Description: Now that World Warrior's top sixteen is underway, two of the youngest participants in World Warrior face off in the Exhibition Yard of Strolheim Castle. Both enter with a lot to prove, and a desire to push even further into the brackets of the prestigious event, as the Heir of Rugal, Adelheid Bernstein, and the celebrity fighter, Athena Asamiya, face off against each other.
Strolheim. The castle has history. The name, even more so. Strolheim has long been known as a house of champions and masters of combat. Warriors, assassins, champions. All have risen and fallen within the esteemed halls of the House of Strolheim. And now, it serves as the staging grounds for a battle of the ages. The World Warrior Tournament. A tournament started by a fierce warrior to prove his invincibility, and has since grown into such a thing as to be among the most prestigious of contests that a warrior could ever hope to be a part of.
And here Adelheid is. A part of that. Becoming a part of history, in his own small way. A stepping stone to a much larger role. An introduction to the world stage, for the heir of 'R'. Having made it past the qualifiers, he's already made his point. He is the son of Rugal Bernstein, and is every bit worthy of such a lofty legacy. But that doesn't mean that Adelheid is content to rest on his laurels and coast through the tournament. No. He intends to go full tilt, facing each match laid out before him as a test, further honing his skills and aptitude.
His first test, however, he finds himself questioning. Athena. Is she not a pop star? Is a record label buying her a promotional spot in this tournament, or has she truly the skill to push him to the limit? Will he learn much from this fight, or will it bring shame to him and his name? He will not shirk his responsibility, but he does question these things, as he awaits the arrival of his opponent here, in the inner court. He stretches, loosening out the supple muscles of his lithesome form, warming them up and getting the blood going. There is no audience save for the unblinking, silent eyes of the cameras set up to record and broadcast each match, and this alone disturbs The Prince of War. He doesn't like the distance of it. The sterility. It feels disconnected. It feels like an evaluation, over a spectacle.
It had been weeks since Athena Asamiya made the decision to cancel her concert tour and request an approved leave of absence from her academic obligations at at Justice High. Fortunately, sanctioned fighting event attendance was one of the easiest reasons to get an extended leave approval through the Justice High administration. And with that, Athena was off to Europe, her heart perhaps heavy for having to renege on concert arrangements, but her resolve assured that she had to do this for herself.
This would be her first major fighting event attended entirely on her own. She was a decorated champion of King of Fighters 2016, but that was a team effort and the credit was something she was happy to share with her friends that had been there with her the whole way through. Even when she found herself on the sorcerer's island in the Lost Seas to fight for Earth's fate in Mortal Kombat, Momoko had been there, her small statured yet big spirited ally and morale boost.
This time, she was on her own. Her friends would have had to qualify on their won. World Warrior was about the individual's potential, the individual's strength. No one could be carried by her through this event, nor could she lean on any other... And thus, the tour through Europe began, where three intense battles had played out.
And with each step, she found herself wondering if it would be enough? She had fought the behemoth, Abigail, and though the official records recorded it as a draw, she couldn't even remember the end of the fight after narrowly staying out of reach of his mighty arms up until a very painful end. Then there was the monster. She didn't even realize he had been part of World Warrior until the aftermath, when she collected a watch to replace the one obliterated in combat with the Mad Dog. /That/ is what the ranks of this event look like? How could she hope to be numbered among them? Was her effort, her skill, and her ability to find and break through her previous limits enough?
At last, Wolfgang Krauser made his proclamation, identifying the sixteen individuals that made the cut to be numbered among the fighters to make it into the second ever World Warrior. Athena discovered that she had made the cut in the eyes of powerful Earl of Strolheim. She may not be the fastest, the most physically imposing, or the most experienced by far... she knew there were others in this event stronger than her. But whatever she had done in her qualifying matches had been enough and in that, she found peace that her fans would understand why she had to take her leave of her music career to attend.
And now she is at Castle Strolheim itself, having arrived the night before, making the trip as quickly as she could once Krauser's proclamation went out. And with that, her first match was on the morrow.
As she strides into the walled in area, coming to a stop across Adelheid Bernstein within the Exhibition Yard, she makes every effort to remain calm, as challenging as that might be considering the circumstances. Compared to the titans of combat the young man has faced in the last couple of weeks, the slight of a girl focused on him as she shifts her feet on the dirt floor of the yard is hardly an imposing sight.
Long hair, dark violet to the point of almost appearing black when viewed from a distance, frames a youthful face - beautiful, gentle, and seemingly out of place in this ladder of the world's strongest warriors. Her eyes are a noteworthy purple, every bit as unusual as the crimson eyes of Bernstein's heir. As the event is being streamed through the array of cameras, she felt pressure to dress up a little, though no where near as ostentatiously as she does for less prestigious events.
A blink, short sleeved blouse is worn beneath a dark red sleeveless jacket that hangs open over her torso. At her waist, a belt of golden cloth wraps around a dark red pleated skirt worn with even darker red leggings. White ankle-high socks are partially covered by ruby red buckled shoes on her feet, lacking any heel that would be more than a drawback when trying to fight on such a surface.
