Neo League 951 - #955: Alma vs Ralf

Description: The ninth season of the Neo League has begun, and Alma Towazu, leader of the organization that has so recently been the beneficiary of Masters's largesse, has promptly plunged into action, taking a break from his duties to seek out a worthy opponent. He gets more than he bargained for in the reappearance of the famous Ralf Jones, ostensibly on a recruiting mission to seek new talent but primarily in search of a good time. Can the Thrice-Born Hero of Taizou face down a Bad Enough Dude to Rescue the President? Let's face it, Alma has a lot of titles, but none of them are as good as that. (Winner: Alma)

The Red Arena is the most fantastic environment that Masters Arena has to offer, and with the unveiling of the Ninth Season of the Neo League already underway, the Masters Foundation is shamelessly highlighting its own strengths. After the success of the dramatic finish of the previous season, the Neo League, now the pre-eminent professional fighting league in the world, is running with its own momentum, summoning as many old stars and as much new blood as can be, well, summoned. With their extensive resources and growing social and political clout, there is little that is barred to the organizers of the League.
And one man, already in their debt, wouldn't refuse even if he wasn't.
Alma Towazu, the nominal leader of the YFCC -- the community service organization that recently revitalized Southtown's sister Sunshine City -- and the redoubtable Scarred Beauty of Southtown, stands amidst the dynamic landscape at the center of the Red Arena, unflappable in the face of the cheers and shouts of the gathering audience. Most Neo League fights aren't like this; he tends to expect ending up in some remote location under unusual circumstances. But ever since Ken took more of a hands-on role in the, well, combative aspects of his own operation, Alma has had an opportunity to make an impression on the Crimson Inferno -- and vice versa, of course. The ex-model smiles gently to himself, his mild eyes contemplative above his burn-scarred features, not yet evincing the righteous passion that so reliably burns within him. There will be time soon enough to reveal that. For now, he has a moment to reflect on how well the past weeks have gone-- for his organization, and for him.
But though he hasn't spoken of it since he first returned to Frei, and to the organization he had left behind, he feels the pull again -- to free himself, just for a little while, and step into the world uncertain of his destiny. King of Fighters looms, and with it, profound questions. For now, until he is more certain of those answers, the Radiant Angel can lose himself in battle.
He will gladly contribute to this revival.
Now, who is to be his opponent this time?

It appears to be a meeting of opposites to open up the new season of the Neo League, or at least that is what it seems like from the demeanors of the two fighters getting ready to do their thing. While Alma is doing his stoic routine, Ralf is doing the opposite. He is laughing, egging the crowd on, and generally enjoying every moment of this. Ralf first entered a fighitng event because of an order, but now the Ikari Warrior uses leagues like this to keep in top-shape as well as keeping an eye on the sometimes shadowy figures that enter these contests.

%tHis opponent tonight doesn't seem like one of those ne'er'do'wells, so Ralf is going to instead enjoy just having a good fight instead of incorporating any business into his pleasure. The veteran soldier audibly cracks his knuckles as he starts to size up his opponent. Ralf -knows- not to take any opponent lightly as the King of Fighters tournament has proven to him time and time again. No matter what they look like, a true fighter can be dangerous...even if he is a scarred pretty-boy.

With this in mind, Ralf turns and gives a brief cheer to the small section of Ikari warriors that has showed up to cheer their Colonel on. Ralf finishes rallying the troops and then drops into a loose, fighting stance with his fists at the ready.

Zach Glen is not fighting in this fight at all, actually. He's in the crowd for once, which is a novel experience in and of itself for him. He has a drink in one hand, and a bag of popcorn in the other. He has a hoodie on, with the hood up to cover his features. He'd rather enjoy the fight without interruption.

Ralf would doubtless not even realize there's another fighter in the audience. Alma, however, will no doubt recognize the older psyker's presence; Zach is not wearing that odd gauntlet of his today. It probably won't even bother the Scarred Warrior at all, though.

