SNF 2016.08 - SNF: RUMBLE in the Recap

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Description: Remember Rumble in the Streets? That was a great tournament, wasn't it. Double Eliminations, Yakuza rampaging all over, and robots! Of course, the scandal affecting that tournament has bled over into the King of Fighters, where HitBit is caught in deep legal troubles. The time has come, specially arranged by Lee Chaolan, for a return to those glory days. On one team? The two finalists of Rumble in the Streets Tournament, Maki and Ayame. On the other? The final bosses of the tournament, AY4M3 (for the bad ending) and Lee Chaolan (If you get at least 3 perfects, and defeat AY4M3 with a Max). Can these two protagonists of RinS defeat the bosses of their respective game? Well, I mean, it's no Jinchuu.

Everything old was new again.

The Yokohama Port Complex was one of the several centerpieces across Japan for the world famous Rumble In the Streets tournament. Organized by the RUMBLE board and HitBit company, it was a showcase of fighters, as well as the power of the HitBit technology. It was mired in controversy and scandal; with organized crime and lawsuits hanging over the tournament like a cloud. And yet, the tournament was hugely profitable, and the major outcome for HitBit was the success of Combot, the robot that could be uploaded fighting styles. For some people, it was a tournament to forget.

Tonight, it would be a match to remember.

The site of the fight was artificial, in spite of the activity of the shipping harbor. The various shipping containers were stacked to form a ring, with tiering of 1, then 2, then 3 containers forming a kind of arena in the middle. Two shipping containers was laid across in the center, perpendicular to each other to form barriers, obstructions, and even high ground. Both were open all the way through, allowing the fighters to run through them, if needed. Overhead, a cargo crane hovers above with a hook dangling. A simple layout, and just diverse enough to give all four fighters some sense of mobility. Large lights were set up overhead and low, to provide illumination in the otherwise shadowy harbor.

Fortunately, they wouldn't be alone.

The site was filled with HitBit kiosks and equipment, with several vans in place filled with the electronic technology required to support the fight. It was very obvious what this fight was bringing with it. A squad of Tekken Force, a private security unit assigned to the Zaibatsu projects, was keeping sentry over the technical teams, as they busily calibrate their scanners. A smattering of dock workers were taking their seats up on the tiered containers; a view high above and in safety.... and also because the HitBit team didn't want anybody close by. Maki and Ayame, the two finalists of the Rumble tournament, wouldn't have any issues coming in.

Walking out, however, might be another story, with the opponents they would be facing.

The first was the infamous Combot model, known as AY4M3. The background of it was small; it was simply a Combot that had modularly applied Ayame's fighting technique. The robot has a somewhat skeletal frame with a blank-faced head. A pair of red lamps peer out from the eyes, The silver-skinned robot was clad in a white haori and red hakama... in a mirror style to Ayame herself. Clutched in one of its pincher claw hands was a metal staff, in reflection to Ayame's own. In the other? A single strip of paper, pinched securely. While the robot has no hair, a great, red and white ribbon was done up behind its head, to mirror the style of the miko. It was already unleashing a swift sweep of its staff.

It was sparring with its master, Lee Chaolan.

The silver-haired executive was dressed in in his violet vest and leather pants ensemble. The back of his vest was sporting a picture of a unicorn, a symbol of the martial artist. On his hands was his gloves, used for straight fights like these. The man catches the staff, deflecting it aside as he counters with a quick cat paw jab with both fists at the Combot. A smirk was on the lip of the executive, the CEO of HitBit.

He had been waiting for this opportunity for a while now.

With her globe trotting adventures, it's any wonder Ayame has time for side pursuits at all. There's corporations to foil, darkstalkers to hunt, conspiracies to unravel, and victims to save. A preponderance of duties had left her absent from the limelight for the weeks following her team's defeat in the King of Fighters tournament - it was a jarring if ultimately not terribly life changing moment for her yet it seemed to set in motion events far greater than she could have possibly imagined.

Still, a break is found in her demanding schedule, an opportunity to test herself again, to see what else is out there, what other fighters are doing. Trained by two capable masters, benefitting from what an undoubtedly unfair repository of knowledge and experience, and dedicating herself to perfecting her art without leaving much room for distraction, those who have seen the miko of the Meian Jinja fight have to acknowledge that there are few flaws in the girl's art. But practice can only go so far. True growth can only be found in battle - as long as it doesn't get you killed.

She arrives right on time as is her habit, punctual to the exact minute, always trying to leave as little time before a match to avoid irritating interviews or overly eager fans. But arriving late is simply uncouth and by product of obviously flawed upbringing, which she would never allow to be suggested. Such it is that the strides into the prepared complex. As with her other public matches, she bears the uniform of her calling. A crimson dress-like hakama and her layered pristine white haori worn over an equally white short kimono. White socks and traditional geta complete the look, with her strawberry blonde hair worn long, decorated only by a broad, red and white ribbon tied into a large bow. Everything about her chosen look is a powerful symbol to her native Japan.

And right now, much of the ensemble is being worn by a metallic monster. She knows what she is about to find by sound before laying eyes on it, mouth already twitching into a frown. Rounding the container, rune-carved staff already in hand. She comes to a stop facing the sparring session in progress. On one side of the equation, the Combot clearly running her combat protocols, dressed up to obviously imply her. On the other, stands the man behind it all, the enigma and one responsible for the propagation of the robotic duplicates.

Turning her face half away from the spectacle, she half considers abandoning the farce all together. He had tried to lure her out to putting on a show for his product once before... and now, circumstances appear to have been manipulated to providing the executive of Violet Industries the perfect opportunity to do so again. "Tch." Ayame pauses, clearly frozen in a rare moment of indecision - she is one used to always having her mind made up before she has to make a choice, and in this instant, she can't decide. This time it's public, not a private arena showing. This time the cameras are recording, the streams likely ready to go. If she backs out now, there may be lasting ramifications.

Her left hand tightens its grip on her trusted weapon as she closes her eyes and breaths deeply. "Fine. And just who am I to to stand alongside for this spectacle?" Maybe it's a bad idea to take this test, temper already piqued, but there's no backing out now.

The Rumble in the Streets was something that Maki remembers fondly for some things, but others she'd rather forget about. The thing she remembers the most, though, is learning more about insight into herself as a fighter and how to better improve herself. Unfortunately, the issues with the Yakuza and other things are the bits she'd like to forget about if possible. But now that she's in a fight with things that are related to that, she's finding the memories are coming back. Yet she manages to push those out of her head for the fight she's going into. A true fighter must know how to focus on what's important and put other things aside. That's what Maki's primary goal is right now.

For now, as Maki enters the area with her tonfa gripped tightly in her hand, a slight frown is noticeable on her face. This whole thing seems a bit odd to her for whatever reason. She looks from side to side as she advances, one eye narrowed slightly more than the other. It's not until she hears Ayame speak up that she turns to face the girl whose voice she recognized, and while she recognizes Ayame from before, her expression still remains stern and slightly sour.

"Funny you should ask," Maki says without the slightest hint of a smile. "It looks like instead of fighting against each other, we'll be partners this time around... or something like that?" She takes a moment to wipe her tonfa with her free hand, before twirling it again. "I'll admit, though, that I don't like this one bit." She looks to Ayame. "Although I will say the advice you gave me before has helped reform me quite a bit. But now will be the time to show you what I have learned."

The blonde ninja is immediately noticed by Ayame as she speaks up, the girl whirling around, eyebrows raised in the slightest sign of surprise. The moment passes, her expression becoming less severe - is that even a hint of a smile offered to Maki? "Something like that." Well, if she's going to have another fighter lead the way in this two vs two series, then having one who clawed her way to the pinnacle of the Rumble tournament along with her is a welcome sight.

Maki speaks positively of Ayame's advice and the long haired priestess looks momentarily caught off guard, as if the mere expression of gratitude for anything she's ever said or done is a foreign concept. "Oh-" Composure is quick to recover, "Well-" She bows her head briefly toward Maki, eyes closed for a moment of quiet acknowledgement, "Then now is the time to show it. May your efforts be rewarded."

Standing up straight, Ayame pivots on her heel, twisting her staff up under her left shoulder, right hand resting lazily on the forward end of her weapon. She'll have to simply watch the very unusual sight of her teammate having to fight against a robot that fights just like her partner. Well, at least Maki has had practice at this before...?

Another figure follows the young miko as she marches across the open landscape to the make-shift arena of massive crates, a remarkably large woman trudling along lazily in her wake. Though Riki would be familiar to no one present, save Ayame herself, the towering amazonian is about as easy to miss as a rhinocerus stomping down a city street, complete with ground shuddering thumps as her heavy footfalls reverberate through the local area.

This particular rhinocerus, however, has done away with her horn at the 'suggestion' of the miko's parents. She was, and still is, not particularly keen on the idea. An oni never parts from their horn! It's like being totally naked! However, it has become abundantly clear to her over the past few months that her desires and preconceptions about how things should be done are to be challenged during her stay on the mortal plane. Stuck in a body that is not quite demon and not quite human, concessions must be made.

Another of these is her current attire. Gone are the ancient kimono-like robes held on only by a massive belt of rope. Instead, Riki has donned far more modern looking attire consisting of a plain white t-shirt with red trim about the cuffs and a long blue pleated skirt with red fabric lining the folds. Her feet are still clad in only the large rectangles of wood that comprise her sandals, however; even she has limits and while it was possible to find some oversized clothes for her at a nearby speciality store, there simply aren't enough eight foot tall giants wandering Japan for anyone to carry size thirty shoes on hand.

The massive mane of blonde hair hanging down her back is fairly rugged and unruly though it's obvious that someone atleast attempted to take a brush to it before she was allowed out into public and the overall effect is almost one of intentional chaos which adds an element of accedential playful style to her exotic charm. Little could be done about the manacles on her wrists and ankles. Perhaps most people will consider it some sort of bizarre political statement or a cutting edge fashion trend.

Drawing up behind the pair of girls, Riki comes to a halt and turns to peer at the sparring match on display. Her eyebrows go up at the sight of AY4M3 and she shifts her gaze between the robot and the original a few times, looking confused.

"Hrm. Is this... some sort of homonculus ye face, girl? I've never seen such a thing."

"Well, if you two are done with introductions~"

Lee Chaolan bows to the AY4M3, who bows in return. The combot sweeps around its staff, whipping it around with flourish, before digging it into the concrete, upright. Lee Chaolan claps his hands together three times, approaching the pair. Some of the technicans were murmuring at the appearance of Riki. But Lee Chaolan's attention was dead focused on the girls. Already, the technicians were queuing up the most advanced data, preparing AY4M3 for true combat. The executive himself keeps his posture straight, as his last clap becomes a hand rub.

"Welcome again to the Rumble tournament you let behind."

"It is a pleasure to be able to face both of you. To test to see just how you've grown since the RUMBLE tournament. You've both been tested in the King of Fighters tournament... and ended up getting eliminated far earlier than I expected." Lee Chaolan clicks his tongue, shaking his head. "Both of you were -very- disappointing, especially you Ayame. You didn't even make it out of the qualifiers; and Maki, why, I don't even think you had a chance to fight, with that worthless Nagase taking your rightful place. Really, I was flat out -shocked- at the mistakes you both made. Your very performance in the King of Fighters was a waste of time." Lee Chaolan sighs, forcing a smile on his lips.

"So I'm rolling back the clock."

"We're right back to the peak of your fighting growth. Maki, you will begin against AY4M3. We'll see if you can get past the Combot this time." He gives the blonde ninja a wink. "But if you can't muster it, Ayame will step in, and finish up the mess you leave. And then, Ayame, we'll see how well you handle me again."

""Hopefully you'll last more than two hits this time."

Lee Chaolan snaps his fingers, and AY4M3 advances before him, Lee Chaolan turns around, and already a HitBit technician moves into place, bringing out two folding chairs. AY4M3 strides forward, spinning its metal staff around into a blur. Lee Chaolan himself eases into his seat, and crosses one foot up on his knee. "Have a seat Ayame." Lee Chaolan beckons, motion for the other folding chair beside him.

"Standing is so unbecoming of you."

COMBATSYS: AY4M3 has started a fight here.

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AY4M3            0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Maki has joined the fight here.

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Maki             0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0            AY4M3

Maki's having a hard time believing what's going on here. It's almost like she's sort of being given a second chance of some kind. Not that Maki's about to question it personally, since this should provide for a rather interesting experience at least to Maki. But when he mentions the King of Fighters tournament, as well as how poorly Ayame did and what Lee says about Nagase, Maki can only shake her head in disgust and disbelief. "I'm sorry to tell you this," Maki says with a scowl, "But Nagase is NOT worthless! She just had a rough time, that's all!" Apparently, even though she never got a chance to participate, Maki still doesn't like hearing her teammates insulted.

"Whatever it is you want, though, I'll take you up on it." She looks to Ayame, who is apparently being given a chance to rest a little before her fight, while Maki herself has to fight against this 'Combot' or whatever it is Lee called it.

Once AY4M3 appears, and begins demonstrating its skills with its staff, Maki smirks a little, then proceeds to twirl her tonfa around a few times, as if showing off what she can do. "Want to show off, huh? I like that, but it won't save your skin in a fight!" She sneers a little. "Man or machine, I'm not afraid! I'm ready to take on whatever you've got for me, Lee Chaolan!" She narrows her eyes at AY4M3 and says, "And as for you, let's see how you fare against the greatest practitioner of Bushin-Ryuu ever!"

After AY4M3 stops twirling the staff, Maki takes this chance to launch her first attack. "A computer, or whatever it is, may be able to analyze whatever comes at it. But that alone won't save you in a fight without the proper knowledge of how to use your techniques properly!" She rolls onto the ground, before attempting to stop quickly right before the Combot and delivering a swift sweeping kick with her left leg.

COMBATSYS: AY4M3 blocks Maki's Light Kick.

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Maki             0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0            AY4M3

It is impossible to miss Ayame's imposing company. It's impossible to not hear her either. Really, stealth is just not in the cards. Glancing up over her shoulder toward the out of time oni, the miko grunts. She hadn't wanted the company in the first place, preferring to travel alone. And really, the family station wagon can only take so much abuse!

But here she is, ogress in tow. "I... sure, I suppose that is one way to describe it." she settles pretty quickly, realizing she isn't about to get into an explanation about robotics, circuits, electricity, and science with a eight foot tall demon that is a couple hundred years behind on the times.

Sighing, she turns to face the executive now, staring quietly back at the one man who seems to be behind so many of her life's mysteries as of late. She never truly expected to encounter him again following her match in the finale of the Rumble tournament; a wealthy entrepreneur like him undoubtedly had far better things to do with his life to remember one single up and coming fighter.

It seems she was wrong. As he speaks, she begins to realize how much he has been following her public fighting career. And it doesn't just seem to be about the King of Fighters match that was recorded, though he wastes no time bringing up her defeat there. While it was true that having her team fall out in the qualifying round came across as quite a surprise, the warrior priestess had not really given the event much thought since. In striving to improve, defeats were inevitable. She was not so deluded to think she was already the strongest in the world.

Still, getting clocked out in two solid combinations was rather abrupt. Was she really that far outclassed or was the blow to her temple just that effective at leaving her unable to recover? It was a question she had pondered for a while then forgotten as her life moved on to other priorities.

And yet, here she stands, in front of someone who seems to have put a great amount of thought into what happened. The realization is immediately unsettling... Just how obsessed IS he about that? He lays out the order of battle, with Maki going against the robotic duplicate. "Before you ask," she speaks up, glancing over her shoulder at Riki again as if anticipating another irritating question, "No, I will explain any of this in the slightest."

Even if she isn't talking about it, it's beyond obvious that this whole thing is personal between her and the violet-vest clad man with the automaton on his side.

Lee calls for Ayame to come sit beside him and the miko pauses briefly before glancing up at Riki, "Stay out of this. It is none of your business." Flipping her staff down to her side from under her arm, she strides to the offered seat, her staff now leaning against her left side, her right hand resting on her leg. "I must say, Mister Chaolan, it is quite encouraging to see how much interest you are taking in my progress." she states, her tone suggesting nothing of the sort. She takes to watching Maki engage the automaton head on. This will be the first time seeing the AY4M3 device in action this close. Just how accurate /is/ the representation anyway?

That made things easy then.

Lee Chaolan did consider that Ayame's company to be a... variable factor. But as Ayame says for her companion to stay out of it, Lee Chaolan takes the time to lay his attention on Riki. And with a wink and a rogueish smirk, he nods, motioning for one of the HitBit helpers to come to him. "Fetch her guest a nice sparkletini." He coos, before glancing back over to Ayame. "what would you like to drink, Ayame? Or maybe you would like something to eat?"

He gives the girl a little wink as well.

As for Maki, the combot was live. The ninja was making the first move. As the blonde-haired warrior dives low, the robot kicks off the staff from its fixed base. Bringing it's other claw around, it grips the staff with both claws. The staff comes down, meeting the base of her heel. The sweep connects with its leg, but with the staff fixed in place, it wasn't going to fall.

And it was in position to counter attack.

