NFG Season Two - Odyssey R3 - Show No Mercy

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Description: The fearsome Chimera with the fore of a lion, the middle of a goat and the hind of a snake has been running rampage and scaring the local residents and visitors of tourist town Antalya. Gutsy slayer, Bellerophon has been hired to put a stop to her antics before she can get any further out of control.

Apparently Albert has been supposed to be committing to some kind of cosplays for his fights in these matches?

He somehow managed to only hear about this just recently, after just donning his usual knight-like outfit for his previous matches. Frankly, the boy isn't really entirely understanding of the setups given to him either by the officials arranging the fights for him.

Eventually someone just told him 'just think of it as roleplay', and... well, he accepted that answer. But still, even after he was given an explanation of the 'role' he was supposed to play, he's... not that understanding of it still. He barely knows a thing about greek mythology, beyond what's depicted in movies and stuff! But still. He is committed to try, now.

And come the nearing of the arranged starting time for his next battle, a trail of a dust cloud rises up along the streets of Antalya, tracing the path of someone somehow managing to sprint through with such intensity as to actually kick up that much dust from what *must* be a reasonably clean-kept district.

The dust cloud makes it's way all the way through to the center of the tourist -attraction of a town, into the very center -- and the striking Republic Square. There, it stops-- though not until the edges of it come licking at the monument bearing a statue of a figure on horseback. Just enough to, for a few seconds, hide the exact features of a figure who has suddenly leaped up onto the base the monument.

"I HEAR A GREAT BEAST HAS INVADED!" a boisterous male voice echoes from within. "BUT HAVE NO FEAR!!"

As the dust dissipates, to reveal the recognizable face of one of the NFG contestants. But, Albert's not wearing his usual cheap replica of a knight armor this time. No, he is clad in a dark-red, robe-like tunic wrapped about him in the style of ancient greek heroes which... frankly, the way it has been coiled about one shoulder, leaves a rather significant part of his positively chiseled upper body exposed. His legs too, for that matter, from mid-thigh down, with only sandals upon his bare feet. Yes, this is what he concluded a classical greek hero to appear as, according to a very quick and frankly absent-minded internet search.

But without any care for how ridicilous he might appear (and exhibitionistic depending on who you ask), the young german man still bears a million-kilowatt grin upon his face, and hoists his (edgeless and fake) sword up over his sword triumphantly.


As fate would have it, this fair city has indeed fallen prey to the predation of a great and terrible beast! With deadly fang and wicked claw, it has stalked the streets for the past several hours, roving wantonly through the markets to feed its mighty hunger! A creature of twisted appearance, it sports the head of a ferocious lion, the bottomless stomach of a brazen goat, and a writhing snake as its tail!

No man dare face this monstrous foe, lest its big cute eyes render them powerless!

No warrior's mettle holds fast in the presence of its... adorable purring!

Not even a legendary hero could stand up to the... incredible fuzziness... of its tail?

"I have to say," Dr. Maeda sighs, watching with idle bemusement as her young ward devours what must be her tenth meal in the last two hours as if it has she has been starving for at least a week. "It's a good thing the organizers agreed to pick up the tab for your supplies. I don't think my poor bank account would have survived much more of this."

Turning her head from a large plate of some local delicacy, something that included a lot of meat and spices, Max turns to stare up at her mother with a pair of wide unblinking eyes. Her mouth still too full to speak, she chews noisily for several seconds before swallowing, a visible lump traveling down her throat as if she were a living cartoon character. A brilliant smile spread across her face, her long fluffy purple tail wagging at her back cutely.

"Well, there isn't enough seithr here for me, is there? I have to make sure my energy levels are high so I can do my best!"

The scientist attempts to maintain her dour expression but it quickly melts into an acquiescent smirk in the face of such innocent enthusiasm. For all her attempts to remain cold and professional, the Gear always managed to find some way to chip away at that stone heart of hers. While she would never go so far as to consider herself the creature's mother, despite that moniker being applied to her by Max, she would be lying to say that there hasn't been a unique form of pleasure to be taken from nurturing this young life form to maturity.

"Indeed. It shouldn't be much longer before he..."

Finishing her sentence proves unnecessary as the would-be hero in question announces his arrival with roughly the same cacophony of a train blasting through the middle of town. Max's floppy feline ears, more akin to those of a panther than a house cat, perk up at the noisy shouting. Her eyes go wide, the thin slits of her transformed pupils dilating down to near vertical lines like a pair of exclamation points. Even her tail goes rigid, standing up straight like she was hit by a bolt of electricity.

There is a brief moment of heavy silence as Albert's voice fades away, the challenge of his bellowed call unspoken but obvious. Turning back to her half finished plate of food, Max shoves both of her fuzzy hands into the pile of vittles and shovels as much of it as she can into her mouth in a single motion. With cheeks bulging like a squirrel freshly returning from a foraging expedition, the small girl leaps from her seat and bounds up onto the roof of the nearest building, scampering up the stone wall as easily as a cockroach.

She vaguely hears her mother yelling something after her but she doesn't bother to stop and find out what she said. There's battle afoot! And after a sleepy no-show and a bizarre forfeit, Max isn't about to let this chance slip away from her!

The sound of the 'beast' approaching might very well go unnoticed by her would-be slayer. The Gear's cat-like limbs grant her not only incredible strength and agility but also uncanny stealth as well. The soft pads upon her palms and the soles of her feet absorb almost all of the sound that her rapid transit creates as she darts from rooftop to rooftop taking the most direct route possible to the source of that challenge.

When she finally arrives at her destination, Max shifts from an outright sprint to a stealthy slink, tiptoe-ing her way up to the edge of the roof nearest the massive statue. She lifts her head slowly over the lip, peering clandestinely down at the 'knight' who has come to face her in mortal combat. It would probably be more fair for her to announce herself properly, maybe leap down dramatically from on high to roar and snarl like a proper monster! But she has a far more amusing idea...

Moving slow and quiet, making every attempt to avoid being detected, the Gear slithers her way down the side of the building and into a nearby alley. From there she presses herself low to the ground and starts to slink her way towards Albert's back, moving from cover to cover, hiding behind benches and shrubbery or whatever else might offer her enough concealment to avoid being spotted.

When at last she finds herself close enough, Max crouches down low on her haunches, wiggling her bottom as energy starts to build up in her legs. Her lips peel back in a wide grin as she pictures to look of utter surprise that her prey is certain to have on his face. Then, when the moment is right, she explodes from cover in a wild pounce that sends her on a direct collision course with Albert's center mass.


Honestly, Albert was expecting there to be an immediate sighting of a monster once he made his boisterous entrance, but... there's nothing. He does stay completely still with his sword raised up for a good moment longer, before the persisting silence starts getting, frankly, kind of suspicious, and he thus lowers the fake weapon instead.

"Um... So like..." The german boy mumbles, as if expecting there to actually be someone who could respond to his bemused concerns.

Before he can fully voice all of that, though, suddenly! There's a ferocious growl off from his side!


He manages to react just in time to turn that way, and--


Did cannonball just collide with his chest?! The robe-clad 'knight' practically folds over above the feline projectile slamming into him, his feet comically flying off the ground as he's sent back just enough to be, in turn, falling completely off of the statue he had been using as a pedestal.

And down onto the ground with a *THUMP* that echoes ecross the square.

"Buhhh..." The German groans out, rubbing one hand over his forehead while he's still recoiling from his back colliding onto the ground that has actually cracked faintly underneath his weight -- and yet he seems to be otherwise, uh... no worse for wear, somehow. It's only a few seconds after the landing that he properly gets the sense for where he has ended up -- and the feline girl responsible for this likely on top of him.

