Mortal Kombat - MK Round 2: Cassie Cage vs Ayame Ichijo

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Description: A driven Shrine Priestess seems hell bent on wresting some power from Cassie's dog tag soul shard, but the relentlessly hassled Special Ops squad leader has other ideas in mind.

While there is no question that the main figures of the events playing out across Shang Tsung's island are those who were invited, forcibly or otherwise, to participate in the Grand Tournament that would determine the future course of human history. But they were not the only ones occupying the lonely isle in the Lost Sea. Masked, faceless guards, and silent monks filled the roles of servants, security, observers, and helpstaff. While no one seemed completely certain, it stood to reason that those minions of Shang Tsung came with the sorcerer from Outland.

And then there were the others from the world of Earth that were on the island even if not part of the tournament. They served as witnesses to the events, allies for some, or thorns in the sides of others. For whatever reason, they were not destined to place their lives on the line in the grim kompetition playing out all across the island. These interlopers each presumably had their own agenda to pursue. In the shadows were Earthlings seeking to align themselves with Outworld, lured by the promises of wealth or simply wanting to hedge their bets that this tournament will end with a crushing defeat for Earth just like the previous nine. Shao Kahn had been patient in waiting for his final victory, and after one thousand years, that patience seemed likely to pay off.

But then there were others, their intents less clear. Among them, a priestess from Japan and her behemoth of a companion - each looked capable of holding their own in a fight, but thus far they had avoided the entirety of violence other than to watch the matches in more public venues like the palace arenas.

But here and now, one of those intruders free of the obligations of the tournament itself is on the move. This morning, she had stood in the quiet shrine nestled in the heart of Shang Tsung's palace, gazing upon the statues of the fallen there. One in particular captured her attention for some time - a figure of a swordswoman standing tall, her hand on the handle of the exquisitely carved weapon at her side. It was with a visible frown of disapproval that Ayame Ichijo had stared at the crafted memorial to one of Earth's own.

'Well.' she had muttered to herself. 'It looks like she no longer has a choice in the matter.' Did that make it easier? At least she doesn't have to carry the blame for whatever happens now...

It is now afternoon, the place is the ground floor on the towering edifice that lords over the Eastern peninsula of the island. What gods this chamber was built to honor is lost on her and her priorities are such that she can't spare the time to investigate it further. All she knows is that it's quiet here, and, as she's observed over the last hour in complete, lonesome silence, traffic through here is low.

She had hoped to avoid meddling in fighting on the island itself, but Aya Hazuki's death has forced her hand. She will fight the next person to pass through as long as they seem a viable target. More minutes tick by, the miko of the Meian Jinja staring into the elaborate array of ever burning candles beneath a glowing, stained glass pane of the ancient dragon symbol common throughout the island. Her left hand lightly grips a wooden staff a good foot longer than she is tall. Her clothing - a pristine white haori coat worn with a crimson, dress-like hakama is emblematic enough of her calling, even if it does mean she looks like she could have stepped right out of the nineteenth century looking that way!

This tournament was proving to be a special sort of Hell for Cassie Cage. If she made it out of here, she'd probably try to joke about it, saying that the worst part was that she'd had no cell phone reception on the island, just to avoid thinking about it, but the actual truth of the matter is that by stepping forward during that first big feast, she'd drawn a target on her back.

Cassie Cage was the first face to be declared a Champion of Earthrealm. Shang Tsung had attempted to end her life before the tournament had even started. Somehow the universe thought that Cassandra Cage was one of the greatest heroes of Earth, and she was pretty sure she wasn't even the best fighter with the name "Cage."

Her job coming out here had been to investigate a possible connection to the Outworld Threat, and she'd been given every means of communication to be able to keep Major Briggs in the loop, but none of it worked. She'd been forced to fight against some psychotic beast gone mad that had been conscripted against her will, and they'd wanted her the two of them to murder each other.

And now apparently she was being sent off to face another champion. All she'd been told is that she was going to have to fight here in this tower, out past a massive graveyard and the remains of what must have been a horrible battle.

If Shang Tsung got his way, this fight would add one more grave to the pile.

Making her way into the tower, Cage can feel the tension in the air... or maybe that's just how unnerved she is by this whole thing. Yeah, she was a soldier, but normally that involved shooting at some heavily armed militants, not being sent into a blood sport fight for a bunch of weird gods over the fate of the world.

"...Maybe I should I taken Johnny up on being in his movies after all."

