Description: The Semi-Finals of the DoA between Brandon Malone and Hayley Bretherton takes place on an airship taking flight away from the riots below. There are so many questions to answer. Why is energy acting haywire? What's really going on behind the scenes of the DoA tournament? What is going on with the darkstalker cures? What is the deal behind the death of Fame Douglas?
It was odd that Brandon Malone found himself in the semis of a tournament that up until now the private investigator hadn't participated in. In fact, Brandon had submitted his entry near the end and hadn't been selected to participate and so he had to sit out the tournament at least until near the end when competitors either had to drop out because of injuries or they had to pursue other agendas. Eventually his name came up in the reserves and the thaumaturge had an opportunity to step up.
Fast forward to a few days later, and the detective finds himself taking off in an airship in the midst of a darkstalker riot that DoA staff somehow managed to keep him isolated from. His movements were restricted(probably because DOATEC and Ultratech didn't want a repeat of him skulking around like he did during the Killer Instinct). As he watches the riot from the window, the arcane investigator has a really bad feeling.
He isn't given much time to contemplate the insanity that is taking place below them because the tournament official is gesturing for him to get into position to start the match. He rolls his neck, letting out a loud pop before he looks at the mark designated for his opponent.
Hayley didn't know she was in the semifinals, either. She didn't feel like she should be there with her match-ups, and yet, she found herself shuttled away from the riots and onto a previous unknown airship. Something didn't feel right.
It didn't help she couldn't raise Sayaka, either. There were way too many questions that needed answering, and now she was being badgered to head toward the arena.
"Oh, no worries!" Hayley said, smiling pleasantly. "...not like this is sinister of anything, nah." The second part was added much more quietly. By the time she arrives at the arena, she's mid-stretch, pulling one arm with her forearmed pressed against the opposite shoulder.
"Hoi," Hayley smiled. "Let's have a good match, yeah?"
COMBATSYS: Brandon has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Hayley has joined the fight here.
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Brandon 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Hayley
"Indeed. Let's have a good match."
With that, the thaumaturgic brawler takes his stance. The audience who might follow him would notice that it isn't the usual modified Philly Shell stance that would normally allow him access to his tarot deck. This time it is a peek-a-boo boxing stance. His entire form is bathed in golden light. Those that really followed Brandon's fighting career would recognize the stance and the flare of arcane energy that comes with it from when he was eliminated from his first foray into the King of Fighters tournament, and when he was fighting Lee Chaolan to keep him from kidnapping his team mate.
"Normally, I wouldn't go for this right away but I wanted to test something."
As soon as the official signals the start of the match, Brandon launches himself at Hayley as he attempts to get one hand to the back of her neck and the other under her armpit as he attempts to perform a hip throw to send her to the ground before attempting to detonate an iridescent ball of arcane light on her torso.
COMBATSYS: Hayley dodges Brandon's Prismatic Burst.
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Brandon 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Hayley
Hayley watches Brandon's stance, trying to get a read, a feel. She can pick up on certain cues, but boxing certainly is not her forte. She's more of an enthusiast than an expert. As he adjusts his footing, she paces, circles, gets a feel for where he is and how might come in. When he suddenly closes the cap, Hayley is moving in an instant.
She ducks and weaves, bumping hips with the thaumaturgist and rolling out of the toss and away from the burst in--it's not precisely graceful movement, but it serves its purpose. She staggers back, bouncing on her feet, then plants her soles and shifts to her Piguaquan stance, one arm raised high over her head with a semi-circular bend to her body. With another step she's closed back in, smashing downward with an open, flat palm that traces blue-white chi through the air.
"Testing something?" Hayley asks. "Let me know if I can help...?" She seems more confused than anything.
COMBATSYS: Hayley successfully hits Brandon with Descending Magpie.
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Brandon 0/-------/----===|=------\-------\0 Hayley
It's interesting how the mystical detective sort of plays with expectations. He shows a boxing stance and then goes for a throw. Then again most of his close in fighting is a mish-mash of techniques with his energy being the unifying factor.
Brandon manages the grab but never quite manages to perform the throw the way he wants. Instead she rolls away and the follow up blast finds nothing but the floor of the vehicle.
His opponent doesn't remain idle and Brandon just manages to start rising just as Hayley quite literally lays a smackdown on the detective slapping him face first to the ground and sending his white fedora rolling on the ground away from him.
Brandon gets back to his feet and takes his stance once more.
"It's not exactly something that can be forced. It just has to happen. I'm just trying to see if happens when I change a variable."
What the mysticist doesn't say is that he just has to keep himself from burning out before it happens.
