NFG Season Two - Odyssey R1 - Maze You Live In Interesting Times

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Description: A stunning battle at the site of the original minotaur story! Watch, as talented fighters show the world just what it is they have to offer! Clever tricks and mysteries abound in this wild, decisive bout!

At least he's lucky to be off that boat for a little while.

The boy missed most of the opening festivities aboard the Mermaid, due to a sudden and powerful allergy to luxury cruises, most of which had seen him being violently ill for most of the seaborne legs of the trip. Or so the staff would have commented, after seeing the boy hug the rail like a drowning rat in one of his public appearances. Ahhh, what a sad situation.
Truthfully, Homura doesn't seem too broken up about it currently, meandering quietly amidst the broken pillars of the palatial ruins. His oversized jacket bounces in rhythm as the boy strides, limned in shadows almost all the way down what -used- to be the outer wall of the palace, a barely intact veranda being one of the few structures left standing at Knossos. Also lucky: The fact that the NFG ornaizers were proper showmen, and supplemented more than a couple of the fractured, knee-high walls with big old wooden 'NFG' branded crates, stacked atop one another. Obviously for knocking over, hiding behind, jumping on and of course, busting up. Homura imagines it has something to do with insurance.

"Oh my. I hope I'm not late," the boy worries. He's taking the time to fidget with his sword, the multi'ply peacebound thing taking up a good bit of time to unbind again. Especially with the serenity that the shugenja conjures in unravelling each loop of gohei, each ofuda and bead neatly rolled into the originating rope, the length carefully tied snug together onto his saya. "All things can be made peaceful," he repeats to himself, quieter than you'd think. Of course, his free hand, the one currently -wrapped- in beads the same way, is loosely gripping the golden thread he was also generously given. Oh, um, right. Secret ninja trick.

"Um. 'moo.'" That's the sound minotaurs make, right?

COMBATSYS: Homura has started a fight here.

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Homura           0/-------/-------|

Rodrigo, on the other hand, had availed himself of the pleasure of the ship's bar including fighter themed cocktails. Rodrigo's drink in particular was a variant on the Matador cocktail. Like the standard Matador, it had tequila, pineapple juice, lime juice, and cointreau as an orange liqueur, but it had a slice of jalapeno to add a bit of spice to it and a small watermelon wedge as a garnish along with a plastic sword toothpick.

With his fight being announced, he didn't indulge in any partying the day before. Get things done now, party later. He refused to give himself the excuse of not being at full capacity as his reason for losing. If he should fall, it would be because the person in front of him was the better fighter.

As Rodrigo wanders in wearing a teal jacket cropped at the rib cage with intricate gold leaf designs on the front and back with some running along his arms as well. Underneath is a white shirt with a black tie in a windsor knot. From the stomach down, are teal pants with more of the intricate leaf design kept within an area along the outside of his thighs as if the design was restricted within an invisible border. This is probably something he would've worn had he continued to pursue a career as a matador.

When he sees Homura and hears him say, 'Moo,' Rodrigo lets a snort of amusement escape his lips before bringing his own sword up in a salute before taking his stance.

"I look forward to testing myself against you."

The strange boy's eyes are strange in the dark. Nominally that strange in-between state of hazel, they catch the light just right as he steps out of the shadow of the ruined veranda, the shugenja lifting his eyes, a neutral, placid mien shown to the man in the bolero jacket.

"Hmmmn..." the young yamabushi thinks aloud, letting the golden thread drop from his fingers, kicking the slack a little behind a pillar thoughtfully. "A sharp disposition, with good discipline and agility. Fuuu. As expected of my first opponent..."

A hand loops around his wrist, unlacing a string of beads hung around his other hand, the rosary pocketed in a jacket pocket. A heartbeat fills the space around him, and silver chi sparks off of his curled fingers in shining liquid lines. The heartbeat flutters, giving a sense of 'pressure' about him, mostly immediately once his hand is unbound. But mostly, the boy pays it very little mind, descending down from the broken veranda and navigating his way down the hill made by the shattered ruins towards where Rodrigo is currently saluting, a gesture that earns the boy some degree of curiosity, a slow, meandering blink. "Ano...."

"But, Gallardo-san. Isn't it true that a lot of other people want to fight you? And, you're not part of my 'mission,' anyway..."

The whisper of steel exiting a sheath fills the air, as the boy draws the length of his katana from his belt. Noticeably, he is minding his other unbound hand, which is causing him to both draw and wield the sword one-handed. It doesn't seem like he has any trouble doing so, the cutting edge of the weapon slowly turning in the air before him, until the crescent of steel is neatly turned away from the Spaniard, held just out of view. Slowly, his free hand opens, lifting slightly above his hip. A serene little expression crosses the boy's face.

