Description: The Mad Dog continues his hunt for the strongest in World Warrior, brazenly challenging one of the strongest fighters alive. But has he bitten off more than he can chew? Woof!
Waves surge against the cliffside of the mountainous promontory.
The battle monitor laid out on a nearby rock the size of two men in the grip of combat, the band secured around a thick knotted rope secured loosely around the boulder, paper charms dangling from the hemp. It took all of the demon's considerable strength to not kill the man who had bothered to insult him with the premise of the miniature tracking device. 'A pretense for fools incapable of recognizing strength in the world," Akuma had decided. But to his merit, he didn't annihilate the whole thing where it stood.
It chafes at his strength to suffer the contingency of a child's trinket.
Which is why he meditates now, sitting at the edge of the building-high cape, searching the sky for strength worthy of his time, and for the rightness of the answer the deadly sage has already come to. The answer only he was capable of providing to the gathering of the insulted for the German's mad claim. There was only one answer someone whose strength hung on a rope from hell could give to people who haven't yet took the fire of battle into their lungs...
You would never guess at the true reach of his resolve, as the flame-haired killer sits peaceably at the edge of the peak, eyes closed. Only the knotted sky is an indicator of his mental state. Chaos is raked into the clouds, distant peals of thunder echoing over the land. A droplet of rain lands on the surface of a stone gourd. It is half the size of a man and sits propped against the boulder, settled against the thick rope. The droplet settles into the engravings, ancient words etched into the surface of the gourd.
Those minute tracking devices have some benefits, and some flaws. One of them is the arrival of potential challengers; most would be intimidated by the high station of this Akuma, the second seeded person to win the entire tournament. A man who thusly has little requirement to prove his power on the field of battle, and only the insane might dare test. But from the shores of the water, a tall man in blue hair bursts out, mostly bare beyond white pants and a long jacket clasped to his neck to dangle like a cape behind. He presses a finger into his ear, spitting seawater to the side and glowering down at his watch.
"Annoying... I had to swim for 17 hours..." But he tilts his head, feeling the roar of power thrumming from the world's mightiest fist even at rest, eyes widening a touch with a slow grin of delight. "But this... this is a hell of a banquet waiting for me."
Akuma might notice the feel of an insect nearby; an interesting, if small amount of power thrumming from where booted feet stride along the sand, leaving deep wells that fill with water in his wake. He can feel it, easily... this is not someone he needs to play with, yet again.
That strange woman might have been right in telling him about this conflict. He owes her one.
"Enchant Dragunov... RELEASE."
Suddenly the air roars with another presence, power surging skywards. The light dims, blackness of the man's oppressive chi surging out. Sand is blown away like a bomb went off, sea billowing away as the very tide is reversed by the force. The stone that Akuma is settled on quakes and shudders, cracks slithering up it as his tranquility is ruined by the invasive presence of another.
His tattoos glow bright crimson before slowly evaporating away, second by second drawing his power into new heights, before the last of them flit off. A moment later a great cloud of dark purple energy surges like a cloak of fire, seething strongly from his intensely muscled form.
A moment later, the air shimmers before Akuma, and then the heavy frame of Azrael slams down. This man is not human. Akuma can tell at a glance. His source of power is... strange. It's not from this world, but neither is it from any common source that the great Lord of Hell has born witness. Like an endless storm, made manifest in this humanoid beast who stares wildly with red eyes and grinning canines.
There might be some expected talk. Questions, answers, the foreplay of a fight about to unfold. Instead, there's only the back of the Mad Dog's hand. He swings it out in what seems a casual display. There's no technique to it, no skill beyond natural practice. But the air bellows behind, sound barrier casually broken as a shock of force splinters the stone Akuma had been meditating upon for meters around, aiming to collide it with Gouki's face and send him flying.
COMBATSYS: Azrael has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Akuma has joined the fight here.
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Akuma 0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0 Azrael
COMBATSYS: Akuma instinctively blocks Azrael's Swift Backhand.
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Akuma 0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0 Azrael
At first, Akuma pays the approaching invader no heed. Truthfully, there is no need for him to concern himself with smaller matters, even the readouts and twittering of the nearby locator. This world is not one in which he needs a child's toy to tell him if someone worth his time approaches. Merely 'approaching' him is in and of itself a trial, for the closer one can get to the sage of fists is the closer one gets to having their chest caught in the vise of his power.
