Description: YEAH! YEAH! You thought this is gonna be some honky ass match between a bunch of asians? Well guess what. THE MARDUK EXPRESS HAS PULLED UP INTO TOWN! And it got Hotaru's name all over it. Craig Marduk is gonna bring Hotaru TO THE END ZONE and send her crying to her mommy! But what the hell is Gen doing here?! <Winner: Marduk>
The Fourth of July weekend is a major event for the Americas and it's no surprise that the SNF officials decided to leverage the holiday for this weekend's shenanigans. And the best way to celebrate is to ship a whole bunch of Japanese fighters over to America and have them participate in fine American Independence Day traditions, like fireworks, hotdogs (Hotaru heard the word hot dog get mentioned in passing and became immediately ill), parades, and large park carnivals!
The celebration going on in the park right is especially important to the residents of Metro City and the American people in general. This summer day marks the Grand Reopening of the Metro City Park following is utter destruction in the catastrophe that struck the city one year ago. No expense has been spared in replanting turf, saving what trees could be salvaged and bringing in new ones to repopulate the grand landscape. Fountains and planters have been rebuilt, a skate park established in one corner, and a small water park in another.
Throughout the area the laughter and din of a citizenry glad to move past the horrific losses of the previous year can be heard. Accompanying band music heralds a parade traversing the streets outside the park. The carnival has setup the typical spinning, gyrating, nauseating rides they can always be counted on to deliver, along with countless booths of traditional fair games to syphon a little bit more money into the 'park reconstruction budget' if possible.
This scenic moment of classic Americana, complete with flags and flag-like banners all throughout the park, is also host to a SNF match taking place before a seated audience in an amphitheater that just finished being built the week before. The match is hardly a main attraction. The officials knew that between the rides, the parade, the politician speeches going on, and the excitement of the park's restoration, there would not really be that many local eyes on the match itself. And with that in mind, they didn't exactly reserve their best and most able fighters for it. They didn't even pull out their second string combatants for it.
Instead, they've delivered rookie fighter Hotaru Futaba, with an impressively dead average track record for a rookie fighter. And Mizuki Shibata, her equally unimpressive opponent in this matchup. At 15 years of age, the young, black haired, Japanese sword user waits patiently This is her second public match after a stunningly bad first bout blowout. Against her.
On the opposite side of the stage, in a blue and white Chinese-styled outfit, the pig-tailed Hotaru slips into a low stance, right foot far out in front of her, left foot propping her up below her center of mass, both arms far out at her sides as she prepares to answer Shibata's first attack with something that will prove she isn't afraid to take a hit!
This fight might not be a big deal to the officials but to Hotaru, it is another step along that perilous road after her brother. The only way to get better is to try anything, fight anyone, figure out how to overcome any challenge... The blue eyed girl eyes the freshman fighter from Taiyo she's up against, her right arm twisting, palm up, fingers gesturing him to 'come and get it'.
There is the sound of a motor revving up.
A red Jaguar, a rental, a convertable, cruises through the park. This is unusual, because there isn't normally cars driving through here. This is because there isn't actually streets for roads to go on. Grills are sent flying, picnics are run over. There is a high pitched whine of a dog somewhere, as the car comes closer, and closer. The red convertable cruises right on up to the fight scene, as the crowd parts and screams. It seems that the car would come to a halt right at the edge of the ring.
The fact of the matter is, the car doesn't stop at the edge of the ring.
It does, fortunately, scream to a stop after it runs straight into Shibata, sending the swordswoman flying. The young lady rolls into a crumple, only coming to a stop she slams into an oak tree. The crowd falls dead silent for a moment, before a terrified murmur comes over them. Who would be so brazen, to drive up into a Saturday Night Fight, and run over one of the fighters?
"That's why you get out of the WAY you CRAZY BITCH!"
That is the scream from Craig Marduk, the hulking titan of a man. The seven-foot tall Aussie was in the driver's seat. And he did not get insurance. In the backseat of the convertable, a cameraman and a judge sit, looking pale as ghosts. The cameraman was trembling. Marduk opens the driver's door, stepping out from the side. "BITCHES! OUT OF THE CAR!" He roars, as he goes over to the front bumper. He stares at the massive dent left from hitting Shibata. He actually staggers, eyes bulging, both hands on the side of his head. "Oh shit no." He rumbles. "OH HOLY SHIT NO!" He roars.
And he turns towards the downed Shibata.
The swordswoman was only beginning to rise, both hands on the handle of her blade as it remains retracted. But Marduk was already thundering towards her. Roaring at her, as the crowd looks on in horror, the woman actually manages to lash out her blade, attempting to retaliate in a single clean swipe. Marduk responds by grabbing her by the wrist. A scream comes out, briefly.
Cut short as he smashes her face first to the ground.
"YOU FUCKING PSYCHO BITCH! THAT WAS A GOD DAMN RENTAL!" He screams, stomping on the young lady's body again and again as she is downed. "FUCKING PSYCHO! GOD DAMMIT! GOD FUCKING DAMMIT!" Stomp after stomp comes, as the woman convulses in pain, unable to rise, unable to escape. And finally, finally, Marduk stops, turning back over to Hotaru, sweat forming on his brow. Shibata writhes helplessly behind him, as the titan points a finger to the young girl. "YOU!"
"YOU'RE HOTARU FUTA-WHATEVER, RIGHT!?"
As families scatter to do what Marduk advises the poor little girl he eventually runs into, and get the hell out of the way, there's a plentitude of a few things: Screaming, scrambling, sobbing, scattered belongings and park accessories. All of that is to be expected when one drives a car through a crowded space that's also not a road. There's a more unusual moment in the rampage that Marduk likely misses almost entirely, though: the little old man he nearly ran over on his approach, who barely bothered to get out of the way.
The diminutive, wrinkly fellow's form is garbed neck to toe in fine dark green, silver, and black, his Tangzhuang crisply tailored to his unusual frame, and scarcely mussed in the sharp rotation that turns him sidelong to avoid the car, and brings him right back around to watch the mayhem unfold. Maybe he's good enough he could have been a hero-- stopped an amateur schoolkid from getting hit by a car and battered by a madman. But meh; that kid needed toughening up, impetus to think about if this is really what she wants out of life... plus the picnicing fans were blocking the short old man's view.
The aged fellow glares nails after Marduk, but the scowl may siply be an incidental fixture, remaining more or less in place as the well-dressed gentleman stalks forward on silent feet, tucking both hands behind his waist into the opposite sleeve, a series of crick-crack-cracklings coming from the knuckles of one or both of those gnarled ancient roots he calls hands, pausing all but alone to quietly enjoy his new, front row perspective. Presumably to watch another schoolkid get battered; no one told him this ticket was a two-fer. 5 Stars.
The two fighters face off against each other, tensions rising as each waits for the other to make the first move. At least, it feels tense between the two rookies. The audience is probably just wondering why nothing cool is happening yet, most of them enjoying the seating in the amphitheater as a place to rest their feet after running all over the park to check out the cool stuff, play the games, eat the food, and ride rides. That there is some entertainment to check out while they're there makes the location even more appealing!