There were on occasions sounds of others in the vicinity, though Ayame had yet to see any herself. Whispers, mumbles in the dark, and the shuffling sound of foot steps moving about. But every time she turned to look or closed her eyes to focus in an attempt to pin point the source, all evidence of company faded as abruptly as it appeared. It was a cycle she was growing used to - it was the nature of this blood bathed island sized arena, venue for one thousand years of gruesome, miserable violence.

But even as each incident of phantasm sounds proves to not bear out being someone she can actually attack, she is no less swift to whirl toward the latest arrival, the blonde's footsteps announcing her presence before her voice does sure to leave no doubt that this time, there is an actual person in the large chamber.

The patient miko looks Cassie over briefly without so much as offering a greeting, doing a quick analysis. Only two arms, so she's not a shokan. No mask concealing fangs, scales, or other inhuman attributes to be wary of. She isn't an immediately recognizable word champion that would be well outside of Ayame's striking range... Pretty likely a human being, though she is armed and her gear suggests paramilitary training at the very least...

Has she found herself the perfect target? Or is this kombatant out of her reach? There's only one way to find out.

"You will do." the strawberry-blonde miko declares toward the Special Forces matter of factly.

With a swift sweep of her staff, she extinguishes the candles behind her, pointing the weapon in Cassie's direction. "The confrontational nature of this island seems engineered to steer us along paths we would rather not explore. But that is where we find ourselves now."

Shifting her long weapon to her side, Ayame strides away from the candle stand as each wick flickers then ignites back to life behind her to maintain their glowing vigil, her path taking her in a somewhat circular path around Cassie, eyes on the armed young woman as she continues to scrutinized her.

"It is nothing personal, but I have a job to do."

She breaths in then exhales before finally coming to a stop, adopting a more rigid, rooted stance, both hands gripping her weapon now as she angles it in front of her at a defensive angle.

"And succeeding in it requires that I defeat you here and now."

Closing her eyes for only an instant, she centers herself, preparing to slip into the smooth, controlled staff dance she has doggedly mastered at the expense of a normal life.

"As I have no grievance with you, it behooves me to allow you to make the first move. But make no mistake," the girl's fingers shift along the rune-carved staff in her grip, her hands barely sticking out past her voluminous white sleeves, "There will be a fight one way or another."

COMBATSYS: Ayame has started a fight here.

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Ayame            0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Ayame seems to take no action.

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Ayame            0/-------/-------|

As the words hit her ears, Cassie's hands jerk back to her holsters, flicking the buttons holding them secured off before instantly jutting back forward to pull into a ready stance in case the voice's owner decided to go in for a sudden strike. Every muscle in her body feels the sudden surge of adrenaline as the fighting instincts kick into gear, drawing back the haze of weariness that living under constant stress on this island buried Cage under.

When the girl with the staff seems to be far more interested in the showy words and honorable official challenges type of thing, a bit of that tension draws back, and the Cage starts to come out.

"Well, if you're just going to wait for me to make the first move, then I could probably just stand around for awhile and just wait for you to get tired of squeezing the pole," Cassie actually lowers her guard as she talks, making a slow arc at a distance where she feels comfortable enough with her draw speed compared to the extended reach you opponent possesses.

"Although, I guess if what you want is a fight, I could make some sort of other suggestion. We might get lucky and find someone who has Smash back at the castle. Although I'm gonna force us to play with Pokeballs on, because for some reason I can't get my Pokemon Go on here."

There's a big show made of squinting to get a good look at the girl in the rather ornate clothing before she adds, "You look like a Peach..."

A few moments go by as Cassie waits for any hint of confusion or distraction before she shakes her head, "Yeah, you're not going to bite."

There's a faint half-laugh before Cassie goes off like a shot toward the other girl, still hoping to catch her in a moment of confusion after all that taunting and lunging to get in past whatever guard she might mount with a rather brutal tackle, aiming to take her to the ground, stradling her as she unloads a quick series of blows aimed for her face with both fists.

COMBATSYS: Cassie has joined the fight here.

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Ayame            0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0           Cassie

COMBATSYS: Cassie equips a twinkling Dusty Yellow Soul Shard.

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Ayame            0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0       [E] Cassie

COMBATSYS: Ayame equips a warm Dusty Yellow Soul Shard.

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Ayame [E]        0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0       [E] Cassie

COMBATSYS: Ayame instinctively blocks Cassie's Street Smart.

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Ayame [E]        0/-------/------=|==-----\-------\0       [E] Cassie

Cassie's first remark about simply waiting the girl out garner a rather flat look as Ayame breaths in and releases a longer, quiet sigh as if steeling her patience. Americans. They never give anything the reverence or decorum it deserves, do they. Still, she shifts her own posture slightly, keeping Cassie at the intended angle in front of her as the military prodigy begins her own pacing.

