Neo League 651 - #653: Zach vs Horatio

Description: Zach and Horatio have an explosive battle at the Pao Pao Cafe. There are punches, fireworks, and did we mention the explosions? (Winner: Horatio)

The Pao Pao Cafe has been the setting for more than a few fights, even in the fighter-prolific 'burg of South Town. As such, and especially in a town so heavily populated by fighters, it comes as little surprise that the Pao Pao Cafe has a small patch of land specifically dedicated as a fighting ring.

"This... is awfully small," Zach complains softly to himself. He does not seem to be saying this out of any hubris; the concern is clear on his face. The short, purple haired man is wearing his typical jeans and two shirts along with the Terry Bogard-style ballcap as he waits for his opponent to show up.

He was on a roll it seemed. Neo League's next prodigal son? Not quite. At least he'd had a fairly good showing over the past few days. That's all he could really be proud of. Other than that, it was the same ol' thing. He'd yet to run into anyone who'd given him much ofa challenge. After signing up for yet another blind match, he'd come to the Pao Pao expecting just that. Walking through the front door into the small little cafe, he lifts an eyebrow, "We're gonna break this place up... I feel kinda bad now. Why would they pick here?" One of the Neo League producers is of course there, stepping up to Horatio and offering him the same contract that likely Zach had already signed... a 'freedom from responsibility waiver'..

Without much in the way of a question as to what he was signing, Horatio scribbles his name down upon it, nods at the few instructions given about 'product placement' and whathaveyou, and moves on in. His hands fall into his pockets as he comes along in front of Zach, looking the young man over... In truth, he was younger than Zach but ... one probably couldn't tell it from the look of the purple haired fellow. Horatio offers a small smile and a nod, the hair streamers along the side of his face running down to mid-torso. "You're my opponent then?" He asks, an eyebrow raising. "Kay... I'm Horatio Alexander... And you...?"

COMBATSYS: Horatio has started a fight here.

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Horatio          0/-------/-------|

"Zach," Zach answers. "Zach Glen. Nice to meet you." Zach slides into, you guessed it, a Terry-esque stance as he eyes the taller man critically. He shuffles his feet for a moment, sizing up the arena carefully.

"Keep it small," he says mostly to himself. "Don't want to trash the place." The cameras rolling, the referee signals the start of the match. Zach takes another quick step forward, twisting at the waist even as he spins a kick at Horatio's midsection. There is a brief flare of deep purple upon impact, as well as a trail of the same color from the foot throughout the move.

COMBATSYS: Zach has joined the fight here.

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Zach             0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0          Horatio

COMBATSYS: Horatio endures Zach's Medium Kick.

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Zach             0/-------/-------|==-----\-------\0          Horatio

When Zach falls into his stance, so too does Horatio, his hands slipping from his pockets, weight shifting back onto his left foot, hands coming up to shoulder height, his fists slowly clenching as he looks through them at the other young man. There's nothing revealing on his face in the way of expression. "Zach Glen... That's a strong name." He replies evenly. And that was all that needed to be said. Hearing his next few statements, Horatio isn't at all surprised when he sees Zach come on, spinning in towards him and sending that foot rushing at his midsection. And he doesn't move. Instead he grits his teeth, tightens his abdomen and takes it on full strength with an audible grunt, falling back off of his heels and slamming into one of the cafe tables, the two closest legs breaking as he falls through it. "-.. a..--aagugh... Oww! .. Keep it small!?" He whines, slowly getting back up and brushing himself off, stepping back into striking distance and falling into his stance, "-THAT- was keeping it small!? That HURT!" He didn't seem too upset. No, he just rushes in at Zach. Pivoting on his leading foot, whirling about with a short hop, he skips in on him and sends a rushing, upward, reverse windmill kick rushing to meet him, it laced in that eerie orange, sparkling energy of his that so closely resembled fireworks. After the first kick, he drops low, one hand finding the ground as he pushes up, throwing both feet up at Zach's face, trying to toss him into the air where he'll hop back onto his feet and push off at an upward angle forward, body spiraling like a top as that energy of his reaches out, forming the body and spread wings of a phoenix. The bird wraps it's wings about him and spins in the opposite direction of his own turn, his hair coiling about him as he goes.

COMBATSYS: Horatio successfully hits Zach with Fatal Phoenix.

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Zach             0/-------/-======|====---\-------\0          Horatio

Zach hisses, partly from the impact of limbs and partly from the foreign energy that burns through his system. Zach drops to the ground with a loud thud, but Zach hops quickly to his feet with a slight grin.

"You don't want to see me get big," Zach says simply. "Not that I'm holding back or anything." Zach looks thoughtful as he mentally rewinds over the last couple of moments, his face difficult to read. "Far from it."

Zach's stance shifts to something akin to jujitsu as he brings his hands towards the sky. Three more sheets of that strange purple are chiselled into existance, strength of will holding the sheets in the sky. Zach lunges forward, sweeping his arms down. Gravity takes it from here, and the sheets plummet from their heavenly perch as Zach gives a yell of "TODOOOOOH RYU!"

COMBATSYS: Horatio blocks Zach's Ka-Psi-Ne Ate.

