Description: Makoto and Nagase have a problem. The problem is that not enough people love dogs. The solution? Loading the dogs into a truck! Not them personally, no. But in order to raise awareness of the plight of puppies, the two will have a televised fight right in the Southtown Dog Pound, right as the men and women of the ASPCA load up the truck to bring the doggies to their brand... new... *sniff* home! <Winner: DKO>
The first thing that had struck Makoto as she had left her home today was how nice it looked outside. Though the majority of her afternoons were spent in the dojo's broad courtyard the old-fashioned walls that surrounded it reached nearly ten feet tall making it impossible to get a good glimpse of the surrounding area. In the mornings when she made her way to school her mind was often preoccupied with other things and the walk from her lodgings on the outskirts of town put her facing the rising sun turning everything into a blur of red and orange that her sleep-addled eyes were unable to filter into something appreciable.
Today, however, she had reason to step away from the embrace of her normal routines and as she ventured out into the city the warm glow of the noonday sun turned the mixture of urban development and natural growth in a pleasing diorama that spread out along the horizon before her. The weather was slightly chill, as was the norm for this time of year, but gentle breeze cutting through the porous fabric of her karate gi was more pleasant than not. A faint smile managed to creep into her features and she set off towards her destination.
Some hour and a half and several bus rides later, the young martial artist approached the towering compound that had been chosen as the stage for the latest of her offcial matches. She paused just outside the entrace to the pound and took it in, an eyebrow raising at the sheer size of the place. They must keep hundreds of animals here. Not entirely suprising considering the size of the population of the town but she would have guessed there would be more than one facility to deal with these kinds of things. To her, it seemed like someone had thought to cram every stray mutt into the confines of this one place.
The smell of wild animals hit her a few moments after she stepped through the front doors and moved out into the broad avenue that ran next to the first row of cages and she instinctively wrinkled her nose in disgust. It wasn't enough to make her sick, she was made of tougher stuff than that, but it was certainly distracting. Her good mood quickly soured as she realized that she'd be spending atleast the next several minutes surrounded by this stench.
"Ugh, I'm going to smell like dog for a week."
If Makoto's flame-haired opponent were close enough to hear the remark, it's quite likely she'd have said something crass. As it is, though, the Iga-ryu ninja is currently... well, saying goodbye. A... mutt (that looks to have some Shiba Inu heritage, mixed with, um... less doge breeds) is curled up in her lap, whimpering as Nagase combs her fingers through the dog's matted fur.
"I know we just met, little guy, but I won't forget about'cha. You stay tough, you hear me?" She scratches the dog behind the ears as it gives her an affectionate nuzzle.
Standing beside the camera operator, the director is giving several affirmative nods in Nagase's direction. It's a transparent gesture to get more attention to the plight of Southtown's population of strays; showing one of the young competitors in close contact with a lovable mutt is about as heartstring-plucking as one can get. That's why the ASPCA is here, after all.
Nagase gently sets the dog down and stands up, resting her hands upon her hips. Despite her attire being bright yellow when she arrived, Nagase now looks more of a sandy tan, thanks to the proliferation of dog hair now pasted all across her. It's... not the best look for her. But the ninja removes her eyeglasses, sparing a moment to dab at her eyes as she motions for the dog to take steps towards the remorseful handlers in charge of leading him into the van.
Nagase sniffles as she replaces her glasses, realizing the dog is still staring up at her. "No, no, don't stare at me like that, lil' guy. You gotta go, really." Handlers move in to take the dog by the collar and lead him away.
The camera lingers on Nagase's hand as she waves another halfhearted goodbye. The director calls out, "Annnnd -cut-"
Nagase coughs into a balled fist. Just an act? It seems that's how she's planning to play it off, anyway. She looks back to notice Makoto's entrance.
The slender ninjette looks Makoto over, her Battle Disc System silently feeding her data on the combatant. Background. Suspected weight. Physical condition. Nagase smirks faintly. "Oh hey, what's the matter with you, anyway? Allergy season?"
As the doomed dogs begin to be moved towards the truck, Nagase casually lets one hand drop to her side, her other flattening into a knife-hand that she raises to chin-height. "Eh, whatever. You ready to kick this thing off?"
The ninja may appear to present a laid-back, casual air about her -- but she's ready.
COMBATSYS: Nagase has started a fight here.
Makoto's scowl was turned upon the offending cages for several seconds so she missed the 'heart-warming' scene that unfolds a little ways down the road. Only when she heard the soft patter of footsteps on the concrete did she turn around meeting the ninja girl's smirk with one of her patented fierce glares.
Her expression softened a little after a few seconds becoming merely annoyed and she shruged in response to the question. "I don't spend much time around animals. Wasn't expecting the smell."
The karateka quirked an eyebrow as the stranger dropped into what was unmistakably a fighting pose. Her eyes narrowed slightly a moment later as her brain shifted gears. Makoto's eyes ran over the ninja slowly taking in her stance and attire and feeding that information through her filters in an attempt to size her up. Flat palm, fingers extended instead of curled protectively, likely intended to strike pressure points or exposed weak spots. Could be a form of karate or ninjitsu. She'd have to keep her guard tight.
