Killer Instinct - [KI:Round 3] OHH MAN..YOU MESSED UP NOW

Description: After a stunning battle, Hayabusa and Baiken formed a powerful alliance. However, Ultratech seems to be powerfully aware of everything that goes on within their purview, and it takes quite the show to throw them off the trail. However, a series of sabotaged transports carrying weapons to central Russia has put Ultratech on the defensive. It's about time they activated one of their strongest lieutenants. In the ruins of the war, Hayabusa will discover a treasure trove of information detailing the others classified as 'high risk assets,' and lists of captured fighters. He'll find that, and one of Ultratech's strongest lieutenants. "The ninja's still not dead? Jeez. It's almost like you guys are trying to keep a PG rating or something. Tell you what: I'll go out there and reason with him a little. I'll explain to him that his friends Leonardo and Donatello are off eating pizza and that he's going to miss out on his slice if he doesn't buzz off. Hmm. On second thought, maybe I'll just burn him down--you can't sneak around if all that's left of you is your component atoms!"

For the traditional ninja, creating a distraction would mostly involve a great deal of subtle sabotage, making certain that by the time anyone could realize what you've done, you're far away. Through this method of sabotage, nobody will ever know who was responsible, and the ninja can remain comfortably safe.

Ryu Hayabusa, more than most, could use his substantial abilities to move unseen if it suited him, but for this particular mission his brand of sabotage has been substantially more bombastic. Ultratech has begun to move weapons to Russia as part of their plans, and more than a few of those transports has been found almost literally torn to pieces. Most of the guards have been left as bloody smears, and the weapons they were escorting are now hardly even worth viewing as scrap.

Despite all of this brutality, there were some survivors, all of whom have done their best to disappear following their horrifying encounter. To a one, every survivor has been shattered, admitting that they gave up rather than facing the wrath of the Singular Super Ninja, and in return they were questioned before being told that if the ninja master encountered them again there would be no mercy.

As for the mission itself... while removing much of Ultratech's cability to move weaponry is certainly a positive, the true goal of all of this is for Ryu Hayabusa to draw Ultratech's attention outward. The more chaos that Hayabusa can sew within Ultratech's ranks, the easier it will be for his ally Baiken to position herself within. Hopefully soon the two of them will be able to discover the true intentions of the Killer Instinct tournament, and the two warriors will be able to trap it from both sides.

But for now it's important to continue the chaos. Once more Hayabusa finds himself shrouded along the path of one of Ultratech's convoys, vanished into the wartorn scenery as he lies in wait.

And even on the outskirts of Ultratech's zone of influence, Hayabusa has been quite successful in gathering intelligence and disrupting the day-to-day operations. Though Ultratech's soldiers are well trained, none of them can hold a candle to the legendary shinobi, and as such, many pragmatics are more given to talking than anything else. As might be expected, many soldiers don't exactly know what Ultratech is really up to, but the location of their next convoy.. well, that much can be found out rather easily.

A handful of soldiers don't even return to Ultratech.
The rest who do, don't come back.

Even still, more convoys come with more secured information. Ultratech is kidnapping several fighters over the course of the tournament. The worst performers are being shipped to a secret location, while the best ones are being catalogued. Several are getting too close to Ultratech's secrets, and Hayabusa knows that he's struck a nerve when he finds himself on one of Ultratech's kill lists. Unfortunately, he finds Baiken listed on the same, as a threat that may need to be eliminated soon.

Hopefully, she'll be able to handle herself while most of Ultratech's resources are more focused on finding and destroying the ninja.

In the meantime, a parade of jeeps roll down the path, along with a large armored carrier truck. It's the convoy that the officer was compelled (via a broken arm) to reveal, only running slightly late, judging by the timetable that was given. It's supposed to be a shipment of ammunition moving south into the rebel region, ostensibly to fuel some sort of anti-rebel activity that Ultratech's PMC is taking part in. There was something about a group of rebels looking to take down the company from afar, but they are only recently doing well thanks to Hayabusa's ministrations, almost completely by accident. Or is it, really?

Another important aspect of any ninja is the ability to bring the right tools for the job, and in this regard Ryu Hayabusa perfectly embodies the ideal shinobi with his assorted armaments. Even ignoring his incredible mastery over Ninpo spells that give him an almost supernatural, superhuman capabilities, the ninja master has reached a level of skill where he can utilize any weapon that happens to find its way into his ever expanding arsenal.

For this particular ambush, it all begins with a sudden flurry of perfectly aimed shuriken, launched in rapid succession until they dot the sides of the transport vehicles in what initially appears to be an ineffective attack.

That initial impression is quickly proven wrong as soon as one notes the grooved bulge that marks the center of each of the throwing knives. Within seconds each of the blades erupts in flames and shrapnel as the fragmentation explosives set to work disabling as much of the convoy as possible.