The priestess is equally impassive at the offer of a Smash match to resolve this confrontation in a more bloodless but likely not more peaceable option. "I would not mind if games alone could satisfy the demands we find ourselves under here..." A lowering of her shoulders as she seems to relax a little herself. The weapon in her hand requires that she not be overly tense - using its own length as a lever for force multiplying requires less brute strength than other weapons might.

"But we both know that is not how it works here."

Releasing her staff for a moment, she shakes her right arm and a small yellow object falls from within her sleeve into her palm - a glimmering, yellow gemstone carved into the shape of a small lantern hangs from a crimson cord. Deft fingers loop the cord around the red rope serving as a belt at her waist, leaving it to dangle against her hip. The girl glances at the small artifact - an inexplicable treasure she has spent a lot of time studying yet coming no closer to understanding in her time on the island. Even those who are not enlisted in the tournament put their lives at risk by being here - fortunately for them, whatever grace protects the rest seems to extend to those errant visitors as well. Her hand lowers, flicking the lantern once, and the artifice responds by glimmering with a amber light visible in the dim temple chamber.

Eyes back on Cassie, she smirks faintly at the idea of web based apps not being very functional there. "It is true that the end of days can be awfully inconvenient." A twist of her staff in her left hand has it snap back into place as her right hand joins it once more. "But I hope that you can function without 4G long enough for this to not be TOO easy." She slides her right foot forward, bracing further, preparing for the attack she's encouraged Cassie to make, eyes flashing with a certain interest in the moments ticking by.

It appears she will not be caught flat footed.

Cage closes in with the kind of direct, close quarters kombat she's known to excel with, but her target is no slouch. Everything seems to be going to plan as she collides with the slightly shorter fighter, taking her to the ground and bypassing the advantage of her reach all at the same time.

There would be a flash of a smirk, the look of someone getting exactly what they wanted even as her upper back crashes against the floor. Cassie was a kontestant, she couldn't be attacked arbitrarily. But if challenged, and if she answered the challenge with violence, well... That makes this a legal match. Never mind that her challenge was rather indirectly worded. Rules on this island seem to be focused very little on what is actually considered /fair/. Of course, she didn't know the young woman was sent here to fight someone in the first place... was it more string pulling by Shang Tsung or just happy coincidence? On her back with the dangerous fighter on top of her, the tackled girl really has more pressing concerns to worry about now that the fight has been joined in earnest. She managed to hold her staff over her head at the point of impact even thought that kept her from warding off the attack as well as she might have otherwise. At least it isn't trapped either beneath her, or beneath Cassie. In spite her predicament, the long haired, beribboned fighter reacts calmly the moment the first blow comes for her face, pulling her wooden weapon into the path of the lethal fighter's arm, using the shaft of it to push the intended strike up high such that it would miss her head all together.

Before the second blow comes, she retaliates, channeling her precision chi into her staff, a crimson aura flaring to life along the weapon. Cassie would have a split second respond before the energy congeals into a more focused, burning blast of blood red fire aiming to knock her away and leave the miko a chance to scramble free if possible. While not a stranger to combat at this range, it isn't really her forte as the choice if weapon would make painfully obvious!

COMBATSYS: Cassie dodges Ayame's Fall of the Mourning Star.

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Ayame [E]        0/-------/------=|==-----\-------\0       [E] Cassie

he weeks spent trapped on this island have certainly done a lot to put of strain on Cassie Cage's mental well-being, living with a target on your back on an island ruled by a gross old wizard dude with ties to an Emperor from another world tends to put a person in a heightened state of alertness.

Having to fight a four-armed cannibal sorceress is also a pretty hand way to get used to the idea of avoiding horrifying disfiguration by burning.

As the staff gets pointed at her with all of that energy being pointed at her like a loaded gun, she acts on pure instinct as she ducks back, curling into a roll that manages to give her a wide enough berth to avoid getting singed, as well as letting her fall back into a crouch with her feet beneath her.

"Whoa, nobody told me that flambe was going to be on the menu, I think I had enough of that the last time I had to fight one of you Outworld weirdos," Cassie taunts as she gets back up to her feet, "Although with that anime princess vibe, maybe you should give up on fighting for the bad guys and see if you can get a career posing for some of those nerd fetish sites instead."