"Guess that makes you my opponent," she said eventually. "Good. Faster we get this over with the faster I can take a shower in deodorant."
Rolling her arms a few times to loosen them up, Makoto went through her short pre-battle ritual. She adjusted her uniform making sure that the folds of her gi were arranged in such a way as to prevent them from tangling up her limbs. The dark black belt around her waist was drawn tight next cinching her outfit firmly into place against whatever grapples or trauma might be waiting for her in the next couple minutes. Finally, she kicked her shoes off onto the sidewalk and settled her weight on the bare soles of her feet. The road was mostly clean so she wasn't worried about stepping on broken glass or anything of the sort.
With all of that out of the way, Makoto started the fight the same way as always - on the offense. She crossed her arms over her chest, bowing once towards the camera, which was now hurriedly being moved into place to capture the opening moments of the match, and then repeated the gesture to Nagase. There was a lull about the span of time it took for her to drop into her own combat stance before she lunged forward with a fierce battle cry closing the distance between herself and the ninja in a single heroic leap.
Taking Nagase's remark in the literal sense, Makoto snapped her foot outwards in a sharp sideway kick as she sailed through the air, driving the hardened surface of her heel towards her opponent's face. The fact that Nagase is wearing glasses apparently matters little, holding back isn't an option.
COMBATSYS: Makoto has joined the fight here.
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Nagase 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Makoto
COMBATSYS: Nagase dodges Makoto's Medium Kick.
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Nagase 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Makoto
Aww, Makoto's not a dog lover? Nagase's tacit response is a non-committed roll of her shoulders -- not everyone -is-, after all. But the Iga-ryu ninja isn't interested in pressing that issue in particular -- after the last tournament, she can definitely appreciate the value of keeping secrets.
Well, keeping her -own- secrets, anyway. The Battle Disc System tells Nagase a great deal about Makoto that wouldn't be obvious through the baggy karate gi. As does the karateka's fiercely determined expression.
"Showers in deodorant? I would've figured you as the type to practice uppercutting into waterfalls." Nagase smirks, taking a preventative step backwards once she sees Makoto's muscles start to tense. Her hands snap together, mirroring one another as her fingers motion through an intricate dance as the ninjette's eyeglasses remain oriented towards the airborne karateka. The symmetry ends just two heartbeats before Makoto's foot crashes into her face -- Nagase's hands rotate sharply to her right.
And one heartbeat later, the ninja is translocated three feet to Makoto's left. The only thing left behind is two syllables, left hanging in the air: "Nin-nin~"
As the karateka's foot thunders into the location previously occupied by Nagase, the speedy ninja is already whirling about in a rapid 360-degree pivot.
Which is to say: she's aiming to spin the heel of her bootinto the small of Makoto's back, hoping to capitalize fully on the element of surprise and quite possibly send Makoto crashing into the sidewalk. "Hyaaa!"
COMBATSYS: Makoto endures Nagase's Aggressive Strike.
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Nagase 0/-------/-------|==-----\-------\0 Makoto
Instead of the satisfying thump of soft flesh, Makoto's foot whooshed through empty air and hit with a dull thud on the hard concrete of the street. The impact of falling nearly five feet straight down onto her heel didn't even seem to faze the girl. Infact, it looked like the road came away worse off in that exchange as the tell-tale spiderwebs of a circular crater the size of her heel spread out in all directions.
Ninjitsu it was then.
This wasn't the first time that Makoto had dealt with the tricky sorts of fighters who employ the ancient assassination arts. Infact, one of the people who might dare to call her a friend is herself a ninja. Having sparred with the ninja on more than one occassion the karateka knows exactly what to expect next, or atleast, what is likely to follow such a disappearing act.
Rather than attempt to beat the speedster at her own game, Makoto changed the rules to something more in her favor. Her legs spread apart, stance widening as she braced for the coming impact even as she began to turn to face Nagase once more. Instead of her back the heavy boot collided with her hip and dug in, earning a restrained grunt from the tomboy but little else. Her motion continued with even more speed as she converted the energy of the kick into more fuel for her own rapid counter attack and she whirled around to lunge forward with both hands towards the other combatant, her fingers seeking out Nagase's throat for a vicious choke-hold.
COMBATSYS: Nagase blocks Makoto's Karakusa.
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Nagase 0/-------/-------|===----\-------\0 Makoto
Nagase didn't bow at the start of the fight -- it wasn't that the nimble ninjette had no honor, it's more that she refrained from returning the gesture; an exceedingly minor instigation. Nagase tends to build many such instigations into her fighting style -- a misleading gesture here, an outright insult there - as a concerted effort to throw opponents off their respective grooves.
