Neo League 651 - #659: Oswald vs Horatio

Description: The before-last fight of Oswald's Neo Leauge Campaign places him against Horatio. Eleven rounds of lead-trading action later and a cosplay-pact is struck... Wait what? Cosplay??? ( Winner: Oswald )

He'd made it rather far on the score boards of the Neo League, that's for sure. He was surprised he'd actually done that well. He'd figured there'd be some pretty tough competition and that he wouldn't stand much of chance, but thankfully, by the grace of God he'd done alright for himself. His next fight was scheduled for the Business District, against none other than Mr. #1 himself, Oswald. No doubt the outcome of this match would decide who would retain that spot by the close of the season and Horatio, Justice High's prodigal son, had his eyes on the prize.

He, as almost always, was dressed for the occasion. In his typical cosplay attire- this time he wasn't dressed as Iori Yagami, but none other than Kyo Kusanagi himself. That is, Kyo Classic, in an all black school uniform with those familiar fighting gloves and a white bandana around his head... though his hair was still his own.. lazy orange spikes laying about his head with two long, hair streamers running down in front of his ears to mid-torso.

Making his way onto the already populated street, walking between some of the spectators who had gathered to watch the bout, some of them pushing him aside figuring he was someone trying to shove his way to the front, he has to remind them of who he is. Not that he was anyone that special or that important, but finding himself having to say, "B-- but I'm fighting!" Was a little odd. People apologized congenially enough and he was shown a small amount of respect as they parted to let him through. -- Hopping over the barricade onto the blacktop street, he strides out to the center of the road, eyes down at a sewer cover by his feet, then looks out over the small gathering.

The production crew was running about, setting up a couple cameras for still pictures, then there were two camera men running about-- and of course the shows producer himself, running up to Horatio, tugging at his clothing, aligning it a little neater before he shouts, "SATOSHI, WHERE'S THE OTHER GUY? WHERE'S OSWALD!?"

Satoshi, glasses shining in the closing evening light shouts back, "He's on the way! He's on the way, calm down! -- Why in the hell is that kid dressed like Kyo Kusanagi!?"

"Because I'm the Cosplay King of Southtown!" Horatio says with excitement in his voice. "Why else?!"

There a hand that reaches up as Oswald breaks the thin circle of the edge of the crowd that was gathering in the center of the y-shaped street that marked the dead middle of the city. It was sort of like Shibuya only with a far more distinct Geese Howard-ish air. It's been a while since Oswald has been seen fighting, many say that he was under mandatory leave after a severe wound he suffered at the hands of the final strike of Billy in his last matchup, others say his business had lead him elsewhere... whatever the case was, Oswald was back and looking sharp, wearing a tailored white suit as opposed to his usual black ensemble... hat included.
The days to the end of the league were counting down, and the closer they got to the final string, the more publically lauded the fights became. The trains were packed with people coming to watch, standing on the high platforms, watching through the many building windows... standing on street-side cafe tables and forming an unofficial ring circle where the fight staff have lined a few warning signs and concrete traffic blockers.
There's visible pause as he spots his opponent's attire, head tilting a bit and ... just staring. "..k...Kusanagi?" if he were close enough, one might catch a distinct eyebrow twitch that can't be held back by his usual game-face but it's gone shortly after. "Well, I've seen many outfits for warriors in my time, but I must say it's the first I've seen of one mimicing another." his voice is grave and deep as he offers a deep bow, staying low for a second then rising, one hand reaching up to adjust the deep blue tie to be nice and snug, "I am Oswald. Let us make sure to entertain our 'guests' today. They've come from all over Japan to see us."

And indeed, it seems a show was exactly what he wanted to put on. Probably not even close to as tall as Kyo, nor as muscular... in fact, Horatio was slightly towards the Milquetoast side- but all that aside, he did one hell of a job of impersonating the senior fighter. His every gesture, his movements, the way he walked, the cocky look he gave onlookers. Then the near bored expression he gave his opponent. Lifting a fist to about waist height, he looks down at it, slouches slightly and looks to Oswald as the man steps onto the street. ".. Ikuze.." -- If not for his mild Italian accent, his inflection of voice would have been spot on. Nevertheless, as Oswald proceeds to preen himself-- and question Horatio's choice of costume, the boy drops his Kusanagi impression and renders a bright smile.

