Description: Sensing an ominious presence, Riki traverses into the wilderness to face a great evil. Atop the wind-swept battlefield of a craggy mountain plateau, two demons will face each other in an epic match for supremacy. Which will prove the victor - honor and courage or focused murderous intent?
The sky feels cramped. Twisted, mutated, a tense, insane thing.
The hadou ached for blood, he realized, with silent fervor. But the murdering force was held at bay for the moment, chained in place behind a gate shut by a chain with no ends. Even the slightest faltering, even the slightest weakness would be enough to release it, and lay waste to everything he sees before him. But the hadou would never be sated by such waste. It coils, reacts, a living thing deep in the core of his spirit. The road led deeper into the dark than ever before, today. Even if it were only for a few minutes...it was enough.
He had sensed a strength potentially rivalling his own.
And the supreme killing intent had surged like a tsunami in response.
Now, the shotokan master broods lethally at the top of the mountains near Southtown, where the air is cool and only the fit may tread. But where he goes, there is no respite. The air becomes crushing and wrong. Nature itself twists according to his mood, especially where he need show no restraint. And now, as he breathes, slick with perspiration from a brief training session that saw an entire stream diverted deep into the mountain, it is clear he feels restraint is not needed.
Anger knits itself plainly on his face as he stares at the sky in open contempt.
He has sensed someone who may be of worth. But whoever it was fled before he could find them. And a day that passes meaninglessly without bloodshed is only another insult.
Until recently, life on the mortal plane had been something of a struggle for Riki. Dumped into the wilderness with no supplies and no sense of where to go, she had only the binding comandment of her divine lord to guide her forward - seek out evil... a destroy it. It was a fitting punishment for one who had proven lax at their duties such as herself. Laziness and apathy had been her downfall; diligence and suffering would be her redemption.
However, as it turned out, she did not have to undertake such a daunting task on her own. Nor could she, for the great power of her demonic form had been shackled and bound, leaving her with only a fraction of the might she possessed in the realm of Meido. She had discovered many times already the terrible limits imposed upon what she could accomplish by the human body in which her essense was now trapped. There was enough left of her spirit to stand against many of the foes she would face but it would be an uphill struggle the entire way, a trial of resolve and discipline.
Fortunate had favored her in that regards for she now had taken up residence in a small temple, one of the few truly ancient buildings still dedicated to the guardianship of humanity against the supernatural. The priest that resided over its walls and his daughter had both proven useful allies, providing her with lodging, clothes, and knowledge of the modern world; all things that she would need in order to understand and tackle the task ahead of her. For several weeks now, the oni had lingered in that place of sanctified solitude, enjoying a life that teetered dangerously close to something that resembled luxury.
Which is why it was destined not to last for long without interruption. Halfway up the side of the daunting mountain, Riki pauses to cast her gaze towards the sky, pushing aside the low-hanging branches of a thick tree already beginning to show signs of the coming winter in its dying leaves. There is nothing visually wrong with the broad expanse of blue above her. A handful of thick clouds float gently across the otherwise featureless canvas obscuring the brilliant rays of light as the sun drifts down towards the horizon.
Despite the tranquil mask, something is very wrong. She can feel it now, a pulsing sense of unease that rolls over her in waves. It is stronger here than when she first noticed the signs at the temple. The wards on the great walls had blocked the worst of it but now she was certain that someone or something of great power is present at the top of this mountain; judging by the angry tension in the air, it wasn't something nice, either.
The towering amazon continues on her way, stomping steadily up the inclined paths that circle around the mountain. At times they are paved with cobblestone and even modern concrete but for the most part she sticks to animal trails, forcing her to push through thick underbrush and over small streams that run down from the upper reaches.
She glances down at herself after fording through a particularly nasty set of overgrown hedges, once more silently glad that she had left behind the more modern set of clothes that Ayame's parents had aquired for her. The things would have been in tatters as this point and that would have made for a rather embarassing introduction. Instead, the rough cloth of her ancient tunic adorns her thick frame. Though it provides much less coverage than the skirt, her skin isn't so weak as to fall prey to the petty sting of a few brambles.
It takes nearly two hours for the oni to make her way to the top, the winding paths finally spilling out of the trees into an open clearing on a flat plateau. She thunders out of the forest with a little more gusto than necessary, happy to be finally free of the clinging weeds and tripping roots. Her gaze sweeps out over the scenery before her but it takes no effort to find the lone figure standing in the empty clearing. Even had her eyes been shut, she could have homed in on the aura of rage spilling forth from the craggy-faced man.
Riki narrows her eyes for a moment, pondering how best to deal with the situation. Eventually, she relaxes her expression as she steps forward into the open, approaching with no sense of fear or hesitation in her thunderous strides. If anything, she looks friendly or excited, a broad grin on her wide features underneath the wild mane of golden hair.
"I was wondering what I might find lurking in the darkness upon this ancient stage. I must confess, you do not meet my expectations."
