for the chill, or the wet. He's wearing battle gear only. In this case, a compression shirt. Smoke grey around the upper chest and shoulders, with charcoal grey covering his abdomen and rising up to his chest like stylized flames. The kanji for his style provide a clash of color in the form of vibrant crimson on each sleeve. His hands are padded with black, fingerless, lead filled gauntlets, and he wears a pair of orange gi pants that are stained with mud at the bottoms. His feet look to be bare, but it's hard to tell, coated as they are in the mud. His normally unruly mane of blonde hair is flattened against his skull, slicked back and dripping wet. Rain beads on his brow, dripping over his fierce cobalt eyes. His features, rugged but handsome, are set with a look of grim determination, with his lips a thin, downswept line, and his stubble lined jaw tensed at the corners. Instinctively, his fists clench.
But, while this place might give him a case of the heebs, he does not feel the presence of the demon he seeks. He just feels cold, wet, and frustrated.
"Dammit. Well... I guess I'll move on to the next one. How do you even use this thing, anyway?"
He lifts one hand, looking at the band on his wrist and tapping at it with his pointer finger, his lips quirking to one side in concentration.
As if roused from a deep slumber by the callous prodding of fingers, the watch suddenly begins to shriek at him with a shrill but steady series of noisy beeps. The pulses are slow at first, chirping every second or so like the gentle beating of some electronic heart. As the seconds tick away that rhythm starts to accelerate, the digital squeaks becoming more hurried and insistent as if sensing the approach of something familiar and exciting.
Though he may cast his gaze around to find the source of this strange phenomenon, the Dragon of Kyokugen would discover little in the scant few feet that his vision afforded him in the rain-streaked darkness. Though his eyes will avail him naught this night, there are other senses which a warrior of his dedication and training would find more useful. The sounds of the forest have grown quiet and still, what few creatures that might brave this weather having also gone silent in the past few moments leaving only an natural and eerie emptiness. Only the heavy patter of rain upon the ruined stone shingles and dusty wooden floors touches his ears, made all the more obvious by the lack of anything else. On perhaps any other night, he might find these noises soothing but there is something ominous that hangs in the air now, a sinister sense that something terrible is lurking nearby.
It does not feel like the demon that he seeks for the deep taint of the dark hadou is an unmistakable corruption, a rot within the soul that seeks to overwhelm and smother. This is something different, very nearly the opposite of that. There is no obvious killing intent lingering in the air nor the scent of violence carried on the frigid winds. There is only a strange coldness, something that goes far deeper than the chill brought on by the harsh storm. It is not what he can sense that bothers him, he would eventually realize, but rather what he cannot. Intent, emotion, desire - all of the things that leave unmistakable marks upon a sentient creature's soul, the selfsame things that make an individual who they are. There is something out there, that much he can tell, but whatever it might be, there is nothing within its heart that could be recognized as emotion.
Whatever thoughts he might conjure up with this realization as to the nature of that which has taken interest in him, he soon finds his questions as to its nature answered. A shape appears in the darkness above him, a long cylindrical object of some faint muted color. As it descends into one of the many gaps in the shattered roof of the ancient temple, it slowly begins to take on more distinct shape like a low resolution image gradually coming into focus until at last it comes close enough that he can see it fully in the dim light.
The object, it turns out, is a girl, perhaps somewhere in her late teens by the looks of her soft youthful features. As she draws near the floor, what had at first appeared to some tubular construct proves instead to be a full-length cloak of some sort though made of no fabric that he has ever seen before. It ripples and shudders as if somehow alive as it peels away from her body to expose the scantily clad form beneath, massive deadly teeth dripping sticky saliva onto the already wet floor in a gooey puddle around the strange girl's feet as they slide out from the grotesque enclosure to alight upon the ground.
Partially exposed now, both to the elements and his gaze, the mysterious visitor slowly tilts her head back and forth to shift her loose cream-colored bangs away from her face even as they become plastered against her dark skin. Her eyes slowly slide open and she affixes the warrior with a gaze as utterly devoid of emotion as the great emptiness that he can sense within her soul. She peers at him from beneath the brim of her strangely twin-peaked hat as if by doing so she too can see within the depths of his being. The blank expression on her beautiful and exotic features shows no signs of whatever it is she might have gleaned from this invasion, either unimpressed or uncaring.
"You are in possession of the device created by the one known as Krauser." She speaks with a soft voice, monotone in pitch and delivery as if read from a script by an unfeeling machine. There is no hint of question in her tone, merely stated fact, though she humors him with the chance to naysay her. "That makes you a participant of the tournament that has been called to decide the truth of which amongst humanity is the strongest. Am I correct?"
