Description: Kanzuki Rail had already undertaken some of the work before PFW got involved -- in fact, work has just concluded on the long stretch of Hisatsu Rail Line between Hyokiyama and Hinatayama Stations. And it's a good thing too -- there's a lot of hills and blind corners, making travel along this stretch of line a little more hair-raising than the rest of the line. But this event won't just a test run for the new track -- it's also a last-ditch attempt at housecleaning. There are about a half-dozen traincars that were stored in an old trainyard -- which just happened to be a popular gang hangout. These train cars have been subjected to an unusual degree of vandalism -- lots of graffiti, broken windows, busted seats, the whole works. Really, if the KR Railway didn't need the raw materials, they wouldn't even try to move these cars, but as PFW has some financial incentive... Heck, why not schedule a fight between RUST HOWARD JR and SAKURA KASUGANO aboard the run-down, beat-up passenger traincars? And why not schedule it for the time that the traincars are rolling downhill to Hinatayama. The train cars are wide and spacious on the inside, but the ceiling is... well, kind of low. It should be plenty of fun for all involved! .. Oh. This was supposed to be a stress test for the new line? And it might fall apart? Oh, don't worry about that. The two fighters signed damage waivers! It'll be fine!
Noro's Express!! It is a bullet train! It is fast, like a bullet. That is why they call it a bullet train. No, there's probably other reasons for calling it that, but that's not important right now.
Situated on the Hisatsu Line from Hyokiyama Station south to Hinatayama Station, the Kanzaki Rail company's been hard at work on the whole public transport route. There's just one final detail that seemed ripe for the interest of certain fighting promoters...
There's a lot of old, derelict rail cars. Six of them, busted and broken from frequent criminal activity, are given one last journey on what's supposed to be a stress test for the new line.
Enter one of the poor saps who will be tasked with fighting onboard, one Howard Rust, Jr., whom seems to see it fit to enter through one of the missing windows in what is unmistakably an ill-thought attempt at an amazing entrance, getting himself stuck.
"Sorry. One sec. I'll be right in with." He brings those arms of his against the sides, face growing tense with exertion. He appears to have done his hair up in buns, this time.
Officials are considering whether or not to just have the fight start rolling with him like this, as he dashes these hopes through popping himself through and tumbling across the spacious railcar into one of the seating areas that is missing a seat but not at all missing in exposed springs and screws, setting himself upside-down in a heap.
...Ah, he'll be fine.
"Ummm.... you guys sure about this?" asks one (1) Sakura Kasugano, as she examines the railcar. She makes a face. "Did you guys steal one of these from Alex's neighborhood or somethin'? You know he hates thieves, he'll be real mad if he finds out about this." Tenatively, she knocks on one of the bulkheads... and it doesn't just pop out and fall down. That's a plus.
"... well, okay, I guess."
Sakura chooses not to Dynamic Entry(tm)--primarily because she lost track of time while hanging out at an arcade waiting for her fight. "Ahhh, I'm late!!" she cried, as she dashed through the town. Fortunately, with a good head for directions, she pops through a missing entryway on one of the cars and starts running up through them, so that she makes her entrance 'on the scene' skidding to a halt, panting, catching her breath for a moment before bowing deeply to Rust, her hands pressed to her thighs. "I'm sorry I'm late!" she exclaims, still a touch out of breath, though as she straightens up, her breathing is already coming under control, thanks to good genes and hard work making her really quite an excellent athlete. She looks around for the first time and notes how bad the inside is...
... really about on par with the outside. "Ugh," she mutters to herself, then makes a face. Ah well. Various points of red light appear--indicators of cameras--as everything starts up, including Sakura, who brings her hands up with her right fist forward, and slides her left foot back, smiling over her cocked fists at her opponent.
"Oh, it's okay," the Canadian ninja(?) takes the apology in stride as he still rests upside-down in a heap. For a lack of bruises and scratches, he almost looks like he's been through the wringer as he rights himself up with all the grace and celerity of a bag of garbage. (A bag of garbage with amazing... ly strange hair.)
His right hand goes up to the side of his head, as though suddenly more concerned about said hair than anything, eyes wandering elsewhere as he mutters something incoherent while the cameras - and the train - starts to roll. With the broken windows, and the speed these two are going to be traveling at, things are about to get kind of loud and unpleasant, but we'll get there in a moment.
