World Warrior 2023 - R3: Kongou vs Baiken

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Description: We keep blowing up world heritage sites, UNESCO's gonna start putting us on some kinda list.

There is a strange dichotomy to some of the chosen venues of this World Warrior tournament. Some of the matches have been to the thrill of gathered audiences in spectacular venues with the roaring cheers, gasps and cries of onlookers egging the fighters on. Others have been in dark and dangerous places, seemingly bereft of organizers, cameras and audiences but full of mystery, darkness and a lingering sense of mysticism and things long lost and forgotten. This present area seems to fall more in the latter then the former and perhaps that is a good thing considering at least one of the combatants.

His arrival is preceded by a clap of thunder and a flash of light of reddish and magenta hues resulting from an emerging burst of energy some few dozen meters high above the center of the encircled courtyard. The crackling bubble of light ripples outward in a widening warbling arc that washes over the entire area and then, finally, with a second rumble of thunder, the immense body of the so called 'Strongest Titan' bursts into view and then descends downward towards the chosen arena, massive arms folded and legs and feet pointed straight down as if he were some sort of mammoth statue being air dropped in.

His impact is an appropriately thundreous *KATHOOM* that rockets out a rolling shockwave as his feet touch down and sunder the earth, sending cracks spider webbing in all directions and a great plume of dust billowig up all around him. Despite this, his body barely recoils aside from the rippling shockwave that travels up through the huge plates of masses on his figure that are his outrageously proportioned muscles and then up through his light beard and bunched together ponytail. Aetheric energy - chi - seither - whatever you name - crackles around him before finally dissipating and he slowly unfolds his arm, producing a grinding sound like stretching industrial leather as his sinew audible bunches up and then relaxes once more as his arms come to his sides.

His lips purse as he studies the location and then nods his head in what looks to be mild approval, at first. He slowly frowns and then his deep voice rumbles out in disappointment. "...Hn...but where are my fans?!"

Between her last few fight venues and this one, the Sakura-haired Ronin is frankly glad to be away from civilization. A bit of a loner even on her best days, this sort of rural set up a million miles from anywhere suits Baiken just fine. Kongou might not have noticed, but she's been here for quite some time already, sitting in the doorway of one of the houses surrounding the central building, directly on the ground. She's not asleep, but potentially... meditating?

Her sake gourd is never far away, however, so one can draw their own conclusions.

When the team blows the entire SFX budget on Kongou's entrance, however, a seemingly non-plussed Baiken rises from her seat, wandering into the courtyard and squaring off with... whatever THIS is.

Coming to a stop a few feet away, the wanderer grins faintly, giving a helpless little shake of the head. "Hmph. King Enma couldn't wait and sent someone early, I take it?" the pink-haired swordswoman says with a smirk, before pulling her sheathed blade from her shoulder and gripping part of the saya with... her teeth? With a smooth motion, she draws the blade with her one arm, tracing barely-visible arcs of silver with the nameless kata before returning it to the sheath with a *CLICK!* and slipping the saya itself into a belt loop.

Head tilted, she gives Kongou an impassive glance. "Sorry to say, but Hell can't claim me just yet, big boy."

Glowing eyes flicker towards the impassive samurai and then widen slightly upon studying her. The behemoth of a man reaches up and scratches his head and then down again to rub his beard in a gesture of what could be a mixture of contemplation and perhaps mild confusion as he takes her.

His expressive features then slowly pull into a slow big grin that seems to reach ear to ear, teeth showing and eyebrows lifting upward.

"Greetings! However I do not know this King Emna nor do I know anything of trying to make good on any claim 'Hell' has on you. Do you mean the Makai? I am no Darkstalker if that's what you are thinking...though I suppose I do qualify as one with magic. Made of magic. Made from you call it, perhaps. I am called Kongou! I was told to come here for World Warrior and to seek a samurai. Are you not her?"

He begins taking steps forward now, footfalls rumbling the ground with heavy booms and cracking the earth slightly as he treads nearer but not with any particular sense of speed or aggression in his movements though the mere sight of his approach might cause others to think differently.

"If you are not then I will wait patiently for them to arrive. I have time now since my obligations to ...ah....NFG..seem to an end."