Given that the last two people who'd tried to kill her had been most likely hand-picked to try to kill her for the other team, it made perfect sense that another one of the "Take Over The Earth" guys would be who she was supposed to fight out here in this tomb. With the cryptic bullshit that Shang Tsung kept putting out as he made his threats, it was no real surprise that Cage couldn't quick pick up the full picture here.

Aiming to get back in past the guard offered by that staff, Cassie jolts forward the instant she's fully on her feet again, lashing out with a sweeping hook aimed to take her dolled-up opponent along the jaw.

If she can keep up the offense, maybe she'll be lucky enough to make it hard for her to use that damn staff.

COMBATSYS: Cassie successfully hits Ayame with Back Punch.
- Power hit! -

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Ayame [E]        0/-------/---====|===----\-------\0       [E] Cassie

Rolling backward herself, Ayame is on her feet at about the same moment Cassie is, shifting her weapon back into position as she considers the speed with which her opponent's reflexes served her in escaping the nearly point blank blast. Well, if she had any question about the legitimacy of her opponent, she's seen enough now to know full well that she's fighting a serious threat. There aren't a lot of people she's ever considered beyond her striking range, but with the power of the gemstones in play, the normally confident fighter finds herself far less sure.

There's a twitch of an eyebrow at being called an Outworld weirdo but she doesn't speak to it directly, her mouth pressing into a thin line of mild irritation and slight confusion. She spares an instant to try and think through the accusation and association with the gauntlet of freaks that Cassie had fought her way through already but before she finally comes up with an attempt to clarify, the sharp talking soldier continues right along and at last the girl's poise breaks.

Teeth gritting, she slips her right hand from her staff, hand tightening, "Do you just like hearing yourself talk so much?! I guess I should not be surprised - typical American, making light of the emblems of cultures other than their own. Back home, I-"

Maybe it is working, drawing her out. She should know better - it was a technique she had employed herself once before, using words as weapons. Too late, she realizes she's taken the bait, eyes widening as Cassie bolts in again. Attempting to slip backward out of range of the blow, she is too slow to respond, to see the threat for what it truly was, and for her trouble, a thoroughly brain jarring blow to her jaw is delivered, sending the staff fighter reeling to the left, nearly lowing her balance and falling to the stone floor all together.

The sound of wood smacking against stone announce how she manages to keep from taking a fall all together as she catches herself a half second later, whipping back around with a backhanded sweep of her weapon as if to ward off the threat of an immediate follow up. Hissing, her right hand goes to her mouth, blood seeping between her fingers from the split lip she earned for her inattention, crimson drops splashing against her white coat.

Brown eyes flashing with a mixture of hurt and fury, she wipes her hand away. Now is hardly the time to worry about vanity. "Tch." Well, she did decide to attack someone who was chosen to fight for the fate of the entire planet... attitude aside, she should expect them to be tough. A glance down at the gemstone lantern at her side has her hesitate. This will be a first, an attempt to draw out the potential there - what Faustian bargain is she making by using this to her advantage? Sucking in her breath, it's resolved, a chance she has to take.

Reaching into her left sleeve, her right hand comes out with a small paper talisman between her fingers. Swinging it past the lantern, the gylph covered paper begins to burn with yellow flame as the girl flicks it into the air toward Cassie. Mid-air, the paper bursts into a small bolt of white and yellow flame that jets toward Cassie far faster than Ayame's initial toss. Should it connect, several white, ethereal chains of shaped chi would burst out of the point of impact and seek to secure the operative, constricting and rendering her an easier target for further attacks!

COMBATSYS: Ayame channels the glare of the vicious eye.

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Ayame [E]        0/-------/---====|===----\-------\0       [E] Cassie

COMBATSYS: Cassie just-defends Ayame's Binding of the Condemned Soul!

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Ayame [E]        0/-------/--=====|===----\-------\0       [E] Cassie

The Cage family style, as it might be called, really is one of the most effective means of putting the opposition on edge. Unless you get one of those people with a proper scary berserker fury going, getting under somebody's skin with a few jabs is a great way to get on their nerves and to piss them off. Constantly chatting also provides a handy distraction, making it harder to tell if you're stalling or looking for an opening.

It is also part of why Johnny Cage has a film career, because not throwing out a dumb pun after you kill the villain in some ridiculous way would be a huge disappointment for everyone who paid to see a dumb martial arts movie.

At least one starring an American.

"That's everyone's easy go to insult, just assuming that because I'm an American I don't know anything about the world. How the hell am I supposed to know about what you people do in Outworld? All I know is that you guys seem to like ripping of Japanese styles, but like making them look ridiculous. Like that wanna-be ninja lizard guy."