The questions Adelheid asks in his mind are an echo of questions that have often come up concerning the fighting idol's entire fighting career. Has it just been elaborate publicity stunt, arranged by agents, managers, and back-room deals? Has Krauser slighted the young man by putting him up against the increasingly famous singer? Is this just to promote a new album coming out soon?
Standing up straight, her arms at her sides, she greets him briefly.
"Thank you, for the honor of this match."
She bows her head slightly, though otherwise remains standing straight. In the gesture, the young woman's eyes close for only a second, but in that moment, Adelheid would feel something rolling out from around her. A presence, unseen but felt, washing over his attuned senses like a wave of energy that permeates the entire courtyard.
Eyes opening, she lifts her head, focusing now on Adelheid. Her arms raise, palms open, left hand forward slightly, right arm bent at the elbow and drawn back for better striking. One foot slides forward a bit in the dirt.
"I'm ready. Let's do this."
Her expression is composed in stark contrast to the racing of her heart, the beating pulse of blood through her veins. The young man before her is one of Krauser's select. There will be no room for error.
COMBATSYS: Athena has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Adelheid has joined the fight here.
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Adelheid 0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0 Athena
When Adelheid turns to face the approaching idol, he, himself, is a far cry from the appearance of a hardened warrior. His features are delicate and refined, with a round face possessed of a youthful, effeminate beauty. Platinum hair, with alabaster flesh and alizarin eyes. His lips are a soft, rosepetal pink Cupid's Bow that hold the vestige of a secret smile, and his chin tapers to a narrow, rounded point. Were it not for the density of his wiry physique, one might suspect that Adelheid was, as his name would suggest, of the fairer sex.
Such illusions are rendered shattered when he speaks, however. His voice, while soft, is definitively masculine, though velvety smooth. The young Bernstein draws one gauntlet clad hand across his midsection, while the counterpart sweeps out to one side. He bows at the waist with this flourish and sense of formal decorum, as he speaks, "Mistress Asamiya. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I truly hope that your strength and skill match the beauty of your voice and form."
It's then that he feels the waves of... spiritual pressure that radiate from her like a palpable aura. That spectre of a smile that had been lingering on his lips grows, becoming an earnest, heartfelt thing. Perhaps this was more than a publicity stunt, after all. He feels his heart flutter in his chest, the anticipation of a good match with one among the sixteen chosen by Krauser as the strongest among the qualifiers. His head dips into the bow, casting his countenance in shadow as unruly bangs spill forth. His eyes fall closed, and he says, "Very well. I see now. Please forgive me, but I will not hold back. I ask that you also give me your best. Together, win or lose, we should, at the very least, strive to become stronger for this experience."
With that, Adelheid suddenly bursts forth with a nearly inhuman speed. His eyes gleam in the light, leaving carmine tracers that seem to bleed from the corners of his eyes, trailing behind him. As he draws in close, one of his booted feet comes sweeping low, its trajectory on a collision course with Athena's shin to upset her balance. Following through, Adelheid's other leg rises up, as if he might roundhouse kick her, but it seems too high. A sort of feint. Instead, when his knee unfurls, his steel capped toe is sent crashing down from overhead. From that, the svelte Prince simply rechambers that same leg, drawing his knee in tight to his chest and then thrusting outward with all his might into a perfectly executed sidekick that thrusts him forward, as if trying to drill that kick /through/ the idol, rather than just at her.
COMBATSYS: Athena blocks Adelheid's A. Kunst Vier.
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Adelheid 0/-------/-------|==-----\-------\0 Athena
Adelheid's greeting, complimenting as it is, draws an almost sheepish expression to the otherwise focused look of Asamiya, her smile a touch coquettish, "Just Athena is fine, really." She nods slightly with her declaration as if to give extra weight to the encouragement that he need not address her so formally.
Everything about the platinum haired youth is a mystery to her - his style an enigma not recognized, his nature a surprise to her. So polite, formal, in a tournament of brutes, monsters, and everyman fighters. Just where did he get his upbringing? European nobility?
One thing is not missed by the empathetic extension of her awareness, however - that interest in a good fight, the acceleration of his own pulse, the confidence in his strength, dedication, and skill. It resonates with her, creating a type of feedback with her own psyche - his thrill battle echoed in her own heart.
He declares earnestly that he will not hold back, encouraging her to do likewise, and her expression shifts from being a bit coy to a broad grin, her head nodding again, her long hair bouncing against her shoulders.
"I get warned about that often. I understand the impulse and am not unappreciative... But if you fought with anything less than your best, I would be offended. You will know that I will fight with all I have. There is no need to apologize. And-"
rHer expression shifts, becoming serious once more, violet eyes locked on the slender but rather tall youth, "I agree. I pursued the invitation with the desire to find my limits and break through them. In a way, giving it your all... I could ask for no greater respect."
And then she finds herself under attack. He closes the distance almost immediately. His opponent's stance is simple - one with Adelheid's extensive background in all manner of martial arts would recognize it in an instant. A variant of Kung Fu, and if her posture is to be interpreted correctly, one that relies on fundamentals over showiness, direct, single strikes over complex flurries of blows. A curious style for one so small - assuredly, there is more to her combat potential than her physical prowess or else there would be no way she could possibly be standing here.