"... Hi there?"

Most of Max's life has been spent away from the public eye. When the Gear rebellion forced the United Nations to shutter the doors on the entire project, Dr. Maeda had retreated to a family estate hidden away in the mountains of Europe. Most of her former colleagues simply assumed she had retired in disgrace, her reputation stained by association with such a contentious body of work. Nor was she inclined to disabuse them of this notion, even if the truth was quite different.

She had smuggled the prototype Gear that represented her life's work out at the last moment. Keeping the bio weapon's existence a secret was of utmost priority. And she had succeeded, for the most part, in spite of Max's persistent attempts to undermine that secrecy. Though she couldn't blame the young thing for her curiosity, it threatened to expose her existence more times than she cared to remember.

The primary culprit for these unwanted encounters came about, ironically, due to the remoteness of her estate. Supplies needed to be delivered on a constant basis, both to fuel her continued research and to feed the girl's nigh bottomless stomach. Seithr would have been the preferred method of sustenance - it was, after all, what she was designed to eat. However, with the Librarium's expanding power base in the aftermath of repeated supernatural disasters, getting her hands on magical power supplies without being noticed became practically impossible. So, mundane fodder it was.

The scientist had tried to keep such deliveries away from Max's notice, meeting with some mild success at first. However, as the Gear grew and learned, her ability to notice when something was amiss grew as well. It wasn't long before she started to question where all of these mountains of supplies were coming from. From there, it was only a matter of time before she learned of the deliveries and - more importantly - the other humans who came with them.

Overcome with curiosity and her own mischievous nature, Max couldn't help but lay ambush to these strange men as they unloaded their delivery truck. The looks of complete surprise and fear as she tackled them to the ground were absolutely hilarious. Naturally, she was only playing with them! Her mother had already instilled a basic respect for life into her such that she wasn't going to casually slaughter the first new people she's ever met. Besides, if she killed them all, who would bring her more delicious food?

Though he couldn't possibly be aware of it, those years of terrorizing the hapless truckers make his own surprise encounter far less painful than it otherwise could have been. Max slams into his chest, her massive fuzzy hands driving him down towards the ground in what promises to be a brutal impact. However, as they fall, she quickly shifts one of her massive paws up to back of his head, shielding it from smashing into the hard pavement. Another swift adjustment sees the Gear curl up slightly, pulling the terrified squire's head against her shoulder so that when they both hit the ground the two of them go rolling like a tumbleweed, dispersing the otherwise bone-shattering impact into a mere tooth-rattling thud.

A couple of tumbles later the two flop to a halt, one atop the other. Max peers down at the dazed young warrior, her expression one of thorough amusement at her own antics. Her eyes narrow slightly at the confused greeting, her smirk growing ever more pronounced by his unusual response.


The Gear pulls her hand out from under Albert's head, letting it thunk softly on the ground as she lifts her paw up in greeting. While he had been present at the Mermaid when she had revealed her transformative powers in response to a threat against her mother, this is the boy's first time getting a good close look at the girl in all her zoanthropic glory.

Wide almond-shaped eyes stare at him with an unblinking gaze, bright pools of neon fuchsia split down the middle by thin feline pupils. The hint of long sharp fangs can be seen peeking shyly out from beneath her wide smirk. The big fuzzy ears, round and folded down, protrude out from the side of her head like those of a wild cat.

The Gear's limbs stand out as being particularly monstrous, larger than any human's by far. Thick cords of bulging muscle inflate her biceps and forearms to almost comical size, her massive paws sharing more resemblance with the giant mitts of a gorilla than a cat. Of course, the feline influence of her chimeric form cannot go without being noticed. Large pads of soft flesh cover her palm and the tips of her fingers and no great ape has ever been found to sport the wicked three inch claws of black bone that protrude from each meaty digit.

The final flourish to this terrible beast which has beset him is, of course, her tail. Notable not for its feline properties at this point, as her cat-like nature has been well-established, but rather the large snake head that rests upon its tip. At quick glance one could be forgiven for mistaking it for an actual living serpent but upon closer inspection its true nature is revealed as little more than a piece of plastic crafted in one's scaly image. In order to better play her role as the great and terrible chimera of legend, it appears as if the girl has simply fastened the head of a toy snake to her tail like some kind of morbid Christmas ornament. The decoration's large googly eyes rattle around as her tail wiggles happily creating an almost rattlesnake-esque noise in close proximity.

"I'm a scary monster," Max declares happily, lifting both paws into the air to flex her claws at the knight upon who she is sitting. "Rawr!"

Albert did remember the name 'Max' in all fairnesd. And he did remember a small girl tied to that name.

And yet he still somehow feels surprised over this being what he has come to encounter here today. It shows in the way the young knight stares with wide-eyed bemusement at the small, felinid zoanothrope... Though admittedly, it takes perhaps less time than it should with any reasonable person for his expression to warm up again.

Look, the arms and the claws are a pretty visible and potentially immediate threat. But the endlessly well-meaning and frankly kind of naive german boy ends up seeing just those soft toebeans on the otherwise potentially-menacing pawd, and the positively fuzzy ears.

And for that matter, the very young girl they are attached to.

"...You sure are," Albert says, with the same kind of tone one would use to encourage a small child. He even wrigglys one arm out from underneath himself so he can reach up and pat the girl atop her head, with just a little ruffling motion over her hair and the feline ears.

"Um. Can you get off for a second though?"

The 'monster' seems quite pleased at receiving verbal confirmation of her terrifying status. Her tail flicks from side to side with a sudden burst of energy, googly snake eyes a-rattling like a pair of maracas. Her mother tends to be much less receptive to playing games, either berating her for being disruptive or giving her a quick look before going back to her work.

Work, work, work, that's all she ever seems to do! This contest has been a fantastic opportunity to drag her mother away from all that boring stuff and explore the world. Without her computers and laboratory to distract her, the scientist has had no choice but to participate more in Max's daily antics. One would think such a prospect akin to drinking sour milk judging by the doctor's usual expression but the Gear knows her well enough to tell that she's been enjoying the vacation despite the hiccups that have assailed their efforts thus far.

Even so, her mother hasn't the constitution to handle this sort of rough-housing, and Max would sooner gnaw off one of her arms than bring actual harm to the woman who raised her. So all of that boundless energy and enthusiasm tends to get bottled up until she finds a more appropriate outlet. Today that outlet is her sparring match - or more specifically, the poor sap chosen to be her playmate! Lucky him!

However, as the young knight wrangles his arm free and reaches up towards the top of her head, the Gear suddenly freezes. Eyes wide, fur bristling, she stares at the hand slowly ascending towards her spiky pink hair as if it were a viper preparing to strike. It takes a focused effort for her to fight back the urge to slash that offending appendage into ribbons. To Albert, it would seem as if the girl has simply gone unnaturally still. A bit strange and unnerving perhaps but nothing that should cause immediate alarm.

Max's slitted eyes follow the hand all the way up, naught but her narrow irises moving a centimeter, until it comes to rest atop her head. The ruffling of her hair earns him little response; however, when his fingers shift to the side to brush across the tops of her fuzzy ears she practically melts into a boneless heap.

Tipping sideways, Max flops over onto the ground without a shred of grace like a startled goat. Her eyes half close and a deep buzzing purr drifts out of her mouth, her back arching with languid pleasure at the unfamiliar sensation. Her tail continues to swish about, lazily now, as if she just found a particularly nice warm spot in the sun to take a nap.

