Mortal Kombat - MK Round 1: Honoka vs Sergei

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Description: SHANG TSUNG: "Ah. There is someone here with great interests in our grand tournament, and the Kombat that defines it. SCARLET DAHLIA, please let me be the first to introduce you to the considerable release of Kombat. You'll be fighting the military operative SERGEI DRAGUNOV. You may use the top of the tower for your battle. It should be an .. able grounds to redefine yourselves."

The Scarlet Dahlia stands looking out through one of the many apertures in the room, her styled hair tousled lightly by the acrid breeze from the Wastes below. She surveys the corrupted island, from the creeping death of the Living Forest to the mountain side that hosts Shang Tsung's Palace. The creeping presence of death is an assault on the senses, from the foul scent of the air, to the ruddy color palette that smacks of blood, to the indeterminate, omnipresent wailing. Even the taste of the air is foul.

Not the best vacation spot, to say the least.

And yet, the elevation has a way of allowing the Ainu woman to compartmentalize the vast expanses of the forest and the wastes into fixed, manageable quantities. From this high vantage point, the Dahlia can remind herself that the salt of the sea and the waves crashing on the shore act as a cleansing barrier, confining the expanse of the fel influence to the island itself.

It reminds her of a time not so long ago, when her unbound hair blew freely about in the salt breeze of the ocean. Looking out from the crow's nest of a fishing boat, she could see the former lands of the Ainu in all their commercialized glory. There, though... the corruption came not from within, but from without -- a creeping influence again held at bay by the purifying waters.

Then, she had clung to the mast in outright fear of the heights, terrified at the rocking of the ship to and fro.
Now, here, she stands confidently in the midst of a growing storm.

Before, she had been clad in clothes in the style of her Ainu ancestry.
Now, she is clad in the regal finery of a Chinese dynasty. Brilliant red silk with an intricate pattern in golden thread is the material for a long cheongsam-style dress and a matching long-sleeved jacket, tailored expertly for the lithe form of the Scarlet Dahlia. A honey-hued sash is slung about her hips, patterned in the moreu and ayusi patterns of the Ainu culture. Upon the sash hangs a very distinct three-sectioned staff, collapsed into its component two-foot-long segments for ease of motion. Less obvious, upon her right hip, is a whorl-shaped gemstone of sorts. Roughly the size of her palm and decorated with the same spiral moreu pattern as her sash, the gemstone has a faint yellow glow to it.

The Scarlet Dahlia has had plenty of time to make a careful examination of the room, from the weather-ravaged tomes of eldritch knowledge, to the curious holes arranged in the midst of the fighting pit, to the even more curious drainage system. She was tempted to read some of the tomes, to be sure -- but not by herself. Not without a guard present.
There are some things even the yakuza strategist does not dare to accomplish by herself.

For now, though, she is content to bide her time. There are very few foes who would be able to sneak up on her without advance notice. And if someone -were- able to elude her second sight, chances are that eyesight itself would serve her no better. No -- the Dahlia had received notice that Kombat was to proceed at this location.
She is prepared.

COMBATSYS: Honoka has started a fight here.

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Honoka           0/-------/-======|

It was time for Sergei's first battle. The Spetsnaz quietly crept up the old tower. He was walking into a battle to the death. He carefully crept up the stone staircase. He made it to the fight's location. There waited his opponent. The woman looked Chukchi, but he was not given a proper briefing and could not be sure. Knowing that he could not ambush her, he walked towards her.

He was silent, focused, and calm. He was walking into battle, and he would act just as he was trained to. He walked towards her coldly, not bothering to hide his presence. Once in-front of her, with no formal greeting of any sort, he swung his boot to her hip. He was not going to afford her any advantage, he was going to kill her.

COMBATSYS: Sergei has joined the fight here.

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Honoka           0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0           Sergei

COMBATSYS: Honoka blocks Sergei's Light Kick.

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Honoka           0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0           Sergei

The White Angel may be stepping quietly, but the sensation of his presence is not lost upon the Ainu staring out upon the distance. He may not be able to tell from his vantage point, but the woman closes her eyes, focusing her awareness upon the presence on the far reaches of her periphery.

The mental state of a trained assassin is what she finds. The Shadow Advisor of the Akatsuki has her fair share of experience in dealing with thugs and low-lifes -- those are low-grade criminals. The kind who only use death as a threat -- the kind who never follow through with it. This man is serious business.