AY4M3's skirt twirls up and around, revealing that the Combot did not wear anything underneath. The glimpse of naked steel and smooth legs flashes quickly, as Combot pivots on the staff, whirling its legs around to drive a metal kick down hard into Maki, before she could even rise. Not quite an Ayame signature.

And naturally, Ayame wore more clothing.

She did wear more clothing, right?

COMBATSYS: AY4M3 successfully hits Maki with Light Kick.

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Maki             0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0            AY4M3

Riki grunts at the terse and dismissive answer. Nothing new there. Despite having spent a fair bit of time around the girl at this point, she's refused to relax in the slightest. Still it's information that the oni did not have before so she files it away in her head. Weird metal fake people are a thing - check.

Despite her curiosity to see the fight, Lee Chaolan's short monologue at the miko catches her attention. She turns to watch the exchange between the two of them, taking note of both the girl's annoyance and her quick insistance that Riki should keep her nose out of whatever is going on between them. Both of these things are also fairly common, which makes them both very easy to ignore.

The giantess moves along behind Ayame as she takes the offered seat, choosing to simply stand nearby rather than try to find an appropriate stool for herself, looming behind the girl like an oversized shadow that refuses to disappear. Though his rather pompous tone had not made the best first impression, Lee's offer of a free drink make her quickly reconsider that thought. Whatever a sparkletini is she couldn't begin to guess but she for damn sure intends to find out.

Crossing her arms, Riki settles into a loose stance and turns her gaze back to the fight to watch the strange movements of the robot as it presses forward with an attack of its own. She hasn't actually seen Ayame engage in real combat thus far but the girl's almost obsessive training habits mean that she's witnessed enough to recognize a basic manuever such as that. Combined with the staff and the seal, she comes to a very obvious conclusion.

"It fights like you."

Apparently, this 'Combot' isn't as technologically inferior to Maki as she thought it would be. She attempts to avoid its incoming kick, but is a little slow, and man does that kick hurt, even if it only hits her barely. She winces and rubs the area where she got hit, sighing as she does so. "What is that thing made of?!" She asks to no one in particular. "Oh wait, I don't think I want to know."

Maki glares towards Lee and says, "You think you're so hot, Lee Chaolan, but let me tell you, I'm just warming up!" Ayame might think that Maki's contrasting how she learned to become during her fights with her, but to be honest, Maki's not in the mood for philosophy or anything like that. All that matters right now is proving that Lee's creation is worthless. Even if it does hurt more than it looks like it will.

"Let me show you something!" Maki says as she waits for AY4M3 to advance close enough, before she drops onto the ground and then begins to spin around in the form of a human whirlwind, one of her feet extended outwards intended on catching AY4M3 with a swift spinning kick. "Haaaaaaaah!" She yells out as she spins round and round. Where she stops, nobody knows!

COMBATSYS: Maki successfully hits AY4M3 with Bushin Senpuu Kyaku.

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Maki             0/-------/-----==|===----\-------\0            AY4M3

Brandon, for his part was busy tracking down leads and getting together a list of people who likely would have a vested interest in not having their hard won skills put into robotic likenesses. Or at the very least, backed by entities that would like to limit access to the skills of particular fighters to be their exclusive domain.

The arcane private eye's problem seemed to be finding something juicy enough to entice those with said vested interests in coming aboard on this anti-Combot venture. Then he found out about this particular match-up and he immediately made sure he got a seat. He saw it as an opportunity with potential to kill two birds with one stone. Lee Chaolan would be around and so would his KoF team mate's cybernetic counterpart and he could see it in action.

Brandon was tied up with a case when the Rumble in the Streets tournament took place and so he wasn't able to participate so a lot of it was lost on him. However, throwing in the part about the early exit severely infuriated the thaumaturgic brawler. It was a raw spot in particular for Brandon, the team leader of Ayame's team because he believed that while Miguel was a better hand to hand fighter, it was his mistakes that allowed the Spaniard to run roughshod over there team. Since their elimination, he had been plagued with what ifs. What if he dodged a particular series of attacks? What if he didn't wait so long to tap directly into his power? He honestly believed that at the very least, he was capable of taking Miguel down with him.

His hands shake in rage on behalf of his KoF team mate. Most eyes are fixated on the action in the ring and so most don't notice the faint glow surrounding his body. But the chi sensitives notice that the restraints placed upon his power are being stressed. He grits his teeth as he just barely keeps his urge to throw as much of his self destructive power at Chaolan as he can before he falls in check.

He takes a deep breath and calms himself down. He then turns his focus towards re-establishing those restraints on his chi. Unfortunately, that lapse in emotional control has left himself with a dull ache throughout his body and his hands still feel as though they're pulsing.

It was refined.

That was the best way to describe it. The Yoshiaki touch on the AY4M3 model was growing fainter and fainter. And in its place, reptition and blandness. But predictable, and repeatable. As it pivots around to Maki's flanks, it was already whirling the staff around, already drawing out a single talisman from within its loose clothing. One hand sweeps the staff around, to create distance between itself and Maki. But Maki, in turn, was hurling herself straight into the robot. The whirlwind slips past the reach and the guard of the staff, blowing straight into its center. Staggering backwards, the red light beam up as it staggers away, clothing already shredded by the chi energy. But it had an energy of its own, as heat suddenly hisses from its clawed hands.

And it unleashes a move all too familiar for Maki.

It right arm bends, the Combot flicking the talisman into the air with what seems to be a casual backswing of its clawed hand. And with it, the talisman combusts, erupting outward into a small fireball, as it bolts straight for Maki's torso. A smooth gesture, an elegant gesture. But a precise one.

Seeking to blast the flaming burst right into Maki's center.

COMBATSYS: AY4M3 successfully hits Maki with Reliquary of Lost Time.

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Maki             0/-------/--=====|====---\-------\0            AY4M3

Ayame presses her hand to her face at Riki's observation. "Yes, thank you for that brilliant flash of enlightenment." To Lee's offer, the irritable miko hmphs, "I have the good sense to eat when I need to and abstain when it is time to fight." Maki's bout against the Combot feels familiar to footage Ayame had seen of the Rumble tournament. The blonde ninja is going to be tested every step of the way if things play out like they did before. As far as the layers of clothing she wears, her monstrously large company would know more about that than anyone, much to Ayame's chagrin.

Folding her hands in her lap, she leans back in the chair, putting on the appearance of being relaxed, but her eyes are following the combot's movements carefully. If it really is accurate to everything she had utilized in recorded matches, then perhaps she will need to restore to other options in her repertoire of she ends up having to face off against it. "This seems like a lot of trouble to prove a point," she finally states after moments of quiet just as Maki is forced to contend with the burst of flame. "Which begs the question."

She side glances at Lee narrowly.

"What exactly is the point?"

"A screwdriver for me, then."

The server scurries off, as Lee Chaolan shifts his attention back to Ayame. "There are many points to be made here. You. Me. Your team. Even Maki needs to have points made. That's one of my important civic duties in the world, Ayame. Ensure that points are made." The drinks come, with a bubbly drink in a thin glass is given to Riki, and a cocktail glass is given to Lee. "To be frank, Ayame, I'm very disappointed in you. You had everything in your favor. You had proven yourself worthy for the world stage. You had even beaten me. The entire RUMBLE tournament revolved around you, in the end. It was your moment to shine."

"And then, you lost to a nobody."

"Less than a nobody, in fact. Ryu was a nobody, but he had that spark of greatness that you could see Ayame. No, Miguel was less than a nobody. He was nothing before you faced you. A brute, an idiot, a thug. I take it very deeply when I see potential in people, and nothing brings me greater joy than seeing them succeed. Look at Athena. I saw that she had a bright future before her, and she's now the symbol of championship, a world warrior of no equal." Lee chaolan's words were coming more and more solemn, the shadows of a rage and frustration looming over the executive. He leans over, looking grave at Ayame.

"Ayame, I don't think you realized how deeply he's threatened your future."

"Losing to nobodies... see, you weren't even supposed to win. I would have been content if you at least made it out of the qualifiers. But no, your partner Brandon dropped the ball, and then you stepped in to clean up his mess... and was knocked out in two blows." Lee Chaolan hammers a fist on his chair's arm rest, the emotions of the executive coming to full bear. "You could have lost against Sonic Assault, and it wouldn't have mattered. Twilight Star is doing fantastic for its reputation, just from making it through the qualifiers; but Ayame, the fact you couldn't even make it into the real tournament?" He gestures towards AY4M3, the combot in battle.

"20% drop in demand."

He shakes his head, expression growing terser and terser. "You've gotten soft Ayame. You've lost your focus. What do you expect your future to be? Talking with people, and then showing up at SNFs every once in a while to prove that people haven't forgotten you? You're destined for greater things, Ayame. And seeing you squander your destiny, your potential? Well, that would be a civil inservice." Lee Chaolan finally seems to relax, his temper easing. The executive takes a sip of his drink, before whispering aside to her.

"I have him custody, by the way."

He gives Ayame a wink. "Miguel, I mean. We're cleaning him up, and getting him ready for you. The climatic showdown between Ayame and Miguel, as the match should have been. Once we finish up this formality, to gauge just where you are, we can get you cleaned up, dressed, and ready for the televised showdown. We'll get your reptuation back, you'll be a confident star again."

"It's your destiny, after all."

As Brandon listens to the side conversation between Lee and Ayame and at the moment paying more attention to that than the fight between Maki and AY4M3. He just feels as though he has more skin in that particular game than in Maki's rematch with that particular combot.

Brandon continues to watch and listen as Lee goes on about the expectations he had for Ayame based on her showing in the Rumble tournament. When Lee mentions that he dropped the ball, he grits his teeth in anger once more. This time it isn't at Lee, but himself instead. Brandon in the locker room after their match with Broken Hearts, kicked himself for not putting his team in position to win. He still wonders what would've happened if he went into that fight forgoing use of his cards and removing the restraints on his power earlier in that fight.

Lee doesn't give the mystic a lot of time to muse on that particular point because he then indicates that demand for Ayame's combot doppleganger dropped by 20%, and he shakes his head. He mumbles to himself barely heard by the crowd, "Does he even give a damn about what she wants?"

He to his credit, with maybe a little encouragement from those near him(due to not wanting to have their enjoyment of the fight disturbed), listens to the rest of it in silence.

Custody? Did he just admit to illegally detaining someone? It was something he could at least begin to hang his hat on at least with law suits.

Feeling hot under the collar? Maki sure is. The flames ignite with her clothing, and she quickly drops to the ground, attempting to extinguish the flames as best as she can. Once she finally puts out the flames, she looks and sees that, while her outfit is slightly burned, she's not too bad otherwise. It still hurts like hell, though, and it's also humiliating for her to be burned up like this.

"Damn it, I really got careless there," Maki comments as she dusts herself off, before looking to Lee once again. "Nice trick there, but it's gonna take more than that to finish me!" Then she looks to AY4M3. "And as for you, now that you've gotten me all warmed up, it's time to show you what I'm really about!" She steps back a little, looking for something to jump onto. She spots a nearby box or something and leaps onto the top of it, crouching down firmly.

"See if you can catch THIS!" Maki yells as she leaps into the air, doing a couple of somersaults, before suddenly straightening out her leg. That leg isn't aimed for the ground, though. It's aimed directly for AY4M3 instead. And Maki seems to be aiming at her like a human homing missile!

COMBATSYS: AY4M3 dodges Maki's Hassou Kyaku.

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Maki             0/-------/--=====|====---\-------\0            AY4M3

A clean hit.

The robot does not show any joy at the hit. Only the stoic stare, as it returns its grasp with both hands on the staff.The Combot was playing keep away, using its staff to try and control spacing. As Maki leaps high into the air, AY4M3 was already adjusting itself, already shifting its footwork with careful, precise steps. Bringing the staff forward, it keeps it flat against the leg as it pivots, parrying the strike as it adjusts its feet backwards.

And then, moves for the counterstrike.

As Maki lands, it already sweeps the staff around, bringing the full bear of its length as it steps away. It wasn't a precise hit in the sense of aiming for the whole. But it was a defensive move, aiming to increase the distance between itself at Maki. Between the tonfas and the staff, the staff would have reach.

And the Combot was looking to keep the distance.

COMBATSYS: AY4M3 successfully hits Maki with Power Strike.
Grazing Hit

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Maki             1/-------/=======|=====--\-------\0            AY4M3

As Maki recovers from the missed attack, she watches AY4M3 carefully, intending to avoid her once again. Unfortunately, she should not be listening to her ninja instincts, as they fail her once again, and the staff strikes her hard. She winces more than usual, grunting a little as the pain surges through her body. "Oh... ow..." Is barely heard as Maki tries to keep from using more words, namely which that we cannot say here because there might be kids reading. She takes a few deep breaths, trying to get the pain out of her mind, before gripping her tonfa again and scowling. "I'll admit you caught me off-guard there, but I'm done playing nicely!"

When AY4M3 has brought its staff back, Maki attempts to show it how she handles her tonfa. "You want to fight with weapons? Let me show you how to properly use one!" Maki yells as she steps towards AY4M3 quickly while swinging her tonfa in the direction of her forward step. The intent is to use the momentum of her step to add some force to her attack.

COMBATSYS: AY4M3 dodges Maki's Genkou.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Maki             1/-------/=======|=====--\-------\0            AY4M3

AY4M3's response is silence.

Stoicly, the red eyes beam at the ninja, as the sweep only barely grazes the ninja. It was only a graze on the hand. But Ayame's defensive technique was in full bear here. The Combot was harrying Maki, kiting her offense with superior reach. As she finally catches herself, and focuses on using the tonfas, it was almost a sense of foresight from the robot. She comes surging in, as the Combot deftly swings its staff down before it. Digging it hard into the concrete, the Combot vaults over Maki's rush, arcing high over her as it frisks into its hakama again. Landing on her flank behind her, it draws out a long chain of metal talismans.

It was just as agile as the ninja herself.

With a smooth gesture, it hurls out the chain of wire talismans outward. The chain whips and wires, as it attempts to envelop the ninja from behind. The chain was almost 30 feet long, a writhing, hook mass that would ensnare Maki in place, to crush her in the tightening grips. Before, this was just a mass of papers.

It seemed that AY4M3 was becoming more and more refined.

COMBATSYS: Maki blocks AY4M3's Binding of the Condemned Soul.

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Maki             1/------=/=======|=====--\-------\0            AY4M3

It seems that AY4M3 is showing just how powerful it truly is, as is capable of performing unique techniques that even Maki would never have thought were possible from something like that. So when it tries to grab her, Maki doesn't try to dodge at all, since her reflexes have failed her several times already. Instead, she tenses herself up and attempts to absorb the grapple before letting herself go limp and dropping to the ground, rolling away from her opponent. She lands in a crouched position, albeit with a few marks on her from that last bit.

"Seems you've really got the ability to surprise me!" Maki says. "It looks like I've really gotten myself in over my head." She narrows her eyes. "But I'm not backing down, just so you know!" She grips her tonfa and stares at AY4M3 sternly. "You haven't won anything yet!"

For a moment it looks like Maki is about to attack again. But she doesn't move at all. Instead, she simply stares at the Combot, anticipating what it might do, preparing herself mentally for something unexpected to happen. She watches deeply, not showing any sign of letting up with that firm stare on her face. "Come on, I'm ready!"

COMBATSYS: Maki focuses on her next action.

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Maki             1/------=/=======|=====--\-------\0            AY4M3

Ayame asks her question and gets a multitude of answers and information. She's quiet at first as Lee talks, hands in her lap, resting her upper back against the folded chair. Her mouth twitches at the mention of disappointment. Yeah, she had picked up on that 'subtlety'.

In truth, the man seated next to her appears care more about her professional fighting image than he own parents do. The best she got out of her father upon winning an entire tournament is 'Well, you did good dear, but that man wasn't going all out.' And her mother gave her a 'I really wish you wouldn't fight in such dangerous places. There was probably all kinds of rust in there!', which at least proved that she had watched the match, which, well, was something. When she got back from the King of Fighters match, not even a single word was uttered about the whole thing. She wasn't actually sure they knew she even participated.

Yet here, she's got someone she has only met in person once, berating her for letting him down. "There are plenty of strong nobodies out there," she replies with a mutter, shifting her arms to fold them over her chest. "If making a famous spectacle of yourself equated to power, you would be bullet proof." He leans in, and now making sure she comprehends her future appears to be one of the points on display tonight, and her brow furrows, Ayame finally looking toward the executive manipulator face to face. Her jaw is tense, mouth a thin, straight line. When he brings up the reduction in demand for her namesake's Combot model, her fingers dig into the sleeves of her upper arms but her expression doesn't change.

It's when he talks of destiny that she finally breaks eye contact, turning her face to take a sudden pointed interest in the battle playing out between woman and machine. "A destiny of promoting sales of mass produced combat robots? Why, Mister Chaolan, however did you predict my hopes and dreams so accurately?"

But then one more piece of information is provided. A name, the girl glancing aside just in time to catch the conspiratorial wink. "You what?" Her own voice is low, hushed, a drastic shift from her defiantly loud tone a moment ago. "What-" The idea has caught her off guard enough that she's at a brief loss of words, mind racing to try and make sense of it. Custody implies a non-voluntary visit, to say the least.

