Description: Zach and Athena meet in Spain. Philosophy and punches are exchanged.
Athena's adventures in Strolheim's World Warrior event have been one of the few times in her life when she has truly been able to be alone for any meaningful length of time. In previous trips around the world, she always had others with her. Her team, her friends, her support staff for the concerts she had been putting on for the last year. This trip, however, she has traveled alone, alternating between intense battles against other World Warrior contenders and opportunities to sight see, making the best of the opportunity she could.
Already, she had seen what some of the strongest monsters of the tournament were capable of. The creature known as Azrael was unlike anything she had ever encountered in her life. Even the devil at the pass she faced on Shang Tsung's island could be hurt. Whatever that thing she had fought in Germany was, she was certain he was definitely not human.
The trip to Spain was a chance to put distance between herself and that harrowing experience. Now she stands atop a coastal hilltop on a cobblestone paved path. Low, white painted stone walls walls with Spanish style light red tiles along the tops line the route, doing nothing to obscure the phenomenal view. Just below the path, slightly down the hill, is a large Spanish mission, its distinctive architecture featuring a number of bells hung in arches which are presently ringing, sending their clarion call across the valley. Adjacent to the mission is a thick, round windmill, currently turning rapidly in the persistent wind blowing in from off shore.
And below all that, the city, and eventually the infinite blue expanse of the sea. A beautiful sight beneath the clear blue sky of a bright, but crisp cool afternoon, and one being readily appreciated by Athena Asamiya now as she stands on the cobblestone walkway looking out over the valley.
Her right hand is lifted up to the side of her head, keeping her dark violet hair from blowing into her face as the wind plays with it behind her back. Only her ever present crimson hairband helps in the effort of keeping her hair in check.
A short dress, sleeveless at the shoulders, dark blue at the bust, and sharp red the rest of the way down covers her body. As the wind blows at the lower half of the dress, it occasionally reveals the dark blue shorts she's wearing beneath it, though the rest of her legs are bare down to the brown leather shoes on her feet.
The break in Spain has been a nice reprieve... but she doesn't want to go too far. She knows she may not be the final World Warrior in this event attended by living legends, but she hopes she can find a place in the tournament all the same. Just to get an invitation in the first place was a remarkable acknowledgment. To successfully qualify beyond that? Well... she's always wanting to find where her limits are so that she can work past them. This global tournament of the world's possible strongest is the perfect opportunity to do just that.
Zach Glenn was also honored with an invitation. He seemed unlikely to get a final invitation though, given how his fights have gone so far. One win, two losses, and Zach can't shake the feeling that he was given that win. Work had brought him to Spain, rumors of an odei causing blackouts in small towns.
Zach had done his due diligence, and more than a little groundwork. Just faulty power grids, in the end. That worked for Zach; he was not sure he was properly equipped to deal with a would-be thunder god. Raiden was more than enough for Zach to deal with.
What kept him in this village, however, was something else entirely. Between the watch trilling at him and the presence he recognized from elsewhere, Zach had little trouble tracking Athena down. Wearing dark denim jeans, work boots, a yellow-gold tee shirt, and a black vest with Celtic knotwork embroidered on the back, Zach is easy to recognize.
"Hey," Zach calls to her. "Thought I felt you about," he says as he makes his way up the hill. Though the last time Athena had seen the man in person, Zach's hair was definitely blonde instead of the pale white it is now; his own souvenier of the island.
Though both numbered among the dozens who vanished from the world to fight for Earth in Mortal Kombat, their paths have not crossed since the quaint chateau diner not far from Stonehenge. And in the aftermath of the hellish journey on that island of the damned, Athena Asamiya had dropped clean out of fighting to pursue her music career. It was a different kind of journey, a chance to connect with so many people in the locations her concerts were held, the chance to touch the lives of those who found joy in the songs she performed. It was also a lot less painful, and the chance of death was markedly diminished.
But the challenge from Laurence Blood brought back that feeling of a fighter, what it meant to push herself hard, what it meant to tap into that power within, to gain a little more understanding of who and what she was each time she tried. Could she find a way to balance both of her passions? In addition to doing well in school? Well... that was something to be explored after World Warrior. For now, she had but one focus. The rest of her life's decisions awaited her back in Japan once this was all over.
When Zach approaches the young woman in blue and red, she turns her head toward him, already offering a warm smile of utmost sincerity. Yet behind that smile, he would sense a lack of recognition, a hint of confusion at first. The two had endured too many life changing experiences since their last encounter, and in the last twelve months, Asamiya's life has been a whirlwind of meeting people. One might find it in them to forgive her moment of uncertainty.