The Crimson Dahlia turns around briskly, the flames casting her stony expression into severe relief. Dragunov may be able to recognize the look -- in regards to the art of murder, her look is one of an experienced killer, not some helpless waif like her age and figure suggest.
In the same fluid motion, her right hand crosses from her left hip, pulling the chain of her three-sectioned staff taut with the light jangle of flames. Her face may resemble those of the Chukchi people, but her mannerisms are far from humble.

No greeting? The swift commencement of battle does manage to draw a faint smirk from the Shadow Advisor, but more importantly, it brings that three-sectioned staff to bear. Left hand drops, right hand raises; Sergei will feel the tension of the chain and its encapsulating staff section upon the laces of his boot. His steel-toed combat boot will impact her ribcage nonetheless, but the momentum is diminished significantly.

Wincing, the Shadow Advisor steps back, pivoting slightly to put a bit of distance between her and her opponent. "I can tell you're a man of action," she notes with a wry grin. "I like that."

She does not, however, step back too far.
For one -- the gemstone on her hip flares with a brillant yellow light, suffusing all throughout her body and notching that grin up to a full-on -smile-.
For a second -- her right hand lets go of the staff, as that yellow energy spills up through her hand, and begins forming a double helix of ribbons.

Third -- as the ribbons form themselves into a spinning cone shape, she lurches forward aiming to bore into Sergei as hard as she can, quite possibly slamming him downwards into the sand of the fighting pit.

COMBATSYS: Honoka equips a glimmering Honey Yellow Soul Shard.

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Honoka [E]       0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0           Sergei

COMBATSYS: Sergei auto-guards Honoka's Sarak Kamui.

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Honoka [E]       0/-------/--=====|-------\-------\0           Sergei

As the great wooden staff's swings come at Sergei. Just as they are about to hit him, he smacks it away from him. It leaves great gashes in the stone. The Russian would take of care of this vicious little girl.

He enclosed on her with vicious intent. He brought down a hand chop across her ribcage, which would be followed by a body blow, and then an uppercut to end the onslaught. Dragunov was remaining cold and calculated. He would end this woman, she would not even hope to withstand his brutality.

COMBATSYS: Honoka just-defends Sergei's Death's Door!

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Honoka [E]       0/-------/--=====|-------\-------\0           Sergei

The Scarlet Dahlia had, unfortunately, been using the three-sectioned staff as a counterweight for her committed psychic attack -- having it knocked out aside forces the woman to change her plans for a followup. She throws herself into a sideways cartwheel, twirling the staff around her finger as the Spetsnaz officer bludgeons the staff's metal tip into the stone floor. When her feet land once again, the woman reasserts her grip on the staff, popping the release to separate the three sections from one another.

The yellow ribbons of psychic power wrap snugly about her right hand, no longer resembling a perfect cone so much as a glowing glove of honeyed sunlight. She smirks back -- the assassin's intentions are certainly not left to doubt in this fight. In two simple exchanges she has learned a great deal about her opponent.

But the Scarlet Dahlia's memory goes back further than a few seconds - to the King of Fighters tournament, and even further. There was his involvement in the Great Wall of China. The HitBit dust-up in the Pao Pao Cafe. His encounters with his teammates, also opponents of the Dahlia's: Daniel "Jack" Little and Lt. Lita Luwanda.
Plans begin to take shape.

The sectional staff whistles into motion. The way the Scarlet Dahlia wields the weapon, it can behave either as a bo staff or as a set of long-reach nunchaku. In the case of the vicious assault from the Spetsnaz agent, nunchaku prove most effective. The loose end of the staff whips about to knock the agent's chopping hand away. The Dahlia lets momentum do the work there as she stiffarms her left hand downward, grunting with exertion as she's forced to bunny-hop backward to keep the considerably stronger agent from overpowering her.

But when he advances to deliver an uppercut at her jaw, and the momentum of the sanjiegun is of no use to her?
With her right hand snapping open, the Dahlia catches the uppercutting fist with her glowing palm, proving that her true strength is not physical in nature, but of an internal energy. Another, louder grunt escapes her lips as she violently shoves the fist to the side, the golden energy shrouding her hand shattering as a glass vase hitting a concrete floor might. The feat was a series of fortunate circumstances -- ones that appear to have worked out in her favor.

"Curious. You dance willingly to the beat of another."

She smiles, shaking her numbed hand as she paces backwards, her hips and shoulders rocking to a beat of their own as the music in her mind fills the stillborn air in the tower.

"The perfect... toy soldier. Unyielding... unthinking... unfeeling."

