Description: Roland and Kasumi have a high-speed battle, where the normally quick cybernetic brawler finds himself out-maneuvered for once. And ultimately, fighting a sexy kunoichi is a win/win for him in a lot of ways...
The theme of the Neo League season, as dictated by its previous season champion, was to bring attention to or aid in the recovery of Southtown, Japan. The metropolis had been besieged by militarized Darkstalkers in a campaign of terror organized and driven by the notorious Black Dragon... That was the past, now it was a time to rebuild.
How, then, did a rural village in China, hundreds of miles away from Southtown, come to host a Neo League match then? That's the question going through Kasumi's mind as she takes in the rundown courtyard at the center of the three story ringed structure. The people occupying the edges of the communal area are scarce and clearly living in poor economic conditions. A single water pump serves as their only source of water, most of the shop stalls are vacated and falling to ruin, and every time the breeze picks up, white sandy dust swirls through the area.
There's no way the people of this region could asked to donate to the repair of Southtown... yet around the edges of the courtyard, a number of paper banners have been fastened to wooden posts and portions of the wall, each bearing messages about supporting Southtown in various languages.
The Mugen Tenshin exile smiles lightly as she pivots once to take in the courtyard, looking as if simply taking in the sights while in reality mapping out every important detail of the environment.
There's no doubt the shinobi in blue has the attention of most others present too. Even in a profession full of attractive women fighters, the young woman surveying the half-derelict dwelling stands out as exceptional. Her long, copper-brown hair tied into a ponytail by a thin blue ribbon is the perfect color to contrast the blue and white kunoichi training uniform she has worn to the match. Covering an hourglass figure that many consider to be the ideal, the ninja's outfit is a short sleeved tunic tucked into a wide white sash wrapped snuggly around her slender waist. From out of the bottom of the sash around her waist fall to cloth halves of a cloth skirt, one in front, one in back, each covered with an ornate white image of a pair of swans taking flight. The two halves of the skirt are tied together with blue cloth ribbons tied into large bows over the sides of her hips.
Ninja she may be, but Kasumi clearly isn't dressed for stealth or sneaking around unnoticed, with her svelte legs covered only by white, thigh-high stockings. Tabi and azure shin guards cover the lower parts of her legs while her forearms are also covered by matching blue forearm guards. Only those glancing at her from behind would notice the golden emblem emblazoned on the back of her outfit - her own name, Kasumi, in intricate glyphs, beneath smaller characters reading '18th heir to the Mugen Tenshin Style'. And below that, at her waist, a black sheath housing a small sword, its grip wrapped by a crimson cord with two long tassels hanging down to sway as she moves about.
Satisfied with her initial study of the courtyard, Kasumi bends her legs partially before springing up with ease to perch briefly on the second floor balcony railing. It creaks slightly beneath her feet but holds, serving as serviceable support for her to then leap up one more level, hands gripping the third floor balcony and allowing her to flip herself up onto the rickety top walkway.
One last glance over her shoulder to look with mild confusion at the Southtown banners, then she turns to step through the open doorway into the vacated unit indicated to serve as the starting point of the bout.
Maybe this place was being condemned and was being offered as a venue with its proceeds going back to Southtown in exchange for some kickbacks? However the Neo League conducts its business of fund-raising for Southtown is hardly her concern, she decides, disappearing into the building.
Some people are the sort to traverse the world, the sights, the cultures and land in order to meet interesting fighters; others are lazy and would rather not. In normal circumstances, Roland would be the latter. But it so happens that a 'Person of Interest' was similarly curious about the most recent recruit for Ultratech; the idea of a trip to China to facilitate things was still aggressively resisted, until he heard the name. One glance at the file photo later, and he was loafing on a plane heading across the open sea.
A somewhat grudging perusal of the information on Kasumi is given some notice. Apparently, it's mostly intended to be a combative assessment. His own makeshift style is rather similar to the ninja's, and he is a strong baseline to compare relative strength... after beating up a pair of raptors, Magi himself, and the litany of tests, the organization certainly respects his own strength enough to maintain a healthy paycheck -- although they are also aggravatingly insistent on him continuing to improve and strengthen. He's gotten by on stagnation for a lot of years...
Although the bullet points he's gotten about the ninja were certainly edgy! An on-the-run heiress who abandoned it all for revenge?! Getting in over his head with gambling and turning to fighting to make ends meet feels awful bland to himself, now. Most of the information is earmarked as unconfirmed, meaning it's certainly embellished... he arrived on the morning of the expected brawl, and spent most of his time then roaming from bar to bar. Flirting here, drinking there, a good nap... and he's in his own brand of fighting shape! Even if he still has to get used to utilizing the vehicle of the Neo League for recruitment and informational purposes more than just a decent paycheck...
Someone with her keen senses, and Roland's own utter lack of stealth, would find that the simple building is not empty. Leaning over a balcony of his own, Roland certainly would not be easy to assess for a cold, calculating kunoichi. His posture and general feel are all akin to a slacker; yet the sharpness of his aura, and a notably adept build, should readily confirm he's nobody normal.
Dressed in a brown leather trenchcoat, the right sleeve is removed at the shoulder. His entire arm is thus on display, a mesh of seamless grey metal and black ceramics. Few places in the world have access to cybernetics of this level, and he's already demonstrated combative tricks with it above and beyond anything civilian. Beyond that, simple jeans, laced boots, and a white tanktop are capstoned with a worn broad-rimmed cowboy hat.
"What's with the Southtown fetish here...?" he wonders. "Pretty sure Metro's way more jacked up these days, isn't it?" Fingers scratch at the back of his shortly cropped black hair, turning to glance at Kasumi with his own sharp green eyes and carefully honed stubble. Although his gaze drops down, then rises back up, before both brows go high. Many people might make no judgments about her gender or appearance; yet in a split second, it's crystal clear that her opponent is making no mystery of acknowledging her looks. "Hellooooooooooooo." he follows, with a bit of a low whistle. "I've never fought a ninja before... you'll go easy on me, right?"
He turns away from the balcony to stride into the opposite side of the room, good hand settling into his pocket and cybernetic limb hanging at his side. Even now, there's no particular clue or hint to his style, what he thinks, what he might do. If anything, he doesn't look remotely ready for combat... there's no simmer of fighting spirit, and his thoughts might be bent more towards the lascivious than the competitive at the moment. "Hmm... normally it's ladies' first, but I'm trying to be all progressive. Could flip a coin, do rock paper scissors, yadda yadda...?"
He draws out a yen piece, working it between nimble fingers. "Heads, I go first." His thumb then flicks upwards, with a sharp TING! as it spirals high. Yet a moment later, and he's darting forward; a surprisingly potent burst of speed, brief shimmer of green afterimages behind. "...of course, that's a two-headed coin, so no matter what, I'll win..."
Twisting around, a flash of burning emerald energy ripples onto the back of his heel, as he aims to slam it into Kasumi's side, intent on driving her towards the wall! It's only common sense on his part, right...? She's a ninja! If he doesn't try to get the drop on her, that's their entire modus operandi!!
COMBATSYS: Roland has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Kasumi has joined the fight here.
