Description: Continuing his quest to dominate the Neo League, Billy Kane has been on the search for the fighters sharing second place. What kind of a #1 can't beat a #2? His journey takes him to Mudsville, Korea, where he finds a wet and weary Takako Fujiwa seemingly unready to fight. The girl not only proves him wrong-- she gives Kane his toughest fight yet! N.B.: real scene at start, bonus footage follows for people who like WORDS. (Winner: Billy)
Takako is sleeping under a bridge. Stuff has happened.
Billy Kane finds Takako and is like, "Oi! Let's fight!"
Takako says, "k"
Billy Kane punches Takako in the face
AND NOW FOR YOUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED VIOLENCE--!!
Takako has been through a lot lately. Frustrated with her performance and rate of growth, she has struck out from her comfortable home, and done her best to leave behind the childish world of sports in order to find the most dangerous places on Earth. Places where she could face death, and either die, or grow.
She has abandoned her passport and papers, too. All the better to get in more trouble.
Which is why right now, the young, angry girl is crouched underneath a bridge in North Korea. It is raining, and it is dark. She is very cold, but the boots of North Korea's border force have faded off into the night. Her eyes are closed, and her bokken is laid out across her thighs. Teeth clenched together against the cold and the chill. Hnngh. She doesn't know if this is making her any stronger, but she's /hating/ it. Anything that is this awful has to be worth it in the long run, doesn't it?
Or maybe she's completely lost her mind. Both options seem equally plausible.
On adding his name to the much-diminished Neo League roster, Geese Howard's #1 Man (that's not gay at all, shut up!) was quick to cast his eye across the recent records. Given the grandeur of his vision, the heights to which he was once more aspiring, Billy was somewhat dismayed to see only see names leading the pack of hopeless hopefuls making up the pitiable undercard. Two fighters of any worth; one match between them.
Reasoning that there's no point being number one if you haven't thoroughly thrashed out a number two, Kane has since attempted to seek out both names on the list. He began with the delinquent from Gedo High, stalking her classmates outside the gates of the school - because obviously there's nothing wrong with /that/ - only to turn up a thoroughly loose end. The self-proclaimed vigilante schoolgirl known as Intan was nowhere to be found. This was annoying. This was very annoying. Fortunately, there was another name on the list...
With the resources that the Syndicate command, it's not hard to find anybody. At least it shouldn't be. Unlike her quiet former opponent, Takako Fujiwa leaves a trail behind her. Her performances have been explosive, garnering a mild following among similarly violent, angry teenagers seeking the perfect role model for rebellion. Like it nor, the League is mainstream-- and that's made the tiny runaway a celebrity.
In this world, people take note of celebrities, no matter how low-down or trashy.
The first warning that Takako gets - that she's been found, that she's been noticed - is a fierce splashing, and a small torrent of water washing toward the grounded parts of her body as Billy Kane slams a boot down in front of her. He stands there a moment before saying anything, the three-man mercenary camera crew arranged behind him in their sensible clothing and rain-guarded equipment. For his part, the Londoner is stripped to the waist, chill lines coursing down his muscular torso, the rod laid across his shoulders - resplendent in the lousy Korean gloom. And lest we forget, he's grinning like a cat that just found the fishbowl.
Takako's 'blade' is drawn. That's good. It means she's ready to use it.
"Wot's this, some kinda vision quest crap?" Barks Kane, baring his teeth all the more, "Get up, kid!"
She's going to have to. Because the punk in front of her has come a long way to be here.
"You deaf? GET UP!!"
She's got about three seconds to get wild, before he does.
COMBATSYS: Billy has started a fight here.
Takako's lips press together at the splashing of boots. She gets up, of course. She has no intention of being gunned down like a dog, but her motion is slow. Soaked to the bone, there are some figures who could cut a dynamic and dashing figure even here. Takako is not one of them. She looks like a drowned rat, and the diminutive girl raises her bokken slowly, swirling it around once to shake the droplets of water from it. Her eyes open, and she finds herself facing... Billy Kane?
