Rising Star 2021 - Ristar 2021 R2 - Sakura vs Hayley

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Description: In the second round of Rising Star, Hayley Bretherton, Australia's own Super Rookie battles the Ansatsuken Prodigy, Sakura Kasugano! Who will win? Who will advance? Who has the cooler bandana? These questions and more will (mostly) be answered as fists fly at this location!

Round 2 of the Rising Star Tournament is well underway!

Today's matchup is is at the beautiful and scenic Umeda Sky Building. The wind blows heavily at this altitude, now and again, the reinforced glass flooring offering a gorgeous--if dizzying view of the city below. Kanzuki Estate personnel have already set up their equipment and referees and have begun the wait for the combatants to arrive.

Hayley Bretherton tromps out, looking a bit weary, but put together. Her recent Neo League bout across the globe may still be fresh on her mind as she smacks her cheeks, breathes deeply, and glances down briefly.

She quickly looks back u up with a swallow before returning to her stretches and warm-up.

Sakura elected to not participate in Neo League, or SNF, while the Rising Star tournament was going on. It's not that she's worried about over-extending herself, or being too tired, or anything like that--they just kind of escaped her mind. That's how she is--she focuses intensely.

In the observatory, Sakura waits--uncommonly calm and somber looking, sitting seiza, eyes closed, hands resting on her knees. The very picture of serene Zen. That is, she is, up until when Hayley shows up, at which point Sakura pops out of seiza and bounces to her feet, stretching arms and legs and wiping that serenity out with a big grin. "Hayley?" she calls, as she walks towards her opponent.

"Hi! I'm Sakura," she says, unnecessarily--Hayley would have been briefed on who her opponent is, after all--and as Sakura comes closer, she puts right fist in left hand and stops, bowing over the clasped hands.

"I hope our match is satisfactory for both of us."

Hayley is shadow-boxing as she suddenly realizes Sakura was there--perhaps this is the power of her Zen. In any case, she looks up with a start, reaching up to run a hand through her shaggy, blue-tinted hair.

"Oh, hey! Sorry, I got wrapped up in my warm-up. That and the height here is a little ... dizzying. I'm Hayley! Oh."

Hayley puts her fist and palm together, bowing in turn. "Yes! Let's have a good one, huh? I've been getting some great matches lately. I'm looking forward to it!"

She gives Sakura a moment to get ready as she drops into her low, Bajiquan stance, knees bent, one arm high and the other close. When she springs forward, it's with a quick motion. She goes in, sweeps the leg with a low kick, then transitions into a grab. If she finds purchase, she pulls forward, striking out with a two-handed snake strike.

COMBATSYS: Hayley has started a fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Hayley           0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Sakura has joined the fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Sakura           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Hayley

COMBATSYS: Sakura dodges Hayley's Twin Adder Striking Fangs.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Sakura           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Hayley

"Whoa!" cries Sakura, as Hayley shows absolutely no hesitation and just _moves on in_. A girl after Sakura's own heart--a sudden attack can be quite the opener and momentum establisher in a fight, and finding the flow is important. Here, Hayley doesn't quite succeed--Sakura is caught off guard but not actually flat-footed, so she is able to take a skipping step backwards to avoid the low kick that starts the technique off.

"Getting right to it, I like it," she says, with a smile, as she transitions the backstep into a forward skip, seeming to want to return the favor--her skip turning into a hopping lunge as she looks to grab Hayley by the shoulders and use her as a springboard for a two-footed kick meant to fling her backwards--and Hayley in the opposite direction.

COMBATSYS: Hayley blocks Sakura's Sailor Shoot.

[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Sakura           0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0           Hayley

Hayley's blows find no purchase as Sakura stays a step ahead. Hayley grits her teeth in concentration, but as Sakura smiles, she finds it contagious. "Yeah--sorry, I felt like I couldn't give you too much of a breather! --whoa!"

Suddenly, Hayley is grabbed, forcing her to wedge her arms in there so that Sakura's boots narrowly plant against her arms before Sakura kicks off and launches Hayley into a standing slide with arms crossed to guard from the brunt of the blow.