When his foot sweeps low, she lifts her front foot, causing his initial strike to collide with the inside of her sole, absorbed in part by the bottom of her shoe rather than just flesh and bone. The defense is conducted flawlessly, her balance on her other leg sufficient to keep the idol fighter from being dislodged.
She cranes her neck, looking up to follow the high trajectory of his other leg. Crossing her arms, she begins to raise her guard to brace high, a move that would have left her chest open to the piercing side kick that follows if she didn't seem to correct a heartbeat before she could have possibly known what he truly intended to do.
Just as his foot slams out, her cross armed brace drops into position, slamming into her forearms with enough force to send her sliding back through the dirt, a soft gasp escaping her lips as she uncrosses her arms.
But rather than slip back in to engage him with a strike of her own, Asamiya swings her arms back behind her back, dropping her guard all together for a fleeting moment as rose hued energy surges down her limbs toward her waiting hands.
She is trying to ignore that there is an audience out there, all watching every move that happens in the match. But she can't get the thought entirely out of her mind, which means she is going to inevitably put on a little bit of a show for her fans by shouting out the name of her signature technique!
With a woosh of power given form, she takes a step forward, swinging her arms out from behind her toward and then past each other, slamming the gathered energy into a singular sphere of energy that she launches across the few meters that separate them. A curious force, it is not, in and of itself, destructive. It will not sunder brick or dent steel. But should it collide with a living target like her opponent here, the effect will be a remarkable amount of pain as nerves and willpower will be put to the test!
COMBATSYS: Adelheid fails to reflect Psycho Ball from Athena with G. Wand.
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Adelheid 0/-------/----===|=====--\-------\0 Athena
Adelheid silently commends his opponent for her tenacity and swiftness in the way she reads and deflects his kicking combination, as varied as it is. Such mix up styles are difficult to read, and she did so flawlessly. There is a tightness in his chest, though, as if something coiled around his heart and lungs and started constricting.
She returns his offense with her own, and as Adelheid spies the energy crackling along her limbs and condensing within the palm of her hands, he half expects her to unleash a Kaiser Wave at him. For a brief moment, the confusion causes him to freeze. But that split second was long enough.
When he mounts his defense, it comes in the form of a shimmering disk of glittering silvery blue ki. The disk swirls, spreading outward from his outstretched palm, and starting to form a round shield.
But it isn't swift enough.
The Psycho Ball slips between a few spiraling ribbons of energy before they congeal and solidify, bypassing this reflective barrier and instead colliding against Adelheid's chest.
The inky black, skin tight fabric of his shirt smolders with smokey ribbons of rose tinted smoke rising up from it, and the young Bernstein fighter is sent skidding back on the toes of his boots. His teeth grit, and one hand crafted from porcelain and dressed in midnight clutches at the scorched, impacted center of his chest, as his eyes tick upwards, preparing for the assault that Athena is certain to follow up with.
While the Prince of War is is reeling for a moment from her previous attack, Athena quickly recovers as well, drawing back her arms, still feeling numb from having absorbed the impact of the youth's powerful kick, standing up straight as she adjusts her stance out of the aggressive lean that heralded the projected attack, the last traces of lingering Psycho Power fading from her fingertips.
She felt the connection of her attack, even separated as it was by some meters. There is always that link back from her painful power, a hint of what her opponent is feeling or sometimes a trace of loud, surface thoughts picked up by the dangerously gifted psychic. Yet from the crimson-eyed warrior in front of her, she picks up nothing at all, his mind a steel trap of thought and secrets. Disciplined mental conditioning? Special training to guard against people like her? Just what kind of regimen does he maintain?
She saw that her signature technique slipped just narrowly by what appeared to be an energy defense - a skill she will have to keep in mind for the future lest she end up eating a face-full of her own energy. Between that and his difficult to read kicking combination, he is already proving himself to be quite the versatile fighter.
She hesitates for a moment, clearly trying to think her way through the challenge of how to approach him next. But his earlier observation does not go unacknowledged.
The response is heart felt, sincere, as if being complimented by him truly means something to the idol fighter. Is that it then? Is she hoping for recognition by another one of Krauser's chosen? Whatever the reason, his simple compliment resonates with her.
"I know you've got so much more to show as well!" she continues, a fighter's zeal in her voice, the Kung Fu fighting Psycho Powered martial artist getting caught up in the spirit of competition and challenge.
"But I won't make it easy to demonstrate it!"
She has to keep the pressure on. She may not know what all he can do yet, and discovering the techniques hidden within his lithesome form may be a painful experience, but she didn't come all this way to shirk a challenge. A sprint forward has her take to the air in an acrobatic leap that almost seems destined to carry her well past the young man, only to tuck herself into a ball near the apex of her ascent, changing trajectory suddenly into a dive nearly straight down toward him.