Even before the initial chaos clears, the scene erupts in blood as the famed Dragon Ninja descends like some voracious predator, literally tearing the crew of the first jeep to pieces with vicious blades attached at the ends of each of his limbs. On each hand the trio of blades extends outward over two feet, while shorter talons mark his feet.

The falcon shows no mercy to the rat.

In the end, most of the soldiers don't even know what's happening until it's over. It's really over in less than a minute or two, as explosions rip through the battleline in a staccato cascade of blasts that rip along the edges of the convoy, the bodies of fully armed assault troopers being thrown about like rag dolls in the chaos and fire. Many soldiers from the less damaged jeeps towards the back storm the area with rifles raised--only to find their weapons, backs or necks broken in the next harrowing few seconds.

Things progress brutally.

As noted, it takes only seconds for Hayabusa to defeat the soldiers in their confusion, most of them laying on the ground in blood-stained piles, groaning and hollering. In the end, only the armored carrier remains, flames impotently curling around it as it rolls to a slow and clunky stop. It sits there for a moment, burning. Most APCs are meant to withstand this kind of punishment, and while fighting military hardware is fully within Ryu's wheelhouse, it won't go down so easily.

At least, so the thought was.
Because a second later, the entire thing explodes into a massive fireball, scattering armor and wreckage throughout the warzone. It is, by far, one of the largest and loudest explosions of the run, as apparently the ammunition stored inside was stoked, bringing the entire thing to a critical burn that fuses even the most reactive armor into useless scraps of metal.

The flames burn higher than the buildings, and the air twists and warps from the stale blast of heat baling from the guts of the carrier. The crackle of flames reach a fever pitch at that level of intensity, less cracking and more howling. It's incomprehensible, and loud.
At least, until the conflagration proves to have a voice.

"Man... do you know how much it costs to retain these flunkies? Seriously. I'm sending the bill to your office."

The voice is at once unnervingly not and so human, twisted and distorted by the flame. When the man -- and the term is used only in the loosest sense--steps from the fire, it is as if he comes from a seperate world entirely. An alien world of pyroclasm. Inhuman eyes--for ever how much they are unmistakably eyes--turn to focus on the blood-stained ninja. A fire-limned predator, from a world where the flame is God.

"Looks like your luck's run out, man. I hope you've got _good_ insurance.."

COMBATSYS: Cinder has started a fight here.

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Cinder           0/-------/-======|

Given how many of these convoys Hayabusa has destroyed, Hayabusa is very familiar with the sounds that they are supposed to make. There are dozens of different explosions, and flames of all variety have marked these encounters as a coda to the mostly one-sided violence.

Those flames are wrong.

As fresh blood drips from the Talons marking what should have been the very last resistance against his ambush, the ninja turns to face the unexpected new arrival to the scene, his eyes immediately taking on the famed calm resolve that have left many with the impression of an emotionless killing machine.

For his entire life, Ryu Hayabusa has trained to become the ultimate weapon against the unstoppable might of fiends. It is through the lens of a life of frequent conflict against the impossible that a man made of flames is somehow almost unremarkable. If Ultratech wishes to unleash their secretive projects on the world, then they are yet another monster to be slain.

In a clean motion that might be called beautiful under other circumstances, Hayabusa clears the rubble that marks the battlefield with the same ease as he might an open meadow, dropping low to the ground as he nears his prey and then lunging upward, his claws interlaced in front of him as a lunging spear before they are twisted outward just as he comes down upon Cinder, using the extended reach to fill the air with metal.

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa has joined the fight here.

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Ryu Hayabusa     0/-------/-------|======-\-------\0           Cinder

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa equips the Falcon's Talons.

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Ryu Hayabusa [E] 0/-------/-------|======-\-------\0           Cinder

COMBATSYS: Cinder interrupts Slaughtering Serpent Claw from Ryu Hayabusa with Fireflash.

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Ryu Hayabusa [E] 0/-------/--=====|=======\=------\1           Cinder

"Hunh," the elemental comments, vaguely recognizing a bad day when he sees one.
"Guess all that training to kill nobodies didn't leave enough for charm school."

There's no actual 'mouth' from which Cinder speaks--his ethereal words are only coincidentally human sounding--it's easy to imagine them articulated from the smouldering inferno surrounding him, moreso than any actual biological function of a human being. His words are punctuated by the crack and pop of heat, more than anything else. But the fact that the legendary shinobi doesn't seem interested in talking also doesn't slow him down in the slightest.

"It's alright, cupcake. With your skills, Ultratech doesn't care that you're a cold fish."

Then Hayabusa, without any further delay, attacks him, not giving him much more of a chance to hold a decent conversation. Cinder leans back, whistling loud and low. It's his last movement before the ninja dives into him in a rising spear, leaving Cinder to react only by quickly--he's fast!!--catching the blades in a skeletal arm that has what seems to be at least one finger too many, before he erupts.