"I guess I should take it a little easy... but maybe not too much? Hmm. I suppose none of that's my concern, anyway. I'm ready when you are!" C'mon ref, count them off!

The Spaniard in question raises an eyebrow as he listens to Homura talk to himself. In fact, he has no idea what to what make of it. It isn't until a question is posed to him that Rodrigo allows himself any reaction beyond the raised eyebrow.

"Apparently, they seem to want to know how they measure up. I have to admit, I'm curious too."

The mission part makes the Destreza practitioner raise his eyebrow once more as he eyes the katana. He never faced that particular sword before. A playful smile appears on his face as he removes the scarlet cape from his shoulder and holds it to his side while still maintaining the stance. The official gives a signal to start as the Spaniard waits for the shugenja to attack.

COMBATSYS: Rodrigo has joined the fight here.

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Rodrigo          0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Homura

The shugenja doesn't seem much more nonplussed along the Spaniard's tightly reined curiosity at his line of patter. Truthfully, though there is nothing overtly rude or offensive about the earnest boy, the mild serenity with which he regards the ex-matador also renders him without a significant quality of predictability --!

A little blast of silver chi ruptures a crate nearby, projected in a bolt from the boy's open hand as quickly as a thought. Tiny little flashes of light crawl up his arm to the elbow, circling around just ahead of his hand. A slow, sweet blink of eyes somewhere in the dark turqoise/brown fashion. "Mn... I guess there's that thing about curiosity, right? Well, let's get to it, Gall-san!"

His sandal tenses on the ground, and suddenly, the boy darts quickly in towards the spaniard, flicking a gaze to the cape on one arm, the blade in the other. One smooth motion -- one dashing step closer launching off of the last of the steps at the head of the ruins, before the boy's little orbitting motes conjure more force, more power, and bolts of moon-colored energy flash out from his hand, intensely spearing into wood and cracking stone. Hopefully, Rodrigo is not at ground zero for any of them.

COMBATSYS: Rodrigo blocks Homura's Tsukiyomi Buster.

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Rodrigo          0/-------/-----==|-------\-------\0           Homura

Even though the moon color rip through wood and crack stone, Rodrigo show that both he and the slash and tear resistant, chain mail reinforced, cape are both made of sterner stuff. He hunkers down behind the cape using it in a similar fashion as one would use a shield, letting out a grunt as the bolts impacts on his guard.

"That was interesting."

The Spanish swordsman doesn't elaborate further. There's too much going on for him talk about not having encountered energy users before. Besides, Rodrigo wants to show off his art as well.

The Spaniard moves forward, holding the point of the blade towards Homura as if to discourage poorly thought out approaches before delivering a quick slash and then spinning away in display of deadly beauty.

COMBATSYS: Rodrigo successfully hits Homura with Splendid Slash.

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Rodrigo          0/-------/----===|====---\-------\0           Homura

Unfortunately, the boy is not at all as well armored as the man with the scarlet cape! A flash of movement is traded, his blasts pinging with harsh metallic cracks against the heavy cape used to garner his attention. Small, tiny thoughts flicker through the back of the boy's mind, bits of instinct noted as the older man dances sinuously into and out of the shugenja's melee attacking range, the sound of his sneakers squealing over the stone as he tries to lean out of the way -- fast! -- but gets sliced into, the point of the blade lancing a crimson line through his belly.

"Kuh--!" the shugenja belts out, opening his stance, before stepping into an axle-spinning advance, one sneaker in front of the other at something like a 45 degree angle low to the ground as he doesn't quite -break- space from the man, instead twisting down -- and threatening to go entirely -under- the wrists and hilt of the offending sword, gripping his own sword with both hands as a crescent flash of silver energy emanates from his steel sword, in a bizarre, almost physically unsound little pursuing attack. If he wasn't moving at full speed, most people would just faceplant on the ground.

"Hyah!" For want of a moment, the boy's not super talkative, the time between him getting struck and the tradeoff of his pursuing attack -almost- none at all.

COMBATSYS: Rodrigo instinctively dodges Homura's Crushing Strike.

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Rodrigo          0/-------/----===|===----\-------\0           Homura

Rodrigo watches as Homura moves towards him with such an unorthodox attack that he has absolutely no context for what he's doing or why. As a result, the Spanish swordsman leans on the reflexes that made him difficult to deal with for his HEMA training partners and the instinctual grasp of movement that had instructors at bullfighting academy convinced of his potential to become a star.

Rodrigo side-steps, letting the sword hit the cape as he spins around the shugenja as if he was a charging bull. When the attack is finished, the Spaniard pulls the cape back towards himself.