It's any wonder why the hundred pound teenage girl thinks trying to crash into Adelheid like a human bowling ball is a good idea at first. But as she plummets, her form becomes wreathed in more of that vibrant energy of hers, almost fiery orange and pink psionic energy surging over her, turning Asamiya into a psi-powered comet instead as she aims to crash bodily into the front of the youth.
If she manages to break through his defenses, she would land against the dirt, planting her right hand down hard, kicking out with her legs aiming to drive her right heel into Adelheid's stomach, her skirt flaring around her hips. She would try to use the contect of her heel to push off into a backroll to disengage from him, the energy accompanying her descent already fading away the instant she stops focusing her will into manifesting it.
COMBATSYS: Athena issues a challenge!!
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Adelheid 0/-------/----===|=====--\-------\0 Athena
COMBATSYS: Adelheid just-defends Athena's Phoenix Arrow!
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Adelheid 0/-------/----===|=====--\-------\0 Athena
The Prince of War is a hard opponent to read, if only because he seems to display little emotion without wishing to. Even the feeling on the surface of his mind, for those so gifted as Athena may be, is best visually represented as a cold, dark, but ultimate serene and placid lake. Deep under the surface there may be something broiling, but outwardly, it is as smooth as glass. The only true emotions radiating from him are the thrill of combat, a primal, deep seated urging that is inherent in his blood. Both natural and unnatural, as it were.
"I appreciate your consideration..." Adelheid returns, even as Athena takes to the air. The black clad youth's crimson stare follows her trajectory, but he seems to be cued in on her approach. He knows that the implied feint is just that. She will not simply pass over him without trying to press her advantage. She has drawn first blood, and she'll want to continue taking to the offense as much as possible to keep her momentum. He cannot allow that.
So when her body erupts with that rose hued light, Adelheid seems strangely prepared. He reaches out, his hands open, and he... catches her. When that psychic aura collides with his hands, Adelheid's splayed digits crackle with a dark red energy that bubbles and bleeds forth from his pores like a red mist, congealing into a near liquid form and seeming to bead up and streak on the walls of reality itself like a smear of blood. It sizzles and pops, but it seems to withhold Athena's psychic power from afflicting the youthful warrior, as he catches her physical form and simply redirects her to the side. He even gives a bit of courtesy to ensure that she is able to land on her feet.
But that is not truly much of a merciful gesture from Bernstein. No. One fist rears back, only to come rushing back in at Athena's midsection with a half-uppercut, with Adelheid's bicep flexing to the point that veins rise up on his ivory flesh, and his shoulder and upper torso twisting in unison to create the maximum amount of torque. The intent is to knock the wind from her lungs.
But he's not finished, either. A sudden gust of wind kicks up around them, and from under his feet, the ground suddenly explodes as a violent spike of wind launches him forward, with dusty whirlwinds trailing behind him. This upward momentum only serves to lend more power to the powerful front kick that Adelheid launches, with the end goal to knock Athena back, with him following hot on her heels only to bring that splits-inducing kick back down as a thunderous axe kick that bears down on her shoulder.
COMBATSYS: Athena dodges Adelheid's G. Springen.
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Adelheid 1/-------/=======|=====--\-------\0 Athena
As Athena plunges from the air into Adelheid, she finds her momentum and fiery aura intercepted in a way quite unlike how anyone has ever done it in the past. Adelheid's hands extend, as if trying to catch the spinning girl, oblivious to the pain such direct contact will undoubtedly inflict. Except the youth seems to have caught on to the painful nature of the idol fighter's burning aura, an energy all his own serving to ward off the Psycho Power all together, effectively nullifying its threat.
There is that brief moment of contact, her attack verses his defense, wherein she can feel something is off concerning that sanguine, liquid-like power that answers the young man's call. It was so unlike the energy he had demonstrated when trying to deflect her signature technique... something primal, something ancient.
Her momentum is converted into a hard but successful landing as Adelheid deftly routes her aside, though there is a fair question as to whether she could have even touched down without crashing if not for the courtesy of her refined opponent. But the instant her shoe-clad feet hit the dirt, she proves something Adelheid may have picked up already from her initial motions... his smaller opponent is incredibly fast. With speed that would rival Adelheid's own monstrously skilled father, Athena is already moving in response to his crushingly strong punch, weaving her nimble form around the path of his fist, his powerful arm swishing through the trailing lengths of her hair instead.
The burst of wind chi and surging kick force her to further evade, Athena twisting backward, her right arm swinging back to catch herself against the ground, narrowly slipping beneath the Bernstein prodigy's forward trajectory, escaping not only the launch, but also, fortunately for her, the potentially smashing follow through.
And she never stops moving, rolling to the side to land on her both of her hands, fingers pressed against the dirt, her feet planted, one knee bent, as if in a sprinter's ready position, head lifted to identify precisely where her opponent's attack takes him. There is no doubt the evasion was close, the smaller martial artist skirting with disaster with each moment. But it's to be expected, when fighting at this tier, every tick of the clock is a potential triumph or disaster for any fighter. Krauser has brought together some of the best, after all.
"I have never seen chi like that," she muses out loud with a hint of trepidation. Just what kind of power is this fighter tapping into? No, she tells herself, she can't let herself get distracted.