Throwing peace-fingers to Oswald, he nods at his next statement, "You're right... I hope I'm not too boring for them." Pumping a fist into the air, he points around at the fans-- likely more Oswald fans than his own- and offers them a military salute. "Yeah! I'm so excited right now..." Jittery to a fault, he turns finally to Oswald, takes a steeling breath, exhales it out and falls into his own stance- not Kyo Kusanagi's... it seems he wasn't intending to impersonate the man's style. Nah, he had his own thing in that regard. Sliding his feet apart, leaning most of his weight on his rear foot, fists coming up to slowly curl tightly, he looks to Oswald and says finally.

"Don't go easy on me because I'm a kid... You said it yourself. These people came from far and wide to see a fight. Don't belittle their intelligence by making them believe you're weaker than you are. I know you're not number one for nothing."

COMBATSYS: Horatio has started a fight here.

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Horatio          0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Horatio gathers his will.

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Horatio          0/-------/---====|

He had spirit. Oswald always liked fighters with spirit. If they were Oswald's fans then he wasn't one to really notice, while he knew he had some people that followed his matches he never really considered himself anything of a fan-light type. An Italian-accented Japanese, it brings an amused smile to his face, careful not to let it look insulting as he gives a short nod to Horatio during his address to the crowd.
Rolling one shoulder and then the other, reaching to his jacket pocket to withdraw the black leather gloves and slipping them on one after the other. "Horatio." He intones the name almost like a single toll of a churchbell, pausing a moment as he gives a sudden tug to the left glove, sinching it over his hand snug, "LET'S GIVE THEM A FIGHT TO REMEMBER!"
His stance widens and his arms draw out wide for a moment before inching in close to his form giving one, two sweeping motions about his body with a sudden and gruff exhale. Centering himself, eyes closed for a moment, he lets his head slump down just before his arms follow, casting those bladed cards to his fingers before going into a flurry of motion; pushing off with one foot into the air, and letting one of the the titanium trumps loose to fly at his opponent.

COMBATSYS: Oswald has joined the fight here.

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Oswald           0/-------/-------|====---\-------\0          Horatio

COMBATSYS: Horatio endures Oswald's Queen.

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Oswald           0/-------/------=|======-\-------\0          Horatio

As Oswald calls his name, the sudden abrupt and no doubt attention getting way in which he does so... the man's sheer presence, has Horatio's eyebrows lifting high.. almost like one would when a teacher caught them talking in class. It's slightly authoritative to him and thus his automatic, Justice High School reply comes, "Sir?" -- Wow... he almost forgot he wasn't at school. When Oswald roars out to him, he yells back, "Right!" Energy swimming around his form in an odd, orange color and pattern, like streaming fireworks bursting to life around him and diminishing just as quickly. As Oswald takes to the air and launches that card, Horatio bursts into motion.

Rushing forward, cutting the distance between them not unlike a deck of cards, he takes the card hurled towards him full on, bringing his arms up, blazing with energetic fury, destabilizing it as much as he can as he takes the brunt of the impact, using it to slow his momentum, allowing him to stop just below Oswald as the man comes down from the air, Horatio pushing off of his left foot, whipping his right leg forward and upward in a windmill motion, his left following the pattern, bursting streams of orange energy crackling to life, bursting and undulating in waves of power as small, white hot bulbs shoot from his wave of power like little bottle rockets in the evening.

COMBATSYS: Oswald endures Horatio's Fatal Phoenix.

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

Oswald only has time to set the ball of his foot on the pavement by the time Horatio's energy driven kicks are on his way to him, the crackling force taking up his attention and making his brow furrow just a bit - which was it... was this Chi? Was it that other power? The one that Shurui used?
With a grunt and suddenly stern glance, Oswald literally takes the kick in full stride, the force of the blow lifting him from one foot and almost toppling him over in balance if he hadn't been so ready for it. One hit... two... that second one hurt quite a bit... the third strike though, hits into something and glances off as he braces the impact against the crook of his arm just as his body ducks down and under in a sudden shift of stance and crouch to let that final kick sail over top to buy himself time to get in very close...

And reach out with a hand...

Oswald grasps toward Horatio's face, almost palming it like one would palm a basketball, wanting to using the momentum of the kick to lift him from the ground only to try and slam his body down to the ground...

COMBATSYS: Horatio blocks Oswald's Medium Throw.