"Just what do you think you are doing? I have no interest in fighting that man. He is nobody to me, that match was nothing. An event, a show, nothing like battles that actually matter, where life and limb are at stake. You would do best to release him immediately and hope you can write a big enough check that finding a lawyer will feel like too big of a hassle for him."

She unfolds her arms, moving her hands back to her lap, refusing to look his way now. "I am not interested in putting on a parade just to help sell your expensive toys."

The arrival of the serving girl draws Riki's attention away from the fight long enough for her to accept the glass delicately between two fingers. While it might have been somewhat tall in the hands of a human, against the sheer size of her massive mitts it's little more than an ornate shot glass. The ogress peers at the sparkling liquid contained within, her curiosity apparant, as if she's never seen such a thing as carbonation before.

Regardless, Riki makes short work of the drink, tossing it back in a single sip. Her jaw works as she savors the taste, rolling the scant amount of liquid around on her tongue for a moment before swallowing. A frown quickly overtakes her expression.

"Hrmph. Hardly even a tingle! Was this made for children?"

The glass is cast aside in disdain, the slender vessel bouncing off the floor and rolling away. Her view of Lee quickly pendulums back towards the questionable end of the spectrum - what kind of man would drink such weak liquor? Perhaps this was meant as some sort of insult! Honor dictates that she deliver an appropriate response!

Turning away from the ongoing match, which seems to be clearly leaning in the metal clone's favor, Riki shifts her annoyed gaze down at the pair sitting nearby. One hand reaches up towards her forehead, massive fist clenching around the familiar length of her brilliant red ho- her horn! Blinking, she fumbles at thin air for a moment, having completely forgotten that she had left her great club in the care of Ayame's mother. Grrr! This is what happens when you part an ogre from her horn, everyone starts in with the disrespect!

Scowling at the empty space above her brow, Riki instead turns her ire towards the conversation which she had, until now, respectfully kept out of. The giantess leans down, her shadow overcasting the miko as she takes a few steps closer.

"Am I to understand that you take part in..." She pauses, seeking out the proper wording. "Some manner of gladitorial games? For sport?" The idea is clearly one which she does not approve of, as evidenced by the giant neon beacon of emotional broadcast that is her current expression, brows furrowed and lips turned down in a big frown. "Seems rather inappropriate for a priestess."

In truth, she doesn't particularly care one way or the other. The idea that the little ice queen would be keen on involving herself in public theatre in such manner is quite amusing, in fact. However, her intervention serves two purposes. First, to interrupt Lee's little self-serving monologue, which had quickly started to grate on her nerves; the other, naturally, being that it will annoy the girl, which has of yet not failed to provide her with amusement.

But behind those eyes, there was nothing.

As the blow is deflected, AY4M3 just continues that slow, deft approach. Regaining her footing, the robot just pauses a moment, watching and observing Maki's own pause. There was nothing, no expression, no reaction.

Only a furthering assault.

Recoiling the staff, the Combot suddenly sweeps, hard and low. Swinging it below, AY4M3's skirt flies around it as it attempting to trip Maki up swiftly. To break her focus, to confuse her, to confound her. Almost like it was thinking.

But missing the soul of a true fighter

COMBATSYS: Maki interrupts Medium Strike from AY4M3 with Tengu Daoshi.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Maki             1/---====/=======|=======\-------\0            AY4M3

AY4M3 may be thinking in a sense, but Maki is thinking too. In fact, Maki's thinking of a strategy while formulating plans with consideration to possible attack scenarios, all at once. They say the brain can't match a supercomputer, but a computer needs to have variables defined so it can consider them. Maki, on the other hand, can adapt on the fly, so she knows that anything goes. And when AY4M3 comes at her, Maki's ready for her. The attack does sweep her off of her feet, but that's part of the plan. Because just as Maki gets hit, she leaps into the air, albeit with her face contorted slightly.

Maki then grabs onto AY4M3's shoulders and then literally does a full one-eighty in the air as she lifts AY4M3 up over her and throws her to the ground just as Maki is descending. Unlike AY4M3, though, Maki lands on her feet. Albeit with some difficulty as she winces as she lands. "Well, that felt good... in some ways."

That was the moment.

As Maki seizes the Combot, it is hurled head over heels, sent hurtling by the pure force of the ninja. The Combot manages to keep its grips on the staff, holding it tight as it lands head first to the ground. One of the lamps flickers off. Rising back up, the robot stares across at the blonde ninja. Twirling the staff, it whips it around itself.

And it steps in.

Not a lunge, but an advance. Keeping its grip high on the staff, it draws a claw into its sleeve again. Another talisman comes out, this one straight paper. Holding it up, it seems to aim it squarely at Maki. And then, from within the sleeve, a narrow jet of energy rips through it. The laser is quick and precise, and aiming through the paper right for Maki. Clean. Precise.

And staggering.

COMBATSYS: AY4M3 successfully hits Maki with Bridge Beyond the Twilight Dim.
Glancing Blow

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Maki             1/---====/=======|=======\-------\0            AY4M3

A laser? Or something like that? Whatever it is, it hurts like the dickens. Maki drops to one knee then to the other, looking almost like she's down for the count this time. But despite that, she still pushes herself back onto her feet, albeit with a massive burn on her stomach somewhere. In fact, if one looks closely they might see a hint of blood too. It appears that this Combot has done more efficiently than Maki has anticipated. This causes her to scowl.

"I got ahead of myself again. This is bad." Maki mutters. "But I won't give up!" Maki advances on AY4M3. "I will fight even if I lose! I can learn from this!" She swings her tonfa as she says this. "I will do my best!"

COMBATSYS: AY4M3 blocks Maki's Medium Strike.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Maki             1/---====/=======|=======\-------\1            AY4M3

An unstoppable spirit against the void.

The Combot grazes the woman, casting a weak blow against the woman. In turn, as Maki surges in, it brings it forearm up, catching the brunt of the tonfa with the full force. It dents the limb; it is still only a framework.

But it left the other weapon free to strike.

The other grips the staff hard as it swing forcefully. Slashing hard, the Combot attempts to slam the staff across her face once. And then, on the backswing, it would chop down hard, flowing back into position.

Just as it began to reach in for another talisman...

COMBATSYS: Maki dodges AY4M3's Fierce Strike.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Maki             1/---====/=======|=======\-------\1            AY4M3

Not this time. Maki's ready for AY4M3 this time!

Just as the first strike comes at her, Maki's dodged out of the way and has jumped back, shaking her head. "Tsk tsk tsk, you just don't know me well enough, do you?" She asks, smirking. "I'm faster than you think!" Her smirk abruptly disappears though. "But enough of that. It's time to bring this fight to a close once and for all!" She wipes her tonfa again, taking another deep breath and blowing it out. "I've had enough of sparring with the likes of you!"

For a moment, Maki closes her eyes, then a glow appears around her, as if her chi is flowing through her freely. It seems to generate a surrounding around her giving her a supernatural appearance. Then her eyes shoot open and she rushes forth, attempting to deliver a series of tonfa strikes and kicks in a carefully choreographed manner.

COMBATSYS: AY4M3 counters Bushin Gou Rai Ha from Maki with Laguna Blade.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Maki             0/-------/---====|====---\-------\0            AY4M3

And flames begin to envelop around it.

AY4M3 was overheating, its clothing beginning to burn off just like with the real Ayame (no it wasn't). Honestly, the self-inflicted clothing damage was probably a leftover from Yoshiaki. A team of cleaners could only do so much to remove the effects of Yoshiaki from AY4M3. Swapping out the self-lubicrating fluid was a big step in resolving that issue, though. As the overheating comes, the heat fills the Combot as it thrusts the talisman forward. The pure force from Maki is stopped cold as an explosion of flames come out, jutting out like a lance from AY4M3 as it cries out in a digitized voice.


Maki was totally unexpecting that. Going in so fast, she was left off-guard and found herself being hit by the flames and she goes flying across the fighting area, tumbling and landing on her side in a semi-fetal position. With more burns than before and feeling more drained than usual, Maki's finding it harder than ever to get back onto her feet. She groans a little as she tries to keep from passing out this time. With narrowed eyes, Maki glares at AY4M3.

"Not... many... fighters can counter that..." Maki says, weakly and somewhat sarcastically. "But then again, you're... not like most fighters... Still... you haven't won." Maki steps towards AY4M3, albeit weakly and with a slight limp, before spinning around and attempting to strike with her tonfa quickly.

COMBATSYS: Maki successfully hits AY4M3 with Weapon Jab.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////             ]
Maki             0/-------/---====|=====--\-------\0            AY4M3

There wasn't anything TO expect.

For someone who was, for all purposes, a copy of another fighter, it lacked a certain read on it. It was a blank slate that was wearing a shell. The now nude Combot steps out of the remains of its clothing, fully exposed, fully nude. Standing fast, it continues to approach towards Maki, attempting to power through the woman. But the tonfa comes, snapping and caving the chest of the Combot. AY4M3 stumbles back a moment, losing momentum.

And it gains it back.

Gripping the staff with both claws, the still steaming AY4M3 swiftly snaps one end of the staff at Maki, and then, the other end snaps around. A third circular motion comes, the rapid chain of blows coming to overwhelm the defenses of Maki. It was an aggressive, relentless assault.

It was trying to end this.

COMBATSYS: Maki dodges AY4M3's Crushing Strike.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////             ]
Maki             0/-------/---====|=====--\-------\0            AY4M3

It was overheating, just like Maki was running out of stamina. But unlike that thing, Maki wasn't about to let it get the best of her while she was down. Maki twists and dodges out of the way of AY4M3's incoming strike. She was feeling like her steam level was running out rapidly as well, but also knew that a true ninja never gave up. "Looks like you need to cool off your toy," Maki comments to Lee with a slight smirk. But the smirk quickly vanishes. "Unless, of course, you wish to see it break down and need repairs?"

Of course, AY4M3 isn't going to get an oil change or anything like that anytime soon. Instead, it's going to keep fighting until someone goes down. Maki has a feeling that might be her, but she's not going down easily. She takes a deep breath and blows it out, while bringing up her leg and attempting to kick at AY4M3's stomach.

COMBATSYS: AY4M3 blocks Maki's Strong Kick.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Maki             0/-------/---====|======-\-------\0            AY4M3

A steady, gradual grind.

Maki and AY4M3 were battling just as close as before. Maki was clearly the more skilled between the two. But the other was... a machine. Single-minded. As the sweeping strikes are evaded, the counter-attack comes. With the staff so close, it simply catches the kick with the staff. The weapon bends severely on impact, and the Combot staggers back. The weapon was damaged.

The real Ayame wouldn't make that-

Okay the real Ayame gets her staff broken ALL the time.

With the crooked staff, the Combot draws it aside. Extending her sleeve forward, a surge of steel ribbons flows out, attempting to overtake Maki in close quarters. To ensnare her. To choke her out. To tighten, like before. Unlike before? She would break the entangling by slamming her staff around, to knock Maki free of the entangling.

Or maybe just because.

COMBATSYS: Maki fully avoids AY4M3's Anchor Through the Endless.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Maki             0/-------/--=====|======-\-------\0            AY4M3

Lee Chaolan is patient.

Riki's suddenly interruption does in fact throw off Lee's monologuing, and in turn, gives Ayame the opening she needs. As the fight unfolds before him, as Maki and AY4M3 are locked in close combat, he lets Ayame respond to it. Glancing up at the towering woman, he quickly briefs himself that... she would be something that may need to be dealt with. Lee Chaolan was not safe, that much was sure. His plans were going to need to change. But when things came down... he could adjust it. As Ayame finishes speaking, Lee Chaolan actually bursts out in a light peal of laughter.

"You lie~"

Lee Chaolan dies down, as he peeks at the miko. "I don't think you belittle yourself so much not to think of that match as a humiliation." And Lee Chaolan shifts his gaze... towards Brandon now. Dead on, eyes locking. A smirk on his lips. "Also unbecoming of a priestess. You could have rejected this match, just like how you rejected the chance to prove yourself against the Miguel combot. And yet, not only have you come to face AY4M3 and myself, but have done so in the presence of your friends. Ayame, I've seen teenagers sulk before, and lord knows I've heard their scathing wit. I know that it conceals pain, how it's a defense, not an offense. It's like seeing you flinch." Lee Chaolan turns back over to his neighbor.

"So please, don't belittle yourself further with the wit, please~?"

"But I justify the sneers of young ladies." He idles. "Yes, yes, I have Miguel in custody. He trespassed and assaulted me, and well, I have a great deal of lateral mobility when it comes to the legal system. Men like me are beholden a different set of rules within the law." That smirk somehow gets more arrogant. "Some of your team is working on the lawsuit to sue over abuse of likenesses. Just imagine; without me they wouldn't even be seen, they wouldn't even have value, and suddenly when they realize that there is profit in who they are, they want a piece of the prize. Greedy little men and women, who lack the ambition to market themselves. But as you say yourself, maybe they don't have the hopes and dreams of promotion. For the most part, I don't care. When the time comes, if need be, I can always cut checks, you are right. Little people adore their big checks." Lee Chaolan finishes his drink.

"Though it doesn't have to be that way."

He returns his gaze at Brandon. "I could counter suit. Have him dragged down to the mud. He's only human, I'm certain there are secrets he's hiding. I wouldn't blackmail him, don't worry Ayame. But the truths could leak out. Destroy his finances, his reputation, his life. And in the end, when he is worth nothing to himself. Maybe then we could give him that big check. I like you, Ayame, and I tolerate your friends."

"But I am not a kind enemy."

He gives a sideway glance to Ayame again. "Anyways, I would prefer if you choose to fight Miguel. You will be fighting him, Ayame, it just makes things much easier if you make the choice." He hands the glass off by the servant, who goes to fetch another drink. "I understand, though, if you are reluctant to fight when it isn't real, when it doesn't matter. You have very high standards, and I can respect that." The executive leans over to Ayame. And then, Lee Chaolan's voice drops to a whisper. It is very soft, very light when he speaks in Ayame's ear.

"But if you like, I can make sure it matters~"

Despite being badly injured and feeling like her stamina is running low, Maki still maintains her reflexes as a ninja. In fact, it's almost like she's starting to bring out the true style of ninja as a last-ditch effort to avoid being knocked out. She seems to anticipate the attack, and before it can even be fully launched, Maki has already leaped out of the way, jumping to the side of AY4M3 and then hopping back. The result is that there's nothing but air that gets caught by AY4M3, while Maki, despite being hunched over slightly, is watching the attack miss completely.

"That would've been painful," Maki comments. "Too bad it didn't get me!" She advances towards AY4M3 from the side again, before dropping down onto the ground and attempting another imitation of a human whirlwind, hoping this time it's a bit more effective than last time.

COMBATSYS: Maki successfully hits AY4M3 with Bushin Senpuu Kyaku EX.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Maki             0/-------/-======|=======\==-----\1            AY4M3

It was a precise evasion.

Maki was in the perfect position, as the Combot recovers. Sweeping its staff around, it stares with the one good eyelamp at Maki as she begins to spin. Just like before, just like the attack before. And there, it holds out its staff, outright, unmoving.

And AY4M3 does nothing.

An uproar comes up from the HitBit technicians, a panic. The assault is completely undefended, AY4M3 was not breaking free, it was not resisting. Blow after blow after blow comes, as AY4M3 is completely helpless, completely unresponsive. Because this was exactly the same move as before.

And it was processing the most recent data on it.

A HitBit technician, who would be promoted that very day, suddenly breaks the spell with a careful application of Ctrl, Alt, and Delete keys. Restarting the executable, the Combot suddenly shudders to life. If it could panic, it would. It's body suddenly turns bright red, as steam hisses out of the jagged tears in its body, dealt by the relentless assault from Maki. It was overheating again. Drawing its claw back, it shudders violently before lashing its claw forward, wide open. From its whole body, a jet of flame explodes outward, attempting to blast Maki away. A desperate act.

But it was still trying to catch up on the missing battle data.

COMBATSYS: Maki dodges AY4M3's Final Sunset.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Maki             0/-------/-======|==-----\-------\0            AY4M3

More fire, huh? Maki's not in the mood to be burned up more than she already has been. In fact, any more burns and she'll be really well done! But that would be if the flames caught her. Instead, she leaps over the flames and lands in front of AY4M3, shaking her head. "I understand YOU must be overheating," Maki comments, "But that doesn't mean you have to make me feel it! Nevertheless, since you're intent on sharing how you feel with me, I'll do the same for you!"

Though tired and wounded, Maki still twirls her tonfa around a few more times as if emphasizing her point about feeling her pain. "This tonfa has beaten many an opponent into submission! And while you may not be human, I can still show you what it feels like!" She swings her tonfa in a horizontal motion, attempting to strike AY4M3 with it.

COMBATSYS: AY4M3 dodges Maki's Medium Strike.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Maki             0/-------/-======|==-----\-------\0            AY4M3

The flames die down.

But the Combot was still red hot. Glowing bright red, it was shuddering, the effort overwhelming AY4M3. Already, Maki was surging in, the blonde ninja going for the opening. The Combot draws up the bent staff, and in a pinch, manages to deflect the tonfas and force itself away. It was shuddering, jangling. It reaches to where a sleeve was once was, and a small opening appears. The cache opens up, and it snaps a claw from the arm.

