Description: Robert and Duke are wearing their wounds from their World Warrior battles; the endless fights wearing them down piece by singular piece. And yet, both must stay in the tournament, both must continue their endless fights in a brief, bright and brutal match at the dockside.
Robert Garcia always comes back stronger.
At least, that's what he keeps telling himself.
No matter how strong Ryo gets, Robert is right there nipping at his heels.
And this ... this is just a bump in the road.
For lack of anything better to do, the globetrotting Italian found himself back in Strolheim Castle. Part of him had questioned whether to keep going on this farcical journey of self-improvement, with madmen like Urien and Krauser about. But Robert also knows that avoiding the spotlight -- running away from challenges -- was not the path to self-improvement. No, he would need to continue challenging. Bigger fighters, better fighters. To Garcia, this tournament isn't just about winning -- it's about improving oneself. It's about personal triumph.
And it's about showing the world that the Kyokugen style is worth a spotlight on the world's stage.
The Kyokugen Tiger is currently seated on the grounds of Strolheim Castle.
He is kneeling at the dock.
His hands are folded within his lap.
His eyes are closed, deep in meditation.
And one eye cracks open, at the insistent blinking and bleating of his wristwatch.
He reaches over, checking the display.
And the Italian draws in his breath again.
Robert Garcia has been offered a few more moments' respite.
And as his bandaged ribcage can attest... he will need it.
Duke was eager for his newest outfit.
The suit was thin cotton, and almost angelically white; not even cream. Carefully coiffed and designed, faux gold leaf trims the creases at the knees, the elbows, the wrists, and the exposed chest. A long, blood-stained bandage bound his chest, the remains of his fight with Ryu. it was almost too striking against the crime boss's dark skin. Nagase did not advise in favor of it; well, It was supposed to be fine. But it was one of the last picks of the list of fashions.
Except for the crimson stains in the front.
Through the bandages, through the cut, around the abdomen, the Metsu Shoryuken wound would not heal. The suit was expendable; it was designed to be destroyed. And yet, for it to already be stained before a fight, not even in an attractive way, was almost infuriating.
Duke would stride out for Robert already burning with contempt. Every step comes with a seared in footprint of burning chi. Trails and flickers of energy would draw behind him, as the man's yellow eyes burned in a cold stare. The very dock groans under every step, as the man's power flows down into it, threatening to splinter it to pieces before the fight begins. The approaches comes to a halt, as Duke crosses his arms. The air begin to get heavy, as the ghosts of his violet-red flames dance over his own shoulders. The crime boss stares down at the man in meditation, before looking at his own wristwatch.
"Get up." Duke rumbles curtly.
Robert's ears can hear the crime boss lumbering toward him.
His lungs can feel the air thickening, smoldering.
He can practically feel the burning intensity welling up across his skin.
And he exhales the breath he was drawing in.
Robert Garcia's hands clasp into lightly-clenched fists, as he stands up. He turns to face Duke, looking up from his four-inch height disadvantage. Two men -- two bandaged ribcages. But if there -is- any blood seeping out from Robert's bandages, it is not enough to be seen through the fabric of a dark purple shirt. Or through the midnight blue vest worn over top of it.
Brown eyes stare back at Duke's sulfurous orbs. He doesn't need to look past him to know that the walkway shows visible signs of his footprints -- the fighter can sense the wake of chi wafting behind him.
"Nice shirt." The goateed Italian's lips curl into a smirk as he slides his foot backwards. It's true that he was already at the edge of the dock -- but he still has room to maneuver. He has claimed this space as his own -- and for the moment, the Kyokugen Tiger will not yield it to the crimelord.
His fists tighten. And orange flame begins to spill outwards from them.
A small zephyr kicks up around Robert's feet, swirling around him in a vortex. The wind increases in intensity -- and begins to glow a brilliant yellow as it spins. The Italian's ponytail is caught in the updraft, flapping around in the tumultuous breeze. The flames from his hands catch in the wind, growing into a tornado of flame.
"I'm not afraid'a ya, Duke. So whenever you're ready, yeah?"
The Italian's perfect smile -- visible even through the rising updraft of chi-borne wind -- is practically incandescent.
COMBATSYS: Robert has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Duke has joined the fight here.
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Duke 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Robert
COMBATSYS: Robert gathers his will.