Flame explodes around the elemental as he launches into a backflip, aiming to blast the ninja away on a curtain of pure unadulterated heat, hot enough to cause the air around it to explode outward with the force of his motion. The fire twists in the air for rogue moments before dissipating into a heat haze. Trying to touch Cinder was just the same as trying to touch an inferno.

"..It's just a shame," the elemental comments after landing, waving out the arm that Hayabusa stabbed, "that they like their salmon pan-fried, not sashimi. Shame for you, that is."

For another man, a blast of heat that intense may well have been the end of it, but even Hayabusa finds himself in a dangerous spot as the sudden surge of heat leaves what little exposed skin he has an unpleasant shade of red. He's fought inside of volcanos, and faced down the burning breath of a dragon, but the power this strange man of flames wields is still enough leave him suffering and the edges of the scarf lap with flames.

With a quick flash of steel, the scarf is cut free, those massive blades strapped to the ninja's hands used with the precise grace to free the fabric wrapped around his neck without even leaving a crease in his hood.

Faced with an unknown and clearly competent threat, the shinobi is left with two clear options: either he makes a tactical retreat from the battlefield or he can attempt to retake control of the fight. The choice is easy enough, his mission is to dismantle Ultratech's threats, and one of them has decided to make himself immediately apparent.

Ignoring all of the burning man's taunts, the Dragon Ninja throws himself back into the fray, leaving behind a trail of shredded rubble from the talons at his feet as he kicks off and rockets into the air onto a new path that should carry him over Cinder's head only to curl into a ball part way, thrusting down both claws in an effort to imbed them in the inferno's shoulders and flipping down behind him, aiming to use the angle to send Cinder flying as he lands in a low crouch.

COMBATSYS: Cinder blocks Ryu Hayabusa's Combo Grapple.

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Ryu Hayabusa [E] 0/-------/-======|=======\==-----\1           Cinder

It's with a particular sense of accomplishment that Cinder eyes his fight buddy with as the ninja slices free his flaming scarf, leaving it free to flutter to the ground and burn. That's always a great way to start off a fight. He squints, an expression etched in molten rock, and further blurring the line as to whether he is a piece of armor set on fire, or the fire stuffed inside a piece of armor, or something between the two. The expression is as alien as it is all-too-human. But in the end, Cinder seems pleased; Hayabusa passes the terror test.

"You know," the living flame begins conversationally, "most people tend to wet themselves and run just from the sight of me. Not that I can say I blame them that much. It's not every day someone gets a shot at being cremated alive, you know? But I guess you're just the brave type, aren't you?"

Cinder is latched onto by Hayabusa's claws mid-thought as the shinobi sails over him, throwing him through the air. However, the soldier collapses into a fireball as he's lobbed, his body breaking up into fluid pieces as he scorches the air, rocketing himself back to the ground nimbly, instead of catastrophically. "Heh heh... not a bad move," the firebrand admits, rubbing a shoulder absently where Hayabusa cut into him.

Where Hayabusa's claws plunged into Cinder, flames still creep up the blades, dancing mysteriously. If Hayabusa lets himself get distracted by the potential danger posed by the fire for just one moment, the elemental will cut right through the intervening space in an instant, breaking right into the shinobi's face with a fireblast of a knee to the middle and a good old-fashioned right cross to the jaw.

"But my moves put it on the BACK BURNER!!"
Borderline sociopathy. He's having a little too much fun trying to burn Hayabusa alive.

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa counters Aggressive Strike from Cinder with Mekkyaku - Ryuso EX.

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Ryu Hayabusa [E] 0/-------/=======|=======\====---\1           Cinder

The world is changing.

Even a year ago the idea of a man made of flame would have been a shattering thought to most people, breaking everything they expected to be true. But then a portion of Metro City was sucked into a world of darkness and suffering full of every dark phantom that had long haunted the nightmares of mankind. The fear a man of fire grants is becoming the fear of a beast that could kill you without a second thought rather than the fear of the impossible.

Ryu Hayabusa has never lived within the sheltered world where monsters aren't real. The destiny to stand against the dark tide flows through his veins. Fear is a luxury for those that do not stare death in the eye nearly every day. For many, fear grants them incredible strength and speed through the rush of adrenaline, but to become a true master of the ninja arts requires mastery over one's own body.

Even staring directly into the eyes of inferno, suddenly upon him, Hayabusa is unmoved, acting with an incredible practiced speed and control. The knee shot is met with a downward strike, the force of the fist wrapped in metal is enough to ground Cinder with a single blow, putting him to his knees as it's followed up with a frenzy of violent slashes, tearing away at the lapping flames with relentless brutality before he kicks upward, drawing the talons on his foot along Cinder's entire front as he somersaults away.

What a drag.

"Hrngh!!" Cinder's look is alien and indescribable as the pepper is taken out of his charge, the unstable corona baling heat from him as Hayabusa tears into his armor, leaving long ragged slashes in the rock-like containment. The compromise leaves a fierce glow visible from within--whatever Cinder is, 'human' doesn't factor into it much anymore. Even so, his body ragdolls as he's flip-kicked, knocking him back and away from Hayabusa, only to tumble in midair and slam into the ground, his body leaving molten trails in the dirt as he skids.