The sanjiegun whistles about, and her right palm snatches the loose end out of the air. Uncoiling like a snake, landing softly into the Dahlia's right palm. And with a mild pivot, the Shadow Advisor shifts her weight to her right foot, whipping the sanjiegun around for an -outer- strike in a surprising burst of speed. The leading edge of the sectioned staves will carve downwards sharply with bone-crushing force into Dragonov's left knee.

"What a tragic waste of talent!"

COMBATSYS: Honoka successfully hits Sergei with Large Thrown Object.

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Honoka [E]       0/-------/--=====|==-----\-------\0           Sergei

Sergei's knee was stuck by the quick whip of the staff. This fight was not going anywhere. Sergei had to look deeply at this woman to make progress. He stepped back and started to break her down.

Firstly her voice sounded Japaneses. From her facial features he concluded she was likely Ainu. He accent seemed off, an artificial or simply formal tone. She was wearing a disguise, and a very good one at that. From what he has been experiencing, she was also likely psychic. Albeit, far less inhuman and mind fleeming.

Her choice of weapon also seemed odd, as she could have easily brought a baseball bat that would have served just was well. The weapon was likely chosen for it's exotic unpredictably. Thus, Sergei would simply have to be prepared for the unpredictable.

COMBATSYS: Sergei focuses on his next action.

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Honoka [E]       0/-------/--=====|==-----\-------\0           Sergei

One swift tug from the Scarlet Dahlia draws the three-sectioned staff back to her grip. A rigid longstaff or baseball bat would certainly be a match for the damaging potential of the "coiling dragon staff" weapon, popularly attributed to the first Emperor of the Song Dynasty. The true strength of the weapon, though, rests not in its power but in its versatility: a simple snap of the Dahlia's wrist coils the staff back into a compact shape, all three of the sections folding against one another -- the long weapon effectively becoming a short, triple-thickness baton. As her slender fingers curl around the three sections, she gestures towards the soldier with a mildly didactic tone.

"A lesser man may have struck back wildly in retaliation. But no, your keen and analytical mind insists on figuring out my strategy."

Back home, the Scarlet Dahlia is a leader of men. Her elegance is communicated in the highly ordered look of her appearance -- her thin-framed eyeglasses, her impeccable coiffure, her regal poise. Every step she takes towards the side of the room exudes confidence, in the face of an assassin that she knows has the capability to end her life in the blink of an eye.

"You have undergone many years of training, and are able to block out the honeyed words of politicians, the plaintive whining of desperate citizens... the pained pleas of the guilty about to take their last breaths. The potential of murder is never further than a hair's breadth away..."

As her heel clicks down onto the stone around the perimeter of the pit, the Ainu woman allows the sanjiegun to uncoil. Once more, the two-foot weapon becomes a six-foot flail, but this time, she's holding the center piece. As the two loose ends of the sanjiegun whistle into motion, it becomes clear that she is providing a counterpoint to her own words -- proving that the long reach of the weapon is -keeping- her evenly-matched adversary at range, rather than providing him the proximity he desires to make the kill. A twisting wrist allows the sanjiegun to describe two circles -- one in front of her, and one behind her -- as she keeps the weapon behind her. The threat is clear -- despite its rearward position, the Dahlia has proven that the weapon can be brought to bear in an instant.

The Dahlia believes that her open left hand is sufficient defense. Her skin still glistens with the a faint golden sheen -- a sign of the power unleashed by the mysterious glowing gemstone upon her sash. Her form flickers with light, traces of orange fire meandering organically upon her silken garment, traces of gold chiseling out the geometric patterns of her Ainu sash.

But perhaps the energies of the gemstone are muted next to the brilliant crimson flames of the many torches stationed around the room. The Dahlia has approached one in particular -- in fact, she had added some fuel to it just before the Spetsnaz's arrival. The flickering torchlight illuminates the faint sheen of perspiration upon her cheek and brow.

"But what have you learned since we came here? Have you discovered the mysteries of this island?"

The Scarlet Dahlia spins rapidly in place. With a series of hollow *thock* sounds, a half-dozen sticks and twigs are violently uprooted from the torch. Moments later, the sticks make another series of sounds as they land upon the floor. Six sticks -- six miniature hearths distributed in roughly equivalent distance from the Dahlia, now backlit by the flames.