There is a pause as he slows to a stop, a few paces nearer now and he reaches out, raising the tree trunk of an arm and gesturing lightly in her direction in an almost beckoning gesture, "That is wish to show me your strength." he adds, smile becoming more tight now and eyes narrowing slightly to near glowing slits.

The look on her face once Kongou says 'Darkstalker' should make it readily and abdunantly apparent that it was the Wrong Choice when it comes to ways to describe yourself to Baiken. Before, she looks stoically impassive. Now?

Now seems annoyed.

"Is that right?" is what actually comes out of her mouth, casual tone a screaming contradiction to the closed, smouldering vibe of her posture and body language. Her one hand tightens on the cloth wrapped around the hilt of her blade, the pink-haired fighter tilting her head somewhat. Magic. Darkstalkers.

And JUST enough of a harmonic on that last comment about strength to make some internal tripwire snap in half at her perception of it.

"Never heard of an 'en eff gee,'" Baiken says, striving to sound unconcerned. "And I don't know if I'm exactly a samurai. But if you're lookin' to see what I can do, then, well..."

The lips curl into a wolven smile. "I can oblige THAT."

She has 0 hesitation, no waiting. Stepping forward, her sandaled foot cracks the stone underneath as she simply charges Kongou and draws her blade, slamming it point down into the ground, a fountain of chi as rose-pink as Baiken's hair erupting from the point of the strike!

COMBATSYS: Baiken has started a fight here.

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Baiken           0/-------/------=|

COMBATSYS: Kongou has joined the fight here.

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Baiken           0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0           Kongou

COMBATSYS: Kongou interrupts Tetsuzansen from Baiken with Seismic Crush.

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Baiken           0/-------/--=====|====---\-------\0           Kongou

The gigas' smile fades a touch as he senses that shift in the attitude of the swordswoman. Confusion once more dances across his expressive features and he tilts his head slightly as if attempting to search his mind for whatever was said that shifted the atmosphere to one with such abrupt tension.

He ultimately ends up simply inclining his head in the opposite direction, pursing his lips into a bit of a dismissive ''Huh' sort of look only to refocus his gaze back to her as she moves into a more aggressive stance and then is upon him like a burst of lightning.

By rights and logic, he should not have the reaction time that he has. His sheer immensity implies a sliding glacier or an entire mountain range after all, not exactly known for quick reflexes. Then again, a landslide can be upon someone in the blink of an eye and a tidal wave wash over a landscape in an instance. Such is his sudden movement as the ground lurches from the shifting of his weight and the presss of his strength and he actually leans into her attack, blasting a massive grasping hand through it to lunge at her with a downward arcing strike that moves ot not only blast apart the incoming chi but also slam into her and then press her against the ground with his great weight and strenght. His fingers dig into the concrete beneath them and a great crater spirals out around both of them as he looms overhead, raising his other arm already in to prepare to bring that down upon her pinned form.

"I said I am -not- a Darkstalker. Did you not understand? Some sort of huntress, mmm? Why is it that everything superhuman and magical is immediately assumed to be something from The Makai. Are you with the NOL?"

It seems today is a day for acronyms getting torssed around.

Human society tip: giant ground punches are not a good conversational aid.

One would imagine it would take a second to recover from such a heavy blow, which indeed it does in Baiken's case, but as she gets to her feet, the ronin cracks her neck slightly, before turning her head away with a little 'feh!' sound. "I heard you the first time," she growls, her lone good eye looking up at the face of her opponent. "Not sure why you think I care what a 'Darkstalker' is. And I ain't a hunter, either."

The hand of her one good arm goes down to the hilt of her blade, body tensing. It's like this every time, with this type -- fighting the internal battle of images. Forcing memories of a burning village, of fire and snow, from her mind. Letting simmer the cauldron of anger and regret that the stoic demeanor hides all too well.

But the mind and the body are weapons, to her, and a weapon that cannot be controlled is worthless. So she learned how.

"But I know a monster when I see it."

There is almost 0 space between the end of her comment, and the sakura-haired ronin drawing her blade in a silver arc, aiming right for Kongou's ankles. He may be a mountain, but Baiken has the patience to whittle down a mountain a pebble at a time, if she must.

COMBATSYS: Kongou blocks Baiken's Crushing Strike.