Sucking in her breath, Athena launches out of the crouched position after the inscrutable young man. Her arms swing up over her head, another palpable pulse of gathered energy channeling down her forearms into her hands. Should she land successfully, she'll swing her arms down, crying out as she unleashes a large sphere of that rose hued energy directly over the Prince of War, palms held forward, knees bent, body leaning into the attack as she continues to channel the massive attack.
Her hair whips behind her shoulders, skirt swishing about her thighs as she attempts to completely bury the young man beneath the assault.
COMBATSYS: Adelheid fails to interrupt Round Psycho Reflector EX from Athena with A. Kunst Eins.
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Adelheid 1/------=/=======|=======\-------\0 Athena
"We Bernsteins have taken great pains to study and master the use of a variety of ki based techniques," Adelheid returns to her musing about the nature of that bloody energy. It is, perhaps, in indirect deflection, but nonetheless, it is a true statement that he offers. "From the fabled Hakkyokuseiken to the secrets of Strolheim. Our strength comes from finding the strongest techniques of our opponents and assimilating them into our own language."
As Athena launches herself in his direction, Adelheid in turn prepares himself to counter her. Her hands carry that pulse of painful psycho power, and Adelheid does his best to interrupt her attack by diving in headlong and launching a kick that is aimed to crash in against it, and lift Athena up, and away from him.
The best laid plans, however...
Instead, her ball of energy crashes into him as he ducks. Synaptic misfires send agony through his form, and he rocks back from the sheer magnitude of the psychic backlash. His ears ring. Or is that in his head? His shakes it off, knowing that the pop star, from what she has demonstrated before, is likely to try to press her advantage.
Athena's mind races at the Bernstein youth's explanation, immediately reminded that he bears the same last name as the front runner in the tournament, the renown criminal and arms dealer... Rugal Bernstein. Even as clueless as she might be about the cartels and syndicates that secretly rule the world just beneath the surface of what most people are aware of, she knows of Rugal Bernstein, the man with the big ship that is often mentioned in the news as a mobile nuclear threat.
She has no time to consider it in that instant, leaping after Adelheid to deliver her next attack. There can be no doubt as the two clash that he is up against an opponent who belongs in these ranks legitimately. Her speed and capacity for channeling attacks is absolutely world class. Any doubts that he has been subjected to some kind of farce for the sake of cameras can easily be put to rest as the girl unleashes the point blank, all-encompassing sphere of power directly over him, channeling it for as long as she can until her opponent is no longer even within its area of effect, eyes closed, voice raised as she wrestles with that wellspring of Psycho Power she can bring to bear.
Finally, she releases it, exhaling hard as she realizes the Bernstein heir was no longer even in range. Perspiration rolls down her cheeks as she draws her arms back, straightening up her stance. Wrestling that power of hers must take an incredible amount of effort for her to already appear winded so.
aking in her breath, making sure she doesn't push herself to the point of early exhaustion, she looks back at Adelheid, her expression a mixture of uncertainty and concern.
"Is it true?" she asks, arms lifting as she returns to her ready stance. "What they say about your father?" How could this young man be related to the infamous Rugal? Not that she's ever met the veteran fighter either, but he has quite the reputation. If even half of the things the news broadcasts say about him are true...
Trying to reconcile the reports against the controlled, regal demeanor of the Prince of War seems to be the cause of her moment of hesitation.
"I'm sorry," Asamiya follows up after a moment however, "It is not my intent to distract." She needs to think of him as a fellow fighter, someone just like her, here to push against and break through his limits. This is not a fight for justice, to defeat evil, or to champion a cause. It is a fight for her own growth.
He will see her lean into the sprint that takes her back toward him, a swift dash that transitions into a hop, her knee leading the way as she tries to hit him in the chest. Her other leg snaps up then while she's still slightly airborne, attempting to catch Adelheid in the chin with a follow up strike.
Should he test the strength of her physical martial arts, he will find that her Kung Fu does not pack the same punch as her energy does. Though her execution is fast and controlled, it clearly is not the source of her successes as a fighter.
COMBATSYS: Adelheid blocks Athena's Aggressive Strike.
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Adelheid 1/-----==/=======|=======\-------\0 Athena
"Which thing?" Adelheid asks, looking curiously at the idol fighter when she presents her query. Lips, soft and pliant, curl upwards at the corners, dimpling his alabaster cheeks, and one thin, arched brow lifts as he looks her over. "They say a great deal many things about my father. Half of them are true. Half of them are fiction. You are something of a public figure yourself, so I imagine you must be familiar with this concept yourself."
He gives a single shake of his head in response to the comment about distraction, as he reclaims his fighting stance. The posture is almost that of a kickboxer, mostly upright, his knees slightly bent, with one foot barely before the other and his arms raised in a way that is both open and loose, and yet seems to be a silent challenge to beckon his opponent to come in close.
And she seems to take it. Rushing in as she does, Adelheid deftly raises his defenses, taking the knee to his forearms, before the following kick is likewise deflected by being batted aside.