"I can't say I was expecting that, either!" Hayley beams before snapping back into her fighting stance. From it, she steps forward, whipping her arm around from above in a downward, chopping arc as she leaps forward---the circular motion intended to get her in close while smashing through.

"I'm really glad you entered," Hayley says, "I've heard a bit, you know? You've got kind of a reputation, I think?"

COMBATSYS: Sakura blocks Hayley's Magpie and Wombat.

[    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Sakura           0/-------/-----==|==-----\-------\0           Hayley

Hayley doesn't smash through but she does get in close--Sakura elects to intercept the smashing hand with her forearms, wincing at the power behind it, staggering her back a half-step and letting Hayley in close. "Wow, you're pretty strong," she says, unfazed by the nivasion into her space; with her generally short limbs, she has to fight in close most of the time anyways. Still, perhaps it's advantage Hayley, here.

"Do I?" she asks, when her reputation is mentioned, but it seems liek she's kind of playing a ltitle. "I guess I do," she admits, with a grin, fading back a bit more, getting just enough room to fire a classic right reverse punch for her opponent's sternum, a sharp, quick attack meant to make her back off.

COMBATSYS: Hayley fails to interrupt Medium Punch from Sakura with Wombat's Crushing Blow ES.
- Power fail! -

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Sakura           0/-------/----===|====---\-------\0           Hayley

Hayley pushes against Sakura's guard and, when she doesn't yield, the Aussie breaks off again. "T-thanks." She seems a little embarrassed about the complement, but rolls with it.

"A bit!" Hayley answers as she adjusts her footing. The punch comes and Hayley spreads her feet wide, ready to smash through it with one of her (in)famous, cannon-like hip checks. Unfortunately for her, however, her timing is off.

Hayley springs forward, wrapped with chi---and Sakura's fist hits her jaw before the Aussie's backside bowls the karateka over. Staggering backward, the blunette falls flat on her back, rubbing her chin, before climbing back up.

"Caught me on the backswing there..."

Sakura's instincts--that mixture of experience and training that helepd form those instincts--were on the money that time, and now she's settling into the flow of the fight, starting to sink into it, the way Ryu says to do--and so she's ready to continue right after the bluenette pops right back up. Sakura offers a sympathetic smile--she's been on the wrong end of bad timing before, after all, and no one can predict how a fight will go, beginning to end. Well... maybe Rose can.

Hayley will get a little preview, or at least, a moment to breathe, while Sakura sets up her attack--because it does take a little bit for this one, as she pulls her hands to her stomach and conjures a basketball-sized sphere of white-cored, blue-tinged energy--and the surges it, expanding it to maybe double the volume, her arms forced apart as well.

Her voice comes low, but rising in volume and pitch as she draws her hands back, then thrusts them forward. "...haaaaaaDOUKEN!" -- and she launches that big ball of energy right for Hayley's chest.

COMBATSYS: Hayley dodges Sakura's Charged Hadouken.

[    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Sakura           0/-------/----===|====---\-------\0           Hayley

Hayley draws back as energy gathers, taking two steps to adjust her stance and ready herself. As the power continues to surge, she brushes her hair back, clearly sweating a bit. Perhaps she wasn't expecting quite that much power.

And as it comes, Hayley coils like a spring, behind her legs to ready herself before launching up and over it, pulling up into a forward flip. She narrowly clears the wide fireball as it passes under, but even as she does, Hayley is back on the offensive.

She twists and shifts into a downward kick, bringing her boot down in an arc on the descent.

COMBATSYS: Sakura dodges Hayley's Medium Kick.

[    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Sakura           0/-------/----===|====---\-------\0           Hayley

Good instincts on this one--Sakura appreciates it, maybe in a way she shouldn't, since she's the opposition--but the Ansatsuken Flower just likes seeing good, skilled fighters, especially as her opponents. In previous times, Sakura would have been frozen after the hadouken--recovering herself, or just expecting it to splash her opponent--and she would've been easily tagged by the counterattack.

She's learned, at least somewhat, and so she's on the move as Hayley dives in--not backwards, but forwards, as if she had been expecting to follow up that projectile with another attack, and the net effect is to just put her not where Hayley was expecting her to be.