This is Sakura's next fight in her journey of self-betterment - this very strange middle-aged man, who seems to have a pipe located where a swordsman might sheathe their sword, thrust through a toolbelt pocket, which is thus so clumsily drawn that it swings wide into the low ceiling as if to illustrate that the two won't have much vertical room for jumping around at all between them.
"I'm ready," he sure doesn't seem it, in terms of coordination, but there's already a first bump right there to mess with their footing.
COMBATSYS: Rust has started a fight here.
The train starts up--not that usual chugging engine that most people associate with a train, but it's not, uh, well... it's not the -smooth- startup that one associates with Japanese high-speed rail. It's not enough to disturb balance, yet, but Sakura, as a seasoned rider of the Japanese railways, can tell it doesn't sound right. But that's not something she can concern herself with, right now. The low ceiling does limit her--Sakura likes to fight in all dimensions, to capitalize on mobility--but she'll just have to deal with.
As the bumps start up, she nods to herself, moving forward with just a touch of tenativeness initially. But she finds her balance soon enough, and, as the train starts tipping forward on the downhill, that gives her a little boost as she moves forward, a quick jolt, the start of a run, modifying one of her attacks on the fly--what would normally be a high-jump, arcing, spinning kick is instead converted into a hopping spinkick into a standing spinkick into a crouching spinkick, her red-Conversed-foot aimed for the temple, then the chest, and finally the feet.
Judging from the build of her opponent, physicality is going to be on his side, but she needs to begin to get the measure of him first, both in physical strength and skill.
COMBATSYS: Sakura has joined the fight here.
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Sakura 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Rust
COMBATSYS: Sakura successfully hits Rust with Shunpuu Kyaku.
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Sakura 0/-------/-------|==-----\-------\0 Rust
That's one she's already got on this oafish man, at least an understanding of how to move about in this environment - public transportation proves an everyday convenience in this part of the globe. That there's something already standing to go wrong should be worrying, indeed...
Less worrying (for Sakura) is in the success of her initial assault. A right elbow is raised to head off the first blow, but doesn't adjust for the shot to the chest that sees him pushed back. She gets the one foot still planted on the ground with the final kick, sweeping him off his feet and - comically - on his head and upper back, his lower body pointing upward momentarily in a fashion that seems to defy the proper human anatomy as related to the spine.
"Whoop," he whoops as he brings his right hand against a pole as if to balance himself up to a stand. Looking at him, aside from size, there's not all that much to praise on sheer sight alone - he is overweight and visibly not in the prime physical shape most professionals ought to be.
He seems like he has something to say, but then the pole he's holding onto gives out from the bottom, seeing the upturned end of it being thrust down into one of Sakura's shins as his eyes go wide - this is probably an accident.
...With the traincar's state of disrepair, this is probably going to happen a lot throughout.
COMBATSYS: Rust successfully hits Sakura with Random Weapon.
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Sakura 0/-------/---====|==-----\-------\0 Rust
People like to say that, in martial arts, size and physical strength are not as important as skill. And that certainly is true, to an extent. But Sakura is a small Japanese schoolgirl and her opponent simply outweighs her and outmasses her. There are certain physical realities that go with that.
Maybe she was expecting someone who signed up for Saturday Night Fights to actually... fight. So she's expecting Rust to do something, and that's where her attention is. When the pole gives way, she's just as surprised, and so she's more than a fraction of a second too late as the pole goes swinging into her shin, smacking loudly and painfully and sending her down to one knee with a yelp. She recovers quickly, pushing back up to her feet, her lips twisted briefly in a grimace. She doesn't back off, though, since that's not really her style, per se, instead challenging the man again.
This time it comes in the form of a punch, a solid, well-executed right cross. Of course, with her relatively short reach, she has to lean forward for it, and she has to set her feet to get the proper transfer of energy...
COMBATSYS: Sakura successfully hits Rust with Fierce Punch.
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Sakura 0/-------/---====|====---\-------\0 Rust
This man is of a worrying quality in so many ways. He's getting up there in years, and isn't in the best overall shape. At times he seems entirely oblivious, other times uncaring, oftentimes too carefree about wading into - and suffering - grievous harm. He should seem as the lesser as a fighter for it. Generally, the fighting leagues treat him with derision nowadays.