It might very well be more evidence of Albert being rather well-believing in all things, to not even consider the possible threat of his arm getting assaulted when his hand is reached out.

But be as it may, he might not have expected the girl to react in such a way. And that does make him realize that she is, in fact, even more cat-like than he might have expected. At least her effectively dripping off of him into a purring heap does allow him to sit himself up again. Peering down at Max from his now much-more upright posture, he tilts his head curiously. His hand does start reaching out again with the temptation to subject the fluffy ears to further scritching attention--

...But then he thinks better of it. That... would be weird. It would be weird, right?

"Well!" He chimes out, planting one palm down against the ground with the full intention of pushing himself up to standing. "You ready? If you need a minute that's cool too!"

It takes the girl a minute to recover her senses and shake off the dazed look. No one has ever touched her ears before! Then again, not many people have ever had the chance. She doesn't exactly hang around many humans and rarely while fully transformed. What a strange and wonderful sensation.

A long drawn out sigh of exasperation announces the arrival of Max's mother onto the scene. With arms crossed, Dr. Maeda regards the two youths with the look of someone who just bit down on a fresh slice of lemon. The scientist's ire is directed at Albert in particular, as if she just caught him doing something particularly uncouth.

"Wonderful. Three and a half years I managed to avoid touching her ears. Now look at her. Purring like a... common house cat!"

The woman pinches the bridge of her nose and rubs slowly, sighing again, this one laden with parental disappointment.

"Get off the ground, young lady. You're a bio weapon, not an alley cat."

Max sobers up quickly, scrambling back to her feet. She stares up at her mother with an innocent look, unsure of why exactly she's so upset. Did she do something bad? Was having her ears touched some sort of taboo? No one told her that! People have to tell her these things!

The small girl's eyes shift sideways to peer at Albert suspiciously. She lifts one of her massive paws, pointing an accusatory claw at the toga clad wanna-be hero.

"He did it," she says flatly, ratting him out without a hint of remorse.


Albert doesn't seem entirely sure what he actually did wrong, but he can sense scolding when he hears it! And it immediately makes him snap upright with a shiver jolting across his spine!

Just like that, he stares at Maeda as if though she were a teacher who just caught him and his friend breaking several rules of the school property during recess. And to make matters worse ,said friend is... telling on him?!

"Et tu?!"

But his own acknowledgement of guilt put aside, something does bother him, and he actually gives a vaguely pouting frown to the way of the scientist.

"Um... Do you have to call her that, though?" He asks. "I mean..."

He lets his words linger, unfinished, in the air for a moment, while he turns to give a sidelong and downward look at Max. Even in spite of her more or less pointing an accusatory finger (or, well, claw) at him, he actually gives a faint smile down that way before looking back to her mother figure.

"She looks like a person to me."

Albert's seemingly innocent statement draws the scientist's attention. She peers at him questioningly, either trying to decide if he was serious or simply making a joke. Eventually she seems to settle on believing that he made the comment in earnest and some of the tension bleeds out of her stance, her disapproving frown steadily shifting to a more neutral line.

"An admirable sentiment, young man," she says, though her voice carries no overt hint of approval in its tone. She sounds instead like a college professor who has just heard a these proposed by one of her students and is preparing to explain, in detail, why he is wrong.

"And one that I hope to foster among the rest of humanity, in time. However," she adds, drawing the word out with a pregnant pause at the end as if to add extra dramatic tension to her response. "It is important that you understand that she is -not- a person. Not yet, any way."

Dr. Maeda's gaze shifts over to the young Gear who stares back at her with the same unblinking wide-eyed stare that she always has. It is both unsettling and frustrating, both for its inhuman intensity and her utter inability to read any of the girl's emotions. It has long since been believed that eyes are the window to a human's soul. Gazing into the depths of those vast neon oceans makes it clear that the creature staring back at her is utterly lacking one. Max is naught more than a machine; one built of bone and sinew rather than silicon and wires perhaps, but a machine none-the-less. It is only through her own tireless efforts to teach this killing weapon to behave in a manner that goes against her own nature that she can have such civil interactions at all. Even so, she did not miss the murderous instinct that manifested in the girl when the foolish knight attempt to... to /pet/ her, as if she were naught more than an oversized tabby!

If she takes any offense at being labeled less than human, Max shows no sign of it. Her mother has made it quite clear what stance she takes on the Gear's status as a person and gone through great lengths to impress upon her the trials she will have to overcome to prove herself worthy of that title. Already she has encountered the bias that humanity has for her kind in the few short weeks since venturing beyond the bounds of her small forest kingdom. Albert's reaction to her 'playfulness' is most certainly not the norm. Usually there's a lot more screaming and panic.

Dr. Maeda sighs again, pondering how to proceed. People like the would-be knight are important to the process of humanizing the Gear. However, his naive acceptance of her nature is closer to what she needs near the end of the journey, after Max has learned how to understand and control her own violent nature. Right now there ought to be a healthy amount of respect and wariness from both sides - yet between the two of them there seems to be none. Dangerous - but potentially useful as well.

"In any case, please be more mindful of your actions. Max is here to learn how to control her baser instincts. Rubbing her ears might seem innocent enough but her reaction was born out of the animal DNA within her, not the human. The more... in tune, for lack of a better explanation, she is with her bestial side the more likely she is to succumb to those instincts during -other- situations. Like when she's trying to remember that she is engaging in a mock battle designed for entertain purposes and should refrain from indulging in her innate urge to disembowel you."

The scientist's eyes open halfway and she gives Albert a meaningful look.


Albert does at least seem to be listening politely.

But... Truth be told, he doesn't entirely seem as though what is being said is really sinking in properly. Sure, he does at least kind of get the propriety part of not just randomly rubbing the girl's ears out of the blue much lile he probably shouldn't be getting handsy... uh, in other ways with girls his age. But all this talk about DNA and animal instincts and stuff?

All that jusy kind of makes the wannabe-knight's eyes glaze over helplessly. He was never very good at maintaining attention in the classroom either.

He doesn't look any morr on the level by the time the scientist asks if he understands everything said to him.


Tilting his head to one side, the boy's expression twists like that of a student who had absolutely not been listening being called on to answer some question right in the middle of the classroom.


He absolutely does not.

"Well!" he suddenly declared, snapping himself to facing Max herself. "I don't think there's anything to worry about! I don't wanna hurt her either! Not that I probably could--"

The sword in his hand is then struck down against his own thigh, to showcase just how much of an edge it has. Which is yo say, absolutely none at all. He may as well be wielding a fancy club. "See?"

He takes but a step back then, bending his knees just enough to slightly lower his stance, while the fake sword is held up at level with his own shoulder and pointed at the catgirl, in a very gladiator-esque posture, while a playful tone edges into his voice.

"Are ye ready, thy fearesome beast?"

Dr. Maeda has dealt with more than enough laymen to realize when her wisdom is flying right over someone's head. The young scientist sighs and rubs the bridge of her nose again. Right, he's just some dumb kid barely old enough to have graduated high school. Probably not one that was earning honors ribbons by the look of it either. Dumb it down, keep it simple.

"Just... try not to get her too worked up, okay?"

If -that- isn't easy enough for him to understand it might be a kindness for Max to shred him into confetti because life is going to do a lot worse. Either way, it seems that he's done listening to her. The young doctor lingers for a few moments as Albert pointedly turns away from her to give challenge to the Gear. Then stuffing her hands into the pockets of her labcoat, she wanders off to the side where the NFG camera crew has already settled in to broadcast the final round.