Sakura throws her weight backwards as the Aussie passes overhead, reversing course, changing roles from the pursued to the pursuer, throwing herself forward into a lunging shoulder block--attempting to tackle Hayley right out of the air like a linebacker trying to run down a ballcarrier.

COMBATSYS: Hayley just-defends Sakura's Aggressive Strike!

[    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////////     ]
Sakura           0/-------/----===|====---\-------\0           Hayley

Hayley is still descending as Sakura leaps back and sets up the tackle, barreling in like a footballer making the drive down the gridiron. For a moment, the Aussie is left without much in terms of defense options. She can't adjust her footing to meet shoulder with shoulder, and she's at the wrong angle for a forearm block. Left with few options, Hayley improvises in a way that only she can.

Adjusting her angle, Sakura's shoulder charge collides with Hayley's dense posterior. Whether it's the result of doubling up on squats or eating far too many Timtams, the Aussie's seat is generously padded, to say the least. She may not be as brazenly dressed as a certain chromatic wrestler, but the Aussie would certainly give her a run for her money. It pays off her her as, instead of getting floored by the shoulder charge, she kind of...rebounds off Sakura and lands in a short jog as she works to keep from spilling onto her face. Unorthodox as it is, she seems no worse for the wear--if a little flushed in the face.

"I wasn't expecting the quick counter!" she interjects, dusting off her pants and causing a bit more bouncing in doing so. "A-anyway!" Hayley resumes her combat stance, but this time drops low to the ground, spreading her feet wide and tensing up. She launches upward in a sweeping, half-moon of a kick, her foot trailing blue-white chi as she does. As the blunette finishes the arc she launches again, bringing the other foot around to follow-up!

COMBATSYS: Hayley successfully hits Sakura with Cassowary's Rending Talons EX.
- Power hit! -

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Sakura           1/-------/=======|======-\-------\0           Hayley

YOUCH! Sakura was clearly not expecting this--and the result is, she takes both kicks to the face, in a most impressive (to watch) fashion. It'll absolutely be a highlight reel moment, with the camera zoomed tight in on the way Sakura's chin flies up, then back, hands splayed out; she goes ass over teakettle, for sure, flipping once before landing on her back. The impact forces air out of her lungs, resulting in a big 'whoof!' as she lands.

She's up and back on her feet in moments, though, thanks to a very flexibly-performed kippup, and her eyes are wide with both appreciation for Hayley's technique, a bit of reverberation of shock from the pain, and a flush of adrenaline that just spikes through her. She's hurting, for sure, but she also feels energized, in a way, which might strike some as odd. But it's just her love of the fight.

"Wow~! That was awesome!" exclaims Sakura, as she bounces briefly on the balls of her feet before lunging forward, looking to close the gap--and to slip behind her opponent, to get her left arm around Hayley's neck. Now, in some cases, this would be the kind of chokehold that someone would hold until their opponent was out--but that's not how Sakura works, so if she does get it, she'll squeeze for no more than 10 seconds before smashing her right fist into the back of Hayley's head as she springs back.

COMBATSYS: Hayley just-defends Sakura's Sakura Strangle EX!

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Sakura           1/-------/=======|======-\-------\0           Hayley

Hayley flips out of her kicks, landing upright once more. She turns, raising her fists in a guarded stance before Sakura moves in for the counter attack. The Aussie rocks on her heels, taking a step to reposition and bend her knees just a bit more.

Hayley seems to mirror Sakura's excitement, beaming back at her. "Y-yeah! I was kind of proud of that! Your moves are great too, though. Did you train with -- you know?"

She doesn't have time to finish before Sakura is moving in to grab her, aiming for a choke and punch. Initially, Hayley is caught in the grab, wiggling a bit as Sakura's grip tightens.

"Whoof, hey," Hayley protests, trying to break the grip and slide out--but doing a good job of alleviating the pressure.

But then, as the punch comes, Hayley shifts, planting her feet enough to try and hoist Sakura off-balance---and off the ground--into an overhead throw!