It is said that the sages who chases the wisdom of the bodhisattva achieves a kind of oneness with the world around them, and it is said that a bird could land on them, so in one with nature they have become.
There are no birds where Akuma meditates, and there is no one who knows the wisdom he chases.
Akuma is not surprised by the release of power in his vicinity, of the sort that cracks the promontory where Akuma has chosen his perch, his meditation strong enough to hold against the wave of power which rills through his tied hair, the tongues of flame red shifting with the hurricane force, the nature of which he contemplates slowly, ignoring the excitement of his own heartbeat, pulse quickening as the 'nature of the thing itself' becomes aware of the coming storm.
The cracking of the earth stops as it reaches within Akuma's notice, the network of spiderweb cracks crumpling and piling amongst eachother in dense knots as the earth shudders in countenance.
At this level, men are not stymied by the wave of awe-inspiring force that the ferocious beast of a man displays. The harsh crack of the air splitting twice fills the space between them, breaking against the sage's war-worn gi. There is nothing human about his contender. This much the sage knows as simply as if he was told. Nothing human could survive coming this close to him in the sconce of mayhem. This is what gains his pardon. This is what he chooses to recognize.
In the end, the sage deigns to open his eyes.
Hitting Akuma is like hitting the mountain, millennia of crag separating the fighter and even the idea of movement. One hand raises, as he rolls to the balls of his feet smoothly from his full lotus position. The second crack of the sound barrier is muted by the force of the wall the god of the murdering fist erects, the ends of the hemp secured around his hands shifting with the force but not his arm. At the end of it all, the backhand the challenger unfurls could have killed a man, stunned an entire army of men by itself.
Akuma moves exactly one centimeter.
It is enough to get his attention.
"Choke on your own weak form," Akuma seethes.
And then the demon steps forward, unspooling a fist capable of crippling a skyscraper into the middle of the man.
COMBATSYS: Azrael barely endures Akuma's Gou Shouha.
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Akuma 0/-------/---====|=====--\-------\0 Azrael
Most would be crushed by the mere proximity to Akuma. His killing intent, the restrained fangs of a true predator, the might of someone so awe inspiring that even those who believe themselves invincible must take heed. But that is not the case here; the flames and heat of Azrael's own prodigious aura literally is fanned brighter, more intensely, and his expression is one of absolute happiness. Fear...? No. This man is not capable of feeling it. That much is obvious. By that measure, he is more qualified than some to dare and stand before this scion of might.
"Oh...?" Azrael comments, when he fails to move Akuma much in the slightest. "Was I too gentle...?!" Shifting forward, the monolithic fighter slams down his heel, sinking it into the stone. Beginning to twist himself into another assault. He's wide open; foolishly so. And that perfect strike whirls out, impacting right into the weakest ribs on his side.
That feel... it's wrong. It's not like punching something hard; no. It's like punching some great black hole. Force erupts behind him, sending his jacket whirling around as the ocean kicks up gigantic waves for hundreds of meters as the great face of the mountainous perch shatters in a great avalanche of stone just from forcing that much kinetic force through this man. But he does not move, his bones do not break, and all that happens is the storm of his aura... changes. Converting from something recognizeable, strength, power, stamina, into... another.
Without hesitation, he then snaps out his foot. A heel heavily imbued with dark purple energy aiming to strike into Akuma's sternum, throwing all of his weight into it. That he was not launched away allows a brief window of chance to actually hit the titanic man, laugh coming deep and heavy, tone unwinded. "YES!! That strike...!! You tried to kill me, didn't you?!" THAT'S THE WAY A TRUE BATTLE IS!!"
If he launches the Fist of Hell backwards, Azrael would kick forward and launch himself after, whirling forward with full intent on remaining as near the other man as possible...!!
COMBATSYS: Azrael knocks away Akuma with Valiant Crush.
- Power hit! -
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Akuma 1/------=/=======|=======\-------\0 Azrael
Akuma growls, revealing knifelike teeth as his cannon of a punch falls into the void.
The nature of his strength is not one that stops because of something small like an unbreakable surface. Akuma does not know the meaning of the term, and has not yet met a thing he could not destroy. However, the nature and outcome of the attack is proof immediately as to why this creature had been allowed to live for so long. A blow that lands and yet misses ... is not a thing that his killing fist has encountered routinely.