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Zach             0/-------/=======|====---\-------\0          Horatio

"Huh?" Horatio asks from his skyward position, his spin slowing to a stop in the air before he comes back down, touching down with a hard thump of sneakers against wooden floor. And then he smiles again, "Get big? ... Why would I think that?" He asks. "I don't think you're holdin' back at all.. but ... I mean, if you think I do, you're more than welcome to." Stepping back once, then another step, he falls into his ready stance, eyes locked on Zach's from the short distance away. When the other young man moves into action again, shifts his stance, then brings his hands up, Horatio feels the rise of energy.. of-- more than energy, but something almost comfortable. Almost familiar. Weird.. "Hmm? ... What i--.. Nevermind!" He calls out quickly when those sheets come rushing in at him.

Instead of doing anything in the way of attacking, or returning fire. He simply allows those waves to come in at him in layers, his arms pumping quickly to meet each one. One hand whips forward, fist clenched, using his forearm to channel several bursting sparks of that orange power of his, then the other arm comes up to exchange positions with the first as the other pumps back. Defeating each sheet one at a time, he's driven back on his heels, sliding back away from Zach with each impact until he comes to a stop and slings his arms out and down at the ground, throwing Zach's energy away from him and into the floor, teeth gritting from the sting before he goes still. Orange energy ripples up from the floor around him, draws a quickly rising double helix and fades away. "But if you want..."

"By all means. 'Get big'..."

COMBATSYS: Horatio gathers his will.

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Zach             0/-------/=======|=======\-------\1          Horatio

Zach stops and blinks at Horatio as the younger man punches his attack down. He lets out a small whistle as the orange and purple clash before grinning at Horatio. "Okay," Zach says while pointing at Horatio, "Now =that= was cool!"

Horatio's invitation to 'get big' gets a stern frown as Zach glances around. Far too many people too close to the action, he thinks. "No," he says as he starts his move. Zach slips in low, which is easy when his opponent has six inches on him. He rises up with a shoulder to the midsection to knock the student airborne. "POWER!" Zach spins, driving a single fist covered in that purple energy forward to drive Horatio into the ground, "DUNK!"

COMBATSYS: Horatio endures Zach's Second Stance.

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Zach             0/-------/=======|=======\==-----\1          Horatio

"Heh.. thanks." He says, the serious expression on his face melting away to another grin, he completely coming out of his stance to cross his wrists over one another and set them atop his head, relaxing. "At first I was no good at that.. but ya know.. Practice makes perfect. Master Hyo says I'm a shoe in for the High School Olympic Games.. says I've got a lot of endurance, but I dunno if he's just sayin' that. You know how people say stuff sometimes to make you fee- no?" He stops as Zach rebukes his wish for him to 'get big'.

Dropping his hands, his shoulders slump and he whines, "Aww, man... I won't enjoy myself if you're just gonna hold back. Don't do that, okay? I'm gonna be mad at you." Dropping back into his easy stance, leaning back to relax most of his weight on his left foot, he watches Zach come on and -again- doesn't dodge. Instead, he takes the shoulder full on in the stomach with a grunt, "Nngh!" -- He's tossed upward, then the fist comes on, slamming hard into him and dropping him back down to the wooden grown, cracking floor boards. The small audience in the cafe backing of to watch the combatants. Surprisingly though, Horatio was up in mere seconds.

Folding himself in two, bringing his feet up over his head, hands reaching above his shoulders to push against the ground, he kickflips back up to his feet and immediately spins in on Zach, pivoting off of his right foot, hopping a short distance and coming back down onto it, his left foot lifted, only to slam down into the ground and send a brilliant, popping, crackling, jubilant explosion of energy ripping up from the ground at him in one, two, three geysers, each taller and more furious than the one before it.

COMBATSYS: Horatio successfully hits Zach with Rebellious Raven.
- Power hit! -

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Zach             1/-======/=======|=======\===----\1          Horatio

Zach's eyes go wide at the display of sheer power output. He brings his arms up in front of him, but the first blast knocks his right arm wide, his left blasted aside from the second one. The third blast catches him square in the chest and throws him across the ring with a sharp exhalation. He skids to a stop on his back and stays down for a moment, his eyes tightly shut. That hurt like a ton of bricks. He sits up sharply, concerned as he puts his hand on his chest and pulls it away. It's... dry. Zach looks surprised by that. Scratch that, Zach looks /very/ surprised by that as he pulls both shirts forward and looks down it. The green eyes widen, then narrow sharply with realization as he looks up at Horatio in a new light. Understanding, if you will.

"My apologies," Zach says as he slowly pulls himself to his feet, keeping his eyes on Horatio as he tucks a fist by his side. Deep purple and bright red energies flare around Zach. Where Horatio's energy is understated for the most part, Zach's is almost vulgar in its obviousness as the grass under him leans away from him. "I did not mean to insult you. Please. Allow me to make this worth your time."

Zach charges forward, driving the fist at Horatio's chest. "BUSTEERRR!" A large gout, easily the size of any of the bursts Horatio threw out earlier sears forth. "WOLF!"

COMBATSYS: Zach successfully hits Horatio with Burst Strike.

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Zach             0/-------/--=====|=======\=======\1          Horatio

Where the fight had been forced out of the rear door of the tea house, poor Zach sent to the grassy patch out back, Horatio moves quickly to the door, concern in his eyes as he does so, "Crap-- ARE YOU OKA--" But he sees Zach pushing up and checking his chest for blood. "Oh... -- S.. sorry, I didn't think it was gonna hit you that hard. I figured you'd see it comin' and move or something! .. Oh well... Y'know, I'm gonna have to finish this now. I hope you're not upset with that." Shrugging, he sees Zach finally get to his feet, "Wow, you're tough!" Thrusting a fist into the air in triumph he says, "Bout time.. I get tired of fighting people who can't keep up... They're usually not enough for me."

