Description: The God of Muai Thai goes head to head with Nagi Kirishima. Will the legend overcome the young woman, or will her mysterious power win the day?
Nagi has never been to Thailand before. But then again she's also never entered in a major tournament before - or any tournament more formal than a few people who got together for a bit of a brawl - so it's new all around, really!
She refuses to admit it, but she's a little nervous. Sagat is a big name. She... is a high school dropout with no tournament history, very little public knowledge, and no fans. There's quite a big difference between the two! Not that she's going to let it show if she has anything to say about it.
To all appearances Nagi is busy being sullen in the tropical heat. She is in her late teens or early twenties, wearing a jacket with too many spikes, a short skirt with too many studs, and a bandeau that isn't too much of anything. One hand is on her hip and she looks grumpy.
(It's not Sagat's fault! The real reason is because she just doesn't like it this hot and is vaguely aware that she might burn. She is actually immune to sunburns, but that hasn't really sunk in yet.)
That, and grumpy is probably better than worried. It looks better on cameras, anyway. There are a lot of cameras. She expected them, but it's one thing to know that yes, she's going to be filmed turning into a horrible monster, and another thing to see all of them pointed every which way, including at her.
A lifetime ago, Sagat was a hero here: a village boy who came from nothing to claim the title of Emperor through sheer determination and excellence.
A noble champion who gave the Muay Thai world a peak to reach and an example to strive for.
An inspiration to a country where prosperity was once a struggle as pitched and brutal as any waged in the ring.
And then - determined as he was to prove the full extent of his excellence - he had the foolish idea of organizing the biggest tournament the fighting world had seen up to that point.
And as he stood on the precipice of claiming his crown, his nobility urged him to give an unknown, upstart fighter on his last legs a moment to compose himself for the final stretch.
And ever since being uppercutted from the pinnacle he'd placed himself on, he's struggled to find his way back to that that moment -- that ring, that /boy/, that fateful decision -- by brutalizing who or whatever the first person to reach into the pits of his despair has asked him to.
For the hero turned red right hand of a self-styled god, the preserved beauty of the ruins he traditionally used as the backdrop for exhibition bouts against fighters looking to topple the Emperor of Muay Thai might as well be a bramble patch dragging sour memories from his subconscious with each movement. When the coin toss put /him/ in charge of choosing a venue, he chose his home country not to bask in who, /what/ he once was, but to take stock of how far he's fallen. Once owned by a veteran fighter who took a chance on a gangly child with heart, the gym Sagat has chosen is firmly the domain of squatters now; somewhere between the end of the first World Warrior and now, business trickled off until the owner had no choice but to throw in the towel and sell for pennies on the dollar. The new owners immediately found themselves mired in legal and social red tape thanks to the gym's historic status; in theory, they continue to fight for the right to develop the property to their taste, to this day.
In practice, the whole thing was written off as soon as it became clear that the obstacles couldn't just be swept aside. The right people were scapegoated and fired; life moved on and the decay began to set in.
To prepare the space for today, a brand new ring's been set up in the center of the main training space; however, preserving the atmosphere of the venue demanded that /other/ renovations be limited to potentially life-threatening damage, meaning that the new ring's surrounded by cracked, discolored walls; rotting ceiling beams; and decrepit planks where only the biggest, most fragile of holes have been patched.
With both fighters in the ring, Sagat's got his back to the grumpy, leather-clad woman; his head's nestled against arms which are folded atop the turnbuckle, his hulking, shirtless form practically enveloping his corner of the ring. The massive, bulging plane of his back rises, falls, and ripples at a carefully measured pace.
He's been here from the moment he entered the ring, having beelined straight for his corner upon crossing the ropes.
He /stays/ there as rules are announced; as cameras sweep both competitors; as the referee checks to see that he's ready--
And after the bell rings, he's /still/ there.
Waiting, as a hidden smile twists his features.
COMBATSYS: Sagat has started a fight here.
Whatever point Sagat may be trying to make by picking this location is slightly lost on Nagi.
She takes a different meaning from it entirely: that he doesn't respect her. Which, honestly... not unexpected! It's not like he knows who she is, and it's not like he hasn't had to fight random people off the street before, most of which don't deserve to be there.
But to tell her to fight in somewhere as decayed as this, as bad as some of the worst places she'd *ever* fought way back when, before, while she knows he's good and he presumably knows that at least she qualified for World Warrior -
It's insulting. It may be contributing to her scowling. It certainly did when she had to step around a patched hole to get up into the repaired (replaced) ring. But she didn't actually SAY anything about it, either because she knows that absolutely nothing will change (it won't!) or because she'd rather stew about it.