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Baiken           0/-------/--=====|====---\-------\0           Kongou

Yes Kongou seems to....lack in some elements of social graces. Not attempting to hold a casual conversation with someone while crushing them beneath you is somewhere on the list but learning the ins and outs of polite society seem to not be a high priority for him either at the moment though he does give a slight raise of his brow and a cheery grin as Baiken manages to escape his grasp and readies her counter attack.

"A monster?" he considers - but there is no time for any sort of additional remark. No quippy comeback, examination, deconstruction or otherwise response to her words as she's on him once again with that blade of hers flashing in the light and arcing in a swipe faster then aye twinkle for his limbs and with force that would surely fell the tree trunks his ankles match in immensity.

But there is a sudden sweeping action from his massive hand as he twists his body back sliding his legs awayf rom her and then bringing the back of his hand down against the flat of her incoming blade once more with speed that defies the fact that she's fighting a sherman tank with arms and legs. The very air whip cracks around them from their rapid movements and Kongou slides backwards a few paces, renting the ground up even more as his feet dig in to arrest his movements.

The same hand that blocked her attack balls into a fist. A loud sound like bouldres cracking fillls the air as his knuckles crack and the fiberous bulk of his bicep bulges insanely huge, giving the impression of a buick under his flesh as shipping rope sized veins stand out against his flexed flesh.

"What -sort- of monster...." he asks.

His fist suddenly swings, hurtling in her direction but stopping mid swing as the mere pressure of his arcing movements kicks off a shockwav that blasts out at her and races through the area ripping up debris and threatening to pass through her and roar through the distant walls like a speeding truck.

COMBATSYS: Baiken just-defends Kongou's Shockwave Burst!

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Baiken           0/-------/--=====|=====--\-------\0           Kongou

A not unfair comparison for Baiken would be a placid pool that just happens to be full of moody sharks. Most of the time, the water's surface is clear, calm, nary a ripple to give away any sort of guess as to what might be coming in the future. And then, with a terrifying surety of action and purpose, a metric ton of teeth and fins erupts out of it, swallows something whole, and is gone.

The oncoming shockwave rages forward toward the ronin, but with a glacial calm, she turns ever so slightly, so that her left side -- the side on which her blade is sheathed -- is facing Kongou. As the wave itself is about to reach her, with a loud "Ei!", Baiken suddenly draws her blade INTO the shockwave, as if she were about to cut it like a physical thing, her entire body spinning as she makes the motion.

To the left and the right of her, stone and dirt fly into the air as the wave continues onward... but around Baiken itself, it truly is as if her sword carved a literal hurricane's eye out of the attack. But that isn't the critical bit; the IMPORTANT bit for Kongou, at the moment, is that as Baiken finishes her spin, it brings her empty, torn sleeve in alignment with his body... and from said empty sleeve, inexplicably, comes a cannon fancifully shaped like a Chinese dragon, which fires, sending a spiralling miniature cannonball firing off right at the giant's chest.

The complete circle ends with Baiken resheathing her blade with a scoff. "The kind that have no place in this world, the only kind there is."

COMBATSYS: Baiken successfully hits Kongou with Yashagatana.

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Baiken           0/-------/-======|=======\-------\0           Kongou

"Hooo!" begins Kongou, clearly surprised and impressed as the warrior woman cleaves through the power of his assault, crafting for herself an absolute defense that instead forces the shockwave in all directions save the one that mattered the most, through her. Behind her stoic frame the furthest building erupts into a shower of debris as the blast wave rips a hole through the walls and sends part of the structure tilting over behind her and as the dust clouds plume upward, Kongou's torso is lit by the fire of the incoming cannonball and then the projectile itself as it explodes into him with violent force that ripples across his entire body like a boulder being hurtled into a massive body of water.

His reaction is, surprisingly neutral, considering what just happened. He weathers the assault without any significant acknowledgement of it and..indeed...his grin seems to grow larger now as the cannonball ultimately explodes, rebounding shrapnel off of his massive chest in all directions.

Even as this occurs, the giant begins leaning forward once more bringing his massive fist down.

"I am not from here. No...and so by that assertion I do not belong here. But on one note you are wrong.."

The giant lunges, the ground violently sundering behind him as he dashes at her and clears the distnace that had been set between them with an explosive rumble that rips the ground violently in their wake. His massive fist comes arcing down and then up again as if some unleashed trebuchet. A thunderous uppercut sending a fist as big as her torso up for her with intention of knocking hre well into the air above the arena as his deep profound bass voice rumbles:

"There -are- different kinds of monsters..."