Takako takes a deep breath. "I do not know what you want." She says, as far as she knows... she hasn't beat up or angered any cockney people. But maybe Billy is just a loud, large, and beligerant Korean youth?!
"But I am not on a vision quest."
She cracks her neck, eyes kindling with genuine anger as she takes in the shouting man. "What do you WANT with me?" She snaps, at last. Some energy coming to her. Its strange, but somehow, being angry again... helps to ward off the cold and the chill. Perhaps she should embrace her anger more often. She's starting to feel better already.
"If this is your bridge, you should get out of here before I feed you that stick!!"
She's assuming the usual position, raising her wooden sword and leveling it towards Billy. Because obviously she's going to be able to scare him off. That is going to turn out so well.
COMBATSYS: Takako has joined the fight here.
COMBATSYS: Takako focuses on her next action.
Perception is a funny thing. Looking down, it's hard to judge height and weight.
When Takako finally manages to stand up, sodden, barely even appearing human, he has to laugh. First his shoulders quake as he tries to suppress it - he's not always a complete bastard, after all - but then he can't contain a loud chortle, laughing in the face of the poor, angry girl. Shaking his head, he's forced to clear his throat several times before he can maintain a game face; and by then, it's far too late. As her own rage is rising, his has all but diminished. He only knows Takako by name-- he doesn't /like/ studying fighters he plans to fight for recreational purposes. It ruins the fun. Besides, he knows he's damn good.
At this moment he's not sure this girl is anything but very, very lucky to be placing second in the League.
"Well, kid," he breathes out, shoulers relaxing as he swings his own weapon down. Unlike Takako's, it doesn't remain raised and ready. He actually lets the crimson butt settle in the mud, pausing as though to consider his next action before he lets the full length drop. It lands with a dull splash. "This ain't my bridge, but you /are/ the closest fing I've got to a rival right now. That's why we're gonna fight. But..."
He glances off to one side, up the track he used to get here. There's a town nearby-- or as near as anywhere can be, in the middle of the countryside. It's a scant few miles. He could probably carry Takako there, at a dash, without breaking a sweat even beneath the driving rain. Slowly he looks back, placing hands upon his hips, the leather of his fingerless gloves creaking gently.
"'Ow about we get you a warm bed and somethin' to eat first? I can tell you're not ready for this."
For what it's worth, the offer is genuine. But given he was YELLING at her a minute ago, well...
COMBATSYS: Billy takes no action.
The laughter is what does it.
Takako doesn't have much, but she does have her pride. She demands the very best of herself, and although she is constantly frustrated by her limitations, she strives to destroy them. She is not good at taking mockery in her stride. "You... think I'm funny?" She says, grinding her teeth together. "You think... this is a joke?!"
"YOU WANT TO FIGHT?! I'LL SHOW YOU HOW TO FIGHT!"
So... Takako might well have Billy beaten in terms of sheer volume, too!
Springing forwards, her anger at Billy's casual dismissal of her propels her forwards as though she had been ready to fight from the very beginning. Her bokken is driving forwards, seeming to go right in for Billy's chest, an obvious, easy to read--
And then it is swiveling upwards, as Takako puts her shoulder into the forward lunge. "DON'T YOU DARE UNDERESTIMATE ME!"
And the very tip of that sword aims to smash into Billy's nose, and wipe the smirk off his lips by bloodying his face. That would show him! He might be ready to dismiss her, but she'll approach this like every other fight she has ever been in! She will give it 110 per cent, and crash through to defeat all obstacles! She can do this! SHE WILL NOT BE TAKEN LIGHTLY!
COMBATSYS: Billy blocks Takako's Determined Breeze EX.
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Billy 0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0 Takako
In all honesty, even Billy sort of regrets the laughter. He does have a younger sister!
There's nothing to be done about it now, though, save actually react to the sudden oncoming storm of Takako Fujiwa. Her advance is impressive, quick and fluid in spite of the rage driving it-- he has to admit, on a cursory inspection of her technique, the microscopic Japanese swordswoman has potential. Her attack is almost direct enough to work, but too direct not to be intercepted by someone as experienced as Billy Kane; even with his guard apparently lowered, his posture remains defensive enough - by habit - that he's able to snap a hand up, meeting the bokken's tip with a palm padded by rough leather. It stops dead.