Feeling that absence of feeling might spook most people. They might feel their courage wane, their knees go weak. They might turn and run. But not Ryo. He has encountered enough strangeness to... accept, if not expect, the inhuman in this world. Machines. Monsters. Clones. And now, he presumes, as his eyes turn heavenward at that eggshell hued cylindrical shape, is perhaps an alien. Maybe an android, of some sort. He squints against the falling rain, trying to pierce that hazy veil, to glimpse a better view.
When she descends, Ryo stalks forward like some hulking beast of prey, carrying about him that same sort of predator's grace despite his large size. He looks relaxed, even as he lets that cobalt stare drop to the dripping fangs of her living cloak. One can blame an encounter with a certain succubus for this sense of foolish bravado.
"This thing? Yeah," his voice rumbles out, as he lifts his wrist to display that wristband. Then, his features twist into a look of confusion, and he moves over to her, turning so that he stands shoulder to shoulder with her, holding it across his body so that his fist sort of hovers at chest level in front of her. "Uh... you wouldn't know how to operate it... or turn off the beeping... would you?"
He gives a sheepish look out of one corner of his eyes, and with his free hand scratches the back of his soggy scalp. A nervous chuckle, and he adds, "Haha... I uh... I'm not really good with these sort of things! They're really made for young people like you."
The young woman makes no attempt to flee or evade him as Ryo draws closer, merely shifting her expressionless gaze down to the band of silver about his wrist as it continues to chirp insistently in response to her presence. She shows no signs of being annoyed by either the noise or his apparent inability to figure out such a simple device. Instead, she lifts a hand from beneath the rippling surface of the living cloak and places her finger against one of the small buttons on the watch's surface. There is a soft beep as she depresses it with the tip of her nail and the shrill alarm goes mercifully silent leaving only the dull sound of the rain to embrace them.
"The device has been deactivated," she says, stating the obvious in her dry empty tone as she strides away from him, her bare feet padding noiselessly across the broken floors. She walks on the tips of her toes, gracefully taking each step as if her body weighs no more than a soap bubble. Neither the rough unevenness of the damaged terrain nor the slippery puddles of water which cover much of its surface seem to impede her progress and she practically glides some dozen feet away from him to stand at the edge of what was once some sort of raised dais.
Turning to face him again, the girl glances to her left and then right with a brief tilt of her head. As she does so, a pair of floating orbs wink into existence hovering over her shoulders on small bat-like wings - one black and one white. Though this is strange in and of itself, whatever concern he might have for these tiny imps would likely pale in comparison in the face of what they carry. Twin swords dangle from large metal rings, one clasped within the mouth of each of the flying creatures. Easily seven feet in length, they dwarf with their sheer size, the tapered blades nearly twice her width at their base. It would be quite easy to liken their mass to that of a pair of wings which have been ripped from a small airplane and sharpened into deadly weapons, ominous green energy glowing in a long thin stripe along their futuristic surfaces.
"Though I am not human, I have chosen to participate in this contest so that I may see what sort of strength that humanity can muster when called upon."
She closes her eyes, lapsing into a silence for several moments before continuing, as if picking her words carefully. Though the rain continues to pour down upon her in earnest, she shows no signs of discomfort as its cold waters mat her lose hair against her caramel skin and dribble down into the open collar of her cloak, tracing erratic paths down the smooth curves of her body as it makes its way to the floor.
"However, with naught but pride on the line, I find that humans tend to hold back their true potential. Such data would be meaningless to me. I desire only the truth of the full potential of mankind. Therefore, allow me to be clear - if I believe that you are not fighting with all of your strength..."
She pauses only briefly to open her eyes once more, pinning him beneath her cold stare as a collector might a bug in their collection.
"I will kill you."
Again, there is no hint of emotion in her voice as she delivers this warning, nor any traces of subtle menace or implied threat in her tone. It spoken with the same gravitas as someone commenting on the weather on a particularly grey and uninteresting day.
When she depresses the button, silencing the shrill squawking of the wristband, Ryo releases a deep, heavy sigh of relief. His lips part, curling at the edges to create dimples in his cheeks that would make him seem almost boyishly handsome, were it not for his sheer size, and that coarse, blonde stubble that covers his lower face like a lining of velcro. When he speaks, his voice is jovial, and grateful in a meek way, "Oh, man. Thank you so very much. I just need to press that button, then? I think I've got it."
As she draws away from him, Ryo lifts his head, lowers his arm, and watches in silence. There is a momentary shudder that runs down his spine, making each etched muscle in his large form spasm in a wave from his neck down to his toes. Darkstalkers, man. They move strangely. He's not certain he will ever get used to that, even if he spent all of his time around one.
