Neo League 0001 - NL#0023: Gertrude vs Hotaru

Description: A Neo League match pits newcomer Hotaru Futaba against the visiting foreigner, Gertrude Verhagnis at the Southtown Airport. Giving travel-delay-stalled patrons some entertainment is of secondary importance to giving each fighter their chance to demonstrate the heart behind their individual styles.

She knew it would be tough - pursuing the fighter's dream, rushing down the Champion's Road in hopes of proving to her estranged brother that she could walk the same path, that he need not be alone. But after her first couple event fights, she's starting to gain an all new appreciation of just HOW tough it will be. Getting beat down, bent every which way, and bear mauled all in the span of a couple months is a lot for anyone to get used to.
Only by picturing her brother's passage through this same gauntlet is she able to break through the effort shock of such an endeavor.
The only way to get through this is to keep on trying. The more opponents she faces, the more skills, styles, and attach vectors she is exposed to, the better she can get. Is this how her brother got through it all? For seven years she has wondered about his fate. Now she is actively trying to chase him down.
Each new event, league, and organization brings with it new opportunities for the rookie fighter hoping to make her way through this challenging new world. The newly opened Neo League is no different. Another chance to grow.
As a newbie, there wasn't a whole lot of expense paid out to get her from Point A (her house) and Point B (the match). But at least they'll give her a shot!
A large corridor within the airport has been cordoned off for the match. There is a foodcourt nearby in one direction, escalators to various departure and arrival gates another, and a whole lot of people milling about outside of the area roped off for the match. Outside it is raining, a thick ocean cloud layer blanketing the airport. It appears flights are delayed, some of the passangers trapped in limbo for hours now, growing increasingly restless at the inconveniences.
The Neo League match scheduled isn't helping with the foot traffic much, but most people have no where else to be and the venue is actually a welcome distraction for the doldrums wearing away at them.
None of the surrounding circumstances behind this event matter to the young Kenpo artist waiting in one corner of the area, just far enough as to be out of arm's reach of the audience forming around the ropes. For some reason, every time she backs up too close, they reach out and start tugging at her beribboned pig-tails, like she's some kind of pet shop display puppy. It would be exasperating if it wasn't so easily fixed by just standing out of their reach.
Her fighting attire is simple but by no means inexpensive - a rich blue Chinese styled top with white puffy sleeves and golden embroidery and threads is matched with white, comfortable trousers with a floral imprint in them that is only visible in the way the light reflects off the pattern.
Her expression is one of excitement, already bouncing lightly on her toes. What new, exciting opportunity awaits the new fighter today? What lessons to learn?

Under different circumstances, Gertrude might want to encourage Hotaru. She's a relatively well known face, herself. Oh, sure, she doesn't have any big victories to her name (yet), but she's cropped up in high places in fighting tournaments the world over. She's been on her journey for five years, and though she doesn't /know/ Hotaru, she does know the excitement in a young upstart when she sees it.

But life has not been kind to her over the past week. Urien's beating had been agonizing, and a cruel reminder of how far she STILL had to go before she could stand up against the kind of people that are out there. She'd enjoyed her fight against Lita, even if she'd lost it - unless you're some sort of prodigy freak, you learn to take your losses in stride in this life - but then, there was the Saturday Night Fight.

Which is why Gertrude still looks faintly shaken as she steps into the corridor. What sort of maniac tries to fight when the building they are on explodes? What sort of power can CAUSE that kind of explosion? She's only heard rumors, even though she was on the ground herself, about the insane things that have transpired over in that awful shanty town... but it has worried her, and put a dent in her usual cheery demeanor.

Even worse was that in the last, terrifying moments of that fight... she'd called upon a strength she didn't even think she had, and that... that is frightening on a far more personal and invasive level. The truths one learns at the end of one's fist are not always the truths one hopes to discover. Hotaru is just starting out on her journey. In the grand scheme of things, so is Gertrude; and yet already, that journey weighs heavily on her shoulders.