That is right up until the grassy hill and loitering audience find themselves right in the path of a lunatic. Too lost in the moment of trying to get a read on each other, neither fighter realizes the looming menace until one of them is literally blindsided by a car in spite being no where remotely close to any roads. Standing upright in alarm, Hotaru starts to move forward only to freeze at the violent, loud voice that explodes out of the massive gorilla situated in the driver's seat of this hit and... smash?
The whole event playing out before her eyes is beyond comprehension. She's never seen anything remotely like it in her life. "Wha-" The irresponsibly gigantic man moves around to the front of his rental to see what his flagrant disregard for decorum, laws, and human life have wrought. At least he sounds... 'distressed' about it?
The Futaba girl starts to walk forward only to be paralyzed with abject confusion and horror when he suddenly begins stomping her erstwhile opponent into the round. "H-hey, what are you... what is..." She glances around, looking for help from the crowd, but at the moment, everyone else is about as confused as she is. Is this part of the show? No one else got hit, right? Surely that impact was staged? SNFs have been known to have some pretty wild and weird hijinks to them, right? Everyone else gathered is either staring back at the sight in growing horror, recording it on their phones, or fleeing the area all together, deciding that hoax or no, the SNF match was way too violent and life-risking for their blood.
Then the meat mammoth is pointing her way with his colossal hand and the diminutive fighter's eyes get even bigger. This is one of those real tests in life - unlike the textbook exams students sweat around the world, this is one of those that /really/ matter. This is a case where there is a right answer and then there is the truth, and the two do not align in any way whatsoever.
Maybe she's a coward, maybe her heart hadn't risen to the challenge, maybe she likes not being stomped into the dirt right this very moment, maybe she's trying to figure what horriblem, unforgivable faux pas she has committed to generate this kind of insanity during her first trip to America in her life.
"I-I-... don't think so?"
"YOU DON'T THINK SO?!"
Marduk pauses a moment. He turns towards Shibata, and then back to Hotaru. Back to Shibata. Back to Hotaru. He rubs the top of his bald head. "Shit, maybe I ran over Hotaru, god damn all these Asians look the same." He looks around at the crowd. He does catch a glimpse of the old fart staring at him, but he just doesn't register just how lethal it meant to have that glare on you. "Shit, maybe it was at the Metro Square, instead of the Metro Park." He mutters to himself. He starts to head back to the car. "Uh, sorry, wrong venue, I think." He states to the crowd.
And then the judge says something.
"No, uh, that is Hotaru Futaba!"
The camera man gets in position, as the judge stands somewhere between Marduk and Hotaru. The titan of a man turns back towards the girl, head tilted aside a bit as he releases his head, staring at the little girl. "Oh you ARE?! SO YOU ARE HOTARU FUTABARA!" He roars, thrusting a thumb at his chest. "You thought you could outsmart ME!? You think I'm dumb or something? You think I am a moron? You probably think I'm some kind of big ol' dummy, dontcha? Oh that Marduk, he's just a big dumb butt, who you can just be so much smarter than!" Marduk lumbers towards Hotaru, taking big steps. "WELL GUESS WHAT BITCH!" He roars. "PARK YOUR SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHT!" He falls into his offensive stance, hands out, teeth bared.
"IT'S NEO-LEAGUE TIME!"
COMBATSYS: Marduk has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Hotaru has joined the fight here.
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Hotaru 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Marduk
Hotaru is quiet as her answer is challenged at first, the look on her face suggesting she can't tell if she should run with it, fess up, or wait to see how this plays out. Her cheeks are burning at the brute's assessment of the situation, not even terribly proud of her evasive answer either. Someone really should teach this guy a lesson. This behavior has to be out of line even in the rough and wild United States, right?!
He's headed for the car now, seemingly deterred, and the Futaba girl still remains torn. In spite the answer that came instantly to her lips, she knows full well that is NOT what her brother would have answered. He would have stood for himself in an instant, probably with some badass sounding one liner response to go with it!! Her shoulders slouch a little before she reminds herself that she should look after her wounded opponent. "Someone call a doctor!?"
She doesn't even hear the judge responsible for seeing this travesty of honor in the making. All she sees is him moving into position and a lone camera man getting situated. "Ara-..." Now she's looking up, up, up into the face of a very irate giant, eyes widening again, already shaking her head, pigtails flailing as she raises her hands, palm forward. "I didn't think that-" she gets talked over. "I didn't mean to-"
His steps are thunder against the ground as he draws nearer but Hotaru doesn't retreat now. This has really gone far enough! Or so she thinks right up until he shouts at her again, her pigtails flapping behind her as she's nearly driven backward by volume alone. But at the declaration of Neo League, all of this insanity starts to make... a /little/ more sense? It's still completely unorthodox, but the concept of a Neo League challenge at least makes some kind of vague sense. When done in its proper time and place. And when not ruining another fight. Or stomping some poor girl into the ground.
Hotaru frowns as the big man readies up. This is a challenge then. Her honor as a fighter is on the line. She can't back down now!! Sucking in her breath, she clenches her right hand in front of her, bowing her head briefly, "Very well. I accept your challenge!" she shouts back, trying to get a word in edgewise against the bellowing behemoth.
Sliding her right foot forward, she extends her arms out to her sides, open palms down like the wings of a bird. She's fought a bear before. This guy is kind of like a bear, just with less hair, right? And no sharp claws. And hopefully no biting. How bad could it be?
She's about to find out one way or another, committed now, as she lunges off her left leg into a forward sprint. She's leaning low to the ground, making her a small target to go after as she tries to slip in around potential vectors of retaliation, all with the aim of getting in close enough to close a hand over one of those meaty arms and give herself enough of a grip to vault herself up into a series of rapid, stomping kicks clean up the front of Marduk. Individually, no single strike would amount to much, but he is a tall man and that means a lot of stomps, so maybe it will add up to something? "Ya, ya, ya!"
Unless prevented, she would kick off from the apex of her assault, attempting to backflip away and put a bit of distance between the two of them after this initial, probing strike against a man who she knows nothing of beyond the fact that he is huge and, if what happened to Shibata-san is any indicator, extremely ruthless!
COMBATSYS: Marduk dodges Hotaru's Shinjou Tai.
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Hotaru 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Marduk
"DAMN RIGHT YOU ACCEPT!"
Marduk was awfully excited to fight a tiny girl.
As the brave Hotaru comes, the judge shakes his head, and calls for the start. "READY! BEGIN!" He states, as he clears the HELL away. At the very least, the doctors do come to Shibata's sake. She would recover, hopefully, in time to ruin another Rookie belt match. Marduk's eyes go wide as Hotaru... was moving MUCH faster than he expected. He lashes out one of his arms, attempting to stop her cold... which she slips by. The other arm is off balance, and she reaches for that...
For her credit, she does get a grip on that arm.