COMBATSYS: Sakura fails to interrupt Medium Throw from Hayley with Hadoushou EX.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Sakura           1/-------/=======|=======\-------\1           Hayley

Sakura had thoguht she had the flow of the fight--that she was settling into it. And then the next few seconds' of exchange prove her intensely, immensely wrong. Her grip slipped--and then grabbed by Hayley--Sakura knows she's not getting out of this, but maybe she can do some damage before she lands--but it is _intensely_ difficult to focus and concentrate when one is being upended. She tries.

Oh, she tries. But she is, at heart, still a student, and all that fails her in the moment--instead she lands flat on her back again, gasping, rolling away from Hayley the moment she's able, slapping her palms down on the floor to help her bounce back up--

--and bounce back up she does, bringing her hands back up to fighting position, though there's a little less spring in her step. One can almost see, if not hear, the grinding of the gears in her head--the subconscious thought processes that are searching for the path she needs to take to regain some control over the situation.

Hayley lets Sakura go into the toss, sliding her feet across the glassy floor with a squeak as she does. In the next moment, Hayley is pursuing her, barreling after to close the gap and continue the assault. She inhales deeply, her energy gathering around her, pouring off her body gently like heat from asphalt in the summer.

And Hayley splays her fingers, tightening her grip like claws as chi pours forth like points. She charges, slashing out once, then again with powerful, rippling chi effects before bringing them together like a clamping "jaw" of focused energy.

COMBATSYS: Hayley successfully hits Sakura with Hunting Dingo ES.

[                       \\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Sakura           1/-<<<<<</<<<<<<<|===----\-------\0           Hayley

The sound is, at least from Sakura's perspective, akin to a bomb going off--and the impact is very similar too, as she is caught by the slashing arms and chi; she goes flying backwards, and this time there's no picturesque flip and land on her feet or anything like that. The impact with the ground is limp, and she rolls a couple of times before coming to a halt. When she slaps her hands against the ground, the sound is percussive, but when she gets up, she's lost a lot of--almost all of--that bounce from earlier.

Over the years, she's become somewhat contemplative of the fights she loses--and she's absolutely on the edge of this one, balancing precariously. But she doesn't enter tournaments to _win_. Yes, of course, it's an endorphin rush to do so, but she enters tournaments for the same reason Ryu does--to test herself against opponents. As it is whenever one tests themselves against the unknown, one finds where they are wanting. Improvement isn't a clean process, a straight line--one always goes backwards, or stalls out. Still...

Still. Still, Sakura has her pride, and as she wipes her bruised mouth, she smiles. It isn't really a nice smile, but it isn't mean, either--determined, really, is what one would probably call it, as she moves forward--closing the distance a few steps, using the time to gather herself--and her chi. That buildup is there again, white-cored, blue-tinged, but seeming somehow denser, thicker--as she builds the power, it isn't quite as large as the projectile she threw earlier, but it feels somehow more solid, in a way. And she holds it for a little longer, before she throws it--following behind it, this time, only really a pace or two behind...

COMBATSYS: Sakura successfully hits Hayley with Sakura Arashi.

[                       \\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////             ]
Sakura           0/-------/----<<<|=======\==-----\1           Hayley

... and following the impact of the charged-up Hadouken, Sakura pushes off the ground, but just barely, spinning around like a top as she performs a (temporarily) perfected Tatsumaki Senpuu Kyaku, chi already gathering around her right fist--but not blue this time, instead pink--cherry blossom pink, as befits a girl named Sakura--as she makes one final technique transition, slamming her right fist up into Hayley's chin, pushing off with her legs, leaping into the air to put all her weight behind that final uppercut, twisting around in midair once before landing.

For a moment, Hayley has a clear edge. Some well-timed blocks and skillful defensive technique coming from the ambitious Aussie have turned things in her favor, and her ability to capitalize on it with the furious claw-like strikes helps her push that edge to the limit.

But it is a brief edge before Sakura's resolve gives her the push she needs to fight uphill against the odds. As the chi from Hayley's last attack dissipates, there's a bit of a shimmer to Hayley. There's something unnatural, almost metallic for a moment there. A bit too much sheen for simple perspiration. Hayley herself looks confused, for a moment, and in that moment Sakura brings to bear some of the staple techniques of Ansatsuken.