Also insulting: the fact that Sagat doesn't even look at her. He faces away from her, staying in the corner. Even when the bell rings, he doesn't move, doesn't look, doesn't say anything. Nagi HAD been going to bow, properly, and wish him a good match.
But, still irritated, she doesn't!
Instead, she rushes Sagat before he turns around, coming in with a low kick that she spins through, following it up with a higher one - not that high for him, granted, but he's got like two feet on her, and it's pretty high for her.
She doesn't transform, either. Let it burn a bit before she lets it loose. It's good practice, and that's a little bit of what she's here for, after all.
COMBATSYS: Nagi has joined the fight here.
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Nagi 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Sagat
COMBATSYS: Sagat endures Nagi's Sweep Edge.
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Nagi 0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0 Sagat
He doesn't turn until the second kick lands.
The first hits the back of his knees, buckling him forward -- and shaking the ring beneath his weight and her force. A low growl slips out between his teeth; leather creaks beneath the reverberating echo of the ring shifting, his massive fingers digging in against the buckle.
The second collides with his back-- and as soon as it does, the Fallen Emperor /explodes/. At seven feet, over 300 pounds, and somewhere north of 40, logic would dictate that Sagat is a slow, steady fighter -- a plodding combatant who relies on strength and resilience to make up for a lack of mobility. And while it's true that he's far from the nimblest of fighters--
-- it's also true that the overwhelming majority of those 300 pounds are steel-hard muscle. As his back tenses and and subtly ripples beneath crushing force, his entire body whips towards the aggrieved woman. Hurtling towards her, he turns this burst of momentum towards spinning to face Nagi, leading the way with the granite tip of his elbow aimed to cleave the top of her skull clean off-- or at least knock her for a loop, should he connect.
COMBATSYS: Nagi blocks Sagat's Heavy Tiger Elbow.
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Nagi 0/-------/-----==|=------\-------\0 Sagat
In addition to being outsized by two feet and change, Nagi weighs about a third of what Sagat does. She has speed on her side, but she also strikes a LOT harder than you'd expect for someone of her build.
Which isn't that uncommon among fighters of this caliber, really. But it's noteworthy nonetheless.
Nagi uses the second kick to push herself backwards, which is probably a mistake - she needs to stay pretty far in to get past Sagat's reach, after all! But it pays off anyway as he whirls around, the elbow coming more or less straight at her forehead.
Ducking would give him a clear shot downward. Absorbing it with her forehead... nah, she has better plans than getting knocked out with the first blow she takes. So instead...
Nagi catches the elbow. Sort of. The impact slides her back a foot as her booted feet scrape against the ring surface as Nagi catches and pushes *upward*, diverting the elbow just enough that it passes over her head instead of into it.
But now Sagat is paying attention to her instead of the wall. "I was wondering when you'd look," she says, before trying to turn her grip on his elbow into a full throw, pulling him off-balance (with the aid of an interposed foot) and send him staggering away from the corner he's planted himself into.
"You going to take this seriously, or not?" Once again, the urge to change pushes up, and she pushes it down - though there's a bit of a feral cant to her teeth when she grins, not really all that amused. It's halfway to a snarl.
COMBATSYS: Sagat blocks Nagi's Quick Throw.
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Nagi 0/-------/-----==|=------\-------\0 Sagat
Skillful footwork prevents Sagat from having the stable base he'd need to fully leverage whatever strength advantage he might have; just /breaking/ her grip isn't an option.
But neither is giving her the satisfaction of /throwing/ him, this early in the fight-- not when he's already taken pains to burrow beneath his mysterious opponent's skin and irritate her before the fight could even begin. To an extent, he doesn't have a choice here: not only is he off-balance, she's /strong/: he staggers a few steps out of the corner when she tugs on his arm, ceding to her quick thinking and surprising power; once he's away from the ropes however, he proceeds to just-- /fall/, lurching into a forward roll intended to break him from her grip by forcing her to contend with /all/ of him, all at once, turning momentum into undead weight possessed by imperious spite. Planting a hand on the ground before him, he remains crouched and bundled, facing her from his new place near the center of the ring. The cruel twist of his smile's still present, sharpened perceptibly by her pressing question--
(Is the subtle shift that puts him /directly/ at Nagi's eye level a subconscious tick? An entirely conscious effort to emphasize his unseriousness--?)
"Was that your way of begging my attention...?" rumbles from his throat, low and reverberant.
"And what, pray tell, would you do if you received it?" he purrs, his eye locked to hers and narrowing.
"Surely, more than /this/."
His right hand extends as he slowly unfurls to his full height, sweeping down then up the length of Nagi's body before snaking back in to fold across his scarred chest.
"Quiet outrage," follows at a marginally lower volume. Sagat's nostrils flare with a long, deep breath.