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Duke 0/-------/-------|====---\-------\0 Robert
Duke cannot hide the insult, as the fire around him bursts. The man was giving an unbearable heat now, a wall of rage and flame as he stares into Robert. He does not yield. And yet, as Duke glowers "You are not... afraid?" Duke's face twists into a sneer, as the energy whirls around Robert. "Well. Then you will learn to fear!" That was the roar as he grips his bandages chest, drawing in a deep breath. Roaring, he takes two heavy steps towards Robert, utterly unfazed by the building energy pillar around him.
And he lifts his leg up high.
Whipping it around, he unleashes a tromping stomp towards Robert, heel first. And then again. And then a third time. Three bone-shattering stomps, aiming to smash Robert down, down, down, down into the dock, smashing him deep down with the raw fury of the Syndicate crime boss. He had a World Warrior tournament to win.
And Robert would not stand in his way.
COMBATSYS: Robert blocks Duke's Strong Kick.
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Duke 0/-------/-------|=======\=------\1 Robert
Robert is not... afraid?
"Nah," comments the cocky Kyokugen Tiger. "Probably a chemical imbalance. I should ask my doctor 'bout that."
The aura of flame around Robert burns brighter in response to Duke's approach -- first brighter, and then -larger-. When the first heel kick slams forward, Robert turns his shoulder and forearm into the blow, roughly ramming his entire weight into the blow. Fabric stretches -- and Duke's flames sear into the fabric, making it glow red-hot -- and the deck groans with fury.
Robert takes a step back -- and as Duke slams another stomp kick into him, he turns the other shoulder. The dock shudders with the pressure of Robert and Duke's weight, but still it holds...
But for the third stomp kick, Robert can't delegate the weight to his shoulders -- the fabric has started to catch on fire.
Instead, he brings both of his gloved hands upwards, bracing his right hand behind his left. The smoldering treads sear into the flesh of Robert's palm as he's forced into a crouch by the crime lord's savage stomp -- and yet, he remains resolute enough to push the kick away from him, allowing it to slam into the dock beside him.
The decking boards have decided that offense was too much to bear -- and give way underneath Duke's foot.
Meanwhile, Robert twists -with- the momentum, whipping around in a clockwise fashion to spin a heel kick into the crime boss's gut -- aiming to take advantage of his momentary loss of balance, or perhaps his foot being stuck in the dock itself! And from the way Robert spins, it seems he'll be planning to capitalize on that move even more, if it is to land...!
COMBATSYS: Duke endures Robert's Ryuuko Ranbu.
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Duke 0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0 Robert
Robert will continue spinning around, perfectly balancing himself so that he can piston one rapid-fire kick after another into the pinned crimelord. He doesn't set out to target the injured ribcage -- he's not that kind of fighter. (Not yet anyway!) But instead Garcia aims to unleash the Dragon Style of Kyokugen martial arts into a dozen kicking strikes in rapid succession, before leaning forward to slam a series of punches to the face and upper body! Each attack segues perfectly into the next -- and the series culminates in one rising uppercut, orange flame trailing in a blazing arc behind Robert's glowing fist as he launches both himself and Duke into the air!
Power, raw power.
Duke hammers with pure power into Robert, smashing him with the endless strength of the crime boss. His body was already bleeding at the assault, his teeth gritted at the first stomp, the second stomp. Shockwaves run deep into the dock... as it threatens to fall apart on the third, deflected into smashing into the full boards. For a moment, he is off-balanced, trapped in the boards. And in that moment?
The heel kick connects hard with Duke gut, the blow rupturing deeply. Duke lets out a groan, refusing to lose his footing, even as the whole of the dock trembles. That proves to be a dangerous gambit, as the next kick comes. Duke struggles under it, his body beginning to boil with his rage and energy as he ceases breaking himself free, and begins the slow counterattack against Robert. Every blow runs deep into his body, drumming his organs loudly as he refuses to break away. Duke tries to find his opening, tries to break out. But every kick comes too fast, and forces the crime boss to endure the barrage. He is forced out of his hole, as he takes a step back, the relentless assault nearly overpowering him... and his opening comes with the uppercut straight to his jaw, snapping it, as both take to the air.
At the apex, Duke would make his move.
Should Robert be unable to escape in time, the crime boss would intercept the last of the rise with a single, staggering punch, straight for the Kyokugen expert's chest. He would give a second punch, before making his play. Before they both could hit the ground, he would try and seize Robert. And if he could, he would reverse him upside down, spread his legs apart as he grabs each, and finish with an -explosive power bomb, straight into the dock boards into a splintering crater. If they fell into the water, in some fatal furious formats, it would be considered a ring out. But in Strolheim?