"So they're letting Darkstalkers participate in this tournament?" he asks, lifting one dark brow high. But, one corner of his mouth rises in a grin that's almost wolfish. "It should be a good challenge, then. Perfect to test my skills against."
Sakazaki steps forward, under one of the few patches where the rain does not fall on him. He takes that momentary respite to flick the water from his hair, despite himself. It won't matter. He's just going to get drenched again in a few seconds. He stands there, cast in shadows as she speaks of humanity and pride. As she threatens his life, the shadowed form of Ryo grows still.
"You don't need to worry about that. I'm Ryo Sakazaki, heir to the tradition of the Kyokugen Karate! Kyokugen is not a sport. It is not a half measure. Kyokugen is about going to the limit all the time, and then pushing past them!"
The large form, held in the shadows, shifts. His knees bend, lowering his center of gravity, keeping him loose and limber on his feet. Both fists raise, his biceps bulging and straining the limits of his compression shirt. A flash of red lightning illuminates him, and she will see her opposite reflection for a brief moment. His face wears a smile. His eyes gleam, reflecting the lightning on their glistening surface, and holding within them a conflagration of passion and determination. She is cold and detached, and he is the fire of the thrill of the fight.
The girl's face remains neutral as she acknowledges his claims, a stony gargoyle that stares at him with soulless eyes. Whatever her reasons for being here, she does not seem moved by his passion for the fight. And why should she? She has no opinions or desires of her own, merely a task that has been laid before her, the completion of which requires no further investment than her presence and the power that has been granted to her by her Mother. She is a tool, a weapon, a pawn. Such things do not require feelings. He would have better luck attempting to squeeze emotion from the cold hard stone at his feet.
"Then let us see where your limits lie, human."
She does not bother to correct his assumption that she is a Darkstalker. There would be little point in him knowing the distinction between her own existence and those corrupted souls. Let him believe her a mere monster, some abberation of spiritual energy. The truth is far worse than he can image.
Ramlethal gives no obvious tells as she launches herself into battle, no subtle tensing of the muscles or shifting of her eyes to give away her intentions. She simply moves, gliding forward as might a leaf propelled on a mighty wind, graceful and swift. As she draws close her body folds in on itself, her lithe form curling up into a small ball. For a moment, it seems as if she might simply crash into him directly like this but at the last second the brown-skinned teenager unfurls like a spring, her hands crashing down upon Ryo from above, fingers hooked into rending claws. Bright neon green energy flares from her fingers in a massive wave of power and the air blazes to life with its terrible searing light as she drives both fingers and magical destruction towards his body.
COMBATSYS: Ramlethal has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Ryo has joined the fight here.
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Ryo 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Ramlethal
COMBATSYS: Ryo blocks Ramlethal's Sildo Detruo.
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Ryo 0/-------/-----==|-------\-------\0 Ramlethal
"Ora! Ora! Ora!"
Ryo's boisterous cry fills the night, over the near defeaning sound as the rain seems to be reinvigorated with a fresh torrential downpour. And Ramlethal does bring it. She comes in fast and hard. Her movements are still unsettling. Perhaps they might take Ryo a moment to get used to. But he's nothing if not a quick study.
She brings her rending, emerald energy infused claws down at Ryo, and he reacts by forcefully raising one fist, his elbow snapping outward and his wrist pivoting at the very last moment in a right proper block, deflecting her ferocious attack. Still. It doesn't feel good. Not by a long shot. He's left wincing, but he doesn't take the time to shake out his arm, as he balls up his other fist and sends it hurtling at her face.
There's no guile here. No fanciness. Ryo has a few flashy moves, but the majority of what he does is simple, elegant power.
COMBATSYS: Ramlethal blocks Ryo's Jab Punch.
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Ryo 0/-------/-----==|=------\-------\0 Ramlethal
Ramlethal recovers from her massive strike with incredible speed, lifting one of her own slender hands into the path of the incoming fist. Rather than catch it upon her arm, however, a shimmering rectangle of transluscent green light flares to life a few inches away from her palm. Ryo's swift punch crashes into the barrier with a flash of light but otherwise seems to cause no effect and the girl is left to react to him as she pleases.
From her crouch, she whirls into a spin, sweeping her arm out as if to club him with it. Instead, one of the massive greatswords floating nearby winks out of existence only to reappear at her side, swinging its heavy techno blade in a massive arc along the same path as the girl's arm. Brilliant veridian power flares along its length as it carves through the air and towards the Dragon's side, blinding speed belying its absurd size.
COMBATSYS: Ryo interrupts Forpeli from Ramlethal with Koho Shippuken EX.
