NFG Season Two - Odyssey R2 - Hoarding Apples

[Toggle Names]

Description: Ladon has discovered a tree brimming with 'Golden Delicious' apples and has set about guarding it, so she doesn't have to share them with anyone else. She hadn't counted on a hungry Hercules showing up and deciding he needed a snack.

Ishida didn't wear an Ajax costume to his last fight, due to a confluence of factors that basically revolve around the new fighter not realizing the expectations held of him. This time, he's received a bit of help from his NFG handlers. The Japanese man is currently outfitted in costume armor, painted bronze and trimmed in metallic gold. His feet are clad in linen, and protected by leather sandals. As an odd color contrast, the armor is coupled with a short blue cape. Aside from his distinct Japanese features and his very-not-an-hourglass waistline, the armored breastplate-and-skirt helps him look like a live-action version of Disney's 'Hercules'.

His frown and creased brow shows that he's not even a little pleased with this look. The fabric is stiff. The worbla armor is uncomfortable. And not even the addition of black shorts can keep him from feeling vulnerable with that damned skirt. To make matters even worse, the Nara native was so aggravated by the costuming changes that he'd completely forgotten to get something to eat.

There are, however, two things that bring peace to Ishida's unsettled mind. The first, of course, is that he has a chance to connect with nature on a beautiful sunlit day. The breeze feels nice, and the light aroma of apples is nice -- even if it is a bit fake, as apples are way out of season.

The second is his pre-fight meditation ritual: squats. He may be in costume, but that won't stop him from loading weights onto a metal bar, resting the bar on his shoulders, and lifting. Everyone should limber up before battle, and right now, outdoors on a hill, is the time and place chosen by Ishida.

After the tenth rep or so, his stomach makes an awfully loud grumble. The Nara man's frown grows a bit more, at that. Maybe he'll get to eat soon.

==*== EARLIER ==*==

Confusion filled Tanwen's amber eyes as they projected petulant bemusement up at her guardian.

"But I'm already a dragon! I don't need a costume! All the real dragons don't wear clothes!"

"But Tan, you fight as a human," Winn said, reaching up to scratch his bald head. "They won't let you fight like you're Eve in the Garden of Eden!"

"But it's a garden with forbidden fruit and everything!" Tanwen protested.

"Okay, not the best phrasing," Winn conceded, "but you're still going to have to put some clothes on, or you're not going out."

==*== A BIT LATER ==*==

In researching while trying to decide what to wear to the upcoming battle, Tanwen had finally sparked upon a stroke of brilliance:

A scale mail bikini.

After all, dragons had scales naturally, and it wouldn't be too hot and heavy and give her an encumbrance and movement speed penalty like a full suit of scale mail would. She'd been seeing loads of pictures online of a red-headed swordswoman who wore a scale mail bikini. Her only concern had been with whether the scales were ethically-sourced, as she certainly wouldn't have wanted to contribute to the black market dragon-hunting trade, but further study had revealed that no silver dragons had been harmed in the making of scale mail (disappointingly, no silver dragons had been reported at all). She'd decided to purchase one at the first opportunity.

==*== PRESENTLY ==*==

Unfortunately, the ship's swimwear shop had been all out of scale mail bikinis. So, instead, the tiny dragon is circling in the shade of the 'Golden Delicious' tree - really, more of a 'Golden Suspicious' tree, given that it's out of season for apples, Golden Delicious aren't native to Morocco, and it seems to have been placed in a giant pot - in what appears to be a green infant-sized one-piece with a hole cut in the back for her tail to stick out of. The garden of Hesperides that surrounds her is full of ruins, with short columns standing all over the area, almost looking as though someone has taken a massive diamond blade and shorn through everything above a certain height - though, surely nothing of that sort could be true?

The little dragon flutters about amongst the golden apples, guarding them enviously. After all, she's playing the role of a real life mythological dragon, now. Every now and then, she lets out a little cry (her approximation of a mighty draconic roar) or blows a puff of flame and smoke as she gets into character. At one point, she accidentally ignites one of the apples when doing so - but quickly puts it out by flapping her wings toward it. The flash-fried fruit plummets down to the grass below, a small plume of steam and smoke wafting up through the air from where it lands.

"I hope nobody saw that," Tanwen the tiny dragon says as half a dozen camera drones split their focus between the fallen fruit and the red-faced dragon.

Between his own hunger and wardrobing issues, Ishida hadn't left himself a lot of time to familiarize himself with the plot of this supposed story. Sure, there was an NFG official patient enough to explain it to him. Sure, he made eye contact and listened to the best of his ability. It's just... well, there's so much *lore*, and it's all so foreign to him. The Nara native could talk for hours about Kannon, or the Four Heavenly Kings, or the myriad of ways in which bodhisattvas and devas are connected to the day-to-day life of the modern Japanese. But trying to make sense of anything beyond 'Look, dude, you're playing Hercules' just feels suspiciously like *work*.