But this staff girl is way more on point than Cassie was hoping after a bit hit like that, and bringing that soul shard into this is a real problem. The moment it starts glowing, Cassie finds herself looking for the defensive option, pulling a few steps back and raising her guard just a bit higher.

Burning paper, however, was not high on the list of attacks that Cage was expecting. Without hesitation, she throws her arms up in front of her face, aiming to protect herself from whatever it is these things do while failing to realize she's falling straight into the trap. As the paper hits her guard, it erupts out into binding chains of chi, wrapping all around her as Cassie lets out a surprised cry.

And then all of the white is cut through by a brilliant shade of green as energy suddenly sheathes Cassie's entire body, giving off a burst of power that sends the ensnaring opposition into pieces, then drops away in an instant.

<I really need to figure out how I keep doing that!>

Despite the thought, Cage is momentarily speechless by her luck saving her, just like it had when she'd been ambushed by Reptile back at the banquet. But there's no time to waste trying to figure out that mystery at a time like this.

"If you really don't want to get up closs and personal, I can oblige," Cassie shouts as she draws both pistols from the holsters on her back and lines up on her opponent, rapidly pulling the triggers as she unleashes a storm of lead.

COMBATSYS: Ayame fails to reflect Blood Splat from Cassie with Midsummer Fantasy.
- Power fail! -

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Ayame [E]        1/-------/=======|=====--\-------\0       [E] Cassie

The first test of drawing upon the small beacon of concentrated power she finds herself in possession of seems to be a mixed bag. On one hand, she can perceive that the traveling speed of the thrown talisman is far more fierce than she could normally manage. On the other hand, there is a flash of emerald bursting out from around her opponent that scatters the intended effects nearly instantly before they can so much as slow her down in the slightest. An innate ability of her own, or another byproduct of those proffered gemstones?

The surprised look on Cassie's leaves the miko uncertain - the power manifested seemed to be too strong to be an accident, yet the young woman she had targeted in hopes of accruing power for her own gem lantern looks briefly like she wasn't expecting it. Brow furrowing a little, she lifts her right hand to wipe the back of it against her mouth again, glancing at the blood on it. Her tongue tests her teeth, half expecting that she lost one in that earlier punch, but everything checks out outside of the still nearly disorienting pain she's feeling from it. Well, mysterious green glow or not, she has a more pressing problem in the form of twin firearms now expertly aimed her way.

She has no doubt as to the young woman's accuracy. For the annoyance she's found in her speech, her execution in fighting, unfortunately, does her unit proud, and Ayame assumes she's no less accurate with the pistols she's now drawn. It's been a long time since anyone has taken a shot at her with a real firearm, but that doesn't mean she isn't armed with the perfect defense for it herself. And with the help of the lantern's strength...

She whips the staff under her left shoulder, freeing both of her hands as her left hand slams out, palm forward. One of her earliest mastered techniques answers her beck and call, a shimmering discus of rose hued chi capable of forming a powerful barrier. It covers enough of her forward arc as to defend herself against likely vectors of assault, at least.

But what if it's enough on its own? Here and now, she can't take chances, she needs to be sure. The fingers of her right hand tap against the glowing lantern at her side, drawing more energy from it, power meant to accelerate the speed of the shield just now shimmering into existence.

But the attempt backfires, her barrier flashing into the path of the bullets then vanishing just as instantly. It seems as if more than just the speed of manifestation was affected. This appears to be the price of trying to introduce foreign elements into her precision honed fighting style - a regret she doesn't have time to ruminate on as she's caught completely flat footed, eyes widened, bullets flying at her. The first two pierce her shoulder and her left arm, the third her right thigh as her reflexes finally spin back up to speed, the girl scrambling out of the path of the rest of them, darting to the right before the pain in her leg will render her movements slowed as a result.

She slides to a stop, gasping, dropping her staff from beneath her shoulder into her left hand as she turns on Cassie again, forced to ignore the wounds she's collected, blood staining her white and blending in with the crimson of her clothing.

"You jarhead. I don't have anything to do with Outworld!!" she snaps back, cheeks red with a hint of fluster and no small amount of pain. "I just need to collect power for this-" her right hand sweeps at he side, backhanding the gem lantern that she has struggled to integrate into her techniques, sending it swinging around on its red cord. "Infernal thing."

Recovering, she sweeps her staff back into a defensive angle in front of her, bracing behind it, inhaling then exhaling. Nothing about this attempt has been going too well, to say the least.