"... wound around something... /more/," is accompanied by a slight widening of that smile. "/Surely/, my attention is worth more than polite, restrained indignation--" he adds, chin tilting upwards.
"-- or have you already decided against taking this seriously...?"
COMBATSYS: Sagat focuses on his next action.
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Nagi 0/-------/-----==|-------\-------\0 Sagat
Nagi may be strong, but she's not about to try to lift Sagat's entire dead weight (well, not like this). She can't hold him even if she wants to, and so she doesn't, not contesting him breaking the throw with a roll.
He stays kneeling, meeting her gaze. Nagi stares right back, unafraid or at least unwilling to show fear (as far as she's concerned they're the same thing, right now). They're closer to the same height, like this. She doesn't have to look *up* at him.
At least, until he rises again.
Nagi doesn't quite get that far. Her heart's pounding, her soul is burning - his words, accidental or not, hit her. Or the taunts. A different expression crosses her face, and then a growl. "Not holding back. Just warming up."
And then Nagi *changes*. She's never deliberately let it loose like this in the middle of a fight; when she tried to do it, once before, she couldn't. It happens when it happens, and apparently it happens now, when she lets adrenaline take charge! A shine of light covers her body, along with the faint smell of something scorched, and when it clears she looks quite a bit different than she did mere moments ago.
Parts of her body are covered in red, chitin- or shell-like armor. Her lower legs, and part of her upper with a ripple of shell, more prominent on her left than right. So is her chest, and even her face, wrapped with armor in places. Her face has plating on her right cheek, and her eyes are mismatched - one with a red iris and white... well, whites, while the other is reversed, red where the white should be and a distinctive white iris.
It's her arms that got the worst of it, both fully armored in unnatural-looking red with white patterns, gauntleted and armored to the shoulder - it's ripped through part of her jacket! (Some other parts of her outfit are equally tattered or, like in the case of her left boot, just plain missing.) The blade extending from her right arm is exceptionally unusual, somewhere between a sword and and a sickle and with clearly artificial patterning on it.
"I'LL TAKE IT AS SERIOUSLY AS YOU DO!"
Oh yeah - and all of her is barreling toward Sagat again, striking with the point of the weapon, pick-like. It looks awkward but Nagi makes it work, a snap of the wrist with every strike to thrust more effectively with the enormous tip.
COMBATSYS: Nagi successfully hits Sagat with Javelin ES.
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Nagi 0/-------/---====|==-----\-------\0 Sagat
A backstep isn't enough: reach and sheer aggression mean that Nagi's blade sinks several inches into Sagat's expansive chest just as he plants his feet again, buckling him at the knees for several moments before he ROARS back to his full height, back arched and head thrown back. What seems at first to be another round of primal rage coming on its heels does an abrupt pivot towards booming, exuberant laughter echoing throughout the desecrated space that once gave birth to a champion. Slumping a few inches forward, he clasps at the wound while those first, thunderous moments of violent glee settle into something marginally steadier, if not particularly /stable/; his eye snaps up and down the length of her transfigured body, drinking in the chitinous red clash between human and Other.
Human and /More/.
Enormous hands clap together as his laughter starts to trickle off. "/There/ you are," he purrs, meeting her heterochromatic gaze. "Your true face -- a face worthy of /attention/..."
His eye dips one more time, significantly more composed than moments ago.
"... a curious face /indeed/..." he utters on his way back to eye contact, a notch lower.
"Very well," he murmurs, leaving a bloody smear across his chest as he swipes his hand away.
"You may have your audience."
Acquiescence gives way to charging forward, right hand cocking back for a split-second before /surging/ towards Nagi's throat. If he can manage to seize the bladed woman, he'll haul her into the air then drive her inwards, towards a series of hammering knee strikes to the midsection.
COMBATSYS: Nagi parries Sagat's Tiger Rage!
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Nagi 0/-------/--=====|===----\-------\0 Sagat
Of all the reactions Nagi was expecting, that wasn't it.
Fear? Well, probably not from Sagat, but it wouldn't surprise her coming from any number of other people. Disgust, hatred? Absolutely! Almost nobody likes a Gear, after all, and that's Nagi's only word for what she is. If she's something else, she doesn't know what to call it.
But she needed to fight - nothing else helped her keep control so well, and she had no other way to achieve her goals. Which means entering the tournament and showing it off, even if she'd rather eliminate it. There are Darkstalkers in the tournament, she thought. It wouldn't be that weird.
But she wasn't expecting Sagat to respond only with interest when she let it loose. There's a moment of shock, her mismatched eyes widening.
But it's not like Nagi has a lot of time to really think about why that might be, though - he's already charging at her, an instant after his words! Nagi's reactions are entirely instinctive but, this time, they are the right ones.