Raising an eyebrow over his intercepting forearm, the Londoner takes further stock of the girl before pushing her weapon away and to one side. It's not a heavy push-- but she threw a lot of momentum into the attack. If she's not unabalanced he'll be surprised and somewhat humbled. As it is, he's already changed his manner. If she wants to be taken seriously, he'll give her the benefit of the doubt...
"Love yer spirit, kid!" He offers even as he's taking a sliding step forward, boot throwing up a mudslick wave as it's launched across the ground behind her own grounded limb. His right arm comes up at the same time, it what looks to be a clothesline, until it tightens around her shoulders and neck in a nice, burly hug. Well-- it's burly at least, less than /nice/ as his other hand slaps to the back of her garb and grips tight. Spinning to the left, Kane seeks to simply grit his teeth and power-toss her up and over the line of the watching camera.
She probably won't die; there's plenty of soft mud to land on. "You got any more to show me?"
COMBATSYS: Billy successfully hits Takako with Medium Throw.
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Billy 0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\1 Takako
Takako finds herself being flung up into the air. Where a lot of fighters - especially girl fighters, ho ho sexism - might be able to tuck and roll... Takako is obviously caught rather by surprise by the sudden experience. Rather than making any attempt to mitigate the damage, she winds up hitting the mud like a flung brick, lodging most of her upper body in the ground, and thrashing around in... well, the /opposite/ of a dignified manner.
When she manages to excavate herself from the ground, she looks around for a moment. Now smeared in dirt and muck as well as being soaked to the bone, she has to actually drag her sword out of the ground too! To her credit, Takako does not cry. She's far too pissed off for that. She just wants /revenge/.
The shout is coupled by a long, long run back to Billy. She's vaguely aware that there are cameras here, but she couldn't really care less. She just wants to beat the hell out of this guy, now! How dare he track her down and make her eat dirt?! Who does he think he is?!
The blade is brought sweeping around, aiming to crash into Billy in an upward motion, and hurl the more experienced fighter into the air...
COMBATSYS: Billy fails to counter Fujin's Echo from Takako with Combo Attack.
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Billy 0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0 Takako
Sweeping Billy into the air, Takako lunges up after him. There's a moment where the two make quite a tableau, the small girl ascending after the taller man, silhouetted against the moon.
And then Takako is a blur of motion. Every scrap of martial prowess she has explodes out of her in a single moment, determined to recover her pride.
Five slashes impact Billy so swift that anyone other than a fighter of his kind of caliber might think it was a single blow. Diagonal right, then left, horizontal, up, and down. When they descend, Takako isn't even breathing hard; though she's still pretty badly bruised after the toss, her sword, at least, has been cleaned of muck!
"I told you not to underestimate me!" She spits, also... literally spitting a little mud out of her mouth, to the side. She brings her sword up to recover her guard, seeking to meet Billy's eye. "I am every bit your equal!"
A lot of very wise men would - and do - counsel that to use one's anger is to lose. That to strike with only wrath, or vengeance, behind your blow is not just ill-judged but actively harmful. Billy isn't one of these men; hardly indisposed to these things himself, he therefore doesn't treat the incoming assault as anything less than what it is. A fighter showing their true mettle. A warrior's charge. Which isn't to say his response lacks a certain cocky swagger; his stance shifting to present himself face-on to Takako with arms at his side.
"C'mon," he urges, barely a mutter beneath the girl's empassioned scream. When her bokken sweeps up, he's forced to shift posture again to attempt his countering motion-- left leg leaving the ground to whip into a right-to-left arc, aimed to deflect the weapon and open the violent schoolgirl for a flurry of blows.
There's no point hiding it-- she beat him this time. She was just a bit better.
What follows is painful enough to register. It certainly doesn't make Billy mirthful, and it even banishes the lingering guilt that their introduction interjected. Five slashes. He feels them all, observes them all even, and when he's released - faint welts on his bare torso, marred with Korean muck - he crashes to ground with respect soaring for his apparent rival. At least she's earned that title. For better or worse, he's impressed, meeting her gaze as he thrusts himself to his feet, bouncing back as muddy as she. That's annoying, actually...