The hadouken impacts Hayley through her guard, the bluenette bringing up her arms too slowly, especially for the surge of power Sakura packs into it. She staggers back, leaving herself open for a second, but that's all Sakura needs to crash against Hayley's neck and shoulders with the tornado kick, nearly bowling her over before Hayley rises into the uppercut that does, brutally, lift her into the air before dropping her unceremoniously onto her back.

"Ugh..." Hayley wheezes, not getting up right away. "That was really good," she calls out from the ground. "You--" she coughs, "got me really good there." The Aussie rubs her jaw several times before climbing up.

When she rises, she doesn't spring up so much as roll over, plant a hand on the floor, and push up into a staggering, moving recovery. Her chest rises and falls as she takes several deep breaths to try and get a second wind, taking several gasps before resuming her stance, stepping forward, and smashing downward with a chi-traced downward chop from a sweeping piguaquan stance.

COMBATSYS: Hayley successfully hits Sakura with Descending Magpie.

[                           \\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Sakura           0/-------/-======|=======\====---\1           Hayley

Sakura's battered enough that her defenses are truly compromised--she doesn't think she would survive just intercepting the attack, so she opts to try to avoid it. But that self-same damage that's blistered her defenses has also made her slow. The end result is that she takes that chop to the shoulder, and it drives her to one knee.

She blacks out for a moment, a flicker in consciousness; from her perpsective she goes from the moment that Hayley is descending upon her to being on one knee, subconsciously going over the pros and cons of just going down, without thinking about it for real, and at the speed her brain is calculating, decisions are made before she can even really consider it, so she finds herself lunging upwards with her right hand balled up into a fist aimed for Hayley's chin.

It's hardly her best form or the most graceful of movements, but the fight, at least, hasn't quite gone out of her just yet...

COMBATSYS: Sakura has reached second wind!

[                        \\\\\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Sakura           0/-------/-======|=======\====---\1           Hayley

COMBATSYS: Hayley interrupts Shou'ou Ken from Sakura with Triumphant Wombat EX.

[                                < >  //////////////////            ]
Sakura           1/----===/=======|==-----\-------\0           Hayley

When the chop slams down there's a sort of heaviness to it that seems unnatural--even to Hayley. There's a creak and pop like she somehow applied too much force herself, that same odd sheen to her chi that wasn't there before. Hayley pulls from her blow as Sakura goes to one knee, but the Aussie doesn't let her guard down. No, she can't be arrogant, especially against an opponent this good.

And her caution pays off as Sakura surges, going for another burst of power with a powerful uppercut. The Aussie's eyes widen, seeing the blow cutting through the air in front of her. She grits, shifts, and steps to the side, slamming down her foot as her muscles tense.

And Hayley surges with chi, as she steps slightly around the uppercut to slam toward Sakura with a mighty Bajiquan strike, albeit one adapted to use Hayley's ponderous hips instead of her shoulders--partly to keep her arm free to direct the worst of the blow away from her.

Sakura is shoved back and down again, literally butt-slammed by her opponent, and really she's just about seconds from unconsciousness, and yet she can't quite seem to give up until she's literally given her all. It's a trait that has helped her, of course, but also it leads to her taking straight up beatdowns. Toughen her up? Maybe in a way. But it's really just her nature.

Shaking her head, she pushes off again, yelling, an almost wordless cry as what might be the last of her effort, a last ditch explosion of chi that's almost amorphous, but still utlimately retains that spherical shape as it explodes from her hands--almost not a projectile at all but an explosion of her power, almost entirely sure to blow her back as well, as she just can't possibly be properly braced for it.

COMBATSYS: Sakura has reached third wind!

[                           \\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Sakura           0/-------/------=|==-----\-------\0           Hayley

COMBATSYS: Hayley blocks Sakura's Shinkuu Hadouken.

[                           \\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Sakura           0/-------/------=|=====--\-------\0           Hayley

Hayley, at least, doesn't go for the seated pin too to add insult to injury. Perhaps this is unfortunate for her, as Sakura's resolve keeps her going despite all odds. She backsteps, and Sakura gets the gap to start building up another mighty hadouken.