IT was just another battlefield for two dedicated fighters.
COMBATSYS: Robert endures Duke's Volcanic Bomb but gets knocked away!
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Duke 0/-------/---====|=======\==-----\1 Robert
It'd be difficult for Robert to get out of the way. His shoulders ache. His shirt's still on fire, though it'd be difficult to see with the chi-borne flames continuing to wind their way around him. And what's more -- Robert is intentionally throwing caution to the wind.
He sees the punch coming straight for his chest. And with his punching fist still committed to the blow -- he does not move. How could he, without breaking his own arm, or losing his own momentum?
His momentum is lost anyway; the Kyokugen Tiger jars backwards in midair. And the second punch knocks him off-balance, allowing the crimelord grappler to snare him by the legs.
Robert grits his teeth. He wanted to challenge himself -- and challenge, he will get.
The deckboards yield under the crushing impact of Robert's head and shoulders. Splintered and jagged wood gives way -- and an instant later, a plume of water follows as the Kyokugen Tiger's body sinks under the water. Flames of both the regular and chi-borne variety are snuffed out in the process, as bubbles begin to rise up.
And Robert Garcia is enveloped with -anger-.
Anger is a better alternative to pain, as anger can be productive.
The mushrooming column of water has not even begun to fall back into the body of water.
Robert Garcia is -shoving himself- off the pond floor. His legs break free of Duke's hold -- twisting about like the spiral edges of a corkscrew. His feet pummel into Duke again -- this time slamming into him from below in a seemingly endless gyre.
And as Robert erupts from the water, feet-first, his body will once again be wreathed in the orange flames of his indomitable will.
The flames are not a rigid spiral, as before.
This time, the flames adopt the form of a Dragon's head.
Its jaws open wide, to engulf Duke whole.
COMBATSYS: Robert successfully hits Duke with #Metsu Ryuuko Ranbu#.
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Duke 0/-------/-======|>------\-------\0 Robert
There is no battlecry. No shout of rage, or fury. The Italian was underwater, after all, and his clothes are streaming water behind him as he blasts upward in absolute, indignant defiance of gravity.
As the kicks slam into Duke, Robert's axial rotation begins to slow. The Kyokugen Tiger's kicks become more sweeping and aggressive -- less of a spinning bicycle kick and more of an actual combination -- as he rotates his upper body less. The Dragon roars, superimposed on top of Robert as kick after kick slams into Duke -- knocking him backwards enough to put the pair back onto the dock surface!
And even then the onslaught does not finish, as the skilled Italian finds his footing once more. He leans forward, unleashing a volley of rapid-fire punches to the face, chin, and chest, with the roaring Dragon at his back. Garcia's anger becomes obvious as he draws both fists back, his rage-reddened face contorted into a scowl.
And then he surges forward once again -- slamming his left palm into Duke's breastbone with a roar.
The Dragon chooses that moment to surge forward -- the accumulated chi exploding outwards in a rushing haze, threatening to sweep Duke back to shore!
As Duke slams Robert down, that smirk burns on his lips.
The water explodes all around him, with the shards and splinters scattering everywhere. It was an explosion, a pure explosion as he releases Robert on impact. A stunning impact, DUke notes, as he stands waist deep in it. And yet, as Duke only barely recovers... Robert was already moving through the aftermath. Duke draws his feet from the muddy bottom of the pond as the water begins to return. He stares into the maw of the incredible flames, his yellow eyes widening in shock. Duke could feel the heat before they come, he could feel his wound begin to burn from it. It wasn't fear. It was practicality.
Duke actually forces himself to defend against the flames.
The rapid chain of kicks hammer at the crime boss's arms, as he begins to guard against the assault. He almost manages, as he takes a step back. BUt the assault only carries him higher, up and over the dock. Now, the air hisses as steam rises, with Duke's own chi erupting over him. All it takes was the last kick, as the moment Robert gets his footing again, the guad breaks. An opening is carved open. And Robert practically tears into it, as Duke's entire form is exposed. Stunned and battered, he groans as he stumbles backwards, reaching the edge-
And Duke stops at the edge of the shore.