The man himself looks as if he's spent too much time out in the wild--with flame red hair tied up in a flaring topknot, he wears nothing more elaborate than a charcoal dogi, sleeveless and shredded where its hems may have once been. Truthfully, the acoutrements and baubles of his art are few, rugged and plain--thick rope of rough hemp wraps around his hands, knotting tightly at the wrists where anyone else may have worn gloves, and a string of beads mantle his shoulders and collar. He wears clothes as if preparing for ancient war.
When the ancient creature lumbers into his presence, crawling up the mountain to find the source of the crushing power, he senses just the slightest taste of strength, the flavor dry as dust in his mouth. It is kin to the scent of old blood, and something he confirms when he gives her the faintest of glances over a shoulder. There is a difference in the way a pup walks. The elderly are sure, whereas the young are mindless. No matter how exuberantly the amazonian bounds into view nor how full her frame is, she will never be mistaken for a youth in 'his' eye.
The crush of darkness recedes. Though being this close would be enough for a weakling to vomit, the weight is lifted from the world, folded and compressed away solely into the demon's fist. The feeling is something like seeing the sunrise.
"You seek out your own destruction," the shadow of shotokan insists.
"I am Akuma, master of the fist. You should expect only despair here...!!"
After a moment more of scanning the horizon, the demon moves fluidly and honestly, as if having no need for pretense, or theatre. He turns in two steps, with no pause or waste, as if ready at any moment. But he doesn't raise his fists, the corded muscles building his iron-thick stance showing no tension, no impulse. But he looks at the ancient oni as if he were killing her all the same. The intent is plain on his face, even if he doesn't seem willing to fight.
"Your chains disgust me," he finally notes, appraising the entire length and breadth of the creature before him. He doesn't know what she could be, but he understands the nature of her spirit. "You have the acrid scent of Hell on you... but you are just a leashed dog. What if I cut your fetters...could your body even withstand it..." he wonders openly. His anger has waned, but it is an everpresent, smouldering thing, as if every moment he has to speak is another word wasted. He depletes his patience quickly.
"Explain yourself, and your trespass!"
The oni's advance slows and she glances around without turning her head, eyes taking in the surroundings as the aura of darkness receeds as easily as a tent being broken down and packaged for travel. It is an unsettling sensation to have reality change so drastically all around her on a fundamental level. Whatever this man is, if a man is even what he is, the power that he possesses is far greater than she could have expected.
Despite this revelation, Riki does not falter in her approach. Her stride remains even and steady, the wisened smile born from centuries of experience masking the unease gripping her mortal body. She approaches until Akuma stands only a dozen or so feet away, arms crossing over her chest nonchalantly. The palpable touch of his aura remains strong even after it has been withdrawn, his dark emotions staining the air like oil.
"An introduction. That is a pleasant change of pace."
The corners of her lips turn upwards into a fierce grin, revealing a pair of sharpened canines admist a crescent of supernaturaly white teeth. Her head tilts forward in a slight nod or bow of respect.
"I am known as Riki, servant of Lord Enma-O, steward of Meido."
She waits to see his reaction. Most people in this modern era know very little of the ancient ways, much less the names of the gods that preside over the heavens and hells. She has a feeling that this man might be different. However, that line of thought is broken, or perhaps confirmed, when he speaks of her chains as if understanding their purpose. Not even the young miko she had saved had been able to do that. Her smile falters, the woman's face slowly becoming more serious.
"These chains exist by divine mandate. Even if you possessed the power to break them, I would advise against such foolish action. The gods do not take kindly to mortal interference in their plans."
Unfolding her arms, Riki allows the short lengths of iron to clank together as she rests a hand on her hip, the other dangling loose but ready at her side. It is a meaningful gesture, one that speaks of her readiness to fight should he wish it though it broadcasts no overt aggression that requires an answer. The dance between warriors and their pride is a dangerous and subtle art.
"I come here on behalf of my lord, tasked with the protection of the mortals that reside within this realm. If ye intend harm upon this land, tis my duty to stand in thy path."
A low, primal growl fills the plateau.
It is a dire sound that tumbles from Akuma's chest, lethal intent simmering somewhere just behind his violent red eyes. It is beyond animal--no sane creature, no predator could make such a sound. It resonates deeper than the dead, and it's easy to imagine it being heard by the devils below. As Riki introduces herself, as she invokes the divine, Akuma's expression focuses keenly, even as he makes his derision known.
"Gods are no more than men who have chosen to hide from the world," Akuma spits venomously. Unceremoniously, he raises a hand, and though it does not clasp into a fist, he points two weathered and calloused fingers at Riki, his index and middle, as if to bring sharpness to his point, a cutting edge more vicious than even the plain vehemence in his tone. There is nothing about him that isn't violent.
"If Enma'ou wishes to take offense, he can crawl out of his miserable purgatory and stand before the all-consuming power of my fist. If your great king can bring me a glorious battle, only then I will concern myself with his opinion--or any other's!"
His breath is fast, forcing the words out like a great ocean cleaving blade. If he means to blaspheme, he wants all of the Gods to hear it, clearly. It is notable that he uses a slightly different inflection of her lord's name. In it, he does not offer any more reverence in title than is already implied in the king's name--he is not disrespectful, or at the very least not dishonorable. There is simply no confusion about his feelings concerning ... anything at all.