And it draws out another talisman.

This one is a soft, green talisman, glowing from an inner neon light. The Combot bring it up to its forehead, and holds it there. Immediately, the Combot's body begins to visibly cool, the red glow dying away. It was steadying itself, balancing itself. Stabilizing itself. Self-repair was past the ability of the Combot. But the technicians were furiously at work. They had to find ways to keep it going.

To keep Maki from overcoming their creation.

Maki scowled as her attack missed. She felt like she was being mocked here. She stepped back and gritted herself, preparing for another attack. But it never came. Instead, Maki saw that AY4M3 was doing something to itself. Almost like it was healing itself internally, albeit via repairs or something.

"You won't last too much longer, I can assure you that!" Maki says as she steps back again, this time wiping the sweat from her brow. "I can still keep going, just like you can! Give me all you've got, I'll give you all I've got too!" She stares while waiting patiently, breathing deeply as she focuses some of her chi into her body.

COMBATSYS: Maki gains composure.

[              \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////                       ]
Maki             0/-------/--=====|==-----\-------\0            AY4M3

COMBATSYS: AY4M3 successfully aids herself with Amnesty for the Hidden Wound.

[              \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////                  ]
Maki             0/-------/--=====|==-----\-------\0            AY4M3

AY4M3 drops the burned out talisman.

Gripping both claws with the staff again, it finishes its maintenance. And with heavy steps, it advances back towards Maki. It swings again; this time, aiming to drive the staff between the ninja's legs. And should it make it there, it would then release one claw on the staff, and reach out to seize Maki's shoulder. Should both steps go off, it would scoop up Maki, and hurl her up and over.

To send her falling right on her back.

COMBATSYS: AY4M3 successfully hits Maki with Quick Throw.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////                  ]
Maki             0/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0            AY4M3

As Maki recovers, she thinks she has it in her again to avoid being caught by AY4M3. But little does she realize she's merely gotten naive here. She finds herself caught and thrown onto her back, which results in a notable thud and a look of pain on her face. In frustration, Maki attempts to roll onto her side, then into a crouched position again before she attempts to get back onto her feet. Only this time, she's got a really bad back, which makes it harder to focus than before.


As Maki recovers, she thinks she has it in her again to avoid being caught by AY4M3. But little does she realize she's merely gotten naive here. She finds herself caught and thrown onto her back, which results in a notable thud and a look of pain on her face. In frustration, Maki attempts to roll onto her side, then into a crouched position again before she attempts to get back onto her feet. Only this time, she's got a really bad back, which makes it harder to focus than before.

"That was foolish of me," Maki comments. "But I'm still going. Don't think you've won yet!" Maki attempts to grab AY4M3 and deliver a simple, but hopefully effective, over the shoulder throw.

COMBATSYS: AY4M3 blocks Maki's Quick Throw.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////                   ]
Maki             0/-------/=======|===----\-------\0            AY4M3

Maki is slammed hard.

Whipping her around violently, the Combot was ready for the follow up. But as Maki recovers, the Combot suddenly found itself overrun. The ninja's speed was astounding, overwhelming. It is lifted up, and over, sent flying over Maki's shoulder. It is able to correct, the robot rolling on the impact right back on its feet. It steadies itself, staring across at the ninja.

And it focuses.

It focuses hard on Maki, slowing itself down further. Maki was pushing this machine to its limits. It was out of its terrain. Maki just wouldn't give up. She couldn't give up. And the machine was carefully considering the best method of achieving victory.

COMBATSYS: AY4M3 focuses on her next action.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////                   ]
Maki             0/-------/=======|===----\-------\0            AY4M3

Maki grumbles as she finds her attack is dealt with. She hunches over, weaker than ever, but isn't about to give herself up that easily. Instead, she decides to utilize the Combot's pause to focus by going in after it. Is it really capable of focusing as well as a human can? Maki intends to find that out for herself. She grips her tonfa and narrows her eyes. "Focus all you want. A true ninja can trump anyone's focus!"

Maki advances on the Combot again, then twists to the side as if to try to catch it off guard. She steps to the side again, wondering if the movements can cause it to become confused, while she goes in with her tonfa extra hard.

COMBATSYS: AY4M3 blocks Maki's Power Strike.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////                    ]
Maki             0/-------/=======|====---\-------\0            AY4M3

And the ninja comes.

As Maki surges towards the Combot, the robot is already following her. She makes her side step, and the robot meets it with steps of it own. As the tonfas come, it only manages to block again, this time with a forearm. The clawed arm bents sharply, threatening to snap off. The Combot lowers itself down.

And it leaps.

Taking to the air, it hurls itself right over Maki, bringing in a two handed staff strike from left to right aiming for the head. AY4M3 brings it into a second, horizontal smashing blow upon landing beside Maki, and finishes the combination with a third overhead blow, to bring Maki down. An Ayame signature.

Well, not quite a true signature.

COMBATSYS: Maki blocks AY4M3's Requiem For Fallen Blossoms.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////                     ]
Maki             1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0            AY4M3

Signature or not, Maki's not letting AY4M3 win that easily. Maki raises her tonfa to block the incoming attacks, deflecting them away while wincing as she does so. Even if the attacks don't directly hit her, they still hurt somehwat. But Maki knows one of these two fighters have to go down eventually, and Maki intends to remain standing just a little longer! "I'm... still not... done yet!" She says through weakened breaths.

After stepping back as far as she can manage on unsteady legs, Maki takes a few more breaths, before leaping onto a nearby object with a sudden flash of light, almost chi-based if you will. "It's time we ended this! Now prepare to fall!" With that, Maki flies directly across the area at AY4M3 with her leg outstretched. The speed is faster than the similar attack she used earlier. Will this be the end?

COMBATSYS: AY4M3 endures Maki's Tesshin Hou.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //                            ]
Maki             0/-------/-------|=======\-------\1            AY4M3

It may be the end.

The Combot, nodding, begins to draw out a final talisman. As Maki charges in, it draws the seal in the air, alighting it with the flames again. AY4M3 was already overheating one last final time. As Maki unleashes the flying kick, it contacts, breaking through the shell of the Combot. AY4M3 staggers backwards, nearly splitting apart. But the claw still moves. Reaching back, it taps out before the flames.

And the shell explodes out, attempting to consume Maki in the fires.

AY4M3 collapses in its wake, blown apart by its own power.

COMBATSYS: AY4M3 can no longer fight.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  <
Maki             0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: AY4M3 successfully hits Maki with Fantasy Seal.
Grazing Hit

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

Maki tries to avoid the flames but it's no use. They catch onto her and her attempt to dodge leads to her rolling around on the ground, trying to get the flames out. Once they finally do go out, she's lying there nearly motionless. It's not until a couple of moments later that she finally pushes herself back onto her feet... albeit crouched over literally as she remains on one knee, using her tonfa to keep herself propped up, barely even conscious.

"Nice toy, Lee Chaolan," Maki says with a scowl. "It gave me a good training session... But now where's the plastic surgeon?" Her last comment is asked sarcastically as she struggles to keep herself from passing out. "I hope you're not expecting me to fight someone else... now?"

COMBATSYS: Maki awaits the next challenger.

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

Gen says, "If Yoshiaki were an ice cream flavor, he'd be pralines... and dick."

As Brandon listens to Lee talk about how people like him have a lateral mobility with the legal system, he feels nauseated. Men being held to a different set of rules just because of the money and prestige. It was because of people like him that he felt compelled to enter te private investigation business. It gave him a way of giving voice to the voiceless be it human or darkstalker.

As the executive continues, he gets the feeling that he completely misread his motivations for why he got into the tournament and why he sought to go after Lee Chaolan. Tournaments, fight halls, dangerous cases, they provide an adrenaline kick for him. The money is just icing on the cake. However there's the other motivation. Giving voice to the voiceless. In this case, it's Ayame. The one who through his Rumble in the Streets tournament had her martial arts style mass produced, without her permission or input. She never asked to become a mass produced weapon of destruction. And as much as he loathed Miguel and wanted to blast the smug off of his face after their King of Fighters match, he became someone who Brandon felt an obligation to help. When he got taken into custody, he became someone who was voiceless in the eyes of the law, thanks to the man smuggly staring him right in the eye.

He knows he's going to need Noboru soon. As much as he wanted to avoid calling upon a favor(or two) from the ninja, he knew that the time may come for it. He's not exactly sure how much he can do above the board, at least for now. He knew that at least he needed someone who could get their hands dirty if he couldn't himself. And he hated that fact with every fiber of his being but he got the feeling, especially from what Lee was saying, that he wasn't going to be allowed to play fair.

The battle between Maki and the Combot seems to go by in a flash, and is in no way a protracted, grueling battle that tests the limits of the human soul to endure impossible adversity. Seated by the conductor of this madness, Ayame lifts her hand to rest over her face at Riki's interjection. "Yes, yes, of course, when not participating in sanctioned fights, training, or, say, /doing my job/, I obviously slink off to some basement fighting pit to engage in violent blood sp- no, you giant oaf! I mean..." she unclasps her fingers, lifting her hands and waving them in front of herself in an upward motion, "Real fights!"

She falls quiet, glancing to the side, noticing Lee's laughter then, eyes narrowing as she lowers her hands back to her lap. "What?" she asks back when he accuses her of lying, already appearing to take umbrage before he continues and makes things even worse. Resting atop her legs, her hands clench into fists. He brings up the others present - friends he calls them - "Associates." she murmurs with a mild correction, though her voice lacks vigor for arguing the difference.

She is quiet as he mentions the pending legal issues with the indifference of one who may very well be immune to such trifling matters. A different book of laws applies for men like him. Ayame's right eye narrows slightly - he is not introducing a foreign concept. The wealthy do live in a different world. Clawing her way into their number was an ambition of hers at one time. She glances to the side as Lee's continued words are directed just as much at Brandon with her serving as proxy beside him.

She scowls, looking away then, watching the exchange of attacks between her teammate and the robot as Maki slowly chisels her way into an upper hand in the fight against AY4M3. The vest-clad man at the miko's side makes it clear what she will be doing, whether she agrees or not. "I am not your employee or your propaganda piece. I do not work for or answer to anyone." Those days were behind her. She refused to live that life again, answering to the whims of power mongers and monsters alike.

He leans in closer, responding at last to the priestess's doubts about sanctioned fights. Compared to the fights against demons, hunting darkstalkers through the night... fighting on the stage almost never brings with it the same thrill of putting her life on the line. But Lee suggests something worse in every way.

Manufactured danger.
Manipulation of events to raise the stakes simply because he can.

Ayame hesitates to voice a response, recoiling away from him in her seat while staring at Lee with dark brown eyes. It is as if she realizes at last the thin line she is walking with the affluent magnate. One step too far and any number of people could get sucked into the consequences.

"That... would not be necessary," she answers, half closing her eyes, looking away to gaze at the final moments of the first round playing out amid the containers. "But you are a man of business. Deals are made when both sides see value in them. You need to offer something more than just my image."

Ayame's answer makes the towering ogre frown for real this time. Real fights? Since when do real fights take place in specially crafted arenas with spectators and catering? Fighting is what warriors do to settle their differences, to show which of them has the greater skill, to protect the things that they cherish and destroy that which their enemy holds dear. This is not a real fight.

She does not say this to the girl, however, chosing instead to remain quiet for once. Picking a fight over such a thing would do no good, not even for amusement purposes with her mind distracted by something that sounds a great deal more serious. Maybe later.

A faint flash of red glimmers behind her eyes as Lee lays out his plans and ultimatum, neither of which sound particularly kind or honorable. The faint rumble of a growl begins to form in her throat but she bites it back along with several angry words, which swirl in her mouth like hungry pirhana. Lee might mistake her annoyance for the insult hurled at her by the miko. Not your business, she reminds herself mentally. She won't interfere here. Let the girl handle this herself. It's the only way she'll learn how.

Atleast, she adds to that mental note, until someone is stupid enough to actually attempt to harm her. Then she's going /make/ it her business.

"Offer something?"

Lee Chaolan looks from Brandon, to Riki, and then, back to Ayame. He had no shame. The emperor was naked, and he looked ~Excellent~ "Ayame, I have unlimited resources. I'll pay any price in order to get what I want, and what you need. I just need to know your price. Friends? You've brought a good number of them here now? How many do you need to matter to you right now? One, or two? Or maybe those stakes are not high enough. How about family? They might be listening right now, Ayame, ready to watch your fight, and hearing that their daughter needed them. Or maybe they aren't paying attention at all. You can have riches, you can have pain Ayame. But I'll let you think about what kind of price you need." Lee Chaolan rises from his chair.

"I have to deal with your partner."

The executive strides towards Maki, a smirk on his lips. He walks with a steady approach, applauding. "Well done, Maki. You, at least, have proven yourself significantly improved since your last fight. You have defeated my AY4M3. You have proven yourself. But, I need to test your partner now. So I need you to do me a favor, Maki." Lee Chaolan brushes his fingertips through his silver hair.

"Just fall over, okay?~"

Lee Chaolan suddenly explodes into the air, flying forward into a jumping kick. Sailing through, he aims the kick right for Maki's midsection, landing -into- her rather than past her. A swift, loud opening, aiming for a clean, singular finish. If Maki had a fight in her, she might be able to evade it. If she didn't though?

Well, Ayame might not have much time to think of her price.

COMBATSYS: Lee Chaolan has joined the fight here.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Maki             0/-------/------=|======-\-------\0      Lee Chaolan

COMBATSYS: Maki dodges Lee Chaolan's Silver Slash.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Maki             0/-------/------=|=======\-------\0      Lee Chaolan

Maki fall over? Lee's got a lot of nerve to ask that of Maki. Despite being in an injured state and having barely any fight left in her... OK, so she had a chance to recover during the brief hiatus between the Combot and the encounter with Lee Chaolan, getting a drink of water and a few bandages put on her injuries. She may still have some injuries, but the pain is reduced, and she got a nice drink of water, giving her more steam to fight. Regardless, she's not about to fall over that easily. In fact, Lee might find that he's in for a big surprise by taking on Maki now.

The ninja definitely has a bit of fight left in her, even if she doesn't show it. Maki rolls forwards and avoids Lee completely, standing up and, despite having to catch her breath, faces him quickly. "You'll have to do a lot better than that, I'm afraid," Maki comments as she wipes her forehead. "Even a wounded ninja is still a dangerous threat!"

Once again, Maki twirls her tonfa around a few times as if to emphasize what he's up against here. "I'm hurt, yes, but I'm still full of fight! Letting your guard down with me would be a huge mistake!" She spins around and attempts to slam her tonfa into Lee's side.

COMBATSYS: Lee Chaolan auto-guards Maki's Medium Strike.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Maki             0/-------/------=|=======\-------\0      Lee Chaolan

Oh, she was being fiesty.

Lee Chaolan had actually thought Maki would go down instantly, like Ryu had done to Haru. And yet, the ninja dodged, evading the kick firmly. Lee Chaolan lands where Maki was once was, immediately falling back in stance. "Why you cheeky young lady~" He coos as she twirls her tonfa. She surges in, spinning around with her tonfa.

And the tonfa stops dead.

Lee Chaolan catches the tonfa in the palm of his hand, stopping the momemetum dead. "Really, Maki, I would love to underestimate you, but I really have a woman waiting." He states firmly, as his other hand snaps around. Aiming for Maki's wrist, he was going to try and seize it. And if he could get a grip on her wrist, he would wrench it around her back, and reposition himself...

COMBATSYS: Lee Chaolan successfully hits Maki with Lee Harassment.

[                        \\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Maki             0/-------/-======|=======\===----\1      Lee Chaolan

And Lee twists the arm behind Maki.

"Because really, while it is admirable that you beat my Combot," Lee Chaolan begins, as he forces Maki to her knees, face down, using her arm as leverage. "I would really rather not waste my time fighting with some blonde bimbo that fancies herself as a ninja, when I have a real star to fight with. So Maki, would you kindly?" And Lee Chaolan gives three harsh stomps to the back of Maki's head, only releasing her after the third stomp.

"=Stay down="

Maki is twisted and dropped to her knees, then onto her stomach. She's stomped on not once, not twice, but three times. All of which are on her head, no less. And those stomps are more than enough to leave Maki seeing stars. "Next time... we meet..." She says in a slightly babbling tone, "I'll... knock your... ooooh.... off..." Then her eyes close and her body goes limp.

COMBATSYS: Maki takes no action.

[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Lee Chaolan      1/----===/=======|

COMBATSYS: Maki can no longer fight.

[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Lee Chaolan      1/----===/=======|

And Lee Chaolan dusts his hands off.

Looking over Maki, he snaps his fingers, and the medical staff moves swiftly, recovering Maki swiftly. Lee Chaolan adjusts his gloves, as he turns back towards Ayame. "Ah! Well, with that out of the way, we can move to more important things" Lee Chaolan then falls into his infamous stance. One hand forward. His posture leaning back. One finger towards his opponent, towards Ayame. Beckoning towards her.