The detective does something that would be easier to expect considering his stance. He lashes out out with two jabs before shifting forward with a straight. Each punch engulfed in golden light.
COMBATSYS: Hayley blocks Brandon's Medium Punch.
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Brandon 0/-------/---====|==-----\-------\0 Hayley
"Huh," Hayley says, bouncing on her heels, slightly, stepping away from Brandon the stances change. "Y-yeah? I guess I'll just keep rolling with it then..." But before she can say more, the boxing mystic is barreling down on her with a follow-up blow. The two jabs strike out, and the Aussie backsteps and raises her guard.
The first punch impacts her forearm, the second sliding across her guard as she tries to direct it away. As she does, the bluenette suddenly faces an explosion of energy that launches her back into a standing slide.
"Bloody--that was good!" She shifts her footing, then steps forward, her own energy gathering in her palms. She extends them both together, a point-blank blast of energy erupting out like a range-less cannon shot. "Here's mine, eh?!"
"What do you think of all this?" she asks quietly. "Something I'm missing here?"
COMBATSYS: Hayley successfully hits Brandon with Eucalyptus Bloom EX.
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Brandon 1/-------/=======|===----\-------\0 Hayley
With his magically enhanced fists meeting the Aussie's guard, the American mage grunts as he sends her sliding backwards. Satisfying to know that even when he doesn't connect solidly he still can have that much of an effect on his opponents. Still not as nice as when he can slip his shots through.
As Hayley brings her hands together to blast him at point blank range, Brandon brings up his forearms to guard against the burst. His guard is torn asunder as he's blasted off of his feet.
"I'm not exactly the best person to ask. I'm kinda late to the party as it were. I do think it is a bit suspect that there hasn't been much word in reference to the death of Fame Douglas."
A sword made of arcane light forms in the mystic brawler's hand as he slices at Hayley's torso as he takes a retreating step. Just as suddenly as the sword appeared, it is gone.
COMBATSYS: Brandon successfully hits Hayley with Sunburst Strike EX.
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Brandon 1/------=/=======|======-\-------\0 Hayley
"Y-yeah," Hayley says, "I mean the ship, and the Darkstalkers, and the rioting, and--" The bluenette's eyes widen as Brandon forms a sword of light. Hayley backsteps, focuses. Her teeth grit and brow furrows, and in an instant her aura seems to shift, to condense, like water forming along a ice cold glass of water. It is not water, however, but steel. Iron, almost, forming along the surface of her skin. Her metallic chi gives her armoring, a defensive tool against the incoming strike. She raises her guard again, drawing up and ---
The blade goes under her guard, lancing her side and drawing a gasp of out of the Aussie. She wheezes and backsteps, not mortally wounded, but feeling like she had been. The Australian staggers a moment more, taking deep and labored breaths, then she shifts her stance. Her arms are drawn up, her hands extended.
She powers forward, her own chi spiking out from her fingers again as she splays her fingers then tenses them like claws, steel-hard claws infused with that same metallic power. She steps, swings, and slashes at the detective once, then twice, blue-white chi breaking forth from her fingers into claw-like blades for each swipe.
"Y-you're really good at wielding energy," she admits. "I can't do anything like that."
COMBATSYS: Hayley successfully hits Brandon with Hunting Dingo ES.
- Power hit! -
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Brandon 2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|=------\-------\0 Hayley
As Brandon back tracks, he can't help but notice that metallic chi forming on the surface of the skin. It's at this point multiple things go wrong for the detective. The arcane energy that had surrounding his body starts crackling with electricity. His feet are suddenly magnetized to the metallic floor and then there's Hayley. She's now metallic too. He's not only pinned in place, his energy is actually drawing his opponent's clawed fingers into him. He can only take a breath and resign himself to his fate. The claws rip through his shirt leaving bloody gashes in his formerly pristine white vest, white tie, and black shirt.
"Well... I guess I have my answer. Good luck in the finals."
The smell of ozone permeates the craft as Brandon forms a circle of swords of above him. Each is surrounded with electric energy and each sword, in rapid fire succession descends upon Hayley like bolts of lightning along with the nigh instantaneous roar of thunder due to the close proximity to the strikes.
With the lightning energy discharged, there is nothing to hold the mystic in place or upright and he falls down to the ground.
COMBATSYS: Brandon can no longer fight.
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COMBATSYS: Hayley blocks Brandon's #Astral Blades of Death#.
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"W-what," Hayley seems confused. It's more of an exclamation than a question. Everything happens so fast, so suddenly, that she doesn't seem to know what to do. She just has to go with it, to react and take the next step.