AS she vaults up to unleash the kicks... Marduk lifts up the other arm as well, snapping a hand out to seize her by the seat of her pants. And the momentum was carrying HIS arm up. "WHOA! HOLY SHIT!" He bellows as the Hotaru reaches the apex. Marduk staggers back as he holds Hotaru back, over his face, just short of her stomping feet. Staring at those little booties lashing out, he tries to stretch back, taking a step back to try and escape. And with every step back, Hotaru was just as close, if not closer. One of the boots even actually bop him right on the nose.
Which makes him MAD.
"I SAID FUCKING HOLD IT!" He snarls at Hotaru, one hand coming to his face, and the other swinging his arm back to try and- well actually that wasn't gonna work. Hotaru had the tenacity of an angry ferret, and Marduk realized that if he didn't get her away, she was gonna start mauling him. Marduk didn't know real fear, until he realized the pure spirit of a young girl. Desperate, the towering titan just tries to wrist toss her away, dropping his arm down as he tries to fling her downward.
He didn't like this new 'fast' opponent concept.
COMBATSYS: Marduk successfully hits Hotaru with Quick Throw.
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Hotaru 0/-------/----===|-------\-------\0 Marduk
Everything seems to be going according to plan. She's slipped in past the giant's defenses, she's secured a grip with her tiny hands against his tree trunk-like arm, and she's stomp, stomping her way to a decisive attack! Only, something is terribly off. After a moment, it's clear that she's not rising under her own momentum, nor is she making physical contact with her feet, and her pants feel funny. Why do her pants feel funny?
Even all that isn't enough to curtail her efforts of landing a strike. They're just... more awkward now as she comes to realize she's being held up by the back of her pants by his other massive arm. "Hah! Huh! Ugh! Hah!" the kicks and now flailing arms are more of an attempt to hit her opponent AND break free. This is definitely not an attack vector she's had to deal with before. They don't teach 'what to do when a giant picks you up by your pants' in any training regimen she's ever been a part of.
Gritting her teeth, she starts trying to wrap herself around his arm all together, but whatever plan she had in mind never sees the light of day as she's flung straight down from the great heights of Marduk's shoulders, landing on her back with a gasp of breath knocked out of her. Staring at him from down that far really drives home just how huge of a monster she's up against. But... but she can't let that be a deciding factor. No matter how hard she trains, how far she pushes herself, she'll never be that big. If she's willing to accept that means someone like this man will always be stronger than her as a result, then she might as well just give up now!
Gritting her teeth, Hotaru kicks off with her feet, using her hands to back spring up to standing. "What do you mean hold it?" she asks back, staying rooted for a moment to try and puzzle out the loud protest he made at her last attack.
Slowly, she starts to circle to the side, hands raised, palms forward, each step taking her further in her path without ever jeopardizing her balance in case she has to react in a moment's notice. "Did you change your mind?" she asks, her tone sounding a touch irritated but it might just be to mask the confusion that can be found on her face.
COMBATSYS: Hotaru focuses on her next action.
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Hotaru 0/-------/----===|-------\-------\0 Marduk
That got rid of her.
Marduk flings the little girl off him, wiping the sweat from his brow. "UGH. I hate... little things all over me. That's just WRONG." And then, the girl makes a talkback. "Change my mind?" Marduk scratches his head. "What would I be changing my mind about- OH!"
Marduk blurts out "OH! You mean FIGHTING YOU! Oh HELL NAW" The lumbering giant picks up speed, SURGING towards the little girl."BITCH YOU THINK YOU WOULD GET OUT OF THIS! I GOTTA MAKE IT TO THE TOP! IF ARMOR KING AIN'T FACING ME, IT'S GONNA BE YOU LITTLE GIRLS GETTING IT!" And Marduk throws all 7 feet and 400 lbs of himself right at Hotaru. He would scoop her up. And then, promptly, slam her on the ground. Her back on the ground.
Ready for a mount and pound.
COMBATSYS: Hotaru interrupts Strong Throw from Marduk with Tanshou Shin EX.
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Hotaru 1/-------/<<<<<<<|====---\-------\0 Marduk
At first, Hotaru had thought that everything about this was playing out because of something she had said or done that had provoked unanticipated American wrath. Then she thought maybe this was something else - did she beat this guy's sibling in a fight somewhere along the line? Is this payback? Is this living pain train steaming her way just one of the inherent risks of victory - that somewhere along the line, someone is going to want to exact revenge for a match well fought?
But as his raving continues, she comes to a different conclusion. This isn't really about her at all. She's nobody to this man. Armor King, the name she immediately recognizes as one of the regional belt holders of the PFW circuit... this has more to do with him than her, she's simply a step along the way, a means to an end. And like any step, this Marduk clearly intends to tread right over her to make his point.
While also being the most verbally abusive opponent she's ever fought. And she fought Roland once!! Sucking in her breath, Hotaru yells back at the mountain of a man, "Stop calling me that!!" Her temper starts to spike, pushing aside her initial trepidation. Clenching then unclenching her hands, she stands her ground. What is the point of being able to fight if it isn't to be able to stand up to someone like this?! The fight or flight pendulum swings wildly back to the side of fight as she resolves to give this brute a piece of her mind.
It would be easy to assume with her slight frame that the smaller fighter had only hit and run tactics in mind. But as Marduk barrels toward her, the Kung Fu artist is planning her next move. A core part of her training has entailed coordinating every muscle of her body to delivering a single, solid impact, and as the man closes in, his massive arms reaching out, his chest undefended, the girl makes good on just that.
Winding up herself up tight, bracing, preparing for take off... Hotaru lunges full force directly into Marduk's arms where she's summarily caught and hefted up with intent to body slam against the ground. This was /definitely/ not part of the plan. With one part desperate flailing and one part sheer flexibility and tenaciousness, the caught fighter manages to twist herself around such that it is her feet that slam against the ground, her legs bending beneath the tremendous force, cushioning the impact significantly even if in the moment it hardly feels like it.
If the first attempt didn't work out, time for take two! Nearly compressed by the slam, Hotaru rebounds with the lunge she was going for the first time, digging her right shoulder into Marduk's chest, as arm, leg, and torso muscles all fire in unison to deliver something that might actually be felt! There's barely any room to maneuver, hardly any space to work with between the ground and the Marduk, but she gives it her all, transitioning from the shoulder lunge into a sideways palm strike with her right, once again leaning into the attack as to augment her striking potential with her already aching leg muscles. "HAAAAH!"
Oh, she was fiesty.
As Craig Marduk pulls in the Pain Train right in the Pain Station, Hotaru just decides that no, she wasn't gonna have ANY of that. She was already hurling back as he goes for the back slam. And while the first pass didn't work, the second VERY MUCH did. "HEY! GOD DAMN GURL!" He blurts out as she explodes into his chest. And oh yeah, he DID feel that. He is actually forced to stagger backwards, the assault being too vigorous, too spirited, too... painful? Marduk actually clears away from Hotaru, running a hand on his hairy chest.