Taken aback, Akuma's stance breaks against the dagger kick, Akuma folding around the heel and being launched away bodily by the attack, the dark energy traces from the attack rippling off of him flaying huge furrows and leaving trails as he slams into the grass and rock not once, but twice with the sheer momentum of the thing. Bleeding off speed like a meteor, Akuma's waraji finally gouge into the earth, becoming aware in the interim that he is being chased relentlessly even as his body turns into a martial stance, his knee setting against the charge and his own skidding momentum, as force begins to marshal in his fist.
A dim echo of the challenger's words reach a bloodsoaked awareness only a moment later.
"Yes," is the master of the fist's grim response.
There is no further need to talk, as far as he's concerned. The point of arguing, or analyzing any further is meaningless. There is only the fight. A man who will not die has not yet been killed. The energy in his fist grows, red and black force building in it. His fist arches like a scorpion's, force cascading down into his hand from the air, the merit of pure killing force burgeoning beyond the point where containment is noticeable or useful.
Then he brings his fist down, and a massive explosion ripples outward at its center. His fist encountered a void when he struck the nameless man only a moment ago. A blow rendered by the Satsui no Hadou, but useless for its restraint. Useless, because he remained standing. Akuma recognizes this in one punch. Now, he will light a lamp, and fill that void to bursting.
Such is his wisdom:
His fist is geyser.
The promontory is filled with red violence, the cracks that were earlier split in the violence of the nameless man's passing glowing crimson as the entire cape is enervated. The blast spears up from the point of contact, somewhere in the center of that man's stance. There are only a few precious seconds to stop Akuma before the rock, earth and grass crumple, the mile of cape they stand on shearing from its island and surging into the waves in pieces from his spearing strike, moving to break the unleashed stranger with no further delay.
Only a few seconds to reveal who a man truly is.
COMBATSYS: Akuma knocks away Azrael with Sekia Kuretsuha.
- Power hit! -
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Akuma 0/-------/------=|=======\=====--\1 Azrael
There's merely curiosity from Azrael, when the other man shifts to unleash what seems a simplistic assault. But when he can feel that spark, that pure killing intent, bloom manifest... he laughs. It's not that of someone insane, or unable to comprehend what is taking place. Akuma, perhaps more than anyone else alive, can fully understand this joy. It is someone far too strong, desiring a true battle. No primping, no games, no draperies. Two people trying to establish who is almighty, and who lives or dies is left to the cosmos.
The fist slams into the ground beneath Azrael, and a split second later the world becomes a void of crimson energy. It surges upwards, shooting so high the apex cannot be seen. The very foundation of the island splits deeply, massive seismic activity following the grand mountainous region they now brawl sinking meters downwards into a slight concave. Stone is vaporized to nothing...
But not once does Akuma feel that strange chi weaken. No; the air seems blacker, and a great pressure falls like the gravity increased, ten, a hundred times over. The battle damage, the killing intent, all seem to be literally feeding this strange beast. High in the air, the grinning monster can be seen, falling like a meteor. Almost all of his clothing has been disintegrated, yet his bare flesh seems unmarred. Indeed, whatever power source he has is taking all of his exterior damage, for some unknown purpose. He's weakening, though -- he is not truly immortal. That might make the encounter more troublesome.
But... killable? That is a question that remains to be seen.
"This is how a fight should be... isn't it?! Nothing but the strength of one's fists!! But I can still feel it. You're holding back, aren't you?! YOU THINK ONLY THIS WILL SATISFY ME?!"
Then he curls up his feet, seeming to squat upside-down. Only to kick... so hard that he finds purchase on the air compressing beneath, which detonates again with a sonic boom as Azrael hurtles at speeds even the superhuman might find hard to follow. A split second later he lands on the stone beside Akuma, huge stones flying up following his attack. And then he twists into a ferocious kick, aiming to slam it into the crimson haired warrior. Normally, it would send someone flying away. But the next blow comes so quickly, no such journey would begin. A second strike of his heel to send Akuma skywards... before he seems to teleport with the explosive force of his movement, shooting up to appear above and twist his entire body into a single, earth-shattering punch towards Akuma's spine, to launch him away further into the midst of the island!!
COMBATSYS: Akuma full-parries Azrael's Full Spartan!!