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Kasumi 0/-------/-------|======-\-------\0 Roland
COMBATSYS: Kasumi blocks Roland's Medium Kick.
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Kasumi 0/-------/------=|=======\-------\0 Roland
Roland Brown had been making a bit of splash in the current season of the evergreen Neo League fighting circuit. Unlike his opponent who lead her team to victor in the last King of Fighters tournament, he had never established himself as a fighter that was destined for bigger and greater things. After all, what future could a one-armed, self-professed slacker content to coast if possible possibly have at the upper echelons of fighting?
Which is why, perhaps, not too many people even took notice when he showed up after the mid-point of the season no longer fighting down an arm. But Kasumi did. While Ryu Hayabusa tended to deploy more against supernatural threats to the world, the Mugen Tenshin prodigy couldn't help but keep her focus on the giant tech corporations with power and wealth enough to get away with almost anything.
It was personal.
When the one-armed cowboy suddenly showed up in a Neo League match with a high tech, extremely advanced replacement for his missing limb, he landed high on Kasumi's list of targets to investigate in person. Drawing him out out to a Neo League match seemed to be an easy enough vector given his participation already this season...
By the time the vigilante's eyes finally settle on him in person, she has more than a hunch who's brand is on the inside of that arm of his. Of course, she sees through the casual way he presents himself as someone not to be taken too seriously as a fighter. Is that a natural skill of his? A certain innate, roguish charm he was born with? Or is it a byproduct of advanced training in acting provided by his owners?
When he turns to observe her, he will find the shinobi already looking at him thoughtfully. If the ninja heard his audible musings, she gives no response at first. As the nature of his own scrutiny becomes clear, the angle of her head shifts from slightly leaning right to left, her own thin eyebrows lifting, a smile tracing across her lips in a way that suggests she begrudgingly knows full well what's going through his mind without quite crossing over into being teasing about it.
Her mind races. The battle has already begun, she knows. Until contact is made, it is one of words, feints, and deceptions. He presents himself as a harmless slacker who happened to luck into a cybernetic arm, his lack of stance indicates no skill, training, or even real aptitude for battle. While she could be mistaken for a delicate flower, a girl playing at being a warrior, a harmless princess engaging in an act of make-believe.
"I don't think the bill on your gear would be spent on someone who needs me to go easy on them." Kasumi replies, a touch of deflecting amusement in her voice, pivoting then, moving fluidly from the balcony into the more closed quarters of the dirty room.
"As for the courtyard..." her tone can't hide the hint of sour edge, "I imagine it's business as usual."
She's confident if she really took the time to investigate, she'd find someone along the line making out quite well by whatever deals resulted in this match venue.
Eyes adjust quickly to the less illuminated interior. Dust can be seen drifting in the shaft of light pouring in through the open door. She never takes her eyes off Roland though, a wariness already visible in her eyes. He'll see her focus snapping to everything he does. How he puts his hand in his pocket and then comes out with a coin from Japan. The flick of his thumb, the launch of the coin. All of it part of the battle, the opening gambit, trying to throw her off.
Even though he left little time for the kunoichi to take a ready stance of her own, Kasumi adapts in an instant, pivoting on her forward foot so that she can shift her back foot into a better angle to withstand the impact. The room leaves little space for being evasive. Instead she leans into the charged kick, arm snapping into position, braced by the other, to catch the brunt of his blow against the blue forearm guard. The impact leaves a dusty smudge on the previously pristine rich blue fabric as Kasumi is knocked back slightly in spite her defensive measures.
The moment of contact is extremely brief, however, as even while defending against his kick, she seems to move around him fluidly. If he's not careful, he'll find that he's traded places with the young woman and put himself against the wall.
A problem that might become a lot more evident as the ninja steps into a spin to keep herself facing him as she slips behind, snapping her right foot up while her left remains planted, aiming to drive the heel of her sandal-clad foot against his back. It would be followed up in an instant if possible, her left leg continuing to support her as she leans further way, driving her right leg out into a second side kick for added force a split second later.
At the same time, her right hand snaps out in the air, aiming to snatch the coin from its fall. Maybe she wants to check if it really is a two-headed coin?
COMBATSYS: Roland blocks Kasumi's Medium Kick.
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Kasumi 0/-------/------=|=======\-------\0 Roland
In some ways, the pair might be quite similar in terms of being ruthless; Roland is not evil, perhaps, but certainly not good. He's the sort of person to manipulate the opponent into wearing a skirt to lower their combat strength, after all. Or punch someone in the spine after he yells that a cat is being harassed. Fighting is all about little advantages, and being merciless enough to exploit and create them wherever possible... a fact he already advertises in full force with his opening gambit.
"Oh...? It's just a normal, everyday robotic arm..." Roland says. Which is shocking, how every single internal bit of trigger and emotive understanding seems to hint he's not lying. Deception flows out of him like water, it seems.
Yet his coin trick didn't work...? Damn. She's a wary one. Twisting about along the ground, even though his manner of fighting is clearly rough, he has a distinct mastery of his center of balance. Clear athletic gifts. He flows with the ninja's motions with natural ease, his back towards the balcony leading to the courtyard. As a result, he can twist his right arm about, catching her heel with a forearm, before twisting to intercept the second snap, holding it at bay with a grunt of effort. It's a remarkably solid prosthetic... although he does seem to take a moment to lift her foot up higher in the brief contact, eyes dropping along the length of her leg... apparently, he's always got time for some perversion.
Yet he then rises, shrugging away Kasumi's arm. His left arm extends without warning, fingers whirling in a slow circle, tracing an odd, green glowing sigil in the air. What manner of technique is this...?! A distraction, is what. The actual attack comes when he pushes off his back foot, rushing forward to drive a fierce set of cybernetic knuckles towards her face. Both hands then try to loop behind her neck, to drive a chi-infused knee ramped towards her stomach...
His energy is strange in practice, as well as feel. It does not burn, nor hurt, at the onset... yet clings tenaciously, like heavy green glue. Only when he tries to twist and then hurl Kasumi out towards the balcony overlooking the main courtyard proper would it suddenly potentially detonate. "C'mon! Isn't it normal to try to distract me with your sultry charms...?! It'd work really well, I promise!!"
COMBATSYS: Kasumi full-parries Roland's Sleight of Hand!!
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Kasumi 0/-------/---====|=======\=------\1 Roland
The training Mugen Tenshin exile had received growing up was comprehensive in matters of deception and subterfuge. Even as a young child, she could easily pass any mundane lie detector test. It was later that she learned skills for deceiving even those who could perceive lies without the aid of technology. And just as with combat, with every defense skill, each student of Mugen Tenshin learned matching offense - such as how to read people at a glance, how to anticipate their reactions, how to spot over three dozen typical cues that someone is lying or holding something back... The lying game was not just a way to pass time in the village but rather a required exam all of the ninjas in training had to pass and Kasumi was as skilled as any other in being able to discern truth from fiction.
And yet with Roland, none of that honed perception has spotted a single tell in spite his declaration of his arm being nothing special clearly being all but impossible.