COMBATSYS: Lee Chaolan awaits the next challenger.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Lee Chaolan      1/----===/=======|

"Associates." Ayame repeats, looking toward him as Lee speaks of the friends he sees in attendance, though her protest is barely audible this time. But by then, the Violet Executive has already moved on to mentioning her family and Riki would notice Ayame become completely still. And then he is gone, striding out toward the girl's teammate even as she stands victorious over the defeated, smoldering Combot. All it takes is one look at the bleeding, bruised, scorched, scuffed up Second Place Finalist of the Rumble Tournament to realize that even in falling, the device had proved its point once again - that the manufactured soldier was able to give one of the tougher fighters out there a serious, down to the wire fight, conveys all the message it needs to.

The brief, violent exchange of attacks that follows is not surprising in its outcome as the freshly rested Chaolan. It is only enough time to afford the quiet priestess time to prepare herself for the fight to come. From her seat on the side, she can watch Lee's combat movements in action once more, reminded immediately of the last time she faced him. She had expected that to be the last of it - an interesting challenge, food for thought, and life goes on. Yet here she finds herself left with no choice but to deal with him again - the tone is different. This isn't the celebratory finale of the Rumble tournament.

Quietly, she glances around the arena of cargo containers, eyes seeking out items of interest - not so much for herself; her style has evolved into something precise, specific, and intentional. But she has not forgotten the man's comfort amid debris and chaos... if she is not prepared, he will leverage something to his advantage again. Maki was recovered from where she fell, but the broken parts of the Combot linger.

Maki lasts longer than the miko expected, but in the end, the outcome is unchanged. The blonde falls and the silver haired madman remains standing, lowering himself into the familiar stance, beckoning her on. It's her turn. It's different this time though, she thinks as she grabs her staff from leaning against her shoulder and pushes herself to her feet. Pausing for a moment, the girl glances back up at Riki, meeting the oni's eyes briefly. For once, there is no animosity, no stubborn rejection of the giant woman's company, simply an acknowledgement of her being there, and even the faintest hint of a smile at the corner of her mouth. A quick nod, then she looks forward, eyes settling on the mastermind behind this test.

The Shinto priestess strides forward, staff in her left hand, standing two meters away from Lee Chaolan, her back straight, head held high. Her right foot sweeps out, punting aside a broken piece of AY4M3, sending the smoldering metal skidding along the concrete, her eyes never leaving Lee's. "Well, I know I have never felt more prepared," she remarks, smirk toying at the corners of her mouth. "I do not often get to watch such an impeccable recreation of my art right before a match." Arms at her sides, the girl bows forward briefly at the waist, an expression of respect - whether sincere or not is debatable given their quarrel thus far.

She knows he has seen every move she has applied in her matches, every option, every tool. There are but few options left, the girl not having had time to expand her arsenal with all the globe trotting adventures as of late. Sliding her left foot forward, her right hand slips into her left sleeve to retrieve one of her prepared paper weapons - an inky grey with dark black characters, the breeze rushing in off the shore whips at it between her fingers.

"Well then." Her smile bears not one iota of friendliness. "Let us see if you have improved any since last time-"

She is bolting forward, direct, leaning into her steps. It is from a meter and a half out that the girl violently spins to the right, sweeping her staff out, creating a zone that is nearly impossible to enter as she turns in after the weapon. That it isn't glimmering with that crimson chi of hers is clue enough that it isn't the real threat as she pivots in, right hand slamming out to smack the ofuda against Lee's torso. Anywhere will do - and that's the danger of it - any contact combined with the tiniest of sparks from Ayame's chi would be enough to spawn three sharply tipped black tendrils that spear directly into the man's aura. Even as they seem to pierce his body, no wounds would be created, no flesh rent, but his aura would be under immediate assault.

For her own part, Ayame would move with her momentum, her staff swinging around a second time as she would attempt to gracefully disengage, using the weapon as the necessary buffer, feet moving swiftly over the ground as her complex dance continues, a swish of crimson cloth and lengthy, red blonde hair.

COMBATSYS: Ayame has joined the fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Ayame            0/-------/-------|=======\===----\1      Lee Chaolan

COMBATSYS: Lee Chaolan parries Ayame's Anchor Through the Endless Dark!

[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Ayame            0/-------/-------|=======\====---\1      Lee Chaolan

To be fair, nobody cool goes on globetrotting adventures to rebuild their attack options.

Lee Chaolan was ready to let her take her time coming. He did have access to purely technical information on Ayame. Measurements, how she could breath, and her fighting technique were all details that Yoshiaki had recorded, documented, and kept in his own private files. As she bolts forward, however, the executive just keeps that toying smirk as she shakes his head. "Oh no Ayame." Lee Chaolan responds, giving her a coy wink.

"I haven't changed one bit~"

The timing was split-second. The staff was swept straight for Lee Chaolan's torso. All Ayame needed was a touch. And Lee Chaolan was going to deny her what she needed, as the man is forced to dip back from his Hitman stance. The blow misses cleanly... And Lee Chaolan was moving forward. He was rushing her, almost in perfect position for the back swing. As the followup comes, it becomes apparent was Lee was attempting. He begins to dip. An aggressive attempt at evasion, a very risky one.

The mist step.

The core of the Mishima Style martial arts, it was a dangerous technique with a simple description. All it was, was a crouching dash that could transition into a standing strike. In practice, it was easy to either do one or another. Misapplied, and you typically would either walk right into attacks, or telegraph your attacks too early. When applied correctly? Lee Chaolan slips underneath the second sweep of the staff, dipping low at the knees, before instantly rising back up... very close to Ayame. Lee Chaolan wasn't allowing her the privilage of disengaging. He was already on top of Ayame, matching her own footwork before her staff could finish its sweep. There isn't even words from the man, as the executive unleashes the poison touch; a flash of two body blows with each of his hands to punish Ayame's assault. Two body blows, battering to knock the wind squarely out of the miko. And if both connected?

Well, she may find the opportunity to disengage then.

COMBATSYS: Lee Chaolan successfully hits Ayame with Hitman EX.

[       \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Ayame            0/-------/---====|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2      Lee Chaolan

The sequence was designed to leave almost no opening, claiming control over a swath of ground around the girl both while engaging and when trying to disengage. Even as the reach of her right arm fails to connect, she transitions into the next step without so much as a flinch of correction needed. The slip of paper is left to drift harmlessly through the air, becoming wisps of ash before ever reaching the ground, lost to the forceful currents of air driven by the two fighters' movement.

Her defense was almost flawless, almost incapable of being breached without weathering a swift but solid battering with her weapon on its backswing out in front of her, but the Mishima scion deploys the perfect counter weapon of his own, slipping in close enough as to render her staff irrelevant.

Not for a lack of her trying, the girl realizing the approach quickly enough to attempt a defense, left hand jerking back the other way in a bid to intercept, right hand snapping out to try and reinforce her hold with enough strength to ward off an attack. In the end, she simply isn't fast enough, the desperate priestess an instant behind the executive's step, his fists finding her body undefended.

The two stunning impacts bring the smaller fighter to an immediate stop, all of her momentum dissipated in an instant as the strikes connect so fast as to feel instantaneous to her, the reverberation of force sending the girl staggering back, breath already crushed from her lungs, her right hand crossing over her stomach. Eyes widened, mouth agape, she tries to catch herself from falling backward only to end up dropping to her knees, propped up by her wooden weapon on her left.

Face contorted in pain, lungs spasming at the idea of breathing again, the girl lunges back up at her opponent, perhaps aggressively compensating for the window of vulnerability in hopes of catching him on the offense. Right hand joins left as she whips her staff around, its precision carved surface flaring to life with a sheath of crimson chi that presents no danger to herself. Her upward momentum brings with it a crushing upswing from left to right, the girl spinning into a second step to drive the weapon into Lee's right side, below the arms and into his ribcage if possible.

The third strike comes as Ayame spins the weapon up and overhead, bringing it crashing down for a final blow targeting the top of his skull. The sequence flows smoothly enough to almost seem effortless, but the power behind each blow can be decisive, the combination executed without saying a word - mostly because she has yet to even take a breath.

COMBATSYS: Ayame successfully hits Lee Chaolan with Requiem For Fallen Blossoms.

[       \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////////     ]
Ayame            0/-------/---====|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2      Lee Chaolan

Precision and power.

Lee Chaolan rips into Ayame, landing two solid body blows, and already was respoitioning. Two blows. The girl her size couldn't handle the body blows. Face punches? Eh, why would he deface something so beautiful. And yet, Ayame had other things in mind. As she struggles, Lee Chaolan was already reacting to the first swipe. The staff comes, and Lee Chaolan makes for a parry, deflecting it aside. The energy flowing out was startling, to be sure. But Lee was already repositioning to her flanks...

In time to catch the upswing.

A miscalculations, or perhaps, even an outright mistake. Lee Chaolan takes the second blow hard into the ribs, knocking HIS wind out. Gasping for air, he begins to withdraw... as the overhead blow comes. She was aiming for the top of the skull. She would have to accept a glancing blow on the cheek and shoulder, smashing it severely as he draws back. Gripping his shoulder a moment, he rolls his neck, trying to hide the fact he had his own wind knocked out.

And Lee Chaolan huffs.

"Ayame, have you figured out what your price is?" The martial artist idles half-heartedly. "I really hope you aren't distracting yourself with other thoughts. If you can't make up your mind, I'll just keep you where I want you until you do!~" Lee gives her a little wink, and releases his shoulder. The martial artist bursts forward, hurling out a forward kick straight for Ayame's own shoulder. Whether it connected or not, he would chain into a backfist, followed by a swift snap kick at her other shoulder. In the end, he would finish the chain by bringing his opposite leg around, snatching her by the neck, and then promptly smashing her to the ground. He was passing over his feints out like last time.

... was it because she could be expecting the feints?

COMBATSYS: Ayame counters Mercury Drive from Lee Chaolan with Midsummer Fantasy.

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Ayame            0/-------/-----==|>>>>>>>\-------\0      Lee Chaolan

Her father's signature technique had become almost a second one to the Ichijo scion, all three swings executed almost effortlessly, with effective, punishing force, and almost no no instances of vulnerability. It is a testament to her own opponent's expertise that he managed to avoid a significant amount of the intended pain, the girl's staff rebounding off his shoulder instead of skull. She moves with the momentum, executing a graceful skip back, allowing the tremor of force echoing down her staff lead the way. Excess chi that she had laced into her weapon is allowed to scatter in the same motion, dispelling into the air around the girl as a thousand crimson petals drifting lazily downward through the air.

Lee's question is posed, and with it a threat - this is not an offer, and it is not a negotiation. For her own part, she's just glad that her lungs are working again, the denial of air caused by the punishing body blows having left them in a stunned state for several seconds. It starts as a coughing gasp, the girl slipping back another step, wanting to buy at least a second to regain control of her breathing before he engages again. She opens her mouth as if to retort, but attempts too soon, answering his question with another cough that threatens to reduce her combat effectiveness.

She stands amid her small maelstrom of drifting, crimson chi, wiping her right hand across her mouth, her staff now gripped firmly in her left. Eyes quickly scan her environment again, coming to rest on the manipulative man - yet his combat engagements have been dangerously direct, a defiance of expectation... of course, this stage affords him fewer opportunities to fill the air with kicked trinkets or other debris. Is this the battlefield he's chosen?

He closes before she ever gets a word out, her sharp eyes locked on his, the girl making no attempt to retreat as she weaves around his first kick, his foot slicing through the lengths of her hair that trails a split second behind her movement. The backfist is ducked, the girl building momentum, responding to Lee in time with his own techniques, guided by intuition more than prediction, a growing familiarity with the modified Mishima arts he practices.

It is into the third kick she retaliates, right hand slamming out, palm forward. The sea of ambient chi around her answers the girl's call as Ayame pulls it from the air and forces it into a rose hued barrier - one Lee Chaolan had crushed his fist once before. Designed to counter the energy attacks of fighters that use them, it takes concerted effort to give it the solid, unmovable barrier necessary to stop the kick aimed at her shoulder. Pressing into it, her right arm trembling, the gathered energy explodes into his shin, buying Ayame the escape she needs to slip back again.

The barrier is gone and this time the energy doesn't linger, scattering into crimson mist then vanishing all together. Lowering her aching right arm, her hand joins her left on her staff, the girl bracing behind it and positioning the weapon once more at the tricky defensive angle that so many fighters have struggled to break through.

"Keep me where you want me? You think you can decide that?" Ayame hisses, the threat of lost control seeming to trigger a more fiery response.

"No one decides where and when I will be except for me. If you think you have that much power, you are about to learn otherwise!" Her feet slide against the ground as she settles into her stance, a flawless execution of boujutsu fundamentals honed to perfection by a life wasted in training.


There were fundamental levels of power in the world. Lee Chaolan had let Ayame 'get ahead' in their last fight. This time, Lee Chaolan was the one who was ahead, with plenty of energy, plenty of momentum. The point wasn't to test Ayame, really. It was to domination her. To show her the girl's place, and then, bring her to Miguel to rebuild her. To break the broken, and then start a tower of commericial goodness. The assault was to prove that.

And instead, she was risking it all.

The barrier blows into the executive, to the cheers of the crowd and the murmurs of the technicians. Lee Chaolan lands on his back, rolling hard with a groan. Shooting straight back up, the abrasion on his forearms and head were evidence of one half of the pain; the torn open vest and burns on his abdomen were the other half. Lee Chaolan's smirk was gone, but his words were still light. "I have decided for you already, Ayame. If you don't think I have that kind of power, Ayame... well."

"Your ability to learn is still an admirable trait~"

Lee Chaolan returns back towards Ayame, returns back to the fundementals of Lee Chaolan. He begins to throw out a straight kick towards her... staff. To strike it, beat it square. Another kick for the staff, a third kick for the staff. Two more punches come, not focusing on Ayame, but focusing hard on her staff. To cast it off balance. To build the pressure. Until finally, the next kick comes.

And it isn't for the staff.

The leg aims squarely for Ayame's gut, to catch it past the staff. A relentless offense was the best defense, and now, to exploit the opening. If Lee Chaolan catches her in the gut, it would become very obvious what it really is when it fixes in place. A footstool, not a real kick. And should he get it in place, he would use it as leverage to whip his other leg up and over, hooking it straight for Ayame's neck. And there, he would try to slam her straight down, try to bring them both down.

Right down on the concrete.

COMBATSYS: Lee Chaolan successfully hits Ayame with Mist Trap.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Ayame            0/-------/-======|=======\===----\1      Lee Chaolan

Even as she stands at the ready, she feels the tremor in her right arm. The defense the miko conjured tended to come across like a barrier without flaws, impervious to energy and even physical force should the moment require. But there was no doubt something got through - the shattering of the bones in her arm the last time she faced this man was proof alone that for as effective as her nearly iconic, shimmering barrier technique may be, some form of stress was getting through all the same.

Adjusting her hold on her weapon, she has no choice but to hope that she can hold out all the same. The trembling will pass and beneath her billowing white sleeve, it is almost impossible to notice. It shouldn't hold her back, right? Sharp eyes stay focused on the eccentric magnate as he answers her defiant retort with the same cloying, easy cadence of speech he always seems to project. Tightening her stance, she grits her teeth as she paces her breaths, well aware that she cannot defeat someone like him in a sprint - a marathon will be required if she is to be successful.

The question of her price lingers, unanswered as she struggled for breath now slowly being regained. What if she had decided to cooperate with him in the first place, she finds herself beginning to wonder. Would the smarter play been to support the well connected entrepreneur's endeavors even as he used her? It could have been profitable and, in the end, has almost no bearing on the wars she feels herself driven to wage, the battles of life and death against the shadows she throws herself into with reckless aggression. Why, then, did she insist on digging her heels in against this man? Was it simply a matter of pride wounded by the abominable facsimiles? Was it the fear that they could eventually execute her art better than she could - the practice she had dedicated her childhood to?

The girl smirks faintly. It's too late to think about that now. She has already chosen to be difficult. Is it even really a choice? "You are just a man," she snaps back, "There are limits to what you can do." He's moving now, closing the distance, his aggression on full display. "It is time for you to learn those limits-"

His assault is easily read, completely transparent, as blow after blow comes slamming in toward the girl's dimly glimmering staff. It's easy to protect herself - too easy in fact, as he delivers staggering kicks and crushing punches, the girl barely having to twist or pivot her weapon into the telegraphed attacks. The wood creaks, the weapon bending slightly at times under the tremendous kinetic energy being smashed against it as Ayame starts to give ground, backing up little by little, twisting left to deflect one punch, then the other.

With each blow she knows that is not his true intent - he has never been a man of easily read maneuvers and he is no stranger to the reach or defensive capabilities of her staff. The problem is that even in knowing that his plans must lie elsewhere, when she's already barely weathering such direct and open pressure, being able to respond to the true threat that follows proves to be beyond her. Her right arm aches from the previous defense, a throb exacerbated now by Lee's thundering strikes. And when time comes to snap her weapon down to protect her stomach, she simply can't get it there in time.