He doesn't manage to seize her - almost the opposite, she steps into the motion, reaching for his outstretched hand so she can swing *herself* by his wrist, turning what would have been a choking lift into a short toss.
Nagi can't get far on momentum alone, but she turns her landing into a full rotation and a wide slash with her blade, along with a yelled shout somewhere between a kiai and a roar. It's the kind of assault you'd use to force your opponent to keep their distance, and that's why she's doing it - Sagat's still much taller than she is (her transformation gave her some bulk in her armor, but no extra height) but with the long, bladed weapon formed from her arm, she has an enormous reach. It's reckless, anyway. It's a long way from the safe pick.
COMBATSYS: Nagi successfully hits Sagat with Spinning Blow EX.
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Nagi 0/-------/-======|====---\-------\0 Sagat
A second wound crosses the first and sends Sagat staggering backwards, stopping only when he crouches and presses his fist into the mat. Echoing the beginning of the match, he leaves his head bowed, staring a hole through the mat rather than look up at his opponent; breathing, slowly -- rhythmically, in time with the steady pulse of blood trickling from twin cuts and forming tributaries down the length of his chest.
/Burning/ so hot that fire licks down the ragged scar carved down his chest, curling and crackling and coming within centimeters of catching on the ring. A rumbling growl creates tiny aftershocks in the ring around him; the smile's gone, flattened into tenuously held neutrality.
Every inch of him tenses and braces against the intrusive thought slithering up his consciousness-- the one which reminds him he's no longer who he once was, for all the good it would do if he /were/.
"Just what are you...?" he finally wonders, low and even. Another breath in--
-- is followed by a shout, the towering man uncoiling into a forward lean and thrusting both arms forward. The fire burning along his scar flares outwards for a split-second then snaps in and vanishes. Burning threads of chi course along and around his arms, coalescing along the edges of his fists for a heartbeat before exploding outwards as a burst of destructive energy howling towards Nagi.
COMBATSYS: Nagi dodges Sagat's High Tiger Shot.
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Nagi 0/-------/-======|====---\-------\0 Sagat
Nagi does not answer Sagat's question.
She couldn't, even if she wants to! She doesn't know the answer. But she's also not very interested in giving him the satisfaction of either an answer or the knowledge that she can't, so: "Find out," is what she says instead, her red eye and her white one narrowing. The tension is visible in her body in everything from her stance and posture to her attitude. She's restraining herself, and it's like a coiled spring.
He shoots. Nagi does duck, this time - it's safer than against the knee! - as she darts forward, into Sagat's reach. Her chitinous 'boot' is louder than the other against the mat's surface from its rigid heel, giving her footsteps a mismatched gait that rings out through the battered old dojo. The Tiger Shot passes above her by fractions of inches, close enough that she flinches, jerking her head to one side to make sure it doesn't clip her as she lunges.
Nagi rises up with a vertical slash upward, using the momentum of her rise - and then a second downward, to strike Sagat back toward the mat again! She seems to think she has momentum, and is going to use it while she has it... because she knows very well if Sagat lands a solid blow she's going to be hurting, inhuman armor or not.
COMBATSYS: Sagat blocks Nagi's Banish ES.
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Nagi 0/-------/=======|====---\-------\0 Sagat
Even with one eye, Sagat sees the evasion coming a split-second before it does. Despite the superficial awkwardness of it, this new form of Nagi's practically boils with speed, power, and more yet to come; meeting her red eye, he goes low and tucks his limbs in tight, charging forward to meet her head on rather than continue the risky gamble of letting an unknown demonstrate the full breadth of her abilities on /him/. Teeth bared, his linen-wrapped feet thunder across the mat until a tell-tale shift in posture warns Sagat that Nagi's about to go high; sliding a couple inches into a hard stop, he plants himself just long enough to catch both strikes against granite hard forearms, each cut tracing long, bright red lines that weep intermittent droplets of blood down his limbs.
"Even now," he growls behind his makeshift shield, "you're holding back--"
Hoping to catch her off-balance as her feet touch the ground, Sagat slips half a step forward and snaps his right fist towards Nagi's face.
"You're not without your merits, young as you may be," rumbles through forward motion. "Untested or no, you are not SOFT... but I SEE the hesitation etched in every inch of you, girl-- there's no room at the pinnacle for those who limit themselves!"
COMBATSYS: Nagi blocks Sagat's Medium Punch.
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Nagi 1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0 Sagat
Sagat can tell that Nagi is mostly running on instinct rather than training. She has SOME training! She's not completely untrained. But whatever brawling style she was taught, picked up, or practiced doesn't take into account having a giant blade growing out of your arm and she's making it up as she goes along.
Seems to be working okay, though.