Again that nagging question - where does natural talent end and hard work and diligent training take over? She's seen plenty of men who were somewhat hard to read, but this cyber-cowboy seems to be as plain to read as any book cover yet... she's convinced at least some of it must be a facade!
As the two exchange blows in the tight confines of the abandoned home, there is little opportunity to scrutinize him further, or even challenge the casual deflection about the technological marvel someone has grafted to his body.
Instead, the shinobi in blue transitions from defense to offense, kicking twice in rapid succession, only to have her foot held a moment by his bracing arm. Any doubts about the sturdiness of that arm of his are put to rest by his guard, and any question as to his character are, well, also more than erased as he chances the moment to nudge Kasumi's leg up higher. Not for any tactical reason, it turns out, he just saw an opportunity to admire the kunohichi's stocking-covered leg up close and took it.
She leans back on her other foot, clearly adjusting instantly to the risk of being off-balance in case he intends to exercise firmer control over her raised leg into some kind of attack. But it proves unnecessary as a moment later, both feet are on the ground and the cowboy rogue is busy weaving an intricate glyph in the air with his green energy as if about to cast some kind of spell.
As with the coin that she's snagged between her fingers, he'll notice that she is paying rapt attention to every movement he makes, deception or not. It isn't that she knows it's a deception... it's that she's relying on her own speed to adjust whether it is or not the moment the truth becomes clear.
Which is why he'll keenly notice that his graceful opponent isn't anticipating his sudden fist-first lunge ahead of time... but actually reacting to it in /response/ to his movements. The timing is precarious as Kasumi twists her head out of the way, his metal knuckles brushing harmlessly past her cheek even as he continues to close in.
With the ninja not recoiling from the blow that never happened, the two end up pressed chest to chest for a moment, a position that will render viewers unusually envious of Roland Brown, even as his arms seek an opportunity to close behind her neck as intended. Both of her arms come up to intercept, however, knife-handed strikes pressing against the insides of his elbows to deny him the hold though it's clear she's struggling more at holding back his cybernetic augment than his natural arm.
Face to face, he will detect the unmistakable scented aura of cherry blossoms in bloom about the young woman. She exhales, responding to his declared promise with a smile that's amused but not quite flirtatious, "Does it seem like that will be necessary though?"
Even this close, when Kasumi finally moves, it's with a blur of motion that would be impossible for most to even track, let alone defend against, as she releases the pressure on his cybernetic arm and twists her hand against his natural left forearm to seek a strong grip and twist it hard enough to both wrench his elbow joint but also to prevent him from defending with it while her own body pivots away to the right, leaving her left shoulder facing him as she releases her hold on his arm.
It would be a mistake to think the kunoichi was disengaging however. Instead, she rockets forward, smashing her elbow toward Roland's potentially left side with enough forward momentum to go sliding past him in a blur of white and blue. The floor shudders at the pressures put on them by the violent exchange, wooden boards creaking and threatening to give way, while Kasumi would come to a sliding crouched stop just shy of tumbling over the balcony, her back to Roland briefly.
Even a goddess of speed needs time to recover from an attack like that.
COMBATSYS: Kasumi successfully hits Roland with Oboro Gake EX.
-* CRITICAL HIT! *-
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Kasumi 0/-------/-======|=======\=------\1 Roland
What a troublesome individual indeed; although to say that Roland has not worked hard at his casual deception is not accurate at all. If he spent as much time on fighting as he did deeply probing the internet and more modern contemporary sources for ways to manipulate and con, he'd probably be a good deal higher up in the world. He mastered a certain detached trick; there's likely similar methods within ninja clans, if with more grandiose and fantastical names and origins, but for the most part what he says is the 'empty truth'. No matter what is said, or how absurd it is, he brings forth countless nuances that seem to reinforce the truth -- the dangerous sort of technique that has been wickedly abused by cult leaders and madmen throughout the ages!
Still, she's a troublesome sort... trying to predict Roland can be a folly, but although he's an incredible amount of innate speed, his technique is much less refined then Kasumi's own. Were they to do a game of reaction time, he might be near her equal... but when it comes to maneuvering in the world of the alacrity enhanced, she has most every advantage, making it a duel he's almost certain to lose upfront. Once she deflects his grappling attempt... things go downhill rather fast. He's open... and it's not a trick, this time.
The way he twists, tugs, and resists, are all that of a rank amateur; it seems he has almost no traditional teaching in how to work with throws defensively. Such means he ends up dislocating his shoulder; which might surprise Kasumi, as that depends primarily on the abject failure of the defender then the outright quality of her own attack. His center of gravity is thus completely conquered, leaving him putty in her abusive hands to what follows next.
The crack of her elbow against his side thusly couldn't have come more cleanly. Bones are felt giving way beneath, and as she comes to a stop at the end of her aggressive maneuver, he crashes face-down on the ground, cybernetic arm grasping his shoulder and sharply wrenching, dull pop as he forces it back into position. Of course, he can't really feel his fingers... or breath very well... but those are problems for Future Roland. So this is a legitimate kunoichi?! She's able to move in a realm he's taken advantage of in other opponents... that lack of experience is certainly coming to bite him on the rear!
Twisting around towards Kasumi, his cybernetic fist closes tightly. A green, shimmering blade of energy sprouts between two fingers... before he twists, throwing it towards the ninja's chest with a sharp flick. Were it to impact, it would shine brightly for a second before erupting into an explosive flash of green energy; although regardless of success, he's running to the side. Indoors are probably not going to be to his advantage here... as Roland leaps up to brace his foot on a balcony, then launch himself off from the third floor towards the central courtyard!
Oops... this might have been reckless. His right arm twists, firing off his forearm with a trail of cable. His hand grips one of the tasteless Southtown banners, drawing taut shortly after. His downwards rush is arrested at the last moment, breaking the rope overhead as he's sent into a tumbling roll across the grass and stone walkways, coming to a rest beside the central architecture and popping up smoothly back to his feet. He needs a few moments to think... if advanced feints and raw speed won't work, then... uh... ...crap.
Roland Brown is In Trouble. Maybe he should set his sights on alternative standards of winning...
COMBATSYS: Kasumi guards against Roland's Blackjack.
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Kasumi 0/-------/=======|=======\==-----\1 Roland
The pop of Roland's shoulder dislocating does catch Kasumi by surprise. While her arsenal of techniques does include ruthless blows designed to incapacitate or cripple with as few strikes as required, those were tools for something other than friendly competition. Had she wrenched too hard the instant she secured her hold? She does strongly suspect this man of being part of one of the megacorps... but she doesn't hold any hostility toward him yet, fully aware that some people caught up within the web of those tech tyrants have no idea what they're contributing to. Individuals might be innocent but the conglomerates that employ or enslave them never are...
But she's already moving when the shoulder pops, smashing her elbow into his side. A very, /very/ painful strike, but not life threatening. Her forward momentum brings her to a stop near the balcony where she recovers, drawing in breath and whirling around to face the cyber cowboy, partially out of wariness but also to appraise the man's condition, brow furrowed with a visible touch of concern. After seeing how he reacted to her grapple, she's starting to question whether he really is someone in over his head in all this.