After a moment, Rodrigo decides he wants to show that the cape is as much a weapon as a shield. He swings the cape out attempting to strike with the weights at the bottom of the cape.

COMBATSYS: Rodrigo successfully hits Homura with Cape Whip.

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Rodrigo          0/-------/--=====|=======\-------\1           Homura


%As expected from his original assessments, the cape turns out to be weighted, and more than capable of defending from his blade, making the primary challenge in getting around it. But his three-step axle slash can't navigate fast enough to find its way around the cape, and though his sword buries itself in scarlet, the weight of it is -far- more than the boy bargained for, and his reward is almost what feels like a wrecking ball blow to his middle, sending the boy twisting and sprawling across the ground, his position twisting 360 degrees at least twice before stopping. His constitution doesn't seem to be the greatest, since he does wipe away a bit of blood from his nose when he recovers.

There's something strange about the boy, as if he's unnaturally light on his feet. That hit drove him back aways, and it should have taken him clean off of his feet. But the boy laughs, very lightly, his serenity translated into a slow shuffling stance, keeping him nimble.
"S--sorry," the shugenja apologizes. "It's been some time since I last fought like this. That cape is really something, ano..."
"But! Let's try something different."

In one solitary second later, the boy's katana is an inch away from closing inside Rodrigo's guard, and skewering him. His free hand lifts quickly in the last step towards the agile man and strikes the pommel, sending a tiny spear of silver light from the kissaki down the Spaniard's center of mass. He is trying to tag him, just once, with his sword. And if he does, the full moon will spin in the air, triple crescents of silver chi thrown off of his sword as he continues on, three steps and one spinning slash for each. He's trying not to get around, but distract Rodrigo for an instant. An instant is all the boy needs to break through and cut him.

COMBATSYS: Rodrigo blocks Homura's Tsukigetsu no Shinano.

[       \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Rodrigo          1/-------/=======|===----\-------\0           Homura

The sword and cape fighter smiles at the the comment about the cape being something so early on in the fight. Usually all eyes are on the sword to the detriment of others.

"It's custom made."

When Homura sends the spear of silver energy at him, Rodrigo attempts to redirect it with his sword. He is only partially successful in diverting it, causing it to hit his side instead of center mass. The following spinning slashes, get deflected but force Rodrigo on the back foot due to the impact.

Rodrigo finds himself having to step back to disengage temporarily and then he carefully edges back in before jabbing the tip of the blade at the shugenja's chest.

COMBATSYS: Homura blocks Rodrigo's Quick Strike.

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Rodrigo          1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0           Homura

The four piece assault flares quick in a series of eyeblinks along the shape of the Spaniard's guard, the silvered crash of steel against steel rippling down his nerves, the drag of metal redirecting his strokes off-center, causing the boy to raise an eyebrow, sharp and subtle. His neutral mien never -really- breaks, but the tiniest quirk of his expression betrays his manner of thinking. The Spaniard is going to be a problem. He needs to be faster.

The moment of disengagement gives him a tiny droplet of tempo, the hiss of his blade cracking hard against Rodrigo's, a binding along the razored curve of his weapon held for just a second, a fleeting moment. Just enough time for Homura to nod, once, a tiny breath of effort betrayed from the otherwise silken disposition of the shugenja.
"Hope it serves you well.."

A slow, tiny flex of the boy's wrist. And suddenly, sharply, he rolls his entire weight over the Spaniard's blade, pressing down on the weapon and using it as a steel springboard to throw himself into the air. While normally this might be an attempt to disarm or distract Rodrigo, the boy's featherweight is almost nonexistent, allowing him to throw himself into the air with little more than a wrist flick. A drifting, arcing spin, as he flips, the kinetic speed of the movement belying a huge amount of his hangtime. It lets him shield himself from assault, sending another, powerful flare of that silver energy arcing between the two fighters, an edge of selene power threatening the Spaniard from above and just -barely- inside his sword range.

The boy never -actually- hits the ground after..

COMBATSYS: Homura successfully hits Rodrigo with Mitsurei.

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Rodrigo          1/---====/=======|======-\-------\0           Homura

Rodrigo's eyes go wide in surprise at his blade being used as a springboard. It's the type of thing that he's only used to seeing in wuxia movies. It is the only break in his composure seen in this fight so far.

Rodrigo is caught completely unprepared for the blast from above sending him both backwards and down to the ground. Gritting his teeth, he gets back up to his feet and shakes his head.

The duelist hangs back for a moment not sure how to handle an opponent whose feet aren't on the ground.

COMBATSYS: Rodrigo takes no action.