"Ugh... now here I was, trying to make things easy for you... giving you a nice opening to fall into, and this is the best you can do?" the brutal rogue laughs, finally standing to his full height. "Gotta admit, a little quicker on the draw than I expected. You must like flying by the seat of your pants!"

One skeletal hand flexes, the bizarre anatomy of the elemental enforcer making it seem like he has two opposing thumbs. Along the length of his body, a flame crawls up his leg and begins to dance in his hand. "But don't get cocky, Batman." The warning is dripping with cruel malevolence, as he begins to throw the fire between both of his hands, the flame growing brighter as he does. "If you think something like that is going to surprise me, you've got another thing coming. After all. It isn't like I don't have plenty of fuel to -burn!!-"

Cinder thrusts his inhuman hands into the ground, what amounts to his palms flattening against it. The flame that he was just playing with is pushed violently into the earth, drawing glowing red cracks from already parched earth. Vapor trails of flame crawl across the ground erupting from the cracks, lines of it jumping from the fissures in the earth and skipping over and under obstacles alike. It would seem to be easily enough evaded, even if it creeps up quick. Save for one thing.

The moment Hayabusa moves, so does the flame.

Hellbent on tracking Hayabusa down, the flame accelerates, tracing after the shinobi with what eventually becomes brutal speed. It threatens to catch him at every turn, every angle, every corner. And when it gets close enough..

"I always like to cook my meat to at least 165 degrees..."
In an instant, the ground turns molten underneath Hayabusa, the cracks spreading all around in a huge spiderweb, before the earth's crust bursts away, leaving room for a huge eruption of molten rock, snapping at the shinobi viciously. The pool is deep enough to easily eclipse and sink one of the jeeps nearby. Getting caught in the middle of the lava explosion would fry most people to a crisp, and send even experienced fighters to the hurt locker. Even after Cinder removes his hands from the ground, the pool bubbles ominously, slowly melting steel to slag inside of its encompass.

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa blocks Cinder's Lava Pool.

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Ryu Hayabusa [E] 1/------=/=======|=====--\-------\0           Cinder

Up against the swarms of Ultratech goons, the Falcon's Talon's had proven an exceptional advantage, allowing Ryu to make use of his extensive hand-to-hand combat techniques with extended reach and lethality. That speed and lethality had been why he'd chosen to bring those weapons with him on this hunt, but they come with a disadvantage; even with all of Hayabusa's ability, they are still an extension on each of his limbs that can slow his movement. They're also designed to be effective against flesh, which it's quite apparent that Cinder doesn't have in any traditional sense.

Even before he hits the ground from that flip, he's moving to quickly doff the long talons, tossing them aside in a manner that would be reckless from a less disciplined soul. The tool is not needed now, but each part of the weapon is clustered among the debris of a former grocery store.

Pro: Ryu is now likely to be more agile in his current state. Con: Even though he began to doff the talons before reaching the ground, that's still time away from staying mobile and preparing for his next maneuver. Cinder has managed to recover and by the time the ninja's attention is undivided again, those molten hands are being thrust down into the very earth.

Cracks spreading, heat boiling up as rock and dirt begin to flow. Such a wide area, Hayabusa can already see that outrunning this assault would be a challenge, but there are other options. Rather than fleeing, the Dragon Ninja's hands pull up around him, taking on a precise posture as he begins to call upon the power of nature itself, the air stirring around him as he enters a deep concentration.

It's quite the gamble as molten rock begins to bubble closer and closer to Ryu's feet, lapping at his toes, but he fights through the pain, wills it away to complete his task. Suddenly hands whip about as they mark the completion of the ritual and a whirlwind bursts into existance around the ninja. For a moment it seems a hopeless task, whisking away the same heat that churns through the Earth's veins with a mere gust, but soon the air itself around the ninja begins to fill with thick blades of ice, the ground beneath him turning the dark black of obsidian as an arctic gale is summoned into existance.

Hayabusa remains merely singed by the whole affair and begins moving almost as an afterthought, suddenly becoming a barrage of movement as he unleashes an assault on the ice itself around him, using each blow to thrust the knife like icicles flying at his opponent, filling the air around the man on fire.

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa unequips Falcon's Talons.

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Ryu Hayabusa     1/------=/=======|=====--\-------\0           Cinder

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa successfully hit Cinder with Thrown Object.

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Ryu Hayabusa     1/------=/=======|=====--\-------\0           Cinder

"Kuh, beginner's luck."

A little less than enthused by Hayabusa's masterful deflection of his molten fireburst, the elemental rogue stands up again to his full lanky height, breathing outward in a sulfur-tinged gout of heat, the sound of a growing inferno accompanying the gesture. Needless to say, this guy was really starting to bug him in ways he couldn't really quite name off the top of his head, likely having something to do with having toys or now, spells for everything. He was waiting for him to whip out a full suit of armor next. Oh well.