Billy hates getting his clothes dirty. His teeth grit, but he restrains it, instead flicking his glance momentarily to the space between he and Takako. His rod lies there, abandoned. Darting his right foot out this time, he catches one end and flips, a small geyster of wet filth erupting around the staff as it's launched end-over-end before being caught in an outstretched palm. Takako's words still ring in the air.
"Yeah," the Londoner acknowledges, dropping to a low stance, his weapon nestled beneath his armpit, "I did underestimate you, Fujiwa Takako." He really knows how to mangle Japanese, just sayin'. Even if he does get her names the right way around. "Won't 'appen again. Gimme more. Gimme everything you've got, kid."
Takako has done everything she can to strive to bring honor back to her father's style. The trouble is, she has very little to go on as to how Fujiwa style Kendo... is actually supposed to function. Raw grit and determination isn't a /style/, it is just who she is, brought out and sharpened enough to draw blood. In Iran, she had proven that it is sharp enough to kill even with a wooden sword. It was not something she had wanted to prove... but it was an important step.
As she has spent nights shivering in the cold, and days wandering the road with a hunger in her gut so deep it felt like it may never be filled, she had needed to ask herself: Does she do this for her father, or for herself? And the answer had surprised her. Underneath the pride, and the desire to validate her father's life... she does it for herself. She does it because she is selfish, and she wants to discover what she is capable of.
Better tomorrow than she is today, better today than she was yesterday.
"I always do! To give less than one's best... is to dishonor not just your opponent, but yourself!"
And with that, the wind blowing through the battlefield picks up just a little bit. Sweat beads on Takako's brow, and the bokken goes from resting by her side, to swinging around with brutal force. The wind clings to the blade, swirling around it as a tangible, visible force before being unleashed towards Billy in a swift wave of slicing energy. And of course, she couples it again with a loud:
COMBATSYS: Takako successfully hits Billy with Bladed Gust.
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Billy 0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0 Takako
There's nothing wrong with being selfish, in Billy's estimation. The only thing a person has in this world is themselves, and the people they care for; so why give to others, why waste time doing purely charitable things? Nobody else is going to protect you. You can't depend on that. Even if there's someone YOU want to protect, the safest and most rewarding way to achieve that is to harden and strengthen who you are. This is a cruel, brutal world-- governments don't care, the wealthy don't care, nobody can be expected to care. Take what you can get, and be the best you can be. What other choice is there?
"Heh!" Billy appreciated Takako all the more for her attitude. Despite his questionable philosophies, the Syndicate punk is no stranger to being honourable, or even merciful where it's due. Selfish priorities don't preclude the occasional kindness. And living right, living well... that's its own reward. "You ain't wrong, Fujiwa." Somehow using her first name feels wrong. Doesn't suit her. "So here we are, eh?"
He's grinning as the windshear lashes forth, and breaks into a short two-step lunge, seeking to move half through it and half around-- but he's still underestimating what the girl is capable of, and it stings him as he passes by. On a fighter this fast, though, and this capable, on someone a few marks short of being a true master... it doesn't make a huge amount of difference to Billy Kane. He spins through the pain and the disorientation, and comes around with his staff already extending. They're not too far apart now, but they are just shy of immediate striking range-- fortunately, the crimson rod holds a surprise of its own.
"Just two warriors, locked in a bloody battle fer dominance!!"
The last comes out excitably as the last section of his staff snaps free, launched toward Takako for a brutal, driving impact with her chest. He's not aiming for the head; there's 'not holding back' and 'being a complete asshole' and the latter just isn't cheeky. The former is serviced well enough as the strike is followed by a sudden bristling of the Londoner's own aura, and an /explosion/ of fierce fiery chi erupts from the striking section, directly into the five-foot-nothin' schoolgirl's chest. At least she doesn't have much there.
COMBATSYS: Takako Toughs Out Billy's Blazing Cane Thrust!