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Ryo 0/-------/--=====|===----\-------\0 Ramlethal
Ryo's swift fist clashes against the sudden shimmering wall of green light, creating a series of brilliant sparks, as if he might shatter even that with his straight forward jab. Still, the Kyokugen Dragon is aware, fully, that his punch had little effect on the dark skinned Darkstalker. That doesn't mean that he's about to give up, though. Far from it. She'll only see, once that brilliant flash fades, his face, lit up with a lopsided grin, and that fire blazing in his eyes.
Ryo is not a bright guy. He's not really handsome. He's not really smart. He's not really talented. He's not a lot of things, truth be told. He's kind of... just a normal guy, in most regards. But the one thing he is? A clever combatant. When Ramlethal comes in sweeping her arm about like a club, Ryo has not forgotten about her floating pals with those giant freaking blades. Oh no. Not in the slightest. Ryo's body snaps back, feet sliding across the ground, and his body twisting to roll his shoulder forward in a defensive gesture. The sword passes by, with a deep, resounding WHOOSH as it slices through the air before him. Immediately, though, Ryo lunges forward. He capitalizes on the large movement of that attack, and comes careening in, through the trailing arc of arcane power that streaks behind the attack. It crackles and bleeds through his body, but he's nearly unstoppable with the full momentum of his body carrying him forward through it with a heavy handed straight punch straight to her face.
Ramlethal's head snaps back as the powerful punch slams into her cheek. The impact sends her reeling and the girl tumbles backwards into a controlled fall, rolling nimbly into a three-point crouch as she lands on her back. Her face lifts to regard her opponent with the same emotionless stare, no hint of annoyance or anger in her golden eyes at being struck in such a fashion, merely analyzing the situation with a distant calm.
He was quite bold to have reacted to such a strike with that sort of decisive quickness. A rare trait among humans but perhaps not terribly surprising considering the sort of people that this tournament was meant to attract. She vividly recalls the countless soldiers that had cowered at the mere sight of her during the campaign in Japan, their advanced weapons no shield against the weakness of their own spirits.
Rising to her feet, the Valentine makes another sweeping motion with her arm as if to conjure one of the swords to her bidding again. Instead, a blazing ball of green light erupts from her palm and careens towards Ryo on an upside-down ballistic arc, starting low and rising upwards in a curveball pitch. It sizzles and sparks as it passes through the curtain of rain, hissing like a firecracker.
COMBATSYS: Ramlethal successfully hits Ryo with Cassius.
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Ryo 1/----===/=======|====---\-------\0 Ramlethal
When Ramlethal conjures forth a ball of energy, Ryo isn't surprised. That green energy has manifested in every attack she's made thus far, and it comes naturally to him that she would use it as a projectile. What does surprise him is the strange trajectory of it. When it dips, he mounts his defense, blocking low, only for that blast to rise up, crashing thunderously into his chest. That dual toned gray compression shirt that clings to his muscular form is torn, a giant hole blasted into it, with the ends of the hole singed and smoldering. The Dragon is left ungrounded, flying backwards and spinning, until he falls to the soggy ground on his stomach. He bounces once, flipping in the process, and splashes to halt on his back in the mud, several feet away.
"Heh," he manages to chuckle through gritting teeth. Pain is good. It helps him focus. Pain is weakness leaving the body. He clutches at his chest from the ground, rubbing the reddened flesh that will surely be left bruised in a few moments. But, he doesn't spare any time to linger on it. His legs curl up, knees to his chest as he rolls onto his shoulders. A quick kicking of his feet, and he's kipping up to an erect state once again. Pivoting on his toes, he turns to face her as his hands clasp at the tattered remnants of his shirt and tear it the rest of the way off of him, tossing it aside.
"What even was that? You a Johnny Cage fan?"
Without awaiting an answer, Ryo surges forward, bounding at her with his muddy feet splashing through ruddy puddles of water that looks like blood. Lightning crashes nearby, crimson and bright, splitting a nearby tree in twain down the middle. The rain pelts down on them with renewed force.
"You know what your problem is?" He calls out, as he rushes up on her. His gauntlet clad fist cocks back at his hip, and he skids sideways at her across the slick, wet ground. His hips twist, snapping forward at her, and bringing his shoulders into alignment as he launches his penultimate punch at her. The rain droplets caught up in the proximity of his fist are caught up, ripped apart to become a mist that swirls, trapped in a miniature cyclone just by virtue of the sheer power and swiftness he brings to bear in this technique. That fist levels itself directly at Ramlethal's chest, and should it connect, it is with the power of the thunder itself, and backed by the gale force winds that it conjured up behind it.
"TENCHI HAOH KEN!!!"