Luckily for him, the story is simple: Hercules was tasked to steal apples from a tree, guarded by a dragon. And when Ishida first started on his squats, there was no dragon here. So it should have been a simple task.

Ishida tends to get -really- fixated on his workout sets though. So by the time he finishes, setting his barbell aside and rising to his full, not-so-tall height... a dragon has arrived. A very recognizable one.

He smiles, raising his hand in an amicable wave. His cape flutters behind him as he walks up to the tree. If he notices the wisps of rising smoke and steam, he's polite enough to not mention them.

"Hello! We meet again!"

It's only after he speaks that he remembers the role he's supposed to be playing. "... er...." Coughing into a raised fist, he starts again: "... Hello there, little dragon -- beautiful... weather we're having, isn't it?"

He's also, very unsubtly, trying to edge past Tanwen so he can get within reach of the apple tree.

"Yes, yes -- a great day for eating apples, wouldn't you agree?"

At the sound of approaching footsteps, the little dragon flutters into the branches of the tree, curling its little limbs around the trunk. Panning out, the cameras reveal that the tree of Hesperides is apparently... not particularly impressive. It's only maybe five feet tall, all told. If Tanwen had been a typical dragon as depicted in most Western media, and the tree proportionate in scale, both would be majestic indeed, but both are instead seemingly sized with convenient and easy transportation in mind.

It makes Hercul-ida look like a giant by comparison.

"Oh, hello again!" the miniature dragon squeaks in recognition of the familiar fellow passenger from the Mermaid. It tilts its head to and fro as Ishida continues to speak more uncertainly. Having spent most of her social time in the company of awkward adolescents from the roleplaying community, she finds herself trying to analyze whether or not Ishida has actually slipped into character. It takes a minute for realisation to set in.

"Oh! No, it's not!"

The dragon flaps up toward Ishida's face, meeting the warrior at eye level.

"It is a very bad day for eating apples!" the Welsh dragonling declares with a combination of feisty menace and sincerity that contradicts its house pet-like stature, all the more so given the fact that it's wearing a little bathing suit. It lets out a threatening little puff of flame for emphasis, as if it might light all of the candles on Ishida's birthday cake if he does not comply.

The dragonling drops down to the ground, whipping its tail to smack the fried apple to roll to the base of the tree, where it collides with a pile of what appears to be cosplay equipment - a shield and sword laid neatly next to the tree trunk. Tanwen trots over to the gear before standing up on her hind legs.

As she straightens, she starts to stretch as well, her limbs lengthening and features reforming in a way that, at first, is actually rather uncanny to behold, the red scales sinking into her skin in most places as her body rapidly reshapes itself into the familiar figure of the youthful female. The green swimsuit expands as well - although, by the time that she's fully grown, the once-baggy one-piece strains to contain the feminine curves of the humanoid Tanwen, the fabric stretched taut across her tummy and riding up in ways that are surely uncomfortable. Fortunately, the gap that had been used before for her tail is able to stretch to accommodate it once it's achieved its full girth and length.

"Oh! That's a bit tight, that is!" Tanwen says with a frown as the situation worsens when she bends down to collect her sword and shield from the pile. Kneeling to close the rest of the distance, she grabs the gear, then quickly turns around and straightens back up. As she faces Ishida, it becomes clear that she's also retained the horns at either side of her head, though the little wings have retracted into her skin for now. Her eyes also still have the narrow lizard-like pupils of her draconic form - but a blink later, those have turned humanoid in shape as well.

"I'm Lady Ladon, the guardian of these delicious golden apples, and I don't like sharing, I don't! So, you're going to have to defeat me if you want to eat me! I mean, eat my apples! You're not allowed to eat me either way!"

Looking a bit red in the cheeks, she raises her shield to cover her face from the cameras and call quietly, "Sorry, I accidentally went all rhyme-y! It's maybe because I'm Welsh. We're naturally poetic. Shall we roll for initiative, or do you want to try a diplomacy check first?"

Ishida holds his ground as the littlest dragon asserts herself. He seems confident, based on their past encounter, that Tanwen's puff of flame won't amount to more than a threat. It's still hot though -- and enough to draw beads of sweat to his forehead.

While he doesn't shy away from the confrontation, he does politely look away as Tanwen changes form. He isn't sure if the swimsuit will keep pace with the change as well as she wants it to, and he can't be held liable for inappropriate gawking if he isn't even looking. Besides, as he notes, making a sidestep in an attempt to take a -different- approach to the tree: "It would do the tree no honor for its prized apples to go unclaimed..."

Fortunately, the transformation doesn't take long -- and there's only the slightest flush of red on his cheeks as he turns back to address her human-like features.