There were -bruises-
"Ah shit girl, what did I do? What did I even call you... what?" Marduk blinks hard, rubbing his tender chest again. "And it STINGS, GOD DAMN! God DAMN are you a crazy-ass bitch too? That's just what I need. CRAZY ASS BITCHES! DIRTY ASS HOES!" Marduk pounds a fist into his palm. "Well BITCH you are starting to get on my nerves. AND you know what happens when bitches get on my NERVES?" Marduk thunders back at Hotaru, lumbering with a steady rhythm. He balls up his right into a fist. "We'll you're about to get on the ENDANGERED SPECIES LIST, BITCH..." And with that, Marduk hurls out a quick jab with the right, aiming straight for Hotaru's left eye.
"Cause I'm about to make you a PANDA"
COMBATSYS: Hotaru instinctively blocks Marduk's Quick Punch.
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Hotaru 1/------</<<<<<<<|====---\-------\0 Marduk
The waifish fighter is still in her striking pose, right hand out, palm forward, arm trembling slightly as the muscles in the limb react to the sudden, explosive force they were just forced to deliver into the point of impact on Marduk's now bruised, expansive chest. Drawing back finally, she recovers from the attack, shifting her footing so that she is still leaning forward, left hand out, palm open, right arm raised up so that her hand is a little ways above her head.
The ache in her legs and back from absorbing the shock of the powerful landing she just weathered has not been forgotten, but for the moment, it is something she can weather. It's whatever is coming next from the muscular monster that she's concerned about now. And of course, the relentless vituperations continue without pause. On some level, she knows she shouldn't let it get to her - the endless string of insults. It's all just words and words don't decide fights, actions do. But out of all her opponents, she'd never come across someone so innately hostile, sexist, and outright hateful to deal with.
Fuming, she doesn't have any idea how to respond to what he's saying other than to try and make him pay for it. Again he stalks forward, a relentless force of momentum and muscle power. She can't even imagine what he's thinking to do to her next which makes trying to prepare a response all the more difficult to accomplish. When every limb of his is a lethal weapon it becomes impossible to anticipate what's coming next.
But when intuiting his next course of action fails, instinct honed by her training, practice, and preparation can take over. Both arms sweep into the necessary position, left arm drawing back and tight, right arm dropping from raised to lowered, crossing over her left right at the moment of impact. He may have been aiming for her eye, but his fist is as big as her face and for an instant completely blocks out the sky!
The force sends her reeling back, arms flailing at her sides as her guard is broken. Feet sliding along the grass, she nearly topples over backward before finally catching herself a few meters away. Gritting her teeth, she draws her right arm back, ignoring the visible red marks spreading over both of her forearms.
"Yelling like that... are you not confident enough in your abilities to let them do the talking??"
Her right foot steps forward as she leans into her next attack, right arm swinging from behind her back into an underhanded thrust toward Marduk. From that distance, he's in no danger of her hand reaching him unless she's been training under Dhalsim for all her young life. But the azure missile of vibrant, concussive chi she launches his way might be worth paying attention to. "YAA!"
COMBATSYS: Hotaru successfully hits Marduk with Hakki Shou.
- Power hit! -
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Hotaru 1/------</<<<<<<<|======-\-------\0 Marduk
It was even less than words.
They were the brain leaks of Craig Marduk. Words had meaning. These had less than meaning. They were just finger paintings of the mind, verbal diarehha spewing out with the care and finesse of a very young, very dumb baby. As the staggering punch is hurled out, Marduk makes contact with arms, not an eye. "BITCH DIDN'T I SAY I WAS GONNA MAKE YOU A PANDA?!" He roars, as he lumbers after the agile girl. And then... she talks back.
"Not... not confident enou-"
And suddenly, energy.
RThe blast comes, and Marduk seems to be content to ignore it. To just tough through it. That was a mistake. That was a very big mistake. The blast actually rips into his body, cutting into it like a hot knife into butter. And Marduk gasps in pain, both hands coming to his gut. Gripping it tight, he makes a sickening moan, as he staggering two steps back. His body shudders hard... and begins to turn a bright red. "OH. NOT CONFIDENT ENOUGH!?! You think I am OVERCOMPENSATING FOR SOMETHING?! You think I got problems because DADDY DIDN'T COME HOME FOREVER ONE NIGHT!?!!" Marduk gnashes his teeth, as he suddenly, he -explodes- forward with a speed unheard of. One hand still on his gut. The other?
To grab her by the neck.
Should he get a grip. He would just start strangling her, with one hand. Because her neck was too small to use BOTH hands. He squeeze, and squeeze, and squeeze. It wasn't choking here. You choke on a chicken bone. This was a full on Marduk Experience. He would just keep squeezing until he sees tears. And only then, he would ultimate fling her across the 'ring.'
Right into his car.
COMBATSYS: Marduk successfully hits Hotaru with Strangle Slam.
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Hotaru 1/-======/=======|=======\-------\0 Marduk
Maybe talking to this man in any way, shape, or form is the wrong idea. Every question, every retort, every complaint about his utterly abhorrent behavior only seems to escalate the situation worse... and it started off pretty damn escalated when his arrival involved driving right into an ongoing fight and taking out her actually sanctioned, scheduled opponent!! Is this the mania she was signing up for when she first stepped out into the spotlights of her first match, putting her young years of combat training to the test? They certainly didn't have disclaimers about this kind of things in the brochure:
WARNING: Life might be disrupted by gigantic, burly, hate spewing bald men! Enter the Neo League at your own risk.
But here she is, and here /he/ is. She may have entered the fighting world naive to what all it entails, but if she is to make her way down this perilous road, there can be no room for regrets.
Her last attack and recent attempts at arguing with the man have provoked an explosion of volume right back at her. By now, the audience has simply accepted that what is playing out in front of their eyes is, somehow, some kind of sanctioned event. Some have moved on, hen-herding children out of the area. Others have flocked to the location as the yelling, screaming, and panicked agitation of the crowd starts building attention. Those who have chosen to form the audience, surrendering to inertia, curiosity, or legitimate interest in the battle taking place, have started to take sides... or rather, /a/ side.
Virtually every female within earshot has no problem deciding which side of this Davidita and Golith scenario they are rooting for. And every male within earshot that either has any sense of good taste, any hopes of being with any woman within earshot, or simply the good sense to not voice an opinion if he feels otherwise, also knows who to cheer for. In short, Marduk is not making any friends here and the civilized gentry of Metro City that have brought their families and friends to the Metro Park Grand Re-opening are starting to make their disapproval abundantly clear with near universal jeering and shouting back at the imposing brawler.
Unfortunately, none of the popular support is doing a whole lot for Hotaru the moment she finds herself seized right up off the ground by the neck. This, too, is a new experience. Everything about this afternoon has been a new experience. And every possible defense for the situation she finds herself in falls apart quickly. Her hands close over his fingers, desperately trying to pry them open only to find that she can't budge them one inch. She swings her feet out, but the length of his arm alone is enough to keep her out of striking distance and the attempt ends up just looking like more desperate flailing.
The pain alone would be enough to introduce the panicked thrashing about the smaller fighter tries in vain to find any reprieve. But the inability to breath and the feeling of bone creaking beneath a crushing grip have the girl convinced she's about to die. Her face goes red, eyes squinted shut, fingernails pressing into his colossal thumb.