Regardless of whether or not she is able to defelect or evade that punch, Ryo finishes his statement. "You will never understand the strength and nature of humanity as long as you don't allow yourself to feel something! Live a little! Enjoy yourself!"
COMBATSYS: Ramlethal blocks Ryo's Tenchi Haoh Ken EX.
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Ryo 0/-------/------=|=====--\-------\0 Ramlethal
Ryo's response to the pain inflicted upon him by the blast of chi is greeted with an impassive stare. Though she shows no emotion, Ramlethal observes how the warrior reacts to the damage with quiet intensity, every move studied so that it might be dissected for future reference. Though she had put but a fraction of her strength behind the strike, it would seem that even that was enough to cause considerable harm. Perhaps she had placed too much stock in the words of humanity, believing the claim that this tournament was closed to all but the strongest of fighters. Or maybe humans aren't nearly the threat that Mother believes them to be.
The girl makes no move to capitalize upon the momentary weakness created by her assault for she knows full well that her speed and power could easily overcome his human limitations should she so chose. That course of action would yield her little in the way of new results. She'd seen first-hand how fragile humans can be during her sorties in Southtown. She has come here to see how someone a bit more capable handles the realities of finding out that their so-called strength is little more than an illusion. And so she watches, waiting to see what he will do.
Ramlethal's empty stare shows no signs of reaction to either the insult hurled at her, which has little meaning to the Valentine, nor the rhetorical question posed. She remains silent as he rushes at her, showing no overt signs of preparation to defend herself against his aggressive attack, though the energy building within him does not go unnoticed. It is not until he slides into the home-stretch quite literally that she moves, her slender hand snapping up to place the flat of her palm between his fist and its intended target. Brilliant green light flares up with such intensity that it lights up the entirity of the shrine as the Dragon's power clashes with her barrier, fighting spirit waging war with otherworldly magic.
For a few tense seconds neither side seems to make any progress, sparks flying around the fist held at bay by the shimmering transluscent rectangle. The Valentine regards her opponent without a trace of effort in her face through the luminescent curtain of energy, considering his words about her little 'problem'. Then, slowly, her lips peel back to reveal twin rows of jagged triangular teeth in an utterly unnatural grin that nearly splits her cute features from ear to ear. Her eyes narrow slightly to villainous angles, brows furrowing as she displays a sinister smirk worthy of the Cheshire Cat. Despite this, there still seems to be no actual emotion behind the gesture, as if she is merely mimicking something that she has seen elsewhere.
"If this is the measure of humanity's strength, then I fail to see my lack of it as a problem."
With a sudden final burst of power, the barrier flares brightly, snuffing the last of the energy from Ryo's fist. Her hand snaps out as the magic fades, the girl lunging across the short gap between them before he has a chance to withdraw. Her long slender fingers seek out his throat, clasping down upon the soft flesh with absurd strength should he fail to elude her in time.
COMBATSYS: Ryo fails to interrupt Bucado from Ramlethal with Koho.
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Ryo 0/-------/=======|======-\-------\0 Ramlethal
Though the brazen warrior attempts to turn the advantage back to his side, the Valentine's speed is simply too great. Like an iron vice begin twisted shut, her fingers clamp down upon the Dragon's windpipe, crushing any further attempts a witty quips into garbled choking sounds. His muscular frame offers no more challenge than a doll as she hefts him up into the air, holding him high enough off the ground that his feet have no purchase to use in aiding any escape attempt.
"I understand your nature all too well. You place importance upon emotion and feelings, unaware of how pointless such transient things are. Your existence is without worth. The struggles in which you take so much pride are meaningless, serving no greater purpose than your own fickle whims. You make me sick."
That final statement comes as somewhat bizzare in the face of the girl's refusal to display even the most basic hint of self-expression. Does she actually have feelings lurking behind that unmoving mask? Or it this merely some attempt to communicate to him in a manner which he might understand, some vague jab at his attempt to insult her earlier?
Regardless, she shows no hints of empathy or mercy as she speaks, nor does she pay heed to any cries of alarm or fear that might arise when the jagged circle of teeth at the bottom of her living cape begin to spin along its bottom hem at incredible speeds. The buzzsaw of nightmarish enamel slowly rises up to the level of her waist and with a simple shift of her arm, the monster brings her helpless prey towards her, pulling him against that wicked edge. Clothing and flesh shred with frightening ease as the teeth bite into his stomach, wildly lacerating him in a frenzy of bloody agony. Streaks of red fly in all directions to spatter upon the wet floors and walls, painting fern-frond patterns of crimson viscera.
Ramlethal holds him steady for several seconds of this torturous contact, staring at him with that cold predatory grin unwavering even as stray splashes of blood shower her face. Finally, after a subjective eternity of horrendous pain, she releases him from the torment. He flies across the room like a wet rag, hurled aside with callous indifference by the monsterous girl, a toy that no longer amuses her.