Falling into a ready stance, he smirks and looks on at Zach, unsure as to what he's going to do but he feels the boy charging, "You're forgiven," he replies in return to Zach's apology. Then the boy -bursts- forward with the kind of speed he wasn't positive he'd just /seen/ in someone who'd just taken an attack like that head on. "Whoa! --" The dull THUNK of Zach's fist slamming into his chest is accented only by the sound of energy exploding backwards, hurling him back into the tea house, sending him flying back, face a mask of pain as he slams into and slides upon the ground inside, wooden floor tiles rattling loudly, some even peeling loose. "...O-- ... Okay, that hurt... -- heh... That hurt a lot.." Nodding his head, he turns over and picks himself up. And somehow he did it with just as much ease as he had before.. Quickly. He only stumbles when he gets to his feet. "Let's see how much you can take then..." His back was to Zach as he lifted his left hand... All of the power he'd managed to collect throughout the fight.. it's all summoned into a single ball of energy..

And it was no bigger than a mustard seed.

Turning, he starts to move back towards Zach, taking slow steps, that small ball of power floating beside him with a halo of orange around it's hot white center, small sparks shooting off of it like jubilant bottle rockets... Stopping, he tosses his head to one side to free his vision of the hair that had fallen in front of it, then says, "Here goes..." And before the words were out of his mouth the ball -shoots- at Zach with unearthly speed. But it stops. It slams to a stop right in front of his face... glowing angrily. Then it was instantaneously the size of a small car. And growing. Pushing the door frame out wide and cracking it open... just before that large ball ruptures. It explodes outward with a force so great that the rest of the floor boards wash back and away, blowing around Horatio who stands with his hair billowing behind him, orange eyes reflecting the glare, hands in his pockets now, weathering the brilliant light and wind that buffets his body and clothing. It was like the 4th of July in the middle of the Mississippi River. The last forty seconds where everything they had to explode took to the air and burst in a colorful shimmer of orange and amber light.. an absolute storm of chaotic power. -- Then it all shrinks back, imploding in on itself and vanishing all together...

COMBATSYS: Horatio successfully hits Zach with Orange Julius.

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Zach             1/----===/=======|====---\-------\0          Horatio

"Might be a reason for that," Zach says cryptically as he regards Horatio carefully. Then the... ball bearing? races forward. Glen's eyes narrow as the attack screams in.

Zach's lack of experience rears its ugly head once more; he has no idea what is coming, let alone how to prepare for it, or how to deal with it. He tries to lurch forward, maybe to dive past it when it almost literally blows up in his face.

Zach is blasted forward and into the air on a high arc. He twists slightly, trying to roll with the crash. He squeezes his eyes shut again; his own energy is raging through him, demanding release. He knows that he is going to let it go. He also knows that he has a very short amount of time before it exits on its own.

Zach focuses, recalls Frei's words. A strong power reacts to a strong will. He reaches deep, and aims as much of the energy as he can directly upward into the afternoon sky. This has the direct result of forcing him almost headfirst into the ground.

The purple energy rages for an instant, then is gone, with Zach gasping for breath in a small crater of his own making. "That... that was also really cool," Zach says in a tone that indicates he'd like to learn that trick. "Tell... tell ya what. 'M buyin' you... a drink." Zach pants a bit more. "...after I wake up."

Glen then passes out.

COMBATSYS: Zach can no longer fight.

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Horatio          0/-------/---====|

COMBATSYS: Horatio blocks Zach's Storm Flare.

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Horatio          0/-------/-======|

He was alright with it all... he knew how the consuming energy of his own reacted... he knew what it was... how to control it... unlike Zach who seemed to be one big Road Flare waiting to blow his cap. It's only then that he realizes just what it is that he sensed before... what was so odd about Zach. It was the fact that he could actually -feel- it. Normally in a fight he didn't feel a thing. Whether it was Psi or whether it was Chi... That's because in most cases the wielder was in better control of it and it didn't cause an almost mental stigmata in the user that was as obvious as day to a person who could detect such things.. even someone who had tried to burry the ability to do so for so long. He wasn't quite sure anyway, perhaps just a suspicion. Maybe... But what solidified it -- was when the energy he'd released buckles at the last instant before the implosion that wills it away. Horatio's forced to look skyward, following Zach's path through the air... up high through the door and back inside.. almost coliding with him as he moves up and over his head. "What..?"

That bursting flare of energy literally punches a hole through the Tea House ceiling, urgently trying to escape from the confines of the four walled building, Horatio hopping left, then right to avoid pieces of it from falling down on him. As Zach comes down to the ground and that energy continues to spill out from him like an overturned pitcher, his hands come up, pointing palm down towards Zach. -- For a moment it's unclear exactly what he was doing, but when Zach's energy collides with the invisible barrier he'd errected, the two war for a moment, exposing the shape of that curving lense of power, the wall undulating in orange and golden ripples like the evening sky, pushing him slowly up and off of the ground from the magnitude of the force behind it... As it slowly subsides, he comes down to the ground again, feet meeting it, hands shaking and slinging outward at his sides as he had before, dispelling Zach's attack.