With constant, rhythmic flicking of her right wrist, the sanjeigun whistles around behind her. From the front, the elegant Yakuza Advisor is the symbol of radiant beauty -- a lithe figure draped in Chinese silk, her skin a faint golden color to mimic the glow of her gemstone and sash. Her left hand stays outstretched in an open, beckoning gesture -- one finger delicately beckoning Sergei to approach her.

From behind her, the scattered flames scurry about in the wake of the sanjiegun's whirling arcs. The flames take on the form of a flower.
A scarlet dahlia, surrounded by six flaming pyres.

"Show me what you have discovered..." suggests the Dahlia with a mild smile. "Or will you, too, fall prey to the will of the Emperor?"

COMBATSYS: Honoka issues a challenge!!

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Honoka [E]       0/-------/--=====|==-----\-------\0           Sergei

COMBATSYS: Honoka focuses on her next action.

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Honoka [E]       0/-------/--=====|==-----\-------\0           Sergei

The two fighters were staring down each other. The lady makes observations of the Russian, he almost takes them as compliments. She makes herself a presence, and makes a show of the lights. In the show of her power and flame, Sergei sees an opportunity, a challenge. It was meager compared to others he has faced.

His medal of heroism lights up as starts his move. As the light shines the Spetsnaz moves down into a tackle. He was going to force that Ainu actress to the ground. Then he would unleash a brutal beating on her face! Fists pounding on her decorated face. Her chest crushed by the weight of such a brutal force. Ignoring her honeyed voice if it cried out for mercy.

COMBATSYS: Sergei equips a glimmering Canary Yellow Soul Shard.

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Honoka [E]       0/-------/--=====|==-----\-------\0       [E] Sergei

COMBATSYS: Sergei channels the veins of the burning blood.

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Honoka [E]       0/-------/--=====|=======\=------\1       [E] Sergei

COMBATSYS: Honoka channels the fortress of the steel will.

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Honoka [E]       0/-------/--=====|-------\-------\0       [E] Sergei

COMBATSYS: Sergei successfully hits Honoka with Iron Curtain.

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Honoka [E]       1/---====/=======|==-----\-------\0       [E] Sergei

The Dahlia's trailing hand keeps whirling the sanjiegun behind her, a wheel of vermilion flames casting her lithe form into stark silhouette. The Akatsuki advisor continues to flash that tempting smile at Sergei -- a calculated gesture aimed at beckoning him forward into action -- into a trap of her own choosing. Firelight flickers faintly upon her features as she holds her position, waiting...

Once that medal of heroism lights up though, her beckoning hand clamps shut into a fist. In immediate response, the jeweled gemstone upon her right hip flares with its own glow, energy twirling out of it like a whirlpool in reverse. Whereas the Spetsnaz is all about direct and impactful strikes, the Crimson Dahlia tends to treat everything as circular patterns -- hazy, indirect, and difficult to plot out.

When the Russian agent charges forward, the Dahlia makes only the slightest move to step back out of his way, loathe to yield any ground to him. To her credit -- the Yakuza advisor does not turn away from the attack. The sanjiegun blossom collapses with a clack of wood and chain. Her shoulders rock backward from the attack, her limber frame falling to the ground. The bigger they are, the harder they fall -- and the Dahlia is not very big at all.

Nor is she the callow weakling that she may seem to be at first inspection. The first strike to her face lands clean, her foundation leaving smudges of dust on Dragunov's gloves. Each successive blow, though, benefits from the advance warning: a small whorl of honeyed energy rushes in to mitigate the attack, dampening the blows from the Spetsnaz's fists. For someone so slender, it seems like she should be snapped in two...
Her only cry is that forced from her lungs by the pressure of Dragunov landing atop them.

The Crimson Dahlia is full of surprises, though. Even as blood sprays from her nose and dribbles from her lips, the Akatsuki advisor finds it in her heart to smile.
He wants to kill her -- this much is obvious.
And he's landed right within her trap -- placed himself within range of her deadliest strikes.

The six flames positioned around her begin to flare with a fuschia rage -- a veritable storm of psychic energy, making ascertaining -exactly- what the Dahlia is up to more difficult to see. In fact -- only one thing is certain:
The Dahlia is aiming to crack the three rods of the sanjiegun in a scything strike across the Spetsnaz's forehead.

COMBATSYS: Honoka successfully hits Sergei with Seta-pagoat.