His foot finds its old, the girl's staff banging against his shin a moment too late to avert his follow up, the man using her abdomen like a ladder step, twisting his other leg up and over, applying crushing force to the side of her neck. His trap sprung, there's no resisting the downward pull to the concrete, Ayame crashing against it face first, hands scraping along the ground in a failed bid to catch herself, her staff rolling to the side having been released when she thought she could brace for the faceplant better than she ended up managing.

Now point blank on the ground, both of her hands scraped but free, Ayame coils then snaps back like a serpent, attempting to lunge directly into the executive as if trying to tackle him to the ground before he can recover from his own aggressive series of attacks.

If he isn't quick enough, he would get to see something she had not used throughout the events she had appeared in - a small, pointed dagger has slipped into her left hand and a sanguine ofuda with black ink is already in her right. Should the girl manage to upset his balance enough to tackle him to the ground, the bloodied priestess would try to slap the talisman down against his chest with her right hand and then immediately try to stab through the blood red paper with the ritual dagger in her left. The needle-like blade would not be long enough threaten with lethal harm, but the act of dampening the talisman with Lee's own blood would be enough to trigger the attack stored in the ofuda -

The agony would spread out from the puncture like a toxin - for a moment, it would feel as if his very blood was on fire! Ayame would try to retreat in an instant, rolling backward off of him, leaving her dagger and talisman on his chest, seizing her staff off the ground mid-tumble.

COMBATSYS: Lee Chaolan blocks Ayame's Specter's Lament; Eternal Repose.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Ayame            0/-------/-======|=======\===----\1      Lee Chaolan

The secret was in the pressure.

It was the delicate art of screaming names out from a phone book into the face of opposition. Everybody knows that the person isn't crazy, everybody knows that the person's actions aren't the point, but what the actions are leading to, forcing into. When the kick comes, slipping past the guard, it doesn't even connect like a proper kick. The Mist Trap is sprung, and Ayame is sent down to the ground. Lee Chaolan was also on the ground, rolling away from the woman as he rises up.

That smirk was in full force again.

In time to face the springing Ayame, in fact. The miko was pouncing like a kitten, bounding for the man to tackle him right back down. The man is caught up in the takedown, rolling with the impact. He would have been content if it was just a takedown. But there was that sleight of hand for the sleeve, as Lee Chaolan lays on his back. And suddenly, he sees the dagger and the paper.

And it is enough to give Lee Chaolan pause.

He expected a lot from the girl. He didn't expect -this-. It was plain as the nose on his face just how taken aback Lee Chaolan was, that smirk was gone again as his hands snatches out. The tag was on his chest. Seconds seemed like minutes, minutes seemed like anywhere between 4-5 days. The knife hangs less than an inch from Lee's chest, a stalemate as his hand wraps around her wrists and stop it dead. He was breathing hard and fast, sweat building on his brow. And slowly, the momentum begins to reverse, the dagger pushed away into mere inches away. And Lee Chaolan's voice is soft.


The coo comes as a surge of strength comes over him. He forces himself back, forces himself up. But a hand wasn't leaving the wrist. Teeth tight, he tries to overpower her, tries to wrench her arm around to her back in the reversal. A very, very familiar move, a very, very infamous beginning. "It will take more than a knife to learn my limits." Comes the words so light, as Lee Chaolan, if he could make it that far?

Would wrench her arm around, and force her down into a kneel...

COMBATSYS: Lee Chaolan successfully hits Ayame with Lee Harassment.

[                        \\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Ayame            1/----===/=======|=======\=======\1      Lee Chaolan

And Lee forces her face down.

Lee Chaolan clicks his tongue, tsking. "Really, Ayame. You don't have a right to be confident right now. You've failed horribly, you're failing right now, and honestly, a knife? It's almost like you don't like me~" Lee Chaolan lightly chuckles.

And then he stomps the back of Ayame's neck.

Again and again, over and over. This wasn't like before, where it was a merely three strikes. A sudden burst of anger, restrained fury boiling into overflow. Lee Chaolan's was almost snarling as he hurls kick after kick. He finally releases Ayame... in order to stomp even harder. Stomp after stomp, blow after blow.

He wasn't going to stop, until Ayame makes him stop.

Her wrist caught, Ayame leans hard into Lee's resistance, forcing his arm to contend against her downward pressure with just his one arm - a feat he proves up to handling as he keeps the needle sharp tip from so much as scratching the surface of the talisman she has placed beneath it. Teeth grit, the girl lifts her other hand to press over the knife handle, applying even more weight as she glares the Violet Industries executive in the eyes.

Her lip is already blooded from when she face planted a moment ago, a bruise over her right eye bleeding just enough to cause a solitary drop to fall against the man's torn vestments as the miko attempts to stab him with far more vehemence than she had exhibited thus far in their vicious brawl. Just when she thought she might have enough to push the attack throw, she's forced off by a twist of her left arm, the priestess crying out as she's pulled to her feet, her wrist pulled painfully behind her, testing the limits of her arm's flexibility. The dagger falls to the concrete with a clatter as the girl's fingers splay open, the talisman she had meant to inflict upon him drifting off to the side harmlessly as he stands.

He speaks from behind as Ayame frantically tries to free herself, right foot stretching for her staff in a bid to reach it with her toe, her torso committed to try and pry herself free even if it means dislocating her shoulder in the process.

She never gets the chance, twisted down, her knees hitting the ground first, her forehead pressed down second, her arm still twisted up behind her, forbidding her any freedom of movement. Desperately, she tries to struggle, having no words nor the chance to speak in her compromised position. There is a moment where she feels a slack in the pressure as he lifts one foot and she makes her attempt then, pressing off with her other hand in trying to pry free.

The crushing force to the back of her neck results in a decisively different outcome, however, as the miko is smashed to the ground, sharp, terror inducing pain exploding into her upper back and lower neck. The shock is not quite enough to take the fight out of her, the girl trying to break free still as he lifts his foot again only to deliver a second blindingly effective strike, driving her face back into the rough ground. The third stomp takes the fight out of her, her arm going limp at first, her mind whirling at the devastating pain each strike delivers.

Mind lost in a blinding haze, she collapses flat against the ground, an easy target for the fourth stomp, her arm no longer even needed as a lever to keep her in place. A week attempt to pull herself forward is made, her right arm reaching out, fingers clawing against the ground. Adrenaline surges into her blood, the thought that she has finally seen the man truly unhinged and may not live to reflect on it forcing its way into her dwindling consciousness. Will he stop before she dies? Does he mean to kill her now? On a live stream? He already said the laws that would condemn a normal person would do nothing to bind him for whatever happens now.

To live or die, endure or expire, her legacy cut short, the choice might be solely up to her now. There is only one recourse - an option she had swore she would never use on a human being again after almost seeing that psychic male painter nearly consumed by it... This attack was to be used for monsters, not men. But is it not a monster that is crushing her neck now?

The choice is made in an instant, there is no time for second thoughts, the bones in her neck threatening to surrender to the force being applied at last, and her ability to think nearly all but gone-

He releases her arm to flop against her side and then stomps. Ayame cries out again, summoning the last of her strength to pull her arms beneath herself, hands retrieving her final weapon. His foot lifts off the back of her neck again and the battered, beaten rebellious girl bursts into motion, rolling to the side before his heel threatens to deliver the final blow. On her back, she can glare up at the man though her blurred vision affords her only a silhouette of a demon towering of her. Her own face bloodied further by the course surface she'd been stomped against, her right eye blinked closed against pooling blood. But even through one eye, the seething resolution to put an end to her tormentor is easily read.

If his foot continues its intended trajectory to where her neck had presented such an enticing target, it would end up stomping down on two miasmic green paper talismans laying atop each other in a cross, the crimson glyphs on their surface glimmering even as the wards are igniting into unnatural viridian flames. The paper of each ofuda is stained with the girl's own blood, a final key to break the unholy seal storing whatever exists within.

Everything happens in an instant, his foot potentially colliding with calamity and setting off a chain reaction that could be his undoing.

COMBATSYS: Lee Chaolan dodges Ayame's Pilgrimage to Golgotha.

[                        \\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Ayame            0/-------/-------|=======\=======\1      Lee Chaolan

That the beaten priestess rolls again might be the first sign that it would be best to put some distance between himself and the two cards, the girl tumbling over once, then twice, snatching her staff in the process, just as the crossed cards ignite into a sudden inferno of unearthly, dark green flame. Hellfire ripples up from the epicenter of the attack meant to ruthlessly trap the executive oppressor.

Ayame comes to rest with her back toward the flame, leaning forward, one knee against the ground, her hands gripping her staff tightly for support as she braces it against the ground. The ribbon in her hair has half fallen out, a single loop of smudged red dangling askew.

The flame of her attack burns not enough to burn through the concrete like so much char, burrowing a hole to the underworld as a six foot radius of ground is utterly devastated by the assault she had meant for him. Only after a moment, when she realizes the absence of screams, or even shock or awe from those few standing in attendance, does the girl finally hazard a glance over her shoulder to try and figure out what just happened, her right hand lifting to rest against the back of her neck tenderly, finding it matted in blood beneath her lengthy hair.

The hellish pyre itself would blaze for several seconds, black ebony chains of spectral energy seen flailing about in the midst of the ghastly furnace before finally the entire unnatural thing burns out, leaving smoldering ruin behind, allowing the existing lights to take over illuminating the improvised courtyard of judgement.

He might stop, before she dies.

Even if she died? Or was close enough? Then Lee Chaolan would rebuild her. Maybe there would be a new kind of AY4M3, a unique one. A personal one, for Lee Chaolan or perhaps his closest executives. Maybe Yoshiaki could find a use for a broken Ayame rebuilt. They could rebuild her. She was already a broken doll to him. So as he stomps on her neck, unloading his frustration for the stubborn girl into her, he understands. No matter what.

He would get what he wants from her.

What he didn't account for was the fear, the pure fear that he would cause in her. As the last kick comes, Lee Chaolan's smile turns uncertainly on his lips as the blowback comes. Everything comes slow to him, very careful. He could see the crossed cards. It meant nothing, what it could become was nothing. But decades of experience come in full force. It was either a feint. Or it wasn't. And if it wasn't... it was likely a trap. Lee Chaolan's kick stops dead, choking dead. The leg recoils, everything still moving slow. Lee Chaolan had to move. He had to escape. He steps backwards at first. And then, he outright backflips hurling himself back. He was correct on the trap.

He was not... he wasn't anticipating the sheer -power- from the trap though.

The blast actually sends Lee Chaolan to the ground. Not from the impact, but from the sheer magnitude. It was a bonfire, a pure bonfire of pure power, pure energy, pure... execution. Lee Chaolan rises up from his fall, averting his eyes from the pyre, jaw slack a moment. What he just avoided was flooding to him, the sheer weight of the 'trap' coming over him. His instincts was turning into information. He was studying this... and in brief awe. As the fire begins to die donw, the executive stares across at Ayame, breathing hard. A smirk comes on his lips, the awe gone.

And he applauds.

Lee Chaolan approaches the miko, slow clapping. "Hmph. Ayame, I have spent half of my life with a man who saw every attempt on my life as a form of building character. I know the strongest when I see it, Ayame. You could have -killed- me." ANd Lee Chaolan laughs aloud, a demeaning, belittling laugh as he sweeps his leg through the air, tearing apart the lingering smoke as he advances. "You are so afraid of being put into a cage, Ayame, that you would try and -kill me!- Kill me, Ayame. Kill me." He clucks his tongue. "That just won't do. So can you do me a favor, sweetie?" He gives Ayame a wink.

"Don't be such a try hard to me, okay?"

And he flashes a thumb up. "Don't worry, Ayame, once we get you back to the mansion, we'll get you cleaned up, and dressed in something pretty for your brand new coming out. Yoshiaki has something in your size, as I understand, and is much more stylish than those... quaint and indurable clothing. It'll be... Excellent~" Lee Chaolan's smirk turns into a sneer, as a crack is heard, a gunshot. Lee was moving.

Lee Chaolan was moving -fast-.

It was the ship again. It comes in a flash, in split second timing, flashing out. Lee Chaolan was on top of Ayame, looming over her. The motion was almost unseen. The aura was overwhelming, though, the sheer presence of Lee Chaolan flooding around everything. It was nearly the same attack that was decisive before. Aiming up high, coming downward, aiming straight for the woman's left collarbone... to run the impact down her shoulder, collar, and ribcage. A repeat of before... until Lee Chaolan suddenly pauses for a second split second, dipping hard to the flank, down and low.

And just as swiftly, explodes out into skeleton shattering one inch punch straight for her HIPS, to shatter her pelvis.

COMBATSYS: Ayame fails to counter Death Touch from Lee Chaolan with The Sunrise of Broken Dreams.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Lee Chaolan      0/-------/--=====|

COMBATSYS: Ayame can no longer fight.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Lee Chaolan      0/-------/--=====|

Her expression at the sight of Lee's escape from the deadly technique is a mask, shadows and flashes of green flickering across the miko's face as she stares dead eyed back toward hellish bonfire and the man that stands beyond it on the other side. The first time she had used it, she had come dangerously close to killing a man, having underestimated the power she was playing with in creating her fallback weapon. The second time she had used it to scorch the blood shifter and leave a mark on even his nigh immortal flesh. And this time... the target of the dark affliction stands out of reach, beyond the radius of glim hope.

Is she disappointed that he escaped the torrent of netherflame? Is she relieved that instead of him being caught up in a scandal of 'unintended death in the ring', it might have been her that narrowly escaped such a fate? For once, she cannot tell - always so in control, acutely self-aware of the ebb and flow of emotions within her, sometimes tapping into them, allowing her temper to flare as long as it suits her purposes, other times remaining dispassionate and calm. Yet right now, as she spies the figure through the haze and flame, she finds herself feeling nothing at all.

One thing she knows is that she needs to stand. There is no yielding, no chance to throw in the towel. This crossed beyond a sanctioned competition from the moment her teammate collapsed to the ground. Grunting, she starts to pull herself up, using her staff as leverage, only to crumple back to both knees with a gasp, right hand lifting to rest against her forehead, eyes closed, face lowered as she feels a sickening wave of dizziness wash over her. She is in no condition to fight now and she knows it. Not after what he just put her neck through.

But she hears him clapping, that slow, patronizing sound echoing against the metal containers. Arms trembling, she grips her staff tightly again and slowly pushes herself to standing. Her right eye closes for the last time this night, blood seeping over it from a brutal cut to her eyebrow. She used to find the man a curious annoyance at worst, but as he begins to speak, she realizes that all tolerance for his existence has bleed dry. He says she could have killed him and the girl growls, "Someone needs to."

She trembles to stay upright, the world seen through her left eye swimming. Only one point stays centered - the man slowly approaching, each word heard clearly even through the roaring in her head, the ringing in her ears. He speaks again of taking her away, of her loss of choice and free will. He has her destiny planned out for her, after all, seemingly from the moment she unwittingly crossed his path.

"You will do..." she pushes off her staff, standing up now, though for how long she can manage that is questinable. "No such thing!"

He's upon her. There is no time to act on conscious choice. Even reflex on what is seen will not be fast enough. Instinct takes over - it's the only thing that can. She survived this technique once - the pin point delivery of incomprehensible physical force - and she will do so again.

This time it is her staff that is put to use, the weapon pivoting up, crimson energy coursing to life over it. She knows the trajectory his fist will take and her staff is moved to deflect - not to directly intersect, but to redirect, for that is the only hope she has-

In the end she did see the shift for what it is, a crystalizing of her vision at the last moment makes out every detail of the legendary strike. The sturdy weapon was slammed downward with both hands. She had to drive his arm down at an angle - the best she could hope for if conscious thought could even keep up with these speeds. She might have turned it into a glancing blow at best.

The shattering of wood accompanies the crushing contact of fist to skin as Lee Chaolan's Death Touch splinters the girl's staff. Eyes go wide and unfocused as the priestess's body folds to the right, crumpling even as she falls toward the left, small strips of crimson cloth drifting around her from the hole blasted into the front right of her hakama, revealing the white short kimono worn beneath.

Landing against her other side, catching herself with her hands, she lies propped up on the ground, the two halves of her staff at each side of her. Face red with excruciating pain. Panting, barely able to keep her vision from being overcome with the curtain of blurry black that threatens to wash over her, the miko reaches her hand to her hip only to draw it back instantly as the pain steals her breath and has her collapse against her side, no longer able to prop herself up. Nigh delirious, the young fighter lies conscious but still, face coming to rest against her left arm.

The sacrifice of her weapon might have been just enough to keep her pelvis from shattering, but there are no doubt hairline fractures that will render her unable to stand until she can be mended.

Her breathing proves she's still alive, and her clenched hands evidence that she is conscious even though wishing otherwise, but otherwise the girl stays put against the concrete.

And it was over.

Lee Chaolan's finishing feint, a blow beyond blows, executes the troublesome teen with triumph. He didn't hit her cleanly. Maybe that was for the best. Lee Chaolan was happy for this outcome. Kneeling down over the miko, he clucks his tongue. "Someone needs to?" He gives a wink.

"Why, you make me out like I'm the bad guy!"