She is off-balance when Sagat comes in with a powerful punch - off-balance enough she doesn't want to go in for the parry or otherwise move in towards the blow when it could take her so far out of line. Nagi goes for the safer choice instead, bringing up both her arms parallel to each other, more like a boxer's guard than anything else.
Sagat's fist slams into the paired quasiorganic gauntlets with a solid impact that sounds like hitting a wall, and a shock Nagi feels all the way up her arms, right through the red-and-yellow plating (or is that her arm instead of on top of her arm?) It completely stops her forward momentum, sliding her back even as she digs her feet down, and is valuable for that even if Sagat didn't break the armor.
Nagi looks over her balled fists, one eye hidden by the 'flat' of the blade on her arm. "Who's hesitating?" Nagi snaps back. She breathes in, then breathes out in a snort, feeling the bloodlust rise. This time she doesn't hold it back as much. She doesn't want to kill Sagat. But she does want to win, to prove that she belongs here - and that he's wrong to treat her like an inferior novice.
Nagi stabs with her blade-arm again, half slash and half thrust. Once again she does it more than once, a flurry of blows - but this time she ends it with a powerful downward slash, diagonally at the opposite angle as his old scar, and a roared, "JUST FOR YOU!"
COMBATSYS: Sagat endures Nagi's Javelin Break.
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Nagi 0/-------/-------|=======\-------\0 Sagat
Sagat answers the question with open arms.
Literally: the towering mass of muscle and spite spreads his arms wide, greeting Nagi with a broad, bare chest and arching brow.
So what if she's part monster, part woman, part blade right now? He /needs/ to win -- and he may as well die here and now if winning isn't on the table. One eye meets another--
-- wicked, edged biomatter cuts through flesh--
-- and massive, wrapped fist clench shut, gripping tightly enough for paling knuckles as the bestial woman carves a broad, fresh wound down his chest to match the others, old and new alike. A persistent growl roils through the assault, rising and thickening until her final burst of defiance is met with a loud snarl-- a loud, wrenching snarl twisted by the sudden movement he makes to tear himself away from the blade in favor of waiting for her to withdraw. He twists one way, then the other before hurling himself forward, intent on plowing right into her space and using the size difference to disrupt her footing as he draws himself into a taut bundle of red-streaked muscle.
"Tiger--" thunders low in his throat as throbbing muscle flicks blood spatter towards Nagi and the mat alike.
What follows is a roar, wordless and blood-tinged as over seven feet of Sagat unfurls into a weathered, knotted bolt of violence. Every ounce of force he can muster in these brief, blood-soaked moments courses along his spine, drives through his shoulder, and threatens to explode from his fist through Nagi's stomach, the club-like appendage leading the way as Sagat attempts to leap into a rising uppercut.
COMBATSYS: Sagat knocks away Nagi with Tiger Blow.
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Nagi 0/-------/---====|=======\-------\1 Sagat
Nagi realizes she has overextended as soon as she's done it, and Sagat is not shy about taking advantage of it. He twists away from the blade, and then propels himself right at her...
...and this time, Nagi isn't fast enough to get any real modicum of defense up against it!
His fist slams into Nagi's stomach, mostly hitting the fleshy center with his knuckles just brushing the chitinous armour across part of her flank and hip. It knocks the air out of her with a whoosh as she folds around the blow - literally, almost; when he rises into his uppercut, her midsection is the highest part, her arms and legs dangling downward. His blows may not be drawing blood as quickly without a blade, but that doesn't mean they're not just as damaging to her.
As he hits the apex of his arc, Nagi lifts slightly off his fist, and that seems to reactivate her; all of a sudden she goes from limp to aggressive. There's not a lot she can do to change her flight path at this point but she tries, twisting herself painfully to drive the heeled armored boot her left foot has turned into at Sagat as she drops.
If she manages it, she kicks off, half-jumping and half-falling behind him to land on the mat in a three-point landing. If she doesn't, she's going to hit the ground a little more painfully but at least on her feet, hard enough to make the mat bounce.
COMBATSYS: Sagat blocks Nagi's Light Kick.
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Nagi 0/-------/---====|=======\-------\1 Sagat
The heel of Nagi's boot hits Sagat's forearm instead of his skull, driving a breath from his body and briefly squeezing his frame downwards. Gritting his teeth, he pushes right back against the blow, aiding her effort to create space between them with a little extra momentum.
"Good," scours the air between them like a sandstorm as he drags his fingers through a diagonal arc along his chest and smears the blood of various wounds together into a broad, splotching stroke. "If you're going to fight me, then /fight/," he encourages. "RISK yourself-- graze the sun on your way to greatness--!" Thick fingers curl and clench against his body; red finishes soaking through the linen wound around his hand only for him to rip his palm free a beat later, casting blood across the mat as he forms a fist.