It had cost every penny she had to get to Southtown, though, and God knows she wasn't going to stay in that awful place a second longer than she had to. So she needed a fight. One that would pay for a hot meal at least, and a warm bed at best. Which is why the tall German blonde makes herself walk those last few paces, to stand in front of Hotaru, shrug her backpack from her shoulders, and start working the fight fatigue from her arms.

"Hey there." She says, giving a light nod, "Thank the Heavens for the Mishima Zaibatsu, eh?" Its an attempt at pleasant conversation. She really has to appreciate the enthusiasm that the younger girl is showing...

Equally, it hasn't quite sunk in yet that at least a few of the people in this crowd know who she is. At least, it doesn't until one of them shouts, "HEY! SHOW US A TERROR WAVE!"

Which gets a look from the young Verhangnis Heiress which could freeze blood.

Azure eyes glimmer back at her opponent. The greeting is appreciated. It's certainly a lot more friendly than the contemptuous treatment she got from her last opponent. Maybe the bully from Seijyun was just an aberration from the norm... there can't be THAT many jerks out there, right?
"Yeah," she replies readily, a smile at her lips, a laugh, albeit slightly nervous, in her tone. She had no delusions of winning the cometition established by the Mishima Zaibatsu, the promise of a wish granted. That prize would be out there for others far more estalished than she. Nor is she in it for the money, having been left with a comfortable place to live by her otherwise negligent family.
"I'm glad to just have the shot." She has to raise her voice to be heard over the cacophony of ambient noise going on all around them. She pauses in her bouncing to press her hands together, hand over fist, and bow her head toward the young woman in a more formal, respectful greeting.
It's at that moment that a voice from the crowd is heard above all others - a Terror Wave? Blue eyes widen slightly, the girl glancing from the source of the request back toward her opponent. W-well, surely anyone can name their techniques however they want, right? J-just because it's called TERROR WAVE doesn't mean it's horrific... she hopes.
Sucking in her breath, the moment of brief panic passes, her resolve showing through her sliding into her ready stance, hands raised, left arm stretched foward for defending, right arm cocked back, bent at the elbow, ready for harder strikes where needed. "My name is Hotaru Futaba. It is an honor to face you today."
She begins to focus on her breathing, making an active effort to tune out the crowd, the cameras, the surrounding energy. What matters right now is the space they have been given to fight and the opponent she is supposed to fight within that space. Nothing else.
Recovered from her earlier flash of concern, she nods her head slightly and resumes bouncing lightly on her feet, ready to move at great speeds at a moment's notice. She can't help but notice the cold look flashed toward the audience member. Or the out-of-sorts expression on her opponent. Too inexperienced to judge, she wonders if maybe it's just jet lag?

COMBATSYS: Hotaru has started a fight here.

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Hotaru           0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Hotaru takes no action.

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Hotaru           0/-------/-------|

"Hotaru Futaba, eh?" Gertrude repeats, trying to concentrate more on the fighter in front of her than the crowd now gathering for some welcome entertainment. Sure, they aren't clowns, but it is a heck of a lot better than continuing to stare forlornly at the departures board. "I'm Gertrude Verhangnis. Pleasure's all mine, I'm sure."

She smiles, but it doesn't reach her eyes before she running her fingers through her hair - to the poor bun which was so abused by her last opponent. Jerks, alas, are a global problem. At this point, Gertrude would just settle for fights where she is unlikely to be threatened with death; thankfully, that looks to be the case here. It is hard to imagine the circumstances which might lead to the schoolgirl shrieking death threats at her. But then, she hasn't seen Hotaru fight, maybe she will turn out to be some sort of horrible psychopath in disguise behind it all.

"No, I'm not going to give them what they're asking for. She's just a kid for God's sakes."

That last is muttered harshly to herself, and may be missed entirely over the cacophony of noise as Gertrude takes up a fighting position. Her hands raise high, her legs spread into a firm stance, and she meets Hotaru's eye. There IS some tiredness there... and maybe some hope, because Hotaru sure seems to be trying to be pleasant. There's no need to be a jerk herself, is there?