She has one last option left, one last attempt to stave off the inevitable, her right hand releasing its feeble grip on the back of his hand to drop down to her side. Focused on the face of his smaller victim, it is possible he never saw the sheath of azure as the girl tried to summon enough energy to launch the only attack in her repertoire that could possibly reach him. But at the same time, he would find what he was expecting from the gasping, struggling rookie fighter as tears rolled out of the corners of her eyes.
Thus she finds herself airborne again, this time not of her own volition, the briefly channeled chi fading as soon as she realizes she has another problem on her hands. Like a teenaged torpedo, the Kung Fu artist collides with the side rental car with her upper back before slumping down to a seated position on the ground.
Her lungs start doing their job again with a series of choking, coughing spasms, the girl's hands going to her neck as she leans forward, ready to collapse against the grass. But the stronger urge is to scramble to her feet and run for it. Maybe she would be the first Neo League participant to simply flee the field of battle. Still coughing, she pulls herself up, hooking an arm over the open door of the car to struggle to her feet, her left hand wiping across her eyes once in an attempt to clear up her vision.
Even blurred sight can spot her towering opponent, however, simply by looking for the largest source of shade in the vicinity. She could run from that dark silhouette. Even starved for oxygen, she might be able to make it. Or she could charge right back at it...
Gritting her teeth, Hotaru sucks in another deep, desperate breath before choking on it again. It would be impossible to give voice to her thoughts right now. Besides, didn't she say actions were what mattered?
She lunges, pressing off from the side of the car into a blitz straight for Marduk. The attack vector comes from low, the girl getting in close before rocketing herself into a colossal backflipping kick, a geyser of azure chi augmenting the power behind the guard crushing technique.
The apex would see the petite fighter dive bombing right back into Marduk in a bid to finally topple the giant, leaving her situated on his mesa of a chest, hands pressed against the base of his breastbone. If the initial kick was the tip of an iceberg, the massive storm of chi she'd try to channel directly into the torso of the man would be the other ninety percent one would really need to worry about, culminating with a final blast wave of point blank chi that nearly dislodges the girl right off him from the force itself!
COMBATSYS: Marduk barely endures Hotaru's Tenshou Ranki EX.
[ \\\\\\\\ < > ///////////// ]
Hotaru 0/-------/-----==|=======\===----\1 Marduk
"Oh hell naw..."
"YOU FUCKED UP MY CAR!" Marduk brings both of his hands to his head, as Hotaru rebounds off the side "THAT'S A RENTAL!" Marduk storms towards Hotaru, lumbering as the crowd actually manages to start booing him. This wasn't an entertaining fight. This was a crime against humanity. But Marduk was either too dense to understand, or too angry to notice. "You fucking PSYCHO ASS bitches keep MESSING UP MY CARS!" It was not long before he was over Hotaru, casting a long shadow over her. He expected that she would stay down.
Instead, she was still fighting.
"Well SHIT you think you got-" He begins, as she unleashes the bicycle kick. The blow itself would have been enough to shut him up. But as that chi energy burns out, he actually taken up into the air. The blast sends the whole park swimming around Marduk, as he falls backwards. There is a rumble on the ground as he lands hard, managing to leave a crater on impact. There is a faint moan as he begins to rise up.
And she is mounted on him now.
Marduk dimly is aware of this fact. His expression was dazed at first, as he bends his head down as far as he could, to look at the girl on his massive chest. "what the... Faaaagh?" He mutters, as he begins to rise back up. She was small, he was large. She didn't have the weight to kepe him down. Marduk even gets a smug sneer as he turns over a bit, getting a palm down as he works his way up. He was only dimly aware of that iceberg that was behind this little girl.
And the blast comes.
Marduk =jolts= as he feels something just pass through him. It was like a hot knife through cold butter, it just ran through him, ran to his bones. Alexis had done something similar, but this? This was =everywhere= around him. Marduk actually felt sick as he feels his heart shudder. It was echoing in him, through him, around him. For a moment, he could only just lie there, as it just kept running through him. Pain, sheer pain, that was clinging inside. "Wha.... What..." He mumbles, dazed. "What..."
"WHAT KIND OF SICK ASS DIRTY ASS HOE GROUND AND POUNDS CRAIG MARDUK!?!?!"
Daze becomes purple rage, as the man turns flush. Marduk rises up like the dead, exploding straight upright. Gone was the fatigue, gone was the confusion. And in its place was the hotblooded anger of an Aussie fully outraged. His eyes turn bloodshot as he stares at the girl before him. It looked like that this was what Hotaru had signed up for, another brand new experience.
The full Marduk Experience.
"GRAAAAAGH!" Came the roar. He wasn't even going to give Hotaru a chance to fall off his chest. Both hands snap together in front him, to clamp down HARD on the tiny Hotaru's body, to pin her arms against her body. The vice grip of that itself might be enough to crush the wind- and spirit- out of the little girl. But if he got that grip? He would spike Hotaru straight down in the ground in front of him, palm down.
Straight down on her back.
COMBATSYS: Hotaru auto-guards Marduk's Skull Crusher.
[ \\\\\\\\ < > ///////////// ]
Hotaru 0/-------/-----==|>>>>---\-------\0 Marduk
And once she is on her back, a burst of dust comes up.
Marduk goes for the mount, right on her little chest, snug and balanced. And there, he begins to punch, blow after blow, right towards her head. "YEAH! YEAH! YOU LIKE THAT PSYCHO BITCH! YOU LIKE THAT FREAKY SHIT!? YOU THINK THIS IS A GOD DAMN FREAK SHOW?" His fists hammer into the cloud, he couldn't even see the tiny thing. The massive man leans forward, punching harder. His knuckles felt bloody. "I'LL SHOW YOU! I'LL SHOW EVERYONE! I'LL SHOW YOU DAD!"
And then, he reaches down to wrap a massive, meaty palm to snag her by the pigtails.
Ensconced upon the Marduk's gigantic torso, his tiny opponent slumps forward as if completely exhausted. She's still barely recovered from nearly being choked unconscious, and the attack combination she had the gall to execute took almost everything she had left. Even her pig-tails have lost their perkiness as she barely manages to catch herself with her hands. Instincts tell her that this is a time to escape, to get away before the goliath recovers enough to realize what just happened to him - but thinking about it and being able to actually act on it are two separate things all together.
Which is why the drained rookie fighter is still there when Marduk rises up. Eyes widening slightly, she's startled into trying to act, starting to shift her legs to control her landing, moving her arms in order to keep from bumping her face right off his chest, only to be cleanly caught right out of the air. Stuck again, arms pinned against her sides, all she can do is shake her head quickly in feeble protest to the ordeal that is to follow. Renewed terror does plenty to snap even the most exhausted of minds right back awake.
There is no give in his hold, no iota of wiggle room as the decidedly more portable fighter is held in his grasp. Dread of being strangled again, or crushed with no hope of fighting back is alleviated when she finds herself slammed right back against the ground, landing in the self-same crater Marduk had landed in only moments before.
And in that instant, she discovers just how fast a man of his size can move, situating himself right atop the tiny martial artist, the explosion of dust erupting around his descent obscuring her from view.