Energy crashes into the ground and disappears, Horatio quickly striding over to Zach and squatting down beside him in that crater... "Wow..." He says, wrists resting on his knees... Was he...? Was he a psion too? ... He almost felt dumb wanting to ask. Lifting a hand out, he waves it high over Zach's face from his position on the edge of the crater. "Heeeyyyy! ... Hey, Zach Glenn... Wake up."

COMBATSYS: Horatio takes no action.

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Horatio          0/-------/-======|

COMBATSYS: Horatio has ended the fight here.

Zach groans as he flops over slightly. He stays down for a long moment before slowly waking up. He looks up at Horatio, then at the hole he made in the cieling. "That... was why I wanted to... keep it small," Zach says softly as he tries to blink the sleep out of his eyes.

"Glad t'see you're still standing though." Zach seems to be looking around for the camera crews. They're still filming; Zach's not about to ask any pointed questions.

The good news, plain and simple, was that the camera crews- those sycophantic weirdos- were here for fists and blood and only for fists and blood. A bit of the human interest side of the story no doubt goes into it, they filming Horatio sticking around to see if Zach was alright, and Zach getting up to greet him with bleary eyes.. But much further than that, they're wasting their time. The people of this country want to see teeth missing and blood stains on white mats and people foced to say 'Uncle'. And it's because of that that they march over, -swat- Horatio across the back rather hard and proceed to begin packing up cameras. The people who remained to watch whistled cheers and such for both combatants... of course Horatio wasn't exactly anybody famous or 'big named' and thus they just kinda mutter about how it was a good fight.

"No you're not," Horatio says with a smile, those long streamers of hair running down in front of his ears wavering about inside of the crater from his squatting position. "You're likely disappointed I'm not in a crater too. Anyway, that was a good fight... You're really tough. How old are you? Fifteen, Sixteen?" He certainly didn't look his age... In due time the camera men were piling out of the tea house and hopping into vans, already editing footage on their way back to the studio, "Hm? Oh that?" He says looking up at the hole. "Least it's not too big... sunlight's a good thing... I.. I mean, I guess. I dunno." Then back down at Zach as he stands, offering him a hand up out of the crater. "C'mon.. I think they're about to close up shop here to get that roof patched up."

Zach barks out a sharp laugh as he tries to pull himself upright. "It was a good fight. Happened how it happened. No point getting salty about it," he says matter of factly. Maybe he is used to losing. Horatio asks another question, about his age and missing by about six years. He's used to it, and answers as if taking it in stride, "Twenty-one, actually." He chuckles a bit, "Old for this line of work, I know. I swear, half the people I go up against are high schoolers. No offense."

"Well," Horatio starts, helping Zach out of his crater and standing up straight. It's weird looking at someone older than him ... only down six inches. It wasn't just -that- far though, so he supposed he could get used to it. "Twenty-one? .. Wow... Really?" Blinking a couple of times at that, he pushes his hands into his pockets and starts towards the door, talking and expecting Zach to follow no doubt, "You sure you're not just lying so you can get free drinks at bars...? Or date older women? ... I tried that a couple times. It doesn't work as well as you'd think." Turning his attention to the wide open door way, he steps through it and out into the open air- or rather, out into /more/ open air.. considering the hole in the truck. "And man I'm hungry..."

"I could eat like-- three people and their personal conveyances." A couple cars sounded great right about then. "Maybe eat the tires first... then move on to the alloy wheels.. No hubcaps though, those sound completely unappealing."

Zach just laughs as he reaches back, and pulls out his driver's license. It's real; you can tell by the nifty holograms embedded in it. Sure enough, he's legal. "See for yourself." Pause. "Food sounds good," Zach says as he lokos around for a moment.

"And maybe after that, you can show me how you did that last move. That was freaking cool," Zach says quietly, and knowlingly as they head out. Wouldn't do to be overheard. "Though let's do burgers or something. People are exactly tasty, last I heard," he says more conversationally, and with a laugh.

Glancing over to his right at Zach who's beside him wielding a drivers license, he feins disinterest, turning his eyes back forward. Again he looks over, stealing a glance. Then forward once more. Good forgery, that's all. But he didn't detect a lie in him at all. No way... Reaching out he snatches up the license and looks again. "Aww... M.. Man! ... That's not fair... Everybody's older than me. What gives. Was I the only one born that year?! God..." He holds the drivers license far longer than he needed to, looking at Zach's odd hair color. He supposed he was fortunate... He'd heard from someone that psycho users tended to have odd colored hair... He only got landed with an orange hue that could be easily mistaken for a carrot-topped red head. If a little more obnoxious, no doubt. Reaching out he hands it back.

"People? Well, I've only eaten a couple... I couldn't rightly tell you what they taste like. The guy who cooked mine wasn't that great at it," his own laugh mingles with Zach's then in the air before he sighs. "Well... I got no problem with burgers, though I won't lie to you... I don't just eat a whole lot of meat in this country. It's usually always processed and tastes fake. Let's do barbecued fish or somethin'... I dunno. There's a couple stands around here we can probably dive-bomb for goodies and-" then the next part of his sentence comes out like it was -supposed- to be there in the subject he was just speaking on like nothing was odd about it at all. "Why do you want me to show you how that move worked? I don't think you'll be able to do it... ... It's not energy... like you think, I mean."

"The difference between the burgers I'm talking about, and the ones you're thinking of," Zach says, "Is that I'm making the burgers. I do it better." Simple as that. Zach shrugs.