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Rodrigo          1/---====/=======|======-\-------\0           Homura

It's truly like he doesn't -weigh- anything at all, the boy composed of little more than the crisp crack of his jacket and sneakers as he steps on what appears to be air alone. Knocking the older fighter into the dirt arrests his forward momentum, the force of the selene chi attack driving him back inches. The movement of the boy beggars some belief, on the barest edge of believable as he kicks forward, hard, canceling out the first stroke, then seems to do nothing short of take a -single- step forward, jumping off of the air itself.

The shugenja flicks his blade forward, flipping the weapon false in his hand and twisting. He recognizes that man's hesitation, the second's pause to gather his wits, to understand what he needs to do. And the boy is not at all inclined to let him become comfortable with the decision.
"Look alive." It's his only warning.

The twist, the tiny spin of momentum. It drops the boy down through the air, one hand on pommel and the other on hilt, on a twisting descent right in the middle of the man's reverie, guillotine fast. A heavensent stalking attack, that will drive the end of his katana an inch into the dirt, should Rodrigo gather himself fast enough to put that cloak to use. If not, well...

COMBATSYS: Rodrigo instinctively dodges Homura's Intercepting Strike.

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Rodrigo          1/---====/=======|====---\-------\0           Homura

The warning to 'Look alive' was exactly what Rodrigo needed to shake him out of his bewilderment long enough to remind him that this is a fight.

The Spaniard's eyes bulge wide open once more though this time it's more in concern for personal well-being rather than surprise. As the blade descends upon him, he lets instinct take over once again, and it tells him that instead of using his cape, he should side-step the descending attack. With the shugenja's blade driven into the ground he seems to detect an opportunity.

Rodrigo uses another side-step to get a better angle and then he goes in for a vicious offense delivering stab after stab to multiple locations aiming to weaken and slow down Homura, making it difficult for him to return the favor.

After the flurry of stabs are delivered, Rodrigo delivers a front kick to the torso and then takes a couple of retreating steps away,

COMBATSYS: Homura narrowly escapes Rodrigo's Frenzied Barrage!

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Rodrigo          0/-------/---====|====---\-------\0           Homura

Fingertips slide down the spine of his blade.

Temporarily grounded from his aerial dance, the boy turns, shifting hard to pull his blade from the dirt of the ruins, having gained no more ground against the wily, pesky Spaniard than the ground beneath his sneakers and a bit of dirt on a blade he's going to have to spend a lot of time polishing out. The former matador's blaede is nigh omnipresent, the off-color eyes of the boy snapping up quickly as the Spaniard's blade flashes in.

The boy is much, -much- faster than his position would betray, plucking his sword from the ground and slipping loose of the first flashing stab by flicking himself out of the range of the light, his back reaching as far as a fifty or sixty degree angle tilt with respect to the ground with the swift, snapping motion, literally on the back foot and scrabbling on his heels in a quick three-piece step back and to the side, tilting again to avoid another flashing stroke.

But the spaniard's assault is like a whip, viper-fast in pursuit, each obnoxiously unbalanced step eaten up with two and a fang to be eluded, boxing the boy in until his back is literally to the wall. In this case, a wall of crates. Tangentally serene, he isn't unaware of the irony of being boxed in against a wall by a wall of boxes. He shouldn't have time to comment, not as steel slips home, not as the point of that blade threatens to filet his chest.

At that point, the boy ... frowns, ever slightly.
"Hey... d-d~on't think it'll be that easy..."

The point of Rodrigo's blade will hit nothing but wood. He will see almost everything, feel almost everything, the pierce of the blade. The light of steel as it drives home into the boy's middle. The split of fabric, the give of flesh. And then, the boy's voice trips over itself, throwing off an echo of involuntary sound. With that single flicker of emotion, the boy becomes no easier to hit than moonlight, a shadow passing the older man by.

A sound behind Rodrigo is his only alert to the fact that the shugenja's slipped behind him with whatever that spell was, his sneakers making a rough sound in the dust as he alights on the ground, flicking at the waist to roll an arcing line of steel 180 degrees in a haphazard stroke, wantonly seeking to slice the Destreza's back with one wild flash of the blade.

COMBATSYS: Rodrigo interrupts Evasive Strike from Homura with Frenzied Barrage.

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Rodrigo          0/-------/------=|======-\-------\0           Homura

Rodrigo had liked the fact that he was applying pressure to his opponent, pushing him back. On the final thrust before he would normally perform the front kick, his sword feeling the point touching skin but then sensation disappears before the point where he knows damage would be done. The sound of sneakers herald the sound of an attack coming in from behind.