"That's not how you hand-" she starts to state, sounding like she legitimately feels the sudden need to explain basic close quarters combat defenses to the man.
It's happened before when facing opponents with obvious gaps in their skill level, that instinct to instruct, offer a bit of guidance or correction... For as ruthless and efficient her ninjutsu, there is a layer of empathy to the exile that sometimes surfaces.
It almost gets her in trouble here, her focus on his shoulder rather than his hand. She notices the blade only when her opponent twists suddenly, sending the green sharp missile flying straight for a clean center of mass target. If she had been paying better attention, perhaps she could have moved out of the way, plying more of that intense speed he had seen from her thus far. But as it is, she barely manages to sweep her left arm up in time to catch the chi blade on her forearm guard. If it were purely metal, it would have likely been sent careening by the defense, but an energy weapon is not subject to the same physical interactions and instead it pierces through into her forearm, though much of its bite was absorbed by the covering.
Eyes wide at the close call, she glances down briefly at her left forearm to quickly ascertain that the damage is minimal beneath the protective equipment and then turns her attention back to Roland... just in time to watch him take a flying leap out into the open air. Three floors above cobbled stone.
Turning, her own hands resting against the balcony, the kunoichi leans to watch the display of technology, quick thinking, and what seems to be almost a mixed degree of clumsy luck and deliberate control before he comes to rest safely below without breaking anything else in his body in the process.
There is a brief smile - in spite her reservations with his sponsors, the man has proven to be interesting thus far. And he does pull off the modern cowboy look quite well. But this is no time for idle gawking.
Hands press against the rail as she vaults over it into the open air, tucking herself forward into a tight, forward flip.
Halfway down, she vanishes into a swirling storm of pink cherry blossoms.
Roland would have a split second to react to her reappearing on his side, adjacent to his cybernetic limb, having landed in a low crouch, one hand resting lightly against the dusty stone.
"You going to tell me what brand label I'm going to find inside that thing?"
She lunges forward, stabbing out with a down-angled knife-handed strike toward his thigh before launching herself into a rising knee with her right leg leading, targeting shoulder height. A clean hit would finish with her left leg following up with another knee strike more at head level before she would try to drop back down to her feet.
"Or am I going to have to open it up and check for myself?"
COMBATSYS: Kasumi successfully hits Roland with Reppu Renkyaku.
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Kasumi 1/-------/=======|=======\==-----\1 Roland
"Damnit... damnit.." Roland mutters to himself. He's against an opponent who's superior than him in most every way possible. All of those lazy evenings, half-assed trainings, and general lack of resolve are beginning to rear their ugly head towards him. Yet there's a tinge of regret; he could blame not having an arm for losing, after all, but now he's almost certainly at his combative peak...!
"--?!" He didn't expect her to also be capable of teleportation, if that's what it truly was... perhaps a bit of aerial dashing with a distracting flash of petals for effect? Either way, he's struck in the thigh with a grunt, before her knee cracks him in the chest. "CHARLIE HORSE, CHARLIE HORSE... TIME OUT...!"
He staggers to a knee, exhaling deeply. It does seem for a moment that his statement was genuine. "W-why do you care what arm a cripple's sporting?!" For amongst all the literature they suppled Roland with, the fact she's a vendetta against Ultratech and might try to use him to leverage it was sorely missing. Yet what seems a recovering kneel is in fact him bracing himself; exhaling a slow breath, before glancing towards the ninja.
"...time in!!" Then he launches himself towards her, green energy rippling across his frame. It ramps up his already considerable speed and athletic ability even further; enough, perhaps, to even pressure a kunoichi! His cybernetic limb extends a plasma blade of green energy; his chi is his one ace in the hole against her, if anything...!
And another. He extends a forearm, firing a dart to hit the ground near Kasumi. Not an attack...? Before in his rush forward, he vanishes. A ripple of green energy, and a clear teleportation. Instead he appears behind, twisting to lash out towards her back with the cutting edge. "ONE...!" he calls out, before twisting into another slash, circling her relentlessly. "TWO... THREE... FOUR!!" Then he aims to catch her by the front of her outfit, rearing back his head... and aiming to slam his forehead with her own. "FIVE! SIX!! SEVEN!!" Three repeated headbutts, before he builds up a surge of green chi and attempts to hurl her over his shoulder, towards one of the nearby ornamental lamp stands... although the sudden explosion of violent emerald energy would take place before she risked slamming into it.
CRAAAAZY EIGHT!!" Who even yells out their moves like this? Is it to psyche himself up?
COMBATSYS: Roland successfully hits Kasumi with Crazy Eights.
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Kasumi 1/-======/=======|===----\-------\0 Roland
When Roland staggers back and drops to a knee, he'll sense Kasumi is on the verge of following through, body tense, eyes locked on, clearly intending to close in for a finishing strike. But she relents, giving up her momentum to let him gasp for breath after protesting desperately for a time out. The expression on he face lacks open hostility, but there is certainly wariness there.
He's hardly been the most forthcoming individual she's ever encountered.
He poses his question, her own expression grimacing slightly as he self-describes as a cripple. "It's not about the arm, it's who provided it." She's catching her breath too, though seems only barely winded by the exertion of the match thus far, only a hint of perspiration rolling down her temple likely brought on by the humid air of the region.
"I am interested in knowing who they have their hooks in. And why. That's-"
He calls time in. Very mature. The kunoichi responds instantly, shifting into a ready stance, hands raised, feet slipping a part to allow her quick mobility in one direction or the other. It's clear she had anticipated he would pull something like that the moment she gave him breathing room. That tactic alone definitely seemed like it would never be enough to catch one who was trained in the shadows off guard.
She's also not easily fooled by visual distractions as he saw earlier with the coin toss trick. Eyes flick to the blade of finely honed energy as he closes in, but then snap to focus on the launching of the dart.
That provokes a reaction as she tenses up, stepping to the side, likely thinking it meant for her directly, not realizing its trajectory into the ground until too late. Coming out of the side-step, she glances at it and makes an immediate effort to get further distance, clearly expecting it to explode. But she's still aware of the modern cowboy's location, causing her quick back-stepping retreat to be at an angle both away from him and the dart.
If the dart had been an explosive or designed to release a gas cloud, or if he had intended to keep charging straight at the young woman with his chi blade, she would have been positioned properly to avoid or defend against both.
But when he vanishes, form overcome by then replaced by a shroud of that emerald energy of his, he's at last caught her completely by surprise. A surprised gasp is heard at the same time that he reappears and takes his first swing. Already, she's trying to twist away, but it's too late and his strike finds its mark, slicing the encircled golden glyph of her name emblazoned on the back of her training uniform and cutting into the bared skin beneath no matter how her internal aura tries to blunt the energy's strength.
She's taken a spinning step to face where he was attacking from, hands raised, fingers parted, clearly intending to catch his arm on the next swing, but again he's not there, his next attack coming from her left side. This slash cuts cleanly through the mostly decorative bow-tied ribbon fastening the front and back parts of her skirt together while cutting into the side of her hip. A hiss through gritted teeth is heard as she once again tries to twist on him, moving faster now as it's become frantically clear that she needs to put a stop to this chain of events or risk him cutting into her over and over until she drops!