Swords are everywhere. The smell of ozone floods her nostrils. Everything, for a moment, is wrong. She didn't intend that much force, she didn't want to cut into him like that. What is going on? What is--
A shower of swords rain down upon her. Each electric blade dances like lightning, and in that instant she can hear nothing but the peal of thunder. Her chi surges again, that metallic sheen wraps around her, and she rides the blows as they slice along the surface of her skin, cut into her, tear at her uniform and her skin and her hair until finally it all comes to a stop.
Hayley sinks slowly, her breath heavy again, and rapidly. She sways as she rises, falls, and rises again.
"What is even--medic!" she calls, uncertain of who will come. Uncertain of what will come. Of what is still to come.
COMBATSYS: Hayley has ended the fight here.
A few moments later, in a makeshift med bay wearing an enchanted anti-static wrist band that allows the med staff to work on his injuries. Originally gifted to him from one of his opponents in a tournament Brandon made a few modifications to it to allow it deal with the seithr that his particular lightning comes laced with.
Medical staff rush to and fro bandaging the wounds although the other injuries seem to be starting heal as well. Even then, Brandon looks like a 1000 miles of bad road. After the bandaging work is done, the detective is left alone where he is looking at something on his tablet.
Hayley makes her way to the medbay on her own power a little while later, bandaged and bruised, but much less worse for the wear. She seems a bit sheepish approaching him like this, but slowly creeps toward the bed.
"Oh, um, hey. Mr. Malone, right? How are you feeling?"
The detective raises an eyebrow at the appearance of his opponent but sees no reason to be rude and so he places his tablet on the end table next to his bed. Hayley was a very respectful opponent and even after the fight very respectful.
"Well... I'm no longer shooting lightning everywhere so that's a bonus. You really got some nice shots in there."
He then looks at the Aussie and gestures for her to sit in a nearby chair.
"How are you feeling?"
Hayley slowly moves around and seats herself in the vacant chair. She winces a little when she puts a bit too much weight on one side, but otherwise manages well enough for the time being.
"I'm doing alright, all things considered," Hayley says. "But, thanks. I've been really trying to work on a few things..." She reaches up and tugs at a few strands of blue hair unconsciously.
"About that...is that normal, or was that something that you don't...normally do? The lightning, that is. You seemed to using more...liiight, earlier?" She seems uncertain about it.
As Hayley moves around and gets herself settled in, the private investigator is content to observe. Her gingerly movements and the slight wince behaving as evidence that she didn't come out unscathed either.
"Yeah... I usually use light. Other than one fight where I was tempted to experiment, and an occasional ritual here and there, lightning only comes out during moments when energy taint has manifested itself within me."
He holds up the anti-static wrist band before continuing again, "It had happened before so I was ready for it to happen again. But I wasn't sure it would have manifested in a similar manner to when I use my deck to fight so I wanted what would happen if I didn't use my cards."
"Oh, so it's a complex form of...chi...manipulation?" Hayley asks, furrowing her brow. "I'm not really an expert on that kind of stuff, I mean, my sifu does a bit with qigong, but nothing, like," Hayley wets her lips a little, like she's trying to pull the words together in her mouth. "Nothing like, Qi Theory 101 or anything?"
She leans forward in her chair, gritting her teeth as she puts weight on her ribs, then sits back and tries to curb her enthusiasm.
"Did you...start doing the lightning thing recently? ... like did someone hit you with strange energy, and then...bam, lightning?"
"Do you believe in magic?"
A smirk appears on his face after he said that. He takes a moment to remain silent as he wants to give Hayley time to process that question before he decides to continue.
"My specialty is in use of light magic. Illusions, light manipulation, light wavelengths, that type of thing."
He pulls the Hermit tarot card from the deck off to the side and then holds it up to create an illusion of Hayley walking into the room before making it disappear. He was not about to undo the healing process by accessing his power directly to create an illusion.
"As for the lightning, it just happened out of nowhere. I was fighting an opponent in a tournament and it just happened. His energy ended up acting up as well taking on a more edged aspect than it normally would. I lost that particular fight when lightning struck me. I later found out that it was an affliction that was happening to a variety of fighters. One fighter's energy turning to magma, water energy fighter's energy turning to fire. The list goes on. Later, while I was trying to take care of another matter, the lightning flare up happened again and that was when I found out that when it happened out of nowhere like that, it was a sign of energy taint. Later during that matter, I attempted to use lightning again though it was through intent, it hadn't shown signs of taint in that particular instance."