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Billy 0/-------/---====|=======\===----\1 Takako
~To fear death, is to give it power over you~
"I have no fear."
The words are spoken aloud, but they aren't really for Billy. They are for Takako. And as she stands firm in the face of his rush, he might just wonder if Takako has vastly overestimated her own capabilities, and is now underestimating him. The truth could not be more different. She knows that Billy hits hard; as hard as the Killer Bee had struck when she was smashed to pieces against her, in fact. She therefore knows that if she is going to win, she must stand firm, and strike true. Any single mistake will be enough to spell her doom.
"I AM NOT AFRAID!"
And it is *true*. She steps forwards into the blow that Billy sends towards her, and it smashes straight into her chest. Takako actually manages to stand firm, though, and she does not budge an inch against the slippery ground, even though her gritted teeth make it painfully clear how much that hurt.
And then she is engulfed in fire.
The detonation *rocks* her, but it does not dislodge her from the end of the weapon. She is smouldering gently, but the young woman remains standing through it, and the smoke and flame whips away from her as her own aura roars in answer to Billy's. Her wooden sword is raised.
"I WILL KNOCK YOU DOWN!"
Takako is *far* from mastering her chi. In fact, its use takes a tremendous strain on her body, literally ripping herself apart to try and achieve the desired effect on the world. Chi is supposed to work with the world, but Takako has never really learned that. She approaches everything as though it is her enemy, to be beaten and battered and subdued through brute force of will.
The whipping winds coalesce around her blade, and then, suddenly, there is a flash.
If all goes according to plan, she is now six feet behind Billy. And he will find that she has unleashed that energy in a single, bisecting strike across his midsection. Almost as fast as lightning. The trouble is...
She will also cough, and blood will splatter from her lips, as she falls to one knee, supporting herself on her sword. No! She ... is not done yet! She has... to get... up!
"I will... win, this fight!"
"I... am not.... afraid!!"
COMBATSYS: Billy dodges Takako's Raijin's Strike.
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Billy 0/-------/---====|-------\-------\0 Takako
There's a wide realm of difference between feeling an opponent crumple before such a strike, and the impact that resonates down a weapon meeting unyielding grit. Connecting so solidly with the resolute Takako is nothing like slamming against the unbelievable, unstoppable mass of men like Raiden or Wolfgang Krauser, but there's a shared quality there-- and Billy knows before the blast clears that she's not been wiped out. And that? Sometimes it's the kind of thing that drives him insane, breeds reproach and frustration, but in the here and now it's simply exhilariting. He'll not be ashamed to admit that his heartbeat quickens a little.
"That a fact, kid?" He muses, thoughtless, instinctual as the girl's astonishingly loud voice reaches his ears through the driving rain. His staff is already returning by the same native talent that sets Billy to priming for movement, his senses pricking as that aura flares. She lacks technique, certainly; but so did he, when he was plucked from the street by Geese Howard. Technique isn't what matters. Talent, style, passion...
There are so many things more important than education. Kane's learned that.
Winds shift and howl, the falling droplets turning to a horizontal hail in the earthly vibrations of the mere schoolgirl's mounting power. The Londoner's habitually wild eyes find her in the storm, as he sinks back into his haunches, the retracted rod slung over both shoulders, as finely balanced as its master is keen and alert. In the same instant that Takako moves, his right foot turns outward, just slightly, scraping through mud and dirt, a tiny motion all but lost in the thunderous flash of motion that ensues. Lost in the strike.
Billy's not normally given to such wordy words; it's more something that Geese would say. But in the context, erupting as it does merely a foot or so behind Takako, there was no word more suitable. She is-- she was. It was all the energetic enforcer could do not to be present for the blow itself; though certainly Takako will feel she struck /something/, there was a palpable hit in the mix, somewhere. Which makes it all the more confusing as the punk, streaming with rain from his close-cropped blonde hair to his denim-clad waist, is standing just a few inches behind her, two small craters of shifted mud around his booted feet.
Perhaps she'll have time to notice the discarded bandanna, lying forlorn and torn where he once stood.