Lee Chaolan applauds Ayame, as he stands over her. "But yes, yes, very good, very good. Not to worry though! We have the ambulance all ready. We'll put you in, nice and safe, and then you'll be on the fast track on your way into a recovery." Except, of course, a few little things. The executive snaps his fingers. "Oh, right, your friends- I'm sorry, your acquaintances." He chuckles a bit, as he fans himself a bit, breathing in hard. "Really, Ayame, if you are going to be a sarcastic, moody teenage brat, could you at least live up to the role and not have anybody to support you?" He turns around, gesturing towards the Tekken Force. The faceless guards unhook their rifles, as Lee Chaolan glances from Riki, to Brandon. "Well. I suppose you might have some objections to me claiming my prize?" Standing by Ayame still, the man motions to both of them.


COMBATSYS: Lee Chaolan awaits the next challenger.

[    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Lee Chaolan      0/-------/--=====|

Throughout the fight, Ayame's large companion had chosen to remain silent. The miko had made it rather clear that she wanted no help from the oni and Riki had been entirely content to allow the girl to face her own choices as she willed. That doesn't mean she's happy to watch the child that she has sworn to guard and protect get abused by someone of obviously superior skill, to see her toyed with as a mouse to predator seeking sport.

Even worse, from piecing the bits of conversation she overheard earlier together with the cocky banter of the silver-haired jackal, it is becoming blindingly clear that this fight is not entirely one of Ayame's choosing. Pride has trapped her here, a childish refusal to accept help or admit that she is in over her head. Lee knows this and is working her emotions for all they are worth.

Oni are not the most patient lot on a good day. Now she standing only a few dozen feet away from a friend who has been thoroughly beaten and battered while an evil man makes entirely unwanted advances and claims towards her right to freedom. Furious doesn't even begin to describe the state of mind that grips the towering amazon.

She had barely restrained herself from diving into the fray the moment that Lee started showering the girl with brutal stomps, her fists clenching into tight knots of bone and muscle as she quietly urged Ayame to recover and strike back. The sheer ferocity of her counter attack was something to behold and filled Riki with a brief glimmer of hope that her ward had some fight left in her. However, the sight of Lee standing over the beaten and broken child is simply too much.

Even before he even makes his taunting gesture, Riki is in motion. The ground thunders as she takes off a dead sprint, towers of stacked cargo containers rattling as she unleashes a scream of such potent rage that the air vibrates with its fury. There is no mistaking her intent. Every square inch of the blonde's angular face is a mask of utter hatred, her once pretty features twisted into a war-like visage of raw aggression. Her horn may gone, hidden in the back of the vehicle which brought them here, but nothing can conceal the curved wicked fangs that her howling bellow reveals.

Riki runs directly at Lee, not even slowing for an instant save to bring her arm back in a wind-up for the powerful smashing swing that she hammers towards his side. Rather than her fist, however, she swings at him open palmed, massive powerful fingers extended so as to snatch him up bodily.

COMBATSYS: Riki has joined the fight here.

[    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Lee Chaolan      0/-------/--=====|-------\-------\0             Riki

COMBATSYS: Riki successfully hits Lee Chaolan with Ogre Smash.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Lee Chaolan      0/-------/-======|=------\-------\0             Riki

That massive mitt slams into Lee like a sledgehammer and scoops him up with no more difficultly than if he were a small dog. Riki squeezes - hard - and brings the man up to her face for a brief dreadful moment. Every line of rage and fury etched into her face is visible in intricate detail but he doesn't get the chance to take in the view. The ogress brings him down against the pavement, sliding her grip down to his legs as she swings him about.

The first impact is rough but not particularly bad. However, with her hands down firmly around his ankles, she whips him back the other direction with far greater leverage. Instead of smacking head-first into the ground once more, Lee is tossed like a shotput towards the far side of the make-shift arena, sending him on a direct collision course for one of the 'walls' of cargo containers.

"Here is your objection, dog!"

It was hard for Brandon to watch as Ayame, as someone he took responsibility for as leader of his team(short lived as it was), get brutally beaten by Lee. He was gritting his teeth as he watched, powerless to stop it from the stands. It wasn't until he made clear that he planned to take her away that he began to move towards the fight area, Tekken Force, or Lee Chaolan be damned.

As Ayame voices her objections to the loss of her freedom, Brandon's determination to get there to intercede on her behalf becomes greater. Thankfully Riki sees fit to come to Ayame's aid as well which gives him freedom to put a backup plan into action. He leaps over the barrier just in time to see Lee flying away from his once King of Fighters team mate.

He shouts to the ogre, "I'm an ally. I'm going to check to see that she's okay."

He kneels down besides the shrine maiden and appears to check Ayame's breathing and pulse. However there's an ulterior motive behind moving closer to her. His fighting style when he uses his cards depends on sleight of hand to make cards appear and disappear as needed. Hiding his movements in innocuous hand gestures allows him to slip one of his tarot cards into Ayame's sleeve.

With the person he's tending to seeming to be lucid, he leans in close and says, "Keep that card with you as long as possible."

He then rises to his feet and stares at the man who has taken one man's freedom and threaten to take another's right before him.

Lee was actually hoping for Brandon before the giant lady.

Not because Riki was like a cross between a bulldog and a garbage truck, though that was a major concern. No, he wanted to humilate Brandon right in front of Ayame, because in a way, it was his fault for screwing up in the fight against Miguel. Plus, unlike Riki, he actually had a sense of class. Riki?

Well, Riki was charging.

"Hm." Lee Chaolan responds as he realizes that... that he shouldn't be in her grips. Lee Chaolan tries to find a happy medium between evading her grasp, without leaving his stand by Ayame. As it so happened, if you try to have both, you end up with neither. Lee Chaolan is snatched up, and slammed away. Groaning aloud, any respite he had was... gone. Groaning in pain, he perks up just as Riki was over him, capturing him in the clutch. Grabbing his fractured ribs, he glances up to Riki with a winning smile. "Well, let me put this in terms that you can understand."


Lee Chaolan doesn't waste time. In the close quarters, he just explodes with the kicks, throwing back the high pressure straight into the giant lady. He needed to get back to Ayame; already Brandon was... getting a little too close. The rapid chain of kicks start low, aiming for her shin. The machinegun of kicks rip upwards, reaching all the way up to her head- well, more like her chestplace for the high kick. As the chain of kicks come to an apex, he snaps it down, to unleash a roundhouse kick straight for her he- chest.

He really, really wanted Brandon first.

COMBATSYS: Riki blocks Lee Chaolan's Acid Storm.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Lee Chaolan      1/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0             Riki

Even as she bellows her challenge and sends Lee flying away, Riki rushes after him once more. Brandon's swift intervention and words of reassurance are lost in the ocean of her rage. The space between them vanishes rapidly, her massive loping gait devouring distance like a hungry animal. He barely has time to get back to his feet before she's on top of him again.

The dazzling flurry of kicks is fast, a rippling surge of aggression meant to overhwhelm her defenses. Riki isn't fast, not the in terms of agility atleast, but in this case she doesn't have to be - sheer size has its own advantages. Both arms lift up to shield her body as she approaches, creating a wall of thick muscle. The kicks to her shins ride up her body, each blow hammering into a solid barrier that seems utterly incapable of being moved. Legs, hips, arms - not a single blow he lands has the slightest bit of visual impact and Riki simply walks through the assault as if beset by a slightly strong headwind.

The oni's fist draws back as she steps forward, causing the heavy manacle and chain wrapped about her wrist like some kind of strange jewelry to rattle slightly. Her eyes begin to glow faintly, tiny coals of red ember casting an ominous glow from her crimson irises and she growls, low and gutteral. The fist comes down but rather than her hand, Riki attempts to clout Lee about the head with the iron cuff. Maybe if he's too busy seeing stars he won't be looking at Ayame.

"I shall rip that mocking tongue from thy shattered skull!"

COMBATSYS: Riki successfully hits Lee Chaolan with Iron Hammer.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Lee Chaolan      1/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0             Riki

Lee Chaolan was... not handling a brute like this well.

Certainly he's handled brutes before. That was easy. But what this towering woman was... was different. As he unleashes the kick chain that was designed to seperate the two, she was just... hurling right back in. The manacle comes, and before Lee could slip away, it comes thundering into his head. Bashing him in, he is stunned mentally. Instinctively, he rolls down and out, retreating, drawing away. Hitting his back against oneof the cargo bins, he brings the back of his hand to his forehead. A split. Blood.

Lee Chaolan's face was neutral, for a moment.

But the easiness comes back smoothly. "I think your 'thys' are plenty enough already." Lee Chaolan smirks as he looks down at her legs, pushing off against the wall. "But more seriously, I really don't want to put up with an uncouth brute like you for long." The Tekken Force troops were closing in towards Brandon and Ayame, but Lee Chaolan shakes his hand. "Don't worry about him! He's just checking up on her, I'm sure~" Was the coo, as he leaps upwards to hurl a kick right at Riki's neck-

That wasn't a kick.

The leg comes in too close, bending at the knee. It wasn't kicking, it was hooking. Lee was trying to hook that leg hard into her neck, to wrap it around. If Lee Chaolan could get that hook, he would bring startling momentum and leverage, bringing the full bear of his weight into the titan. He would try and slam her headfirst into the side of one of the cargo bins, with enough force to send it tumbling. Lee Chaolan was unleashing the purest of pure power, to tear the woman down. He didn't want anything to come between him and his Ayame.

And this wretched woman would soon regret knowing Ayame.

COMBATSYS: Riki Toughs Out Lee Chaolan's Scatter Kick!

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Lee Chaolan      1/----===/=======|=======\-------\1             Riki

It feels good.

Every time she inflicts pain on the hideous man in his fancy suit, every blow that she lands which sends him staggering or flying injects a surge of righteousness into her soul. This is justice. Not the kind found in the fancy houses of rules and law in which the humans sit in pretense of being the artibers of what is good and right. But the justice of an ancient and primal sort. Eye for an eye, nature red in tooth and claw. She is a window into a more brutal and unforgiving time and she shows no mercy in her execution of the punishment that she has deemed appropriate for Lee.

The joke about the ogress' legs falls on deaf ears. She is in no mood for playful banter, a fact alone that anyone who might one day grow close to her and learn of her ways, would find ominous and telling. She is a demon on the warpath and it will take a great deal more than levity to slow her down.

Riki spares a glance to the troops as they move in and that short distraction proves enough for the slippery martial artist to take advantage of her sluggish reaction time. The whip-like kick snaps around her neck earning a short grunt of surprise as she is pulled down and lead head-first into the very same cargo container which she had tossed Lee at only a few moments ago.

The oni's head slams into the metal slab with a resounding crash and she lets out dull growl, more out of annoyance than actual pain. She turns to face Lee, his leg stick wrapped around her neck and gives him another fearsome look, the coals in her eyes flaring to small fires. And those aren't the only flames she's bringing to bear.

Both of Riki's fists suddenly flare with bright red light as twin balls of fire burst into being. Giving the smug fighter only a few instants to react, she whirls around casting off his entrapping limb with ease and her flaming fists rise up into the air, fingers lacing together to create a single massive wrecking ball. It drops like a meteorite at Lee's head, attempting to flatten him straight into the pavement.

When the deadly smash hits the ground, either by passing through him or missing, the concrete suddenly becomes the site of a brand new volcano. The thunderous blow craters the ground, sending spiderweb cracks in all directions as hellfire erupts through the new openings turning the impact point into a brief gateway to the intense suffering of the underworld.

COMBATSYS: Lee Chaolan blocks Riki's Gates of Hell.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Lee Chaolan      1/----===/=======|-------\-------\0             Riki

As Riki focuses on the Silver Haired Demon, Brandon is recognizing the threat that comes from the modern era. Snipers, soldiers, guns, and assorted modern weaponry become an increasingly worrying threat. While his ally has shown herself to be highly resilient, he's not sure about the limits of toughness and he'd rather not have the soldiers test it if he can avoid it.

He skips the ceremony of casting aside his deck's pouch as he draws upon his power directly not actively using it but rather, keeping it close to the surface ready to be commanded at a moment's notice. He hisses in pain as he glances towards the apparent leader of one of the squads.

"If you're actively thinking about shooting her, I recommend you reconsider."

He then turns to Lee with fists clinched in righteous fury. "And as for you, Lee Chaolan... No means no, you creepy ponce."

The trap was triggered.

Slamming Riki down, there was little time to follow through. Already, the woman's counter-attack was coming. Fixing his stance back, the martial artist was already stepping back. He would have more bantering. But there was no time. He could feel... judgement. He had felt judgement before many times before. It was hot. It was pulling at him.

But experience would save him here.

He slips around the direct hit. That much was enough. But escaping the pure power of the volcanic unload? That was not enough finesse for him, not when the judgement had come. The fires erupt from underneath, the hellish flames erupting out. Similar to Ayame's own. This time, Lee Chaolan had nowhere to go between the cargo holds. The flames envelope his flame, as he retreats. Body singed, body burnt, he rebounds off the cargo bin, leaping up to the opposite. Standing high up, he drops into a roll, putting out the flames. Rising up to one knee... the cargo bins begin to groan, as they begin to warp and sink from the pure heat. Lee Chaolan stares down.

Smirk on his lips.

The Tekken Force, guns trained on Brandon, hold off. Lee Chaolan had told them to stay off unless he was touching her... but the man had a good point as well. Shooting Ayame was... not good. But Lee Chaolan, staring down at the private detective, scoffs as he rises up to a stand. "Oh, don't you start Brandon, if I wanted to listen to a wastes of my time, I'd have another executive summary of your fighting style." And Lee Chaolan drops down. Leaping from the collapsing cargo hold, he dives at Riki's shoulder, attempting to seize it. Should he get the grip, he would whip his whole body around, bringing that same momentum into full force again, repositioning on the side before trying to take her down with a tackle. All while muttering.

"It's not even worth a proper combot."

COMBATSYS: Riki blocks Lee Chaolan's Lee Stunner.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Lee Chaolan      1/--=====/=======|=------\-------\0             Riki

Slowly, Riki rises from the crater of her own making, her fists trailing bits of broken concrete as she withdraws them from the shattered pavement. She turns to face Lee once more, glaring up at him on his perch, and she lets out an derisive snort as he pats at his clothes. The fires of hell are not so easily satiated or fended off. There will be a reckoning one day, of that she is sure. Maybe not today but no mortal escapes their ultimate judgement and it seems quite clear where Lee's decisions will be directing his soul.

The leaping attack is met with a growl though Riki does not do much to interfere with his foolish attempt to get in close where her strength has the most weight other than to take a wider stance and steady herself. Lee's hand digs into her shoulder and she allows him to spin them both around, riding out the momentum of the attack so as to lessen its effect to little more than a brief dance step. When he goes to tackle the giantess, the playboy would find that attempting to bring down several hundred pounds of angry demon with a football tackle is generally not as effective when you're a willowy pretty boy.

Bringing her free hand back, Riki winds up for a massive punch and whips her entire body around into the blow, driving her bony knuckles straight into the annoying smirk on his rich face with all of her strength.

"Be silent!"

"Not even worth a proper combot," Brandon says, parroting the words from Lee's assessment of his fighting style. His lips curl into a grin of genuine happiness for the first time since the fight had just started. If the taunt was supposed to offend him, it did the exact opposite.

"Thanks! I appreciate that. It means never having to worry about a fight-alike that I never gave you permission to make to cramp my style."

Normally, he didn't like to indulge in banter however he was hoping that it would distract Lee from the profoundly angry ogress right in front of him. It was an unusual situation for him. While he remained close to Ayame to shield her from approach from either Lee or the Tekken Force, Ayame was in turn, his shield. They weren't going to fire on him and risk accidentally hitting her. Even still, they were still a threat but as long as they stayed their hands from either making a move on Riki or coming in closer to snatch Ayame, he was stuck in a tense standoff.

COMBATSYS: Lee Chaolan parries Riki's Fierce Punch!

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Lee Chaolan      1/=======/=======|-------\-------\0             Riki

Lee Chaolan was not pleased with having to drag through so much.

The Tekken Force, looking between the increasing dangerous woman fighting Lee Chaolan and the man over the target, the guns swap between the two. They couldn't risk hitting their employer either. The moment when Lee... if Lee went down, then the table would change.

But for now, anything could happen.

Lee Chaolan doesn't manage to bring the towering woman down. She was pretty big, after all. As the growl comes, however, Lee Chaolan was releasing the tackle. She was turning. So was he. And when the punch comes, he glances at the private detective.

"Hold that thought, Brandon."

Lee Chaolan was already ducking, as the thunderous punch roars in. As light as the man is compared to the towering woman, he was combining speed with power in a frightening combination. Slipping through the legs of the titanic woman, the man remerges from the other side. Bursting in with a forward kick, Lee chaolan swiftly chains into a backfist, spinning as he circles around Riki. Rounding that circle, he bounds up, unleashing a snapkick right for the back of her neck... before trying to scissor hold her by the neck again, to drag her straight down to the concrete. She was big. She was strong.