COMBATSYS: Kongou knocks away Baiken with Orbital Launcher.

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Baiken           1/----===/=======|=======\-------\1           Kongou

One would imagine that a hulking beast of an individual would be easy to avoid, in combat; after all, wouldn't he move slowly and predictably? The latter is a debatable truth, but the former is a serious misconception. Muscle power can produce considerable speed... more importantly, however, it's the SIZE that presents a problem. It is actually easier to avoid the striking area of a human fist vs. avoiding someone throwing a car.

Thus while the attack Kongou sends Baiken's way doesn't strike her as particularly speedy, she does misjudge the timing required and is sent into the air, just as Kongou intended, his huge fist clipping her evasive maneuver. The ronin is able to right herself shortly before she hits the ground, but she still lands in a heavy crouch with a loud grunt of pain, and it is some time before she gets up.

When she does, she fixes an expressionless gaze on Kongou, moving her one hand to the hilt of her sword almost casually. "A monster is a monster. Those trying to play nice... are fooling themselves." Closing her eyes for a moment, she brings up one hand, palm held perpendicular to the body at roughly chest height: a bizarrely spiritual gesture for such a woman, a Buddhist prayer.

"The worst monster is the one pretending they're human... right to the end."

She grips the hilt of her sword, drawing it an inch or so, barely perceptibly. And..., well.

Time seems to stop.

When anyone -- Kongou, cameras, you name it -- can notice anything again, the merest blinking of an eye, Baiken is inverting this gesture, pushing the final inches of the blade back into the saya. One hopes that Kongou had the foresight to defend himself as soon as he saw her hand on her blade, because with the *CLICK!* of sword in sheath, the cut Baiken made suddenly *happens*, all at once, as if she had cut the very concept of time itself.

The rose-haired ronin is among the world's finest swordsmen. The attack is an example of what Miyamoto Musashi called 'cutting the void': a single, perfect slice. It is by no means unavoidable or unable to be defended against... but one would certainly need to expend considerable effort in the process.

COMBATSYS: Kongou just-defends Baiken's #Garyou Tensei#!

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Baiken           0/-------/-------|=======\-------\1           Kongou

She is right, of course. He is a monster. One wearing the trappings of a human form but one that is far from human and, even more so, one that is bound by the laws of this world, this place, shackling him and restraining him. He is a sentence written on the pages of The Backyard, given physicality but smudged and partially erased so as to not break all around him with the pressure of his presence. He doesn't belong here yet here he is.

Occasionally, however, the shackles on him are pulled tight and begin snapping...and a measure of what should not be warbles into being, distorting the very world and warping it as it struggles to contain him. It is in that space of instances, the space inbetween thought, that his body yields itself into absolute defense and strength, building a shockwave out of power around him and then internalizing it just as her power washes into him and then over him.

The buildings behind him bear the brunt of her assault. A single perfect slice ripping into them in an arcing way followed by an explosive burst as structures tilt and topple. One hopes that whatever camera men are hidden ..they were far enough away from this affair but given the previous bouts of these combatants stealthily placed drone footage is likely in play else the brunt of these assaults would have caught them indeed.

As to Kongou, his eyes are wide and his arms are lifted from his sides as if he welcomed and embraced the attack. A huge grin is splayed across his features now and his eyes seem to light with gleaming inner glory as he looks upon the ronin with great joy. "Incredible! Why...if I did not chance to break the chains that bind me for that instant....there is no telling what artistic display you'd have made of my body and blood. Wondreful! You -are- a monster!" his bass voice rumbles with joyous certainity, "How coyly you speak of yourself! And here I thought you lacked self reflection and were only addressing me! Well done!

The ground explodes again as the giant jump - lunging upon her with an explosive burst as if he were a shell launched from a battleship or a missile across a country side.

COMBATSYS: Baiken fully avoids Kongou's Quick Smash.

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Baiken           0/-------/-------|=======\-------\1           Kongou

Said living battleship shell may notice, in passing, the barest hint of a feeling of the passing wind, a brief swirl of color. This might explain why, when this attack lands, there is nobody there to receive it. "Sophistry, huh?" comes a dry, bored-sounding voice... from BEHIND. Standing on the roof of a nearby building, Baiken taps the blunt edge of her blade against her shoulder. Apparently that passing gale, that blur of motion, was her nimbly stepping out of a battleship's way.