Then as if to answer Horatio's question, Zach answers, "You didn't make me bleed." He leaves it at that for a moment, "C'mon, I'll show you where I buy my food."

"Do you?" He asks, eyebrows brightening. "I like to cook but unfortunately I'm a hopeless failure at it.. I guess at some point I should give up all together and realize I'll forever be the guy who burns canned vegetables..." With a sigh and a sulk, he follows Zach's lead, hands again finding his pockets, "Of course I didn't make you bleed... I barely ever put my hands on you... I use a style of martial arts that's brutal, but I pad the impact with my power... I'd rather you take the brunt of my energy as opposed to the brunt of my fist..."

"I killed someone like that once... I never just let it go either. It's a hard sensation to get used to... when you do that, I mean." He was so honest... odd. Most people weren't that forthcoming. "But anyway-- I still - -where are we going?-- I still don't think you could handle that attack.. I mean, you don't... - How do I explain..." Lifting his hands, he brushes his bangs back out of his face and sighs, wrists crossing over the crown of his head again as he walks, "You don't ... use a power that doesn't reach to your fighting spirit... I get mine from a strength of will... -- .. Think about it this way- You're a Bogard fan, so you'll understand... It's the difference between your Terry.. and Vega." His hands move before him, gesticulating as he speaks, comparing one empty space against another.

Zach grins widely, as if he gets something Horatio does not quite yet. Or maybe Horatio is just playing dumb. "If you stick to that energy, you'll never make me bleed like that," Zach says frankly. He's not poking fun at the youth by any means.

"There's a market down here. All organic foods. They handle the cows very carefully," Zach says before he continues. "So you'd say you get your power from your soul, for lack of a better term, as opposed to the world around us?"

"Well... that's good then, right?" He offers as Zach tells him that about his energy not making him bleed. Walking along just slightly behind and to the left of him, he allows him to lead and he follows. "Market-- Market... I don't remember. This isn't exactly my part of town.. I don't get away from school much because Master Hyo thinks I'll get into trouble... With good reason. When I first got here, I didn't speak the language at all. I got beat up a lot just trying to -explain- myself to the locales. Course... it wasn't the locales doing the beating."

With all honesty on that point... he'd get into trouble and Hyo would 'explain' to him just why that was a bad thing. And it often hurt. A lot. "Careful cow handling. Right." He nods following on. "And yeah... - Kinda.. I mean.." He was trying to avoid that ever popular classification 'Psycho'... But apparently he couldn't. "It's .. not a fighting spirit... That's why no one can detect me -- or read my power. At least people who use inner energy... who use chi. I have no fighting spirit. I only have a presence.. A will. But you have to be sensitive to it to discover it and usually I keep even that hidden. I got into a lot of trouble because of my Psycho Power." -- and there, he finally spits it out.

Zach stops short, and stares at Horatio for a moment. Then he grins widely. "I levelled a house the first time I used my power. Didn't even see it coming. Got real mad, then *BAM!*" Zach smacks a fist into a palm. "I woke up a few hours later, and everything was wrecked."

He shakes his head slowly. "How 'bout you? What was it like the first time?" Zach's never heard any tale of first uses, really. The subject is suddenly very interesting.

As Zach stops, Horatio had kept walking... and he didn't notice.. Not for a long moment. But then again, he'd had his wrists back atop his head and crossed and was just walking on like he didn't have a care in the world. Then he notices Zach's voice coming from behind him. Stopping, he twists at the middle to look back at him, eyes wide, listening. "Hm?!" Turning, he lowers his arms back to his sides and walks back, "Wow... you did? ... That had to stink." He says, frowning a little, considering what he'd do if he ever blew up a house.

And of course the next question was probably expected, "Was it your house?" -- But then he asks him to recite the story of his first time. Smiling, he shakes his head at first, "You don't really wanna know." But looking back up to Zach's face, he knew that expression. Yeah he did. Nodding, he shrugs, smiling so brightly that one would think he thought the whole thing was funny.

"I stopped a fly." -- .. What!? ... That's all!? ... Yeah. That's balance. How fair was that, right?

Zach nods once, the grin gone. "Yeah. The guy I was arguing with over the rent check had a month long hospital stay." He shrugs, "That was three, four years ago. Still working on fine control," he admits.

Then Horatio mentions his first time. Zach stares at him for a moment before continuing to walk. "So how'd that work?" Sounds like he wants a story.

Wincing at the story of the poor Landlord who'd apparently had his right to walk upright revoked by Zach for a while, Horatio turns at the same time Zach does and continues walking, his eyes moving up to the market coming up in the next block or so. "Well... -- Sadly there's really not a lot to that story. I mean, I guess I could make some stuff up if you really want me to, but it's not gonna be all that entertaining."

"I stink pretty bad at telling stories... primarily because, well... I don't know any good ones, and I only just saw a movie for the first time ever a couple weeks ago... I've been here all this time and -just- saw one. Weird huh? Wasn't a lot of time for stuff like that where I'm from." Speaking of where he was from, he had a fair Italian accent. It wasn't thick or hard to listen to, it was mild.. but definitely authentic. "I just stopped a fly. That's all... It was flying around. I wanted it to stop. It stopped..." Shrugging, he says, "-- Working on control?" It was his turn to stop then. Turning to face Zach, he puts a hand out, palm up. "Put your hand out. Do like this..."