Perhaps it's the snow white hair that throws her at first. It makes Zach appear older than the young man she had met in England. But when she shifts her focus to his green eyes with her distinctive purple eyes, clarity finally dawns.
The watch on her arm is silent. It is a replacement one, her original destroyed in the encounter with the devil at Neuschwanstein Castle, and appears to have not been set up properly to chime like it is supposed to. Her right hand still at the side of her head, her left hand lifts so that she can glance at the wrist-mounted device, finding that it is merrily confirming that the young man is in fact Zach Glenn, fellow World Warrior participant.
Lowering her arm, her eyes return to him, her smile never having wavered in the slightest. "It's good to see you again." She won't put voice to the question tugging at her thoughts - he looks and FEELS different. Recognition did not come easy.
Dying and being resurrected may have something to do with it. Absorbing the fragments of a guardian spirit that was basically him in another lifetime after coming back from the dead probably didn't help. If he learned that he felt different to Athena's senses, it would not surprise him in the least. Zach would be /terrible/ with putting names to faces without his gifts providing him additional information.
"Yup," Zach says, as he shoves a hand back through the pale hair, almost unconsciously highlighting the scar over his left eye (which was there when the two had met that day what felt like a lifetime ago), "That'd be me. It's good to see you as well." Then he stops and narrows his eyes.
"You doin' okay," he asks, his concern clear in his voice.
"Hm?" Athena replies at the frank and earnest question, eyes blinking once before her smile shifts into a faint grin, the girl shaking her head a few times. "I forgot. Of course, you would see more..." She turns to the side then, gazing back out over the seaside Spanish villa below. "Yeah, I mean... I'm okay. It's just that... some of the participants in this event are..."
She closes her eyes then, right hand still resting against the side of her head even though with the way the wind is blowing, it's only blowing her long hair backward, away from her face now.
"It's just... some of the people in this tournament... The first I fought was Abigail. He's huge! I thought I had fought big opponents before, but he... well, I came to know in fighting him that he was a lot nicer and well behaved than I initially expected. He also hit as hard as I expected," she winces, thinking back on that match before shaking her head.
"But the second, his name is Azrael. I've never encountered anything like him. His presence alone was suffocating and his aura a force of violence. I don't even remember the fight that well, but apparently I won according to the standings."
Finally she lowers her hand to join her left in hugging across her stomach, "But even still, when I think back on that encounter, and imagine what other monsters might exist at the top of the world, it makes me wonder how I will ever be strong enough to stand against them if I need to protect someone."
She glances to the side, smile having become apologetic, "Sorry, I'm sure you've had your gauntlet of personal challenges."
She exhales, the sound lost to the sea breeze, "And then sometimes I think, why do this at all? Why put myself in the path of people like that? Why risk so much in fighting such powerful people? I... I have a good thing going with my music career. I don't want to lose it, but fighting is important to me too," she unfolds her arms, right hand clenching in front of her, "I guess I have to figure out a lot of things once I go home from this..."
Her smile warms, losing it sheepish flavor, "How about you though? How are you doing, Zach?"
Some of Zach's exploits since the 2016 King of Fighters are a matter of public record. He's entered into the World Warrior Tournament. He also captained a team that placed third in the 2017 King of Fighters. Other exploits are less known, and others will never see the light of day. "I'm doing well," he answers honestly, "It's been a rough ride, but I think I got through it okay, with some help from friends."
Zach's smile sobers as Athena explains her path in this tournament. He nods at the mention of Abigail. "Met him," he says, still nodding, "That man hits like a truck full of bears." Then he listens, and turns to take in the view.
"It's a hard thing to figure out," Zach says after a moment, "How to be 'strong enough.' I don't think you ever really are. There is /always/ someone... some/thing/ stronger than you. Sometimes you're lucky enough to have someone with you to pick up the slack, and others... well... you just fall short." He shrugs.
"I put myself in the path of people like that to protect the people who would stand less of a chance than I would," he says. "Blame my upbringing, or just my thick skull. Your reasons, by default, are not going to be mine or vice versa." He turns to look at Athena, a soft grin on his face. "You are you, and I am me," he finally says. "Even if it's just something you feel like doing, or it's something you do for fun, I think that at the end of the day the reason for doing it doesn't really matter so long as it's /your/ reason to do it." He pauses, thinking for a moment.
"And that you then actually do it," he says. "That's pretty important, too."