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

Coming down from the air after his series of windmill kicks, energy washing back over his form, sending his hair streamers billowing back over his shoulders, his eyes replaying the movement in their reflection, staring down at Oswald with nothing but determination as he fell, he finds himself looking into Oswald's uprising palm! "W--WHOA!" Crossing his arms in front of his face, they're grasped by that strong hand, but when Oswald tries to slam him bodily into the ground, Horatio casts a leg down, nearly crippling the momentum entirely, leaving only his shoulderblades to bounce hard off of the earth, "Augh! --"

It still hurt. The impact was sickening and the people watching grimaced along with him. Pushing back against that grasping hand on his arms, he flings his wrists out wide, casting Oswald's hand off of him, bringing his other foot down to the earth, pushing off of it and leaving his shoulders to the concrete. Miliseconds into the hop-up, his hand comes down to push off of the ground, sending his feet rushing upward at an angle in a double-footed sidekick aimed at the man's upper torso and stomach, trying to shove him back with the kick and put some distance between the two of them so he could regroup. The fight so far had been so close that they were exchanging near move for move. He could tell already that he couldn't afford that with this combatant.

COMBATSYS: Oswald blocks Horatio's High Driver.

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

"Well done." He grunts to himself as the throw is nearly anulled, the casting of his arm aside leaving the other to draw up and take the brunt of the double-kick aimed at his body...
As the kick lands, perfectly timed with the strike, a sudden pulse of blackness, more like a sudden lack of light flows over his body. It leaves the white suit inky and void, and it's almost as if that darkness itself is difficult to look at - like a fuzzy picture of an aura - almost hypnotizing, confusing, distracting and alluring all at once.
In a single heartbeat pulse, the blackness flows out from where it was 'encased' over his form, almost becoming a looming and devouring shadow over the battleground...

COMBATSYS: Horatio blocks Oswald's Diamond.

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

... Somewhere in the darkness there's a glint. A reflection of the crimson specs that is a tell to the incoming blow. The hard scrape of Oswald's shoes on the pavement marks him a suddenly nearby as he brings a arm up high to slash down and across before following up with a simliar motion with the same arm but along the same line from heel to crown.
The pulse of darkness dissipates in motes and flares... little pebbles of void that simply flutter away...

Popping back down onto his feet, Horatio rights himself and hops back with a number of short bunny hops back and away from Oswald, attempting to avoid him all together. But... unfortunately there's something not quite right about this battlefield when his eyes focus again on where the elder fighter was, "Wha...-- Nn!" Looking at the inky blackness of Oswald... the way his image seems to be both tangible and intangible at the saem time... -- the way the area takes on a kind of dooming sense of surrealism. Energy bursts to life in both of Horatio's hands as he settles himself into a rhythm of breathing, eyes moving, quick, watching-- he hears the sound. Sees the glint. Then from out of the inky blackness comes Oswald's hand! Palms quickly moving forward, he bats the arm aside then rolls out wide to Oswald's flank.

Still crackling with the power that had deflected the move, pain shooting up his hands from intercepting a small portion of it's delivering power, Horatio continues his whirl about, his heels together as he turns a full one-hundred and eighty degrees, bringing his palms together before him. The energy in his hands slams together, forming a near solid, beachball sized sphere of raw, energetic power, glimmering with that odd orange halo like light that sparks, pops and sizzles like a jubilant explosion on the 4th of July. He shoves both palms out towards Oswald, and the sphere errupts right between them. Orange energy goes bursting outward in a forward progressing direction, looking to slam into Oswald at near break-neck speed, the force of the explosion throwing Horatio away from him to shake his hands as he travels backward in the air, extinguishing the energy and landing back down upon his feet.

Watching his power play out before him, seeing the glint of light nearly too blinding to stare into, he blinks the sting out of his eyes, falls into his ready stance again and prepares for whatever Oswald had planned to bring him... he knew it wouldn't be pleasant after that. Most fighters tended to have a limit they'd reach with the fun and games...

COMBATSYS: Oswald fails to reflect Kinetic Low from Horatio with Heart.

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

Somewhere in that great expanse of energy, Oswald's hands had shot up before him, cards held forward as if to implore the energy dissipate - however one's will is greater than the other in this case and the explosion takes his body in full.
There's a should of pain as Oswald's body clears the ground and lands square on his shoulders a good fifteen feet away, rolling over backwards onto his front, body smoking from the last ounces of force that was shot through him. His hands find the pavement, palming down and pushing his body up. He spits to the pavement, slowly getting up from the impact with a half smile on his lips. "Now that... Horatio..." He chuckles to himself as he draws up to stand, gloved hand coming up to wipe at his mouth, "... that was impressive."

Posture suddenly rightening, he extends a hand out toward Horatio and with two fingers, beckons him onward.

"I want to see more."