"You should train your body more," he replies, noting the lack of physicality in the female fighter, but not truly judging her for it. His demeanor is one of offering insight rather than condemnation. "Your psychic attacks are difficult to predict, and they are devastating in their power, but your physical strength is a mere shadow of that strength. You have a lack of balance. Someone like my father will find a way to exploit that and break you."
He steps back from her, rather than pressing any attack. There is a silent intensity in his stare, as if he might be dissecting her with his eyes, rather than undressing her. Analyzing her strengths, such as her chi, as well as her weaknesses, and suitably finding a way to circumvent her defenses. "Please. Show me what else you have, Miss Asamiya."
COMBATSYS: Adelheid calculates his next move.
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Adelheid 1/-----==/=======|=======\-------\0 Athena
Adelheid's honest question back to her impromptu inquiry is almost enough cause to pause all on its own. Which thing, indeed. There are many to choose from. A warmonger, a killer, a megalomaniac... but they also say he is an amazing fighter, capable of demonstrating a vast arsenal of martial arts at a masterful level... All she has are the rumors anyone in the fighting community is aware of, but no first hand experience. Just who are the Bernsteins?
He cuts to the core of the question with his point regarding the burden of fame and the risk of wide spread misinformation, and the girl averts her violet eyes for a moment, clearly forced to reflect on the things she hears or reads about herself. That she can weather the falsehoods and keep on pursuing her dreams is no small testament to her own resolve. She says nothing, clearly admonished albeit patiently by Adelheid's response, before bursting forward to deliver her hopping kick.
His defense is solid, her own momentum and kinetic force easily thwarted by his own powerful arm, the smaller opponent landing on her feet again without having even budged him. Half crouching, she springs back then, not wanting to be caught flat footed with a retaliatory strike, well aware she didn't dislodge the youth enough to slow him down, but rather than being attacked, she is... evaluated?
Asamiya looks surprised as Adelheid offers his advice, her mouth opening part way then closing. His assessment of her fighting style is on point, as well as his recognition of where she definitely falls short of world class fighters. Even her teammate and friend Sie Kensou is able to perform feats of martial arts that make her own simplified strikes seem even more basic by comparison. The combat prodigy's observation echoes the advice she's received from her sensei as well - she can't just rely on Psycho Power... she has to grow as a fighter, even without it!
She can't protest the young man's recommendation, though the slight blush of her cheeks reveals full well well that she's digested it. "It-" She tries to counter with an argument. Can she claim to not need to improve there? Look how far she's come as-is? But she knows he's right - that power, potent as it may be, is coming from something inside of her, a gift for her to draw upon and forge into attacks, but not entirely something she can claim to create from nothing... What of her abilities as a fighter without that gift?
He mentions how little trouble his father would have in dismantling her weakness and she averts her eyes briefly. Did she not want to find her limits? Doesn't she want to improve? How can she argue against that?
"Your advice is sound," she finally allows, drawing her hands up, returning to her ready stance, her eyes focusing back on Adelheid now across the distance between them. "I..." she nods slightly, "Thank you." It's the first time anyone besides her sensei has pointed out the gap in her fighting talent. She /has/ to do better.
She sucks in her breath, having had a moment to compose herself. She can tell the young man is digesting everything that has happened in the fight so far. What has worked, what has not. Where is she strong and weak, and what tools in his arsenal might be able to contend with her own gifts... It is tempting to hold back, to try and wait him out and see what he does next, but the adrenaline pumping through her veins suggests otherwise. She has no where near the calm composure of the Bernstein heir, her aura fired up, even more-so after recognizing where she definitely needs to improve.
Echoing her own sentiment from earlier, he requests that she show what she can do and she sees no choice but to answer in kind, leaning into a forward sprint, taking one step, then two... then on her third step, she sweeps her arms up, focusing her center of gravity right up the middle of her as she turns hard into a spin. There is a flash of bright pink as her form shimmers then suddenly surges forward at blurring speed. Her path would take her seemingly through Adelheid himself, ending up somewhere behind him by a few meters, managing to engage and disengage in the same attack, her voice echoing against the courtyard walls.
COMBATSYS: Adelheid reflects TELEPOOOOOOOOTAH! from Athena with G. Kreis+.
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Adelheid 0/-------/-----==|=======\======-\1 Athena
Adelheid doesn't have the time to really return any sort of sentiment or exchange words with the pop star fighter after she thanks him for the advice. She's already pressing the attack, and he has little time to do anything other than...
She shimmers, and sparkling pink light erupts around her form. Adelheid leaps upward, seemingly in response to the first two steps she took. The toe of his booted foot blazes with a nearly two dimensional sheet of wind-aspected ki, and as he ascends to the heavens, his leg sweeps inward and up and a picture perfect crescent kick. A moon shaped scythe of chi flickers in the wake of his rising kick, and the ki meets with the power of her bubbly Psycho energy in a shower of sparks that whip around in violent whirlwind spirals up towards the sky before dispersing. There's an unearthly groaning sound as the energies converge and conflict, but the wind seems to create a barrier that stops Athena's power from reaching Adel, and instead, blows the remnants of her psychokinetic attack right back at her as she reappears!