"I am Hercules," he states with a furrowed brow. "... And... Hercules is hungry. ... For fruit."

He seems to grow a bit -more- flustered at the apology and the questions. He's having enough difficulty staying in character as it is, but... the introduction of barely-understood roleplay terms causes him some additional distress.

"I don't know what that last one is," he admits quietly.

But as he slides his foot back, raising one hand before him in defense, and balling his other into a fist ready to strike, it becomes clear that he's choosing violence -- or at the very least, an assertive stance.

"Hercules is no diplomat."

COMBATSYS: Ishida has started a fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ishida           0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Tanwen has joined the fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Ishida           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Tanwen

Ishida's still learning how to do this 'fight' thing -- and the 'pre-fight dialogue' thing too, it would seem.

As Tanwen had let her mask slip for an honest admission, so too does Ishida, offering a brief, if apologetic smile. But he has no sword or shield -- just his fists. And he hopes that the motion shows the slightest hint of his intentions, as his eyes narrow, his breath draws inward, and his muscles tense.

As he sidesteps back to his original vector, placing Tanwen between himself and the tree, it becomes clear that he intends to take advantage of that initiative one way or the other. Once in position, he leans forward into one single punch at center mass -- aimed at slamming Tanwen backward and quite possibly ensnaring her in the branches of that apple tree.

COMBATSYS: Tanwen blocks Ishida's Taken for Granite.

[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Ishida           0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0           Tanwen

Tanwen circles with her back to the tree as Herculida continues to press closer to it. She keeps her sword arm raised to one side, the gladius in it gleaming in the light opposite its matching bronze buckler.

"Well, um, you can't eat these apples! They're reserved for the Hesper - Hespri - the nymphs!"

Currently, no one has thought to include the Hesperides in the reenactment, so there are no nymphs to be seen.

"So, have you brought a twenty-sided die, or - eep!"

The notion of being punched by the strongest man in history terrifies Tanwen, and for a moment, she forgets that Ishida is only roleplaying - even if he's gotten so into character that he seems to have foregone the usual initiative roll.


Her buckler is brought up, ringing out loudly when it's struck. Her shield arm crashes into her chest and she staggers backward, tripping over the plant pot and landing on the rocky grass bottom-first.


The Welsh dragon girl scrambles back up to her feet, backpedalling around the tree as she does. "You're a big meanie, you are! You didn't even let us roll before you went! You should have asked me to roll Perception before you took a surprise round, Hercules! No wonder the real one beat the real Ladon. I bet the poor dragon got sneak attacked! Well, here's what I've got to say about it!"

She swings her shield arm toward her opposite shoulder, then throws it loose - aiming it like a chakram toward Ishida.


Whether or not it should connect, the makeshift disc projectile should soon arc back toward its owner!

COMBATSYS: Ishida blocks Tanwen's Magic Missile!.

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Ishida           0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0           Tanwen

Ishida thought he understood what was going on. This was a fight for the Neo Fighting Generation. Everyone enlisted for this initiative is, in some manner, interested in the world of professional fighting. Everyone here is at least on board with the idea of trading hits with an opponent. So Tanwen -- being in the designated place at the designated time -- is one of those people. Right?

It's all according to plan, then, as his committed knuckles clang against a hastily-raised buckler. He wouldn't have been terribly upset if he'd managed to strike her, but hitting the shield is a good outcome all the same.

Ishida just finds himself frowning in confusion as Tanwen springs back to her feet, barking out more words in a sequence that makes no sense to him. Initiative, diplomacy, perception...

"H-hold on..." he stammers, with a furrowed brow, saddened to have upset Tanwen. At least, he assumes it's Tanwen stepping out of character, since she refers to him as the not-real Hercules. He does at least try to -talk- like a big oaf.

"... Hercules does not see any rolls."

Struggling to understand, he starts to walk towards Tanwen, holding his hands out in a cautious stance. But just as he does so, Tanwen provides her answer in the form of a tossed shield.

Ishida drops his head and shoulders low, raising a folded arm up to protect his face. With a combination of footwork, a slight pivot, and a shove from his shoulders, he wards the shield off, knocking it slightly off-course as he continues forward.

"... And that was neither magic, nor a missile." Harrumphing lightly, he adds, "Hercules does not understand." Rising to his full height, he continues advancing with a shake of his numbed forearm.

With a glance spared towards the flying shield as it loops back around, Ishida steps in close and attempts to slam his sandal into Tanwen's foot. If he connects, he'd snap out again for a second strike to push her away.

When he's close though, he asks a bit more quietly in something more akin to his normal voice."... Should I -shout- something when I strike?"

COMBATSYS: Tanwen blocks Ishida's Light Kick.