... Wanted to see more? Horatio wanted to see the Oswald Manual and figure out why he was still standing to see at all! Frowning his determined eyes at the remains of his energy dispiating, watchign Oswald fly back and land haphazardly on the ground, he waits for the moment when the bell rings and calls it a victory. But no bell comes... no towel flies in... The referee just stares at Oswald, waiting. Expectant. That's when Horatio realizes it's time to steel himself for the long haul. As the Card Shark gets back to his feet, Horatio blows a small sigh, inhaling sharply, then letting it out slow. A number of slow breathes are taken as he attempts to recoop his losses from expending so much energy as Oswald beckons him on..

"...You want to see more?" He asks, smiling nervously... "A.. are you sure?" He asks, and honestly he wanted to know. But he figured if a fighter of Oswald's caliber asked for something, it's because he knew he could take it. "Alright, Mr. Oswald... -- Let me ask you though... before I show you the reach of my power... -- I.. is it alright if I Cosplay as you next season?" Least he was a good sport, right? Finally, he prepares himself to give Oswald just what he was asking for. More of the same. Anchoring himself both physically and mentally, he channels his energy once more, feeling it out from within, all traces of it diminishing without. He focuses on Oswald's position, feeling the battlefield out with his fighting spirit which to anyone who could sense such a thing seemed fairly non-existant in Horatio. Clenching his fists tighter, he stands straight.

And why? No longer in his stance, he brings his right hand up, turns the palm up towards the sky... a burst of orange and gold light shimmers from it, then he simply shakes it out... it was gone. Nothing remained. --

But all to suddenly, from Oswald's position, there's a sudden energy spike, the only warning to a terrible and most hellacious burst of orange and gold energy. It rips up from the ground beneath him, swirling as if breathed from the mouth of a dragon in the pits of hell itself, ripping upward, tearing high into the sky, spiraling and raging, energy moving so quickly that sonic booms issue out from it in piercing gusts of sound and air, a small hurricane in place... standing for the length of four seconds that seem to stretch on in the eyes of the onlookers, they all watching wide-eyed, mouthes agape at the sudden explosion that no one could be even sure had come from Horatio at all.

"I hope I didn't overdo it..."

COMBATSYS: Oswald blocks Horatio's Fat Buddha.

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

He was used to warriors asking him questions. 'Why are you doing this?' 'What do you plan to achieve?' 'Why won't you just lay down and die?'. When Horatio motions to ask a question, Oswald nods, but when the question is asked he simply freezes in place.

"C...Cosplay?" He tilts his head a bit and gives an incredulous look, but the moment of confusion turns into a dawn of understanding, back straightening and head pulling back to look down upon Horatio in a long stare of scrutiny before adding a simple comment, "I'm flattered."

Oswald was wise to the growing energy that Horatio was building up in his stance, and as the great spire charges up, he slips into a far more ready stance; eyes scan the sky, his sides, his opponent, and the ground. Something was coming... but that didn't stop him from commenting further. "But if you want to cosplay... you will need authentic items. And you will have something to fight for. You've impressed me once now... and each time you do from now on... I will give you something to use for your hobby." Oswald's smile grows a bit as the tingle reaches about his toes, leaving him to crouch low and brace hard as the hurricane of force erupts about him, enveloping his form. One hand is braced up about his face to shield it, the other is down protecting his body, legs tight together, as the torrent whips about his ready form.
The once white suit is now greyed and singed, as he stays low for now, a wide smile on his lips, "And I better see videos..." He pauses to catch his breath, bringing one arm up to cover at his side, leaving a pained groan out as he rises to his feet, "... or I'll be most disappointed."

COMBATSYS: Oswald gains composure.

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

Considering his options in this situation, he watches as Oswald weathers the storm he'd created... absolutely amazed. And on top of that, he was flattered he'd asked to cosplay as him. The deal he'd offered him sounded fairly reasonable. Horatio couldn't help but smile at it. "R.. really? ... Wow, thank you. - I'll do my best then!" Lifting a fist in a victory pump, he slides back into that ready stance, leaning his weight on his back foot, fists lifting to just about chest height and clenching tightly. "Video? ... S-- sure! I can do that. I'll have a camera with me at all times. I promise." Rendering a thumbs up at Oswald, he tightens it back into his fist and once again falls into his determined stance, waiting and watching.. .but when Oswald makes no move, that's when Horatio decides it's time to come up with an adequate strategy if he intended to make it out of this alive.