Leaning in hard at the force, his suit top burns away to mere rags, the stench of brimstone floods the air. The water of the pond cascades around him in droplets, hissing as they fall near and on the crime boss. Duke glowers with a burning rage, lips curled into rage. Jaw locked, flesh torn, even the bandages were burned away, revealing the sucking chest wound still torn across his frame, the wet cut that refused to heal, refused to recover, that refused to scar. Duke stampedes back at Robert, struggling with every step as he gasps for the air. His momentum was gone, his body was weak. And yet, as he glares at Robert, he knew.
He knew that he had to make him humble.
Duke's speed is just enough, as the ironclad resolve of the crime boss fuels him. Duke slams in with a low kick, an almost embarrassingly soft assault compared to his stomping frenzy earlier. Less amusing, however, would be the immediate follow up, the same leg swinging around into a full cycle kick, slamming down a fire-laced stomp -straight- into Robert's head, unleashing a bone shattering shockwave on impact, lunging in so deep that he would be over him, over the next cratering impact upon the wooden docks. The water was still scattering, still hissing as the clouds of steam boil around them.
There would be no dock by the end of this.
COMBATSYS: Duke knocks away Robert with Hellfire Hammer EX.
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Duke 0/-------/---====|>>>>>>>\-------\0 Robert
Cloth gives way to burning determination. The World Warrior Tournament aims to separate the wheat from the chaff, the best from the merely above-average. And Robert Garcia is determined to be more than a mere footnote in the annals of history. Anyone can kneel against by an imposing man boasting the powers of immortality. But it takes a champion to rise up against one.
Robert withdraws his fist, his inflamed skin bristling at the licking tendrils of flames. The Italian will not stand down -- not even when Duke is knocked back, and not even when the towering mass is stampeding back at him.
Not to say he doesn't -try-. Robert bobs back onto his left foot in anticipation, before aiming to leap to his right -- but to no avail, as the crimelord's low kick catches him in mid-leap. Robert's legs are swept out from him for the moment, allowing Duke's treads to crash right into him -- slamming him not only into the dock, but -through- it in a final, deminating blow.
The side posts of the dock buckle inward -- the rest of the framework groaning in protest.
And Robert is most likely going to feel this in the morning. And probably every morning for a long time.
And yet, somehow, Robert Garcia is better than that.
His head may have been slammed through the boards.
But it's still attached.
Which is pretty good, murder's still not a very sporting thing to take part in.
Robert's hands begin to glow, as he places them on what's left of the dock.
He shoves himself back to his feet.
And he shoves both palms forward, bringing one high and one low.
The energy wells up between them -- first into a sphere, before stretching into a tall ellipsoid.
The ellipsoid rushes out -- growing and whipping around rapidly as it screams outward towards Duke.
The shockwave trailing behind the massive Haoh Shokoken is powerful enough to knock Robert back onto his ass -- bouncing him backwards, right off the battered remains of the dock, and to splash back into the water.
COMBATSYS: Robert can no longer fight.
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COMBATSYS: Duke fails to slow Haohshokoken EX from Robert with Seismic Impact EX.
[ \\\\\\ <
He should have stayed down.
Murder was not something unfamiliar to the crime boss. And yet, as his final stomp comes, he doesn't even show any remorse. He simply stands there, adjusting his other foot as Robert rises. He doesn't wait. He doesn't hesitate. As the final attack comes from Robert, Duke -slams- down his other foot, unleashing a second shockwave- straight into the dock, which immediately collapses and shatters on impact. Off balanced, and exposed, his eyes go wide the torrent of flames -explode- into him point blank, his jaw slack as he is sent blasting backwards. Smoking and aflame, he lays there, stunned. He gasps for air, chest rising and falling as it bleeds. Burnt and battered, he gives a single groan, forcing himself, just barely, into a stand. He braces himself ready for the final attack from Robert...
But Robert was gone.
Duke pauses a moment, giving a rattling breath. Murder, right? He strides over into the water, deeper and deeper, through the broken remains of the dock. He comes to a stop, and stares down, knee deep. He shakes his head, a sneer on his lips. He thrusts his hand into the depths. And with a heave, pulls Robert up by his ponytail. Hurling him over his shoulder, he carries him out of the water, before dropping him unceremoniously into the shore. He does not look back.
"See you in hell." Duke rumbles, as he walks away from the Kyokugen fighter.
COMBATSYS: Duke has ended the fight here.
Log created on 14:19:21 02/22/2018 by Duke, and last modified on 16:53:56 02/23/2018.