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////////     ]
Ishida           0/-------/------=|===----\-------\0           Tanwen

Tanwen leans backward as the shield flies back toward her at an upward angle, reaching her free arm out to intercept it as its arc threatens to exceed her vertical reach. As she's going for it, Ishida stomps his sandaled foot down - right onto Tanwen's toes, as she's overextended in her recovery attempt.


Tanwen brings her shield around as she's toppling onto her bottom again, the shiny surface deflecting the follow-up kick but still causing her to slide across the grass on her rear end. The tip of her tail jabs into the dirt to help arrest her momentum before pushing her back onto her feet as the appendage straightens and thrusts.

"I'm roleplaying! If I say it's a magic missile, you have to pretend it is! And besides, it really is a missile, sort of!" Tanwen protests as she hops on her one uninjured foot. "Ooh, that stings! You don't have to say you're doing an attack if it's the attack you're really doing, but I think some people like to!"

She springs forward with the assistance of her tail, throwing the whole of her weight behind a kick as her injured toes decide to take their retaliation! Well, they're delegating to the foot itself, really.

COMBATSYS: Ishida blocks Tanwen's Strong Kick.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////////     ]
Ishida           0/-------/-----==|===----\-------\0           Tanwen

Ishida grits his teeth as his foot reverberates against Tanwen's shield -- his attacks are having some effect, however mitigated they may be. He does take note of the manner in which Tanwen stops her backward momentum -- the tail may prove to be a bigger concern than he'd previously thought.

He does quirk an eyebrow at the notion of 'roleplaying' though. So, on top of pretending to be Hercules, he has to pretend the shield flying towards him is made of magic as well? He seems to give the matter some thought as Tanwen hops about, but decides to nod with a faint smile.

"I think I will stick to the basics," he comments, as his opponent whirls into a tail-assisted thrust kick. He throws his shoulder and forearm in the path of the kick, bracing his leading arm with the other. Even with his strength conditioning, he finds himself struggling against the amplified attack, his sandals churning up grass and rocks as he's knocked backwards a half-meter.

"I think Hercules is a wrestler," he states with a faint grin. He shakes his numbed arm, working the circulation a bit. "But I am not good at that."

When he raises his hands again, it may be clear that he's ready for another attempt. His feet move swiftly; he rushes forward, sweeping in with a left backfist, then pivoting forward with an underhanded right punch to the abdomen. He'd aim to twist once more, slamming his leading foot into the ground as he thrusts both palms outward: one behind him for a counterbalance, and the other at Tanwen!

COMBATSYS: Tanwen interrupts Clean Slate from Ishida with Dragon Crown EX.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Ishida           0/-------/---====|====---\-------\0           Tanwen

Tanwen teeters a little as she lands back on her bare feet following her kicking effort until her tail can come up to help restore her balance. Ishida's words stick out to her.

'I think Hercules is a wrestler.'

"Oh, okay?" She cocks her head just a bit, but decides to be sporting after a simple little shrug of her shoulders, dropping the shield and sword on the ground and bringing her empty hands up in preparation for grappling. She smiles amicably.

"Alrighty, I'm ready!"

'But I am not good at that.'

"Wait, what -"

Tanwen looks like a dragon caught in headlights as Ishida charges her with fist swinging. The backfist crashes through her arms as she throws them up defensively, partially colliding with her chest, and the follow-up punch smacks into her stomach, doubling her over.

"I thought --" Tanwen coughs out as her eyes shut tightly as Ishida starts to twist.

"-- we were WRESTLING!"

Almost with sheer blind luck, she drops her head down just under Ishida's thrusting palm as she rocks back on her haunches - and then thrusts her own head forward, the curled horns flanking her crown slamming into Ishida's ribs simultaneously with her gold-capped cranium. The impact is hard enough to bowl him over as she charges through him, knocking him flat on his back. Then, to add insult to injury (along with more injury), she staggers to a stop with her feet either side of his head before throwing out both legs and stretching her tail out straight, letting herself drop bottom-first onto Ishida's upper body.

"Trample damage," she explains with a look over her shoulder.

Ishida didn't expect Tanwen to drop her sword and shield onto the ground. He didn't expect a -lot- of what happened in the next few moments, least of all the dragoness' curled horns slamming into his chest. Costume armor or not, those horns are still sharp enough to hurt, and her rebuttal is still forceful enough to land him on the hard-packed ground!

"Ugh!" he ughs -- shutting his eyes as Tanwen casts a shadow on him and lands hard atop his chest! "Nngh..."

Baring his gritted teeth, he pivots onto his side first, pushing himself back to his feet. He dusts himself off -- though it won't do anything to repair the costume armor that's been ravaged in a number of places from the collision with Tanwen's horns.

Drawing in his breath, he steps back a fair distance from Tanwen. "Please... accept my apologies for the confusion."