"Go away. You are irrelevant."
She deflected his Tenchi Haoh Ken like it was just a standard punch. A technique that he had spent years mastering. A technique that could destroy buildings in a single blow. She just pushes aside like it was the flailing swats of a child. Ryo has faced incredibly strong fighters before. He did so regularly, in fact. He had faced inhuman monsters, science experiments gone awry, androids, and all manner of other oddities. But none had shrugged off his attacks as if they were so trivial before.
He's more confused than afraid.
And that, of course, leads to him all but being eviscerated.
He tries. As she lunges, he tries to punish her own brazen nature with the trademark uppercut of the Kyokugen school. But she's too fast. She grabs him and those teeth on her cloak rend flesh. Cries of alarm or fear? She might expect that from a mere human. Ryo is not the norm. Oh, he thinks she's literally killing him. His heart thuds in his chest and in his ears. His teeth grit so hard that one chips. He strains not to scream out in pain, and all that comes out is a continuous, strained growl. But no fear.
After being tossed aside, Ryo lays there, face down in a pool of his own blood, still and silent for a long, long moment. The thunder cracks, making of the sky a ruby strobelight as lightning arcs through the clouds. The rust colored rain dilutes his blood, but does little to make the red hue any less vibrant. One hand clutches, fingers sinking deep into the loose mud. A fist clenched.
"I... lived.... bitch..."
He lifts his head, and slowly, he pushes himself up to his knees. His midsection is bleeding profusely. There may even be the hint of fleshy pink entrails visible peeking out from opened skin and muscle. He grasps at up with one hand, as he pushes up onto his feet. Standing once again.
"You have... no... understanding... at all. Pointless? ...heh. Emotions... feelings... They are... what give... our lives any... meaning or de.... definition. Our struggles... define us. It is not... whim. It is.... the difference between.... living. And.... merely... existing."
His feet spread, shoulder width apart. The hand that he's not holding his innards in with raises before his face, clenched into a fist. His chin dips, tucking in against his chest, and those eyes fiercely peer up at her, determined and every bit as passionate as they were at the start of the fight. Though, now, far, far more cold.
"Without the context.... of our tho...thoughts... feelings... and emotions... there is no... reason for living. What do... you even live for... if you... have no dreams? Sh...."
He draws in a deep, deep breath, mustering his will. The pain creeps in, but he pushes it down and stuffs it away as he gives a boisterous shout.
"SHOW ME! ORA! ORA! ORAAA!!!"
Again, the girl makes no move to close in upon the wounded warrior as he lies beaten and battered in the muddy rain. There is little point in exerting herself to extinguish his life for she has already seen the measure of his power and found it quite unimpressive. There is little threat that he could pose, either to herself or to the machinations of her Mother.
Ramlethal stares quietly, her cartoonishly evil expression fading back to its mundane mask of neutrality even as the relentless downpour washes the faint traces of his blood from her face. She watches him, waiting for some signs that he has enough strength to rise and leave, as any sensible person might. Instead, he insults her again.
Though no visible changes take place in her empty features, the girl seems to be somewhat surprised by this, her head shifting slightly to one side in confusion. What possible reason could he have for continuing to present himself as a threat? It has been made abundantly clear that there is no chance for him to prevail against her magic, yet he taunts her as if hoping to goad her into further action for some purpose that is not immediately clear. Perhaps the loss of blood has made him delirious... or maybe he's just a stubborn idiot.
"That is precisely why your kind is so dangerous. You blindly cling to pointless ideals, unable to see that it is these very things which bring you to ruin. How much of your history has been shaped by warfare and destruction driven by feelings? How much suffering has humanity created in pursuit of its selfish greed and insatiable hunger for power? How many attrocities justified to serve your emotions, decisions that affect countless lives made in the heat of the moment without thought or regard for the future?
His assertions are countered in ruthless yet unfeeling monotone, each point fired out in a rapid assault of accusations. Though her own existence is quite new, she had been privy to the endless knowledge contained within the Backyard. While it did not tell her everything, some parts of it too obtuse or carefully guarded against prying eyes, she had seen enough of human history to have a firm grasp upon the nature of their long history. Selfish and careless, they destroyed everything around them, feeding upon the world like giant parasites. So heedless were their pursuits for power that they casually devoured each other, spreading and growing like a tumerous growth that would consume everything until it was all gone.
The girl remains unmoved by the Dragon's display of human resolve, staring him down as he bellows at her in defiance. Whatever he hopes to accomplish with this primitive display, she has little interest in acknowledging it. His question to her, however, is a simple one and thus she humors him with an answer.