Zach's comment about a truck full of bears earns him a giggle, Athena's arms unfolding, her right hand coming up to cover her mouth. But the moment passes quickly, her hand lowering once she has the brief fit under control, her eyes taking on a more somber focus. "I'm glad you've made it through." she murmurs softly, attention straying to his snow white hair before finding his face once more. "The importance of friends.
She sucks in her breath as Zach talks about the challenge of always finding something stronger than yourself in the world, arms folding back over her stomach as she lifts her gaze skyward toward the white clouds above. "Azrael... was hurting people. I had to fight him, I had no choice." Eyes close as she lowers her face, arms unfolding at her sides, hands closed in clenched fists. "Every time I get a glimpse at the strongest people in the world, I find myself wondering why it is they are always such monsters. We have to be stronger to stand against them. Or..." She glances toward the side at Zach, "Work together, I suppose. Maybe this isn't any one person's fight, huh? I'm glad you protect people." Her right fist lifts, coming to rest near the base of her neck. "I want to do that as well. The year I spent away from fighting... I don't have any regrets, I'm not even sure I entirely missed it, but even still, I know I will never be able to stand by and not do anything to protect others. Participating in World Warrior... and encountering that monster... has reminded me of what I was missing."
She turns to face Zach then, "No matter what happens with this event, it has reminded me of that much and I know my trip out here was not wasted."
Her smile returns faintly at that point, lopsided and matched with a sparkle in her eyes, "That said, now that we have bumped into each other, I think we have no choice but to have a match. We wouldn't want Earl Krauser von Strolheim thinking that one or the other of us backed down from a challenge, right?""
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn has started a fight here.
Zach Glenn 0/-------/-------|
Zach gives Athena a lopsided grin. "I've seen the list. Even recognize some of the names. There are some real monsters in this thing. But honestly? I don't really care what he thinks," he says, thinking about it more, causing the grin to fade. "I'm not sure I like the guy. But, I don't think you're wrong, either," he says as he takes a few steps away before turning to face Athena.
In a fighting stance.
"I think it'd be an excellent chance to see how much we've changed since the last time we fought," he says as the grin returns. "Though I feel it only fair to warn you," he says, the grin spreading into an excited smile, "I don't plan on holding back like I did the last time." The reason he might have done such a thing would be obvious: they were indoors, and had promised not to wreck the pub they were in.
No such problem here.
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn focuses on his next action.
Zach Glenn 0/-------/-------|
COMBATSYS: Athena has joined the fight here.
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Athena 0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0 Zach Glenn
Her smile becomes a faint grin as Zach declares he doesn't care what the World Warrior host thinks. "His weekly announcements do seem rather subjective, don't they... But I won't have him ever suggesting that I backed down from a match. It pained me to let down my fans when I canceled events to attend this tournament. I would be doing those fans a disservice if anything about my participation track record suggested I wasn't putting everything I had into it. I think, as long as that is the case... they will find it in their hearts to understand."
He references the last time they sparred in England and she nods her head slightly, eyes losing their focus for a brief moment as she seems to reflect back on that moment. A second nod comes a second later, focus returning.
At his warning, however, the violet haired young woman hehs softly, gaze becoming distant again. "Facing someone while holding back their strength... I haven't ever faced anyone who's made that claim besides you since the day I entered the fighting leagues. I wouldn't expect anything less than your best foot forward." Her brow furrows slightly, a tinge of doubt surfacing in her thoughts for a brief moment, the sense of struggle for legitimacy rippling just beneath the walls of her mind. Even with an explosive climb through the fighting leagues, even with her King of Fighters 2016 championship placement, many continue to dismiss her as a fighter. Is it her age? Does she seem too soft? Is it that she is also a performer that lends doubt to the idea that she is a real fighter instead of part of some elaborate publicity stunt?
Maybe she doesn't care for Wolfgang Krauser's nature, but with every match, she seems determined to prove that she is as legitimate as any other fighter welcomed into the ranks of this prestigious event. The hint of doubt melts away, replaced with a fiery resolve, her mouth pressed into a thin line of intense focus.
Her violet eyes close, head bowed for a moment, arms at her sides as she taps into that wellspring of power harnessed within her soul, letting down the walls she keeps in place, to filter out the noise in her mind but also to protect others from her own subconscious influences. A pulse radiates out from around the idol fighter, an invisible but certainly felt thing of expanding presence, of something waking up and stretching its reach out around her. He might sense that the way it ripples around him, resonating with his own ebb and flow of emotion, the heartbeat of his soul.