Max is far more attentive to her mother's lecturing, if only out of habit. However, when the knight whips around to face her with a sudden shout, her neon eyes snap to the motion like a magnet. While she seems quite keen on watching the demonstration of his faux blade's effectiveness, his reassurance almost earns a snort of contempt from the scientist. The Gear's skin is all but impervious to small caliber bullets. He could be swinging a diamond-edged titanium katana at her and she wouldn't be in terrible danger of much more than a few shallow cuts.

Fortunately, Max proves far less dismissive than her caretaker. She offers a wide smile in reply to the thoughtfulness on display, her tail flicking noisily at her back. Perhaps the fact that she's the one going to be on the receiving end of any potential stabbings makes the sentiment more meaningful.

When Albert moves to take up a fighting stance the Gear is quick to get back into character. With a playful growl, she crouches in place and performs a mighty back flip that sends the small girl sailing half a dozen feet away. Landing on all fours, she digs her large talons into the pavement, gouging several thin lines through the cement with ease. Her shoulders hunch up, huge and bulging with heavy muscle, and she puffs up her chest, trying to look as large and imposing as possible.

"Grr! I'll gnaw upon thy bones, hero!"

She lifts her tail, flicking the tip rapidly to make the snake's googly eyes rattle menacingly. Hopefully she's doing a good job. All her knowledge about monsters comes from movies and the Internet. Most of those sources suggest she should be doing a lot of killing right now but her mother specifically said no disemboweling. Maybe she should toss a few spectators around to establish her villain cred...

"Thou will try!" Comes the faux-knight's reply, in... well, honestly, probably kind of a poor attempt at keeping up the Ye Olde lingo of what he apparently considers to be part of his assumed character.

But be as it may, he is grinning wide at the 'beast' before him, all playful and bright even with all the transformative muscle bulging along Max's arms in what should probably be considered a threat.

But the german's just getting himself pumped up for it all.

"Let's go!!"

The declaration comes with a sudden burst of motion. Like all the energy that had been built up into the boy is suddenly getting released, he's practically springing forth into a long - albeit low - leap. One that guides his feet right ahead of him in the air, to land in on the stone-paved ground just before Max proper, and...

Well. In a maneuver that is probably *hell* on the poor, bare undersides of his legs, he actually manages to bring his body sliding forward shockingly rapidly, feet-forward and all, with what appears to be the intention to use himself as some kind of sliding projectile to slam into and through the catgirl's legs.

...Has he been watching footage of the First King of Illyria fighting, perhaps? That looks *suspiciously* similiar to one of his more well-known maneuvers. Just, well. Without the lightning.

COMBATSYS: Albert has joined the fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Albert           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0              Max

COMBATSYS: Max has left the fight here.

[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Albert           0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Albert has ended the fight here.

COMBATSYS: Max has started a fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Max              0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Albert has joined the fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Albert           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0              Max

COMBATSYS: Max blocks Albert's Gutsy Slide!.

[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Albert           0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0              Max

As she is the villain in this scenario, it is only proper that Max allow her heroic foe to make the first strike. That and she prefers to take things slow and methodical. Her mother explained that such meticulous attention to detail and patience are byproducts of her intended purpose, which was apparently to stalk and hunt down elite darkstalkers. Against such opponents, knowing their capabilities and habits was essential to determining the best moment to strike. Preferably, she would dispatch such monsters from ambush and finish them off before ever having to worry about a potentially messy brawl, but knowing how to handle a skilled fighter in the event that things don't go to plan was important to survival rates.

Fortunately, neither of the fighters in this particular battle have to worry about surviving the encounter. Her mother wanted this contest to be a place for her to show the world that Gears can be more than blood-thirsty killers. This opens up the novel opportunity for the girl to fool around rather than treat every attack against her as a threat to her existence. And there's very little that Max enjoys more than goofing off!

Thus, as Albert starts to sprint at her in an extremely obvious and telegraphed wind-up for some sort of tackle or lunge, the terrifying chimera simply holds her ground rather than doing the equally obvious counter of simply stepping out of his way. Without the massive physical might or bulk of the knight's inspiration to back up his homage the sliding tackle proves significantly less devastating.

Max's massive arms absorb the impact with ease, the thick muscle of her oversized limbs feeling more akin to kicking a slab of granite than anything soft and furry. However, with her combat transformation restricted to its lowest level, the blow is enough to make her recoil with a high-pitched yowl.

"Gwah! It will take more than that to defeat me, human!"

Twice now Max has been stood up, robbing her of the chance to show the world what a Gear can do. Now that she's finally got the opportunity, she doesn't plan on holding back on the flashy stuff!

Leaning forward on her meaty knuckles, the small girl kicks off the pavement and sends herself tail over teakettle into what looks to be a forward roll. Said roll rapidly evolves from a simple tumble into something far more dangerous as Max's body starts to spin in place with the ferocity of a revving buzzsaw. Crackling 'blades' of bright fuchsia power engulf the bio-weapon and she explodes forward in a sudden burst of speed, ripping through the pavement like Sonic the Hedgehog on steroids.

COMBATSYS: Albert blocks Max's Buzzclaw.

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Albert           0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0              Max

Albert does bounce off almost right away, in a surprising display of agility that sees him springing in a backflip from the slide right back onto his feet a couple meters away from Max again.

"I would hope so!" He calls back to Max, with a toothy grin. "What kind of tale would it be if the fight ended right away?"

Well. A grand tale of a heroic fight he asks for, and one he seems to be poised to get too. The would-be knight looks on with confusion when the catgirl flips over herself like a small child rolling playfully along the ground. Is this some kind of feint tactic? Or...


The answer becomes clear enough for even someone as dim as him when that rolling grows exponentially faster, and a spiral of pain comes sawing it's way towards him across the ground.


But Albert's quick to poise his sword in front of him, with his free hand pressing against the blunt slant of the blade to further brace himself as that buzzing spiral comes collinding against it. Fake the sword might be, but it proves to be sturdy enough to not simply snap from that impact. And Albert, for that matter, proves to be shockingly sturdy, too: strong muscles flex along his legs as he presses himself back against the ground, grunting with great effort while he manages to keep, just by that basic guard alone, the buzzsaw at bay instead of bowling straight over him.

"You're like-- nnnghh--" The german boy manages amidst his groan of exertion, gritting his teeth together while he fights to maintain his grip and posture both. "...out of a videogame!"

Guess he at least knows about Sonic, then.


Finally managing to adjust his stance enough to move with at least some confidence, he suddenly steps to the side, grunting as the tail end of Max's momentum whips against one of his bracing arms. But with taht motion, he's pivoting along one foot too, and spinning himself along the catgirl's side -- and there, swiping his 'sword' in towards what he at least perceives to be the side of the rapidly-spinning catgirl.

COMBATSYS: Max endures Albert's Quick Strike.

[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Albert           0/-------/-----==|===----\-------\0              Max

Oooh, a video game! Max has heard of those! Her mother was very adamant that she never bother with them, however. Something about being a massive waste of time and made for children. So she can't say for sure if being compared to a video game character is accurate or not but it sure sounds neat!

Eventually, the grinding clash comes to a conclusion as the knight accurately surmises that the best chance of not getting turned into a skid mark is to divert the momentum of the monster's spin - i.e. get out of the way of the runaway tire from Hell. Max notices his plan almost immediately and proves that her control over the magical dynamo powering her improbable spinning is quite strong. The glowing energy around her body fades mid-motion as she uncoils to flop down into a low crouch after only zooming a couple of feet past the knight. The transition is quick but not enough so that she can get out of the way of his parting swat at her side.

Well, when life gives you lemons, you make lemon aid.