Again, though, he's flanking her. Rather than turn, she steps forward, trying to get out of range, leaving that sweep to slice a vertical line down the back of her skirt, a flash of white easily visible beneath the cut.
He was holding this ace up his sleeve all this time?
The fourth strike comes as she's already spinning to face him. She's getting faster now, and almost seems to be anticipating where he'll come out. She leans and snaps her right hand out, fingers going for his forearm only to have him cut her right sleeve open up to her shoulder for her efforts.
The last time he appears, she's already waiting though. Be it luck, instincts, or she's just that fast, is hard to say. But she's ready to catch his striking arm, focus locked on, hand already in position to snap out with the speed even vipers would be envious of.
But he doesn't strike. And that change in the pattern once more flusters the ninja's defense as his fingers twist into the deep blue fabric of her outfit, holding her still, leaving her flat footed and an easy target for the headbutt to her face. Her head cracks back at the blow but she snaps it forward quickly, eyes glaring now as she tries to ignore the stunning pain. A second blow hits then and she almost falls off her feet but for his hold on her clothing, blood seeping from a split bit of her lower lip. She tries to bring her left arm up in time to ward off the third headbutt without turning her face into it, but it lands cleanly as well, rocking Kasumi back once more and scraping a bruise into her cheek in the process.
Both hands go for Roland's gripping arm now, clearly intending to wrest herself free or take advantage of his close proximity to take advantage of his poor response to getting grappled. But he's already hauling the lighter fighter up and hurling her over, upside down toward the lamp wooden stand. A sharp cry of pain accompanies the detonation just before she crashes into the stand, shattering it to pieces, sending wooden bits flying while she lands on her back in the splintered debris.
Rather than lay around and risk a follow up, however, she kicks off the ground into a roll away up to her feet. Maybe a bit too fast given the way she staggers a little, head still ringing deafeningly loud from both the green chi explosion and the blows to the face, but she's stable at least to keep from tripping over herself back to the ground, turning to find Roland.
Her body is covered in a blend of dust and black smudges left over from the detonation. Her outfit equally tarnished by dirt, scorch marks, and damage, her once white stockings now more a dusty brown with holes burned to the skin beneath in various places up and down her legs.
She takes in deep breaths through her mouth, her nose potentially plugged by blood based on the trickle coming out her right nostril. And her copper-brown hair, once tied up in a long pony tail, now flows freely down to drape against her shoulders and back, the blue ribbon that had held it in place destroyed in the explosion.
In addition to the four cuts to her outfit from his chi blade, it seems the explosion has also charred portions of her skirt and top, though only around the edges of the fabric. It does seem to be made of tough enough material to survive an energy attack or two, though the sash around her waist seems damaged on her right side.
The expression she gives Roland then isn't one of anger or rage at his successful gambit and execution. She was the one that let her guard down, who didn't anticipate how he'd approach his next attack. A lesson learned and proof that there's potentially more to discover about this cunning opponent.
Most importantly, it's clear there's still fight in him, and that means she needs to continue to do her best. She can give this man no margin now. To so do only risks letting herself down.
No words for him now, only offense, as Kasumi bursts toward him even faster than he had yet seen this match, pivoting to lead with her right shoulder, right arm bending into another brutal elbow strike.
Rather than go for his rib cage, Kasumi zeros in to rocket her elbow strike into the flesh just below his sternum with stunning speed.
It would be intended to knock him back slightly, to stagger him, leave him vulnerable. The real attack is what follows as the Shinobi in Blue vanishes into another swirl of cherry blossoms and reappears a few steps back, already surging forward back in on Roland with even greater speed.
She'd get in close, anticipating no defense, both arms slamming out, the heels of her palms pressed together, as she delivers all of her forward momentum, all of her arm and torso strength, into a devastating double palm strike into Roland's chest, transferring the sum total of all that kinetic energy into a powerful concussive blow.
She'd have to stop there, one leg planted forward, arms held out, hair swishing forward over her shoulders to drape down over her chest, a cloud of dust billowing about her from the shock wave of so much force being delivered by a single strike.
COMBATSYS: Roland blocks Kasumi's Renzuki Toki Hoshin EX.
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Kasumi 0/-------/--=====|===----\-------\0 Roland
Of course, a beautiful woman like Kasumi's only interested in the part of Roland that's fake! He's coming to realize that heading out here for this League fight was a bit less one-sided then he expected. What interest would a ninja of her level even have with Ultratech...? He's no meaningful clue what sort of untoward things they do in the world scene, well-hidden from the eyes of civilians, but he did get ambushed by some raptors without warning in the last couple months...
"Beat me and I'll answer your questions!!" he snaps. It's the first meaningful blow he's landed on her, but the ambush seems successful... in that she's been momentarily wrangled and put on notice. Pant, pant... "Don't worry... you still look good." Roland assures Kasumi when she rises from his assault. Taking that brief time to try and recover, rather then keep pressing forward. He's no particular delusions about coming out the victor, here... but he's not throwing in the towel just yet, all the same.
His eyes were locked on Kasumi, an open challenge. Waiting for her to attack. When she does her step-in technique, he's still frozen in place, likely as expected. But then green eyes drop, and his cybernetic palm flashes, catching her elbow in the middle of the palm. Only for her to vanish in a whirl of blossoms. These...? He saw her do it once, already. Had she saved it instead for this moment, he'd likely have been just as surprised...
Rearing back his arms, Roland does not retreat, but instead steps forward. He then slams both of his limbs together in tandem, impacting the center of Kasumi's attack with a crack like thunder. She clearly wins, but it deflects most of the damage, even if it leaves his flesh arm quivering in pain. "W-whoa, there... I'm not out of this fight YET!!"
He then aims to grip his fingers into Kasumi's hands before she can yank them back. Trying to yank her off-balance briefly. So he can then clench his mechanical fist once more, manifesting that green, shimmering blade once more.
"ONE! TWO!" he says, a flash of cleaving energy attempting to carve an 'X' on the front of Kasumi's outfit. Crazy Eight is an evolution, after all, of one of Roland's premier singular techniques... he abruptly twists and drops down, trying to sweep Kasumi's legs clean out from underneath her, with enough gusto to send her body horizontal.
"THREE! CARD! MONTE!!" he bellows with proper gusto, shifting to extend his heel straight up with a flash of green energy before aiming to explosively drop it, and slam the ninja's body into the ground with devastating force!
COMBATSYS: Kasumi full-parries Roland's Three Card Monte!!
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Kasumi 0/-------/=======|===----\-------\0 Roland
Blocking with that cybernetic arm of his is practically inviting someone break their own bones in trying to attack him. As fast as Kasumi is attacking, there's no time to abort her strike outright when Roland's hand moves into the way. Trying to stop at this point would just leave her running bodily into his outstretched hand - a far from ideal outcome from her perspective at least.
Thus, she drives her elbow into his palm, though managing to adjust to not applying additional thrust to it by pressing with her other arm. The impact of bone against metal still stings, but at least seemed weakened enough to not crack her elbow.