His derision meters itself only when his attention moves away from the gods.
"You are not human," Akuma states, finally. "But chained as you are, your life is not dedicated to killing, and I will have nothing of you. I seek something else today, and I have no interest in anything that cannot challenge me. If there is a denizen in this world that can, then I will fight."
His hand slowly clenches into an iron fist.
"But, if you insult me by standing in my way with those chains as they are now," Akuma promises, "I will scatter a thousand pieces of you so far across the dark sky that even your king will not be able to scrape up enough to put your soul back together again."
"You... you dare?"
Riki stares with wide eyes at the man before her as he casually lays insults at the feet of not only her own master but all those that reside within the realms of spirit. His challenge rings out through the air like an ominous gong, terrible and blasphemous. The oni's expression is one of utter disbelief, too stunned by the utter madness of the foolish mortal to be angry.
As if in answer to Akuma's slanderous words, the sky grows dark and heavy. Clouds boil into existence where once there were none, frothing violent foam that churns in a wide circle over the mountain top. Peals of thunder boom in the tumultous chaos, blades of flashing lightning stabbing down into the ground all around the pair at the center of the clearing.
Riki takes a step back, her head tilting up to peer at the sky with a look of trepidation. Such blatant mockery could never be ignored, especially in the presence of a divine servant. Would the god himself take shape to strike down this man? Such a thing has not happened in... has it ever happened? Had anyone ever been so foolish as to wish such powerful judgement upon themselves?
After several seconds of loud indignation, the angry clouds slowly begin to receed, fading once more into the dark sky as if little more than a brief hallucination. A quick look around at the blasted craters and still burning patches of fire would put that thought to rest, however. Her lord had made himself known. There was only one response that could be given to such an affront.
Shifting her gaze back down to Akuma, the oni lets out a long sigh of exasperation. A hand lifts to the back of her neck, rubbing at the thick mane of hair as she closes her eyes. What a pain.
"And here I was hoping I might have an easy job for once."
It has never been said that ogres are particularly fast or subtle creatures. It's quite difficult to manage sneaky when you're the size of an elephant; Riki is no exception to this. She still gives it a good try though. Without warning, the massive woman steps forward in a lunge, her face twisting into a feral mask of aggression as she lets out a defeaning roar. The distance between the two figures vanishes in that single motion and her fist swings out like a club, her balled up knuckles easily the size of the Akuma's head; a comparison that is quite easy to make because that's right where it's heading.
COMBATSYS: Akuma has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Riki has joined the fight here.
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Akuma 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Riki
COMBATSYS: Akuma blocks Riki's Ogre Smash.
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Akuma 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Riki
And that gains his attention.
When the sky churns black and splits white, Akuma's flame red hair shudders with the cutting, icy wind that blows across the plateau. The weight of it settles deeply on his shoulders, and the master of the fist looks up into the air, in bald derision, no longer paying attention to Riki or her shock at his words. A row of knife-sharp teeth cut across his face, a brutal expression showing neither satisfaction nor displeasure. Anger balls up in the shotokan's soul, as lightning crawls across the mountain, shearing the grass clean from the plateau.
"Your king rages impotently," Akuma comments. "But anyone who does not kill is nothing to me--!!"
Amongst the burning craters, the oni slams into Akuma, the entirety of her bulk and weight falling on him to the pitch of an unrepentant, inhuman roar. He would be caught off-guard, as his attention is focused solely on the skies behind him. But the truth is.. the master of the fist is never that off-guard. The full weight and force of the mountain's indignation given form slams into the smaller shotokan's sudden guard, his arms knitting together in a raised block, his straw zori carving deep furrows in the earth as the force crashes into him.
Hitting Akuma's guard is like hitting the mountain itself. A blow that could crush a human's body to powder is absorbed into an unyielding defense, and draws a faint line of blood. It is the only sign that the master of the fist is even at all human. The response is slow, measured. Slowly, Akuma lets his 'killing intent' unspool, awful force crawling off of his dusky skin, choking with preeternatural force. Something pure unwinds, something focused on only one thing.
"Your god will regret what he asks," he states.
"You have only one chance!!!"
And with that, he moves into Riki's space in one step. He moves to grip her by the roughspun fibers in one hand, and pull her down bodily off her feet to the ground. If she even hesitates for a second, she will find herself crushed against the earth, the height difference halved as he hauls her into range, and oriented right down the middle line of a blow dead centered in her chest. The last thing she'll hear is the audible creak of the rope surrounding his fist, complaining in the tension.
The blow's crack--the mere sound it makes--resounds against the earth, and cripples the residual flames surrounding them with the resultant shock. It is a deadly strike, with nothing held back. One punch, with the dark force channelled deep behind it. It is enough to cave in the chest and explode the heart of lesser men. Only something beyond a man could handle it.
COMBATSYS: Riki just-defends Akuma's Gou Shouha!