Wait... this isn't another one of Shang Tsung's Outworld goons?

This throws a hell of a wrench into everything Cassie's been preparing for during this entire fight, and both pistols are slipped back into their holsters on her back as she looks at at the now rather badly injured opponent in front of her.

"Wait, you mean you just jumped me to power up? Shang Tsung has been trying to get me killed ever since I arrived on this island, so much so that he apparently tried to cheat me dead at the welcoming banquet, and then captures some wild... monster... girl thing and sets her up to try to eat me alive, and you're just doing this shit because you want to make a hunk of rock glow a little brighter?!"

Whatever laid back, taunting attitude she had been putting up starts to fade away in a genuine sense of anger.

"I'm not here on this hunk of hell in the middle of nowhere because I enjoy the idea of bright, sunny beaches with a side order of attempted murder, I'm here because I'm trying to, apparently, protect the whole world from some sort of evil plan. If all you want is to make yourself feel a little bit stronger, then you should fuck off, but if you actually care about this, then why are you jumping people on the same side as you?"

COMBATSYS: Cassie checks her phone.

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Ayame [E]        1/-------/=======|=====--\-------\0       [E] Cassie

Ayame is quiet as Cassie speaks, frowning faintly as she lowers herself into a crouch, taking a moment to rest her hand against the place where one of the bullets hit her thigh, wincing a little as she evaluates the damage. Breathing in deeply, she pushes herself back to her feet, eyes never leaving the skilled operative the entire time. She has seen nothing but proof of just how effective a fighter she is.

"Yes, it does sound like you have had a wonderful time here." she answers with a soft grunt. "But you seem to have pulled through well enough in spite it all." To be fair, it does sound like the soldier has been put through the ringer by Shang Tsung. If the sorcerer is so interested in her, then she really is probably the wrong kind of target to be going after.

But her question is fair, the miko did say it wasn't personal after all, so why attack her in the first place? Dropping low, the staff wielder braces herself, drops of blood smearing the stone floor at her feet. "You have the gist of it." she smirks at first but the vigor of the response fades, another breath as she forces thoughts of the blood loss, the pain, the injury out of mind. She can't be slowed here and now.

"These things are not just tools of destruction though that seems to be what most everyone notices at first." She adjusts her hold on her staff, setting her jaw. Cassie may have halted the offense, but that doesn't mean Ayame will relent. "I have a duty to help someone, even if it means bringing them back from the abyss."

She closes her eyes for a single breath before opening them again, focusing on Cassie, and then surging forward again, her weapon flaring to life with crimson flames once more. "Either I will succeed here, or you will grow stronger for my failure." She leaps from a meter out, flipping into a fierce, horizontal swing of her staff, a trail of crimson in its wake. "The way I see it-" She would land, spinning into a second strike on the ground, the momentum allowing her to deliver crushingly strong, chi imbued blows as she whips the weapon up over her head, "I am doing what's best for the Earth!" The last blow, if not prevented, would be an overhead strike aiming to clock Cassie right on the top of her head!

COMBATSYS: Cassie channels the glare of the vicious eye.

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Ayame [E]        0/-------/=======|=====--\-------\0       [E] Cassie

COMBATSYS: Cassie interrupts Requiem For Fallen Blossoms from Ayame with Nut Kracker.

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Ayame [E]        1/-----==/=======|=======\-------\1       [E] Cassie

Obviously the shrine maiden was very intent on giving weight to her speech via the whole attacking at the same time sort of thing, but there has always been a problem when attempting to take a dramatic stand around a Cage.

Cages fight dirty.

As Ayame comes leaping in at Cassie, the third dog tag around her neck begins to glow a bright yellow for the first time in this match, Cassie's body suddenly moving with a remarkable speed as she drops down onto her knees, catching the tower floor with the metal plates installed specifically to assist in this time honored process. The staff, covered in burning chi, swings a nice vertical pass, but as Ayame's feet hit the ground, Cassie's fists, clenched together, come flying forward.

And with a resounding impact between the shrine maiden's legs, Cassie offers a cursory "DING!" as she expertly demolishes a dramatic moment before the speech is even complete.

"Yeah, I'm not going in on the whole tragic, suffering hero thing right now. This sucks, so the best strategy is to team up with other people in the same boat to figure out how all of this works. Then the next stage of my plan is that I'm going to give Shang Tsung a some Big Trouble in his Little Chinatown."

Standing back up, with a return to that cocky attitude, she adds in, "You know, like you just got, but he's probably got 'em on the outside, so hopefully you'll hear the pop."