But she still comes back in for the palm strike in a reposition so fast that to blink is to miss it, the Mugen Tenshin exile sliding in, driving her hands forward. This strike she holds nothing back even aware that he might be able to guard against it. With enough force, she might be able to smash through his defense anyway, and as he'll attest the moment the collision happens, there is no shortage of concussive power behind that perfectly executed double palm strike.
The courtyard echoes from the contact, air billowing out around the two as they stand in the moments just following the clash, arms extended, air flowing around them as molecules rush back into fill the void they were so violently ejected out of a split second prior. This close, he'll see her expression from beneath the dust and soot is one of intense resolve. It might be looking briefly at a mirror of histories - a young life dedicated to the art of ninjutsu, training from a young age, refining, improving, practicing skills of the shadowcraft both in terms of combat and other tools of subterfuge, reconnaissance, and assassination.
Perhaps he should have just coughed up the answer rather than stoking the shinobi's fierce resolve by dangling the promised information on victory.
He declares he's not out of this and there seems to be a brief break in her focus - is she grinning back at him? An unconscious admission that she's enjoying the challenge that he's presenting now. How often does someone who dedicated their life to this craft get the chance to apply it, to go all out against another capable of keeping up? That the rugged tech-brawler still has more fight to him might be the very thing she wanted to hear.
His fingers close a split second too late as Kasumi's wrists flex, hands pushing off against his just before his grip would have landed. Still, she's standing point blank with him once again as that chi blade is produced. Based on her interaction with the one he threw at her up on the balcony, the shinobi princess knows that the energy itself is very difficult to defend against with standard melee techniques - the best she can hope for is that the cuts it would deliver through her forearm guards aren't /too/ severe.
So instead she evades, following the motion of his arm as it rises up to cut the first angled slash intended for the front of her. Leaning into the same angle that the slash will take, twisting her upper body as to keep her shoulder out of its path, Kasumi only barely manages to avoid the strike as evidenced by the strands of red-brown hair that scatter in the breeze from that side of her head.
And the pieces of white cloth from the severed slash around her waist. No longer taut, the wrapped sash is only just starting to fall away as Roland raises his arm for a second angled strike, this time his arm ascending to the perfect angle to cut down across the front of the leaning young woman.
Of course, affixed to that sash behind her waist is that crimson tassel adorned wakizashi she's not touched once this match fight. As it starts to fall with the broken sash, both of Kasumi's arms snap behind her back to catch it, her right hand landing on the grip itself, while her left catches the black leather-wrapped saya. Swinging her right arm up over the front of her, the steel catches Roland's energy weapon with likely unexpected resistance. He might barely have time to realize in the frenzied exchange that the short sword has a blue glow along its surface. This is no ordinary sword.
The sweep for her legs is the last ditch effort to catch her in the flurry of attacks Roland's style seems to anchor around but Kasumi has already taken to the air, flipping forward. It's possible Roland will be too off balance from the ninja's lightning defenses. Or maybe still recovering from his sweep. Or maybe just too distracted as the young woman tries to drop out of her flip into a seated position right on his shoulders, thighs tight against the sides of his head, her arms raised halfway with her scabbard in her left hand, her sword in her right. With the white sash having fallen away, a more narrow, dark blue cloth belt is revealed to be keeping her outfit closed.
If she sinks the landing, he'll have roughly two seconds before the nimble combatant recovers, raising her arms up swiftly, snapping her spine backward and trying to haul Roland right off his feet by his head, flipping upside down to crash down against the stone. She would land in a seated position after releasing him (and undoubtedly menacing his hat in the process), releasing a exhale following the intense exertion of defense and acrobatic offense all such a tight window.
COMBATSYS: Roland full-parries Kasumi's Hien Saka Otoshi EX!!
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Kasumi 0/-------/=======|=====--\-------\0 Roland
Most of the reason Roland came out of that clash so well is that half of it was sent into a cybernetic arm; his flesh ones would certainly have given up the ghost and resulted in him being slammed into with fight ending ferocity. Instead, sleek futuristic tech holds up under the rigors of her forceful slam... and likely gathering no small amount of data on just how powerful her upper limit is, both from the elbow and then the follow-up strike. His handler had better be happy with the data he's putting his flesh on the line to gather...
Still, after a false start, Roland's engine is finally running... he's a terribly inconsistent fighter, but during moments when he's going on all cylinders, he can at least briefly compete with even the heavyweights around him! But to handle one of the few attacks he's actually proud of... even a technique he's put effort into can't reach her head on, eh? He's not surprised, but he does find himself disappointed...
Glancing up, Roland is indeed briefly distracted; it's the sort of sight one would be happy to witness as death barrels towards you in full force. There's no possible way to martially defend one's self against this, which Kasumi should fully know...
Which makes it not surprising when Roland vanishes, in a flash of green. He appears a few meters away, near where that odd metal dart he fired was. His right metal forearm flashes with green electricity, and it flies up from the ground to reattach. Aiming it straight towards Kasumi, he then fires the spiraling metal transponder; it seems intent on *hitting* her. But at this range, she'll be able to evade or deflect it...
Yet regardless, his intent is simple. Another green flash, and Roland appears directly above and behind. It seems required to lock him into a general area, but apparently the fighter can place himself rather pinpoint in that proximity. And there's nothing quite like fighting fire with fire; he attempts to clamp his knees on Kasumi's head, and impact the back of her shoulders fiercely. To twist backwards, plant his hands on the ground, and then summon a ripple of inhuman power; he's far stronger than he ought for a moment, allowing him to perform the rather raw finesse of an attempted backflip-slam of Kasumi upon the ground opposite himself with a roar. Before attempting to mount her back, and apply a fierce hammerblow to her slashed namesake, amidst a fierce, green explosion that would ring out in the open courtyard once more!!
COMBATSYS: Kasumi dodges Roland's Spanish 21 EX.
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Kasumi 0/-------/=======|=====--\-------\0 Roland
In spite launching her attack from so close a range, escape seemed nigh impossible, Kasumi's target vanishes from her path, proving that he's able to use that chi-tech defensively as well as offensively. Fortunately for her, the nature of her attempted landing leaves her free to land deftly on her feet without incident, small puffs of dust rising up around where she touches down into a one-knee crouch.
Still holding onto scabbard and sword, her ability to attack with her arms is compromised unless she's willing to turn the Shrouded Moon's mist-wreathed blade against a man she doesn't yet believe deserves to experience the lethal side of her training. Bringing her hands together, the washizaki is returned to its saya before Kasumi reaches to her left side to slide the scabbard into a ring sewn into the blue belt around her waist.
Standing, she spins, only identifying Roland's location by the swish of his trenchcoat as he reappears far enough away as to not be within easy striking range. The distance gives her time to think as well as he reclaims the curious beacon into his enhanced arm. Since dropping to the courtyard, the man's fighting style has been remarkable. It hardly seems the same individual that dislocated his own shoulder in response to a simple hold. Did he underestimate her early on? Or is it something else to explain his spike in talent? Either way, the blend of fluid martial combos with technology that seems somehow sychronized to his chi is an impressive feat. She knew from his Neo League appearances that he hadn't had the new arm for long... to master weaving it into his style this fast, how far does his potential extend?