"Alright, Ms. Futaba." She says, flashing a grin. "Here's your shot. Come and take it."

COMBATSYS: Gertrude has joined the fight here.

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Hotaru           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0         Gertrude

COMBATSYS: Gertrude takes no action.

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Hotaru           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0         Gertrude

There is an affirming nod of her head as her name is repeated, but when Gertrude's is offered in turn, it takes some effort on Hotaru's part to not react visibly to the last name. She isn't even sure she heard that correctly. Verhangas? Verhanaz? Ver...something. Addressing the young woman by her first name would be too familiar, but her last name is a decisive challenge for the student fighter. Maybe she'll... just avoid having to say it for now!
Something is whispered acros the way but Hotaru doesn't seem to make it out, merely blinking once. No, she probably didn't catch that. Gertrude adopts her fighting stance as well and Hotaru tries to interpret it as best she can. A featherweight, herself, understanding the likely vectors of attacks of her opponents is crucial to staying one step ahead of them. If she knows their style, that can help!
The stance speaks of a solid foundation, arms raised to be primed for defending or striking without any obvious gaps. The girl tries to think through what she's seeing but certainly doesn't want to overthink things either. She'll have to see the tall girl in motion to get a better sense of what she's dealing with.
"All right!" she replies, challenged to make her move. Her right foot slips back a little against the smooth, tiled floor, leg bending slightly. And then she's off, sprinting forward across the distance. It doesn't seem to be her plan to simply close in slowly and feel things out. She's off to a start without reservation or apparent caution.
The official assigned to the match realizes things are already in motion and waves a hand, "FIGHT!" about two seconds after things have already begun.
The Futaba girl is direct in her charge, not engaging in any evasive tactics as she slides in, both hands swinging forward, aiming to deliver a powerful double palm press toward Gertrude's stomach. It doesn't require reaching out far, both hands slamming forward, heels of her hands targeting the young woman's abdomen with a blow to establish her own striking force. But it also means she might end up in very close to her opponent. "YAA!"

COMBATSYS: Hotaru successfully hits Gertrude with Strong Punch.

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Hotaru           0/-------/-------|==-----\-------\0         Gertrude

To tell the truth, Gertrude is a little surprised by the reckless offensive that Hotaru engages in. The girl seemed so meek! That she comes in with a double palm strike is definitely unexpected, and whilst the tall blonde tries to step her way around it, she winds up taking the hefty strike right to her stomach. There's a faint grunt from her, and her jaw clenches tight. Alright then! It looks like Hotaru does know a thing or two about fighting; well, that's good. Maybe she'll get something out of this too!

Stepping back forwards to recover her footing and encroach on Hotaru's personal space, Gertrude's hands come up to grasp Hotaru firmly by the shoulders. If she gets a good grip, the smaller girl will suddenly find herself being lifted up off the ground as Gertrude swings herself backwards in a swift roll, bracing the slighter fighter against her briefly with her knee, and then letting go.

Gertrude herself completes the backwards roll to wind up standing and facing towards Hotaru. The hope is that Hotaru herself lands with a hefty thump, at the edges of the arena ... and who knows, maybe back in the grasp of those handsy crowd members. The technique itself is one of those standard, basic martial arts moves that seem to propogate across styles... but Gertrude pulls it off with such ease! She's obviously practiced... a lot.

COMBATSYS: Gertrude successfully hits Hotaru with Tomoe Nage.