"But you can't win." His smile would be pitying, if she'd earned his respect any less - as it is, it's merely matter-of-fact. It's honest. She can't. Takako has talent, just like Billy did, but she doesn't have over a decade of experience, and she doesn't yet have a real reason to fight. "That's not 'ow this works. Heads up."
That's all the warning she gets, before he's surging forward, the staff whipping from his shoulder, still fully-formed as it sweeps over the ground and up toward her chin. The angle is odd, but a quick drop to a crouch sees Billy well placed to score with the butt right in the centre of her throat. If he can find that nasty, painful niche, it's only a matter of bunching the muscles in one arm and /heaving/ to send Takako up off her feet and toward the underside of the bridge that's so failed to shelter her tonight. He stops just short of slamming her into it-- but she'll be held aloft and choking for as long as he can keep her from wriggling.
"You've done bloody well!" He yells from below, grinning fiercely, "We'll meet again sometime. Count on it."
COMBATSYS: Takako fails to interrupt Hell Drop from Billy with Fierce Strike.
-* CRITICAL FAIL! *-
COMBATSYS: Takako can no longer fight.
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"I'LL SHOW YOU HOW IT WORKS!"
Takako's grip on her bokken is reversed the moment that she hears Billy's voice behind her. She is hurting, but she can still fight! That is all the reason that she has ever needed. If she can stand, she can fight. If she can fight, she will propel herself forwards. Striking off into the world to escape these kinds of fights, there is a certain irony in the fact that it is now she has run into her first true challenge. There is... a kind of realization, here. That it does not matter where one finds the fight; a dozen weak men who intend to kill you... are far less menacing than one skilled man who does not.
The bokken comes swinging around, and in that same moment, Billy drives the end of his weapon directly into her throat.
The weapon slips in her hands as she loses her grip, and it goes spiralling away into the darkness, over the heads of the film crew, where it buries itself point-first into the ground. Takako's eyes are quite wide, and she tries to grab the weapon that is crushing the air out of her.
Even this isn't a defensive motion, though; she's trying to get a firm grip... so she can try and drive the staff back at him. Never give up! Even now! She will... show him! She will keep fighting! She will! To prove to herself!!
But of course, it is for nothing. Billy's words are kinder than she has any right to expect, and later on, she may realize that. In this moment, though, there is only the burning desire not to fail, not to fall, not to give in...
But she's so tired, and the numbness spreading to her limbs is... insistent.
For a full three seconds, Takako struggles to reject the fight being driven out of her. But in the end, there can be only one outcome. Her fingers go slack, and her eyes droop... and close. When she is allowed to tumble to the earth, she hits with a final thud. Disarmed, destroyed, defeated...
But by no means, dishonored.
No, not dishonoured in the least.
Billy releases the struggling girl in almost the very moment that her eyes do close. Despite the urgings of his cynical colleague, and in spite of his own rambunctiously violent tendencies, he's not one to ever seek to deprive the world of a young hopeful. Criminal he might be - but he's that, because of who he is, because of the opportunities life afforded him. Takako may follow a perilous and rageful path, or she might blossom into something completely different to what she is now. She's painfully young. Fragile even, for all the resilience and astonishing willpower that she has shown here; to Kane and to the world.
He's not here to break people. He's here to make a mark...
He's even here to learn. Learning doesn't stop just because you're 'good'.
When the girl is dropped back to earth, it's unceremonious but doesn't lack relative gentility, more flicked to the ground than flung. She'll land without breaking anything, and not just because of the thick, glutinous mud acting as an unorthodox cushion. Billy lowers his rod, spins it once or twice for show, and then turns to leave, but not before he flicks two fingers toward the toppled girl. Helping her up himself just wouldn't be right-- he's trying to sell an image here. But giving her assistance is the least he can do.
Besides, it's about time the so-called 'producer' pulled some bloody weight.
For once, Billy doesn't say anything. Takako's already said it all. He just wanders off into the rain.
COMBATSYS: Billy takes no action.
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COMBATSYS: Billy has ended the fight here.
Log created on 09:51:37 05/14/2012 by Billy, and last modified on 13:49:05 05/14/2012.