Or, in this case, when Albert slaps the flat of his blade against the girl's flank she whirls with the blow and uses it add a little spice on a quick retort. One of the Gear's gorilla-sized whompers swings out in a wide swath through the air, giving the knight five potential reasons to regret underestimating her maneuverability and quick reflexes.

"Hah, is that all you've got?!"

COMBATSYS: Albert blocks Max's Hammerpaw.

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Albert           0/-------/---====|===----\-------\0              Max


Albert's head visibly perks with surprise when Max spins at the tail end of his swipe. And more importantly at the enormous mitten that comes swinging in at the end of said spin. Well, he didn't expect the renewed assault to come along that quickly.

But he's not exactly slow either, as it turns out.

The would-be-hero's free left arm sweeps up, fist pointed directly up and thickly-muscled forearm held directly interposed besides his upper body.


The blow impacts against that arm with powerful enough force for the sound to echo all across the square, and enough to push the poor knight back, but...

Shockingly, he remains upright.

Yes, his sandal-clad feet skid along the stonework of the ground beneath them, but even amidst that skid he remains sturdy and unwavering, without even a hint of a sway in his posture. Though after the two or so feet of skidding along, he does give his left arm a quick shake, his left eye squinting nearly shut from some leftover sting while he does.

"Just not even worked up yet!"

A sudden stomp forward carries him right back after Max, a burst of energy carried from the powerful muscles in his limbs that makes the distance she managed to push him away by seem barely anything at all. The stomping foot stamps down hard, used as an anchor to sweep and pivot his body further forward--

Only for his other foot to simply swipe low for one of the feline girl's ankles in what amounts for continued prodding while he works to re-assume and maintain his proximity to her.


COMBATSYS: Max blocks Albert's Light Kick.

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Albert           0/-------/---====|====---\-------\0              Max

Once again the tiny terror stands her ground in the face of the knight's brave assault, weathering the blow by hiding behind the thick shield of her arms. His attempt to sweep her at her feet proves a fruitless endeavor, the Gear's low posture and reaction speed allowing her to easily deflect the strike and keep him at a comfortable distance. She snarls at him again, sharp teeth briefly, but the grin on her face makes it obvious that she's just playing around.

"Hah! Thy feeble blows are but the buzzing of flies to me! Take this, hero!"

Lifting both of her massive paws up over her head, Max clenches them into a pair of fuzzy hammers. An appropriate dramatic pause is given as she winds up for a heavy strike - all the movies she's watched indicate this is the right thing to do for entertainment purposes. She rattles her tail at him menacingly for extra effect!

Since the knight seems so keen on remaining within striking distance, it doesn't take much more than a quick lunge to send her careening into his danger zone. The twin meat meteors come down in a wild swing, dropping like a purple anvil on top of her foe as she gives a roar of challenge!

Well... it's more like a meow of challenge but the intent is there!

COMBATSYS: Albert interrupts Fierce Impact from Max with Gutsy Headbutt! EX.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Albert           0/-------/--=====|=======\-------\0              Max

Albert does not, indeed, try to back away even when the terrifying chimera(?) so obviously rears it's boulder-sized arms back for what cna only be expected to be an utterly destructive strike. He does raise his eyes to follow their arc that brings them above him with a hint of worry, but he does not back away, until the last second...

Wait, actually no. His feet are still unmoving. The only thing that moves back is his upper body, pitching his head and shoulders into a backward lean--


Only to suddenly snap back forward again, swinging practically his whole body in right towards the falling, fuzzy boulders. Not so much trying to avoid them as outright slamming his forehead straight into center of one paw.

It goes against all sense of survivability.

And yet, the force at which Albert's apparently absurdly thick skull slams into that paw actually halts it's ascent altogether, and carries a stinging force through the limb that reaches all the way to Max's shoulder. Such force that it is actually enough to shove not just the limb but the girl it is attached to away before they get their proper chance to turn the faux-knight into a pancake.


Albert *does* wobble back a bit after that, and even rub one hand over his forehead. Still, he grins and calls out to her, "How's that for a fly!"

For someone who so clearly enjoys the looks of terror and surprise she creates with her antics, Max's own reaction to the unexpected proves rather dramatic.

She had expected the human to show fear in the face of imminent bone-shattering impact. The obvious wind-up was an opportunity for Albert to heroically avoid the ponderous blow or perhaps use his blade to shield himself in another epic clash. That tended to be what happens in the movies, after all! And this contest is ultimately meant to be a form of entertainment for the spectators. Apparently she needs to watch more things!

Rather than retreat in the face of danger, the knight inserts -his- face square into it! The timing of the counter-attack proves impeccable. Cranium and claw collide with a resounding whump that turns the kinetic energy on its heels, sending a bone-rattling shockwave back into the Gear's arms. Max's eyes go wide as dinner plates, first in utter surprise at the wild recklessness on display followed quickly by pain as she stumbles backwards from the thunderous impact.


Letting out a feline yowl, the small girl teeters away and lands with a soft thud on her backside. Her ferocious expression turns to one of child-like confusion as she looks at her massive mitts, shaking them gently to lessen the aching bruise they now sport. Her gaze shifts back up to Albert after a moment, something like respectful wariness seeping into her expression.

Clambering back to her feet, Max starts to grin and offer a genuine compliment to the young knight for catching her off guard like that. But she quickly remembers that she's supposed to be playing a role and shifts her expression into that of a haughty smirk, flashing her fangs at him as she lifts her claws to slash at the air menacingly.

"Grrrr! A lucky strike, hero! But thy reckless ways shall see thy own skull shattered afore my strength is gone! Behold!"

Turning one of her thick hands over, the girl slowly opens her mouth and extends her tongue. The fleshy organ in question proves to be extremely long and flexible, wriggling about with the agility of a prehensile appendage. Thick sticky saliva begins to dribble down from her gaping maw, almost mucus-like in its viscosity and shimmering with an unnatural sheen like oil reflecting the sunlight.

With a deliberate motion, Max slobbers all over the soft pad of her palm and starts to smear the gooey ooze over her bruised hands. A second coating of spit is quickly drooled out which she quickly applies to the flank that was so rudely smacked by Albert's blade. After a few seconds the disgusting slime starts to glow faintly, pulsing with magical energy as the alchemical substance activates before rapidly absorbing into her flesh.

While she has no obvious visible injuries to miraculously knit together, the beast demonstrates the curative properties of her inhuman trick by clenching her claws into tight fists and flexing her bulging arms triumphantly.

"Hah! You see? My wounds heal, while thy foolish skull remains dented! My victory is assured, hero! Nyahaha!"

"Don't underestimate how sturdy a hero's skull is!" Albert retorts with absolutely no irony or self-awareness in his voice.

But wait. What on earth is Max doing? Just the sight of Max's tongue alone is enough to confuse Albert, and quickly put up his guard. Could the tongue transform into some kind of lance, perhaps?! But, no, she...


Albert finds himself so dumbfounded by the sight of the girl slobbering all over her own arms and rubbing that saliva around that he can't do much more than just stare. "W-what are you...?"

He does get his answer in the form of the re-energized arms, and re-energized catgirl as a whole. This does draw out a more considering expression from him, lips pursed and all with one finger idly tapped against his lower lip over Max's evident prediction on how this fight goes based on this show of healing qualities in her own spittle.

"Oh, well," he eventually lets out with a rolling shrug of his shoulders.

"Just gotta hit you more, right?"

It's... not the most insightful conclusion that one could come to. But it's the best he's bringing up with what he's working with.