Pillbugs burn all the same. You just have to roast them inside their little shell.

Hayabusa runs across the ice-skinned flame, baking slowly instead of being immolated alive by the fireblast, approaching him quickly, steps measured in eyeblinks. It's so fast that Cinder almost misses the actual form of the attack, as Hayabusa whips around and into a brutal dance, snapping blades of ice off their runs and towards him. The Ultratech agent would frown, if he actually had a mouth. Instead, he sweeps a hand wide, bringing with it a wave of coruscating fire, taking the teeth out of the blades before they slam into him, the ice shards cutting deep ferrules into his armor, but melting away in the storm. However, the firewave also has the secondary characteristic of completely hiding Cinder's body from Hayabusa, cutting off the shinobi's field of vision from him.

The distortion in the air churns, warping Hayabusa's view of even the flame wall.

And then, an instant later, Cinder's claw bursts from the heat haze itself, reforming as if slipping out of thin air. There's no frills on this one, no time left to think or to plan. Cinder intends on grabbing Ryu by the skull, and setting every part of his upper body on fire with a huge point-blank blast. "Let's turn up the heat..!!"

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa parries Cinder's Burnout!

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Ryu Hayabusa     1/----===/=======|=======\-------\0           Cinder

To perfect one's own soul is to be find the eye of any storm. There is no fear, no anger, no recklessness once one is able to abandon the weakness that marred their spirit.

Hayabusa has been burnt by Cinder, felt the unrelenting power of his flames, and been subjected to the constant taunting of Ultratech's project. None of it matters if you are able to overcome it. The depth of the pit means nothing if you can leap to the other side. Any warrior's greatest challenge is their own limitations, and so the Singular Super Ninja, Ryu Hayabusa, has fought time and time again to break the bonds that his body, mind, and soul would place upon him.

A wall of flames comes barreling down upon him, but Ryu makes no effort to flee as he stands in the lingering chill cast about by his ninpo rather than risk losing sight of his opponent while repositioning. The teeth of those flames never even nip at his toes. A thick haze distorts the battlefield before him, but the shinobi stands completely calm, emptying his thoughts in the moment as he reaches out to the pure perfection of the moment.

In the moment, there is no true difference between an unseen bullet and a lumbering beast, it can only be.

Moving with an uncanny quickness, Hayabusa reacts in the instant that Cinder's hands break through the wall of heat, twisting off to the side to leave nothing but empty air for the creature to snare. As he glides around behind his foe, he draws forth the Dragon Sword with an ease that belies years of relentless training before bringing it about in a long, rising sweep to send Cinder rocketing into the air.

As Cinder reaches the top of his remarkable launch, the shinobi vanishes from the ground, appearing in that same instant beside the burning man and catching him about his waist as his other hand thrusts the Dragon Sword through his midsection in an effort to lock the creature in place as the two begin the precipitous fall back to ground, twisting into a falcon's death spiral as the air around them seems to form a column of invisible blades to tear away at what physical core there is beneath all those flames.

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa successfully hit Cinder with Divine Swallow Izuna EX.

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Ryu Hayabusa     0/-------/----===|=======\-------\1           Cinder

Just gotta keep telling yourself: None of it matters.

Cinder--if he were anything even remotely resembling human anymore--might be more expressive as the shinobi cuts into him, lifting his burning body on the cutting edge of the blade and throwing him into the air. He might even be more than a little upset when Hayabusa rams his blade into the elemental's middle in an effort to hold him at bay.

Of course, Cinder still thinks of himself as human.
But it's really the little things that serve as the touchstone now.
Like when you don't have anything to bleed anymore.

"You'd think," Cinder spits, "that Ultratech would have developed a spray for ninjas by now."

It doesn't go quite as planned for Hayabusa. Oh, of course, he gets into range with the firebrand and begins the arduous process of trying to cut/succeeding at cutting Cinder into choice slices for some tasty Japanese barbecue-themed sandwich. It does damage--flame leaks from around the point where the blade finds its home in Cinder. But if Ryu pauses, even for a second, to reflect on monsters and humans and the goal of shinobi to make the fate of each or some other similarly trite garbage, he's going to find that Cinder is aiming, even now, to put him in a hurt locker. The Dragon Sword leaches the heat from the inferno's body, growing warm fast in Ryu's hands. And even worse yet, the tearing blades of wind don't seem to be doing anything as the two enter the fatal spin, as the flames grow quickly around Cinder, the aura enveloping Hayabusa in a blistering heat.

And when they's like watching a meteor impact. What it all comes down to is, a move that could have killed any number of horrific monsters and torn them limb from limb only results in one very big boom for someone like Cinder.
"...See, what really ~burns~ me," Cinder comments acidly, stepping from the inferno that used to be part of his containment, "is that you're trying to steal the show from everybody else without even trying for ratings! Come on, man! Where's the orange one when you need him? Tell a funny pizza joke! Hell, even the rat was a better conversationalist..."