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Akuma 0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0 Riki
She had not been expecting her blow to have much effect, though it would have been nice for things to start out in her favor for once. The heavy swing crashes against arms that might as well be made of steel with powerful force, the oni's massive fist grinding against rough skin worn with age and battle. Riki does not withdraw from the guard, pressing every ounce of flesh and bone that she possesses down upon the sinner, but he shrugs her efforts off with almost casual disregard.
The counter blow is fast but she is prepared for it. Akuma's hands reach out with killing intent, clawed fingers seeking to grip her clothes and drag her down into a classic judo throw. Instead, her other arm shoots out to meet it, engulfing his entire fist within the massive palm of her own. The raw strength of the oni is enough to stop the attack cold and the two warriors idle out against each other, a contest of muscle and will ensuing in the short span of moments before the next attack in unleashed.
Riki is the first to act. Unable to use her fists or feet, lest she give the raging warrior an opening to escape their grapple, the demon calls upon the powers of her station. Her mouth opens, chest expanding outwards as she sucks in a deep breath. Behind the jagged gate of her curved teeth, brilliant crimson flames begin to crackle and burn in the growing darkness. Her eyes too begin to glow red as the hellfire builds up inside of her body, supernatural power flooding through her veins.
A sharp exhale from the oni brings about the expected result. A rolling cloud of scorching flames billows forth from her mouth, raw hellish power spilling out over the land in a thick jet. Riki holds on tightly, seeking to keep her foe in place as she sears his twisted soul with the fires of judgement, heaping upon him pain unlike any that can be found in the realm of mortals.
COMBATSYS: Akuma endures Riki's Breath of Heaven.
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Akuma 0/-------/-----==|-------\-------\0 Riki
An honest attack, with nothing held back. In a cataclysmic exchange that sunders the earth between them, the oni clashes with the shotokan, and while he deflects her smashing blow, the dark power rolling off of his fist finds no purchase from the killing blow he releases in response. His stance locks fast, and he matches the oni ounce for ounce in force. His head dips, the crown of his flame hair threatening the wild locks of the oni herself.
He is mildly impressed that she is able to withstand his blow--and a part of him mulls the idea that her god may be bolstering her strength in mockery of his challenge. The idea is infuriating. But he doesn't bother to say another word. This is not a dance, and there is nothing casual about his attitude.
The wave of flames rip across his body, burning oscillating whip patterns in his flesh from the reaction between his intent and the excoriating tongues of a flame borne from the otherlands themselves. Pain rips into his soul, clawing a growl from his throat by force as his skin sears and smoulders. He is bathed in the hellish lash, and he cannot evade, due to the oni's tight grip on his hand.
But Akuma doesn't break. He doesn't give in to the pain. Slowly, the flame crawling across him and burning away his dogi turns black, curling off of his body as the 'intent' takes over. That all-consuming, black and violet thing curdles in his one free hand, force and spite settling to the floor of his soul, and concentrating there, crystallizing in his palm in black force. Even worse, Riki can feel the darkness grow, threads of black crawling from between her massive fingers, enclosing over his other arm. His power grows...exponentially. Faster than the limits of any normal human...
"This satsui no hadou..." Akuma growls in barely repressed rage, "...tears open even the womb of hell!!!!"
He leans forward, rotating his hips into a forceful thrust into the oni. Other who use 'that fist' require focus, absolute resolve, and perfect form. His resolve is to kill. Hadou requires only one hand. She must by all measures keep up her iron defense, otherwise Akuma will blast into her with a soul-crushing fire. For mortals to harness this sort of energy, there can be no rational explanation. For a human, it is the power of heaven and hell. For those that understand heaven and hell, it can only be atrocity.
If Akuma forces her to retreat, he will follow with another soul-rending blast with his free hand. And then another. And then another. He is trying to overwhelm Enma's servant, doubling the force of each blow until she crumples. Each is enough to erase everything before it. An atrocity borne from the chaos of absolute resolve.
COMBATSYS: Akuma knocks away Riki with Tenma Gou Zankuu.
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Akuma 0/-------/------=|=======\===----\1 Riki
Riki's mouth snaps shut as the fires within expend themselves. The holy purging flames seethe and crackle against the flesh of her enemy but even their divine judgement proves to be of little consequence to the raging fury of the man standing against her.
A seed of worry creeps into the oni's heart as she watches those crimson flame boils away into a black mist, foul and corrupted. The acrid tang of the smoke assaults her senses and she almost flinches at the mere scent of the vile incense, save for the knowledge that to do so would prove disastrous. Gritting her teeth, Riki tightens her grip even as the dark power fueling the monster begins to seep through her fingers. Its touch is poison to her spirit, an affront to the very nature of her being. How can a mortal possess this strength?!
"What are y...?"
The question is left unanswered in the face of Akuma's terrible might. With disturbing ease, the shotokan rips his hands free of the oni's grip, sending her staggering away with a simple thrust of his arm. The amazonian woman takes two steps back, heels digging into the soft earth to arrest her movement, but by the time that she has recovered it is already too late.