Rushing towards Oswald, again ccutting the distance between he and the Card Shark in a matter of eyeblinks, he was upon the man then, ready, pivoting off of a heel and hopping a short distance closer. But he didn't attack-- he didn't barrel in with another heavy handed strike but rather leapt out to one side, finnessing his way through. Pushing off of his heel, he shoves himself back and away from Oswald, right arm whipping low, energy crackling free from it... but he stops.. -- wait... Think... -- Correcting for the distance, he stands up straight, silences the energy and falls back into his stance, "Wow... I almost fell for that-- almost. -Almost-," he says with a chuckle and a smile.

"I forgot... you're holding on to something, aren't you? Cus I haven't seen it yet..."

COMBATSYS: Horatio gathers his will.

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

"You never know what's in my hand, Horatio." Oswald makes little move as Horatio hops to the side and away, eyes closing and reaching up to take his glasses from his face, setting them aside on a fire hydrant in a single motion, just as he turns to face Horatio proper, "A wise poker player aims to keep his opponent guessing, never comfortable. Never certain of anything."
"Everything is a gamble, my cosplaying friend." Oswald takes a slow breath and brings his arms up, having finished his little breather, squaring himself into that strange fighting posture once more, one arm up behind him, the other down low before him, "Everything..."

COMBATSYS: Oswald focuses on his next action.

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

"A gamble, sir?" He asks respectfully, his head tilting at the statement, tryin to read into it as much as he could. But in truth, he didn't have the mind of an adult... he supposed he kind of understood where he was coming from. Well, in truth, he understood quite a bit, but perhaps he didn't understand as Oswald understood. "Perhaps... I still have some maturing to do to grow into that mindset." Shaking his head, he pushes his bangs back out of his face, shakes one of those gloved hands of his and clenches it into a fist, crisply snapping to life with energy. "Right now... I'm afraid my tastebuds are still too new to see as you see. But, in my defense..."

"I believe I understand the heart of your words... even if the flavor of the garnish is lost on young ears." A small smile tugs at the corner of his mouth then before he goes for it, risking his neck to do what he figured he needed to do to try and make the best of this situation. Rushing headlong towards Oswald after the man readies himself, the good sport that he was, Horatio closes the distance, pivots on a heel as was his customary entry into someones defenses- though he switched which foot he spun off of occasionally. He could go left or right and no one would be the wiser until the movement was complete. This time he spun off of his left heel, going out to Oswald's right. - Another hopping spin later, he's landing on his left heel, turning his right flank to face Oswald and in one swift gesture, stomping the toe of his foot down upon the ground.

From beneath Oswald, once again, the ground ruptures to life with that odd orange energy. It rips high into the air, reaching with crackling, burning waves of power, streamers jetting from it like small bottle rockets, bursting like New Years in a single geyser that brings with it another, and a third, the trifecta scorching towards Oswald, each geyser taller than the last until it diminishes, the force enough to attempt to throw Oswald out far and wide from him.

COMBATSYS: Horatio successfully hits Oswald with Rebellious Raven.

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

It was a guess. A fifty-fifty chance. Horatio goes right but Oswald guesses wrong and dodges if he were to kick left, landing straight into the kicks to set him up for that explosion. A cry of pain punctuates the explosion of amber power that sends him once more, once again into the air.

Horatio probably won one of those 'authentic items' with that shot. Oswald isn't letting up, however...

High in the air, his body tucks in, drawing knees to his chest and arms about him, giving an almost feral growl to try and cleanse the hurt from his body. The force of the blow is letting him roll in a lazy somersault, buying time to reach the apex of the airtime the kicks and explosion gave him.
Then with a long grunt, at the final part of that somersault, his limbs suddenly unfurl and unleash vengance... first two cards flaring out in side vertical arcs... then two more to match the quadruple strike, arcing out to the sides...

COMBATSYS: Oswald successfully hits Horatio with Royal Flush.

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

Goodness was it ever time to duck. -- If ever there was a time to duck? This was a time to duck. He should duck. He should duck... and likely do some running, and then do more ducking. -- But anyway, rewind. -- After those geysers of energy go slamming upward through the air and carry all of Oswald with them, Horatio's left again with the backlashing glitter of his power shining in his eyes like a brilliant beacon. Lifting a hand to shield his gaze for the moment, when the power disipates, he drops that hand, looking for Oswald and seeing no sign of him. Still the tip of his toe was poised on the ground... At Oswald's growl, he throws his eyes upward, staring at the man flying through the air, "Hn!? ... Uh-oh"

And that's about all he gets out of his mouth before those cards come converging down upon him. Lifting his hands to shield himself, he's tossed from his feet by the first set, slicing through him, tossing him upward into the second set which hack into his form and send him into a vicious spin, whirling through the air to slam into the ground, hard, bouncing off of the unforgiving concrete, his Kyo Kusanagi costume slightly battered and frayed now from the resulting, brutally painful assault from Oswald... -- He didn't even want to move.