Well, this is a pleasant surprise.
The once-beautiful psychic is stirred from the poised elegance of his musings -- only a model born and bred can strike poses like that without being self-conscious -- by the vibrant aura that intrudes upon the periphery. Blinking twice, the restrained young man then smiles again, widening as though Ralf's own cheer is infectious. In a way, it is for Alma, who can not only see the man's obvious undisguised emotions but feel them viscerally through his ever-active second sight. Only his discipline allows him to maintain his own integrity in the face of the constant barrage of other people's feelings he experiences; only in the midst of the storm of combat is he comfortable truly relaxing that hold, and allowing for the outpouring of emotion that manifests as his potent psychic power. The clash of souls.
"Mr. Jones," he says, voice clear, the young man's red-tinged bangs shifting about his brow as he steps forward onto the sandy strip in the midst of their battlefield, his polished dress shoes sinking slightly into the trecherous, uneven ground. "It's an honor to face you for the first time. I am Alma Towazu, of the YFCC." He used to introduce himself with his martial art, but he's adapted it to such a degree at this point it's only subtly recognizable as Hiten-ryu anymore. "Please don't hold back in the slightest."
Not that he expects Ralf would. Despite himself, the psychic's smile continues to widen into a grin of his own. Facing unrestrained opponents like this -- it's always thrilling. Drawing their spirit out of them, being able to experience the fullness of their being, takes no prodding at all. Sometimes, his power must be the key to unlock the gates that surround others' wills. Under these circumstances--
"Without ado, let's begin!"
He just has to last long enough to make sure he sees it!
Accompanied by the shouts of the crowd, Alma's eyes flash, the sea of soulfire within him beginning to exude a palpable presence. Taking a deep breath, he steadies himself on the uncertain ground, and prepares for what he knows will be a challenging battle.
Just what he needs to get his mind off these quandries.

COMBATSYS: Alma has started a fight here.

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Alma             0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Ralf has joined the fight here.

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Ralf             0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0             Alma

On or off the battlefield, Ralf wears his emotions on his sleeve and he is quick to show how fired up he his tonight. In truth, the soldier has been feeling a little out of the fighting scene since he has been preoccupied with Ikari matters for the past few months. What better way to get back in the swing of things than to jump right back into a fighting league?

As Alma introduces himself, Ralf is grinning ear to ear. It is always exciting to face a new opponent. This may be a different battlefield than the kind that Ralf specializes in, but it is a battlefield all the same. "You seem to already have heard of me," says Ralf as he is more than happy to acknowledge his own big ego. "Then you should already know that I never hold back in a fight!" The Ikari warrior lets out a small laugh before adopting a more serious look as it is about to be game-time.

The Ikari Warriors are always looking for new talent and tonight is no different. Except, that Ralf is a little focused at the match at hand to handle recruting matters. Alma's declaration of the start of the match is more than enough reason for Ralf to charge straight forward at Alma. His hands move quick and reach out to grab enough of the scarred pretty boy to toss through the air.

COMBATSYS: Alma blocks Ralf's Quick Throw.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Ralf             0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0             Alma

Even with his spirit steadied, Alma can tell right away that Ralf lives up to his reputation. The slim young man in his tailored outfit does not appear, for all his poise, prepared to handle his adversary's bulk, and when they lock in confrontation all reasonable expectations would side with the Ikari Warrior. Yet Alma's technique is not to be underestimated, especially when he finds himself fighting against the odds -- and faced with a will that inspires him, however self-aggrandizing it might be. A roar erupts from the crowd as Alma digs in, shifting his weight to carefully and intuitively adjust to the force that Ralf is projecting, redirecting it.
He grits his teeth slightly, brow furrowing with growing intensity, as at the decisive moment he pivots, moving swiftly to slip out of Ralf's grip. His twist is as stylish as it is agile, the tall ex-model rising like the phoenix he has been compared to, spinning as he jumps -- or rather seems somehow propelled away from the ground. Somehow still composed after meeting Ralf's strength, he smoothly extends one hand and, even as he aims to move out of Ralf's range, almost casually seeks to brush his fingertips against Ralf's forehead. The move is almost-- uh-- affectionate.
Until it becomes obvious those fingertips are now burning with ethereal pearly Soul Power, streaked with cherry-blossom pink and royal indigo, and a dart of that will-crushing psychic energy erupts forth in an attempt to blast the Ikari Warrior right in the face and keep him at more of a distance.