The first of the blasts catches her in the stomach and the sheer power of it hits her like a sledgehammer. Air explodes violently from her lungs as the killing force bends her at the middle with no more effort than folding up a portable chair. Miraculously, she manages to recover in time to catch the next blow. Thick muscled arms snap up on instict to ward off the impact of Akuma's spiritual assault but the ferocity of the attack forces her backwards another step. Fighting to recover her balance, Riki lets look a gutteral growl and brings both arms up to catch the next strike, shunting the majority of its energy into her extremities.
The next attack comes and then another and another, each one driving her back just a little bit further. Pain batters her with each strike, lances of raw fire shooting up her bruised limbs so such ferocity that it seems almost a wasted effort. It takes nearly a dozen of the crackling balls of murderous hate before she finally gives out. Stumbling to one knee, her arms fall involuntarily away to catch the ground and the last of the projectiles slams into her face, sending the demon sprawling.
She lies there in the dirt for a time, feeling a strange sense of deja vu. Why does it always end up like this? It this part of her punishment, to be kicked around like a new-born puppy? Entirely certain that her entire body is now one giant bruise, Riki lets out a groan and forces herself upright. The smart thing to do would be to run away. Against this sort of might, it's not even certain that she could do real harm.
Cowardice, she chides herself silently. Honor is not about certainty. All would take the honorable path if it led only to victory.
Lifting her head as she rises to one knee, Riki turns her gaze towards the now distant Akuma, spitting a wad of fresh blood onto the ground between them. "You are no man," she says, pain lacing her words as she rises fully to her feet. "But you are not a demon either. Heh, it's almost like I'm looking in a mirror. Atleast, my half of the reflection is easier on the eyes."
A few deep breaths are taken as she shakes off the last of the disorientation, drawing up to her full height once more, a move that she regrets very quickly. Everything hurts. Her insides, her outsides, her /spirit/. How in the name of the gods did he even /manage/ that?! Disturbing. However, her duty remains unchanged.
Rolling her neck in a circle that elicits several loud pops, Riki drops down into a hunched fighting stance. She doesn't bother trying to be subtle this time. There's too much distance between them for any hope of taking him off guard and too much power at his disposal to pretend this is anything but a last effort of spite.
"Whatever you are, this isn't over yet! Grrrah!"
Another thunderous war shout explodes from the oni's mouth and she takes off at a run, charging like a linebacker straight across the field towards Akuma. Every step builds up a little more speed and momentum, every stretch of earth that passes underneath her sandaled feet accelerating her into a roaring juggernaut of demonic destruction. She doesn't slow down as the gap between them vanishes, arms lowering in a wide hugging tackle. She's not just going to hit him like a battering ram - she's going to flatten him with the force of a charging rhinocerous.
COMBATSYS: Riki successfully hits Akuma with Raging Demon.
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Akuma 0/-------/----===|==-----\-------\0 Riki
The flames wreathing his form petering out, the blasts subside as well, leaving the cracked earth smouldering in the wake of the killing volley, tongues of black flame crawling across the ground in broad lines between the two. Akuma himself unshoulders the smouldering fringes of his own gi, the flaming ragged shreds hanging about his bare waist as he goes through a martial form, slowly crossing one bleeding arm over the other, the strength in his limbs sharpening to a razor's edge.
The massive amazonian lays in the dirt some ways away from him, limbs splayed as if a broken doll. The master of the fist overlooks her body with vague interest, but his attitude is beyond readable. The marshalled force in his fist continues to roam his mantle, leaving the vermillion black to sketch faint trails from his shoulders. Though the sky is heavy beneath Enma'ou's eye, the air tastes of blood that has nothing to do with the kingdom of purgatory.
For a moment, she has lost the will to stand, an impression that leaves the master of the fist dissatisfied. "Disgusting," Akuma judges, his words bitter as if something was taken from him. "Is this the limit of your king's strength?! To send his toy to me to be broken into pieces? My fist knows no equal on this earth; for you to stand before me, he must wish you destroyed."
Slowly, she stands before him. His attention cuts to the bone when she speaks, his lip curling in derision. "A man who kills a thousand men becomes a demon."
He enters a martial stance.
"And if that same man kills a thousand demons...."
He doesn't bother with pretenses either. He meets her head-on, and the force of her rampage crashes into him head-on with the force of a freight train. Even his iron stance is not enough to hold steady against the crush of limbs and flesh of an oni. He is legitimately injured in the exchange, his form finally breaking, faltering, and his much lighter frame flipping underneath the oni's violent trampling. Crumpled beneath her, he crashes into the dirt, his body tumbling chaotically beneath her wild release. Even in her passing, he continues tumbling across the ground until his stance goes wide, one hand stabbing into the earth like a spear to arrest his movement. His hand gouges a two foot rent into the earth before he fully comes to a standstill, his stance lowering against the ground.
Now it's his turn to stand. Slowly. Thoughtfully, the demon spits blood, the red tinged foam spraying off to one side, and he wipes away the excess from his chin. "A weak, ineffective blow, with no will behind it," Akuma surmises, viciously, "It would only insult my fists to crush your body between them!!"
"But you have spilled blood," the master of the fist points out.