Opening her eyes, Athena lifts her head, taking a half step forward to plant her feet on the ground, arms raised, hands open. As Zach seems to be waiting for her to act, she draws her arms back, dropping her guard for a fleeting moment, "Here I go!" she warns as rose-hued energy surges down her limbs into waiting hands. Another step forward has her swinging her arms across the front of her, slamming the quickly gathered energy together, unleashing a rapidly flying large sphere of pink Psycho Power directly toward Zach!
COMBATSYS: Athena successfully hits Zach Glenn with Psycho Ball.
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Athena 0/-------/---====|====---\-------\0 Zach Glenn
"It's more like I didn't want to ruin the pub," Zach says, tilting his head to one side whike shrugging slightly. "It was a nice place, and I didn't want to run up his insurance bills." The psycho ball comes screaming in, and hits Zach cleanly in the chest and forcing him back. Zach shakes his head, as if to shake something loose, before grinning. Then Zach reaches for his own power, vaguely clawed gauntlets covering his lower arms. The power probably feels somewhat the same in its 'flavor'; Zach is still Zach. "It wasn't that I was concerned about your ability," he explains, "That was never in question. I was more concerned about my ability to not trash the place."
However the flow of that power is smoother, steadier than the last time. Glenn pulls his right hand back, and summons a longsword constructed purely of psychokinetic force. He grips the weapon by the hilt and hurls the weapon at Athena with force. "Not really an issue out here!"
COMBATSYS: Athena reflects Caladbolg from Zach Glenn with Round Psycho Reflector EX.
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Athena 0/-------/---====|====---\-------\0 Zach Glenn
Zach's reassurance seems to assuage that nagging sensation in Athena's mind, the girl nodding her head in quick agreement, "Yeah, and it WAS raining outdoors." Not like they could have taken the fight outside after all. With the context expanded on, he would feel a blossoming of confidence in the younger fighter, one that carries directly into the swift attack she sent flying his way.
Energy answers Zach's call then, manifesting over his forearms, taking on an almost solid seeming shape. Quite the phenomenon... psionic energy is notoriously difficult to forge into persistent forms yet he seems comfortable doing so. "Thanks," she replies regarding his clarification, "I- I didn't mean anything by my comment. You're absolutely right." If their spar HAD gone on longer, the chance for catastrophic damage to the nice pub would have been high. And in truth, there were few people she'd ever met more sincere than the fighter facing off against her.
When Zach pulls from his own willpower to forge a counter attack, he demonstrates the ability to further forge it into the shape of a longsword. /That/, at least, is something Athena is familiar with. Though she is still almost caught off guard when he draws his arm back and then swings it forward to send the weapon hurtling toward her. Okay, that's a new idea.
Even from the distance between them, she can sense the magnitude of power flowing easily into Glenn's opening attack and quickly responds in turn, sucking in her breath as she slams both palms out, bracing herself, knees bent. A massive sphere of psychic energy answers her own call, exploding into the space between her and the incoming blade of psychokientic force.
The impact is strong enough to send her sliding backward in spite the defensive ball of energy surging into existence between them, the lower half of her dress swirling about her waist, her hair blowing backward behind her.
Gritting her teeth, she presses back hard, palms thrusting out, detonating the sphere into a conical blast back in Zach's direction. Though it lacks the range to reach him entirely, a significant portion of the backlash is his own fierce assault - though the sword has surely lost much of its form by now.
Gasping for breath, Athena staggers a step forward as she releases her burst of energy, sucking in another deep gulp of air as the match is just getting started.
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn blocks Athena's Reflected Caladbolg.
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Athena 0/-------/-======|======-\-------\0 Zach Glenn
This time, Zach gets something between himself and the incoming energy. The gauntlets fray around the edges a bit as the returned power clashes against them before slowly reforming. There are slight bruises on the exposed arms that even now are starting to fade as he shakes feeling back into his arms.
Athena's running full throttle, it'd seem. Zach notes the breathing and decides not to ease up on the young woman. He sprints forward, leaping to close the distance even as he chambers the superman punch. The guantleted fist drives forward to slam into Athena's chest, seeking to simply power through her guard!
COMBATSYS: Athena blocks Zach Glenn's Heavy Swing.
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Athena 0/-------/=======|=======\-------\0 Zach Glenn
Zach leaves almost no time for Athena to recover from the significant effort poured into her reflective defense. Violet eyes widen as he surges right back in on her, crossing the distance in almost an instant. Caught flat footed, all the psychic idol can do is brace for impact, drawing her arms up into a guarded stance, forearms in front of her chest as she intuits the trajectory of Zach's crushing offense.