COMBATSYS: Ralf endures Alma's Sacred Wave.
~~ Alluring Hit! ~~

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Ralf             0/-------/----===|====---\-------\0             Alma

Zach lets out a low whistle, impressed with Alma's ability to not only roll with Ralf's move, but to point-blank blast him in the face. He takes a sip, his eyes intent on the fight in front of him.

He usually learns by doing, or by experimenting. Today, maybe he'll learn something by watching Alma in action. Alma may be a bit younger than him, but Towazu has been doing the fighting psychic thing for a good deal longer.

Well look at that! The kid's quick. -Real- quick. Ralf is a little caught off guard as the much smaller man weasels out of his grip without much effort at all. And then Ralf is -really- caught off guard when he gets blasted in the face by Alma's psychic attack. What in the-? The Ikari Warrior can't do much other than just take the brunt of the blow head on. It is a good thing that Ralf is so hard-headed or he might have been dazed by such an attack.

The blow is pretty brutal and Ralf can't help but smirk as it recovers his wits. "Nice one kid, but how about this?!" Ralf is not much one for finesse or technique and it shows in his fighting style. He once again charges the other fighter and attempts to land a flurry of blows on ex-model that would eventually accumliate into an uppercut if his combination of punches land.

COMBATSYS: Alma interrupts Gatling Attack from Ralf with Divine Intervention EX.

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Ralf             0/-------/=======|=======\-------\0             Alma

It's a fabulous display.
Alma, inspired by his opponent, driven by his recent successful, hopeful for the future, is able to express his passion for this battle with an even greater intensity than ever before. The well-dressed psychic, though thoroughly mismatched with his rough-and-tumble adversary, seems absolutely keyed in to Ralf's movements and intentions. Indeed, where Ralf's ferocity might be perfect for intimidating and overwhelming other fighters, Alma seems somehow fueled by the Ikari Warrior's own personality. The bigger his ego and the bigger his emotions, the better Alma is able to read him -- and, as it so happens, the more enthused Alma himself becomes.
Their passion will grow together.
The space he got was the space he needed. Ralf plunges through, but the Scarred Beauty's mind is racing, his power flows through him clear and clean. Another roar is elicited from the crowd as they clash again, but with expert timing and unflagging stamina Alma, his eyes blazing, parries and deflects each of Ralf's storm of punches, gritting his teeth again as his arms begin to numb against Ralf's strength. He doesn't let up: he glances aside each of the strikes, letting Ralf's unrefined technique slowly begin to expose the moment he is looking for.
Finally, just when he is at his limit, Alma spies his moment, and strikes, right before Ralf was to aim his uppercut. His glowing palm slams into the Ikari Warrior's chest, and a piercing beam of Soul Power erupts, cutting through to cast the tough warrior away again. The hero of the YFCC staggers, his eyes fluttering, as he seeks to catch his breath. That was close, but--
He did it.

Ralf is merely dumbfounded that Alma is able to keep up with his speed and strength with such ease. He was -sure- that he would not be expecting such a speedy counter-attack to Alma's brutal blow. But low and behold, every one of Ralf's punches is turned away by Alma's quick movements. To add insult in injury, Ralf is exactly where Alma wants him to be when -Alma's- counterattack rages on.