Once at a safer distance, he plants his feet shoulder-width apart, the back of one hand raised towards Tanwen, another hand held supine at waist level. He draws in his breath cautiously as he watches the dragon, keeping his feet grounded. And he forges a brief smile.

"I do not want to be a 'big meanie.' Hercules... wants these apples. Hercules will be trying to strike you until you are unable to defend herself."

He may be known for charging in, staying close. But Tanwen has proven with that last exchange that she is more than capable of dealing with him at such a range. So he is... pausing to reconsider his approach, for the moment, keeping his gray eyes focused upon her movements.

COMBATSYS: Ishida focuses on his next action.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Ishida           0/-------/----===|====---\-------\0           Tanwen

Tanwen gives a small 'hmmph' of a huff as Ishida apologizes to her. The dragonette has climbed back to her own feet, adjusting the seat of her swimsuit and soothing her tender hip with a grimace before collecting her gladius and shield once more.

"Well, alright. I don't think you're really a big meanie. I was just getting a bit excited, I was. Ladon is going to try and beat Hercules until he's got no more hit points!"

She charges heedlessly forward once more, this time spinning her buckler in a horizontal bashing motion aimed at Ishida's face. If she manages to connect, she'll then try and take advantage of the dazing blow by pulling Ishida around and bending him backwards. If she succeeds, she'd then swing a leg up and over Ishida's head, trapping it between her thighs - and if all goes according to plan, she'd then let herself drop once more, hopefully (for her) driving Ishida's head into the ground underneath her!

COMBATSYS: Ishida blocks Tanwen's Arch Dragon.

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Ishida           0/-------/---====|====---\-------\0           Tanwen

Ishida smiles! It seems the two are able to communicate, despite the odd little differences in nuance in their modes of communication. But, despite his good cheer, the Nara native's brow still shows a little befuddlement at the notion of 'hit points.' Maybe that's just one of those phrases destined to remain lost in translation.

He is a little more sure of himself when it comes to the exchange that follows. Herculida holds his ground as Tanwen leaps in, raising his arms as she swings her buckler at him. He raises his forearms, letting them absorb the brunt of that shield slam. Bone and sinew show themselves to be sturdier than the paint on the costume bracers, which begins to crack and split under the pressure. He sacrifices a step to maintain his balance, but even then, Tanwen is able to start twisting him backwards. When she tries to get her thigh locked around him, though, Ishida's able to block that maneuver. Raising his pinned arms outward lets him pivot out of her grasp before she can complete the hold, at the risk of savaging his arms even further.

Ishida draws back, breathing out through clenched teeth as he pushes aside the throbbing pains in his arms. Still -- the smile is close at hand.

"These must be some good apples, for the Hesperides to employ such a formidable guard..."

After that moment of preparation, he charges in again to close the gap, leading with a punch with his leading hand, then following up with a second punch from his trailing hand. Continuing to advance, he'd throw his shoulder into the fray with an aim to knock Tanwen backwards -- and then he'd give his upper body a break as he twists himself into a rolling sobat kick to send her flying! If, of course, all goes according to plan...

COMBATSYS: Ishida successfully hits Tanwen with The Rock.
- Power hit! -

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Ishida           0/-------/--=====|=======\=------\1           Tanwen

Things don't go quite to plan for Tanwen. Ishida manages to avoid her attempt at establishing dominance, forcing her to abort her plan to drop down and leaving her to stumble for balance instead as he breaks her grasp.

"Oh! What a nice thing to say!" the dragonling remarks with widening eyes and reddening cheeks when Ishida mentions what a formidable guard the apples have. She's suddenly torn inwardly between an urge to reciprocate the kindness of Herculida and the duty to maintain her role as guardian and keep the thief from stealing the prize.

"...But I'll never be a proper dragon if I can't guard a hoard!" she finishes her thought aloud, having forgotten to express the first half of it. Unfortunately, her inner turmoil seems to affect her defensive intuition - the first punch slips past her armaments to connect with her chest, the second smacking into her cheek. She's knocked into a flailing stumble by the shoulder slam, then kicked right off her feet - sent flying -



- straight into one of those half-pillars sticking up from the garden.

"Oof... me head hurts a bit after that, like..." Tanwen says woozily as she pushes herself away from the pillar and dusts her back off with her buckler hand. Then, setting her face with a look of focused determination, she arches her back and flexes her shoulder blades. A pair of red, leathery wings burst forth from her back as she takes on her draconic aspect further, and red scales appear along her cheekbones and chin, as well as her wrists and shoulders.

"I think it's time to get more dragon-y! Here I come!"

And she leaps forward with a flap of her wings, sword arm extended, as if she's going to slash at Ishida with the blunted weapon - but she enters a spin as she goes, instead aiming to fly past Ishida and slap him across the face with her tail in passing!