Even with her arms intersecting his gauntlet-armed punch, the impact is significant, the smaller fighter driven into a backslide along the cobblestone path, hair now sweeping forward over her shoulders from the sudden shift in direction. Though she managed to get her arms into the way of his blow, by the time she is sent sliding, they are flailing out at her sides, her guard more than thoroughly shattered through by the momentum of his empowered punch. Sucking in her breath through grit teeth, the teen fighter shakes her arms, trying to quickly work out whatever numbness she is likely feeling in them from the magnitude of the guarded attack. Already, her forearms are showing red marks that will undoubtedly become bruises
"Direct as always," she replies, her smile sincere. There is absolutely no question about holding back now, both of them are without a doubt resolved to show what they can do. Each contest, each bout a chance to find those limits and either press against them, or... at times, break through them to reach new heights of potential. This match is no different.
Intead of launching yet another energy attack back his way, Asamiya takes advantage of the slight gap created between the two by knocking her back so far, pressing off the ground with her feet into a forward flip up into the air. At the apex of her ascent, she tucks herself forward, rolling into a ball that plunges right back down at Zach, a wreath of Psycho Power coursing over her body, turning the idol fighter into a plunging comet of flesh and psionic energy on a direct collision course for him.
Her plan seems simple enough - to smash into him, letting her energy pack the punch her hundred pound body would not. But if she succeeds, she'll convert her dexterous landing into a handstand kick, the energy dissipating as she tries to strike against Zach's stomach with her right leg and use it as a means of kicking into a backroll to buy herself a bit of distance between him and her!
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn fails to interrupt Phoenix Arrow from Athena with Soaring Dragon EX.
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Athena 1/-----==/=======|=======\==-----\1 Zach Glenn
Zach's seen this move, faced it before. His response, however, would appear to be far more confrontational than the last time. Zach lets out a kiai to prepare himself, and the air around the man ripples with the intensity of it, before he dashes /towards/ the young woman to try and anticipate her landing position. The plan was to knock her out of the air before she could land. He's a little off, however, and takes the combination cleanly.
He is sent bouncing across the grass before bouncing onto his feet and sliding back several feet. He looks a little sore, both physically and mentally, but he still appears to have stamina. There is also an... odd level of animation to him. As if he is more aware and reactive to his surroundings than he might have been at the start of the fight. Perhaps he is riding the adrenaline, perhaps he is extending his senses psychically and using that information to inform his movements a bit better. It's hard to say what the cause is, or how long it will last.
Zach waves Athena on, even as he wipes a slow trickle of blood from the corner of his grinning mouth.
Coming out of her backroll into a crouch, Athena is already raising her arms defensively, never certain just how fast Zach can recover and retaliate with another one of his explosively fast attacks. This time, however, she has a brief, likely much needed reprieve. The pressure the experienced monster hunter can maintain with his style of combat does not leave a lot of room for catching one's breath.
Standing up though remaining wary, she sucks in another breath of air while the sea breezes whips her hair about her shoulders. That spike of animation in Zach is palpable and puts the young martial artist on guard enough to delay her from immediately re-engaging. She lacks the deeply analytical insight of many fighters her caliber, trusting instead on instinct and brief flashes of intuition as to her opponent's likely course of action.
But Zach is a difficult read, his own willpower sufficient enough to suppress her normally useful glimpses of what is going to happen in the next second or two. What is not hidden, however, is his own fighting spirit. As was clear when they spoke prior to the match - he knows why he is here and what he is doing it for.
As the young fighter lifts her arms, left hand extended out straight, right hand bent at the elbow, she finds strength in his own certainty, and a desire to continue applying the best she can to every move she makes.
There may be no audience for this fight, unlike many of her higher publicized appearances, but that shouldn't leave the two to fight with any less resolve.
"Come on!" she shouts, "In the end, we gotta show what we're capable of!" She knows full well from the attacks she deflected, guarded, and narrowly slipped past, there is power in the white-haired fighter's form. And with each step she takes, she risks experiencing its potential in a far more direct fashion. The thought may scare some off, but it only encourages her further to give this fight her all.
Leaning forward into a direct sprint, she closes distance quickly though by no means instantaneously. She hops from a meter out, right leg swinging forward and up into a swift snap kick, her foot reaching nearly straight up in front of her as the nimble youth demonstrates her remarkable flexibility.
Of course, there won't be time to be impressed if she successfully lands the kick to Zach's chest she is trying for!