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Hotaru           0/-------/-----==|===----\-------\0         Gertrude

Blitzing in like that was certainly risky, and even if her strike appeared successful by all accounts, it still might not have been the smartest tactic to take. Trying to figure out if your opponent is going to punch you squarely at the nose for your reckless charge is perhaps not the smartest way to start off a fight. But it's the action the girl took and the consequences hers to live with.
Consequences such as the hands clamping down on her shoulders even as she attempts to retract her hands, or the sensation of being pulled bodily off her feet by the agile backward roll. Arms flail as she finds herself braced against by a knee. This is not a situation she is sure how to break out of once caught in it and when she's launched, it's clear she doesn't have some fancy, acrobatic trick up her sleeve to recover from it.
She does twist mid-air in a vain attempt at improving her landing, but the way she thuds against the hard floor on her side and goes sliding along for another few feet before coming to a stop suggests whatever she had in mind wasn't too successful. A soft grunt escapes her lips, Hotaru rolling onto her back briefly only to glance up at the audience members staring at her right over the ropes.
"Ah hah," cheeks pinken a little as she sits up, presses down, and gets to her feet quickly enough to avoid risk of an immediate follow up. "Just getting warmed up," she promises those within earshot who might be thinking the perky little fighter wasn't going to have a lot to show for herself here.
Hands snap back to the ready again, stance resumed, the girl breathing before finally taking her next steps. It's clear she's still doing a lot of thinking between her techniques - there is some skill there, some instinct, but a whole lot of refinement to go for the rookie. But there's no denying her tenacity, moving right back into engage. She still isn't sure of her opponent's style - the throw is universal enough as to be nondeterministic in any way.
Even still, she'll try another angle, springing to the air from a few meters out, flipping forward into a sharp dive, knee leading the way. Her target is Gertrude's shoulder which, should she connect, she'll swing her other leg out and deliver a kick to the side of her opponent's head before pushing off with her left foot again into a backflip to escape. A swift dive kick then escape tactic as she employs some of her potentially safer hit and run options! "KYA!"

COMBATSYS: Gertrude blocks Hotaru's Rengeki Shuu.

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Hotaru           0/-------/-----==|====---\-------\0         Gertrude

Gertrude has to admire Hotaru's tenacity. Would that she had a similar amount of skill when she was that age. Then again, if she had been capable of pulling off the kind of complicated maneuver that the girl springs back with, her life would probably have taken a very different turn.

Gertrude moves with fluid grace to push away the first kick. Her forearm meets the foot, and then shifts almost imperceptibly to meet the heel coming in for her face. As Hotaru flips away backwards, though, Gertrude lunges up into the air, and it is at this point that she grins again. She'd had such a miserable time in her last fight... and yet here she is, really enjoying herself as she lets her hand loosen into the characteristic open hand. Yup, there's no more mystery surrounding the foundation of Gertrude's style now, even if she has put her own rather unique twist on it.


Descending from above with her arm swinging down to put even more momentum into the chopping strike. The side of her hand comes in hard, aiming to smash powerfully into the side of her opponent's neck, as Gertrude returns to earth.

She even manages to get her feet to plant against the ground in her fighting stance all over again! Though her free hand (the one not still outstretched in a striking motion) will move to adjust her glasses - assuming that Hotaru hasn't flipped out and smashed her face in for her presumption before this point.

At which point she'll speak up, with a more genuine smile touching her lips. "That was an impressive combination! Who do you study with, Ms. Futaba?"

COMBATSYS: Hotaru dodges Gertrude's Utopian Crusher.

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Hotaru           0/-------/-----==|=====--\-------\0         Gertrude