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Akuma 0/-------/----===|====---\-------\0 Azrael
A man who will not die...
Boulder chunks of earth go flying for miles inland, each in themselves a wave of destruction cutting through the landscape and snapping trees in half like so much brittle cordwood. The demon unsheathes his fist from the earth, buried half an inch into the epicenter of his punch. The earth lists aimlessly as the lower sections begin to flood. Though the immediacy of his attack seems not to rend any sort of change in the local area aside from the crater spreading from the force of the impact, this much is something any fighter could have achieved.
No, the damage of the attack is almost entirely subterranian, as the grounds sluice over a shattered substrate no more firm than quicksand. The earth no longer holds in the way it is supposed to, and the peripheral damage from the blast that knocked the undaunted challenger is almost worse than the reality of the thing.
The unmoored land is a challenge that Akuma is used to, the master sage looking up after the falling hunter, his hands slowly carving readiness out of the air, a stance taken with the hemp-creaking tension of his bound hands just barely audible over the distant cracking roar of the promontory listing into the sea. Sharpening his hands with the kata and honing his resolve, Akuma hears the faintest shriek broken by his opponent, listening intently for the sounds of blood in his word. He hears none.
It doesn't take much for Akuma to realize that despite the man weakening, his energy is still being absorbed.
The thought gives him grim satisfaction.
"There is no point in killing you instantly," he responds, his voice soaked in barely restrained rage.
"Not when you still have a chance to show me real battle..."
Akuma moves faster than any human has claim to, the red force behind his eyes tracking Azrael's beyond-sonic movement. When moving so fast that the air itself is a barrier, few men could react. That Akuma does is only the barest indication that the master of the fist, beyond human and he who kills with the barest thought, may be taking Azrael seriously. Slamming a leg into the oncoming leg of his assailant, the stones lifted in the force of the dominant's attack split with the cross-surge as they meet shin to shin, before Akuma attacks.
Walls of scything force accompany the violent sage's follow-through as he brutally forces his way into the man's interchange, not content to merely clash with one blow or another, but turning the entire chan of kicks aside with his whirling defense. He unleashes a battery of scything roundhouses against Azrael in the zero-space between them, the clouds above twisting with the waves of his motion, churning energy reeling into his attack with every revolution of his body, black and violet hurricane-sized blades of wind accompanying Akuma's response to the cataclysm of a man.
He doesn't aim into, but through Azrael, meaning entirely to kick him in half if the man's lust flags for even a moment, the vaccuum force of his passage splitting the air around them into five sections. The friction of his passage and that vaccuum leaves a red haze resembling the Japanese kanji 'TEN' seared into the air around the whirling blade the sage kicks through the invincible man's position, revealing the work of a force even greater than before.
COMBATSYS: Akuma knocks away Azrael with Tenshou Kaireki Jin EX.
~ Cruel hit! ~
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Akuma 0/-------/-------|=======\=------\1 Azrael
This is not an opponent that Akuma has to go easy on; not someone who will die instantly to his greatest technique. He can measure them, see how they work on someone where the measure of damage is only the dip of his own fighting prowess and nothing else, transforming it all into something... else. Food. Sustenance. The hell fist is literally feeding this monster with each blow, and he's found himself wrought to overflowing quicker than even the likes of Rugal could manage when he assaulted his aircraft carrier personally. This is no drawn-out affair, where they try to impress each other with skills and techniques. A battle of two beasts, fangs sharpened and ready, to see who succumbs first. Nothing more then a great pecking order, where only one will stand atop.
That leg lances through the air expertly, slamming into Azrael's sternum. The great brawler is launched skywards, completely open for Akuma to truly leverage this clumsy opening. A split second later, that whirling kick slams into him with such force that the great visible ripple in the air heralds well before the sound follows. Crimson eyes widen, as the impenetrable shield and the ultimate land collide. Black aura seems to thicken almost to the point of being tangible as purple lightning crackles out wildly, a great creaking and popping noise thumbing out...
And then Akuma slides past him, leaving Azrael to spiral head over heels and then crash into the churned ground beneath. But there is no pause; instantly his fingers dig into the rock, sliding down hunkered like some kind of animal, a great burning imprint of Akuma's hellflame-empowered strike upon him. He did not break, but his expression certainly looks curious. "Oh...? So this is pain, is it?" Slowly the mark recedes, leaving a slight mark behind, shaped like the hell lord's footprint. A mere scratch, after that was borne upon him.