Akuma settles back, his body at ready, but at rest. Stripped to the waist, it's easy to see the readiness of every muscle. The sick force around him does not abate. The strength of his body does not wane. But the deathblow never comes. "Embrace the chaos in your heart. Abandon your pointless garbage king, and cast aside his pointless fetters! Only when you transcend the grip of Hell will you provide me with any satiation in battle. Until then, if you wish to remain in one piece, set aside Enma'ou's desires and leave me..."
COMBATSYS: Akuma charges his next attack!
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Akuma 0/-------/-======|==-----\-------\0 Riki
Even as the force of her wild charge carries her into the blasphemous warrior, crushing his body beneath her mighty bulk, Riki suffers further. Every impact of Akuma's hardened flesh against her own is pure agony, every shuddering thump of her feet against bone and dirt sending tremors of white fire through her battered frame. Nevertheless, she shows not an ounce of mercy, stomping and smashing relentlessly until she can no longer feel the creak of his bones beneath her.
Planting her feet against the ground, she leans away from the forward momentum, digging her own furrows into the earth as she skates to a halt. The effort of merely stopping her own charge is unpleasant enough to earn a grimace which she takes a moment to suppress before turning back to face Akuma. Still not content with his sacrilege, he spews further foolishness at her like a madman possessed.
"I am not here to provide thee with entertainment, copper-top," she counters, wiping the back of a hand across her mouth. "Though I will admit, tis something quite thrilling about this scenario. It has been quite some time since I was last afforded the opportunity to face one in such obvious need of smiting."
Holding out a hand, Riki extends her index finger and makes a slow circle in the air as if tracing an invisible edge. There is a sharp popping sound as she completes the gesture and a massive bowl of lacquered red wood snaps into existence, which she catches nimbly atop her palm.
"A toast! May your journey to Meido be swift and fitting."
Tossing her head back, Riki lifts the sake bowl to her lips and slurps its contents down in a few big gulps. The bowl is cast aside as she lets out a satisfied sigh, its polished surface wavering like a heat mirage until it pops back out of reality to whence it came. Looking rather refreshed and noticably less haggard, the oni stomps her feet on the ground like a sumo wrestler and takes up another battle pose, a fresh grin on her face.
"Ready or not..."
She lunges forward, taking off at a run yet again. However, this time instead of simply aiming to bowl the small man over, the ogress plants her foot down hard after the third step and takes to the air with a mighty leap. Hellfire explodes to life around her fists as she reaches the apex of the jump and begins to fall. She rotates at the last second, twisting her torso back to wind up for a violent punch, driving those purifying flames into the craggy landscape of the warrior's damned face.
"Here I come!"
COMBATSYS: Akuma fails to interrupt Helldiver from Riki with Empowered Gou Shouryuken EX.
- Power fail! -
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Akuma 0/-------/--=====|=------\-------\0 Riki
"So you take your own life into your hands..."
Akuma takes a step forward, his fists coming level with his core. One brow cocks at the oni's breather, tracing a dish of sake from nowhere to sip at. The gesture does not amuse him, but then again, there is nothing written across his face to suggest he is amused. "Better to die a lapdog than survive on your own..." he notes, his stoneground voice thick with derision. "Then vanish, into the piercing dark!!"
Rushing him is like charging headlong into the ocean. As Riki lunges into martial range, she finds herself driving headlong into his intent made manifest. Against an all-consuming spite, the limbs move as if tied to mountains. A murderous force pushes back against her at every angle, weighing down her spirit. But it's not enough to stop her. She descends on him, trailing flame from her fist, in a consecrating blow that would have cut any other in half.
But the master of the fist rises, going to one knee, before violently erupting. Vermillion force cuts off of his fist, shockwaves rising from the earth with his motion. He meets her there, in the air. For a moment, there is no escape, the power of the 'Satsui no Hadou' choking off everything, leaving no room for anything but one cataclysmic fist. He meets her there, in the sky.
And then the power lashes against him.
The attack is imperfect, unhoned. For a moment, the cold strength of the murdering fist breaks, the hellfire flooding into the breach. The oni's fist breaks through the all-consuming black, spearing Akuma squarely in the face, a falling meteor's worth of force breaking his unceasingly violent crush of power. That one crack is enough--enough to knock the master of the fist from the sky, out of a blow intended to cut the oni in half. Instead of scattering her blood across the sky, the shotokan crashes back to earth in a flaming gout, his body trailing the flames of hell as he rolls away from the point of impact, absorbing just the barest edges of the impact force.
One hand grips the earth. This time, not to arrest his momentum, but in disbelief. With more of those quaking cuts across him from the hellfire's reaction with his hadou, his body bears the aftereffects for much longer than the flames persist. As he kneels, smoke trails from the back of his neck, mingling with the faint tide of vermillion force.
His Shouryuu.. imperfect? Akuma's growl is the scrape of a sword across the stone. "I should have known," the demon master remarks, slowly rising, tightening the rope bindings around his wrists. And this time, he doesn't even bother to spit out the blood running down his chin. He is displeased to find that he has trouble seeing the oni, but on some level, there is no surprise written on his expression. The hadou will not respond unless it is a warrior's absolute intention to kill. And with that meddling, cowardly Enma...
"I've underestimated you," Akuma decides at once.