"Do not fear the monster who catches your eye in the mirror," lowly rumbles as he turns his head to give her an over the shoulder glance.
The advice is punctuated by Sagat leaping into a backwards arc--
At least, it STARTS as a backwards arc. For a moment, it's a backwards arc; the mid-air twist turns it into something else however-- something meant to crack the woman's skull beneath the iron point of his scything heel as he swings into a falling axe kick.
COMBATSYS: Nagi fails to interrupt Diving Kick from Sagat with Heaven's Spear ES.
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Nagi 0/-------/-======|=======\=------\1 Sagat
Nagi's spring off Sagat was more like a short bounce and then a drop. She didn't land neatly, but she did land, and she manages to whirl around with a fan of very red hair before he faces her again with a bloody chest. The blood doesn't seem to concern her all that much.
"I didn't come here to get lectured by some boomer who thinks he sounds like a fortune cookie," Nagi snarls. (Please ignore the fact that Sagat isn't actually old enough to be a boomer - Nagi is still a teenager, not even half his age, and everybody over thirty-five may as well be infinity years old. Also please ignore that it's actually good advice, from some perspectives!) "I came here to FIGHT!"
And what she gets is, indeed, a fight. Sagat leaps backwards, and Nagi actually expects some kind of descending Tiger Shot. What she gets is a lot more dangerous, a lot more physical, and yet also something she's a lot better at dealing with. Her body tenses again, a spring under pressure, and she lunges upward, blade-first, to hit Sagat as he descends.
He wins that contest. The axe kick doesn't catch Nagi in the head - it catches her in the shoulder with a crack that sounds like bone but turns out to be some of the plate that covers her arms and shoulder, under the remains of the jacket. Nagi's blade arm is driven all the way down, ripping a line in the mat as she barely manages to stay up at all!
She yanks, freeing her blade from the shredded line it put in the mat, with a hiss of pain as that sends a stab of pain through her shoulder and upper arm.
Sagat's proud, millennial eyebrows shoot up as he scoffs at the insult. A brief, barking chuckle pops out just before the jump.
/After/ the jump--
/After/ Nagi's left to pick herself back up -- after Sagat lands in a shallow crouch, and as he briskly bobs back to his full height, he leans in and reaches for the bladed woman's chin, intent on guiding her head upwards with a firm, but brief push.
"DOES she...?" he lowly wonders as he juts inwards, a sneer on his lips.
Leaning becomes a savage lunge, a locomotive instant of practiced footwork and artfully wielded weight thrumming through his shoulder. His forearms are harder than rocks, the result of countless hours spent breaking and bloodying them to beat the weakness from his body; with the jolting forward motion behind it, Sagat may as well be slamming a boulder towards Nagi's face as he tries to crush her defiance beneath his forearm.
COMBATSYS: Nagi dodges Sagat's Fierce Punch.
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Nagi 0/-------/-======|=======\-------\1 Sagat
18-year-olds can be real jerks.
Nagi snaps her wrist, causing any of the bits of mat that lingered to drift away from her blade - there wasn't much, but there's always a little. It gives her cover to NOT look at Sagat for a moment, to not respond to him.
"Shut up," Nagi growls, low enough that the cameras probably won't pick it up over the noise of the battle, the ambient sounds. "I don't need to explain or justify myself to you. Just shut up and fight me!"
The fact that she responded the way she did is, of course, its own answer to the question, but Nagi isn't interested in putting it into words - only her fists. Once again, Sagat goes for her face, and once again Nagi is already moving.
But this time her movement is up! She leaps, Sagat's arm nearly cracking her leg anyway until she instead snaps it at *his* face, using her booted foot in a powerful kick! Even on the leg that still has its boot, there's armor under there somewhere, judging by the rigidity of her heel.
COMBATSYS: Sagat interrupts Strong Kick from Nagi with Tiger Uppercut.
# Disabling hit! #
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Nagi 1/-----==/=======|=======\=------\1 Sagat
"Once, when I gazed into the mirror," lowly rumbles from behind fists drawing inward and a right leg rising protectively, "there was a mad beast drunk on the blood of its enemies glaring back at me."
His eye tracks upwards; with his right foot just barely poised on the ground, he shifts the other leg back, bending slightly.
"It /shook/ me--"
Broad shoulders bunch as Sagat's right fist begins to fall. That chitinous heel screams towards his face, ready to interrupt his musings-- but at the last moment, he offers an interjection of his own:
"-- TIGER UPPERCUT!" booms as the mountainous man rockets towards Nagi, his fist angled directly towards her chin this time. As soon as contact is made, he gives a sharp twist, grinding his knuckles into flesh/armor-- rising /with/ her, for several moments more, until he hits an apex, twists away, and backflips towards a crouched landing.