The psychic blow is nearly as brutal as the first attack and causes ralf to tumble backwards. The soldier regains his composure and his footing as he rises back up into a fighting stance. Geeze, nothing is working against this guy. Ralf cracks his neck as he ponders his next action against his seemingly all knowing opponent. Never one for great strategy, Ralf comes lumbering and goes like he is about to grab Alma, but instead attempts to throw a quick punch to the man's jaw when he gets close enough to him.

COMBATSYS: Ralf successfully hits Alma with Quick Punch.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Ralf             0/-------/=======|=======\=------\1             Alma

Strategy is secondary when you have that much momentum.
Alma has been doing his utmost to keep a handle on the flow of the battle, to guide it such that he can employ his expert timing and preternatural agility, to bring his soulful energies to their fullest potential. Ralf, though he has been overcome thus far, is not so easily dissuaded. Though Alma once again has time to recover and prepare himself, as he had hoped, he can feel the fire within him -- though it burns freely -- not yet offering up the power he needs to repel his opponent. Swiftly, artfully, he aims to slip past his opponent instead, to evade his grasp without losing ground; it would be dangerous to retreat completely in the face of his raging bull.
It ends up being just as dangerous not to retreat. Alma might have avoided the grapple, had it been the real strike, but being a psychic, alas, does not make him a mind-reader. The jab that snaps up slams stunningly into the side of his jaw, wrong-footing the scarred beauty and sending him staggering. For all his looks, he's no dainty flower, but Towazu is unprepared for that kind of strength. Rather than stumble about inelegantly, he elects to move with the force of that blow, and drop to the ground, looking at first as though he's been felled. The crowd, of course, will respond passionately.
But Alma is far from finished, and if Ralf moves in too quickly, he may be caught by Alma's quick response, as he plants his palms upon the uneven turf and twists his body, smoothly lashing out with a flurry of low kicks aiming to cleave Ralf's legs out from under him and prevent his advance.

COMBATSYS: Ralf endures Alma's Light Kick.

[              \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Ralf             1/-------/=======|=======\==-----\1             Alma

Zach all but crushes hus soda when Alma weathers Ralf's barrage to deliver such a effective counter. He leans forward, getting fairly heated up, even though it isn't his fight. He doesn;t even notice the drink on his hand as the fight continues!

The fight enters that stage where hits are becoming a slight bit more strategic. Ralf and Alma have already showcased some of their more spectacular techniques, but are now reserving their Sunday punches for the key moment!

Ralf is no dainty flower either and has been taking quite a beating thus far. He continues to take a beating when Alma quickly responds by letting a flurry of kicks in his direction. Instead of trying to dodge out of the situation, he merely takes a few of the kicks before launching his attack. Ralf wanted to be nice and close to Alma in hopes that he will able to launch his attack before Alma can dance out of the way.

The crowd was cheering louder and louder and Ralf -knew- he had to try something a little desperate to have a shot at winning this match. The Ikari warrior suddenly lurches forward and attempts to pin Alma to the ground with one hand while using the other hand to drive his fist straight into his opponent. If this attack is successful, Alma would be knocked up into the air enough for Ralf to continue his onslaught with a haymaker that would catch the off-guard and off-balanced Alma.

COMBATSYS: Ralf successfully hits Alma with Galactica Vanguard+.

[              \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////                    ]
Ralf             0/-------/------=|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2             Alma