COMBATSYS: Athena issues a challenge!!
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Athena 1/-----==/=======|=======\==-----\1 Zach Glenn
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn blocks Athena's Aggressive Strike.
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Athena 1/----===/=======|=======\===----\1 Zach Glenn
Zach shoves the kick aside. He notices the impact, but sets it to one side for the moment. His previous brushes with this state of heightened awareness inform him that he does not want Athena continuing the fight when it ends.
Using his right hand, he tries to grab the girl's leg, even as he is shoving an open palm at her midsection. If he wins the grapple, he shoves the woman to the ground before loosing another large blast of psychic energy at her stomach!
COMBATSYS: Athena dodges Zach Glenn's Detonation Combo.
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Athena 1/----===/=======|=======\===----\1 Zach Glenn
The violet haired girl's reflexes seem to be on point as Zach's right hand snaps out in search of her raised ankle. If he had secured the grip he sought, he would have without a doubt caught her completely off balance and incapable of escaping, with her other foot already off the ground as well. But before his fingers can close around her ankle, Asamiya follows through on her momentum, tucking herself into a ball once more, leg slipping just out of reach as she drops to the ground to land in a low crouch just before Zach.
She doesn't stay, sensing full well the extent of his own heightened state of responsiveness considering the precision of his block, and she springs away, once more relying on her own speed to control the ranges of engagement. Fighting with Zach is not the same as battling terror incarnate like Akuma or Azrael, where every moment is a battle for her very life. Instead, in him, she finds a peer, someone who carries himself in a way that she can respect, and... though she doesn't know everything about him, someone she feels she can trust.
Yet even with that lack of dread in the match, her heart races with the adrenaline of one just thrilled to be part of the experience, and though her eyes burn with fighting spirit, the smile she isn't even aware of at her lips reveals just how much the opportunity to face off against one of the forces for good in the world really means to her. It reminds her of her friendship forging spare against Alma Towazu so long ago...
"I saw your performance in the last King of Fighters," she remarks as she slides into a three point landing, still facing him. "Nothing short of phenomenal. Congratulations to you and your team."
He would feel it then, even as she speaks, another pulse of that incredible presence of hers. Is this the aura with which she draws in her audiences when she performs? It excites the imagination and sparks the spirit simply by proximity, the sense that one is in the company of fellow exceptional beings.
And then she snaps up to standing, raising her arms, rose hued sparkles of energy surging into being around her hands and wrists while she sweeps them up over her head...
And then suddenly appears directly in front of Zach, snapping out with a forceful direct palm strike, limb bathed in her Psycho Power. She turns into a spin kick to follow it up, more energy spilling over her foot. Out of the kick into an elbow strike with her left, then a right knee... on and on, the rapid, aggressive combination goes, nine strikes in total before she's winded, the incredibly swift combination trying to batter through any attempts at defenses on Zach's part. Whole no one individual hit will be decisive, if a number of them get through his guard, it could add up rapidly!
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn just-defends Athena's Psychic 9!
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Athena 1/----<<</<<<<<<<|=======\-------\0 Zach Glenn
"Thank you," he says, "I had an excellent team." And then Athena starts her charge. Zach's defenses, generally considered the weaker part of his package. He leans back slightly, ready to be on the defensive, accepting Athena's offensive.
You wouldn't think Zach had defensive issues at all from his performance in this moment. Deft parries butressed by the perfect amount of soul power catch every punch, every kick, every strike. Zach comes through the barrage somehow looking a bit better than when he started. But he's out of time; his senses and nerves are starting to waver from the strain of the working.
He doesn't give Athena much time to think, his right hand sweeping out even as the weapon forms in it to take a swing at Athena's flank. His own form ripples and vanishes, only to have him reappear a dozen feet away from the girl.
COMBATSYS: Athena blocks Zach Glenn's Swift Blade.
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Athena 1/---<<<</<<<<<<<|=======\-------\1 Zach Glenn
Given the alacrity of Asamiya's aggressive combination, Zach's ability to parry and deflect every palm strike, every elbow, every kick and knee, is nothing short of a testament to a fighter who is used to fighting under some of the most intense pressure fights could possibly have to face. As she finds his guard matching her at every turn, Athena tries to pick up the pace, to find any opening, but in the end, Zach is there at every turn, every strike, and she is forced to relent, quickly coming to realize that he is moving perfectly in tone with her movements and there will be no crack in his defense just now.