And yet, Makoto seems to be less fazed from it than many. Almost as if she's expected the attack somehow. Nagase frowns as her yellow-sheathed boot digs into the karateka's hip instead of its intended target -- and reflexively withdraws, knowing full well what that could lead to: Further contact.
The quarters are too close for another ninjutsu handseal, and even too close for a backflip-style evasion to bring her out of range of the Rindoukan specialist's grip. So instead, Nagase hops backwards a half step, interposing an armor-plated forearm into the path of Makoto's grasping hands. The baggy fabric of her sleeve is a liability, but she still feels that her left wrist is a worthy sacrifice in lieu of her neck.
"This... isn't the first time you've fought a ninja, hmm?" asks Nagase, the hint of amusement in her voice as she twists herself into a sideways kick-flip, the angle of torque being enough to escape from Makoto's grasp.
As her feet hit the ground, she instantly reverses momentum and thrusts herself back into the arms of her opponent. Though this time, it's with the advantage of speed and intention -- as Nagase hopes to grasp onto Makoto's loose-flowing gi and lift her into the air.
"I mean, you're way confident. -Too- confident!"
If she's still got Makoto in her grasp, she'd aim to start twisting about in mid-leap, leaning heavily on the disorientation as she steers Makoto about. And then Nagase would slam her opponent's head and shoulders into the pavement with a reckless spinning Izuna Drop, herself flipping to relative safety.
The dogs begin to bark as rude workers begin shepherding them into the truck. Can't they at least wait till the fight is over?!
COMBATSYS: Makoto interrupts Nagase Spiral from Nagase with Fukiage EX.
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Nagase 0/-------/----===|====---\-------\0 Makoto
Makoto did not attempt to hold on as the ninja retreated, knowing full well what their lithe fighting style could do to punish such an action. She was strong, much stronger than she looked, but technique could beat strength and she wasn't about to let the name of her school be sullied by some cheap trick because she got too aggressive.
The karateka took a step back herself as the first opportunity to punish her opponent literally slips through her fingers; not because she was worried but because she knew to be ready. Momentum and relentless strikes at unexpected moments were the trademark of a ninja. She dropped into her combat stance, eyes narrowed warily as she looked for an opening to exploit.
Nagase's attempt at banter was met with more scowling. Makoto had always had a problem with her temper and she'd been forced to spend many years learning how to harness the boiling emotion that resided within. She could, at any time, unleash her inner rage and become a hurricane of destruction but her acceptance of the critical flaw in her spirit did not mean she had mastery over it. The ninja's refusal to pay the proper respects at the start of the fight hadn't escaped her notice nor had the flippant tone she'd used thus far. Makoto was not yet teetering on the precipe of explosive outrage but her blood was definately boiling.
When the attack came, Makoto was ready for it. She threw her arms up defensively to intercept the strike, except it wasn't a strike at all. Her eyes widen as Nagase latches onto her uniform and leaps into the air immediately knowing what she intended to do.
As it turned out, the karateka's confidence was quite warranted. Relaxing her body, Makoto allowed herself to be lifted by the ninja's grappling manuever, putting up only the barest hint of a struggle as the two of them sailed into the air. It was not until she felt the world tilt upside down that the black belt revealed her trump card. She exhaled sharply, utterly emptying her lungs of air and in the process deflatedher torso by a few inches. It wasn't much wiggle room but with precise timing she flexed her shoulders outwards in a burst of motion that forced a gap just long enough for her to work one arm loose.
Unleashing another sharp breath, this time in a powerful kiai, Makoto thrust her free hand straight up. With the ferocity of a pneumatic piston, it slammed into the base of her opponent's jaw with such force that she was knocked loose and actually gained speed towards the ground, rocketing head-first towards the pavement without the benefit of Makoto's cranium to soften the impact.
Kicking her legs out to the side as quickly as she could, the karateka managed to shift her own fall from a head-long plummet into hard rock into a harsh crash onto her back. She made a pained sound involuntarily as the wind was temporarily knocked out of her, but it took only a few seconds for the small brawler to push back to her feet with only a few bruises to show for the close call.
Woof woof, woof woof! The barking of the dogs is getting insistent. The director indiscreetly grabs hold of one of the secondary cameras and aims it at the dogs as they are led away -- they -need- footage of this? It's great stuff, seeing the dogs being led away to certain doom -- that will -totally- get people flooding the phone lines with calls to adopt!
Nagase, though -- is distracted by the dogs. It's true that she has a soft spot for animals -- not many ninjas decorate their assassination tools with panda heads, after all. But she's a professional -- she can't let herself get swayed by emotions! It's just that the commotion is loud enough to clatter the cages, sending a tumultuous sound echoing throughout the dog pound. It's just enough for her to take her mind off a move she'd practiced hundreds of times, on fellow ninja trainees, on hapless victims, and on practice dummies...
But never on someone as fiercely determined as Makoto. The scowling karateka's able to catch her by surprise with the gesture, making best use of the spinning disorientation to unleash her counter attack -- cutting Nagase's escape pointedly short.