But she could fall like the rest of them

COMBATSYS: Riki barely endures Lee Chaolan's Mercury Drive EX.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////                   ]
Lee Chaolan      1/-------/=======|=====--\-------\0             Riki

The wild punch hits nothing but air and the sheer momentum of the blow is enough to prevent Riki from stopping the slippery eel from escaping between her legs. The flanking kick slams into her back with a sharp thud, snapping even the monstrously large woman's body upright with the force of the well-aimed blow. The backfist hammers her in the shoulder as she staggers, momentarily knocked off balance by the lightning assault, leaving Lee free to pursue his final set up. The kick and subsequent grab land home with another dull crack, earning a pained cry of outrage from the oni.

Riki falls to her knees as the weight of her new necklace drags at her unbalanced stance. However, instead of planting face-first into the concrete, one of her hands shoots out arresting the downward fall. She grunts, a mixture of rage and agony warring for surpremacy on her face as she turns to glare at Lee yet again, eyes still awash with supernatural fire. And for the first time since arriving here, she grins.

"I have you now!"

Reaching up to grip the legs wrapped around her neck like a vice, Riki bellows with righteous thunder and pushes to her feet, hurling herself bodily at the prone form of Lee. She might as well have dropped one of the cargo containers onto him.

COMBATSYS: Riki successfully hits Lee Chaolan with Huge Thrown Object.
- Power hit! -

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Lee Chaolan      1/-------/=======|======-\-------\0             Riki

Oh dear.

Lee does, in fact, bring down the titanic woman. What wasn't expected, however, was the massive woman coming down on HIM. As she comes hurtling down, Lee Chaolan instincts were only to escape. Except, of course, that he was in the midst of an attack. The massive woman comes crashing down, slamming herself upon the executive. The Tekken Force troopers train the rifles on her now. Lee's legs strick out underneath. There is silence. And then, a muffle bark.

"Get off me you damned cow!"

The smug presence of the executive was gone. In its place was white-hot rage, white-hot anger. Lee Chaolan can't lift the woman. But he can get out, slip out from underneath the woman. His body, his face, was bruise and burn from the sheer might of the oni. And there, glaring down, he moves swiftly. Attempting ot seize up the woman by HER hand, to grab her just above the shackle, and wrench it around, twist it around before she can rise. To twist it, to wrench it. To hold her in place.

And then, stamp her on the back of the neck, again and again and again.

COMBATSYS: Riki fails to interrupt Lee Harassment from Lee Chaolan with Charging Ox.

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  <
Lee Chaolan      1/----===/=======|

COMBATSYS: Riki can no longer fight.

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  <
Lee Chaolan      1/----===/=======|

Stomp after stomp comes, as Lee Chaolan, for a third time, unleashes his dreadful finishing move. "You wretch cow, you wretch woman! You think you can crush me like a disgusting brute? Like that filthy Miguel? You think you can humilate me in front of my men? I was content with you standing up for Ayame, but no. No, she doesn't DESERVE a friend like you. A clumsy oaf, beneath her TIME! She only deserve ELEGANT people. She only..."

"She only..."

Lee Chaolan releases Riki.

"Ah ha ha..." He laughs lightly.

"I seemed to have lost my composure there for a moment~"

Calling an ogre a cow is generally not a great way to get on their good side. For Lee, however, he's just throwing more gasoline on the hellfire. Riki's bulk is nearly impossible to move up but his flexibilty proves to be enough for him to slip out from underneath as she turns and lurches forward, clearly intent upon simply ramming into him like a runaway train car.

The unexpected grab for her wrist, however, proves to be enough to counter her plans. With her arm wrenched up behind her back, even the giantess must succumb to basic anatomy and physics. She lets out a bellow as the limb is twisted painfully, straining her joints in ways they were not designed for. Riki attempts to turn and swing her fist at Lee, to brush him off with sheer strength, but his foot comes down on her neck hard enough that even the brutish demon finds herself floored by the impact.

The first stomp sends a burst of white into her vision but it isn't enough to keep her down. She grunts and begins to rise, pushing herself up off the ground a few inches before the neck blow rains down on her spine. And the next and the next.

Each powerful stomp sends waves of searing agony through her flesh and yet she still fights to rise, fingers clenching tightly with every impact as she scrabbles at the cold pavement for purchase. Eventually, however, her efforts fade to mere groans, her chest rising and falling with heavy labored breaths. Cursed human body! If only she had her true power...

She wasn't rising this time.

Lee's... entire body was hurting. Fighting Maki? A bit slow, but complete. Fighting Ayame? She was just as plucky as before, but Lee Chaolan had a steady resolve, and was able to chip her down. And this woman? This woman crushed through him. Lee Chaolan hovers over the titan for a moment, before turning around. Bruised, blackened, and burnt, he looks dead on Brandon. "Now where were we... ah yes." And there, he beckons for the private eye to come hither.


COMBATSYS: Lee Chaolan awaits the next challenger.

[              \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Lee Chaolan      1/----===/=======|


The private eye pauses his thought as he glances around to take account of his current situation. Ayame's team mate for this fight, Maki is down, Ayame is laying face up on the ground still conscious but out of commission, the guardian ogre was able to bruise and batter him but was now down and as he finds himself surrounded by Tekken Force he realizes that unless some other ally is hiding in the wings, he is the last hope of the shrine maiden.

Unlike the King of Fighters match against Miguel, there's no ceremony, no dropping of the pouch, his body just flares up with radiant light as he begins to feel his power tear at his body. If Lee had done any homework on Brandon's public fight records, there would be no record of him not using his cards except for that one desperate attack.

As Brandon stands guard over Ayame, a tiny ball of pale yellow light forms in his hand as he takes a couple steps towards the silver haired demon and flings the ball of energy at the would be kidnapper and then he chases after it closing the distance. When the ball of light comes close to Lee, it bursts with both damaging energy and blinding light. A large amount of power wielded like a surgeon. Not a top notch surgeon but a surgeon nevertheless.

COMBATSYS: Brandon has joined the fight here.

[              \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Lee Chaolan      1/----===/=======|-------\-------\0          Brandon

COMBATSYS: Brandon successfully hits Lee Chaolan with Dire Radiance.
- Power hit! -

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Lee Chaolan      1/---====/=======|=------\-------\0          Brandon

Brandon sneaking on from work

Lee Chaolan says, "REMOVE ME*"

And then there was one.

The Tekken Force keeps their distance, as Brandon breaks away from Ayame. She wasn't going anywhere. The medical team, on payroll with Hitbit and Lee, were closing in, working their way around Tekken Force. Normally, they would be scooping up Ayame, and that would be that. She would get her free ride to a private medical facility... and then enjoy the start of her new life. There was only one problem.

They might be needing the ride for Lee soon.

As Brandon glows alight, the energy surging out, the executive smiles as he rushes forward. A projectile, really? Lee Chaolan wasn't afraid, he wouldn't be afraid. Blazing forward, the silver-haired man was aiming to meet Brandon point for point. There was one problem.


The blast of light blinds him. And Lee Chaolan... doesn't stop moving. He was risking it. He was daring it. And it takes a moment before he forces into the light. The energy washes over him, stopping his charge cold as the energy burns deep lacerations into his vest. The smirk was gone, the gritted teeth was back. Pained, blinded, and desperate, he could just see his shape in the blurred vision. He only manages to snarl out as Brandon reaches him.

"I'm not going to allow her future to slip away because of you!"

There is a flash, a flicker. Silver energy trails behind him as he moves in a blink. There is a cracking sound, as Lee's movements come too swift. "KIAI!" was the cry from the executive as in a single gesture, he strikes out. The silver trail follows his leg as he whips it around into the mother of all roundhouse kicks, straight for Brandon's neck. It was an executing blow, Lee Chaolan was too stretched out, too drawn out to have anything else. A gauntlet of four opponents was on the outer limits of the martial artist. He was going to finish Brandon off now.

Before he could unleash the true potential of that endless energy into him.

COMBATSYS: Brandon endures Lee Chaolan's Silver Cyclone.

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Lee Chaolan      0/-------/----===|=======\====---\1          Brandon

To explain why Brandon does what he does in this moment more detail about him is needed. While he is capable of his body ravaging power with the precision of a surgeon, before he learned how to manipulate energy as a mage, he was a fight hall brawler. It was the reason that when he learned how to wield his cards, he modeled his fighting stance on boxing's Hitman stance which gave him some protection but also allowed him to keep at least one hand near his deck. He won his skill in fight halls where losing meant going to sleep with an empty stomach and sharpened as a private detective where could possibly mean death. And both cases, there were times where he knew he was not going to avoid the hit, so he bets it all on his capability of making them regret landing the blow.

Brandon continues to move in letting the roundhouse hit the side of his neck but he remains standing even in spite of the excruciating pain from a kick so powerful... so precise... He lets out a scream but even as he does so, he clasps Lee's leg, to make it harder to escape and to make him pay.

Brandon then snaps out three rapid fire punches the energy in his fists detonating at the theoretical point of impact. This is then followed up by a chi enhanced haymaker and then he leaps up and brings both of his fists down in a double axe handle smash right on top of his head.

"The only person who should be deciding her future, is her. And she already rejected your offer."

COMBATSYS: Lee Chaolan blocks Brandon's Cascade of Five Suns.

[                       \\\\\\\  < >  /////////                     ]
Lee Chaolan      0/-------/----===|======-\-------\0          Brandon

A scoff from Lee

That is what the martial artist gives as his kick connects. He could feel it, the power consuming him, and the power that Lee was unleashing into him. This would be easy. Trivial. As he recovers from the kick, he stares directly into the man as he screams. "Just lets get this over with.~" He teases as the counter attack comes. The clasp on his leg comes, holding it as he just tilts his head. He couldn't escape from this. But he could handle what Brandon could unleash. The jabbing punches are deflected deftly, the energy searing his skin. The haymaker is caught, the whole force running through his body. The waves of chi cascade over him, until finally, the blow towards his head comes. Bring his arm up, he catches it hard, his legs wobbling as the smirk endures, the blazing energy overflowing on him.

"Is that the best-"

And Lee Chaolan stumbles.

The silver-haired man's eyes go wide. He could feel it crawling over him. "... Oh no, no no." Lee Chaolan corrects himself. His knees were wobbly, breaking at the core from that last blow. He was shaking his head, something overtaking. "I will NOT. I can not. I- Not to THIS boor!" And Lee Chaolan rips his leg free, terror coming over him. UNleashing a high kick. A mid kick. A low kick. And then a middle kick. ANd then... again. Over and over again. The Tekken Force watches, realizing what was happening.

He was fighting to keep going.

"I will not LOSE to a loser." Lee Chaolan bites, trying to force his speed faster and faster, sloppier and sloppier. " will not fall to a fallen. I will not- I cannot lose to an imposter, a bumpkin, a card dealing buffoon! I refuse!" He cries desperate as the infinite kicks come. And then... they start to slow down. Slower. Slower. Slower. Crawling into a snail's pace. Dragging more and more. Until finally, finally. Finally, Lee Chaolan stumbles. This time, he falls. He does not refuse.

He loses, into a heap on the concrete. "Not... Not..." And Lee feebly gives a thumbs down.

"Not Excellent... at all~"

COMBATSYS: Lee Chaolan can no longer fight.

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

COMBATSYS: Lee Chaolan successfully hits Brandon with Infinite Rave.

[                                <
Brandon          1/--=====/=======|

The high kick snaps his face to the side, knocking the white fedora from his head and that is only the beginning. Between the abuse that Lee had delivered upon him and his own power tearing at his body he can't really stay up much longer. In fact, it's only about five kicks in that is body goes limp and as Lee's kicks get sloppier and slower, he ends up just falling out of the path of the subsequent kicks.

"Imposter, bumpkin, boor?"

His thoughts are cut off by a need to inhale and grit his teeth at the pain coursing through his body. He works himself to one knee.

"I think you might be projecting, Lee Chaolan. I'm not pretending to be someone I'm not. I'm not from the country. And I don't think there's much that's more boorish than taking a woman's freedom after she refused multiple times to your terms."

Brandon then looks around at the gathered audience and grins just slightly as he realizes something.

"You know what? I suppose you could have Saturday Night Fights edit your commentary about kidnapping out of the broadcast. But do you think those were the only cameras? Smartphone usage is rampant nowadays."

Brandon pauses to let that sink in for a bit. He stares right into Lee's eyes. "YouTube, FightTube, WorldStarHipHop... All multiple places that video could show up on the internet with multiple potential uploaders. And once it hits those places, they can be linked to twitter, tumblr, grapplr, instagram, fightagram and it could spread like wildfire. How long do you think someone who cares about her finds out and takes action against you. Do you think your sponsors will touch you after that?"

He glances back towards the body of Ayame as the medical staff get closer to her. "I think fighting for her right to choose her own destiny is coming from a more elegant position than forcing her down a path that she doesn't want for herself. So I repeat..."

He raises his hand in the air in a repeat of the same move that he used on Miguel in the King of Fighters match. This time, however, the swords of light shoot down towards the ground in a circle around forming a barrier as he screams in a combination anguish and pain, "NO MEANS NO, YOU BOORISH, CLASSLESS FOOL!!!"

COMBATSYS: Brandon takes no action.

COMBATSYS: Brandon can no longer fight.

Dull rumbling laughter emenates from the prone form of the massive ogre, her thick-set frame shaking from the effort of it. Slowly, she begins to rise, fighting the unbidden grimace of pain that comes to her face and bullying it into a broad grin. Where Ayame had fallen prey to the cruel attack that Lee had unleashed upon the girl and would likely need a fair bit of time to recover, the demon seems to already be shaking it off, pushing herself to an upright seated position.

"You know," she says, turning to admire the shimmering blades of light creating a rather menacing looking barrier between the fallen miko and the faceless grunts. "For how much effort you put into being unlikeable, you seem to have made some rather interesting friends."

Holding up a finger, Riki draws a circle in the air and there is a loud pop as a red bowl or dish of some kind snaps into existence. She catches it deftly in her palm, the vessel large enough to dwarf even her hand, and casually brings it up to her mouth, slurping up some kind of liquid contained within its inverted surface. The nectar of the gods, or one god in particular actually, burns with a fervent fire as it pours down her throat. Such wonderful perfection of the art of making liquor the likes of which is beyond mortal ken fills her and she greedily drains the entire bowl in seconds, finishing it off with a large contented sigh.

The bowl is tossed aside, snapping back to whatever pocket space it inhabits the moment that it leaves her hand. Riki rises to her full height once more, the pain of her wounds already receding into the background. She makes a show of rolling her shoulders and twisting her neck about, filling the air with the loud sound of cracking bones as she marches towards the nearest group of Tekken Corps.

"Thanks for the distraction," she calls over her shoulder to Brandon. "Just needed him to look somewhere else for a little while so I could recover. Now then."

Riki turns her attention back to the grunts and narrows her eyes, concentrating intently on something. The air around her begins to hum with energy as faint motes of golden light begin to dance about around her head. Slowly at first but with mounting speed every second, the glittering wisps begin to cluster down into an elongated mass near her forehead, their frantic buzzing forms multiplying and combining until a shimmering cone of pure light glows upon her brow. With a loud bellow of challenge, Riki throws her head back and roars and the light suddenly fuses into a solid shape, the golden glow becoming the bright crimson red of a long pointed horn.

"Aaaah," she sighs, lowering her gaze back down to the armed men with a wide smile. "Much better. I think that shall be the last time that I wander naked into a den of snakes."

They wouldn't win.

Lee Chaolan slips into darkness with his last opponent, a smile on his lips. For all his cards, he wasn't going to win when the deck was so stacked in his favor. Fighting just meant that he could capture all three of them. Smartphones? Lee Chaolan was so rich, so powerful, he could murder the pope, and all he would need to give is a thumbs up and an 'excellent.' Already, in his unconscious state, he was extending his thumb instinctively. He fell. But no matter. His men would capture those three, and then take them to his mansion. He had won. He won. And soon, he would be getting whatever he wanted. ALready, the Tekken Force was closing in around Ayame, Lee, and Brandon.

And then, she got her horn.

Generally, when a lady gets her horn, that means Yoshiaki is involved. He was a man of questionable wealth and tastes, after all. But as the downed titan of a woman rises again, there is a building light, the crackling noise. And then, the Tekken Force realized that the terms had changed. Screams rip over the entire remaining crowd as they see what was clearly, in full force, a monster. The Tekken Force had choices. They could stay and fight. Or they could take the main priority.

Lee Chaolan's life was in danger.

The response is swift and an uproar. The Tekken Force moves to extract the unconscious Lee Chaolan, as the entire HitBit crew flies into a panic as the woman's transformation. Riki's pure presence was sending the HitBit crew into a frenzy, as they swiftly packed up their equipment. Tekken Force, surrounding Lee, lift him up for the extraction. There wasn't a coptor around to lift him out. But there was the ambulance meant for Ayame. They would justify it later. This wasn't the first time they had to save Lee's life afterwards, and ultimately, that was the final priority. Riki would keep her full presence. The HitBit and audience flee the harbor in a frenzy, Lee having been carted into the ambulance. Several pieces of equipment and scanners are abandoned behind in the wake of the monster as the place is... almost abandoned too quickly itself. They were gone, leaving Ayame, Brandon, and Riki alone.

Alone, alive, and free.

Log created on 19:54:20 07/30/2016 by Lee Chaolan, and last modified on 11:17:10 08/29/2016.