"You ask what I live for? Nothing. I exist soley to serve the purpose for which I have been created. My existence has no meaning save that which is granted to it by my creator. I am a pawn, disposable. Should I fall another will simply take my place. I suffer no delusions that my feelings or opinions are of any consequence."
Ramlethal lifts her arm, extending a hand towards the badly wounded man in a gesture that carries clear threat of intent. The gigantic swords at her side flash with fresh energy, their bat-wing carriers flapping dutifully over to her side as the blades hum and glow in the darkness.
"This conversation is over. I'd like you to leave. Now."
COMBATSYS: Ramlethal takes no action.
[ \\\\\\\\ < > ////////////////////// ]
Ryo 1/----===/=======|======-\-------\0 Ramlethal
"Then... y... you are weak. Oh... you might kill... me. You... might be... physically capable... but you are... weak. Hollow... You are... a prisoner. You can't... pass judgment on me. Or humanity... Because... you have no ability... to think for yourself," he says. He makes no motion as if he has any intention of leaving, despite her threat. He stands there, still at the ready, gasping for air, and holding his stomach in some vain attempt at staunching the blood that leaks freely from between his fingers.
"You... you speak about... wars and atrocities... but.. you have no concept... of what you... speak of. Ideals and dreams... don't lead... to ruin. They don't... lead to war. They.... They give us love. They give us... invention. Creation... How much of... our history... is not... innovation and advancement? We... are able to progress... as a race... and a society... by virtue of our humanity. Our thoughts... our dreams... and ideals... push us forward and make us... better than.... every generation before us. We... are still young... in the cosmos. How many people... benefit from a... man... with dreams of the stars... or a girl... with the ambition to bring food... to the starving? You lack... context and perspective. You see... a virus. We are... symbiosis."
As if to demonstrate his point, a faint shift in the air seems to occur. The barometric pressure in their immediate vincinity seems to drop, and the ionized scent of lightning in the air gives way for something else. Something that smells indescribable but natural. A faint golden light surrounds Ryo like a hazing nimbus. Motes of golden sparkls rise from the earth itself, as it gives forth the essence of life itself. Chi. It suffuses him, and he seems to be filled with a sense of calm. His eyes close, and he stops clutching at his stomach. Instead, his arms spread wide out to either side, palms open. Slowly, he draws one overhead in a large, sweeping arc, while the other follows suit in opposition, lowering in it's circular motion. This draws both of his hands down, beside his hip. There, that golden chi begins to flow, sparks of it swirling and condensing. Becoming a small sphere of golden light. And then growing.
That small orb of blinding light suddenly erupts, becoming swollen and giant. His arms thrust themselves forward, casting that ball of earth granted energy at Ramlethal, where it becomes a wave, easily as tall as he is, and broader still.
COMBATSYS: Ramlethal dodges Ryo's Haohshokoken.
[ \\\\\\\\ < > ////////////////////// ]
Ryo 0/-------/-======|======-\-------\0 Ramlethal
Ramlethal's crusade against displaying any sort of emotion stays its course as she allows the ailing warrior to plead his case for humanity. As expected, his perspective is a narrow one of naivity and optimism, blinded by his own inability to see the larger picture. Love, hope, dreams. Meaningless drivel. Basic biological chemical processes romanticized into something far more important than their individual components. And yet, despite her knowledge of this simple fact she is also painfully aware that it was Mother herself, the one individual whose judgement she trusts, who declared these creatures to be dangerous. Emotions are powerful, certainly, but that power does not come without costs.
Her eyes narrow slightly as she stares at him past the splayed fingers of her outstretched hand, picking up on the rising energy within him. Foolishness. Whatever resistance he might be able to muster, it will be little more than a token gesture of defiance and a prime example of her previous point. She had offered him free passage away from this place, allowed him the chance to walk away with his pointless emotions and dreams. Though battered and bruised, they would have survived. Now he has provoked her ire and she has little tolerance left for this charade.
The massive wave of golden chi erupts towards her like a cannon ball, searing her vision with its powerful radiance. Casually, as if swatting away an annoying gnat, she rotates her already lifted arm and sweeps it in a broad arc. The walls shudder as the orb crashes into the broad side of a greatsword as it shifts at her command, engulfing the slender girl in a roaring explosion that blots her from Ryo's vision. A few moments later the wash of blinding light fades away and through that hazy mist tears Ramlethal's rebuttal.
Both swords hurl at him in a massive twin-bladed cyclone of death, connected at their hilts into a single unit by the toothy maw of some bloated fusion of the two orb-like creatures, its body split down the middle in a duality of black and white. The double-bladed monstrosity of a weapon spins like a helicopter as it sycthes through the cold rain, rapidly carving a deadly path across the temple to strike a slaying blow upon the beligerant Dragon.