The ninja bounces off the pavement. A hollow -thock!- sound can be heard as her cranium hits the pavement, followed shortly by the compression of the tech-ninja's spine. It's a most painful thing to watch -- even the dogs cease their barking in appreciation, as Nagase's body falls limply to the ground.
A half-second passes with Nagase lying on her side, her face devoid of any particular emotion, the pavement flecked with red vitae. And then...
She curls up, both hands doubling to her head. Her teeth press together -- and yet, she still looses a high-pitched whine that gets the dogs barking again. The Iga-ryu ninja's flame orange hair with frosted tips gains a third hue: dark crimson.
The whine ends, as air is forced to whistle through her teeth, cutting off the whine. You're a professional, Nagase reminds herself, as she log-rolls to one side. One hand stays pressed to her scalp, while the other presses her torso up. Rising back to her feet, the ninja remains doubled over, nodding in teeth-gritting approval of the karateka's skill.
"So, um... dogs. Not your thing, I got that. You a cat person?" It's a flimsy bluff, as the ninja is attempting to put some distance between herself and Makoto, but from the way her gaze flickers between the Rindoukan fighter and her technologically-enhanced eyeglasses... well, perhaps she's up to something.
COMBATSYS: Nagase calculates her next move.
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Nagase 0/-------/----===|====---\-------\0 Makoto
"Stop talking. It's not doing you any favors."
Makoto's response was short and to the point. This was a fight, not a gossip session. She remained where she was for a few moments, graciously giving the ninja girl some time to recover or fall over. A hit like that tended to put people out for the count, even if they didn't realize it for a second or two. When Nagase fails to kiss the pavement in a timely fashion her grace period expires and the karateka moves forward to engage once again.
The tomboy approached her almost like a stalking predator, her movements steady and purposeful as she closed the distance, one foot sliding forward followed by the other in practiced procession. It wasn't a particularly quick approach but as she did so her hands moved in tandem with her feet always keeping her vital areas covered should the bespectacled ninja girl decide to pull something new out of her sleeve.
Makoto's gaze remained rivetted to the eyes of her opponent as she approached. It was something she had learned very early in her career as a fighter. An opponent could fool you if you watched their hands or their feet but very few people could hide their intentions from their eyes. And if she was any sort of judge, her opponent seemed distracted by something. What that might be she had no idea. Perhaps she lacked the mental discipline to ignore their surroundings and was losing focus. That seemed unlikely, judging by what she knew of the rigorous training one had to undertake to become a ninja, but there was a first time for everything.
Whatever the case, she wasn't about to sit back and let the other girl make the first move. Sucking in a breath, Makoto's slow approach finally brought her within a few feet and she thrust herself forward into a driving straight punch that came at the ninja's chest like a battering ram.
COMBATSYS: Nagase counters Aggressive Strike from Makoto with Hunting Peach.
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Nagase 0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\1 Makoto
The ninja is certainly starting to feel a bit woozy, but with a few moments to collect her thoughts, she has been able to forcibly ignore the dull throbbing menace in her crown -- focusing instead on any number of -other- things. For one -- the barking of the dogs won't bother her again. The clanging of the cages won't bother her. She's got more important things on her mind.
Like, Makoto's approach. The karateka is not exactly small -- but she is striding forward purposefully like a jungle cat. And probably just as ferocious, Nagase reminds herself. But there is one peculiarity which Nagase -does- note -- and it's that Makoto is -only- looking at Nagase's eyes. If Makoto is the predator -- Nagase is perfectly fine playing the part of the prey.
With that jolt to the braincase, Nagase has had a forceful reminder of her environment coming into play. But... has Makoto been reminded of it lately? As Makoto charges in, Nagase curls inward in what appears to be a cowering stance.
It is, in fact, a feint, as the ninjette's inwardly drawn limb can be used in a rapid outpouring of rotational momentum, hurling her around in a quick 180 pivot. As Makoto's forceful punch brings her forward, Nagase pirouettes around behind her, the ninja's shoulder glancing across Makoto's side as deftly as a skilled matador.
And now with Nagase -behind- Makoto, the injured shinobi leverages herself onto Makoto's back. And takes a -seat- on the karateka's back, forcing her down with direct leverage. It's a blindingly fast maneuver, one that other ninjas would utilize as an opener into a quick and brutal introduction to the floor.
Nagase is not other ninjas, though -- and she's not as injured as she's made herself appear. As she swings her right leg around Makoto, straddling her like someone riding a horseback in reverse, and locking her knees so that Makoto -can neither fall over, nor push Nagase off in her awkward position. The kunoichi's hands snap into knives as she delivers a rapid-fire flurry of chops to Makoto's posterior, each humiliating blow delivered with a pitched laugh from the diminutive ninja.
It all happens in a couple seconds -- too fast for most present to even register without slowing down the video. But what -will- be obvious is when Nagase leapfrogs forward with a final double-handed chop, the full weight of both hands delivered to Makoto's pelvis as the ninja flies forward freely.