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Honoka [E]       1/-======/=======|======-\-------\0       [E] Sergei

The return stroke of her left hand is altogether different, however -- instantly after impact, she reverses direction, unfurling the three-sectioned staff into the air. With a clack of wood, the sanjiegun quickly circumnavigates Sergei's arm, pinning him in place.
The followup strike would see the Dahlia driving her knee into the man's groin -- twice in rapid succession.
Only then would she slam her open left palm into his sternum, releasing her sanjiegun's hold upon his arm. From her palm erupts a torrent of psychic energy, powerful enough to leave the distinct impression of white-hot flames searing him straight through to the core -- to say nothing of the concussive blast that would be strong enough to knock him off of her, ensuring she's no longer trapped beneath the Spetsnaz.

Rising to her feet, she wipes her nose upon the back of her hand. "It's a shame. I had hoped you could be reasoned with..."

Sergei was caught by the sanjiegun. He found himself pulled away, and felt the girl's savage assault. She kneed his crotch twice in quick succession, but the soldier's face remained unmoved. But when the flames came, he remembered. He recalled the King of Fighters tournament, and the thing he went up against.

Sergei was sent back across the floor. He still felt the heat of her fire. Coming back to his feet quickly, he saw the woman had begun to get back up. Keeping the pressure on, Sergei went forward. Her words had no effect on Dragunov, as he prepared to attack. As he closed in, he sent a fight hook to the side of the woman's head.

COMBATSYS: Sergei successfully hits Honoka with Fierce Punch.

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Honoka [E]       1/-======/=======|=======\-------\0       [E] Sergei

The searing flames continue to whirl around the Spetsnaz and the Dahlia as they rise to their respective feet, as if they were in the eye of a spectral storm. The gemstone at her hip is no longer providing its direct assistance, though its effects linger still as a light halo-like aura around the yakuza advisor.

The Russian has definitely left some marks upon the woman, if the discoloration of her cheeks and brows is any indication. If not for the adrenaline coursing through her veins, she might find the wounds as more than a dull pain to be shoved out of her mind.
Her opponent's laconic lack of response is not lost upon her -- nor is a verbal response really necessary. She's completed her analysis of the assasin, after all -- a brutal killer, who sees no need to dwell upon that which might not concern him. Her words were barbed with a double meaning, which might have offended the man if he were -not- already predisposed to murder, if he were -not- a killer who follows his orders blindly. But no -- there is no hesitation in his rebuttal -- just cold, unfeeling precision.

Insight into the mind of the opponent, however, does not equate to an ability to deal with it. The sanjiegun is whirled about in her hand, but the momentum of the complex weapon requires a great deal of advance planning -- as such, its position is the diametric opposite of where it needs to be when the hook swings in towards her left temple. Irritation flashes across the woman's face, right before the fist collides with it, jarring her violently to the side. She staggers, the sanjiegun flashing to her left as she's forced to use the heft of the weapon as a counterbalance.

Indeed -- as tears come to the eyes of the battered Dahlia, she glares back at the man. The sanjiegun is flipped behind her back, and transferred to the grip of her right hand in the process. The motion is not simply for show, however -- she transfers her rotational inertia into a side flip, kicking a cylindrical rift through the rushing wall of magenta flames.

The wake of the flames, though, seems to be rushing to the aid of the Akatsuki advisor. As she rights herself, the sanjiegun is now held by its center, twirled about as the Dahlia extends her right hand towards Sergei. The wall lessens in intensity, as the energies swirl into a rough toroid shape centered upon her palm and the spinning sanjiegun. The Dahlia's bloodied and bruised face curls into a scowl, as a distinct five-pointed star pattern emerges in the center of the sanjiegun's orbit, fueled by the flames as they adopt a more distinct hue of salmon.

The Dahlia's scowl turns into a howl of rage -- frustration at her performance, and anger at the relentless killer before her. As the entirety of the pink energy ebbs away from the flames of the six smaller pyres, the torus shape resolves into a cylinder of concentrated psychic energy -- a column that rushes out to slam into Sergei with the force of a charging bull -- and quite possibly forcing him to stumble -into- the dispersed flames if not careful. "HRAAAAAAAAOH!"

COMBATSYS: Honoka successfully hits Sergei with Nochiu-o Kando.
* Attack Of Opportunity! *

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Honoka [E]       1/------=/=======|=======\====---\1       [E] Sergei

Sergei's strike sent the girl down to tears. Her flashy impractical weaponry playing against her. Then she wails like a petulant child before him. Sergei readied himself to finish his foe, when the room turned pink in color. Sergei quickly faced toward the column of force a tried to brace himself.