Uh oh. She guarded! This is where things tend to get really risky. Airborn as she is, depending on her opponent for both the stopping point as well as the rebound, finding them more resilient to her knee and kick combo than hoped always puts the girl in a precarious place. She continues through the motions, pushing off, backflipping away...
Things will be tight, she realizes, as Gertrude goes airborn after her. She will land a moment before and then the young woman will be crashing down right after her. Sucking in her breath, the young fighter manages one of her closest escapes to date as, in the moment her toes hit tile, she's already springing off to the side, spinning into a short hop just to narrowly avoid the powerful chop as it rushes through the air just past her.
She lands two meters away, spinning a bit erratically as her feet struggle to find traction on the squeaky clean airport floor, pigtails flailing a bit behind as she finally comes to a stop. Whew.
"Thank you," she replies, correcting her stance to face her opponent again. She saw that distinctive chop, the decisive thrust of the arm. Karate then, verses her Kenpo. "My mother taught me the principles..." That was half her lifetime ago though. "I have been training on my own ever since." She blinks quietly before chancing the question, "Your style, where did you learn it?"
Exhaling, perhaps grateful for the brief reprieve, she finally moves back to the offense again. Her tactic seems similiar to how she opened, though at the last moment, she steps to the side rather than charging Gertrude dead on, potentially sparing herself a painful counter strike? Hands extend for the young woman's arm, aiming to pull it up, twist, and then turned so that she can pivot and pull the German visitor over her shoulder and drop her to the ground. It isn't likely to be extremely painful but for the abrupt impact against tile, given the lighter nature of the throw, but every little bit counts in a fight!

COMBATSYS: Gertrude interrupts Medium Throw from Hotaru with Rising Knuckle.

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Hotaru           1/-------/=======|======-\-------\0         Gertrude

The evasion of her technique isn't... graceful, but it is effective. That gets a certain measure of respect from Gertrude. Whilst the kid had earned some with her attitude, and some more with her offensive skill... the fact that she's able to get out of the way of an attack like that is a real testament to the potential Hotaru holds. There's a slow nod from the German woman, and she purses her lips thoughtfully.

"I suppose my family helped teach me the very basics." She says, "But I picked up more on the road. Shotokan Karate is taught in almost every country in the world. It has been fascinating to see--"

Uh oh, Hotaru is coming in again! Gertrude's movement is so well-practiced she doesn't even miss a beat. She doesn't even /blink/. Hotaru grabs one arm, and starts to wrench it. The other HAMMERS upwards, knuckles smashing powerfully into the unfortunate girl's jaw as she twist upwards with the motion, and then draws her arms back to her sides.

"--Just how different schools approach the same art. I don't think it'd be fair to give any of them particular credit!"

And she's smiling! She didn't even break the breathing or rhythm in her explanation to plough her fist into Hotaru's jaw! Its only /after/ she's finished that thought, so rudely interrupted by the fight at hand, that she adjusts her glasses again and frowns lightly with concern. ... But she doesn't say anything. It'd be rather condescending if she did!

The impact against her chin takes the smaller fighter clean off her feet. Of course she knew the risks of engaging in these melee exchanges. It comes with the territory. But that doesn't make it any less jarring to take a hit to a vulnerable point like that. A burst of stars accompany the surge of sharp pain, her head knocked back, her body punched upward, feet leaving the ground. It is with a lazy arc that she comes back down, upper shoulders hitting the ground first before she lands sprawled.
That... that was some blow, rivaling the kind of strikes she felt directed her way by the outright Karate Bear she had to face once! Sitting up, she's a bit slower to recover herself this time compared to the earlier throw, right hand lifting to her jaw as she rubs it, shaking her head, looking just a bit tipsy with the way her eyes don't seem to focus on anything at all for a moment.
Grunting, she finally pushes herself back up from seated to standing in a conventional way. "Wow," she finally manages, shaking her head and smacking her cheeks once with her hands, the jolt of fresh, different pain helping chase away the disorientation she was feeling after that impact. Hands finally slip to her ready stance again as she backs up a step. She has an idea of how hard her opponent can strike now. Maybe... another vector should be approached.
"That's true," she finally manages, mentally rewinding to pick up the thread of thought left while she was getting herself together again.
Her right hand is drawn back once her stance is steady. It took years of practice to get this far - to be able to draw it out, that spark of life inherent to all. Her mother had taught her the principles of drawing upon such energy to enhance her striking abilities, but she could not help but envy all the fighters she had seen with their impressive displays of visible energy.
It's to demonstrate her own. "Each fighter's style - a tapestry of their experiences." she considers.
Now to share one of her threads, a surge of azure energy blasting down her arm, concentrating in her hand as she swing sit forward, thrusting her palm out, willing the sapphire ball of chi to rocket toward Gabriel. It consists of pure, concussive force, promising no burns or secondary effects, and, based on Hotaru's repositioning against the far edge of the space, will only travel a couple meters beyond Gertrude's position before losing form and fading away. For now, the audience is safe at least!