"H-hey, you're right!" quips Nagase, pirouetting about from relative safety. She claps her hands together and bows in thanks to Makoto. "I was quiet for a full five seconds, and look what happened! Thanks!"
And once again, Makoto finds herself in a familiar situation. A ninja foe on the ropes, looking shaken and disoriented, and it turns out to just be another ruse. How exactly they manage to shake off such injuries so quickly is something she's never figured out. Maybe it's some kind of secret technique or a type of meditation. Either way, she should have seen it coming but, as is often the case, her single-minded focus ends up being her downfall.
Makoto lets out a surprised cry as she's suddenly used as a piece of furniture. Her teeth ground in frustration but that was just the beginning of what the dastardly girl had planned for her. The knees locked tight around her midsection and she found herself suspended a few feet off the ground, unable to free herself and worse unable to defend against what comes next.
A very girlish squeak of surprise escaped the gruff tomboy as she suddenly found herself on the receiving end of a ninja spanking. A machine-gun flurry of blows rained down upon her exposed rear end before her outcry had even faded fully from hearing, the final chop sending her sprawling face-first into the pavement with her backside still up in the air. There was a strange moment of silence as Makoto lie there, her dignity and pride compromised by the unorthodox attack. Then, slowly, she dragged her arms up and pushed up to her feet.
Have you ever witnessed someone so filled with emotion that it actually changed their appearance? Seen a quiet and reserved store clerk unleash their fury upon unsuspecting muggers or an average suburban wife turn into a raging grizzly bear at the sight of her children suffering? Emotion can be a powerful tool when it is set free and allowed to consume its host. Typically such stories involve individuals who are consumed by intense fear or love; the expression on Makoto's face contained neither.
What turned to face Nagase was an avatar of pure and seething rage. Even as the onlookers watched, the color of the karateka's skin shifted from dusky tan to a brilliant red as unbridled fury washed through every inch of her being. Her eyes were wide and blood-shot and they swiveled around madly as she turned until settling on the shape of the thing that had roused her wrath. Makoto actually snarled as she took the first step forward, lips peeling back from her teeth like one of the feral dogs caged up all around them.
"When I get through with you, you won't be able to talk without the aid of a computer!"
Crouching suddenly, the furious brawler hurled herself forward with reckless abandon towards the ninja girl. The space between them disappeared in a flash but rather than slowing down Makoto simply lowered her head slightly and threw herself towards Nagase with a barbarian yell, attempting to shatter her smug face with the hard ridge of her forehead.
COMBATSYS: Makoto successfully hits Nagase with Tacchuu.
# Disabling hit! #
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Nagase 0/-------/--=====|=======\==-----\1 Makoto
Nagase loves making her opponents mad. She -really loves it-. Maybe it's from her Internet addiction, maybe it's from growing up around a group of assassins with really dark senses of humor. But to her, it's really amusing watching people get all bent out of shape at their expectations of the world being proven dreadfully -wrong-. People just need to learn to let go, and live a little!
"Hahaha, wow, you should look at your -face- right now. I haven't seen anyone get that red this early in the year before, haha!"
Though Makoto does have one peculiar perk in the 'con' column: Nagase's really not supposed to kill her. It's okay to get people pissed off, =as long as you get to kill them=. Revenge isn't best served cold, it's best not even served at all -- you piss off the creep, you kill the creep, you escape into the night.
So that might explain why Nagase is reaching for the panda-hilted ninjato stowed within the scabbards upon her back -- the next move would be the deathstroke, the one which would prevent such humiliation from rearing back and bashing her in the head.
But that's when Nagase remembers her surroundings. Dogs -- the dogs start barking like -mad-. They know violence, and they don't like it. They're reminded of violence -- and they have the chance to stop it. But more importantly, cameras. Proving that she would be the assassin.
And worst of all, she wouldn't get paid for it.
Nagase hesitates. Her Battle Disc system is beaming intense red flashes into her peripheral vision, via the enhanced eyewear. But she doesn't need a computer heuristic to tell her these things. Her hands are already flying into motion, marking out the sigils which would aid her escape. "Yeah, it's been real, and it's been f--"
Nagase does not get to finish her trite and untrue statement. And in only the literal sense, for one fleeting moment, she is of one mind as Makoto.
But only until reality snaps back and realizes the two can't coexist in the same location. Nagase flies backwards, landing on her keister. Nose cracked. Eyewear snapped in two. Cranium on the verge of shattering. Blood spouts from her nostrils as a crimson smear washes over her cheeks, a hand belatedly snapping up to assess the damage.
The situation is very, very grim. The eyewear was not prescription, but it wouldn't matter, because Nagase can barely even see through the sudden jolt to her ocular nerves. There are at least five Makotos, for instance, and none of them are happy with her.