And with that decision made, he stamps his foot forward. Just close enough that he can swipe his blunt blade in a horizontal swing directly in front of him that might still reach Max's side, only to use the foot that had just stomped in to push himself right back again, in an attempt to keep bring his distance back again immediately after. Did the catgirl's taunt make him think he should start playing more defensive afterall?

COMBATSYS: Max successfully aids herself with Emergency Grooming.

[    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Albert           0/-------/---====|=======\-------\0              Max

COMBATSYS: Max blocks Albert's Evasive Strike.

[    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Albert           0/-------/--=====|=======\-------\1              Max

"Easier said than done!"

Max's bulwark of flesh once again interposes itself between herself and the knight as he tentatively attempts to engage her in a game of cat and mouse. The dull blade slaps into her fuzzy forearms with another meaty thump but with most of his effort focused on retreating out of range the impact lacks much substance. The Gear lets out a low hiss of pain but otherwise doesn't react, refusing to take the obvious bait and give chase.

"Especially when thy strikes are so pitiful!"

According to all her sources, i.e. the Internet, talking smack is a required part of any confrontation between good and evil. While the heroes usually get the quippy one liners, it's up to the villain to provide the bulk of the dialogue, constantly insulting and belittling their opponent so that the hero's eventual victory is all the more satisfying. She doesn't plan to stick to that script -entirely- since winning the fight and defeating her mortal enemy is actually on the table, but a healthy amount of taunting doesn't hurt!

Rather than immediately lunge in for another obvious strike, the 'chimera' turns slightly to the side and starts to slowly stalk in a wide circle around her knightly foe. Her inhuman eyes remain singularly focused on Albert as she moves, an unblinking neon stare that keeps track of his every move with unsettling intensity. Both of her claws are held high and open, the wicked black talons that she has yet to make use of poised threateningly and ready to strike at a moment's notice.

"What is the matter, hero? Has thy bravado failed thee already?"

A soft chortle rumbles out of the girl, echoed by the rattling of her tail as she waggles it at him. The snake's googly eyes spin wildly about with the motion but eventually come to settle on a vaguely level stare with Albert, leaving him on the receiving end of two sets of challenging glares.

"Such a shame. Perhaps we shall feast upon one of these hapless villagers while thy muster up thy courage!"

COMBATSYS: Max focuses on her next action.

[    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Albert           0/-------/--=====|=======\-------\1              Max

Though Max isn't giving chase after his retreating swipe, Albert's still assuming a largely defensive posture, with his knees slightly bent, shoulders hunched and blade held pointed forward on a horizontal level.

He watched her. Slowly pivoting on his heel to keep himself facing the fierce, fluffy beast while she stalks around him. He doesn't respond to the taunting initially, but...

The suggestion that an innocent villager may get eaten because of his inaction makes his eyes shoot wide open.

Sure, Albert does acknowledge that this is an act that is being put on by the both of them, but at the same time...

He has gotten really into character.

"Thou shan't do such thing, beast!!"

He could use some work in mimicking how an ancient greek hero would speak, though.

With his roared declaration, he stomps after the dreaded, adorable chimera with such intensity in his motion that the stone actually cracks underneath sandal.

The blunt sword in his hand is held high up above his head as he approaches, and then swung down *hard*, aimed for one of the girl's shoulders. Be it shoulder or blocking arm that it rebounds off of, though, Albert is immedieately swinging the weapon in again, from a different diagonal angle. And again. And again-- a total of five times, in a relentless chase!


COMBATSYS: Max interrupts Gutsy Swings! EX from Albert with Boop the Snoot.

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Albert           0/-------/=======|=======\===----\1              Max

It's always nice to work with a professional. While Max has been putting all of her random movie experience into playing the role of the dreaded chimera, it seems that the knight is no stranger to getting into a character. Her taunts had been meant as nothing but idle banter, a bit of spice to the meaty dish of wanton violence that their spectators have come to enjoy. But, unlike the Texan gunslinger, who had taken such trash talk personally, Albert seems eager to play his part and chew the scenery alongside her.

The Gear's eyes widen briefly as she realizes that her opponent has taken the bait. Her surprise quickly melts into a look of mischievous glee, her grin practically Cheshire-esque. With such a prime opportunity to take advantage of his eagerness staring her in the face, she'd be a fool to pass it up. Besides, suckering the plucky hero into exposing himself on behalf of the poor innocent villagers is just the sort of thing a terrible monster would do!

Light gleams off the dull blade as Albert hoists it aloft as if beseeching the heavens for strength to smite his foe. Max's slow circling comes to a sudden halt and she goes absolutely still, freezing so absolutely that she might well be mistaken as part of the statue they stand beside. Her inhumanly bright eyes go wide, wider than he's ever seen before, as if to take in everything at once. Yet the narrow slits of her feline pupils remain fixated directly on him, watching and waiting for the precise moment to strike.

When the deadly weapon starts to descend, the Gear snaps forward, her arm swinging out with a flash of speed that belies its absurd size. A fuzzy meteor smashes into Albert's face, force-feeding him a knuckle sandwich larger than his entire head. The attack catches her foe off guard, slipping through the brief window where his defenses were utterly down and his weak spots exposed. Were this a true battle for life and death, she would have opted to disembowel the young warrior and simply ended things then and there. But her mother specifically said she can't do that, so instead she just gives the noisy teen a punch in the snoz.

The impact isn't quite hard enough to stop him completely in his tracks. Gravity and momentum carry the initial swing down with great force, the flat edge digging into her beefy shoulder with a loud thwack. It's painful for sure, but not deadly, and pain is something that she was literally designed to ignore. As such Max simply grits her teeth into a ferocious grin as she leaps away from the brief clash, falling into a wide menacing stance appropriate to a big scary monster.

"Grrrrah! So easy to provoke, hero!"


Such is the best approximation of the noise that slips from Albert's throat and muffles against Max's massive mitt when his vision is filled by said mitt's fuzz. And more importantly, when said mitt smacks into his face, as if it was a wall that he had just ran face-first into.

The 'hero' of this little play staggers backwards with that unexpected blow, squinting his eyes shut for a couple seconds while his hand insistently rubs itself over his poor, abused face.

Nothing feels broken, though. Deciding as much, the knight's eyes snap open again to hone in on his opponent.


With a sudden, utterly relentless determination, he stomps himself forward all over again. Not content to let Max try to retreat back away too much even after that blow, he gives on chase with one stomp first, then another -- and with the second, his sword is drawn far back, still held in his hand in such a way that the tip is pointed directly forward.

"--about to get me worked up! Raah!!"

As his foot stamps down onto the ground, his sword hand thrusts out from that drawn-back position, his weight leaning forward with it to carry the extension of his arm further forward. And with it, a lunging thrust of the blunt sword towards the chimera's center mass, not terribly unlike how a spearman might make an all-out, one-handed thrust with his polearm.

COMBATSYS: Albert successfully hits Max with Gutsy Lunge!.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////                     ]
Albert           1/-------/=======|=======\======-\1              Max

Eyes wide, the Gear prepares herself for the inevitable counter strike as she wards off her opponent's initial rush. She had expected a few moments to collect herself, catch her breath so to speak, though it is less oxygen that she needs than seithr. As a magical being, the girl feeds on the essence of reality, drawing strength from the underlying cosmic energy of the universe itself. Such resources, however, tend to quite difficult to access without special tools unless one goes to specific locations. Without a plentiful supply of magic to restore her strength, the bio-weapon is operating on what is essentially a timer. While it may not be able to penetrate her armored skin or do much more than bruise her rippling muscles, that dull blade can wear her down by forcing her to expend that limited supply of energy to maintain those supernatural defenses.