COMBATSYS: Gertrude dodges Hotaru's Hakki Shou EX.

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Hotaru           0/-------/-======|======-\-------\0         Gertrude

"Where we've been is one thing." Gertrude agrees. "Where we want to go, who we want to be... you can tell a lot about a person from their fighting style." For instance, if someone insists on trying to fight you when the world is literally falling down around you, or loudly proclaims themselves to be a God whilst brutalizing your body, chances are, these are not people whose journeys will be pleasant ones, or who want to be particularly sane and balanced individuals!

As the ball of chi comes hurtling in for her, Gertrude twirls to the right. Spinning in her evasion of it, the woman's footwork is excellent, and it is still almost not enough. A second twirling spin to the left, and she's hoping that she can keep Hotaru off-balance. Her foot plants heavily into the ground, though, and her hand comes swinging around a second time.

There's no leap, which means there's not nearly so much windup before the open hand is trying to crash into her - and rather than aim for the side of Hotaru's neck, this time, Gertrude's hand is aiming to crash down heavily directly on the girl's shoulder. This might seem like an odd time to keep having a pleasant conversation about ideals, but fighters are a strange people.

"I've rejected my family... because their style is powerful, but terrible. Victory is great, but is it worth losing your heart...?"

The strange thing is, that's not a rhetorical question. After taking her bitter losses, it is a very real concern that preys on Gertrude's mind. WOULD it be worth sacrificing her principles, just a little bit... if it could buy her more glory?

COMBATSYS: Hotaru blocks Gertrude's Sublime Comet EX.

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Hotaru           1/-------/=======|======-\-------\0         Gertrude

The Hakki Shou doesn't fly much further - Hotaru gauged her range accurately at least, even if it leaves a number of audience members recoiling, cringing, or flailing when it looked like they were about to eat a facefull of azure chi! The young Kenpo Artist doesn't lose her focus as Gertrude spins out of the way, though she makes special note of the grace and control exhibited by the evasion - it's something she would do well to emulate in the future, to keep her fighting style tighter and less open to vulnerable moments of recovery.
Which means she's focused more on studying the way the young woman moves than fretting about the fact that her projectile failed to connect when the open handed chop comes diving for her shoulder. It's a risk to not try and slip away again, knowing now just how hard she can strike, but to execute her next technique, she needs to stay in as close as possible!
Hands come up, forearms blunting the force of the chop, legs buckling beneath the force as she struggles to stay upright beneath the comperatively crushing force. The foreigner's words are heard - family style, powerful but terrible... Is that not the path her brother wandered down when he left seven years ago, their father's arts drilled into his body and soul through over a decade of savage training?
"It is a question," she pushes back against the chop, hoping to destabilize her opponent's balance for a fleeting moment, seeking a window of opportunity, "...with no easy answer!"
The girl lunges in then, still close enough to reach Gertrude without having to move too far. Her right arm leads, open and over her head into a windmilling chop, followed immediately by her left. She would spring into a second series of chops, this time with her palms flashing with a blue glow, chi augmenting each strike as she attempts to batter the karate practitioner's guard.
"Ya, ya, ya, ya!"
If she finds an opening in her opponent's defenses, she'll lunge for a more decisive strike than the small, individual blows, leaping upward with a strong shoulder charge before flipping forward and diving back down into a chi-infused knee dive to finish the relentless combination and finally slide to a stop some meters away!

COMBATSYS: Hotaru successfully hits Gertrude with Soushou Tenrenge.