Nagase clamps her jaw shut, using the pain of the gesture to distract her from the pain -everywhere else-. "Okay, you're angry," she hisses through clenched teeth, "that's... that's fair..." And her hands begin swimming into motion again, as she staggers back to her feet, unsteadily wavering from side to side. Blood trails down from her nose, down her ears from the earlier attack. And yet... with another seal, she twists sharply to her side.
And then she's gone.
But Makoto will likely realize where Nagase has gone the moment she feels an urgent tug upon her arm. And should she not move quickly enough, she'll realize the ninja has translocated -right beside her- and is trying to sling her by the arm over her shoulder -- and into the pavement. Injuries be damned, she's going to make Makoto -hurt-.
COMBATSYS: Nagase successfully hits Makoto with Power Throw.
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Nagase 0/-------/--=====|=======\=====--\1 Makoto
Had she been in full control of her faculties, Makoto's experience would have been telling her to move the moment that the ninja girl vanished. She'd done this trick once before already and even knowing it was coming she had only barely managed to fend off the attack with an exceptional display of skill. Now, almost entirely consumed by the rage coursing through her body, the karateka was unable to react in time to save herself.
Nagase's powerful shoulder throw hefted the berserker up into the air and she flew in an untidy heap into the pavement a few feet away to the sound of another dull thud. Unlike before Makoto was back on her feet almost before she finished falling over, rolling to the side and kicking her legs up hard in a move that yanked her to a standing position like a puppet on a string.
A thin trickle of blood dripped down from her nose as she turned her terrible gaze upon her opponent creating a tributary of crimson that was almost impossible to see against the backdrop of her flushed skin until she snarled again and the sanguine fluid dribbled over her pale teeth in a messy smear. Whatever damage the fall had inflicted wasn't registering in Makoto's head and she rushed in yet again practically glowing with emotional power.
This time instead of rushing directly at Nagase, however, Makoto did something strange. Halfway to closing the distance between them she leapt into the air, easily clearing the height of the small ninja girl with her sudden bound. The arc of her jump took her into side of a street light that jutted up from the side of the road but a few feet away and upon striking it the karateka crouched against its side, muscling coiling as she allowed momentum to press her against its surface, then sprang back at Nagase from behind with an ear-rattling warcry.
The attack came fast and furious, the entire thing from leap to launch spanning only a second or two, giving the victim almost no time to react. Makoto landed in an explosion of martial fury her fists and legs hammering down and lashing out like a whirling tornado that had been sent from the heavens for the sole purpose of pummeling her into ninja paste.
COMBATSYS: Nagase counters Abare Tosanami Kudaki from Makoto with Nagase Spiral.
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Nagase 0/-------/---====|>>>>>>>\>>-----\1 Makoto
With Makoto flipping back to her feet, Nagase staggers to the side, leaning quite heavily. Almost as if she were drunk. But even with her balance being shaky, she still finds herself walking towards a trashcan, resting her hip upon it. She begins to chuckle, darkly: she can still barely even -see-.
And yet, one talent taught to the Iga-ryu ninjas that she has -not- been demonstrating as much in this battle is the art of chi. Sure, she's translocated from place to place -- a feat unlocked only to masters of the art. But while this is a higher art, one of the more basic taught to those of her clan is the Art of the Unrelenting Flame -- a snake of fire that burns everything in a circuitous, inchworming line. It is an art passed down from the descendants of Hattori Hanzo's disciples.
And as she chuckles, she looks up to the approaching Makoto -- laughing even more, as she raises an open palm, twiddling a small flame about in two of her fingers. She stares at the flame, focusing upon it -- indeed, something barely two feet from her eyes is about -all- she can focus upon.
So when Makoto bounds over her head, the ninja closes her eyes.
For it's with her trained awareness of chi that she can see even further. Up until now, Makoto has only focused on the physical, on the powerful strikes that would surely overpower the scrappy tech-ninja. But now that Makoto is channeling power beyond that of her mortal coil...
With adrenaline coursing through her veins, she shuts out the rest of the world like a light. Nagase can see her chi as clearly as a photo in a book.
Her ears quirk with the sound of Makoto hitting the street lamp above her, with the cry of battle. These too are needless distractions -- as the beleaguered Nagase leans sharply to her right. The initial kick misses her.
But the trash can -explodes- in a furious storm of paper cups, cardboard packaging, and several-day-old food.
The dogs stop barking, and start salivating at all the fresh garbage thrown about.
Nagase's hands flicker about as fast as the eye can see. The trash can was only a temporary distraction -- anyone of Makoto's speed and skill would be intelligent enough to see through the ruse in any moment. But the handseal Nagase launched into was not one of translocation -- but one of flame. Her limbs are engulfed in tongues of flame. And her body moves -faster-... wherever Makoto strikes Nagase is simply -not there-.
It's quite possible that closed-eyes, closed-mouth expression is the most dastardly -smug- thing that Nagase has performed yet, but it's simply an act borne out of the need for absolute concentration and focus, as the kunoichi is processing information she normally outsources to a computer.
And then -- an opening. A moment of hesitation.