Laying there face down on the ground, he coughs hard once, tasting blood in his mouth... Pushing himself slowly up onto hands and knees, he lifts a hand to his face, touches his mouth and only then feels the blood running down the corners of it, dripping from his chin... He bit his jaw in the impact. Licking over the wound in his mouth, he spits red onto the pavement and stands, wiping the back of the Kyo-Like glove over his mouth... "That hurt... --" Swallowing the taste of blood, he channels again that odd orange energy and rushes into motion, this time his feet beginning to glow as he draws near.

Taking one large hopping step, two, then a third into Oswald, he comes down from the air with a hacking, heel kick, driving it downward towards the top of the man's head before he lands to the ground, then hops back up, performing those windmill kicks from earlier, right leg leading, then the left following, trying to toss Oswald into the air with the force of those orange-energy infused attacks. If successful, he'll push off of seemingly nothing, rising, body corkscrew spinning upward at an angle towards Oswald as the wings of a vast Albetross spread out from him, wrap around him and spiral in the opposite direction, trying to drill straight through him and slow his spin to a stop at the peak of his jump, hovering briefly in air from the speed at which he'd risen.

COMBATSYS: Oswald reflects Chaotic Clutch from Horatio with Four Suits.

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Oswald           0/-------/------=|====---\-------\0          Horatio

"It hurt?" One eyebrow of the crimson-eyed Irishman raises up for a moment as he gives him a 'so what?' look, ending the question with a chuckle, "Now you know how I feel after your kicks. Good punishment deserves good punishment. Minus the eye-for-an-eye effect, of course."
As Horatio starts his advance, Oswald backpedals, shoulders rolling as his body somewhat twists and weaves at first, anticipating the strikes, deflecting some, avoiding others, slipping into and out of the zone of threat for each blow as best he could. For the most part, he weathers it well.... but there was nothing he could answer with.

Then that spine-tingling sensation of energy building up is felt... and Oswald capitalizes...

Barely, just barely his shoulders rear back as his weight is cast away from the spiraling ascent, the vicious grace of the corkscrew rise barely avoided as the rippling energy comes close enough for him to feel... to almost /taste/. It burns at his skin and even singes his hair just a bit.
But he avoids it, turning his body with the break-neck, last ditch dodge, arms out wide and cards in hold. His body goes into a full three-sixty spin to avoid, the cards leaving a trail of pale purple energy in midair as they travel, forming a circle before and around him. With quick motions, his hands dart out and the glints of metal edged cards flash out as he dots the edges of the circle with them, almost forming a belkan cross between the two... and with a clap of his heel and outstretching of his hand, he 'grips' into the air and almost takes hold of those albatross wings, drawing energy and power from it.
Then a moment of pure peace falls the arena, the spectators... as Horatio reaches the top apex of his ascent.

The cars ignite and burn away, Oswald's arm retreats, and then the opposite come up suddenly with a sweeping motion to point skyward... finally returning the favor of earthbound energy skyrocketing up, rushing from the battle and bloodmarked pavement to immolate the Italian youth.

Moving in perfect synch with Oswald's movements, his attack constantly pressing, constantly moving forward, seeking perchase, he and Oswald trapped in a deadly dance for a moment, critical blows missed, hitting only air as Oswald skillfully deflects, moves, dodges and dances his way out of their effect range. Horatio actually smirks, fully enjoying himself in this engagement. "Wow.. -- You're good!" He huffs, breathing heavily now as he strikes out, and chaces after Oswald into the air with that spiraling spin... -- and then at the peak of their climb in the air... his head slowly looking up to look Oswald in the eyes. He realizes something was wrong: Oswald was completely unaffected by his energy.

He wanted to ask how, right then and there, he wanted to ask the question and leave it lingering in the air long after he was struck, but instead, he does what the Good Lord says one should do when they have but limited moments... counted ticks on a clock. He buys up the time. Bringing his hands together, crackling, sizzling and exploding bursts of energy playing between his fingers, he slams together a quick and impromptu sphere of light. Orange and golden energy crackling and undulating before him as he releases it... only for the waves of his own energy returned to him rush up to meet him... bathe him, send him dancing at their peak, writhing and flailing in the air before a cruel descent.