Hopping into a spin kick to try and force some space between them, she instead ends up flying right past him as he spins into his counter attack. Before she can even land, Asamiya's draws her arms in, tucking her knees up over her chest, unleashing a point blank storm of Psycho Power around her that serves to absorb a lot of the forged energy weapon strike intended for her side. Not entirely, however, and Zach would feel that moment of contact before he disengages into a teleport meters away, which may very well before the best considering the hovering girl's psychic signature has just erupted off the charts.
A brilliant rose colored maelstrom of psycho power surrounds the Kung Fu artist as she unfurls from her tucked up position to levitate a few inches off the ground. From out of the storm, two dark violet spheres of more concentrated Psycho Power begin to orbit her so fast that to try and attack her in that moment would seem almost completely insane.
Even from down in the village below, beneath the noonday sun, the corona of energy surrounding Asamiya is remarkably visible.
Her eyes open, the girl spinning in the air to face Zach, her right arm raised over her head as the twin spheres surge up to smash together above the girl's pointing finger. Her hair flails about her shoulders as a powerful current whips about the girl far stronger than the ocean breeze.
Finally, the entire storm of ambient energy surges up to crackle over the dark violet sphere of hyper condensed psionic energy.
And then, with a wave of her arm, her body bending into the motion though such gesticulations have no real impact on the phenomenal speed and power of her attack, she sends the shining psychic bit hurtling toward Zach!
COMBATSYS: Athena successfully hits Zach Glenn with Shining Crystal Bit EX+.
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Athena 0/-------/---<<<<|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2 Zach Glenn
There is not much Zach can do. His body is sluggish after that flurry of activity, almost to the point of non-responsiveness. The Shining Bits slam into Zach's defenseless body, driving him into a crater from the force. Zach lets out a roar of defiance as the pain washes over him.
When the dirt and dust clear, though, Zach is still standing. Soul power is washing off of him as he regards Athena warily. This... this got out of control, and it did so quickly. He is, in retrospect, kind of surprised at that. Well, she played her hole card. Maybe it's time for Zach to play his. He sweeps his arms out to his sides, and his aura vanishes completely. Athena will find herself /surrounded/ by veritble armory's worth of blades. Many of them are falcatas and spathas, but there are long swords of English make, rapiers, estocs, a katana or two. And a single claymore.
Zach blasts in, and grabs a couple of the spathas to slash at Athena as he passes. The swords do not cut even if they hit, but there is a lot of force behind them. Zach dashes back and forth, swinging at Athena with every pass. Five... six... seven strikes, but Zach Glenn is not finished as he dashes by that claymore for a final strike aimed at Athena's collarbone before he skids to a halt.
Zach looks /terrible/. Beaten, bloodied, bruised. Some of these signs are fading, but they are not fading fast enough to keep him in this fight for very much longer...
COMBATSYS: Athena instinctively blocks Zach Glenn's #Claiomh Solias EX+#.
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Athena 1/-------/<<<<<<<|-------\-------\0 Zach Glenn
Athena drops to the ground as she releases all of her power into the singular, concentrated bullet of Psycho Power, unleashing the technique that has carried her fighting career as far as it has. An all out storm, holding nothing back, very few fighters have withstood a direct hit and been fully capable of fighting on any further. As she lands, knees bending, arms dropping down against her sides, hair falling into place, Asamiya discovers that Zach Glenn will number among those few.
His willpower is not to be underestimated in the slightest.
She gasps for breath. Normally after firing off that attack, she has time to rest and recover, and quite often, no need to even defend herself any further. This will not be one of those times as the psychic soldier's form is discovered standing amidst the scattered plume of dust and pulverized stone.
In her mind, she is careful to not read too much into the ebb and flow of the fight. Much of it has gone favorably for her, but she knows Zach Glenn is a strong fighter of his own accord. His battles in the King of Fighters were proof of that, as well as the degree with which he kept pace with her when last they spared, even while being mindful of the condition of the pub's interior.
Sometimes, fights simply have a way of getting out beneath one. At this tier, it is difficult to place too much weight on one single bout considering the speed and intensity at play. As she stares back at Zach, not letting her focus waver, perspiration rolling down her cheeks, she resolves to not be caught up in her own string of success against such a capable opponent, she has to fight her very best, every step of the way or it will all turn around frightfully fast.
When the skilled monster sweeps out his arms, unleashing an entire arsenal's worth of energy weapons hovering around her. "This is new..." she marvels. His precision of psi-shaping is greater than her own by far. She fights with her power, wrestling it, squeezing it into compliance. Where Zach seems to craft with precision and control. Violet eyes widen as she glances around her, unsure of the right play to make, feeling penned in and uncertain. One false move here and...