But in the most desperate of situations, young Futaba discovers a glimmer of hope. In landing in the impression left by Marduk's fall, there is actually more wiggle room beneath her than the behemoth would realize. In fact, she can actually move, and when his fist comes crashing down, move she does. Rolling to the left to avoid his first right, rolling to the right to avoid his thunderous left. Like a fly caught between two pistons of the most powerful machine she has ever seen up close and personal.
Whereas most fighters might pause after the first few blows to see if that had been enough to wipe out such a mismatched opponent and secure the victory they came for, Marduk only seems to get faster. Unable to breath in the thick dust cloud, and finding it impossible to see, all she can do is move by instinct, narrowly escaping each skull-jarring impact.
Finally, the assault slows for only a brief instant, the man adjusting to reach down with both hands, and Hotaru makes her escape, pressing off to launch herself back behind Marduk and escape between the titan's legs right out the back, slipping up to her feet in the same smooth process.
Whirling around, the young Kung Fu artist finds him hunched forward over where he expects to find her broken and prostrate form. Attacking him from behind might not be remotely sporting for a fighter who has made every effort to keep her matches on the up and up, but for this man, she's willing to make an exception. Ears still ringing from when she collided with the car, she's deaf to all but the loudest of the giant's threats. Standing in the dust cloud, Hotaru's hands clench, teeth grit, before winding her whole body up to pour all of her fear and fury into a single, pinpoint kick.
Given the circumstances, perhaps she can hardly be blamed. It's not her fault the Marduk's posture presents the perfect target for Hotaru Futaba's foot as all of her frustration and determination has her zeroing her foot in right toward that sensitive tailbone area, as the heiress of the gentle variant of Futaba style Kung Fu aims to kick Marduk right in the ass. "KYA!"
It's kind of amazing to watch them. Oh, not because of the violence and obscenity that Marduk brings to the table-- Gen could care less about that. More for the way the slight schoolgirl struggles to keep her head above water, keeps the maniac seeking to inflate his ego over her broken bones at bay. Oh, sure, she's not likely to /beat/ Marduk... and at the end of the day, she might just be making it all much worse for herself. After all, while at least half the audience remaining have horrified looks on their face, gasp, point, take incriminating videos of the events... no one's moved to intercede.
The old man in the fine attire of old-world China paces the battlefield, slipping between people or around debris where he has to to complete his pensive half-circuit of the combat as it unfolds. He takes a cursory assessment of the interloper, the beast of a man consumed by a perhaps chemically-enhanced rage... but he's not here to learn how Craig Marduk fights-- Gen's life has been filled with men such as that.
What interests him is the underdog, the defiant prodigy so much more willful than the classmate she was set to fight. Had Marduk hit Hotaru with a car, she would have gotten up and given him both barrels.
The wrinkled, short little fellow smiles, a sincere amusement that somehow fails to convey any sort of comfort from those around him, who inch clear, already on edge from the nature of the spectacle. While he seems like a polite distance from the fighters, he's closer than the rest of the onlookers, at this point, and closer still for one of his skill. For the moment, however, he does not close that last span, probably because just like anyone else, it's hard for him to look away from a trainwreck. That's probably it.
COMBATSYS: Marduk interrupts Fierce Kick from Hotaru with Melon Masher.
[ < > ///////////// ]
Hotaru 1/------=/=======|-------\-------\0 Marduk
Marduk's punches slow down.
"WAIT A MINUTE!" He roars. And then, he repeats again, giving on last punch down. "Wait a minute..." He stops his punching, putting his hands on his hips. The dusts clears, and reveals that... Hotaru was gone. "Huh. She isn't here." He pauses again, releasing a hip, and rubbing the top of his head. "But she was here. But now she isn't. That must mean she DISAPPEARED!?" For a moment, he was unaware of the girl rising up behind him. "No, no, that is not logical Marduk."
"Think, Marduk, Think."
He mutters to himself, putting his fingers to his temples. "You did not punch her into atoms. Because little girls are made of atoms, and if you punched apart atoms, then there would be an explosion. And there isn't an explosion. She isn't a ghost, because she isn't dead. Maybe this is a dream... but if this was a dream, I wouldn't hurt. So where could she... wait a minute."
And he looks over his shoulder, to see Hotaru winding up for a kick right to the glutes.
"Oh, there you are."
And Marduk pounces.
Tackling down Hotaru as she is mid kick, he mounts right on top of her chest. "Okay..." He mutters. "Help me out here. Where was I... I had you on your back... and..." Marduk rubs his head, as he fixes his butt in place. "I was mad, and you were there, and there was..." And suddenly, he remembers.
"FRIGGIN PSYCHO BITCH!" Marduk roars, as he starts to pound Hotaru in the head, again and again. "CRAZY ASS- god dammit I'm not feeling it now." The roaring was gone, as he adjusts his position. Grabbing her BY A PIGTAIL, he gets a grip on tight as he just punches her, again and again, pounding her squarely in the head over and over again. "Ugh, friggin tiny people always ruin everything! Hitler had a lot of bad ideas, and not taking out tiny people was the worst one!" The cheers from the crowd died. And now, there was sobs and panicks from the crowd. Marduk wasn't slowing down. He was punching, again and again. A woman shrieks from the audience.
"WON'T SOMEBODY STOP HIM?!"
"CAN'T ANYBODY STOP HIM!?!"
One moment, the little old man is on the periphery, twirling his beard, smirking his strange little smirk, being far more at ease with this whole thing-- like it's not that unusual-- than anyone else here. Hotaru doesn't notice, she has her hands full in a pitched battle with an apparent madman. Marduk doesn't notice, his focus is consumed in the buffet of self-serving egotism he's serving to himself at Futaba's expense. Even if they were attuned to their surroundings, aware of unexpected threats or powerful onlookers, the murmur of chi in the old man's presence is quiet, distant.
The master assassin's presence is the softest echo, its din only apparent with the appropriate diligence and focus; long story short, he's in their midst fast, silently, positioned perfectly to be just out of the periphery of Marduk's vision as he pummels Hotaru several more times. She's proven yet again what Gen has long thought-- the wayward daughter, the unappreciated, cast aside progeny of a wicked kung-fu dynasty, has the potential in her, the will to be great. Fools-- age and gender have no impact on one's capacity for kung-fu. Only one's perspective on grasping it; their personal hurdles.
His assessment of Marduk is far, far less generous. The once-disgraced ragebeast probably won't notice the diminutive, aged master until one gnarled hand seeks to clasp like a piston-driven vice around the relative giant's meaty wrist, fingers jabbing a series of several precise, exceedingly painful pressure points. "This is how you ascend from your deep fall, beast of Vale Tudo?" Gen inquires, even as he steps in sharply to be right beside said beast, wrenching Craig's arm with him and jamming the elbow of the other limb, another inexorable root of an ancient tree, across Marduk's shoulder and into his neck.
In that instant, should he find his unnervingly forceful grasp, Marduk would find his life in that little old man's knotted hands. They're hands that have wrenched the life out of better warriors than this, of that Gen is certain. "Terrorizing those without your strength instead of testing it-- as you rage and pray no one can see your terror.. that your decline is already upon you?" Gen scoffs openly, "Hmph-- on your path, to kill you now would be mercy."