If Hayabusa doesn't get away in time, Cinder will probably /still have/ the Dragon Sword stuck into him, blade and hilt fully aflame right along with him. Opening up one skeletal hand, the fires from Cinder reach a fever pitch, scorching the cobblestone that he treads over. Flames reach ever higher into the air as he seems to make a conscious effort to turn it up. An inferno begins to build in his claw.
"I guess it doesn't even matter anyway... the kids will always come to watch some good old-fashioned fireworks."

At that, Cinder eschews the fancy moves and killer style. He just opens up a hand, and flood-fills the entire space surrounding Hayabusa with roasted air. The fireblast that emits from (what used to be) his palm is beyond intensity, and sucks in every ounce of breatheable air, reducing everything Cinder gestures at into its base component carbon pieces. The intensity of the burst is hotter and faster than anything prior felt or experienced. Par for the course, when attacked by a walking fireball, right?

COMBATSYS: Cinder successfully hits Ryu Hayabusa with Meltdown.

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Ryu Hayabusa     0/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0           Cinder

There are always new challenges when facing down against different varieties of fiends. The fact that now these fiends are being birthed in the science lab rather than withing the ley lines of other realms simply adds a new wrinkle to the experience.

Which is not to say that any of this is simple or easy. The fact that Hayabusa has trained to battle any variety of monster that he might encounter does not mean that every fight he faces is trivial, it merely means that he has an advantage over those that would be at a complete loss in the face of such creatures.

In an effort to make use of his training, Hayabusa leaps back, withdrawing the Dragon Sword from the elemental man with an incredible ease that speaks to the ability of the blade to cleave through almost anything without pause in the shinobi's hands. The incredible sharpness is soon proven as Hayabusa lashes out at the partially intact side of one of the transports, cleaving off a large sheet of protective armor and interposing it between himself and the building heat.

At first the strategy seems to be perfect as the armor takes the brunt of the inhospitable inferno, but soon even it falls prey to the unrelenting flames as it glows first red, then white hot, turning to slag only to vaporize in the blink of an eye.

And then there's nothing left to shields Hayabusa. He can feel his body scream in agony as it's blasted with temperatures no human should be able to survive. Temperatures that may well have ended him had he not been given those precious few extra moments of safety.

As it all burns away, Hayabusa is left in a challenging position. He needs just a moment to regroup, to focus his thoughts and allow his perfect center to radiate through the rest of his body. In that moment he settles for one of the simplest ninja techniques: his left hand snares one of the kunai strapped to his thighs and as he leaps away from the burning man, he sends the piercing blade flying at the fiend's chest.

COMBATSYS: Cinder dodges Ryu Hayabusa's Thrown Weapon.

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Ryu Hayabusa     0/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0           Cinder

Try as you might, there's not a thing in the world that can hold off Cinder's burn forever!!

The shinobi narrowly survives being burnt alive by Cinder's attack, through some quick thinking and some incredible perseverance. Were it not for the whole 'impaling him' thing earlier, Cinder might have even been a little impressed by the movement. But right now, the elemental is more than a bit irritable with this whole 'godlike ninja' thing, and is relatively sure that Sadira, despite the fact she wouldn't have stood a chance against this guy, will be making life difficult for him if he messes up now.

Cinder flexes his hands subconsciously as he walks after Hayabusa, leaving molten earth in his wake. Normally, he's good enough at controlling the burn that he doesn't even leave so much as a warm footprint, but right now, he's in danger of losing focus--and for a guy that's made entirely of heat and flame, that can get decisive in a hurry. Even so, he hums a tune as he strolls, taking the gait of a stalking panther in the wilds. If you're good at placing tunes, it sounds like he's humming something from AC/DC.
It would just fit.

"Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap..."
He snaps his fingers a few times, as if trying to start up a lighter. Once he gets a good thumb-high tongue of flame, he laughs once, harsh and bright, flicking the tiny flame to the ground. Of course, by now, Hayabusa is stumbling free of the fading flames, moving for a quick escape, and Cinder watches him go, a bright gaze turning hot as Hayabusa moves to regroup. "Oh, no you don't, slippery bastard--get over here--"

Hayabusa throws a knife at the approaching fireball.
And that's when all hell breaks loose.

Cinder appears to break up entirely as the knife slides through the air towards him, becoming little more than a huge cloud of fire as he bursts through the air, explosions propelling him through in a huge flame trail that completely circumvents the knife--and most conventional laws of physics as he crackles through a haze of flame, howling as he bodilessly rushes Hayabusa down as nothing more martially perceptible than a huge fireball. When you get up to the temperatures that Cinder can, apparently 'anatomy' is purely a mutable substance.

"Aww--come on! Don't run!!! I'VE GOT ICE CREAM!!"

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa dodges Cinder's Trailblazer.