She sees him respond in time, his foot scything up, wind bladed chi trailing behind it... but she thinks she can get past him before whatever Adelheid has planed becomes an actual threat. The truth of it ends up not panning out - not only is the energy left in the wake of her trying to teleport clean through the young man completely controlled by the fierce technique, but he manages to send it smashing into her as she comes sliding out of her incredibly fast translocation.
She doesn't even have time to turn into it as the whirlwind of wind chi and psionic energy blasts into her upper back, sending the rising J-Pop sensation crashing to the dirt face down, sliding a few feet before coming to rest in a plume of dust.
Coughing, Athena wastes no time pushing off the ground, scrambling back up to her feet and whirling around to face the the 'R' commander directly, arms already raised to the defensive, feet planted and legs braced in preparation to try and dart away if necessary.
The rough landing has left its marks, with the right knee of her dark red leggings torn, skin bleeding beneath it from the laceration of scraping against the ground. Her forearms are scuffed up from the landing, and as she blinks her eyes and shakes her head, it's clear that she is definitely feeling the effects of that attack.
Breathing in then exhaling, she maintains her ready stance for a moment, studying back at Adelheid, as if trying to formulate a new approach to engage him that doesn't involve charging into a man-sized wall of wind chi.
She makes up her mind quickly, however, saying nothing as she slides out of her ready stance, standing up straight, arms down against her sides. Her eyes close, hands closing into fists. There is another surge, similar to the one felt at the beginning of their bout, as Athena digs even deeper into that fount of power within, tapping into a reservoir of energy that would be dangerous to even channel had she not mastered the technique before launching her fighting career.
A storm of Psycho Power swirls up around her, swirling energy and unseen currents of will made manifest making it dangerous to even try approaching her in the moment. Some of the stray energy coalesces into two large spheres of ultra compressed power, a violet so dark as to border on ebony. They start off as large as the singular sphere she had smashed into him earlier, but rapidly shrink as the application of her powerful psyche crushes them into an even tighter, more intense format. Her hair whips around her shoulders, driven by the palpable ebb and tide of power being manipulated.
It's clear that Adelheid is going to have to deal with a ranged attack, as she's made no move to advance on him while gathering the phenomenal power. Slowly, Athena's arm raises over her head, finger pointing up toward the sky above, and the two near-black spheres of Psycho Power surge up in a helix pattern to combine in one just over the Psycho Soldier's finger.
Her eyes open, sparkling with light violet as she focuses instantly on Adelheid.
Then, with a gesture, she snaps her hand forward, leaning into a point that sends the Psycho Powered Bit hurtling toward him with incredible speed, tearing up a wake of dust in its path as it hurtles toward him, a cruise missile of power well beyond anything she had attacked him with prior to now!
COMBATSYS: Athena successfully hits Adelheid with Shining Crystal Bit EX+.
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Adelheid 0/-------/=======|>>>>---\-------\0 Athena
Adelheid lands from his leaping attack, already facing the downed Athena, though he does give her enough time to compose herself and regain her footing. This is one thing that truly separates him from his father. Adelheid has a sense of honor about him. A sense of good sportsmanship that Rugal would define as a weakness. And yet, for all the drilling that has been done, and all the attempts to break him of these habits, Adelheid still clings to them, weakness or not.
This time, his father's words would ring true.
Athena's attack is a curious thing. As she summons forth all of that psycho power, Adelheid feels it like an electrical energy in the air. It makes the fine hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. His brows come together over his nose into a scowl of concentration. He knows that she will use those tightly condensed orbs in one of two ways. She will either use them in some sort of charge at him, or she is going to send them flying at him.
She snaps her hands forward, and he knows which of the two options she's going with. He lifts one leg, crossing his arms before him in a vain attempt to simply take the brunt of that psychic power against the places of his body it will hurt the least. Sadly, it is far too powerful for him to simply block as if it were a mundane blow. As he had stated before, Athena was heavily imbalanced. Her physical might left much to be desired, but... this energy of hers? Her psychic ability? He had never encountered anything like it before. It is overwhelming, to say the least.
Her attack collides against him and sends him skidding on one foot across the floor. He grits his teeth, his delicate features contorted in pain and concentration. But it is of little avail. He breaks under the strain, and the attack overwhelms him. Pain wracks his entire form, and he's lifted off of his feet and sent flying back to crash into a nearby wall.
Smoldering with the remnants of her power, Adelheid's body limply falls to the floor. There, he lays still for a long, long time. Was he unconscious? It appears to be so, as he lays there still, his joints bent at awkward angles, and his face pressed to the floor, hidden behind the blonde hair that now spills down around his head and splays out like some golden, angelic halo.
He laughs. Slowly, he rises to his hands and knees. There is an odd, disjointed manner about his movements, swaying from side to side as he stands to his feet. His arms hang loose and limp, his head downcast and lost in the shadows.
Adelheid's head rises, leaving streaking tracers of ruby light from his eyes. His face is held in a maddened rictus as he looks down his nose at Athena with a wide eyed stare of utter madness.