"... and so, I took it upon myself to deny it," thrums through the fading echoes of his landing.
"To /shackle/ it, lest it shame me."
Nagi's approach was a mistake. She should not have put herself in Sagat's perfect strike range when he was coiled and ready to strike.
That uppercut connects with her solidly, and doesn't just stop her descent - it lifts her up with him, only to tumble down and away from him as he twists away from her! She hits the mat, hard, sending bits of fluff and padding up from the hole she put in it, and for a moment Nagi stays down.
When she does get up, she's a little wobbly on her feet at first. Getting smashed up and then down will do that, padding or no, and she doesn't respond to Sagat mostly because she's still getting over the bit of a scramble she's just taken.
But eventually (not that long! she recovers fast, apparently) her eyes focus again, and narrow. "Yeah? And how'd that work out for you?" Even she isn't sure if she actually wants to know the answer, or if she's just saying it to keep Sagat going... though given she gets nothing from keeping him going but his words...
She could leave it at that, but this fight demands her continued assault. She drops down slightly, getting into something like a sprinter's start - and then she's off, rushing toward Sagat. Or, rather, not quite at Sagat... she's aimed just a little to his side, so that she passes him with him on her right.
That is, where her blade is!
Nagi slashes, once, as she passes past Sagat, hitting the ropes on the far side and using them to spring herself backwards, following it up with a backwards elbow to hit him from behind before she turns. The slash appears to do nothing at all for about two seconds - only after that, if she's landed a clean slash, does the wound make itself apparent.
COMBATSYS: Sagat blocks Nagi's Final Farewell.
[ \\\\\\\\\\ < > ////////////// ]
Nagi 0/-------/------=|=======\=------\1 Sagat
"I committed myself to being a man of honor," he says as she steadies herself. There isn't even a feigning of disinterest now: the dozen tributaries of blood spread down his chest are proof that taking the newcomer anything less than seriously is not an option if he wants to win.
His singular eye is for her and nothing else.
"A champion who could inspire a nation -- a pillar of humility as much as strength."
His singular eye's on the blade at her side as she drops down.
"And just as I prepared to claim my final accolade - to place one last jewel in the crown I'd spent a lifetime forging," Sagat growls, brow furrowing at the very THOUGHT of his greatest shame, "when I was faced with an opponent - a /boy/, unknown to all, who'd somehow fought his way into my presence - crumpled at my feet, beaten within an inch of submission... I chose to relent--!"
She's too fast to avoid; Sagat has to settle for twisting away from her slashing blow and shoving the heel of his hand against the flat part of the blade, forcing it from his body before it can finish its cut. The follow-up elbow clashes against his forearms, the giant having whirled to meet it; the impact is still enough to buckle his knees and shove him back a couple feet.
"I chose..." he huffs, low and gravel-laced, "to do the /honorable/ thing... and allow him to compose himself, so that he might lose with dignity. And do you know how I was rewarded...?"
His left hand begins tracing up the ragged line carved into his chest-- only to suddenly stop when something.
/Pops/ across his side--
The Fallen Emperor of Muay Thai tilts his head and peers down at his side-- at the wound yawning open, abbreviated but still deep.
At dark, rent margins and the reddish-pink flesh between them, bloodless save for the barest trickle which only begins weeping from exposed muscle several seconds /after/ opening.
And then he turns his attention back to Nagi, his one eye boiling with hate-- outrage-- shame--
"Restraint is /weakness/-- to deny the brutal truth lurking beyond the glass is cowardice!"
Thundering steps punctuate that unsolicited wisdom. Charging forward, Sagat keeps his fists high and tight to his chin; as he closes in, he hunches his shoulders and goes low, telegraphing another crouch-- another /uppercut/--
-- and lashing upright, snapping his right knee towards her stomach in the hopes of doubling her over-- and setting her up for a crushing side kick aimed at her ribs, followed by one more knee directly towards her face.
COMBATSYS: Nagi blocks Sagat's Tiger Assault.
[ \\\\\\\\ < > ///////////// ]
Nagi 0/-------/-----==|=------\-------\0 Sagat
Nagi follows up her assault with a rather sudden defense, preparing to guard or dodge - she expects Sagat to immediately come after her, no delay involved. It's what she would do! Get them on the back foot and keep them there, hitting again and again -
Even before she was changed, the strategy worked out for her pretty well.
But he doesn't, not quite. There's a moment there, for him to speak, for him to touch his scar. Nagi never really lowers her guard, expecting an assault at any moment. Her mismatched but two-eyed gaze meets his own one-eyed, her white-in-red eye along with her red-in-white.