It's a disaster.
It was all going so well for Alma Towazu. Sure, he couldn't hold Ralf back forever, and he was definitely at his best at the beginning of the fight. And sure, it seemed as though the momentum was beginning to shift, like he might not be able to suppress Ralf and check his fury any longer.
But even a psychic couldn't see this coming.
The Scarred Beauty of Southtown barely has time for his eyes to widen in shock and alarm as the Ikari legend plunges toward him with an extended hand. The lithe young man was only then rising from his lowered position, and he cannot escape the all-out plunge this time, driven down to the ground. Winded by the blow, the psion nevertheless keeps his cool, still struggling for an escape, looking for a weak point to exploit and thereby free himself.
This effort lasts for about a fourth of a second. Then Ralf hits him.
After that, Alma doesn't remember much. Several seconds later, he finds himself upside-down in the dirt in another section of the arena, and the ringing in his ears is only partially the ecstatic roar of the crowd. His whole body is afire, and not the kind of fire that, you know, he ignites himself.
With one trembling arm, Alma forces himself to his knees, one eye squinted shut -- but the other still bright with an uncrushed spirit. "The rumors of your strength are, of course, true," he murmurs, gracefully ignoring the trickle of crimson blood that emerges from his lips as he speaks (and, much more concerning, the grass stains on his expensive outfit). "But I won't be easily denied, Mr. Jones."
So saying, his body blurs as, despite what must be incredible pain, the head of the YFCC plunges forward, his hand glowing with a dreadful promise.
Unexpectedly, before he can close in, his fist will arc down toward the ground beneath him -- but what emerges is the true attack, as his power, channeled down and outward, erupts in a mighty geyser of scintillating colors, aiming to consume Ralf utterly, hammering him with a storm all of Alma's own.
Forget experiencing Ralf's spirit. He can't really handle Ralf's spirit.
It's time to unleash some fury of his own.

COMBATSYS: Alma successfully hits Ralf with Full Confession EX.

[                        \\\\\\  < >  //////////                    ]
Ralf             0/-------/=======|=======\-------\0             Alma

Ralf adopts that half-maniacal grin that he was wearing before the fight while he waits for Alma to get up from his attack. The attack was one of desperation and Ralf was pleased to see that the risk paid off. Least now, the crowd would be entertained and this was a legitmate fight in Ralf's eyes. The soldier still is a little rusty and slow when compared to the lithe and agile Alma, but sometimes being able to hit like a freight train pays off.

While there was a voice in Ralf's head that wondered whether or not Alma was going to get up from such a blow, Ralf knew that his opponent couldn't be finished that easily by just how fiercely he was attacked at the beginning of the fight. So, the Ikari Warrior is not too surprised to see Alma getting up and onto his feet. "I don't like to disappoint!" yells Ralf in response. It's true. Whether it is the crowd or his men, the Colonel doesn't like to let other down. It wouldn't be a Ralf fight without one brutal display of strength.

Speaking of display of strength, Alma seems to be powering for something, but Ralf hardly expected a geyser of technicolor doom being erupted in his direction. "Aww sh--! is all Ralf is able to say as he crosses his arms before himself and braces for impact. The expedient geyser hits the large frame of Ralf and sends him spiraling backwards. The man hits the ground and skids a few feet before finally coming to a rest. After a moment, the man stirs and starts to get up very slowly. The crowd is going absolutely nuts over the Alma's sudden explosion and Ralf nearly makes it to a knee before collapsing back down onto the ground.

Stick a fork in him and maybe throw him a beer, he's done.

COMBATSYS: Ralf takes no action.

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

COMBATSYS: Ralf can no longer fight.

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

Alma only needs a couple more minutes in the oven.
His mind is whirling from the sheer speed and intensity of that battle. The sounds of the crowd are a blur about him. The flames about his fist fading, the scarred beauty tries to rise after unleashing that mighty blast of power but, dazed, he can only slump to his knees. Taking a few deep breaths, he shakes his head slowly.
"That was... overwhelming," he murmurs to himself, eyes unfocused.
If he hadn't fought so expertly in those first couple exchanges, he never would have had a chance. Defeating Ralf of the Ikari Warriors is no mean feat -- but Alma hardly feels as though he can take real credit for it. He was on the ball the entire time, and that man's sheer strength was incredible. What really kept him going was--
Ralf's own spirit, propelling him.
"What an interesting man."
He should learn a little more about these... Ikari Warriors.

COMBATSYS: Alma has ended the fight here.

Log created on 21:36:01 01/30/2011 by Alma, and last modified on 12:00:52 01/31/2011.