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Ryu Hayabusa     0/-------/=======|====---\-------\0           Cinder

It's difficult to worry about the laws of physics when you can teleport across the world in the blink of an eye, fall from a plane only to land silently on the ground, or summon forth a singularity with the intricate motions of your hands. When you are facing down a man composed of nothing more than fire and some form of stone armed with an ancient blade that, in its most true form, is capable of harming only that which is evil, conventional physics have ceased to apply.

Anyone who would allow their mind to wonder to thoughts of whether or not something is possible in the middle of a life or death battle is doomed to come up short, and this is not a battle that Hayabusa intends to lose.

With that same steely-eyed stare, Ryu simply observes the way the flames flow around Cinder. He stands in silent observation of the changes to the fiend's path to avoid the knife, sliding the Dragon Sword back into its sheath as the living fireball barrels down on him. It's only as the space between them nearly vanishes that he truly begins to react, launching himself up into the air once satisfied that Cinder will have no hope of changing course in time to catch him. Cutting it close enough that he can feel the soles of his tabi warm as the man of fire flies past him.

There is a good possibility that if Hayabusa simply turned and put his full effort into escaping that he could outpace Cinder for long enough to find a hiding place. Lay low until he had an opportunity to keep moving and then take his opportunity to regroup with Baiken and determine a new plan of action.

But he can't be certain that this burning man doesn't have still more to him. And more importantly, having now seen Ultratech's monsterous creation, he has every intention of extinguishing Cinder's existance permanently.

And so the window to attempt to escape expires as the Dragon Ninja comes charging down on Cinder, leaving the Dragon Sword sheathed as he refuses to allow Cinder any opportunity to quanity his fighting style. He once more takes to the air, aiming to bring the heel of his armored tabi down on whatever core still remains of the fiend's head.

COMBATSYS: Cinder blocks Ryu Hayabusa's Medium Kick.

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Ryu Hayabusa     1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0           Cinder

The skyborne fireblast floods beneath Hayabusa, splitting seconds and making an eyeblink feel like an eternity. The truth of it is, the time that's passed between the two of them is short enough that old 'busa's tabi is probably still trailing steam when he slings his boot around to split Cinder's dome.

But enough about that. That's not important right now.

As Cinder cuts across the battlefield and comes in low for what he's sure will be a terrible end for the ninja, he leaves a trail of smouldering black crumbled stucco in his wake. However, he's more than a little incensed when he realizes Hayabusa jumped free of being immolated to a crisp, even as he can barely sense the ninja's moves. Things get a little crazy when you're trying to ride a meteor down the gullet of the world's strongest spokesman for black pajamas and cheap chanbara movies.

Unfolding from the flaming miasma with a microburst of fire, Cinder hits the pavement skidding on a suddenly-fluid ground as he senses the shinobi right behind him. Time slowly returns to normal as Cinder continues whirling, his body trailing flame as he makes his about face just in time to stop the ninja from cleaning his clock by impacting his axe kick against his flaming forearm, using the flare of his body to repel Hayabusa with a burst of epxanding air.

"So maybe I was kidding about the ice cream. Can't sneak one past you, huh?"

Cinder steps into the motion, bringing his hands up to cause the fire trail he left in his blazing passage to flare as he moves closer, his moves seeming to pick up just the barest bit of speed as he tries to fundamentally mess with where Hayabusa can and can't land. This will let him burst up into the air after the shinobi, to get ahold of the closest limb, ignite it, and then knife-kick the ninja between the seams (where?!) in attempts to just throw him headfirst to the burning ground.

In all honesty, Cinder is very flexible. A shoulder, a leg, doesn't really matter to him. He's pretty much expecting the ninja to be a little less than predictable. He can agree with that. After all, there's nothing less predictable than fire.
So it's probably best if you don't present your groin to him.

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa counters Charged Combo from Cinder with Mekkyaku - Ranryu EX.
- Power hit! -

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Ryu Hayabusa     0/-------/-------|====---\-------\0           Cinder

Reading your opponent is vital in combat, if you know what your opponent intends to do, you have all the advantage against them. Even more than that, being able to force your opponent into doing what you desire means that the fight is your's. These tenets are core to every form of ninjutsu. And yet it ignores an aspect of combat that can mean all the difference:

If your opponents knows what you intend to do once you've forced them into an action, a true master has the ability to overcome you.

The moment his foot rebounds off of Cinder's guard, Ryu knows that he's been forced into a dangerous position. With no real room to dodge, it's plain that his best option would be to attempt to strike back against his opponent at just the right moment and perhaps do some damage in the exchange of blows. The flaw in that plan is that those burning arms are hunting for any purchase as they reach up for the airborne ninja.

The solution is utter simplicity in thought: simply be on the ground. For most warriors, this would be an impossibility, but this battle has established that the laws of physics mean little to either of these combatants. Just as Cinder's hands grow near, the shinobi suddenly vanishes, appearing on the ground in the blink of an eye, moving as if he had been there the entire time.