In spite this prolonged exchange of attacks and evasions, the kunoichi hardly looks winded, slowed more by injuries than exertion of the fight at this point.
But her wariness-enhanced reflexes are are sharp as ever as Roland fires that beacon directly for her this time instead of at the ground. Trying to anticipate the man's next move now that he has integrated that device into his style is difficult. Like her, he is no longer bound by the vectors of attack most human opponents would be.
Perhaps it's an over abundance of caution then that Kasumi reacts by throwing herself to the right, hands clapping against the ground in a partial cartwheel before she launches herself into a small flip to land on her feet with just enough space to avoid Roland's intended descent toward where her shoulders would have been if she had resorted to a more minimalist dodge of the chi-linked translocator.
"Close," she admits, her voice terse as her mind is already on her next attack as she vaults herself back toward Roland in a small, forward flip, right leg snapping out to allow her to drop down heel first with a falling splits kick that might crack him on the head, shoulder, or back depending on how he lands.
The young woman's own landing would put her in a vulnerable position, doing the splits with her right leg out in front of her, her left behind her, but before there's any opportunity to take advantage of it, the shinobni once more vanishes into a swirling helix of pink blossoms, their residual scent in the air once more. The ninja reappears adjacent to a neglected outdoor cooking pot as she surges back in, pivoting her right shoulder toward Roland and slamming out with a one armed palm strike intended to send him stumbling away, perhaps opening him up to further attacks if she's successful. This might be the decisive hit she needs to take full control of the match's outcome!
Compard to the double palm strike he guarded before, it hardly packs the same punch. But it comes out faster, with more reach, and is a smaller target to deflect as she attempts to slip around his durable augmented arm to deliver a stunning blow!
COMBATSYS: Kasumi successfully hits Roland with Tenrai Kyaku Chifu EX.
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Kasumi 1/-------/=======|=====--\-------\0 Roland
Damn. That was a vital attack; twice now Kasumi has slipped away from intended strikes that might have brought her within range of defeat. He's gotten lucky... only the ninja not being used to his strange ability to teleport has kept him in the fight, but now his beacon has been launched out of range in the attempted ambush. He's not going to be able to do it again...
When she launches herself towards him from an unexpected angle, she slams that palm right into his ribs; where a few had already been cracked by her devastating opening onslaught. He reels, seeing spots on the corner of his vision, doubling over in pain.
"White..." he exclaims, with a gasp, as if finding it important to say. "They were... white..."
It might take a few seconds to guess what on earth he's speaking the color in reference to. Before a strange resolution flashes across his eyes, twisting to look towards Kasumi intently. "That leaves... one question to answer..."
"DO THEY MATCH!!"
He then launches himself towards Kasumi. The expression he has is oddly willful... and quite lecherous. It's clearly an attack, although she might find herself feeling the need to guard more areas then usual! Whirling around, he then lashes out, green energy rippling out to enhance his speed. Trying to catch her by the shoulders of her blade-slashed top...
And then yank it up and over her head. Trying to capture her arms and blind her with her own hapless sliced-up top, so he can begin slamming some chi-infused cybernetic punches into her midsection.
"DO! THEY! M... MATCH!!" He does a last, furious green-knuckled drive, before the pain becomes too much and he twists, collapsing on the ground, back-first. Not unconscious, but he's clearly utterly vulnerable to any coup d'gras... and given when it all passes he doesn't try to get up to renew the conflict must mean he's admitted he's lost.
Just ignore the sort of view he's hoping to get from the ground, really. There's no hope for that attack actually defeating her; at this point, he's only going for a moral victory...
"F-fine... fine... you had a question...?"
COMBATSYS: Roland can no longer fight.
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COMBATSYS: Roland successfully hits Kasumi with Strip Poker.
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She knew exactly what she was doing when she aimed her one handed palm strike. She had felt the ribs stressed beyond their limits once before this match and it was only a matter of ruthless efficiency to go for the same spot again. While it was clear she had not fought with intent to maim or worse, considering she kept that sword of hers out of the fight outside of as a defensive measure, the dangerous edge with which she had been trained in the Mugen Tenshin village while growing up still reflected in the way she sought to create vulnerabilities, then exploit them, and this final blow is no different.
Standing with one leg forward, knee bent, body leaning into the strike, she draws herself back, evaluating Roland with that same blend of resolve and light smile she had exhibited moments before. She wanted to win this, for the sake of her own pride as a ninja as well as for the commitment Roland made to her if she beat him. But she's also enjoying this exchange, being tested by something new, a style that no one ever prepared her for ahead of time since it might very well be unique in all the world. And that's exciting.
She doesn't follow up immediately at this point. She could rush back in, keep striking at him until he falls over, but for now, the dust covered shinobi is content to let the pain of that last hit work its way up to his brain to sound mental alarms that maybe he's at his limit for this bout.
Doubled over, he gasps something about white and Kasumi cants her head to the right a little. Maybe he's on the verge of blacking out and the brain has lost the means of communicating clearly. While medics were no where to be seen, she knew full well the Neo League would have them waiting just outside of the structure to rush in once the cameras weren't rolling anymore. Maybe the man needs them sooner than he realizes.
He pulls himself up straight as he turns to face her and she raises her hands and slips easily back into her own ready stance in response. A question is shouted before he launches himself, willing himself through the pain and injury by this sudden surge in determination.
"What-" she starts to ask in response to his question. She didn't hit him in the head. If anyone should be worried about a concussion it should be her after that headbutting combination. But Roland isn't making any sense!
Anticipating some kind of strike or charing strike out of the lunge, she brings her hands up, planting her back foot, bracing for deflecting an impact with her left hand while her right hand turns at the wrist, ready to grab his fist if he swings.
Intead of going for the strike, Roland slips around her guard, hands digging into the rich blue fabric of her tattered and slashed kunoichi outfit. Expecting him to try and pull her forward off her feet in a classic martial arts backdrop, she shifts her center of gravity away, moving both feet into position to better root herself.
But it's all for nothing. Even as she's about to slam both hands into Roland's chest to try and knock the two of them, he yanks up and pulls her outfit up. Of course, as is more easily visible with the sash around her waist having been cut away, Kasumi's entire outfit is a single piece of clothing, wrapped around in front and secured with a blue cloth belt looped around her waist that had been concealed by the white sash before. Which means that rather than simply pulling a shirt up over her head like he might have tried when faced with more typical attire, he wrenches her whole uniform up! If it was still tucked snuggly into her sash, the effort probably would not have born much fruit, but the belt securing it now only serves to keep it closed and less about keeping it in place. On the other hand, were it not for the belt, there was a very real risk of his 'finishing technique' pulling her attire right off over her head! Instead, the cord, tight around her waist, catches on the young woman's chest, preventing her uniform from being pulled further into disaster.
"Hey!" Kasumi protests as her arms are pulled up over her head by her short sleeves, leaving her defenseless to the punches to her stomach that probably would have had more of an impact of her opponent wasn't already on borrowed time as it was.