"I LIKE IT!!"
And then he seems to explode upwards, laughing madly as the torn and burnt sleeves trail behind in a halo of ash, fist condensing his purple aura deeply. The air is heavy with his own born battle lust, a great intimidating swell that makes even the greatest warriors feel like nothing more than prey. Akuma, of course, is not so vulnerable; after all, this is very similar to what he does to a mundane opponent. "Gustav..."
And then he swings, trying to slam his fist into Akuma's ribs, twisting hard. Still no expertise. Still nothing but raw instincts, compensated purely with his strength, his speed, his reactions...
COMBATSYS: Azrael keeps on fighting!
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Akuma 0/-------/-------|=======\=------\1 Azrael
COMBATSYS: Akuma instinctively blocks Azrael's Gustav Buster.
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Akuma 0/-------/------=|=======\===----\1 Azrael
The master of the fist hits the ground spinning, his leading waraji carving a bladed furrow into the ground. His fists ball at his sides, the tension of a braid of fire winding around his spine, the heat of a serpentine will, the struggle he has trained against for years. The will to restrain his full might...
Here is someone who does not buckle against his fist. Here is someone who he can sharpen his skill on before he gets to the German. Akuma stares at the man as he flings himself from the wholesale of the sluicing earth with nothing more than mad glee written across his face. By now, any other, even a God would have had their blood scattered across the battlefield. With the dispassion of a rage so fierce that it has burned down everything ostentatious and peripheral, Akuma fixes the waning marks of his work with a cold and vicious glare.
"Pain is the first step to ruin.. Drink in the chaos of the battle, beast, and show me your limits!!"
The man bears down on him like a wraith, and Akuma responds. His is not the wild and reckless movements of his challenger. The precision of his attack is undeniable. But the whirling of the two is not any civil battle. There is nothing human about them as they meet, Akuma's ribcage deforming around the force of the blow, arrested just at the breaking point as Akuma moves to interlock his arm with the man's outstretched, to lock the confronter's limb in the crook of his arm, pinned by a cannon bicep.
There is nothing civilized about them. If Azrael presses his advantage without escape, Akuma will uppercut him with his locking arm, moving to hyperextend and break Azrael's arm with the blow. To rip him off the ground with the force of his dark wave, a blasting gun of a punch striking as the iron hammer across the anvil. Not once, but with enough force that he can catch the man's skull underneath his fist, and try to crush it against the erupting rocks nd the shockwave of his own landing, his fist a spear dropped from heaven itself.
COMBATSYS: Azrael breaks through Shouten Shoryuu from Akuma with Scud Punishment!
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Akuma 0/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0 Azrael
"Trust me... you don't need to tell me to drink this in!! I LIVE for this!! Without a battle, without conflict, there's no life!!"
Of course, the main mistake Akuma did here was trying to break him. When the pair are locked close together, then there's many advantages to the monstrous fighter. His arm shifts to the limit, but despite the twist, his joint does not shatter. Nothing dislocates. It seems to not even cause much discomfort, making it easy to wrench free as dark power slowly wells up within him. Using raw strength to break this grapple should be impossible, but his unique physiology powers through.
"Yes... this is it... a true deathmatch...!! HAHAHA!!" And then he suddenly twists. This is martial arts. An actual assault, born of practice and technique for the first time. He exhales deeply, a wash of breath whirling out as he flows backwards while Akuma prepares to hammer home blows that would split any other warrior like a gourd.
Instead, his fist slams into Akuma's heart, twisting heavily. This strike is filled with the utmost of killing intent, as well. His unique black energy surges within, to lace with Akuma's own inhuman aura, before twisting into another brutal strike, a second blow to the throat with full intent to shatter his laryx, and against most, his neck as well.
The chi-imbued strikes ricochet off his head and body, as he literally powers through, neither connecting solidly enough to bore through his seemingly indestructible form, culmination of his onslaught sending Akuma hurtling away like a meteor, crippling power and parasitic aura both working in tandem to try and ravage even his specially honed form.
"We're not done yet... this is the main course!! And you've still not taken me SERIOUSLY!! I won't die... if I drag you to hell with me, then I'll come back unscathed... the VICTOR...!!"