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Hotaru           0/-------/-------|=======\====---\1         Gertrude

Hotaru has definitely been showing some impressive offensive techniques so far! When she surges back onto the offensive, it is all Gertrude can do to try and steel herself. The energy-enhanced assault, though, simply ploughs through her attempt to defend against it. Briefly, she tries to raise her guard to it, but Hotaru smashes in, and when the first few hits manage to blow her open, she can't hope to muster a successful defense against the stronger strikes.

When Hotaru's knee crashes into her, Gertrude is brought low, and for a moment... it looks like that may very well be it for her. Sunk to one knee, the German fighter is breathing hard, and she's obviously shaken up by it. If this fight hadn't been so cordial, she might even lose her temper! But instead, she's surprised to find that she ... doesn't. She just raises back to her feet, and turns to face Hotaru more completely.

Her eyes close, and she brings her fist to her open palm. "We didn't bow before this fight." She says, with a faint smile. "Its a habit I suppose I've gotten out of, since I started street fighting. But, I thank you for showing me your best."

She bows, eyes still closed, but when she /opens/ them again... gone is the smile, the fatigue from the fight, the casual and easy-going conversation. One foot raises high, and she SLAMS it into the ground, resuming her stance, and those eyes of hers blaze with a fierce determination.

"Now prepare yourself, for I will give you all I have in return!"

COMBATSYS: Gertrude gains composure.

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Hotaru           0/-------/-------|=======\===----\1         Gertrude

Recovering her from her assault takes a moment, Hotaru rising to her feet, exhaling softly to whirl around. Hands come up a little slower, final trailing elements of sapphire blue fading away at last. The combination was pretty much the best she had. Not that she felt it would be a finishing blow - not yet, not so early against an opponent this capable. But it would, at the very least, make an impression.
She releases her breath, finally allowing herself to breath again, expression one of enthusiasm and delight that she managed to connect with her technique. It has been the byproduct of so much practice, combining her sparse but powerful chi manipulation with the windmilling strikes inherent to the internal Kung Fu she practices.
The compliment is received, her cheeks pink from the fervor of battle as well as a hint of bashfulness at such open praise. The bow is returned with a nod of her head, having already offered her own gesture of respect at the beginning of the match. "Fighting someone like you..." Her foot slips forward, the girl once again prepared. "This is what I hoped to find in this world of fighters."
Blue eyes sparkle, her smile back even as she is warned to prepare herself for something huge in return. "Thank you." She pauses. "I can tell." The intensity of the match is only escalating from here, what comes next is sure to be extraordinary!
And then she's on the warpath again, blitzing forward, feet padding rapidly over the title. She's on another collision course with tempting fate, this time leaning toward the left instead of the right, hoping to avoid getting uppercutted in the chin again. But at the last moment she pivots, left foot sliding over the floor, hands going for Gertrude's one forearms-
If she manages to get a hold, all her forward momentum will immediately be converted into pulling apart the young woman's guard, her feet ascending upward in a series of rapid, short distant stomping kicks. Individually, not a serious threat, but aiming for shin, knee, thigh, stomach, sternum, and finally face, the stair-stepping assault can add up should her guard not be enough to prevent it!
The rising attack would end with yet another backflip, the girl taking to the air with easy from her target's shoulders should she prove successful in yet another high risk manuever.

COMBATSYS: Gertrude dodges Hotaru's Shinjou Tai.

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Hotaru           0/-------/-------|=======\===----\1         Gertrude

Gertrude's full attention and focus is entirely on the fight. Although she feels a deep sense of pride at Hotaru's compliment, the elder fighter doesn't actually respond. Eyes narrow faintly behind her glasses, and for her, it is as though there is nothing else in the world but herself and this girl. The roar of the crowd falls away, all her self-doubt, the baggage she's carrying from her failures, the weight of her potential successes... it all falls away from her, and she feels as light as air. She had heard Masters speak of this state; the moment when action and intent blur into one, and there is nothing but the purity of the fight... but she had touched it so few times before.

Hotaru moves to grab her, and the blonde fighter's arms move to the side. How can one break a guard that does not exist? In the next moment, Gertrude's whole body moves backwards in a fluid motion, and she exhales. She had said that she'd give Hotaru everything she has... it is time to make good on the promise.