The bluenette brings her arms up as the blast of chi collides with her, driving her backwards across arena. She takes several heavy breaths, wincing as she shakes her arms, trying to ease some of the discomfort.

"Still standing, huh...?" Hayley says, bobbing on her feet. "Well, don't count me out yet either!"

She surges forward, throwing a sharp elbow toward Sakura's midsection, aiming to knock the wind out of her sails once more.

COMBATSYS: Sakura parries Hayley's Medium Punch!

[                           \\\  < >  /////////////////             ]
Sakura           0/-------/-----==|=====--\-------\0           Hayley

There's always been this thing about Sakura--a nearly inexhaustible supply of tenaciousness and gumption that she finds herself just.. able to reach down into, sometimes. And so it is now, as Sakura finds her fatigue, her aches, washed away in a flush of adrenaline, and suddenly, at least briefly, she's looking like her old self--maybe even sharper than before--as Sakura faces her opponent down.

"Believe me, I haven't!" replies Sakura, and at the very last moment before that elbow would hit, Sakura shifts both arms and body, redirecting Hayley's elbow to Sakura's left. In a movement a fraction later, Sakura's rebounding, twisting her shoulders and hips, and thrusting a short, quick, upwards knee for Hayley's stomach--a move more akin to something one would see in Muay Thai, but synthesis is the essence of Sakura's form and style, after all.

COMBATSYS: Hayley dodges Sakura's Medium Kick EX.

[                           \\\  < >  /////////////////             ]
Sakura           0/-------/-----==|=====--\-------\0           Hayley

Hayley doesn't seem to have that same bottomless energy, but she keeps pace, moving steadily to Sakura's bursts of power. As Sakura redirects her elbow, Hayley's eyes widen. She's left open from the parry, and sure enough, Sakura's knee comes to punish the whiff.

But Hayley is on the move herself, breaking away in a short hop that gets her just narrowly clear of it. She bends her knees, hops, and tries to catch Sakura in a leg takedown to try and get her on the ground again. Each breath is getting heavier, more tired.

"I'm--" Huff. "Really impressed!"

COMBATSYS: Sakura dodges Hayley's Rolling Crocodile.

[                           \\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Sakura           0/-------/-----==|=====--\-------\0           Hayley

From experience, Sakura knows that the burst of energy won't last. She has to make the most of it, as best as she can, because that adrenaline isn't gonna keep her going much longer. Already, just like Hayley, she can feel the leadenness start to set in, that faint, metallic-feeling ghost of pain put on hold, ready to come back at any moment, pushing against the barriers.

She doesn't really even have the breath, or the wherewithal, to respond verbally to Hayley--not that she doesn't want to, but she's looking _ragged_, for sure, her form not quite in form. Still, she doesn't give up, even now, lunging forward to try to lock Hayley into a boxer-style clinch, using her left hand, her right seeking to throw a couple of sharp jabs into the midsection before she tosses her away, or at least, as far as she can manage.

COMBATSYS: Hayley blocks Sakura's Combo Grapple.

[                           \\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Sakura           0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\0           Hayley

Hayley's leg takedown goes wide as Sakura sidesteps and gets into a grapple with her. The two fo them clash, Hayley girding herself against several blows. That heavy, metallic chi from a moment ago seems to have faded once more, whatever fluke (?) brought it about taking it away just as easily. The Aussie shakes her head as she breaks away after taking several body blows, staggering back.

She takes heavy breaths, steels herself, then sweeps her arms in a circle to gather chi. With it, she thrusts both palms forward, the energy erupting in a short-range burst of power--not quite a fireball, but with the same effect. It's a bit like a certain move of a certain Saikyo master...if a bit more practiced.

COMBATSYS: Sakura dodges Hayley's Eucalyptus Bloom ES.

[                           \\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Sakura           0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\0           Hayley

Sakura fades back as Hayley sweeps her arms forward; truth be told, if Hayley weren't pushing herself as hard as Sakura is, the outcome would probably have been different--and on the close-up replay it'll look extremely cool, as Sakura stops _just_ past where that burst of power ends, the remnants of it blowing her messy hair back. That moment, at least, will look cool.