"I've said my peace, and this ain't some online forum thread. Feel free to keep talkin' if you want. I came..."

Another blur of color, as the ronin leaps from her perch and becomes an arrow through the air at Kongou's back. " fight!" As her descent continues, Baiken grips the hilt of her now-sheathed blade and draws it in a sharp diagonal, the blade shimmering with the familiar rose-colored aura of her chi.

COMBATSYS: Kongou barely endures Baiken's Rokkonsogi EX.

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Baiken           0/-------/----===|=======\===----\1           Kongou

The blow seems to land true, drawing a great crescent wave of motion across the expanse of Kongou's billboard of a back. His hide, previously seemingly as durable as the hardest of adamant, yields, finally, to her great strike, unleashing a spray of blood - or at least something that 'pretends' to be blood, given his origins and nature, and scorching his flesh with the drag of her chi across it.

His eyes widen and his mouth goes from that previous madcap grin to a slight grimace as he feels the force of the wound through his body and his great physique staggers to a stop, recoiling abit as she so neatly closes the gap between them with such a great stroke.

But the grin returns.

"My apologies!" his deep voice rumbles, "I love meeting other fighters and humans are so fascinating. I can't help but talk to learn more!"

He pivots, spinning around with great grooves of earth renting up from his movements. As he turns, his eyes flash with energy, trailing behind his movements like a comets tail. The air around his whole being seems to shimmer and warble as if the air was struggling to contain him and then there is a lfash of light. Purple and red chi dances about him as if he were struck by a perpetual bolt of lightning. His monstrous physique swells ever larger, charged up from some great force within him as his binding invisible chains slack somewhat.

"But very well! It does take more attention to think of something witty to say." he acknowledges before suddenly pivoting and bringing his great fist forward towards her like a freight train hurtling in.

Even a near miss might result in an exploding shockwave but either it or impact if not avoided would see her launched skywards with a loud *BTOOOOM* rippling out over the area.

Versus a continued flight, the behemoth seems to flash into being right behind her, letting her body collide into his and then become enwrapped by his great bulk for a downward spiral then occur as he spins back down to the earth, an asteroid impact with her beneath him to take the brunt of the fall.

COMBATSYS: Kongou knocks away Baiken with Gigaton Crush EX.

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Baiken           1/----===/=======|==-----\-------\0           Kongou

Everything about this situation is rubbing Baiken the Wrong Way. This is almost certainly a critical factor in how poorly she seems to handle whatever this is; something so large shouldn't move so quickly, that much is clear, and there is very little point in attempting to physically resist such an incredibly powerful strike. Baiken turns, raises her blade, and is then hit by a blow so staggering in scope that she literally goes flying through the outer wall of the arena in a huge cloud of smoke and debris.

The arena is silent for a long moment, as perhaps the whole world pays homage to the awesome majesty that is Kongou's strength. And as that silence drags on... there is no sign of the rose-haired swordswoman returning. One could wonder, briefly, if she was simply disintegrated by the terrible power of the gigas's strike.

As the moments drag on, however... still no sign of Baiken. The typical camera drones and other such resources that get deployed to record these matches start searching in earnest, but this silence eventually goes on long enough that Kongou, through whatever method it is that he receives communication from human organizations, receives a message announcing him the winner by forfeit. As for what happened to Baiken? We may never know.

COMBATSYS: Baiken takes no action.

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Baiken           1/----===/=======|==-----\-------\0           Kongou

The giants landing is resounding but he straightens up and pauses, scratching his head with a frown as if sensing the mysterious departure of the chi of the warrior woman.

Strange.." rumbles Kongou. He blinks in confusion and then glances over his shoulder to try and get a look at the wound on his back as best he can and then looks around the devestated arena.

"Strange..." he repeats, unsure or unclear on how to proceed.

"....Maybe...that -wasn't- my match?" he voices aloud to no one before sitting down ontop of a large dislodged boulder and staring, forlornly, into the battered woods in search of the vanished ronin.

COMBATSYS: Kongou takes no action.

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Baiken           1/----===/=======|==-----\-------\0           Kongou

Log created on 13:50:02 10/26/2023 by Baiken, and last modified on 08:11:40 10/31/2023.