He slams hard into the ground, bouncing off of it once again, rolling away to lay in a crumpled heap on the concrete, half on his side, half on his back, one leg cast out, the other drawn up beneath him. One arm lay in an uncomfortable position, back over his upraised shoulder joint, the other pinned under his side, his eyes blearily blinking... trying to find some focus.. to get himself upright again..

For Oswald up there in the air however... he's left with that little present.. That ball of energy that suddenly and without warning -explodes- in his face in a flurry of golden orange light, beachball that pops as if stabbed with a knitting needle.

Horatio... was in the process of slowly pulling himself back together... trying to find a -way- to get back up.

COMBATSYS: Oswald blocks Horatio's Kinetic Low.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  //////                        ]
Oswald           0/-------/-----==|====---\-------\0          Horatio

As the energy clears out, Oswald lets his hands fling out to the sides in a dismissive swipe, the silvery-purple circle flickering and fading out. There's a slow breath that takes him, a moment of peace that grips him after the concussive release of that energy, as if basking there for a moment, eyes open, distant... maybe even searching.
Oswald stares into that sun for the few moments it it dormant, unblinking relaxed, and then there is little warning before it unleashes another torrent of undirected force at him, his own survival instinct taking control of his body and bringing his arms up before him to stand strong against the violent release of power.
When all is said and done, there are small marks from where Oswald's body was pushed back along the pavement. He still stands, somewhat bent at knee but still tall, the hammer-side of the gloves now burned away, exposing flesh.
With two flopping sounds, they are cast aside, and Oswald brings his hands up before him once more, this time a little more pugilistic in stance, shoulders in tight, keeping himself well defended as he starts toward where Horatio had fallen.
"Sorry for this..." He says quickly as his hands reach toward the still raising youth's shoulders, as he brings him up into a clinch, aiming to deliver a knee up to his chest...

COMBATSYS: Horatio blocks Oswald's Quick Throw.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  ////                          ]
Oswald           0/-------/-----==|====---\-------\0          Horatio

He was panting like air didn't exist anymore... This battle had gone on longer than any fight he'd ever had in his young life. By far, he'd never faced an opponent with this kind of staying power.. this kind of... - will to survive, to keep fighting. It was exciting, it was brutal, it was what fighters lived for. But at the same time it was frightening. This guy had tested him on every single limit he had, given him no option for an easy victory, no chance to simply call it a draw. With Oswald, it was victory or defeat. "The perfect fight..." He pants out... Again the taste of blood fills his mouth, the scent of it on his breath as he breathed hot gouts of fire out of his lungs... He was aching, he was bruised, he was beaten. Oswald had done a number on him.

But he wasn't yet out.

When the elder fighter comes upon him again, he has little time to do much of anything -but- get grabbed. As Oswald snaps his hands down onto his shoulers and lifts the Kyo Kusanagi-Dressed Horatio upright to slam that knee into him, -somehow- the boy finds the strength to throw his hands up between himself and Oswald's knee, both palms out, clenching onto it as it thumps hard into his chest, "Agh--nn..." he coughs a spurt of blood... but then -shoves- back against the knee, pushing it back down towards the ground as he launches himself into the air. His right leg sweeps out, rushing into a windmill, slicing the air, dragging with it those waves of strange and all encompassing energy, then his left comes up after the right completes its trek, trying to yank the both of them high into the air before he whips around and comes back down for a swift landing, stumbling back on his feet.

"I... I haven't got much left... -- You've managed to make me use everything in my power to try and best you... Heh--ow- ... It actually hurts to laugh..." He says, his voice edged in surprise at that notion.

COMBATSYS: Oswald dodges Horatio's Fatal Phoenix.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  ///                           ]
Oswald           0/-------/-----==|====---\-------\0          Horatio

Well, if anything it saves Oswald the effort of bringing his own leg back down. The knee yeilds to the push, hands releasing the shoulders of the Italian boy as he creates distance. He was tired, but so was Oswald. There's a long, gruff groan as he lets both knees bend down and lower his body to let that first kick sail high... letting Horatio distance himself... waiting... calculating what he thought was to be the perfect moment to strike.
Just as Horatio stumbles to the ground, Oswald takes that moment of uncertain footing to dash forward to drive toward Horatio's profile, using that single moment of uncertainty to deliver a kick to the back of his shoulders, aiming to try and topple him over...