Suddenly, his hands, held like claws at his sides, erupt with crimson light, through which pure darkness swirls and bubbles. That baleful energy drips and sizzles on the ground, like corrosive blood. He lunges forward, his body gliding forward rather than running, propelled by some unseen and unnatural force. Lashing out with a strangely inhuman speed and way of moving that seems more like a human sized marionette than a man, the young Bernstein's deathlike grip attempts to take Athena by her throat, and drag her as he whips past.
Should he manage to capture her, and carry her along for the ride, it will end abruptly with another wall, with him slamming her against it, not with the intent of putting her into it, but rather through it. A violent eruption of hellish, bloody crimson ki will erupt from the ground, sounding for all the world like the souls of the damned crying out their immortal anguish. The spectral imprint of a skull rises within the pillar of the explosion, mouth opening wide in a dreadful howl, before it blurs and is swept up in the torrent of concussive force.
And then, Adelheid slumps to his knees, his head dropping his chin to his chest, and his eyes falling closed once again. Still. But, at the very least, breathing.
COMBATSYS: Adelheid can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Adelheid successfully hits Athena with G. Sklaven.
[ \\\\\\\\\ <
Her arm slowly falls against her side as the power leaves her, converted into a precise sniper's shot of hyper compressed Psycho Power, well known to be Asamiya's most dangerous techniques. Her hair falls back down against her shoulders as she forces herself to stand up and lift her arms, but there is a hint of lethargy about her now. Perhaps another area she needs to improve is in not throwing every ounce of strength into every attack... Sometimes, parceling out that power would be far more prudent.
But there can be no doubt she has gone all in on this technique, the swirling orbs and aura of glowing power protecting her for the time it takes to build up to the attack she sent hurtling Adelheid's way. Few opponents have taken the hit directly head on and still had fight left in them - perhaps this is why she is willing to to risk it all, a habit learned from prior successes.
Sucking a breath deep into her lungs, she settles back into her ready stance, violet eyes blinking as she finally discovers Adelheid where he lays. She starts to lower her arms, a flicker of concern working its way across her features. She won't be so patronizing as to go administer to him, or cajole him like a wounded puppy - she knows full well what it feels like to be on the receiving end of that kind of post-fight attempts at mollification, but that doesn't mean there isn't that moment of alarm all the same. Victory in fighting means someone had to be brutalized, injured to the point of not being able to continue fighting. It's simply the nature of the sport, and to act like it is anything less is to dishonor those who put their bodies in harm's way to participate.
But then he makes a sound and starts to move, rising up little by little. As he had given the chance to stand before, so too does she return the respect, but as he gets up to his feet, she can tell something is drastically different from before. Where before, his aura radiated only calm composure, a steely control rare among the higher echelon of fighters, now there is only chaos and just being in the vicinity of it makes Athena cringe, recoiling as if already struck.
That energy from before, alien in its nature, ancient in its presence, spills from his fingers, leaving caustic burn marks on the ground where it splatters. What IS that? There's no time to wonder as he suddenly surges toward her. Bringing her arms up to brace for impact does nothing at all to stop the supernatural momentum behind Adelheid's advance and he seizes the smaller fighter by the neck with ease, dragging her along with violent force. During the transition, she reaches up with her hands, fingers digging into his powerful forearms but it does nothing to break her free from the impending collision
When slammed into the wall, the brick behind her back is pulverized, powder and debris flying everywhere. A pained cry escapes her lips, but it is overshadowed in an instant as a geyser of that same acerbic power explodes up around her with a screaming howl of the damned deafening the youth caught in the midst of it.
In the end, it proves fortunate for her that it is Adelheid's final attack, as Asamiya crumples out of the hold, falling to her knees, her arms and face showing scorch marks where the crimson energy made direct contact, her fighting outfit burned black or cleanly to ash in several places.
Shaking her head, she pushes to standing, blind for a moment, her eyes closed as she simply follows an instinctual desire to put distance between herself and the young man who just unleashed one of the most terrifying techniques she had been subjected to. She's halfway across the yard when she finally wipes her arms across her eyes and blinks them open, tears forming at the corners as she fights back the last remnants of that ancient power with her own internal aura.
Turning around, she finds Adelheid is not getting up after that exchange. Normally she'd be elated at having secured a victory against such a capable opponent, but the emotion that she feels now is more one of relief. In a match with no officials, no medical staff standing by, no referee to regulate or control the flow of things, how much further could it have gone if he had the strength to continue?
Still, in the aftermath, she is the one that remains standing, albeit barely. As she gets control over her breath finally, she presses her fist into her palm and bows her head, "Thank you," she announces, though there's a hint of a tremor to her voice. "For the honor of this match. May your path forward be met with success, Adelheid Bernstein."
The expression of thanks offered, she turns to stride quickly from the yard, not eager to be around the youth when he gets his breath back, her mind racing at the implications of what she had just seen. Is it just in his personality? No... there was such a violent shift. It has to be something else, something that ISN'T him... perhaps there will be opportunity to meet him outside the field of battle to get to understand this enigmatic young man better...
COMBATSYS: Athena has ended the fight here.
Log created on 00:11:55 03/02/2018 by Athena, and last modified on 21:02:15 03/03/2018.