Then, a spark crackles above his open hand... it starts to spiral around itself in little circles before it quickly developes into a perfect, orange, glimmering sphere about the size of a small peach. "Do exactly what I do..."

Zach frowns, looking at the sparks for a moment. His eyes narrow as he raises a palm of his own. Zach's spark is more red than orange and definitely more red than purple. Zach looks pretty intense right now.

The spark forms, spinning and spiraling. It looks... not that different from his own Impulse Flare. In fact, the spark speeds up, and has a definite clockwise spin to it as the ball whirls into existance.

The problem, however, is that Zach's sphere is about the size of a basketball.

Zach stares at it for a moment, as if trying to will it to shrink...

...and does not get very far before the whole collapses and frays into the ether.

As Zach brings his own sphere into being.. Horatio can't help but eyeball it with saucer sized eyes. "Wow-- that'... Hmmmm." He intones in a sing song voice. He lets it continue to play out... watches it, feels it out from his position.. Even steps closer to Zach, his own sphere bubbling about smoothly in the air above his hand. It moves in little circular patterns, drawn slightly closer to Zach's energy for a moment... And then he senses it- the point of break down. Lifting his other hand, he opens his palm to the sphere of Zach's just as it shatters completely. The fragments of Zach's energy stop.. swiveling in the air.

A moment later they move back to the center of his hand and come back together in a circle... this time with a single 'atom' of sorts, of orange energy rotating around, holding it together it would seem. Diminishing his first sphere, Horatio takes that hand now and takes Zach's wrist. "Concentrate... with me. Feel it out, okay?" He says, focusing on Zach's eyes for a moment... and the small bead of orange fades away, leaving Zach's sphere to stand still. "Now... stop concentrating on the whole thing. You can't. Concentrate on a small point at the very center... that's where your control is. Let that be the buide for the rest of your power to adhere to. Focus hard on it... then take it as a given... Imagine that you know it's there and you can store it in the back of your mind... The rest will take care of itself."

"Now pull... pull inward, towards the center of your point... -will- it to shrink... Remember, you're in control.. You're not -forcing- it.. you're asking it." The tingling sensation of his own power wraps about Zach's wrist... sharing a small fragment of his power.. his understanding.

Zach is dumbfounded for a moment. The purple globe almost disappears altogether before flickering red, then blue, then purple as it is deposited back in Zach's hand. He makes no moves to resist Horatio; the whole moment is just... too surreal. Horatio is not just talking, but /showing/ Zach things he had no idea were possible.

Questions flood his min, ranging from the obvious 'How'd you do that?' to 'Where'd you learn all of this?' and even 'Why are you doing this? What's in it for you?'

Zach's eyes narrow, and sweat beads his brow as he focuses on what the younger man is telling him. The words, and what he can see, are the only things he is really able to pick up. He lacks the basic sensitivity to detect the workings of Horatio's power.

That would be too easy. The globe stays the same size as Zach works his way toward attempting what his sudden instructor tells him. The globe shrinks, ever so slightly, and holds there for a moment...

Watching, quietly inspecting... silently guarding, Horatio is the wordless participant to Zach's learning odyssey. Lending him as much of his strength as he dared without 'doing it for him', Horatio allows him to work it out. When he sees the ball begin to shrink, a slow smile pulls up at the corners of his mouth. "That's it... Keep your focus... Stay your mind on what you're thinking about." He says... then slowly... ever so slowly removes his own hand. "Don't lose it, Zach, you have a hold of it... Don't let it get away from you." Lifting both of his hands, he curls his fingers as if holding an invisible ball.

"It works like your heart. You have to keep feeding it and in turn it will protect you. The more you do it the easier it will be... it's like riding a bicycle. Hold tight.. Imagine you're pressing on it from the outside and pulling from the inside. It's your energy, not the other way around." Between his palms he draws a second ball, this one much smaller than the first, holding it between his palms as little orange sparks fire off between it and his palms like crackling miniature bottle rockets. "Give it a shape... and a name. Your power is wild. You haven't focused it yet... My power is orange and like fireworks because that's what I associate it with... Yours is purple and red and wild and lacks definition... give it shape... is it wind? Is it smoke? Is it fire? Is it a raging inferno? A storm? Maybe it's just matter... or void... When you realize what it is to you, then you can bind it to a place of being. Then it's yours to wield."

Zach focuses, the sphere pulsing a little, but shrinking at a very slow rate. It's not noticable until you look away, then look back at it, and the progress is not easily measurable with a ruler... but by god, it is /there/. Then Horatio continues talking, flooding Zach's ears with possiblities. Zach squints, and the sphere wobbles...

...And then it vanishes. Zach wobbles, physically wobbles, then falls down seated gasping for air.

His own eyes were full of hopeful possibility... full of wonder, living vicariously through Zach.. feeling what it felt like to finally harness his power all those years ago.. It felt brand new-- like discovering a new and very interesting toy.. But then it becomes too much for him. The sphere vanishes and Horatio's left holding his between his palms like a solid object. Literally touching it, hands on it as his arms lower and Zach wobbles. His eyes widen a little and he says, "Uh-oh." He knew what was coming. "He's gonna fall." -- Thump. "Yup." Looking down at him, he again offers a hand out to help him up for the second time today.