He failed, and was tossed into the flames. Most would react, to being set on fire, perhaps a scream of pain and agony. But the fires were little to worry to Dragunov. He knew pain, he knew beyond pain. He neatly patted out the fires and moved towards his foe. His body as being beaten, bloodied, burned, and bruised, yet he kept moving forwards. He needed to end this insolent girl while he could. And he was going to break every bone that he could.

The Russian rushed in with a knee to appendix. It would would be followed by a seizing her head and shattering her sternum. Bringing up his leg, he would swing it over here arm and twist her to the ground. Then hold her down with his boots crushing her neck, the arm would be twisted back the other way. The girl would be left on the ground, withering with her broken bones.

COMBATSYS: Sergei channels the strength of the killing fist.

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Honoka [E]       1/------=/=======|=======\====---\1       [E] Sergei

COMBATSYS: Honoka channels the fortress of the steel will.

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Honoka [E]       1/------=/=======|-------\-------\0       [E] Sergei

COMBATSYS: Sergei successfully hits Honoka with Pinpoint Fracture.
- Power hit! -

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Honoka [E]       1/------=/=======|-------\-------\0       [E] Sergei

Just as she thought it was over, Dragunov pulled out his pistol. The girl still had her kneecaps, so Dragunov corrected that. He unloaded his gun's magazine into her knees. All of them hollow points.

The Dahlia may be nearly a foot shorter than the arrogant Dragunov, but she is only a handful of years his junior. When she screams, it is not the cry of a spoiled brat who has been pampered in luxury, as her regal clothing suggests, but a loud, booming roar intended to bolster her body and mind for the upcoming onslaught. For, like Sergei, she knows what it takes to kill a man, and does not shy away from the task in the slightest.

The two loose staves of the sanjiegun fall limp, the soul-driven flames having been drawn into the column of energy. She staggers forward, her frame shuddering from the toll of kombat.

She smiles faintly as her concussive wave blasts into the Russian, the afterglow of its rose-colored hues dancing along the walls of the rooftop chamber. His scream may not be so loud as hers was, and indeed -- she gleans none of the enjoyment from torturing him as she would from a lesser foe. Her aim of tormenting the soldier will fall flat, as he is, in a word, immune.

The Scarlet Dahlia's teeth grind against one another as she begins walking towards him. The sanjiegun whistles as she returns it to her side, spinning it into motion once more. A bloody incision scars her temple, bruises mar her face -- and yet, she continues walking forward, unwilling to take any action which does not precipitate in ending the glorious Kombat as soon as possible.

When the knee rushes for her appendix, the Dahlia folds like a jacknife.
She is fazed, but undeterred.

And yet, the Spetsnaz agent continues onward, grabbing her by the head. She glares back at him, though of course her head is jerked downward to moot the issue. The gemstone at her hip flares bright once again -- and tendrils of yellow vines violently erupt forward, creeping up her arms and legs in the blink of an eye. The Akatsuki advisor is unwilling to simply -yield-.

Hands clamped around her head. A blow is directed into her sternum. The bone breaks -- but the honeyed yellow tendrils flare up, holding the ribcage together in spite. The Dahlia scowls in rage, unable to check her emotions as Dragunov unleashes an sequence of devastating attacks against her. Bones are broken -- countered only by the machinations of the soulshard at her hip working in her benefit, animating the vines to keep her from falling to pieces under the blistering assault.

Ribs are cracked, an arm is snapped, and the woman nearly falls unconscious from her constricted airflow.

The Shadow Advisor begins to crawl backwards, to rise to her feet. Two gunshots are fired, one after the other.
Perhaps a more honorable fighter would have thought the injury to be sheer insult.
The Akatsuki advisor finds herself agreeing with the decision made, even as she howls with agony and pitches forward. The hollowpoint bullets expand -- the tissue ravaged beyond immediate usability. The acrobat may never again cartwheel aside... Bones shatter, grisly blotches of blood painting the floor in their wake.

It all happens in a few blinks of an eye, but adrenaline has a way of blocking out the normal mechanisms which allow a human to properly recognize the passage of time.

Air hisses through the Dahlia's teeth as she sucks in her breath, leaning heavily onto her good arm -- the one not wrenched all to hell. The limb hinges shut, then extends slightly. Fingers flare out.

"You missed a spot."

The training of an acrobat is intense. Any one limb must be able to support the body, on demand, at any time.