The two fighters rip free of the earth. Instead of being torn in twain and smashed against the rock, the manhunter worming his way free of the arm-reaping blow easily, earning the barest taste of Akuma's enmity. The master of the fist's killing blow never has the opportunity to fully scythe his opponent's skull in twain, because it's interrupted by a sledgehammer blow to the master's chest.
This much is not enough. The two wheel in the air, trading blows that would be enough to slay scores of men. Axeblows are traded as easily as drilling strikes, skulls and ribcages subjected to intensities sufficient to split both the sky and the earth. And then, the man who won't die shows a scintilla of his real strength.
As the red-eyed killer knew.
"Gouh!!" Akuma spits blood as he is struck through the throat with harpoon chi, sending his perfected body pinwheeling away in the air, his hands forming loose claws as if trying to grip great fistfuls of the air to still his terminal velocity. For a moment, it would seem that that would be the decisive blow, the one the master had been looking for his entire match, the perfect collusion of form and intent to create a killing technique he was willing to acknowledge as something 'worthy.' His throat opened and his heart stopped, Akuma free spins in the air.
He is not the same as this thing, a creature made from some contrivance of technique to resist. He is not invincible to infinite strength, his body not blessed with infinite fortitude. That is not what he is.
But when the master of the fist locks one flaming claw around his throat and sears his ruptured larynx shut in mid-air, when his waraji slam into the fractured earth until his toes bend the weave to grip the ground, he is something else entirely. The parasitic force bleeds away in the pyre of his flesh, red force emanating from every pore on his body, the mortally injured master treating the injuries sustained with nothing more than the grim countenance of the road ahead. For those such as him, and those such as they, the fight is all that there is. His heart stopped and cold in his chest, the master of the fist stands before Azrael, his anger surpassing even death, rage boiling deep in his chest to warm him.
"Whether it is heaven or hell, where you drag our carcasses doesn't matter...."
He stands a hundred paces from the man, the winds cutting across the hemp obi securing his shredded, bloodstained gi. His bloodsoaked voice drags across the ground like iron on the whetstone. It is not appreciably changed for the rigors Azrael has imposed. "You have attempted to kill me ... that much earns you my rage. But you are still a worm to me, and only surviving ultimate purification will allow you to stand before me with any dignity at all."
He crosses a hundred paces in two steps. His first, to close the distance between them. The second to shift into killing motion. The fist he raises against the iron body saint is unlike any other he has faced before. "That which will fell even the gods of Hell," Akuma howls to the trembling sky.
"MY FIST KNOWS NO EQUAL!!!"
In the end, he only moves to hit Azrael once. There is no chi, no visible chakra in the blow. Some portion of it could be explained by the sheer momentum of his crossing the interstitial space between them, some by his great strength. But there is a massive x-factor between the absolute limits of what a man can do, and what is being done. The blow is enough to finish not just an unkillable man, but the entire landmass he stands on, and everything inbetween. It sounds like thunder, the hammer of his fist. And it splits what remains of the sinking cape along the fracture points, red and black flame crawling at the sheared edges, unaffected by the jet surges of water spraying between them.
COMBATSYS: Azrael auto-guards Akuma's Misogi EX.
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Akuma 0/-------/-------|==-----\-------\0 Azrael
Azrael's foot slams down, and he slowly rises upwards to face Akuma once more. Both hands slither into his torn and burnt pockets, the only mark upon him already almost faded away, the vague impression of that catastrophic foot upon his chest appearing still to regenerate rapidly, even when that unique aura was finally penetrated with exceptional effort by the beast opposite. He has never had a feast this good. A brutal warrior who wishes only for the perfect battle to hone his skill... dragged down to death's door, and not succumbing, but fueling himself to even greater heights? Literally nothing could be better than this moment. If only it could stretch on for an eternity...
He'll remember now for the rest of his life.
At last, some of that dormant power within Akuma can be sensed. The monstrous man isn't particularly arrogant; he's well aware that this man is holding something back, the true fangs of one transcendant of not only such unlimited power, but perfect skill and technique as well. Perhaps if they meet again, Akuma will take this seriously from the onset. It almost makes Azrael ponder the merits of training. He has an incredible amount of room for growth, but until this moment, already shackling himself with Enchant Dragunov in a desperate bid for competition, never felt like it was required.