She knows some of this story because Sagat is famous. Obviously, she's never heard it from him and his own perspective is rather different. But the actual event, she knows. From him, it sounds half real, honest belief - and half sour grapes at being 'cheated' out of his promised victory.
Even she knows better than to talk back to *Sagat* of all people about it, though.
Nagi doesn't respond beyond that, verbally, though she did listen (to the whole thing, even!) and she's got something to think about, later, when there's not so much adrenaline in her system, when she doesn't feel like she needs to attack or explode. Food for thought, but only when she's ready to eat it.
Sagat may be disappointed in her lack of response! Nagi doesn't really care. She lets out a sound that you could call a grunt if you were being unkind that might be acknowledgement - and then another, louder one as he charges in toward her... too fast to dodge, much as she'd like to.
Her only option is to withstand.
Nagi rolls with the blows, a fierce flurry of blocks and shoves to try to keep the worst of it away from her. When he uppercuts, she uses both her arms to attempt to divert the worst of the strike, though his impact against those plated gauntlets is extreme. He feels one of them start to give, and then break with a loud cracking sound, slivers of armor falling away from her as she bites back a scream.
The knee she does sidestep, not trusting her now-damaged hand to catch it. She heals fast, especially if she's willing to transform *back* - it isn't like her human form has armor to be broken - but not so fast that she can repair herself in mere moments. The side kick once again meets armor, this time more tentative -
And Nagi does her best to interrupt the last strike with a sudden blow of her own, a surprise knee right up to Sagat's midsection (it's a stretch; she attempts it anyway, she refuses to go for the low blow, and if he thinks *that's* the weakness of restraint too bad for him) followed by an open-hand strike with the hand that doesn't have the giant blade growing from it!
COMBATSYS: Nagi successfully hits Sagat with Crushing Strike.
[ \\\\\\\\\ < > ///////////// ]
Nagi 0/-------/-----==|=------\-------\0 Sagat
The knee catches Sagat off-guard, stealing the breath from his lungs and stopping the rest of his assault cold. The palm-strike is a different story, though:
/That/, he throws himself /into/. His stomach's as hard as the rest of him: the blow doesn't sink in so much as it slides from his abs, which remain tensed as Nagi's palm falls away. A beat later, a fresh spurt of blood bursts from the wound in his side, spattering the ring in an arc; Sagat's either unaware or unconcerned with it, already mid-hip swivel to reciprocate with a lightning quick kick for the woman's shin.
COMBATSYS: Nagi fails to interrupt Medium Kick from Sagat with Judgement.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Nagi can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\ <
Nagi has never seen Sagat hesitate about stepping into her blows, and this isn't going to be the first time he does it.
He throws himself into the palm-strike, and Nagi doesn't really make much of a dent. Between her damaged ... gauntlet? Let's call it a gauntlet... and Sagat taking advantage of positioning, she can't get enough force to do much more than irritate him, though at least the knee did its job.
The kick slams into Nagi's shin even as she tries to scoop upward. Something cracks again - but more importantly, it sends her tumbling away, rolling in a less controlled way than she'd probably like. The energy from before surrounds her and then fades, leaving Nagi without the various mutations and monstrous parts she's acquired - one of her boots is still missing and her jacket remains torn up, though thankfully her top is back in place (don't ask where it goes; she doesn't know).
She does not seem that conscious, the last blow just being too much for her to handle in her current state. She lies there, staring up at the ceiling, doing little but breathing heavily and trying to get some feeling back in her fingers.
Within moments of Nagi hitting the ground, Sagat begins to falter. Rhythmic breathing grows quicker, more erratic; tensed muscles go slack, shrinking his imposing posture subtly. Fists clench tighter than ever, while weaponized knees quiver, then buckle, bringing him down to balance on just one of them, plus a fist. Bowing his head, he blinks rapidly, trying to steady his vision as the world begins sinking into grayscaled waves. With each moment that passes, the trickle of blood throbbing from his side grows increasingly intense until the wound's bleeding freely; likewise, the subtle discolorations where her palm struck his gut begin darkening, spreading, blossoming with visceral color as bruises finally begin forming.
He never quite catches his breath, but - eventually - he is able to push himself to his feet, drawing /almost/ upright, and stagger forward until he's beside Nagi. Slowly -- gingerly -- he crouches again and plants his fist against the mat beside her.
"To be a true warrior is to fight with neither shame nor hesitation," rumbles forth once he's bent low enough to utter it in her ear. "When you are no longer bound by either, you can seek my attention once more."
COMBATSYS: Sagat has ended the fight here.
Log created on 19:52:56 09/06/2023 by Sagat, and last modified on 10:08:20 09/10/2023.