But the assassin is not a man of mercy. He does not seek to snap Marduk's neck, to crush his windpipe, to disrupt the thumping of his drug-addled heart. No, Gen merely seeks to use his sudden leverage over the larger fighter to drive his own foot on one piston of a stubby leg into Marduk's, sidelong. Let's not sugar coat this: if Gen gets his way, he'll likely dislocate the Vale Tudo beast's knee inward and tear enough tendons to render the limb all but useless under his weight.
"Get up, Futaba." Gen finally addresses Hotaru with a command, "Use the pain; seize the fear he inspires for -your- power." He's certainly doing his level best to line up the target for her. "This illusion of might is a shell of what true artists can attain. //Finish him//!" Gen intones firmly.
Strike him down with all your anger and burning spirit. The blood of the unworthy must be baptized in blood and fear. Etc, etc-- right on cue, Hotaru, here's your hero. He's a strange piece of work.
COMBATSYS: Gen has joined the fight here on the left meter side.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ]
Marduk 0/-------/-------|=======\=------\1 Hotaru
He springs as her leg swings out, bodily crashing into the 92 pound featherweight like it's the final game winning tackle in the Superbowl. Only, she wasn't running for the endzone with a football, Marduk is most definitely not playing by NFL rules for legal hits, and no amount of Red Card throwing is going to put a stop to the pain train station Hotaru just arrived at.
This time she finds herself securely pinned - no face-saving Marduk-sized divot to give her room to maneuver. Instead, Hotaru Futaba finds herself thoroughly pinned by the goliath approaching four hundred pounds of perfectly sculpted muscles. She is immediately trying to move, testing one shoulder then another, eyes already squinting shut in anticipation of the blows to come. The weight of him alone is crushing, and just sitting there long enough on the pinned girl would have inevitably compelled her to try and yield the match if the judge is still paying even the slightest bit of attention to the situation.
Gritting her teeth, she shakes her head as Marduk talks to himself, trying to walk himself mentally back to where he left off before she had the nerve to escape, but all the delaying does is make it even worse. Trapped as she is, no amount of wriggling is helping dislodge her in the slightest. But when the blow finally comes, knocking her head to the opposite side, she definitely realizes she preferred the meandering stream of consciousness part instead. Another blow comes, the girl defenseless to ward off the attacks. Already, she's starting to see stars as another blow comes, then another. She doesn't even notice when he grabs her pigtail to secure a better hold, the sharp pain of pulled hair impossible to perceive against the greater ache of relentless, skull jarring punches.
When the blows stop suddenly, she is barely able to perceive anything other than that they ceased, the ringing in her ears deafening, the blood streaking down the side of her head matting her hair and dripping down the side of her cheek. But then she realizes that he hasn't stopped because he thinks she's unconscious, or because his arm got tired using her head as a speed bag. No. His assault is being interfered with by a small, old man scarcely larger than she is.
Blinking, really only able to see out of one eye at the moment, Gen's voice pierce through the haze threatening to consume her consciousness. Who is this? Why is he saving her from further brutal bashes? Regardless, the price he asks in exchange for his presence is one she is glad to pay. She WILL strike back, she isn't done yet. Gritting her teeth, Hotaru kicks her heels against the dirt, rocketing herself forward a few feet into a roll along the ground that ends with her on her feet in a low crouch, both hands in the grass.
Her breaths come in deep pants and her one eye not sealed shut by bruising fixes on Marduk directly. The sound that escapes her lips is almost feral, a high pitched growl as the Futaba girl lunges back at the Craig with intent to harm.
Springing into a short hop, she attacks with sweeping windmill palm strikes, each blow laced with sparks of that rich azure chi she demonstrated earlier in the fight. Her target would be his chest as she aims to land blow after blow, her voice escalating as she releases her frustration and fear physically and audibly. "AAAAAAAH-"
A second round of windmilling assaults before the chi spreads from her hands over her whole body, the girl lunging upward, driving her elbow for Marduk's chest before finally diving right back against the front of him, body wreathed in vibrant energy as she aims to smash knee first into the monster of a man. "-AAAAAH!"
Collapse would be imminent once the resolve keeping her going has exhausted itself by way of aggressive assault, Hotaru landing in a stumble, tripping forward to finally fall face down in the grass.
COMBATSYS: Hotaru can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ///////////// ]
Gen 0/-------/----===|-------\-------\0 Marduk
COMBATSYS: Marduk barely endures Gen and Hotaru's Innocence Lost.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ///////////// ]
Gen 0/-------/----===|-------\-------\0 Marduk
He doesn't notice him.
Marduk was keeping his even pace, pounding Hotaru grimly. This was barely fun. But he had to win. It was a day of hard work, driving across parks, punching little girls to sleep. He doesn't even notice the old man slinking up on him. When his fist stops dead, he idly realizes that... he stopped punching. He glances over at Gen, as he pokes his arm. He cocks his head. "What are you do-"
"OW! OW! OH MY FUCK OW!"
Marduk stops his assault dead as he suddenly finds himself... stunned. And in horrible, horrible pain. He was actually confused as he stands up- no, pulled up, and off. His massive arm, dead from the pinpoint pressure, is easily twisted behind him. "This can't-" He tries to muster. But a sharp jab in his leg cuts him off into a scream. "SHIIIIT!" He bellows, as Hotaru hurls herself in. Held back, and helpless, Hotaru delivers blow after blow, battering him harder and harder, beating him senseless. By the time Hotaru falls, his chest was bloodied, open sores oozing red. His hea was slumped forward. That should be the end of it. "Are you FUCKING RETARDED OLD MAN!?"
Except Marduk apparently doesn't follow the rules of biology either. "HOLY SHIT!" Marduk roars, his head turning back up, as he remained in the grips of the assassin. He was able, somehow , to keep standing. He had a torn tendon, this was supposed to be impossible. Except, of course, he couldn't make that leg move. "YOU WANT TO DO THIS!? I WILL DO THIS! RIGHT NOW! I WILL FUCKING BREAK YOU IN HALF!" Right now, Marduk wanted to charge
Except he couldn't move his leg.
Instead of actually making his move, he stands fast, and continues to roar in the clutching, building himself into a psyche up. "How DARE YOU interfere with a PERFECTLY LEGITIMATE NEO-LEAGUE MATCH! This is CHEATING! This is BULLSHIT! And worst of all, this is BULLSHIT! You think you are HOT SHIT TINY OLD MAN!? YOU THINK YOU CAN COME INTO MY HOUSE, AND COME HERE, AND MAKE FUN OF ME?! I GOT YOU RIGHT WHERE I WANT YOU! AND I BET YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT VALE TUDO!" Marduk points his free index fingers at his temple, as he stares wide-eyed over his shoulder, right at Gen.
"FUCKING CHECKMATE OLD MAN!"