Nagase reaches out, grabs her by the gi. And sets it on fire, as a double helix of flame threatens to engulf the karateka whole. The fire does not seem to bother Nagase -- in fact, she hardly even seems to mind it. The Art of the Unrelenting Flame taught her how to harness the flames to her own benefit. And for the brief second in which she hauls Makoto upwards, there is no time for razzle-dazzle. None of the fear which she tried to evoke in her prior attempt. Just a quick, disorienting spin -- and a fierce slam of Makoto's head into the pavement.
Her aim was sloppy. She meant to hit only in the pavement -- but instead, the shoulder lands crooked, on the battered, lopsided garbage can. It may just be enough to dislocate an arm -- possibly a shoulder. But as she flips away, Nagase doubles over, planting her hand on the pavement.
Globs of blood spill out from her mouth, from her nose. One hand reaches up, and with a loud crack -- she sets the nose back into place. And pants heavily, as she opens her eyes again.
"That was pretty cool," she notes, quietly and without her signature tone of sarcasm.
Battered and burned, Makoto lay silent on her back in the middle of the street. Garbage from the destroyed wastecan lay scattered around her in a messy heap, old styrofoam cups and take out bags mixed with rancid morsels of partially eaten food. The impact of being slammed down on her head had managed to rattle her hard enough that even the all-consuming rage that had risen up to swallow her whole was now receeding into the depths of her soul once more. The red haze over her vision faded to be replaced with the wobbly distortion of concussion-induced wooziness.
Wincing, she sat up slowly, hissing out a breath through clenched teeth at the sudden spike of hot ice that drove itself into her forehead as she did so. Her entire body ached as it always did when she allowed her emotions to take control. Sometimes she did it on purpose. She had some measure of control over the rage inside of her and could call it out when needed but even that taxed her body far more than she could sustain for long. When she lost control, as she had done just now, it was far worse.
With a groan, Makoto forced her legs to support her weight and pushed back to her feet. Sweat streaked down her face at the effort but her pride wouldn't let her show weakness and she pulled herself upright in short order. She turned, facing Nagase, and gave her a look that radiated disapproval but it lacked the conviction of hate that had burned in her eyes before. Now there was just determination. This fight wasn't over yet.
Closing her eyes, Makoto took several deep breathes as she centered herself and pushed the last vestiges of her burning spirit into a small managable ball of concentrated purpose. The wound on her head remained a constant tingle of sensation, a warning reminder that no amount of meditation would make her stop bleeding spontaneously, but she pushed it into the background of her consciousness for the moment. There was enough fight left in her for a little more yet.
Her eyes opened again and she dropped into her combat stance. The movement was a little stiff, her shoulder protesting against the abuse it was receiving by this display of stubbornness, but she ignored it and lifted her gaze to meet Nagase's hazel eyes and fierce grin suddenly overtaking her stern features.
"Betcha can't do it again."
Gathering her remaining strength, Makoto unleashed another bellowing battle roar and came at her foe for what would likely be the final time in their 'friendly' competition. There was no special flare to her energy this time, no unusual tactic meant to mislead or confuse the opponent. She simple came at her and prepared to destroy her.
As before, the karateka closed distance much faster than her small stature and deliberate movements would imply her capable of doing. She practically seemed to glide forward in only a handful of steps, striding across the open road as easily as a deer in the forest, and then she was on top of Nagase.
Makoto's hand lifted up into the air and she pressed her fingers together, crooking them slightly into a flat chopping surface much like the ninja's own technique. However, instead of jabbing or swiping with quick agile strikes, the brawler simply hefted the striking surface like an axe and brought it down at her target with all of the might she could muster.
COMBATSYS: Nagase dodges Makoto's Oroshi.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\ < > ////// ]
Nagase 0/-------/---====|=======\====---\1 Makoto
Nagase forces herself back to her feet. This is the hardest she's been pushed in a fight in a really long time -- and really, she could get used to it. The feeling of adrenaline coursing through her veins is unlike any other, and the fact that it's putting her fighting skills on display...
Well, maybe there's a chance with her boss after all. ... Tch, right, and with his temper that just wouldn't end well, she reminds herself. Whatever.
The point is, the tech-ninja is past the point of no return. She has to repair her eyewear now, thanks to her pointless and reckless endangerment. And there's no way she's going to just -walk away- from this battle. Makoto is -- for lack of a better word -- a challenge. As she rises back to her full height, she rubs her nose tenderly. The blood... heck, she doesn't even mind it right now. Bleeding from a head wound, bleeding from a busted nose, bruises rapidly discoloring her skin. She's in -serious- need of a shower, to say the least.
"Again? C'mon, you'd see it coming a mile away." The kunoichi's voice is definitely a bit more nasal than before, owing to the injury, but as she meets Makoto's piercing gaze, she tilts her head first to one side, then the other, cracking her neck joint with a faint smile.