COMBATSYS: Oswald successfully hits Horatio with Light Kick.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >                                ]
Oswald           0/-------/-----==|======-\-------\0          Horatio

Coming down from the air, stumbling on his feet, he barely is able to stand any more.. rocking backwards, two stumbled steps back prevent him from falling like a drunk, then two stumbled steps forward before he concretes his stance, looking ahead at Oswald. The man comes rushing on at him and Horatio's eyes go wide. -- He could barely lift his arms... -- he-- he couldn't do anything to stop it. Trying anyway, he leans forward to try and shove the bottom of the foot aside, but Oswald's the stronger and faster, and before his hands make it up, the heel of his foot -slams- into his shoulder, whipping him over in the air, forcing him to barrel roll over the leg..

With little to no energy remaining, he smashes his right hand forward, or rather over his head, which results as forward from his barrel roll, the force of his spin putting all of the momentum behind the strike as his heel seeks to smash in at the side of Oswald's face.. -- After that, whether it hits him or not, Horatio topples to the ground and rolls aside, panting hard, his arms out at his sides, hands above his head on the ground, laying quite still for the moment it would seem... panting, ragged breathes accompanied by the occasional drip of blood running down the sides of his cheeks.. his eyes half-lidded, staring into the middle distance.

COMBATSYS: Horatio can no longer fight.

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

COMBATSYS: Oswald counters Phantom Cutter from Horatio with King.

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

There was exertion, glorious fatigue with each strike. Sweat and blood marred his skin, and even as the foot strikes Horatio's back, there's a grunt that escapes him to try and put that much more into the kick.
There's a satisfying crack as the hit lands and Horatio rolls forward, the winded fighter keeping steady as best he can, stomping his foot down the boy goes into his last kick... which cuts neatly through not his body... but a single card as it flutters down to the ground.
Somewhere along the way, in the fog of the battle, Oswald had actually stepped away, kneeling down on one knee, the other up, elbow atop it as he rests his head in the crook of his arm. His back heaves with deep breaths, and for a while he becomes still, closing his mouth and swallowing before rising to stand. He was the victor, but not by much.
There were times before that officials would want to stand in the way when Oswald would approach, but they knew better. The fight ended when one was down - he never crossed the boundaries. He was a man of rules and regulations, after all.
"You ... you know." He stammers a bit as he brings himself to a crouch-squat next to where Horatio lay, "You really... had me going there. You're fast, son. Bloody skilled. You keep this up and..." Oswald brings his hand up again to his lips, nursing a wound there from one of the kicks, wincing as he touches it, "... people will be cosplaying /you/ in a few years."
Maybe it was during his arcane 'retreat' that he picked his glasses up, but whatever the case they were in his opposite hand, along with his hat, leaving it just before where Horatio's hands cover ahead of his head. "You kept your side of the here's mine..." The hat is set upside down, specs placed in, and then a single, entire deck of intricate, gravure cards, long-trump style.
"Rest up... and be well." A friendly clap on his shoulder marks when Oswald would rise, and start to step away. Thankfully his home is not far from the center streets...

COMBATSYS: Oswald has ended the fight here.

Many people had a lot to learn about honor, about sportsmanship, about conduct becoming a real fighter. While Horatio indeed had his moments of vainity, even bursts of haughty reprieve in some matches where he'd gotten too far ahead; he, like many before him, was slowly learning lessons as they came. At his age, lessons were a valuable thing. A necessary thing. And even now, in his half-bleary reverie, he had to admit that the Lord was a kind Lord and knew just what he needed when he needed it... Because victory was just something he didn't need right then, not against this foe. Perhaps it just... wasn't in the cards. As tongue-in-cheek as it may seem, that's simply how it was. Fate was a wise old battle axe.

Following Oswald with his eyes, blinking slowly, at the man's words he renders a smile... even as the crowds go wild for him, cheering on both combatants in likely one of the hardest League final fights they'd seen since it's inception... It was long, it was gritty, it was brutal and it showed both fighters at the peak of their collective achievements. There was nothing to be ashamed about in losing here... Feeling the air blow against his fingers when Oswald sets the hat and glasses down, Horatio issues a quiet, "Thank you." And drifts blissfully off into unconsciousness.

When he finally sees the light of day again, its in the Fighters Recovery Ward at the local clinic... his hat and glasses are there on his nightstand.. and all is well.

Log created on 21:51:37 04/29/2008 by Oswald, and last modified on 02:20:51 04/30/2008.