She's not the only one sent to a knee from the sudden departure of the pole from its station. Having leaned into it, he all but staggers into the right cross that seems hardly mitigated by the strange pirouette that occurs as an answer to both lessened balance and a meaningful attempt at swaying away from the right cross.
It might not still meet a proper expectation of ability and merit, as it brushes against his upper back with a resultant wheezing while the train hits another bump again.
There is an ear-splitting grinding noise heard outside, and a spot of turbulence that sees the man spin and trip over himself onto his back behind Sakura.
Without really looking his opponent in the eye, maybe working on a good faith assumption that she's going to be where he swings next, his left arm sweeps out across the floor bearing the length of pipe that only barely clears the space available to it to be swung, going low for around Sakura's ankles.
COMBATSYS: Rust successfully hits Sakura with Foundation Layer.
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Sakura 0/-------/<<<<<<<|====---\-------\0 Rust
The blow to her shin earlier is making Sakura slower than usual. And her agility is her main defensive tool--she's athletic, she works out, but she just doesn't have the mass to defend against stronger opponents--and *most* opponents are stronger. So she tries to avoid as much as possible, which is what she tries here, except her jump is a fraction of a second too late and that pipe ends up catching her across a foot and throwing her off, dumping her onto her back.
Now, her shin hurts, her -foot- hurts, and when she gets up, she can't quite maintain her stance... But she clenches her teeth, sets her jaw, and puts her weight on the injured foot anyways. Because it's what Ryu would do.
What else would Ryu do? Well... probably something like what Sakura does, which is to pull her hands in, calling her chi into tangible existence as a ball of white energy about the size of a softball into the space between them, a radiating aura casting bright white as she throws it forward towards Rust.
COMBATSYS: Rust fails to reflect Small Hadouken from Sakura with Drywall Palm.
-* CRITICAL FAIL! *-
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Sakura 1/-------/<<<<<<<|======-\-------\0 Rust
In the time it takes for Sakura to choose to tough it out like her role model and idol for her dream lifestyle, her opponent has somehow managed to writhe and flail around in such a way that he's up on his sandal-clad feet and not careening about like the bumbling fool that he comes off as (and might very well be).
In the process, he's put some space between them, his back facing one of the entry doors that rattle ominously with the fear-inducing suggestion that it's not completely sealed shut as he stands upright and might even give the faint idea he's alert, he's there, he's ready. Coy eyebrows, dumb smile, wiggling the fingers of his right hand as he draws back the pipe...
A small Hadouken comes to greet him, and he is on it with a grace and strength that could be what shatters the theoretical illusion of incompetence, thrusting his right hand forward with palm facing upward, fingers tightly lined up with one another - a palming motion.
The Drywall Palm - a technique mastered by a man that shows virtually zero talent in externally manifesting energy by redirecting energy flows with uncompromising force and purpose.
In this instance, he hits the small replica of the world-famous chi sphere so hard that it slices it cleanly into two. This, in turn, presents an entirely new challenge for Sakura's would-be opponent.
By his own hand, he has now seen to it that there are /two/ small Hadoukens that have just gotten past his defenses and are lined up to smack him in the face rig--
Right before one could finish writing that, he gets a one-two punch to the face that staggers him up against the door that, if it gives out, would eject him out of the derelict car.
COMBATSYS: Sakura has left the fight here.
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Slicing the Hadouken in two gives Sakura a moment of pause. She's never seen that -happen- before... but the longer impact of the resulting one-two punch both gives her an idea for later, and gives her a moment more to react -now-. She still has to tuck that idea away for examination, but that's easily done, and Sakura, being that aggressive sort of fighter, is not content to just sit back and wait.
With that in mind, subconsciously at least, she finds herself moving almost before she's consciously decided on the plan of action. Throwing punches didn't really help, and with Rust's size and reach advantage, getting in that close is particularly bad, but using her legs should keep that down to a minimum, as she takes two steps then ducks low, slaps her gauntleted hands onto the ground, and throws herself into a forward-moving, full-body committed thrust kick with both feet, pushing off the flooring to give her more momentum...
..and, indeed, maybe giving both Rust and herself the physical impetus needed to bust through that door and into the next car, which she is sure the SNF people are *properly* eager to see.