COMBATSYS: Marduk gathers his will.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ///////// ]
Gen 0/-------/----===|=======\-------\0 Marduk
"You 'won' your perfectly legitimate neo league match." Gen points out matter-of-factly. "You gigantic idiot." Because Marduk is big, and also incredibly stupid; the assassin's derisive humor is complex and layered. After Hotaru blasts the Beast of Vale Tudo free of Gen's cruel trap, she faceplants into the grass. Seriously, even he noticed, and he's an old, old man-- who looks to have cataracts. Gen's previously near-black eyes are now one near-monochrome, placed sea of cloudy white. There are no pupils visible as he studies Marduk, as he arches one brow; as he smirks with condescension. Dangerously.
"I assure you, I care nothing for the conventions of your league-- or if you recover to compete again. You'll not harm me-- this fight is over for you. The little girl almost beat you, great warrior that you are." That much he can tell with those soulless eyes, all that and more. Marduk may be enraged, pumped up, hulked out beyond capacity for rational thought-- but while kung-fu may supplant the normal processes of biology, Gen can easily see the limits of the Beast's body being reached. Imminently.
Even the previously bottomless power Marduk summons caps out, stalls. The ascent he might expect in the next moments of combat does not come, his spirit floundering alongside his damaged body. The ancient assassin waits for the moment Craig realizes it-- indeed, wonders if Marduk even /will/. The smirk only grows colder if that realization, that possible moment of inexorability or dread, might occur to the Beast of Vale Tudo; or not, the guy seems pretty exceptionally disconnected from reality.
Either way, the old master's intentions are the same. He stalks closer as he chats Marduk up, almost nonchalant in his leisurely pace, taking his time as the giant summons his power, tucking each hand into the sleeve surrounding its partner, his punishing appendages largely concealed in the finely accented sleeves of his old world ensemble. "You give me far too much credit." Gen notes with faux humility, and a chortle that's in no way warm or comforting. "My purpose here has nothing to do with you; for you to be made the fool only requires a microphone."
As he approaches the last spans, the old man's stance shifts subtly, along with his methodology of attack, as if a totally different martial artist. Where before he was slippery, fluid, slipping in and disabling Marduk at his weakest points, this attempt at penetrating his guard is straightforward: shock and awe. Gen throws himself against Marduk's guard, coiled into a tight little ball as he rolls, lashing out with elbows, feet, knees, it's almost impossible to predict the chaotic tumult that would bring the aged assassin to his feet once more, tucked in a tight crouch ideally inside the behemoth's defenses-- both the diminutive, deadly old master's hands lash out like the talons of a mantis, the strike led by the tips of two fingers... two fingers that might as well be sharpened blades for how they would feel stabbing into Marduk's chest and ribs.
The impact was metaphysical, though-- or perhaps the product of motions so fast the skin had no time to realize it needed to break. There are no wounds left by these bladed fingertips; only the very tangible implication that there all but certainly /could/ have been.
COMBATSYS: Marduk fails to interrupt Jasen from Gen with Annihilator Hammer.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > / ]
Gen 0/-------/-======|======-\-------\0 Marduk
COMBATSYS: Marduk can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
Marduk was falling apart.
He could feel it. His leg was trembling. He could feel that the body blows were coming to roost. He couldn't move. But he was waiting. If that old man could get in just the right place... he could get him. He was waiting. As the man keeps... screwing a nail right into the heart of the brawler, he draws away the finger. He was shaking his head, a rage overcoming him once more. And with that, Gen pounces. And to that, Marduk could only say two words.
And then he dips, to unleash the counter punch.
That was a mistake.
Marduk's leg couldn't handle that movement. He dips, and it gives out like a leg of a chair. As he collapses over, it was a domino. His body, his endurance, everything was collapsing. He throws out the punch wildly; even if Gen wasn't... Gen, he could have dealt with the wild blow easily. He wouldn't be able to rise. He wasted everything for that. That would have been enough to bury the brute.
And then Gen closes in.
The blows come like pin pricks at first, light touches that sting. And once they sting, once the cracks come, they begin to heat up. The agony that laid into the arm was now all over his body. The pain was building as he starts to curl into a ball. He was trying to rub the body, scrap off the blows that Gen had struck with. But they only were hurting more and more. All the injuries were piling up, heaping into a miserable tower of suffering. Marduk tried to fight it. He tried to endure. But now, the sounds comes. The sound of acceptance.
"MAN, FUCK YOU DON'T GOT TO START... PICKING ON ME!" That was the rumble from Marduk as he stays slumped over. He wasn't getting up. He wasn't rising. He was just laying there. Helpless. Hated. Utterly destroyed.
And in still escalating agony.
On her face in the grass, Hotaru gasps for breath. She's taken a bad beating to the head and the consequences of that are catching up fast. Dizzy, she presses down with her hands, her mind still reeling at what just transpired. Someone... someone interceded. What would have have happened if they hadn't?
But more pressing on her thoughts is that the man who took the mountainous Marduk to task was small, old, and frail looking. She hadn't even noticed him until he was just /there/. Rolling onto her side, she gets a look back the old stranger as he walks calmly toward the raging beast a second time.
She barely makes out the exchange, it's over in an instant, with the Titan of Vale Tudo on his back, rendered harmless and helpless. Her mind races even as the veil of black starts to close over her vision.
She had always told herself that size and stature would not be limit her potential in spite the uphill challenges she continued to face... but here and now, she witnessed the very proof of that hope that she has sought. Who is that man? What is his secret?
Her open eye closes slowly as her body relaxes, the girl finally passing out on her side.
"The wise one embraces silence; the fool can be heard for miles." Gen coldly notes in response to the Beast of Vale Tudo's vehement protestations... or perhaps it's an observation of the rest of the fight with Hotaru. The little old man still doesn't tower over Marduk, even with the latter on his knees, bent over himself. Still, it's a threatening posture, and it's likely the merciful thing to do would be to spare Marduk the agony, to drive him reeling into unconsciousness. But as established, the master assassin is not a merciful man.
"Enjoy the death you have chosen, Beast of Vale Tudo-- your name will never be remembered." He seems to spare Craig Marduk no further attention, rather than finishing the man off he leaves Marduk to his agony, to the mounting pain and trauma in joints, tissues, bones... broken in body, but also deeply damaged in spirit. A very similar state, a parallel psychosis, to the one he sought to inflict upon Hotaru.
With seemingly no regard for the idea that Marduk might suddenly mount a reprisal, Gen turns on one precise heel and paces to Hotaru's side, stooping to pluck her up in one arm, indeed mighty beyond its girth, and somewhat haphazardly fling the Futaba girl over one shoulder. He then walks off, back up the park pathways and into the trees undamaged by Marduk's interruption. "Her grandfather saved her!" The crowd manages half a cheer, and a full 4/5 of a d'awwwww.
Hotaru's most assuredly safe now, Marduk doesn't seem nearly as threatening, and everyone feels warm and like they did their part for the minutes it takes anyone to realize Shibata and Marduk probably.... need a medical team. Meanwhile, Gen walks off with a brand new urchin that everyone already insists is his. She'll probably be fine.
COMBATSYS: Gen has ended the fight here.
Log created on 18:08:40 07/03/2016 by Marduk, and last modified on 18:08:58 07/08/2016.