"Now, you get thrown into the abyss."
It is an honest surprise for the oni to feel the impact, not of the blasphemer's fist against her flesh, but her own against his. It has been made very clear to her which of the two of them are superior in raw power. Though demon she may be in blood, the man before her is a demon in deeds. Perhaps, however, it is not mere strength that will determine this fight, but divine destiny. She cannot feel the overwhelming might of her lord's presence flowing through her, but his influence may be present in other ways.
Whatever the case, she does not squander the opportunity that has been presented. The ferocity of her warcry intensifies and she drives the flaming fist down into that horrid face full of hate and malice. Hellfire erupts all around them, hungry and eager for the taste of a sinner's soul. It clings to Akuma as he falls to the earth, searing away at the boiling blackness sheathing him like a shield, but it is not enough to completely overwhelm the dark warrior and it slowly peters out into nothingness.
Riki hits the ground in a crouch, her fist digging into the earth to slow her fall. She bares her teeth in the wide grin of a fool who has just escaped certain demise and is completely aware of it, watching with satisfaction the look of incredulity that settles upon Akuma's weathered face for a brief moment.
"Tis not I that thou hast underestimated, mortal."
She rises back to her full height, hellish flames still dancing around her fists against the darkness of the evening. The flickering glow of crimson against her face casts her features in a new light, accentuating the sharp edges of her jawline and the deep ridge of her brows. Her eyes blaze with newfound spirit as faith in her purpose kindles something long forgotten.
"Tis my Lord that thou hast angered! I am but the messenger of his wrath. Fear not, however. Should ye wish to discuss the matter with him in person, ye shall have ample chance when I deliver thy wicked soul to his gates!"
Leaning back, the ogress lifts a single foot high into the air. She pauses dramatically, her grin growing more wild and fierce as a single bolt of thunder crashes down into the mountaintop behind her. With a yell that echoes the thunder in the air, she slams her heel down into the ground, putting every bit of weight and power she possesses behind the stomp.
The ground shudders and quails as titanic force flows into it, rocking the entire surface of the mountain with a miniature quake. The point of impact below her foot explodes, filling the air with dirt and stone, but the true threat lies beneath. A jagged crack rips forward along the plateau, its path erratic but true as it streaks towards the flame-haired warrior like a bolt of lightning.
COMBATSYS: Akuma dodges Riki's Earthshaker.
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Akuma 0/-------/--=====|===----\-------\0 Riki
The anger written across his face has always been there. Akuma does not shear to deference in the face of the apparent providence that the otherlife attempts to shill upon him. There is no discussion, no sign of compromise anywhere in his form, no matter how he bleeds. He crosses his arms, resolve girding his limbs as if holding up the mountainside. Slowly he flexes, willing power into every inch of lymph, every foot of blood. The hemp binding his hands sing with the tension, as he faces down the wild flaming denizen of Meido. His expression, derisive and vicious, slowly sharpens into focus. One hand open at his hip, and another closed at his shoulder. She declares her own truth.
"Your god's anger will fall before the might of my fist."
There is nothing reasonable about him.
His body is a patchwork of measurable injuries, but he shows no sign at all of fatigue. She moves against him, sending her tremendous weight and power into the earth like a thrown spear, ripping it open before him. The red crown of his hair swirls in the force of the lightning rent, the earth ripping open so fast and so large it threatens to suck the air from his lungs. But the master of the fist enters the wind stance. And then he is gone.
He moves at will, his absence like he never existed, and his passage like the gathering of the coming storm. He moves away from the juncture of the attack, shifting fluidly from the wind stance to the iron horse, the balls of his feet spearing the earth. When he does, it feels as if the entire mountain jumps. The air turns sour to the taste. For a time, he is the calm, a silent and endless blade of rage being unsheathed as he twists from the iron to the steel, cutting a single roundhouse into the air. The force of it cracks like thunder, and a wall of wind retreats from him. He kicks once, and is airborne, the cyclonic force built up in one kick being compounded by another. This time, the wind cuts against itself, the twinned forces clashing in time. The cyclone tightens around him, forming a cycle of whirling force.
An instant later, the mountain explodes.
Chunks of slate easily the size of whole houses rip from their moorings as Akuma unleashes a fragment of his full power, cutting through the previously rent earth with his whirling kick. The blades of dark force that emanate from his attack are enough to cripple the terrain and annihilate any sense or reason remaining in the battle. Prior sections of earth ravaged by Enma's displeasure are now ripped apart and thrown in every direction as the master of the fist shears through the mountainside, flaying blades of energy cast wantonly from the chaotic whirl lashing against the angry skies, and causing even the clouds to twist. It is an attack far beyond the Hadou of earlier, an unforgiving, whirling blade of dark that shears the top from the mountain, and throws tons of earth and rock rolling into the abyss below. With this, an expression of strength, the demon of fists makes his derision absolutely clear.
Absolute desecration. There will be nothing left.
"Wrath... destiny... it will all evaporate!! Tell your king that there is no equal on this world or the next against the true power of killing intent!!!! Be crippled and cast back into the pitch black!!"