The sphere of energy in his other hand disappears as he says, "Not bad for a first try though... You need a little more practice, but you're almost there... So tell me something. Why are you such a big fan of Terry Bogard? I mean... his style is nothing like yours. Except for the way you guys move... I can tell you're forcing it though. You're making your power fit. Really well mind, but still forcing it nonetheless."

Zach smiles weakly, waiting a moment before he accepts the hand up. He wobbles again; he's been through a lot today. "There's a little bit of Ryuhaku Todoh in there too," Zach says. "The thing with the sheets." He chuckles. "As for Terry..." Zach shrugs.

"You look at the fighting circuits, and you see a ton of Asian names. Some European names. Not a whole lot of American names, though. I dunno. It's fun watching the man kick some butt. I've been doing this for less than a year," the older man admits. "Don't really have a style to call 'mine,' so I'm just winging it."

Offering only a shrug, he contines on towards the market, lifting his hands into an even shrug. "I mean... not that I blame you. I wish I had a more evenly matched style. But I'm all defense mainly... My whole style is built around being able to take punishment. If It were up to me, I wish I could be more like..." He stops, then looks over at Zach, "Don't laugh either..." Sighing, he looks skyward, hands moving up to clasp fingers at the back of his head.

"I wish I fought more like Vega.. or Iori Yagami... Not that I got a fetish for badguys or anything, just... ya know... I've been to church all my life... I've been kind and humble and a fairly decent servant I guess... A good witness. I live up to everything my teachers told me to. But, well... sometimes I think I'm too nice. People are always trying to take advantage of me." Shaking his head, he just shrugs it off and smiles. "So yeah, I guess I kinda wish sometimes I could let it all go and just be a badass, y'know? Like Vega. Or like Iori.. with his no-nonsense way of dispatching his opponents... I saw him win a fight in three moves before. -Three moves-... That's impressive and I don't care who you are. Hell, Vega ruined somebody in -one-..." Sighing, he shrugs again, "I dunno... it's just kinda cool..."

Zach shudders when Vega gets mentioned. He frowns when Iori does; Zach has seen footage. He is silent as he lets Horatio talk. Zach owes him that much at least, as he shoves his hands in his pockets. He mulls it over a bit, simply walking toward the market. He pulls his wallet back out, returning the license to its usual slot even as he checks his cash.

"I don't..." Zach says thoughtfully, "I don't know much about either of those two, except that Vega creeps me out in ways I can't begin to describe. But I'd bet that they both started kinda small. I mean, you don't hear too many stories about people who become insanely strong overnight." None that end well, anyway. "And you can hit plenty hard when you want to, I'm here to tell you. Plenty of flash, on top of that."

Zach shrugs, "Maybe you just need to rethink your tactics."

Oh, he noticed the frown, but what could he really do? You're fans of whoever you're fans of... just how it goes. He did have to agree on one point though, "Yeah.. yeah, Vega kinda creeps me out too... But that's part of the intrigue. I dunno what I'd do if I ever met him.. I'd hope he was impressed with me..-- and my ability to control Psycho Energy. I'd be thrilled... Especially if he'd teach me." One could almost tell that this was a secret ambition of his.. Looking back for a moment, he steps into the small parking lot of the market and moves on towards the front door.

Pulling it open, a little set of hanging bells jingles and such, he walks right in and keeps talking. "Ehh, if you say so.. I mean, I guess I hit okay. I've never lost if that's what you mean. I got beat up yesterday though by some guy that was coming after this other guy... turns out his name was Jiro- the other guy who got beat up I mean. I stopped the weirdo from stomping on him. Did fairly well too, but I could tell he was too strong for me. Something wasn't right about him. On top of that, after it was over, he threw me aside like garbage... Like he was used to doing that to people."

"I coulda used Vega's strength then, hehe... Iori though.. Iori just epitomizes cool. He's the coolest guy in the fighting world. Look at him. Talented, smart, powerful... even has his own fashion sense. I love that his trademark jacket. I also hear he plays instruments and sings sometimes. I'd love to meet him. Maybe get some pointers... but... he strikes me as the kinda guy who'd rather just beat somebody like me up and laugh..." Sighing darkly at that he goes on, "I think my feelings would be hurt kinda bad if Iori beat me up... I mean think about that. What would you do if Terry Bogard.. -the- Terry Bogard beat you up and destroyed your image of him?"

Zach listens, and processes. The mention of Jiro gets a laugh, "Yeah, Kisagi's a bit of a fireball." He considers for a moment. He watches Horatio for a moment before continuing.

Zach tackles the Terry question first. It seems easy enough. "If Terry beat me up, I'd take it as a learning experience," Zach says simply. "That's what every fight is, if you think about it." Zach frowns. He feels a need to address this fascination with Vega.

"As for the other thing, I've got an idea. Go down to Seijyun High School, find Sakura Kasugano. Ask her what she thinks about Vega." Zach seems oddly intense; maybe he's worried about this. "Sure, he's strong as all get out from what I hear, but..." Zach thinks.

The shorter man clutches his chest. Horatio will undoubtedly recognize it as the exact same spot he checked during the fight. "I don't... I think that motive matters as much as, if not more than the technique you use."

If one were to consider the options.. way the differences... Horatio's power was frightening. It's the reason why Hyo kept him on such a short leash. When he'd first gotten to Southtown it was an issue for him to just matriculate into the society all that easily. He'd had to use his power a time or two and it was usually to disasterous effect. Now however, he was free of that burden, but he had another problem. His power was starting to make him... consider options he hadn't considered before. Something that could be for good or bad, all in how it was spun or thought about. That aside though, he looks to Zach with a thoughtful expression.