In essence, she's starting to run out of gas, and quickly. An assassin unit such as herself wasn't meant for protracted battles against powerful opponents who can weather the storm of her assault. Add on top of that the limitation of being unable to bring her most deadly weapons to bear out of fear of causing more serious injuries and Max is struggling to maintain the upper hand.

Despite all that, she finds herself having a great deal of fun! Spending the majority of her life couped up in her mother's remote laboratory had left her with a profound sense of restlessness. She was built for human interaction, even if only so that she might better blend in with the crowd to more effectively stalk her prey. While a diligent caretaker, her mother did not make the best conversationalist, unless one wanted to listen to her drone on for hours about the various intricacies of her work.

Max did that occasionally, sometimes out of curiosity, others simply to spend time with her work-a-holic of a guardian. She always got the impression that her mother enjoyed having the company, even if it never showed on that perpetually dour face of hers. Now, however, the Gear has been unleashed into the wider world and nearly three years of curiosity and excitement make her excited about almost everything.

Almost being the key word.

Her excitement for the sudden lunge that drives the blade square into her chest is a bit dampened compared to the previous exchanges she's shared with her opponent. With her senses keyed up, she'd been confident in her ability to avoid whatever he might throw her way. After all, as a mere human she should out-class him in just about every conceivable way. But there is one area where most of her fellow contestants have her beaten and that's experience. She might have hundreds of texts worth of military tactics and martial techniques floating around inside her brain but knowing how to use that information is another matter.

The rapid thrust catches the Gear as she attempts to twist out of the way, lacking the experience to realize that its speed is too much for her flagging reflexes to contend with. A much more solid thud fills the air as the blunt tip slams into ribs. Max lets out a pained wheeze as she spins sideways, the momentum of her dodge turned against her as she attempts to recover. Collapsing to one knee, the girl thrusts a hand down to keep from falling onto her face, fingers splaying wide to spread the impact out.


The growl that rumbles out of the Gear's chest is far less playful this time, her girlish voice growing low and menacing. She lifts her head to glare at Albert, inhuman eyes ablaze with both determination and something a little bit more scary. Her lip peels back in a snarl, revealing that the rest of her teeth have shifted into something more akin to those of a shark, sharp deadly little triangles that interlock together like a zipper.

"You will regret that, hero!"

Well, at least she's still calm enough to remember this is a game. Right?

That question becomes a lot more pertinent as Max's bulky fingers suddenly flex, her claws digging furrows into the concrete. With another bestial growl, the girl leaps up to her feet and lunges forward in a sudden burst of motion, hurling herself like a fuzzy missile directly at the knight!

Well, directly at the space beside him, as it turns out. The chimera whips past Albert in a blur, swiping one of her massive claws at him in a wide but shallow slash as she flies by. Landing in a low crouch already facing the other way, she immediately launches yet another drive-by slash at his back side, once more bringing her claws to bear. Again and again she darts around him, always attacking from odd angles, bouncing off the statue, leaping over his head, diving low to the ground - everything she can do to keep him from guessing how she'll strike next, all while trying to keep from exposing herself to another hit from his blade.

COMBATSYS: Albert blocks Max's Wild Instinct.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////                     ]
Albert           1/------=/=======|======-\-------\0              Max

"A hero..."

The beginning of Albert's boisterous declaration comes with him straightening up again, and sweeping his sword down from above, just to be snapped into a taunting point towards the 'chimera'.

"...Lives without regrets!!"

The ever-present grin of sun-contesting brightness does suddenly fade, however. Not so much because the felinid beast in front of him disappears from his line of sight.

No, it's more because of the sudden sense of claws raking across his side.

The cuts might be swallow on that first go-round, but his eyes do stretch open wider from the surprise -- and somehow, it's still enough to shred the red toga enough that it begins to completely unfurl itself from around his upper body.

At least the lower part still remains. Though thankfully he did have the sense to not go commando for this outing, even if the wardrobe malfunction extended down that way too.


The knight also has the sense to not just stay standing still, and snaps himself around just in time to bring his sword held up, braced with the other hand against the slant of the blade, and deflect the followup strike. That, too, forces his feet to skid back a few centimeters from the impact even if he remains upright.


Turning again, and again, to keep up his guard. Likely relying much less on his actual vision to keep up with Max's motions and more through sheer survival instinct alone.

"Not yet--!!"

Until eventually, when there's just the smallest break in the pace, he forces himself to a quicker turn along one heel, and half-blindly swipes his hand up and off to one side.

All for the sole purpose of trying to reach for Max's shirt - or anything else his fingers might be able to grasp - and at least give enough of a tug to force her trajectory to redirect. To the ground or the wall of a building, either will do.

COMBATSYS: Max dodges Albert's Quick Throw.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////                     ]
Albert           1/------=/=======|======-\-------\0              Max

But, as he reaches out to try and grab hold of the blur that is the tiny Gear, Albert's grasp finds naught but empty air. With her senses keyed up to fight-or-flight levels, it isn't difficult to notice what the knight is up to. Displaying another example of her inhuman nature, she twists mid-leap, her body corkscrewing to the side to avoid the grasping fingers.

The effort of avoiding the attempt to slam her to the ground causes Max no harm but it is enough to disrupt the momentum of her blitzing onslaught. She lands in a crouch on all fours several feet away, claws kicking up sparks as she digs them into the concrete to slow herself down to a stop. Whoever is responsible for cleaning up in the aftermath of this match is going to have an awful lot of repaving to do.

Max wastes no more breath on playful banter. She's too worked up to focus on anything other than trying to bring her prey down. There simple isn't enough energy left in her tank to waste on frivolous dramaturgy any more. The moment she comes to a stop the Gear's body tenses and she hurls herself sideways, both to avoid any potential strikes at her exposed back and to put her into motion again.

The cat-like Gear turns to pin Albert with her wide-eyed stare once again and then launches herself at him in a sudden assault. She bounds back and forth on her approach, zig-zagging left and right to throw off any potential counter strikes. When she finally draws within range, however, it isn't another wide dash-by claw that comes flying towards the knight but the girl herself! Leaping at him directly with her final bound, Max's monstrous claws extend to dig into his shoulders and bear him down to the ground with her full weight where she can perch on top of him to do what one would imagine is very unpleasant things.

COMBATSYS: Max successfully hits Albert with Armed Combo.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////                     ]
Albert           1/---<<<</<<<<<<<|=====--\-------\0              Max

Albert might click his tongue for his whiffed attempt at a grab, but he doesn't seem terribly upset about it. Not with that utterly excited grin plastered over his features.

But as things stand, he can just barely keep track of Max's movements as she zigzags her way towards him. He does seem to be expecting her to go for another sideswipe, and thus sweeps one of his feet back to turn his threatened side away.

A mistake, as it turns ouy. Since the girl's whole body is coming for his center instead.


The claws gripping for his beefy shoulder dig in, and the force of the impact sees even the knighr's sturdy form tipping over with a *THUD*. All he can do for the first few seconds after toppling over is to squeeze his eyes shut while he is summarily getting clawed up.


He does manage to force his body to roll to the side, though, and with his own preternatural strength shove Max off eventually. But by then, there's pain ringing through his whole body already.

But still, Albert's eyes are lit up.

The continued roll seed him kipping up to his feet, and shifting by two steps to carry himself closer to Max.


Grinning still, even now.

His sword hand is drawn back, and now, for the first time, his left hand joins in on gripping the hilt while he's drawing the blunt sword to be held like a baseball bat, of all things.

"Now I'm--"

One more stomping step. Slamming down onto the ground with such immense determination-fueled momentum that the stone underneath shatters explosively, and the sandal sticking to his foot snaps in twain.