"Oh, uh," Hayley runs a hand along the side of her face again. "Like David Copperfield, or like --" Her eyes widen as she watches the illusion, agape. She starts to move and reposition in case something goes wrong and just about falls out of her chair before adjusting her balance for the shift of weight.
"Well, I didn't until now, but...I guess it makes sense with everything else going on in the world ..." Hayley shifts back into her seat and sort of shimmies back into place, like she's struggling to get comfortable. Her hands slide up and back through her hair, pulling her headband slash bandana out and just letting it all fall back. She has a lot of hair, it turns out, and it all falls back behind her in a tangled mess. She starts working at pulling it back into a ponytail instead. It keeps her hands focused.
"Well, to be honest," she bites her lip. "I hope I didn't make things worse. The...uh, the metal thing. Iron body. That happened to me, randomly. Like, I guess my chi was more...windy? I don't know. I don't really understand it with magic or alignments like you do. I just kind of...do it through training." She shifts again.
"Anyway. I fought a lady named Clarity, and she said some weird things, and then I started doing the metal thing without meaning to. I keep...working at it, you know, like I did when I learned how to use chi...and it got a little easier to make work when I wanted to? It's not perfect, of course. I'm not that good."
"I've even been told that it has happened to someone who uses psionics which is actually kind of surprising they use a different energy altogether. Magic users and chi users both use chi but magic users add a little extra something to their energy."
Once again the detective observes the shifting and is content to observe the hair adjustments without commentary. Her rituals are her rituals. And his shuffling his cards is his which he would do if was in recovery right now.
"Don't worry about it. Neither of us saw it coming and on the up side I'll have a cool scar and a story to tell about it."
He takes a moment to adjust himself in his bed before continuing on this topic. "I'm still working on the why's and how but haven't been able to make any headway on research on that."
"Huh," Hayley blinks. "That's...well, I didn't know that. I wonder what sifu would say..." Hayley considers for a moment, something about how becoming a wizard is not an excuse to skip out on drills, and that she needs to get back to grip-strength exercises. Yes.
"...thanks. I appreciate that. I always worry, a little, you know? Knowing that it spreads to people makes me worry at...well," Hayley tenses, biting her lip. "Have I been causing people problems? Am I spreading some sort of...thing, that might be hurting people?"
"It's hard to say."
Whether or not people are spreading it to each other. Considering that someone who uses a different type of energy has this condition, there just too much he didn't know about it to be certain.
"Considering that when it first happened to me, it happened in a case where neither of us had a history of happening. And there are even more cases where neither party had a history of it happening until that particular fight. So the best I can tell you is, 'I don't know.'"
The detective shrugs and lets out a pained hiss along with a visible cringe from aggravating the stomach wounds.
"O-oh! Can I get you anything?" Hayley asks quickly, her hand raising reflexively. "I don't want to overexert yourself talking about all this--you've already done plenty." She breathes in deeply.
"...I appreciate everything so far. It's good to know I'm not alone in these kinds of things, though I'm still a bit wary about..."
She gestures vaguely around. "Some things."
"Nah. I just gotta be careful about shrugging and reopening the wounds. No big deal."
The detective leans back in his bed. As long as he avoids fast and sudden movements he should be good. He then listens to the blue-haired woman's concerns.
"Like what? The riot we were flying away from before our fight?"
"That, Darkstalker cures all of sudden...it seems like there's a lot going on all at once." Hayley adjusts her ponytail now that she's got it tied. "I don't really know many Darkstalkers, but I've met one or two at least. I wonder how they're going with all that's going on, you know?"
"...plus even if DOATec has the best of intentions, it's always a little weird when someone keeps something this big hidden away, roight?"
Brandon nods in agreement. Adding to that, the concern about why hardly any moves were made to investigate Fame Douglas' death.
"To be honest, I thought the darkstalker cure was a hoax. As for me, I've had them as clients before. Some of them have been among the nicest individuals I ever encountered. Man. That goes to show how much catching up I need to do. Like I said, I came into this late in the game. If I hadn't been called in as an alternate, I might not have known about a lot of this."
"...yeah. I've got my doubts too, but I guess I can't say them too loudly here." Hayley glances around. "In any case, I guess I need to keep an eye on things and maybe call for some help if things go a--" She pauses. "If things get bad, yeah." She reaches up and rubs the back of her neck. "--I'm glad you've met some good people that way though. I hope they're staying safe too."
"But I should let you rest, huh? You took a pretty nasty jolt back there..."
Log created on 19:48:09 04/14/2022 by Brandon, and last modified on 10:21:40 05/06/2022.