Like Makoto, Nagase is making use of every moment, drawing in breaths to recenter herself. She nods quietly, raising two knife-hands back into a defensive position, much as she had at the beginning of the fight. Her own breaths are wet with blood and mucus, lungs protesting with each heave; she is nowhere near as punchy or as nimble as at the top of the fight.
It was a good dare. The ninja leaps backwards, keeping her feet close together as she lands, the axe-hand chop cracking the pavement where she last stood. Even with Makoto's obvious fatigue, the karateka is still able to apply such pressure.
"Mmm, might be time to finish this though..." comments Nagase, as she notices that Makoto mayyyy just have overextended herself. Nagase lurches forward, hoping to catch hold of Makoto's chopping hand before she's able to pull it back into her proper defensive stance. And if she manages to complete the hold, she'd lift up sharply, twisting her body about and hurling the karateka to the pavement in a judo-esque throw. "Teyaaa!"
COMBATSYS: Makoto interrupts Quick Throw from Nagase with Seichuusen Godanzuki.
COMBATSYS: Makoto can no longer fight.
Even battered and bruised the ninja remains light enough on her feet to avoid the hammering wrath of Makoto's cold fury. Her hand buried itself an inch into the concrete, solid rock cracking with a horrendous sound as her /bare hand/ shattered the very ground into tiny shards and chunks. The edges of the rubble bit into her flesh drawing fresh blood but such miniscule pain wasn't even noticable in comparison to the pervasive throbbing of her entire being.
Gritting her teeth in a mixture of frustration and tenacity, Makoto tilted her head up to see the thin fingers of the evasive ninja bee darting forward in an attempt to exploit the momentary opening left by her strike. It is precisely the sort of tactic that a ninja would use, duck and weave, going for the kill when the opponent is tired and weak or too distracted to see it coming. Her friend had claimed several victories in their practice matches in such a fashion and no matter how much Makoto tried she never seemed to be able to avoid putting herself in situations like this. Her aggressive and direct offensive style was simply too easy to exploit, too mundane to overcome the tricks at their disposal.
Which is precisely why they never saw the sucker punch coming.
Nagase's hand closes on the karateka's wrist at the same moment that the girl's other arm swings around from behind her where she'd drawn it back mid-leap. A streaking meteor disguised as a young woman's fist exploded into the ninja's midsection with such force that the blow folded her completely in half with such ease that she looked like a human lawn-chair. The sound of pebbles clattering to the ground ecchoed briefly in the sudden silence as bits of broken cement fell away from Makoto's injured hand, the deadly weapon withdrawing from the crater it had left to draw back dramatically at her side. The fingers curled up slowly into a tight fist, squeezing so hard that her arm began to shake with a mixture of tension and anticipation. And then Nagase's world became one of pain.
Three blindingly fast punches hammered into her torso, a trio of miniature comets following in the wake of their larger cousin. There was a brief pause as Makoto leaned forward, the ninja reeling but unable to escape the trap she had stepped into, and the karateka rested her chin next to Nagase's ear. Her voice was strained as she spoke, the hammering in her skull making it difficult to concentrate, but she managed to get out three words.
A final thunderous impact slammed into Nagase's chin as the ferocious martial artist unleased the ultimate blow of her art with an explosive uppercut that lifted the girl clear off her feet and sent her careening like a cannonball towards the animal control truck that was only just now preparing to leave with its doomed cargo.
Nagase was quick and surgical in her attempt to grab Makoto. She had certainly anticipated the possibility of a counterattack. She had every reason to believe her motion was going to be fast enough to counteract the best that the beleaguered karateka could throw at her.
The kunoichi was clearly mistaken -- a fact which she realizes once her hand is clamped onto. And a fact which she'll have the benefit of time dilation to consider as she doubles over in absolute and abject pain. She watches the pebbles rise and fall in slow motion, using her highly-focused senses to ascertain exactly what was broken. Or maybe it's that nothing was broken at all, and it -hurts that badly anyway-. The first punch, she heard her ribcage groan from. The second punch, she could swear she felt and heard a crack...
And then she feels nothing, because she blacks out. She won't remember flying across the sidewalk. She won't remember her back slamming into the side of the truck, amidst panicked barks of a truck practically -full- of unwanted and supposedly unloved puppies. She won't remember the sides of the truck crumpling, or the metal groaning as it collapses under its own weight. She won't remember the flimsy metal cages sheared beyond functional limits, creating gaps big enough for the furry prisoners to break through as their inborn survival instinct gives them their own bursts of canine adrenaline.
She won't remember the Southtown Dog Pound staff members running around in manic fits in vain attempts to round up the panicked pooches.
But the Southtown News-Record will. At least there will be something for Nagase to read when she's laid up in the hospital for the next few days.
COMBATSYS: Nagase takes no action.
COMBATSYS: Nagase can no longer fight.
[OOC] Makoto says, "-2 months later- 'WHY DO PEOPLE KEEP LEAVING DOGS ON MY DOORSTEP?!'"
Log created on 16:32:21 04/09/2016 by Nagase, and last modified on 14:29:48 04/11/2016.