The torment ends abruptly even as she is about to try and plant a foot on him to kick him off her as the Ultratech-enhanced fighter collapses onto his back. Two things are clear to him now from his mission of discovery and discovery while the Mugen Tenshin ninja works her arms back down and tugs at the sides of her outfit to pull it roughly back into position, tugging the front of it to rest roughly how it is supposed to.
First of all - with her skirt hiked up about a foot along with the rest of her outfit, it's clear the copper-haired fighter wears whiote fundoshi style underwear albeit wider cut than the traditional fashion, the bands for it tied high up on her waist which is why her hips are bare on the sides. And secondly, while not obvious from his place on the ground, in wrestling with her uniform it would have become clear that there was nothing to check for matching color of, unintentionally confirming a theory many fans of the beautiful fighter had held considering the degree of cleavage her outfit typically reveals in the front.
The redness of her cheeks makes it clear that the ninja princess is flustered by his attack. If he had found the circumstances aligned to pull it off earlier in the bout, there's some question as to whether things might have turned out quite differently.
Still, even with her blush and look of annoyance, the frustration is largely inward - annoyed that he pulled off such a dirty stunt on her and that she hadn't prevented it effectively. That he /tried/ a cheap shot like that doesn't bother her nearly so much as that he /succeeded/.
And then after that, he lies there, as if inviting ruin from the ninja after such an obviously offensive attack, and has the gal to strike up conversation? One only need to observe the attire she choses to fight in to know that the young woman is not extremely self-conscious or overly shy.... but that was still a pretty underhanded attack.
Swallowing back her injured pride, Kasumi cuts straight to the point. "Who do you work for?" she asks, still blushing but not willing to let something like that keep her from getting an answer. "The NESTS Cartel?" A pause as she wipes her forearm guard across her face, smudging away some of the dirt now dampened by a sheen of perspiration. "Mishima? Ultratech?" She thinks for a moment, iterating on the megacorps and shadow organizations she knows of that MIGHT have the means of something like this. "G Corporation?"
Little victories are all Roland can hope for, at this point. He's probably going to get a lot of fan mail as a result of this, even if the editing of the Neo League films will probably somehow make sure to keep it very PG-13. He managed well enough; he never went in with any intention of losing, but given the dull throb of his badly injured arm, he had accepted it rather early in the conflict. He tries to remember the last time he truly went into a fight, hungry for a win to his last breath. Has he ever...? None come to mind.
"Oof." is all he allows. He's not badly hurt, in the physical sense, beyond the damage to his ribs. Most of the rest is just a grand excess of pain; if he's aware that she pulled any proverbial punches, he says nothing of it. "Work for...?" Roland says, as if not sure of her own curiosity. That's a lot of dangerous names, although he only recognizes a couple of them.
"Ultratech..." he finally confirms. "They gave me an arm. And a lot of debt. I'm paying it off." A rather simplistic statement, as he stares up towards the distant sky. Not seeming to try and reap the potential success of his assault; she has plenty of time to put everything back into order. "Why, you hate them or something...? Heh! Fat lot of good kicking me around will accomplish, then. I don't know a single secret or private facility to speak of. My handler's a smug jackass named Magi, though. He fights, somewhat. Do me a favor, hunt him down, and kick his ass for me. I was a match for him, so you should do just fine."
...how loyal is this man, to just readily sell out the person above him? Then again, what, if anything, is the truth? It all seems to be the case, but she ought remember him casually mentioning his arm was only mundane, to boot. "That's the best you'll get out of me. Sorry if they killed your family bloodline and then blew up your cat, or whatever. I've nothing to do with that, though." He reaches out his right arm, metallic gleam as the fingers flex in the light. "But I've gotta look out for me and mine. Why do you think they manage to always have so many fresh bodies...? Ignorance is bliss, girl. Keep their evils to yourself... it'll make my life a little easier."
She waits for his answer, left hand coming up to pull her outfit tighter closed up higher and then staying there, an unconscious reflex while her thoughts are focused more on what the augmented fighter is willing to cough up after all that. The answer comes, confirming the source of the technology to be Ultratech. Of the megacorps, they have been the most secretive about what is truly going on within their walls. The Mishima Zaibatsu is brash and showy, and G Corporation's secrets are constantly leaked as a result of the bitter feuds between those two organizations. While there is much that goes on at them that isn't public knowledge, the public facing image of the two companies isn't wildly off the mark either.
But Ultratech? Their public image is cleaner which only makes it all the more interesting to ponder what's really going on inside...
He indicates the arm was given. The need for it was obvious enough. She was always certain he wasn't faking the missing limb in his prior appearances. And with that augmentation, a debt. That's how they get people, she thinks to herself, though doesn't voice the bitter thought. He's just a guy trying to get by. Who wouldn't accept a cybernetic limb if their natural one was lost?
He DOES offer up a name though after protesting that kicking him around isn't going to get much more information that and Kasumi offers a slight smile in response. Beating answers out of targets is certainly part of the craft she was trained in, but it isn't an aspect she's ever eager to employ. The slight nod at the mention of Magi and the request that she track him down next earns him a slight nod. He'll certainly get the impression that the kunoichi is... very likely to do just that.
He conjectures as to why she even cares about this in the first place, but she offers no explanation. "You're pretty good, Roland Brown," Kasumi states, her tone less terse now, voice calming down now that she has something - anything to go on. "I know you only recently received that arm." She pauses, turning away then. "But it'd be hard to tell."
Wasted potential? Or is he now on a track to become something more. Either way, for now, she doesn't consider him her enemy. Just another victim.
"Maybe I'll see you around."
She crouches slightly, body tensing, then leaps up as if to launch herself toward the second floor balcony of the complex. But as before, she vanishes into another storm of cherry blossoms that swirl down toward the ground in the wake of her departure, leaving the modern cowboy to the attentions of the League crew.
COMBATSYS: Kasumi has ended the fight here.
And indeed, those insulating layers seem to have kept Roland from some amount of information; but he is also clearly not the monstrous sort. One can tell a lot about another from a brief, intense conflict; and although a person of moral and ethical ambiguity, he is not the sort to destroy the life of another, or outright murder them, most like. Yet there is a seed there, a potential that might be why he was recruited, of someone who would ultimately do whatever is needed for himself and those closest...
"I'm not good at much, but I'm a quick study." Roland murmurs. Of course, quickly becoming good at everything while mastering nothing has been the theme of most of his life... that lack of effort certainly ended in the way he was always warned. "And if you always dress like that, I look forward to it..."
Once Kasumi flits away, Roland digs out his cellphone, and types a quick text message to Magi.
lol sent a ninja after you hope you don't die
At least something good might come out of this, if she can assault that man. He never said he wouldn't warn him; and most likely, those greater in the know and of more power within the organization might take an opportunity for her direct interest more seriously then he expects...
...but he's going to wait until the medics finish patching him up before getting off the ground. Not in a hurry. That stung... but he wasn't as far from competing as he thought. A glance to his mechanical arm, clenching the fingers slowly. Roland Brown might just have his day after all!
Log created on 22:47:01 07/05/2021 by Roland, and last modified on 09:26:11 07/21/2021.