The way she lurches back in? Not so cool, especially with her shoulders hunched, and the way she's panting. That adrenaline rush is definitely on the tail end now, and she just... kind of gambles hard. Her movements are exaggerated, sloppy, as she pulls back with the right side of her body and then lunges forward with a sweeping haymaker punch, putting her (not too considerable) body weight and momentum behind it. It's the final moments of the fight, as dragged-out as it seems still.

COMBATSYS: Hayley fails to interrupt Strong Punch from Sakura with Wombat's Crushing Blow.

[                           \\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Sakura           0/-------/----===|=======\=------\1           Hayley

Hayley adjusts her footing, turns, readies herself to intercept the punch. She plants her feet, ready to hip-tackle Sakura again.

But her vision is starting to get blurry, her breaths heavy. She missteps and misgauges, and rather than smashing through an opening steps in too close too song and takes the punch to the jaw. It sends her reeling, staggering backward and swaying on her feet. She doesn't quite go down, but it's just barely.

Sakura pursues, although she's also a step behind, having to pull herself back from over-extending on that punch. Normally she'd follow up with another punch, but her forward momentum is such that she basically... well. Basically, she trips over her own heel and all that steady forward momentum is changed, in an instant, to an unstable forward lunge.

But she is nothing if not adaptable and she leans into it, so to speak, marshalling that forward momentum into a forward tackle. She has no plans beyond that--this was, in fact, not what she intended at all--but needs must. This is, however, absolutely not Ansatsuken. Hell, it isn't even Saikyo-ryuu. This is that style of fighting known as... Desperation.

COMBATSYS: Hayley dodges Sakura's Strong Throw.

[                           \\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Sakura           0/-------/---====|=======\=------\1           Hayley

As Sakura collides with Hayley, the Australian is on the move herself. She is hefted up, briefly, but then rolls with it, managing to shift and ride the momentum into a tuck and roll out of the toss, hitting the ground and tumbling back into a staggering rise to her feet.

"Phew," Hayley sighs, shifting again. "OK!"

And then she approaches again. She slaps her cheeks, psyching herself up, then breaks into a short sprint before leaping into the air into a descending downward kick.

COMBATSYS: Sakura interrupts Diving Kick from Hayley with Furiko Upper.

[                         \\\\\  <
Hayley           1/------=/=======|

COMBATSYS: Sakura can no longer fight.

[                         \\\\\  <
Hayley           1/------=/=======|

Sakura hauls herself around, all that momentum slewing her about erratically; she comes around just as Hayley is diving down, and her reaction isn't even considered for a moment as she clasps her hands together and brings them up and around.

To her surprise, though, just as she swings, a blue, icy energy flares around those fists, nothing like Sakura's usual chi--and even though it might add to the power behind those fists, in order to connect the attack, Sakura had to take it, too--

--and the kick puts her out, finally, already going limp as she twirls through the air from the rebounding forces of both her swinging, clasped-hand strike and Hayley's diving kick. When she lands? She doesn't get up, and while observers and spectators may feel bad for Sakura, they're also applauding and cheering for Hayley.

As the two collide, Hayley moving forward with a kick and Sakura rising upward with a fist, there's another unusual flash of chi. Hitting Hayley---and being hit by Hayley---suddenly feels like going a round in the ring against a steel plate. There's that unnatural, metallic sheen of chi again---one that is met with surprising ice.

Hayley makes a guttural noise of discomfort as she tumbles back from the impact, landing on her back. She lays there for several seconds before, gradually, she climbs back up to her feet, huffing and puffing. For several minutes she looks at Sakura, and shivers, briefly. She looks at her own hands, and feet. She takes several breaths.

They may have some things to talk about, later.

COMBATSYS: Hayley takes no action.

[                         \\\\\  <
Hayley           1/------=/=======|

COMBATSYS: Hayley has ended the fight here.

Log created on 12:11:27 04/20/2021 by Hayley, and last modified on 15:16:11 05/04/2021.