That front kick he would've used to push Homura away ends up being repurposed to shatter those wooden boxes to make room for him to step through and give himself a reactionary gap as he spins around. That is when he sees that blade slicing a path towards his torso now that he has managed to turn around. He thrusts upwards, deflecting the blade to the side and slightly upwards causing it to leave a slight gash on his cheek. He then repreats those various thrusts with his sword to the body, to the legs, to the arms. Wherever the katana wielder is unguarded, the blade will find and then when he delivers the final front kick, there's no retreating step this time.

"That's the thing. It wasn't easy."


It was, by all rights, an attack that should not have been evaded, and metaphysical parts of the shugenja are scattered all over the battlefield with the unreal speed of the boy's escape, his vision still spinning, even while he tries to keep the advantage. There is a wild, agile, haphazard way the boy tries to split-cut Rodrigo, but his critical miscalculation was underestimating how smoothly the skilled fighter could transition from one direction to the next, crates knocked aside chaotically as the man whirls. A clash of steel, the light of blood.

And then, the shugenja gets stabbed six times in the space of a few seconds.

There's a moment in which the world slows down, excruciatingly slow as the boy's nerves are punctured, his eyes going flat shaded, pupils dilated as the scent of his blood spreads over his jacket. Small, tiny concerns. Less so than the trickle of power flooding down his free arm, silver chi rippling and distorting the air around his arm, like moonlight over the river at night. A step back is taken, two, before that man steps into his chest, to drive him away.

It wouldn't be far enough if..
The boy's hand opens, ragdolled ahead of him in the former matador's picture-perfect kick. And then, a point blank blast of chi fills the space between them. The silver light between them grows like a second moonrise, blasting and sending what's left of the stacked boxes all askew. The blast itself is enough to launch the boy, let alone that powerful pump kick. There's no 'weight' to his slender, overdressed body, and the boy tumbles end over end in the air before he manages to right himself, the soles of his sneakers smashing into the ground beneath him. Already, the rosary is produced anew from his pocket. Already, the boy is cinching down his arm, stifling the erratic taste of night and the moon in the air. It's looped twice and cinched with a tiny, bleeding 'uff-!" before Homura even has a chance to speak, the shugenja's stance barely holding, broken and with his jacket stained in blood.

"Ah! Fine, fine -- aaah, hey! It's enough for today!" the boy surrenders, finally dropping to a knee.

COMBATSYS: Homura can no longer fight.

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Rodrigo          0/-------/------=|

COMBATSYS: Homura successfully hits Rodrigo with Moonsent Matsuri.

[                       \\\\\\\  <
Rodrigo          0/-------/--=====|

The Rodrigo's foot never gets the opportunity to touch the ground as the two fighters get blasted away from each other. The Spaniard's body gets smashed through box stack after box stack. At the final box stack, Rodrigo goes through but instead the boxes collapse on top of him, leaving him ina pile of broken wood.

There's a few moments where both fighters are being counted out and then the Spaniard rises from the pile much like a phoenix from the ashes.

He walks over to Homura and bows in respect for his performance before going to the medic tent for the obligatory post fight check up. He'll be happy to talk with the other fighter after when they're both not bleeding so much.

COMBATSYS: Rodrigo takes no action.

[                       \\\\\\\  <
Rodrigo          0/-------/--=====|

COMBATSYS: Rodrigo has ended the fight here.

The power slowly drains from him, oppressed by the wrap of the wooden beads pulled tight around his wrist, looped once and again around his palm. THe boy seems at peace, for long, subtle moments, even run through in a constellation of little puncture marks as he might be, driven to surrender, driven to his knee by the Spaniard's unrelenting offense. He takes a moment -- not to breathe, but to think. He doesn't seem anything more than grievously injured, a small shimmer in the air around him where the last vestiges of his silver chi had slipped loose of his seals, stifled from draining by the shockwave he channeled down it.

The boy's expression -- a slim, unrefined line -- doesn't change, as serene as he may be in shock. His attention is a dance, flitting over the passing fighter like a mayfly. A hand fumbles with both his hilt and the tie of his peacebindings once more, before the boy finally crumples, dropping to both knees in a peaceful surrender, a handkerchief placed on the edge of his katana, braced on the back of his other hand as he buffs it slowly, in slow, meditative rolls, as if the sword were worth entirely more than his bleeding body.

His eyes do not actually land on Rodrigo, nor his deep bow, but the respect gives the boy pause, for chance, slight moments.
He nods, tilting his head down once, and then returns to his fervent polishing, as if deep in meditation.

Log created on 00:56:14 02/17/2024 by Homura, and last modified on 09:33:42 02/21/2024.