COMBATSYS: Riki endures Akuma's Tenshou Kaireki Jin but gets knocked away!
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ]
Akuma 0/-------/------=|=======\======-\1 Riki
To believe that a mortal, no matter how twisted and powerful, could stand against the purity of purpose and existence that is a god is folly on a level that Riki cannot even begin to comprehend. She has heard people spite the gods before, heard them curse their names out of misguided fear and anger, but to repeatedly spit directly into their face in the presence of a divine herald? Madness.
But it is the madness of a man who defies the normal conventions, possessing power and focus beyond that of any mortal she has ever seen before. The mere presence of his spirit causes the air to ooze and squirm as if it were a palpable oily substance, raw emotion given physical form that spills from Akuma's tanned flesh in waves. She realizes with a growing sense of dread that the might he had displayed until now has been but a tiny portion of the power lurking within his corrupted soul.
She staggers at the sheer speed with which the warrior moves and again when he unleashes the ferocious power of his whirling kick. The air whips to life with hurricane force, battering mountain and demon alike, mocking her pathetic display of strength only moments before. The oni's arms raise up to shield herself from the gale as the plateau begins to fall apart, ripped asunder and cast about like flotsam caught in an unnatural tornado. She struggles against that power, digging her feet into the earth for purchase lest she become yet another bit of debris to be smashed and tossed about, but for all her efforts even the side-effects of the violent outburst prove almost too much for her to handle.
When the buzzsaw of death and destruction finally reaches her properly, there is no question as to what the outcome can be. Akuma's hadou-wreathed kick shatters the very earth upon which the demon stands, slicing at her flesh with blades of power and stone in a violent explosion. Knowing that the end has come upon her, Riki faces her destruction with the same ferocious grin. She might not win this fight but the point has been made - his damned soul has been marked and the gods are watching.
Even as the explosion strikes her in the chest, Riki draws her fist back for one final bit of spite. Hellfire crackles around her hand, fluttering like a candle struggling to stay alight in the midst of a hurricane, but standing strong against the odds. With a roar, she drives her fist forward into the earth at her feet at the very moment in which Akuma draws within range. The earth explodes under the onslaught of hellish kick and punch, sending the towering ogre sailing towards the edge of the shattered mountain to fall into the darkness - but she leaves with the parting gift of a volcanic eruption straight from the maw of Hell itself.
COMBATSYS: Riki can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Akuma dodges Riki's Gates of Hell.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
The world tumbles into the abyss.
Massive boulders cut out of the rock slam into the mountainside, shattering trees and causing great curtains of water to spray high into the air where they land. Twisted by the cutting winds and anger of lords made manifest, dust rises and churns, the dust of atomized clay turning the rain red for miles around.
It is a rain of anger, of spite.
To say the remnants of the battle occur on the ground is something of a misnomer. The moment Akuma launched into the great plowing blade, the earth erupted, and the entirety of the world's construct was torn down. Now, the last few seconds of the conflict take place on an island, free-falling into the forests at the foot of the mountains. To her own merit, the oni stands her ground, regardless of whether or not that ground is connected to the earth. Consequently, the agonizing fires of hell and the cold, dark cutting winds of hadou have cause to collide in equal measure. But against a force that could scrub a forest from the earth, the flames of hell find themselves facing a tidal wave of chaos.
There is reason in punishment, there is reason in the justice that even the sickening depths of Hell represent. Preserving a balance--the divine establishment built by the kings ruling over the afterlife, one of whom is the very steward the wild oni serves. But there is no reason in battle, and the loss of life. That is what the Satsui no Hadou represents. And against the fires of Hell, and against the herald of Enma'ou, the pillar of establishment stands tall for those who wish to break it down.
It is the fires of Hell that keep Akuma from cleaving the oni in half in one kick. Before he can reach her in totality, the wellsprings of force and flame push her just beyond the ultimately lethal corona of his strength, centimeters becoming as miles. Though his tumult is rending, tearing, agonizing, the slightest lapse makes it less than lethal. The master of the fist's focus turns away from the chained titaness for just one moment, and the Satsui no Hadou in turn surges elsewhere. In that moment, the demon understands. Riki is not going to die by his hand today. As the powers clash against eachother on the airborne rock, Akuma lands from his spinning kick on the careening, tumbling earth, the momentum bleeding from his body in a carefully practiced martial form.
"Pushing me this far," the master of the fist growls, "to kill you when you are chained means nothing..."
He raises a fist.
"...when I can just kill your jailor and fight you at your strongest!!!"
With a primal roar, the shotokan sledge drives his fist into the freefalling earth. At the epicenter, flaming lines extend out from all points of his blow, carving the strength of heaven out in cold flame. In an instant, there is nothing left for the eruption to contest, hellfire twisting together with pure killing intention, turning the whole spire into nothing more than a trailing meteor as the force of his blow imparts to it. When it impacts, it leaves nothing left. It is buried in tons of rubble over the space of moments.
The blood red rain continues on for some hours thereafter.
COMBATSYS: Akuma has ended the fight here.
Log created on 01:59:54 08/08/2016 by Riki, and last modified on 05:50:34 08/11/2016.