COMBATSYS: Ishida interrupts Evasive Strike from Tanwen with The Hard Place.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////                    ]
Ishida           0/-------/--=====|>>>>>>>\>>>>>--\1           Tanwen

'I'll never be a proper dragon if I can't guard a hoard!'

Ishida seems to be giving that matter some thought. It's just that the thought comes right on the heels of Tanwen slamming into that half-pillar, which draws a wince of sympathy from the Japanese fighter.

"Forgive me..." is Ishida's quick response. In some respects, the perennial loner has yet to learn his own strength. In others... well, this -is- combat, and there's going to be some bumps and bruises as folks figure out the best way to advance their respective careers. He draws in his breath, giving the dragoness some breathing room for the moment.

And, from this distance, he's treated to a better view of Tanwen's transition back into a more scaly form. He doesn't shy away this time; he grins, appreciating that Tanwen is showing him more of her true colors.

"I am ready," he states, raising his hands in demonstration, his gray eyes locked upon Tanwen's.

And when she swoops in, he proves that statement, stepping backward, preparing to swing his head and upper torso out of the path of that blade. But once the focused Nara native sees the tell-tale twitch of wing muscles, he considers otherwise.

The dragoness' tail slams into the raised triangle formed by his elbow, shoulder, and cheekbone. It stings; he's forced backward a couple steps from the blow. But he's also moving his feet with the blow, in a calculated bid to keep pace with her as she blows past him. He deluges her with a rolling barrage of short, Wing Chun-style punches as she passes, one blow after another.

Ishida knows, however, that she's moving too fast for even his quick footwork to keep up, though -- and before she can get too far away, he switches his strategy up into one last strike: a powerful headbutt to send her veering off-course!

The young dragoness hadn't anticipated the fact that the Japanese teen would actually try and stand up to her swooping tail-slap, let alone return fire with his anti-air-capable punches. They collide with her thighs as she tries to fly past, sending her into a literal tail-spin - until Ishida slams his head into her from below and behind, causing her eyes to go wide with surprise.


The actual collision against a relatively cushioned surface is only a minor factor in the damage to come - it's the headfirst crash into the tree of the Hesperides and subsequent tumble to the ground that leaves Tanwen much worse for air, covered in scuff marks and dirt as she comes to a stop. As she picks herself up, twigs and leaves flutter out of her bronze hair, more lingering in her swimsuit.

"Right," Tanwen pants, her wings flicking and body heaving lightly with each breath. "I think I'm gonna have to get even more dragon-y now."

As she says so, the scales continue to spread further along her shoulders and decolletage and up from her wrists. Her wings flap hard, carrying her up into the air as they swell and strain against the limitations of her hybrid form. She raises sword and shield to either side as faint shimmering waves of heat begin to rise off of her form.

"Alright! It's time for my secret attack!" she announces boldly, before dipping forward to drop into a dive down toward Ishida. As she flies down, flickers of flame start to burst from her person, giving the faint illusion of a shooting star as she plummets downward, aiming to pin Ishida to the ground through his armor using her sword as she'd crash her heated weight down on him. If she succeeds, she'll rear back with her shield arm before crashing it down onto the rocky warrior - which would unleash a massive fiery blast, sending the girl rolling away head-over-heels!

COMBATSYS: Tanwen successfully hits Ishida with Dragon's Descent EX.
?!? Weird Hit! ?!?

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Ishida           1/-------/=======|>>>>---\-------\0           Tanwen

Concern is etched across Ishida's face as Tanwen extricates herself from the grasp of the tree. Pain may be part of the game, but he hadn't considered the damage thorns could wreak upon the dragoness' attire.

He's quick to close in -- but not quickly enough to keep her from taking flight. Stopping short, it's all he can do to stare wide-eyed up at the beauty. It's one thing to have seen her aboard the ship -- but facing off against her is something else entirely.


Her warning of a special attack sees him acting accordingly: he raises his arms in anticipation.

But then he squints -- as sunlight peeks from behind a crowd, glaring right past her shoulder. The harsh contrast between blinding light and the silhouetted dragoness makes it hard for him to judge her angle of attack, and he raises his arms a bit too high! The superheated sword slams right into his armor, knocks him off his feet, and slams a new Ishida-shaped crater into the ground.


The impact looks brutal -- maybe even fatal at first glance -- for the armor has all but collapsed around the bronze blade. But as Ishida's body rocks backwards, the armor pieces separate -- and it becomes much more apparent that the thermoplastic armor just really isn't meant for dealing with heat of that caliber!

But while the sword situation may have a happier ending, the force of the impact is still enough to rumble shockwaves throughout the area, breaking loose stones from nearby pillars. The tree trembles -- loosing one more of its treasured apples, which falls with a *thump* a moment later.