"Oh... no, that's not what I mean," he says when Zach answers his question about Terry. "Iori and Terry are two totally different fighters... Sure you could take it as a learning experience, if you lost under the right circumstances... But... Imagine Terry had the same motives as Iori for a moment. Do you think if Iori beat me up he'd stop at a simple beating? ... If he disliked me that much... he'd probably go out of his way to make sure I remembered it." Tightening his eyebrows a little, he elaborates, "He'd make sure it wasn't something I'd feel good about afterwards... Could you handle Terry destroying you like that? Just... taking you apart.. not for a fight or for the rush..." He pauses, "For fun..."

The very fact that he could even imagine something like that was a frightening concept... But then again, Horatio had been the victim of just that kind of hate before. He'd seen it first hand. "Vega... yeah... I know he's a monster... I- I mean that's what I hear... that's what people who have had dealings with him say... I still can't help but be impressed with him though. -- I don't know Sakura.. I've heard of her.. seen her fight. She's really good. Even better now than she was before."

Zach is fortunate, then. He hasn't seen anything like that. Zach frowns a bit. "Then that'd be on Terry, I guess. I'd still learn from it, though. Past that," Zach shrugs, "Well, I'll take that as it comes." It sounds like he may have been in a situation somewhat similar. He rubs that spot on his chest carefully. "When you get into the ring, you can't control what the other person's gonna do, and only rarely why. You get a say on what you do, and how you handle it." Zach nods once, "And that's all."

"Kasugano's been through a lot. Some of it is Vega's fault," Zach says simply. "Go ahead and be impressed; he's scary and worked to get that way. Just..." Zach fidgets, "He's dangerous, moreso than Iori is, I think."

Zach has power, and with power comes options no doubt. Glen subscribes to the Tao of Peter Parker, personally.

The sad truth was... deep down in parts of himself that he didn't talk about... Horatio knew what was burning there. He was always right and good... and inspired by the edicts of the church.. and enjoyed being that way. Enjoyed being good.. being honest and noble. But he knew there, inside of all of that good grew a seed.. Just a small seed of darkness that wanted so badly to sprout and grow. Perhaps it had something to do with the way his mother was treated after having him.. Or the fact that she'd just left him there all those years ago...

Maybe it was for growing up without a father figure. Maybe it was just being bitter for a lot of things. Whatever it was, it was there, and he couldn't ignore it's call. It wasn't anything important though... it wasn't all consuming. It was just there. The same ability that everyone had to become a darker person. The same thing that everyone fought against. That aside however, he smiles despite it. "I'm sure she has... -- hn? Yeeeaaahh," he breathes out, ruffling his bangs a bit, "I guess your right. Maybe I'm being stupid... Oh well-- what are we here to get anyway? We've been walking in circles around these isles! Haha."

Zach grins widely. "Only the best damn beef to be had in this hemisphere!" Zach jogs up to the stand, and starts to chat up the butcher. He is incredibly animated as he talks. A laugh passes between the two when Zach turns toward Horatio looking slightly embarrassed.

"Kajiki-san's out of beef," Zach says with a trace of chagrin. "But he'll have some in time for the weekend." Zach considers, and turns back towards the butcher, and slides some cash across the counter. Glen gets a receipt back. "Tell ya what," Zach says as he hands Horatio a card. "There's this place in South Town called the Youth Fighters Community Center. I work there, and I feel like throwing a barbeque. Why don't you come down, and I'll make ya some good food."

He actually seemed wounded by that. Shoulders slumping, face distorted with disappointment he says, "No beef... haven't had real beef in weeks and he's got no beef... -- Aaaauuggghh..." Both hands go into his hair and ruffle it furiously. Then his wrists cross over one another and rest, he standing up straight with a sigh. "Oh... figures... I hate this place. I've been here eight years. The medications not working," he says, quoting last night's news report on that crazy guy they'd arrested at the park. "Tell Kajiki-san he just destroyed my -liiife-.. Mm..." Then his eyes bolt down, "Hm?"

Lowering his hands, he takes the card with both of them, scanning the front of it, sounding out each word silently, his mouth moving. Youth Fighters Community Center. "Huh... O.. Okay-- yeah... yeah, sure.. I'll give you a call. I'm usually around... I have free time once in a while when Master Imawano isn't runnin' me ragged.." Truth was, Hyo kept him busy to keep him out of trouble. "But.. sure.. I'm come to your barbeque. I should be able to slip away from Justice High long enough for that." With a smile, he says, "Thanks."

Turning, he heads back towards the door.. "Well, it's about that time.. I should probably get going. I gotta go pick up Hyo's pants from the dry cleaners before it closes. They were done hours ago.. Nice meeting you again, Zach Glenn. I'll see you around, okay?" Pushing the card into his pocket, he pushes the front door of the store open and steps out into the evening, "Bye..."

Zach does not seem to mind terribly. He knows what its like to be kept busy. "Cool." Zach gives a bit of a half-bow, then waves to Horatio before repocketing the wallet.

"It was good to meet you, Horatio Alexander," Zach says honestly. "I'll see you around. Don't be a stranger," Zach calls as the student leaves.

Log created on 16:56:03 04/22/2008 by Zach, and last modified on 23:10:24 04/22/2008.