COMBATSYS: Ryo blocks Ramlethal's Trance.
[ \\\\\ < > ///////////////////// ]
Ryo 1/------=/=======|===----\-------\0 Ramlethal
As she so casually avoids the Haohshokoken, Ryo prepares for her counter. She isn't unfeeling. She's simply malicious. She's malicious because she is a toy and a pawn. She just doesn't realize it. Not yet. Maybe someday she will. But today isn't going to be that day, and he's not going to be the one to open her eyes.
There it is. Her vengeful nature kicks in. She comes at him with those swords leading the charge. Ryo grits his teeth in anticipation as they come hurtling at him.
As the swirling blades of death come at him like a lawnmower blade, Ryo does what he does best. He punches. One. Two. A simply combo of a right hook followed by the left, so that his knuckles collide against the flats of the swords with a resounding clang of bone against metal. Still, the exertion alone sends a gush of blood from his wounds, and his tawny flesh is now nearly ashen gray from the lack of it.
And yet, Ryo still will not give up. Even as he feels the last of his consciousness start to fade, he manages to thrust his open palm in her direction. Lines of fiery orange ki flow down his arm like veins, and a ball of ki condenses in his palm. It races across the distance between them at Ramlethal, before Ryo falls to his knees, gasping and clutching at his torn and shredded stomach.
COMBATSYS: Ryo can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Ramlethal blocks Ryo's Ko'oh Ken.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
The whirling buzzsaw of swords careens to the side, deflecting off Ryo's bold if absurd defense into the nearby wall. Splinters and detrius fly in a massive cloud of debris as the giant weapon plows through the ancient boards and vanishes into the darkness outside leaving a neon trail of energy in its wake. Oddly, for a moment he would swear he could hear the muffled sounds of shouted explicatives coming from the newly created hole in the wall but the crash of falling masonry as the ceiling shifts and collapses quickly drowns the noise out.
Ramlethal observes this unexpected scene play out, stalking forward across the stone floors behind the flying blades in that strange half-floating gait of hers. She had not expected the man to have that much resistance left in him with the wounds she had inflicted, having wasted much of the precious time left to him with pointless monologuing. What had he intended to accomplish? To convince her that she was wrong about humanity when the evidence was laid out plainly for her to see? Foolishness.
The defiant final blast of energy doesn't even slow her down, slamming into another barrier of energy raised with a dismissive flick of the wrist. She strides through the glimmering particles of chi before they have even fully faded back into the air, streams of golden light catching on her shoulders and hair like wisps of lazy smoke. Ramlethal comes to a stop before the fallen warrior, gazing down at him with an inscrutible expression for several seconds, his fate resting in the palms of her soft hands.
"What are you waiting for?! This dumb ape was given several chances! Just kill him already!"
The air beside the girl twists and distorts as the massive black and white creature that was holding the sword teleports into view. Nearly half the size of the girl itself, the nightmarish orb looks like some nightmarish version of Pacman, its rounded form split horizontally by a massive maw filled with blunted exposed teeth. Tiny bat-like wings jut from the sides of its upper half, though they don't even bother with the pretense of being suitable for keeping the thing aloft, remaining motionless and decorative in nature. A single beady red eye peers down at Ryo with disdain from the black half of the familiar, the other sewn shut with large grotesque sutures. If the colors are supposed to be some sort of analogs for good and evil, then the moral half of this creature has long since turned a blind eye.
"Just look at him! He's clearly too stupid to learn his lesson. You can see it in that ugly mug... he's already plotting revenge! Take him out now so we don't have to bother later!"
The girl continues to stare at Ryo for a moment then turns away, taking a few steps towards one of the large sections of missing wall. The floating creature pivots in midair glare at her, then shifts its gaze back down to the wounded human, narrowing its single eye at him menacingly.
"Hmph. You see that? You got lucky, punk! If it were up to me, I'd bury you right here and now! You should get down on your knees and thank your lucky stars! What's that... already on your knees? Ha ha ha! Serves you right! Adios, loser!"
The creature's freakish mouth opens wide with a truly disgusting noise it hocks a wad of phlem in Ryo's direction, splattering his bare skin with sticky goop. Satisfied, it turns and hovers off after the Valentine, whining profusely at her back as she disappears into the darkness and rain.
"Heeeeey! Don't leave me here, you bitch!"
COMBATSYS: Ramlethal has ended the fight here.
Log created on 01:52:27 02/07/2018 by Ramlethal, and last modified on 07:10:48 02/12/2018.