An arm is broken, but its hand is not -- she clenches onto her sanjiegun tightly.
The acrobat suddenly twists her weight onto her good arm, throwing it all onto the pivot of her hand. Her feet may be dead weight, but they are a counterbalance all the same. She helicopters herself forward, slinging herself at Dragunov.

Time dilates. The motion takes forever -- he has an eternity to stop the desperate, clumsy attack. An eternity to get out of the way of her palm as it stretches out to him, seeking to plant her hand right upon his own sternum.
But if it lands -- she is more than powerful enough to lash the sanjiegun around his right leg, securing the hold. And her palm will erupt with the rage of a calamitous lightning bolt -- and an ear-splitting thunderclap -- as the pair crashes to the ground.

COMBATSYS: Sergei fails to counter Niwen Horobi from Honoka with Red Alert.

[                         \\\\\  <
Honoka [E]       1/-======/=======|

COMBATSYS: Sergei can no longer fight.

[                         \\\\\  <
Honoka [E]       1/-======/=======|

Sergei watched as the broken body moves still. Not only did she move, she swung speedily around and launched herself. Specks of blood whirl around the room as the flailing acrobatic girl span towards him. He watched her trajectory very carefully. Time seemed to slowdown for him. As her hand approaches his sternum he reaches out to grab it.

But his focus was not for the sanjiegun aimed for his leg. His balance was broken, and the ear slitting force drove him to the ground. He felt his heart weaken to barely beating, his leg twisted asunder. But the Russian still would not just roll over and die. Sergei couldn't get up, couldn't stand up. The two fighters were stuck on the ground. Dragunov pulled out his gun, and fumbled with numb hands to load one last clip.

With his shaking arm, he went to point the barrel down at the mass of blood stained cloth...

By inflicting grievous wounds upon the Dahlia's limbs, Sergei Dragunov was able to curtail her damage potential. The talented acrobat would not be able to cartwheel with broken knees. The mistress of the sanjiegun would not be able to wield the weapon properly with a disabled arm. It was a brilliant strategy -- and one that would end with the leveraging of a sidearm rather than physical strength.

It would have made an excellent gambit, were the Akatsuki Advisor truly as defenseless as she appeared. Her knees are a shambles, her arm twisted to the point of nigh unusability. She should be in considerable, possibly even -fatal- pain from the internal injuries dealt to her. The only trump card in the Ainu woman's favor is the tendrils of honeyed yellow twined about her form, pulsing with every heartbeat to allow her to keep from falling to pieces.

tAnd yet, as the sidearm is brought to bear upon the woman...
The broken Ainu advisor smiles in return.

The pace of the flickering flames surrounding the two slows to a crawl. With Sergei's increased focus on the yellow-tinged Dahlia, the rest of the room may seem to fade to a muted gray, with the lightest hint of salmon hue... a sniper would know the sensation well, as one must delay the heartbeat in order to take the steadiest killing shot.

Only the bloodied Dahlia is in focus. And the condescending bitch is smiling.

In the molasses of dilated time, she rises to her feet. Like Sergei, her motions are slowed -- but she appears to move slightly faster than him, as if her gory wounds were merely makeup applications -- a stage performance put on for Sergei's benefit. She is as fit and vigorous as she was upon the initiation of battle.
And the condescending bitch is laughing at him.

Two words filter in as a rasping whisper upon the winds. Their speaker is distant -- and yet the words are clear.

The fires rage around Sergei. But in his fervent desire to keep the gun pointed at the Dahlia, he might not realize that the tower walls are gone.
Somehow, against all sense of continuity, Sergei Dragnuov is in Moscow. struggling to obtain his aim while collapsed on the Big Bridge Moskva.
And remotely in the background, the Kremlin is engulfed in flames.

Sergei has seen this view dozens of times before, but never has it been so thoroughly immersed in kombat. Hordes of Outworlders reave death and destruction down upon the noble capital of Russia, their gleaming metal armor scintillating in the twilight skyline, choked with smoke and fire. Crude blades slice through hapless citizens as if they were made of butter. Blood runs like rivers through the streets.

The Dahlia turns her back to Sergei, her laughter echoing back to him. Ravenblack hair unbound and fluttering in the breeze as embers of ash and fire dance around her, adrift in the rising air currents from the flames below.
She would be an easy kill, if Sergei's limbs were not so... encumbered. He moves as if entombed in an industrial-sized vat of molasses -- the simple act of rising to his feet one that is appearing to take a lifetime.
And even worse -- the luxury of time dilation may allow the White Angel of Death to recognize how -tattered- his perfectly pristine uniform has become. The sleeves are a tattered mess. The elbows and forearms are threadbare, evidence of the tussles against the rough-hewn stone floor.