But Tanwen's not done yet -- the shield slams into the costume armor, breaking it away and slamming into Ishida's now red-hot chest! Ishida hisses with pain as the blow slams him further into the widening crater, with earth churning up on either side of him.

... Ishida's still gritting his teeth in agony for a moment afterwards. Tanwen would have enough time to recover before he even stirs -- pressing his elbows into the churned earth. His skin still glowing a bright red hue from the heat, he lifts his head with a look of fierce determination.

"... Now that... that was quite the secret...!"

... And through it all, he's still wanting to fight? Adrenaline is one hell of a drug... Pitching to his side, he pushes himself back to his feet, kicking the discarded costume armor aside. He wasn't a fan of it anyway!

Stomping once into the ground, he pulls his muscles taut, shoving pain to the wayside. "Now that you have shown me your best... allow me to show you my own!"

With that, Ishida takes off running, making a beeline for the pillar nearest Tanwen. Vaulting upwards, he springs off it -- and then triangle-jumps up to intercept her with a wild forearm smash! His hope is that his momentum carries him forward with enough speed to follow that up with a crushing headbutt -- and then a powerful guillotine kick to drive her into the ground!

COMBATSYS: Tanwen Toughs Out Ishida's Fissure King!

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////                    ]
Ishida           0/-------/-------|>>>>---\-------\0           Tanwen

Tanwen is blasted clear of Ishida, sword and shield and all, when the draconic explosion was unleashed, only to roll to a rather undignified stop next to the grilled apple from before. Fortunately, no real harm seems to have actually been inflicted on the dragon girl by her effort - in fact, if anything, she appears oddly rejuvenated. Her eyes fall on the forbidden fruit as she finds herself face to face with it - insofar as apples have faces, anyway - though upside down. She rolls over onto all fours, staring at it for a moment.

"Well, the Hespe-Hespie-/they/ won't mind if I eat this one, they won't," she decides, quickly stuffing it into her mouth whole and crunching into it.

'Now that you have shown me your best... allow me to show you my own!'

The sound of Ishida's voice draws Tanwen's attention, and she turns her neck around to face her head toward him - revealing cheeks puffed up with apple between them and what appears to be a bit of juice dribbling down her chin. Her eyes go wide at the sight of the bare-chested Herculida with his armour eschewed, which intersects with an instant replay of his words two seconds or so earlier in her head.


Whatever her thoughts on the matter may be, they're held back by the policy instilled in her by her human guardian of not speaking with her mouth full, because it's rude.

She stumbles to her feet as he rushes in more-or-less her direction, hunching her shoulders and extending her tail out to stabilize herself as she macerates the mushy apple in her mouth furiously. She stands steady as Ishida flies off the pillar at her.

[Holy smokes! The Rock is coming off the post with a diving forearm smash! But Ultima Dragon is still standing! The Rock follows up with a vicious headbutt! Ultima Dragon has to be seeing stars after that one! OH! And a guillotine kick to seal the deal!]

[But what's this? The crowd are chanting Ultima Dragon's name!]


[She's back on her knees! And - amazing! She's swallowed the apple! She's showing him her tongue! She didn't waste any of it, or talk with her mouth full! No wonder all the kids at home love her!]

"I was going to say..." Tanwen says, wiping her mouth with the back of her forearm, "...that wasn't my best attack, really."

With that, Tanwen's tail suddenly sweeps toward Ishida's leg, the prehensile appendage attempting to latch on. If it does, she'll keep spinning as she rises, aiming to drag Ishida along the ground before tossing him up into the air! If it works, she'll follow up by blowing out a gout of fiery air to engulf her opponent!

[And Ultimo Dragon going for a Dragon's Embrace right out of nowhere!]

Needless to say, all the bits in brackets are only happening in Tanwen's head.

COMBATSYS: Tanwen successfully hits Ishida with Dragon's Embrace.

[                        \\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Ishida           0/-------/-----==|>>>----\-------\0           Tanwen

Ishida joined NFG without any preconceptions of what the experience would amount to. He's fighting a literal dragon -- which is a definite step up from his expectations. But he just... didn't expect to find himself bare-chested, still with that accursed Hercules skirt, linens and sandals, and not a whole lot else -- but here he is.

And Tanwen is... eating the very apples he was interested in.

Ishida's generally been pretty polite and forgiving towards Tanwen. But he just glowers at her now.

"You are taking your guard duty very seriously," he notes. Tanwen may have an audience of thousands calling out her every mood, whereas Ishida only has one voice in his corner: the grumbles of his lamentably empty stomach.

... To be fair, most of that ill humor fades away in the adrenaline-soaked rush of knocking a dragon out of midair. He's surprised it worked -- but he's also a bit surprised it didn't work -better-, as the dragoness makes a show of finishing off that apple through it all.

A small vein begins to bulge on Ishida's forehead, though some measure of his smile returns when she replies.