Akuma whirls in a blur, as something strange seems to take place. His crimson eyes widen, drawing out his arms and then spreading them wide.
The tide of Azrael's power surges. But not outwardly; where before it was like a wild storm, with him empowered by the remnants, that incredible wellspring seems to infuse him head to toe. Muscles flare and expand, his perception, his power, magnified even more. He snaps up his open palm, and catches Akuma by the forearm.
The island is gone. The pair are driven downwards like the hammer of the gods. Dozens of meters shattering within the womb of the earth, aftershock erupting out in all directions. Boulders the size of houses hurtle out like rockets towards the sea, dirt thrumming up like a volcanic eruption to blot out the sky, and great torrents of disrupted water surge to fill in the gap where mother nature once stood, splashing through the crags and splinters to cover a battlefield unable to stand up to the pair's true might.
Yet when that impossible force is arrested, Akuma might be truly surprised. His fist... was stopped. It took all of Azrael's power, driving him down to his knees. A pinky is pressed to his shoulder, where a crimson mark split open his shattered coat. Yet a true, genuine attempt to kill him? Someone managed to repel it. And even then, within that split second that defines a being, one's true soul, will, and heart, there was no fear.
Only happiness. The thrill of someone finding an equal. This is not because of his immortality. Akuma would have sensed it keen and strong. Dying here, with everything on the line? He would have been satisfied. But that does not mean the Mad Dog had any interest in giving up... the tight grip on Akuma's arm, threatening to shatter bones if that titanic hold has not already, speaks true to that.
"Enchant Dragunov... Release."
His power surges back, until once more he is roughly on the same level of Akuma. Yes... he may have a level another step further, but much like Akuma is choosing not to use it, so is he. His free arm twists back, swirls of dark purple and black energy coalescing into his fists. Before he drives his fist a second time, to slam into Akuma's heart once more. Surging, to send within his very soul pure terror. Pure intimidation. The suffocating presence of someone who dares not only to defy him, but to stay standing afterwards.
"Hahaha... you're the strongest beast I've ever faced. Far beyond so-called Gods... it's a shame we couldn't both have gone all out!!"
COMBATSYS: Azrael successfully hits Akuma with The Terror.
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Akuma 0/-------/--=====|====---\-------\0 Azrael
If Azrael is a connosieur of battle, Akuma is a monk in reflection. There is no satisfaction on his features as he cuts the rope holding back the well of his strength, the tide of "Satsui no Hadou," the true killing intent. Only grim determination, reflection, and recognition of an opposite number in the unbreakable man. When Akuma comes for Azrael, it is in full belief that he will put an end to this farce, to break whatever alchemy or contrivance powers the man, and use the force of his fist to send him on to irrelevance once more.
But in one blink, everything changes.
His fist never lands on Azrael's body, the force of his purifying blow finding no purchase as his titanic strength is checked with focused power. The tension of arrest and the hold rips through the earth in a shockwave, leaving them deep in the mud and the surf flooding between them. The power between them flays even the rock to dust. But it does not break the unbreakable, who kneels yet is still whole. The eyebrow of the master of the fist arches. A split second determined the worthiness of a man.
And Akuma's heart begins to beat again.
The drumbeat on his torso is less than what he has experienced before. A man could train for a century and hit him with the same, it is of no consequence or interest to the master of the fist in the brutal interchange in the mud. But the ice cold feeling of dread that slithers, parasitic, into his spirit is a pure poison. It is enough to give him pause, to break his resolve, even for a moment. And at this level, the strength of a man can mean nothing. The will is everything.
For one, shining moment, Akuma is made aware of the possibility that he could be less than another man in this world.
The red wave of rage flash boils the mud, parching it into clay in anger and enmity. Even as the unbreakable man vises and tries to hold his arm to open his body up for more punishment, Akuma's knife teeth flare angrily. Not attempting to break free, instead Akuma lashes out, his free arm stabbing outward at the same to threaten grabbing Azrael by the face, black energy spraying from his palm thickly like milk tinged with red lightning. Fear makes his knees buckle, the revulsion and indignity crumpling his will to stand and kill more than anything else.
But it is the anger of that indignity that boils energy in his palm.
".... We will meet again," the master of the fist promises.
And then he unleashes a Hadou energy wave point-blank into Azrael's face.