Zach rushes in with the technique of a psychic blademaster. If he was at his full strength, perhaps his speed and skill alone would be enough to secure what could have been a fight turning combination of strikes. But Athena's attacks have taken their toll and in this moment, she has time to react, albeit narrowly.
Her forearms flare to life with that rose hued energy of hers, providing almost gauntlet-like defense against the psychic weapons being leveled against her, though the manifestation is no where near as solidified as what Zach has proven capable of. To try and think her way through defending the assault that follows would be utterly impossible. When the next swings come, it is by instinct alone that she moves her arms to intersect, grunting as the force rocks her balance. And so on, as each incredible swing comes, her defense is there, her eyes unfocused, her mind racing to execute her parries, blocks, and deflections for her.
A cross arm block is her defense against the final claymore bash, knees buckling as she seems ready to crumple from the storm. But she can't stop now, the fight continues.
"Not-" she grits her teeth, her right hand stretching out, seeking to grip Zach by the front of his vest. "-yet." If she connects, the sensation of being hefted up and hurled over the top of her head is most definitely not coming from the Kung Fu artist's slender arm, but rather a telekinetic surge of Psycho Power that would rush in around him at her slightest touch!
COMBATSYS: Athena successfully hits Zach Glenn with Psychic Attack.
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Athena 1/-----==/=======|>>>----\-------\0 Zach Glenn
Zach lets out a primal yell as his nervous system simply overloads from the abuse Athena has heaped upon him. He simply slumps to the ground for a moment, breathing hard, trying to get his body to respond.
It finally does, and Zach surges forward, unleashing a vicious not-quite-uppercut with his left arm clad in psychic force, that will explode with thunderous impact aimed at launching Athena away from him.
And then Zach will fall over, spent, with his legs no longer able to support him.
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn can no longer fight.
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COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn successfully hits Athena with Explosive Strike EX.
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Her hand snaps back after having dished out one final attack right at the tail end of Glenn's storm of fierce attacks. Immediately, she returns to a ready stance, arms raised, standing lightly on her feet, lifting her heels off the ground occasionally. There is still fight in her opponent, and after that whirlwind of an assault she narrowly pulled through, she can't take anything for granted in Zach's ability to snap out with more surprises. Next time, she might not be so prepared to handle it.
However, in spite being winded, in spite looking pushed to the edges of her endurance, there is still a vibrant aura around her, unseen to the naked eye but most certainly felt by one with Zach's gift. The wellspring of energy within the idol fighter seems to be well beyond the magnitude it was when last they crossed paths.
When Zach surges in, there's no chance that her arms, battered and numb as they are, aches throbbing up and down her abused limbs, are up to the task of warding off the crushing punch flying in at her now. Instead, she tries to escape, leaning back, feet kicking off from the ground - but it simply isn't enough and Zach's fist strikes true, launching the featherweight fighter into the air in a steep arc before dropping back down to hit the cobblestones with her upper back before unfolding to a laid out position for a fleeting moment. A pained gasp escapes her lips as she starts, realizing this is no time to be laying around.
Rolling onto her side, she presses up off the ground, her cheek bruised and the corner of her mouth bleeding as she shakes her head, trying to fight off the psychic interference with her own internal psyche. Her eyes find their focus as she forces herself to lift battered arms to the ready one more time, panting for breath as she seeks out her opponent.
It takes a handful of seconds to click with the girl that the fight has run its course, that after all is said and done, there are no more blows to trade. "Whew," the winded girl declares, lowering her arms and leaning forward, her hair spilling down over her shoulders. "You... you pack even more of a punch than I remember." She shakes her head, marveling to herself. She could not have withstood more than one or two more hits like that. As she suspected, every step she took, every defense, every attack, the outcome of the match always balanced precariously on the edge of knife.
She forces herself to stand straight, pressing her hands together, palms flat, before bowing forward at the waist, "Thank you, for this match, and... for being one of the good guys. Knowing there's people like you out there - people willing to put their own safety at risk for the sake of others... well, it helps me know that I am not the only one in the world to decide that something has to be done, that I'm not alone."
Standing up straight, her right hand lifts to rub at her cheek and jaw. "Whatever happens, please... know that I would be honored to stand at your side any day, Zach Glenn."
COMBATSYS: Athena has ended the fight here.
Log created on 00:34:27 02/25/2018 by Zach Glenn, and last modified on 00:52:40 02/26/2018.