Oddly... even spiked with adrenaline, he still doesn't see that tail coming until it's too late. Panicking, he starts to jump, but the tail catches hold of Hercules' ankle. The next few seconds are a literal whirlwind for him as he's skipped across the ground -- incurring one painful scrape after another as he's twisted around. And then he's hurled upwards into the air -- and viciously blasted with flames!

Barbecued or not, whatever goes up must eventually come down. With a quick snap kick to the side, the scorched fighter is somehow able to reorient himself, craning his neck for a better view at his dragon opponent as he begins to fall back to earth.

And then, oddly, an idea occurs to him. He shouts out: "Diving kick!"

And then he seeks to drive a kick at her -- just as he said. It might come across as an aggressive strike from the falling kung-fu kickboxer, but as Tanwen mentioned earlier, it's okay to pretend it's another move if you call what it's intended to be.

COMBATSYS: Tanwen fails to interrupt Aggressive Strike from Ishida with Spiral Dragon EX.

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

COMBATSYS: Tanwen can no longer fight.

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

The superheated air swelling Tanwen's cheeks exhausts itself after a couple of moments, leaving her panting as wisps of smoke escape her mouth and nostrils. Clarity slowly returns, reminding Tanwen that she's not really in one of those wrestling matches from the telly, even if she is in pretty much the next closest thing. Her eyes widen as the kung fu fighter recovers from his fiery freefall above her and announces his intentions.

'Diving kick!'
'Diving kick!'
'Diving kick!'

The sound echoes in Tanwen's head - perhaps a sign that she's not really as recovered as she thought - but the reinforcement of repetition helps steel her nerve and assure her of what her response should be. If he's coming down to her, then she has three choices:

1. Get out of the way.
2. Stand her ground.
3. Come up to meet him.

"Time to be brave, Tanwen," the dragon girl tells herself as her sword sweeps back low at her side, the bronze blade glinting in the sunlight, her buckler steady at her other side. Her chest and cheeks swell as she breathes in as deep as she can, rapidly replenishing the air that she used to fuel her last burning breath attack. Then, closing her eyes against the sunlight, she leaps upward, spinning rapidly with her sword extended and shield protecting her chest, exhaling another flamethrower-like gout of fire that traces a blazing spiral in her wake. She places all her hope in the flying anti-air technique...


...but unfortunately, the ascent proves Icarian, as the blind faith strategy proves mistimed, allowing Ishida's kick to hit her right in the head as she's rising to meet him.


The flying dragon gets knocked into a vertical spin to match her horizontal one, sending her limbs whirling chaotically in seemingly every direction before she crashes horns-first to the ground at the base of the tree. At that point, her limbs all seem to seize at once before slumping inertly, causing the dragonette to collapse on her face and knees. She strains after a second or so to lift her face out of the dirt.

"Not... done... like..." she lies, before flopping sideways, grip slackening on her weapon as she ends up in the foetal position.

What goes up must come down. Tanwen may have wings to allow her to ascend from the earth, but Ishida's bound by the laws of gravity, and as his path downward is... towards Tanwen, that makes his decision of attack a simple one.

Of course, by the time he realizes that his foot is on track to collide with the Welsh dragoness' head, it's a bit too late to veer from that course. "--ulp!"

The collision is... not a pretty one, with Tanwen spinning one way and Ishida a different way. But even as he spins, Ishida seems to have some... sense of which way 'down' is, and when he crashes down, he manages to slow his fall with outstretched fingertips, so that he only tumbles three times across the grass and rocks before coming to a complete stop.

Panting, he pushes himself back to his feet. His flame-reddened flesh is pockmarked with sprigs of grass, clods of dirt, and a few rocks. As he rises, his first look is cast towards his fierce opponent. He starts to brush the kibble free from his shoulders and sides as he approaches. And once he sees how she's lying... he immediately starts looking out for her protector.

"... Uh... do you think Winn has a healing potion for you, Lady Ta..., er, Lady Ladon...?" He smiles faintly, staying on guard in case she might decide to pay him back for his so-called 'sneak attack' at the start of the fight.

But, before he can say another line, his stomach lets out a mighty gurgle -- drawing an embarassed laugh from the Nara native.

"You fought valiantly, Lady Ladon -- and you do your patrons a great honor. In thanks for your valor, I will be taking just four apples for my prize." He bows to Tanwen, formally at the waist. ... As formally as he can, being left without any upper-body armor at all. "I would not want you to suffer the wrath of the Hesperides unduly."

Once Tanwen is seen to, Hercules will race off to collect his snack as a reward!

COMBATSYS: Ishida takes no action.

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

COMBATSYS: Ishida has ended the fight here.

Log created on 10:27:57 03/07/2024 by Ishida, and last modified on 03:55:27 03/16/2024.