"You did not heed my warning."
The woman is facing away from him, speaking into the chaotic conflagration raging before her. And yet her voice is as crystal-clear as if she was speaking directly into the soldier's ear. Her voice drips with malice, with scorn.

"You," she emphasizes once again, "are a -soldier-." She pauses, deliberately, her attention focused upon the raging flames of the Kremlin in the distance. "Marching to the beat of a master. But as long as -you- sought to kill me without remorse... your master was not Mother Russia. Your master was not General Zima."

One of the Dahlia's arms hangs limply at her side. The other lifts upward. Fingers sift through the tendrils of shoulder-length ravenblack hair.

"Did you honestly think =yourself= to be the master of your own destiny?"
Her shattered knees -- which, unbelievably, have been completely restored. She may live again -- but one hollowpoint directly to the back would permantly seal her fate and bring an end to the bitter monologue. But the hands move with ponderously sluggishness. The solution is so close, and yet, the sluggish limbs make it obvious that she will end him -- there is little doubt of that.

"With nothing but murder in one's eyes, one becomes a simple puppet."

The hand holding the pistol suddenly jerks upwards, as if tugged by a string, no longer encumbered by molasses. The barrel of the pistol is instead pressed to Sergei's temple, his hand bound by strings reaching skyward into infinity.

And with a sudden jerk, Sergei's entire body is pulled upward to a standing position, his shoulders tugged upwards by similar strings while his head hangs loosely. His boots do not touch the floor of the Bridge, the toes suspended two centimeters too high.

Suspended by the strings of a marionette.

"This battle is not for the glory of /Mother Russia/." The scorn in her voice is evident -- the Ainu makes no attempt to hide her contempt for the nation. Like Japan, Russia also robbed the Ainu of their land -- and they, too, will pay the price if the Akatsuki Advisor gets her way.

"The fate of Earthrealm hangs in the balance here. You are not a mere soldier, you are an -officer-, prized for your -intelligence-."

The Dahlia wheels about on her feet, turning once more to face Sergei Dragunov. The wind from the motion buffets the marionette strings backwards, and he swings with them, helpless to the machinations.

"And you have allowed your bloodlust to guide you, not for the glory of Mother Russia, but for the passing whims of the Sorceror Shang Tsung."

The Dahlia raises her index finger to her temple, mimicking the pose of Sergei's gun to his own his.
"I have no further use for you."

In brutal and unforgiven violation of Sergei Dragunov's free will, the trigger is pulled.
The hollowpoint round condenses into a singular disc, its kinetic force applied to the dense lattice of neurons that comprises Sergei Dragunov's brain. Skull fragments erupt outward from the point of entry, along with a crimson mist of blood. To the Dahlia, the effect is nearly instantaneous, but to the time-dilated Sergei, he will get to see the cityscape of Moscow melting away in the blossoming flames of the pistol unloading the shell directly into his brain. Moscow will melt away -- betrayed by the intention of the killer.

Sergei's arm will fly in one direction from the recoil. His head will be slung off in the other, vertebrae cracking loose in the process. Even if his brain were not churned into pulp from the hollowpoint round, the spinal cord would have been snapped from the brutal transfer of momentum alone.

The body remains on the highest floor of this tower on Shang Tsung's Island -- for, in all actuality, it had never left. There were no strings.
And nor had the Dahlia's grievous wounds been mended -- for that had only occurred in the dreamspace transmitted from the tips of the Ainu tusukur's fingers, glowing a brilliant purple amidst the veins of amber brilliance.

The Dahlia exhales a breath, as the room falls silent, save for the gentle crackling of the torches dispersed throughout the room. She pushes herself up to a lopsided seating position, cognizant of her numbed limbs. She cracks her neck from one side to the other, still keeping her hand pointed at the Spetsnaz with the liquefied head. Her personal retinue of hired mercenaries would be along shortly to clean up -- she makes no particular effort to move till then.

Exhaling once more, she whispers -- unable to muster more volume due to her ravaged lungs.
"May your death prove more useful than your life."

COMBATSYS: Honoka recenters herself.

[                       \\\\\\\  <
Honoka [E]       1/=======/=======|

COMBATSYS: Honoka has ended the fight here.

Log created on 16:23:37 09/14/2016 by Honoka, and last modified on 19:03:28 09/25/2016.