The force is enough to cut through stone, and break the grip of four hands between them.
COMBATSYS: Akuma can no longer fight.
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COMBATSYS: Azrael reflects Gou Hadouken from Akuma with Growler Field.
- Power hit! -
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Fingers tighten, and Azrael's eyes flash crimson. "Too late. There's a critical difference between us..." His hand has returned to his pocket, and he's completely vulnerable to the final assault of the other man. Deadly energy surges out, and then is launched point-blank. But the only response is for the Mad Dog's aura to roar; he is covered in a powerful field of dense energy, and within the heavily wounded state of Akuma after expending his waning strength upon that earth-rending assault, it is insufficient. A powerful eruption of chi strikes into the crimson haired warrior, outright rejecting that final bid to even the score.
And then, Azrael twists, tossing Akuma to the side, to land amidst the broken stones and surging water rapidly erasing any trace of the island they were upon. His crackling energy field disperses then, neck twisting with an audible pop. Even then, that unexpected eruption of chi was not merciful. A lesser opponent within Gouki's state would have been rent to ashes, and from the opening strike to this final rejoinder...
He fought as hard as he could.
"You underestimated me. You bared your fangs too late... while I went from the jugular from the start. I respected you from the moment I stepped foot on this island. Such a shame..."
A glance towards Akuma follows, before his grin becomes feral, baring his canines. The mark on his shoulder and chest are gone. He's looking down on Akuma. Looking down on a man who by all rights believes himself the mightiest being alive. Standing the victor. "Fight me for real next time...!!"
And then, a great burst of speed as Azrael launches himself towards the sea, intent on tracking down his next prey. Much like Akuma, he is after the head of Krauser as well; but there's many people to sample on the menu in that journey. And he highly doubts that the Strolheim head can possibly surpass this...!!
COMBATSYS: Azrael has ended the fight here.
Rejected. He lands hard against the rock silt and mud, rope-bound hands gripping hard against the salt and clay that is the earth's heartflesh, the bubbling surf surging between his fingers and his grip. The blast something that would have destroyed another man on the spot, Akuma is merely laid low by it, droplets of remnant horror flecking at his soul like a spray of blood. The master of the fist is defeated, his body no longer willing to comply with his demands. Or more appropriately, no longer willing to comply with his will.
Something wells deep within the killer, a surge of murderous intent that takes the sage all of his remaining strength to beat back, to prevent himself from losing control, losing control of everything, and losing his life in the process. The blade he has chosen is a double edge.
His voice rises like bile in his throat, and the master of the fist watches Azrael with flaring eyes, fierce and angry. "You should kill me..." He is as seemingly dumbfounded by his own loss as he is paralyzed by keeping the darkness from consuming him, with all of the disastrous mien of an animal chained. It is only when Azrael leaves does he finally laugh, a harsh and vicious thing carrying little mirth.
A single war-worn thumb draws over his face, wiping away the blood from his lip, sign of some great internal injury.
"You relied on your crutch to the end...!!" Akuma snarls, livid in his anticipation. "But it held against even my indomitable Satsui no Hadou!! Even my first taste of terror in decades... it looks like this inanity is not a waste of time after all!!"
A man succumbs to vanity, strokes his pride until he chokes on it. But as long as the sage of fists is alive, he can only consider the next fight.
Akuma's only disappointment was that the battle was not longer.
"This killing intent is the greatest force ever born, the purest and most hellish strength of warriors, which even you have tasted... I will build your strength to its greatest height, and anyone else who dares to face me!!"
Akuma's strength begins to rally in record time, resurging. Not anywhere near battle-ready, but not only would any other man be dust in the wake of that attack, but it would be a story for titans to even be conscious. The lust for the thing itself drives him, the only thing he thinks about, and the reason for his very being. At what point is it reasonable, or even sane that he lay down to rest now? Akuma's hands open, and he thrusts them outwards. The force of the thing forces wide the fissure rent in the landmass, toppling the cape above him in twin rockslides, boulders shearing off and dropping to the sea in great and grand waterspouts. Violet force radiates out from the master of the fist, shaking the earth around him, which is the only thing that fears now.
"Then I will show the depths of my Satsui no Hadou, and break you!!"
Log created on 13:07:09 02/10/2018 by Azrael, and last modified on 21:07:12 02/12/2018.