'I am doing what- HURK!'

The swift, elegant staff dance falls apart abruptly at the moment of impact from Cassie's fists as she executes the Cage Legacy technique with frighteningly practiced precision, the crimson energy of her weapon vanishing in an immediate loss of focus from the girl. It's a simple and effective strike, halting the aggressive priestess's advance and nearly making her drop her staff all together as she staggers backward on uncertain legs, brown eyes widened with surprised alarm, cheeks looking even more red if only because they're offset against a paling complexion.

Using her left hand to grip her staff, she jams one end of the weapon against the floor to brace herself, her right hand going between her legs on reflex as she looks close to keeling forward all together. There's really no interrupting Cassie's remarks, the soldier listing out the plan of action her own training devised for dealing with the kind of circumstances they don't really cover in any kind of military course.

Face twisted with an irate, pained, and frustrated expression, the miko manages to keep keep from dropping to her knees by sheer force of will, but that still leaves her slow to find her tongue again, a bead of perspiration rolling down her temple as she suffers injury from bullets and fists in equal measure.

Wincing her right eye closed, she stands up a little straighter. "B-be that as it may," she stammers, pulling her staff back up now that she no longer needs it to stay upright. "T-this is not over yet!"

Her right hand squeezes over the small gem lantern at her side. Once more she'll answer its siren call and put its power to use, once more attempting to integrate a foreign element into her own techniques even though that has yet to work out for her too well so far, but she's running out of options here!

As if responding to her rising, bruised temper, an aura of flames as red as those on her staff flares around her feet, ethereal and non-threatening, but an increased concentration of power for her to call upon.

Releasing the lantern, her right hand joins her left on the staff, the weapon burning with dark red energy once more. Leaning forward, left foot braced to launch, she pulls her right hand away from the wooden staff and the shimmering, crimson aura that wreathed her weapon comes with it, becoming a second staff of pure, sanguine energy with small flashes of forking yellow bolts rippling through it.

And then she bolts forward, weapon in each hand, aiming to spin into another swift, but punishingly strong staff dance, twirling the weapons, delivering twin horizontal blows, or scything angled bashes toward shoulder blades, aiming to return indignities with at least lasting bruises, trying to sweep Cassie clean off her feet in the process as Ayame's speed becomes a whirlwind of red and white before she'd finally be forced to slide to a stop, pushing her own endurance to its limits.

COMBATSYS: Ayame channels the veins of the burning blood.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////////     ]
Ayame [E]        2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|=======\-------\1       [E] Cassie

COMBATSYS: Ayame channels the glare of the vicious eye.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////////     ]
Ayame [E]        2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|=======\-------\1       [E] Cassie

COMBATSYS: Cassie channels the spread of the lightning nerves.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////////     ]
Ayame [E]        0/-------/--<<<<<|=======\-------\1       [E] Cassie

COMBATSYS: Cassie blocks Ayame's Final Solstice.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Ayame [E]        0/-------/--<<<<<|=======\===----\1       [E] Cassie

"Oh shit"

As Ayame appears to be summoning forth every last ounce of power she can out of her soul shard, Cassie can tell that everything that's about to come for her is going to be a massive problem. She hadn't really been expecting to fight someone who is supposedly on the same side as her, not after the way Shang Tsung has been treating this whole thing, and now that she was fighting someone who apparently didn't actually want her dead, she was still facing down one of the most dangerous assaults she'd ever seen.

But the shard could help.

Out on the beach, when that crazy Darkstalker had been trying to explode her along with half the beach, Cassie had found a way to tap into the shard to get her out of the worst of it, and she'd have to do that now, too. Focusing her thoughts, her own shard starts to take on a golden glow that flows through her body surging through every limb as she pulls herself back to get ready for the on-coming storm.

And it's a real bad storm.

There's no chance for Cassie to hope to get out of the way, she just has to get out of this in one piece on the other side. Each swing of the blazing staff is met with Cassie's arms to hold it back, the younger Cage wincing every time it hits and thanking whatever powers that be (but maybe not the Elder Gods, they seemed like they were tools) that they weren't actually hitting her clean or else she'd be in a miserable spot.

As the barrage finally comes to an end, Cassie is panting with exertion, but her eyes still burn with a determined spark. The spec ops suit doesn't give any real opportunity to see the real damage right now, but she's positive that when she peels it off, there's probably going to be a whole nasty pattern of bruising there.

"Okay, so do you have it out of your system? No? I guess it's time to teach you a lesson, Cage style."