"--FIRED UP!!!!"

The stomp carries his body forward, and his weapon is swung out, with such force and speed that wind pressure shockwaves out around it. And now, it's sweeping in at the force of a wrecking ball for Max's midsection

COMBATSYS: Albert successfully hits Max with The Strongest GUTSY Swing!!.
Glancing Blow

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////                          ]
Albert           0/-------/-------|=======\-------\1              Max

Max detaches from the brief entanglement without much of a fight, allowing herself to be shoved off. Getting tangled up in a point-blank brawl would probably work out in her favor since her weapons are far more suited to extreme close range combat but that's not really how she likes to fight. Instinct drives her to break away after the initial strike and when Albert goes to dislodge the Gear she's already in the process of leaping away.

The tiny monster lands on all fours again, whirling around to keep her attention focused on the knight. She hisses at him through jagged teeth, back arched and tail whipping furiously but doesn't immediately leap to strike again. What little energy she has left has to be spent wisely and she can't afford to be launching wild attacks without some sort of plan. Thus far the knight's moves have been relatively easy to predict, his attacks telegraphed so visibly he might as well be shouting them out loud like some kind of cheesy action hero. Hopefully that trend will continue.

And continue it does. The wind up on Albert's mighty swing is quite telling. Little details like using both hands to grip his weapon are the sorts of things that the Gear is designed to pick up on and she's quite ready to avoid whatever he has in mind. There isn't enough gas left in her tank to ward off a powerful direct hit.

By the time the blade whips out its target is already in motion. Max pushes off with her powerful arms, launching herself into a backwards leap that carries her out of range of the sweeping sword. But, while the tip misses her by several inches, the rippling shockwave that accompanies the incredible blow does not. Caught up in the billowing gust, Max's backwards evasion is suddenly accelerated into a cannonball shot that sends her smashing into the side of the large statue at the center of the plaza.


Staggering away from the small dent she left in the monument, the Gear flops dramatically onto the ground. While she's definitely hamming up the performance for fun, it's clear to her that this battle has been lost. The human surprised her with his determination and bravery, she has to admit. None of the people she's ever met before were quite as willing to tangle with her claws. It was an eye-opening experience but also a lot of fun. Her mother will probably be annoyed that she lost but Max never really cared about the outcome so much as the opportunity.

And speaking of opportunities, there's one last bit of mischief she might squeeze out of this encounter. Lifting her head, the monster glowers at her foe and gives him one last toothy snarl. From the amount of effort she puts into it, it seems even that much movement is difficult.

"You have defeated me... hero! Come then... and claim your prize! My head will surely fetch you a king's random..."

With a final dramatic gasp, the girl flops onto her face and lies still. Ah, but tis a ruse! For the moment that Albert comes to pose victoriously over her corpse or, perhaps, check and make sure she's alright now the fight is totally definitely over, her ambush is launched!

The silly snake head attached to the tip of her tail gives a sudden rattle of warning as the fuzzy appendage suddenly lifts up and turns towards the victorious knight. Its fiendish googly eyes stare him down for a brief moment before it lunges forward in a flash of motion to... thump into his body playfully. The plastic fangs nom almost harmlessly against his exposed skin in a trio of rapid strikes, a final ploy by the insidious creature.

"Taste my poison, foolish hero!"

COMBATSYS: Max can no longer fight.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Albert           0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Albert dodges Max's Improvised Smack.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Albert           0/-------/-------|

The absurdly strong swing had well enough momentum behind it for Albert to actually stumble subtly at the back end of it, needing to catch himself by one foot stamping down again after the fact.

And with Max fallen down, he does in fact come padding over... but not with any of the playful energy this time around.

"Hey..." He calls out, just before he makes the final few steps to come standing besides Max, and lean over towards her. "You okay?"

She's well enough to make a sudden sneak attack at least, it turns out! Albert's eyes snap open wider, and--


His instincts turn out to be just a little high-wired, since in spite of the plastic snake head probably isn't that dangerous, he still makes the effort to kick himself into a backward leap that carries him back by nearly two meter's worth of distance, and well away from the terrifying... uh, snake toy.

He might feel just a little stupid for getting that worked up over it after the fact. He even blinks with very visible bemusement and embarrassment both at her tail, before moving to step up to her again.

And there, he does finally actually put up a victory pose, even hoisting his foot over Max's prone form (but keeping it hovering roughly ten centimeters above her instead of actually pressing down on her) while he hoists up his sword to point towards the heaven.

"Have no fear! For the beast is slain!!"

His boisterous declaration is somewaht undercut, though, by him tipping his head down to the side and adding in a low whisper to Max herself, "Seriously though, you good?"

COMBATSYS: Albert has ended the fight here.

The rattling of the snake tail's fills the air as Albert avoids the expertly-laid trap with a panicked backstep, the rapid flurry of strikes whiffing harmlessly at empty space. The tail's tip droops, the plastic prop somehow seeming take on a disappointed look at being denied the chance for a final retort, those large googly eyes giving the knight a dispirited wobbly stare. Max herself tilts her head up slightly to add her own pouty look through half-closed eyes.

"Aww, you're no fun...", she whines half-heartedly. "I had a villain monologue ready and everything."

Being the good playmate that she is, the Gear flops acquiescently onto her face when Albert comes over to claim his well earned victory pose. Her tongue lolls out to the side for good measure, giving all of the spectators a good shot of her transformed jagged teeth.

The clandestine inquiry about her health causes Max to open one eye and peer up at the human, her mouth twisting slightly into an amused grin. The idea that he'd be worried about her health after some playful tussling amuses her. Then again, her mother did say that most people aren't aware of just how dangerous Gears are. After a moment she winks at him and then goes back to playing dead.

Dr. Maeda gives the gawkers a good two minutes before her patience wears thin. The small woman emerges from the crowd, casually shoving her way past those who got a little too eager and slipped past the boundary lines. Making her way directly towards the two combatants, she extends a hand and gives Albert a gentle shove to shoo the boy out of the way. Once she has some space, she kneels down at Max's side and withdraws a small cylinder from the inside of her lab coat.

Roughly the size and shape of a Thermos, the metal device is covered with several strange symbols carved into its surface. Those aquatinted with such things would easily recognize them as magical formula - specifically ones designed to stabilize and contain magical energy. Max lazily rolls onto her back at the sight of the device allowing her mother to press a clear plastic triangle affixed to its top over her mouth. A sharp hiss of escaping gas fills the air as she depresses the activator.

A dark cloud of dense black mist billows out into the mask, roiling chaotically about as if stirred by some invisible force. The Gear closes her eyes and inhales deeply through her mouth, devouring the churning cloud in a single huff. The scientist dispenses two more of the brackish puffs, which Max likewise gobbles up, before putting the canister away. Rising to her feet, she crosses her arms and waits in silence.

Max's body starts to change a few moments later, her monstrous claws and floppy ears shrinking and retracting with bone-crunching enthusiasm until her appearance is largely human once more. As she seems to often prefer, her tail remains, along with its snakey ornament. Spreading her arms and legs out in a sudden surge of motion, the girl stretches noisily before kipping lithely up to her feet. Of the injuries she should have sustained from being rag-dolled into a solid piece of stone there are no signs. She looks as healthy and energetic as the moment they started their brawl.

"Thanks, mom!"

Max gives the scientist a quick hug then turns to fix Albert with a wide grin.

"That was fun! We should play again some time!"

Log created on 06:59:54 03/31/2024 by Albert, and last modified on 11:28:40 04/15/2024.