The retreat is suddenly over, and with that spirited exclamation, Gertrude is back on the offensive. Ordinarily, she moves so carefully and deliberately; she executes one or two motions at a time. This could not be more different. Her palm chops down again and again, a blur of swift strikes, interrupted quite suddenly by a swinging kick, aiming to crash her heel against Hotaru's cheek.

That is followed by a second, and a third. That last motion carried on to bring Gertrude down low, one leg extended far to the side, fingers resting briefly against the ground, and then--

That uppercut again. So perfectly executed, aims to finish the fight with a hammering blow before Hotaru's body can hit the floor. Coupled with the final, dramatic exclamation:


COMBATSYS: Gertrude successfully hits Hotaru with Unity Drive EX.

[                            \\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Hotaru           1/------=/=======|==-----\-------\0         Gertrude

Her hands reaching out, sweeping through empty air, Hotaru finds herself caught off balance in an aggressive forward lean. Pushing back with her forward foot, she attempts to recover as her opponent repositions. For a moment, it seems as if she just might be able to do so when the taller fighter retaliates with a decisive chop that catches her in the shoulder before she can resume guarding. It's enough to stagger, the younger fighter reacting by shifting her guard to where she was just struck.
Only that just leaves her other shoulder open to the second chop, collar bone shuddering beneath the force of the impact as she's driven down further, arms flailing now that her hasty defense is fractured. She attempts to push up with her forward knee, hoping to lunge into the incoming storm of additional chops with enough power to stop it, but all that has her doing is risinging into the spinning kick to send her careening off to the side, a cry of pain escaping her lips as her legs begin to feel like jelly, stability already forfeit.
Clenching her fists, she appears determined to hang in there in spite the completely jarring punishment she's being put through, only to find herself kicked hard enough to send her spinning on her right foot, tumbling forward right into the fearsome uppercut! As before, it's more than enough force to send the featherweight airborn in an uncontrolled arc.
Upward and back, she finally plummets to the ground, shoulders hitting the tiles first before she comes to rest flat against the airport's floor. There is movement at first. It looks like she might get back up in spite all that! Sitting up, her right hand over her stomach, her left hand pressed against the floor. Her cheeks are red from being kicked as well as being in incredible pain, her mouth pressed into a thin line of intense drive even though she can't seem to focus on Gertrude directly.
It all catches up with the rookie fighter, however, when she finally flops backward against the floor, hand still resting over her stomach, rolling partially on her side to release a soft exhale. Out cold.

COMBATSYS: Hotaru takes no action.

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

COMBATSYS: Hotaru can no longer fight.

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

Gertrude doesn't fall out of her stance until the moment Hotaru loses consciousness. Even to the last, the German woman isn't ready to discount the idea that Hotaru might launch a dramatic comeback. She had scored some devastating hits, and just one more of them would be enough to potentially turn the tide of the battle entirely, if Hotaru could hold on long enough to deliver it. That she doesn't is both immensely satisfying... and disappointing. It is a curious feeling for Gertrude, to realize that she was almost hoping her opponent WOULD turn it around and beat her... but the familiar thrill of victory is enough to take her mind off it.

Walking over to the unconscious girl, Gertrude lifts her up, and carefully deposits her on a waiting stretcher. God knows she's been stretchered out of enough fights in her day, she's absolutely positive that Hotaru will be back on her feet before too long. "This is what I wanted from fighting as well." She confides to the unconscious fighter, "... And if you're wondering, yes, it is /even better/ when you win."

And with that, she goes and picks up her bag, straightening her jacket and preparing to head off to explore Southtown. Just as soon as she's smacked the guy who is determined to get the crowd to chant 'Verhangnis' over and over again.

That is NEVER going to catch on.

... But is 'Gertrude' that much better?!

Log created on 13:41:05 12/13/2014 by Hotaru, and last modified on 18:24:42 12/13/2014.