Ignoring the fact that she just threw out an awful Johnny line, Cassie's body, still faintly outlined with gold, surges forward as she aims to barrel in past the shrine maiden's staff to take advantage of whatever fatigue might have set in, then draws back her right hand and gives Ayame a solid smack across the cheek so hard that it should send her spinning a full 180, leaving her completely open as Cassie whips out the collapsable baton and then swings it full force up between the other girl's legs.

COMBATSYS: Cassie channels the strength of the killing fist.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Ayame [E]        0/-------/--<<<<<|=======\===----\1       [E] Cassie

COMBATSYS: Ayame fails to counter Severance Package from Cassie with The Sunrise of Broken Dreams.
- Power fail! -

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Cassie [E]       0/-------/----===|

COMBATSYS: Ayame can no longer fight.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Cassie [E]       0/-------/----===|

Going as fast as she was, moving even faster than she had ever before with the assistance of that trice-damned borrowed power, she can't even really tell if her strikes are landing clean or not. It takes everything she has just to not trip and fall. The toll of injuries, and the last rather crippling blow, leave her on less certain footing than normal, and the demands of the staff storm fueled by the gemstone lantern at her hip are one iota shy of being too fast for her to even keep up.

Thus it is when she slides to a stop half a meter past Cassie, she isn't sure what to expect, half dizzy from her own whirling about, and still feeling a certain nausea from the last blow she took, all she can do is whirl around to see for herself.

Unfortunately, what meets her eyes is a very not-battered Special Ops squad leader who has had just about enough of her crap for one afternoon. Eyes widen as she starts to stagger back a step "Wha-", lifting her staff up to try and ward off a strike only to suffer a solid hook to her right cheek that sends the girl spinning, finding it hard enough just to keep her bloodied sandal-clad feet beneath her.

Head ringing, she's still cognizant of Cage moving in behind her and she's hell bent on striking back her, even if it's just out of spite at this point rather than having a shot at taking down the thoroughly harassed Champion of Earth. Gripping her weapon with both hands, she slams her foot down, spinning back on Cassie with an intent of deflecting whatever striking limb is coming her way and then definitely dish out a properly punitive counter strike in the process.

But it isn't an arm or leg she's being attacked with, and Cassie is no where nearly as close as the dazed girl thought she would be, her staff sweep wiffing through empty air, doing nothing to intercept the baton swing's blow between the girl's legs, a strike she has unwittingly spun into. If Cassie's last attack didn't do enough to dissuade the insistent miko, this one more than makes the point as Ayame crumples forward, staff falling to the ground with a clatter, her hands squeezed between her legs as she ends up on her knees, forehead against the stone floor.


The bloodied shrine maiden mutters something else incomprehensible to the floor, her left hand moving out in front of her, fingers stretching for her staff that rests just out of her reach while she stays collapsed on the ground.

"A-and let that be a lesson-" Ayame wheezes out, finally rolling onto her side in something of a fetal position.

With Ayame down for the count, Cassie flicks the button on the side of her baton and pops it back down to its convenient carrying size before reattaching it to her belt of handy gear.

"Maybe next time you decide to jump somebody in a tomb, you'll think twice because you just got Caged," Cassie throws out one final taunt to the downed opponent, who currently appears to be in far too much pain to respond... but when Johnny does it in the movies, they're usually already dead, so this seems like a much easier choice to go with.

Now's the weird part. The last time Cassie was in one of these fights, she was surrounded by all those weird monk dudes and they'd been shouting at her about "Finishing" the fight. As far as Cage was concerned, hitting your opponent until they can't get back up is how you finish a fight, the fact that Shang Tsung was so focused on turning all of this bloody was one of the many reasons she didn't like the guy.

With her course already clearly decided, she doesn't even seem to need to announce it as the crystal around her neck starts to glow brighter, seemingly absorbing some portion of the power that had been stored within the shrine maiden's crystal lanter.

"Okay, I guess that settles that. I don't know what it was that made you feel like you needed to fight so hard, but I can't just lay down and roll over. That girl said I'm Earthrealm's Champion, and sure it seems like there's a lot of us, but... I stepped forward. I've got to prove that I can stand up in this fight.

"And I need to show that prick on his throne that you don't try to pull a fast one on Cassandra Cage and expect to get out of it with your balls in one piece."

It's too bad that there's nowhere to get new sunglasses on this island. That would have been a really cool moment to put them on if they hadn't gotten broken the first night.

COMBATSYS: Cassie has ended the fight here.

Log created on 16:34:14 10/16/2016 by Ayame, and last modified on 02:18:43 10/17/2016.