Hayabusa drops low hitting the ground to slide underneath Cinder, forcing him further into the air and spinning to place him off balance before drawing to a halt with a large swirl that leaves a clear semicircle in the ash and dust beneath them before flying up into an uppercut. The blow further knocks Cinder off balance, setting him up perfectly before the Dragon Ninja as Hayabusa's body surges forward, catching the monster in mid-air with a shoulder tackle that sends the burning man flying through the what little remains of the entire line of Ultratech transports. The air fills with ash, shards of brittle metal, and specks of molten slag.

"Rage is like a circling storm that engulfs you. You struggle against it, and thus you are lost."

"Ugh... I hate aimbots."

It's about all Cinder has a chance to get out, uttered sometime between him putting Hayabusa into the sort of position where he'd want the ninja to think about trying anything funny and Hayabusa actually trying something funny--and getting away with it. It's that sort of annoyance that allows Hayabusa to slip from Cinder's grip one last time, throwing him off-balance just enough to get in range for an uppercut that leads into a giant tackle that carries Cinder through a line of jeeps, his burning body igniting and detonating what remains of the gas tanks in each, setting off a scattered series of explosions that cut between them like a knife through butter. Cinder's body tumbles head over heels as his overheated body cuts through each.

The stream of profanity is military-grade, and is not the sort of language condoned by virgin shinobi ears generally.

Somewhere at the end of it all, Cinder stands. He grips and tosses aside a pile of slag on top of him that used to be a seat. His flames are flickering, deviating wildly between 'too hot' and 'not even firing up a grill' -- his physical armor is cracked and missing in places. His shoulder plate is basically nonexistent for all the good it's doing keeping him inside it, and everything he touches is starting to melt, fast. With an all-too-skeletal face limned in emberal fire staring with distinct disapproval at the sputtering candlelights that still cling to his hand, he spits another venomous curse, staring across the way.

"Ugh... seriously, it took you the whole fight to come up with that nugget of wisdom? You've got a real career in fortune cookies, pumpkin--but I'll tell you this much. I'm not big on the whole 'rage' thing..."
Even now his voice seems to have trouble reaching a decent 'resolution' -- his words are increasingly getting lost in the roar of flame. But he still has enough wherewithal to hold up a hand. In it, a tiny flame still dances.
Hayabusa might have noticed that the flames that Cinder was leaving around during their brief head-to-head scuffle were reacting to his movements earlier. And now with this context, there's one in particular that seems a little odd--the small flame that he snapped off only a few steps earlier, when he was humming. Cinder's not an idiot, nor is he too dense to realize when he's been beaten. Now, that small flame serves as an insurance policy.

See... Hayabusa might be used to killing monsters from beyond and genetic freaks and all that.
Cinder is a monster who collects a paycheck. There's a reason for that.

"But I will admit, heh--I am a bit of a pyro."

In the end, all it takes is one snap of the fingers. One snap, and that tiny flame near Hayabusa expands into a big problem. It leaps towards the ninja, causing all manner of mayhem when it detonates, spreading the flame into a huge curtain that threatens to engulf the last bit of what Hayabusa was holding tight to him as he fought Cinder. In the end, the fire trails, and the little flame bursts.. well, it was all part of what Cinder was plotting on the off chance that Ryu JUST MIGHT get the upper hand on him.

It's Cinder's favorite sort of diversion. The sort that can kill.

By the time Hayabusa is done thinking up something sufficiently clever to survive, the rogue's gonna be long gone. "ADIOS!"

COMBATSYS: Cinder can no longer fight.

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Ryu Hayabusa     0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa blocks Cinder's Pyrotechnics.

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Ryu Hayabusa     0/-------/------=|

More inconveniences.

At this point, Hayabusa can sense that Cinder doesn't have much left holding him together, the burning man having steadily grown less and less composed through their entire battle. This would be the moment where he puts an end to one of Ultratech's abominations if not for the fact that Cinder proves to have some of the flair that would prove useful to a shinobi, were the shinobi in this equation not the one in danger of being set ablaze.

Moving with the remarkable agility he has shown through their entire battle, Hayabusa draws the Dragon Sword in a flash of metal and stares down the wall of flames that now barrels down upon him. No good way to move around it, so the only option is to go through. Ryu's lunges forward with a sweeping slash of his blade and the legendary sword cleaves the flames in two, creating just enough of a gap for him to leap through while only receiving a mild burning along his exposed arms.

One last attempt, but it's far too little too late to do anything more about Cinder, the pyromaniac is nowhere to be seen. A disappointing resolution.

Which is not to say that this expedition was a total loss; the weapons convoy has been destroyed, Ultratech's minions annihilated, and he has quite a great deal more valuable information, both from Cinder's blabbering as well has having actually faced the creature in combat. Now he merely needs to make certain his ally is still in one piece so that they can plot their next moves.

Log created on 21:47:09 09/11/2015 by Ryu Hayabusa, and last modified on 11:17:07 09/21/2015.