COMBATSYS: Rust dodges Sakura's Fierce Kick.
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Sakura 0/-------/<<<<<<<|======-\-------\0 Rust
"Aghsdgklbprfhl," quoth the overweight pipe-wielding buffoon as his eyes spin in ways the human eye probably shouldn't, but makes for an amusing visual for those at home as the young girl gets right into the zone, to keep up her impressive and decisive offensive in comparison to this guy's... uh, doddering.
"Eh?" He comes to just when it seems like it ought to be too late to save himself from being taken off his feet and through the very door behind him. Even the commentators discussing this battle (off-site, natch) are saying right now that she just kicked him through the door.
In a split second, his right hand raises again - two fingers raised, a thumb crossing over the two curled outer fingers. A ninja-like gesture? Could it be, a flash of finesse that dares hide underneath the flimsy cover of a foolish oaf? Just as he demonstrated a capacity to manipulate others' energy manifestations - both poorly and proudly, somehow simultaneously - it appears there is yet another wrinkle to this man as of yet. Some secret...
The great, forbidden, heart-stopping secret of...!
In a flash, politely opening the door behind him with the gentle sweep of his left arm (impressive given it is not a free hand) and giving Sakura enough clearance space to launch herself through into the next car.
"Sorry about that," he says sheepishly with a bit of laughter, "didn't know I was in the way." Those words are spoken seemingly with sincerity, as though he might have forgotten that the two of them were in a pitched battle as he attempts to take her hand and help stand her up if she needs it.
Which, coincidentally, is timed with another bit of turbulence that ends up morphing this into an Irish Whip into one of the busted seats, if she allows him to even get hold of her.
COMBATSYS: Sakura blocks Rust's Quick Throw.
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Sakura 1/-------/<<<<<<<|======-\-------\0 Rust
SNF officials--and the viewers--are summarily denied any train destruction, probably much to their chagrin, as Sakura goes flying through the doorway that's been opened. Well.. they're not entirely denied it, as she instead crashes through one door into the other. She lands in a skid, turning to face Rust once again, as he... reaches out to help her up? He certainly seems genuine about it, but... this is a fight. Besides, she's already most of the way to her feet anyways, so she doesn't need his help.
But he manages to get a hold of her anyways and before she knows it she's been whipped around, back towards the now-closed door, the shaking of the train making it difficult to regain her footing. She manages to turn and hit the door with her shoulder, rather than head-on, which saves her from the full impact.
Turning back, she frowns at Rust, briefly. "You know, we signed up to fight. If you wanna be nice, you should do it before and after." Her eyes narrow slightly, her tone sharpening just a touch.
"Unless you think you don't need to take me seriously enough to be worried?" If there's anything Sakura hates having to fight, it's the perception that she can be taken not-seriously. She got into this street fighting on a whim, but it's the most important thing in her life now. Maybe even more important than Ryu.
Closing her hands into fists again, she advances on Rust, moving with purpose, feinting a low kick with her right foot, then transitioning it, halfway through, into an axe kick. It won't be the strongest--she's seen Ken do this, but she hasn't practiced it---and it'll unbalance her, but part of why she does this is to put herself into positions where she -has- to innovate.
COMBATSYS: Rust blocks Sakura's Aggressive Strike.
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Sakura 1/-------/<<<<<<<|=======\-------\0 Rust
It is a striking difference between them. A young girl with a dream she fervently pushes herself towards with an unyielding zeal, elevating her in ability above and beyond the vast majority of people her age - and maybe even the majority of people beyond it. Take her axe kick off the feinted low kick - an imitation, but that is high praise. It hits all the notes and movements needed in which to be an effective one as it bears down upon high on her opponent's head.
Over there on the receiving end of the axe kick, someone who seems far too easy-going - even oblivious - for what should be a pitched battle in a most risky locale. Does he disregard how far she's already come, and will yet aspire to greater heights? Is his sense of ambition so shriveled as to not accept and understand what the whole of this means to her?
Let's move on to the more immediate question of 'is he about to get axe kicked in the face,' and the answer to that...
Taking a step back which kind of neatly avoids a low kick that doesn't happen, his right forearm is raised across his face, managing to intercept the heel but also completely block his vision while doing so - a risky and frankly kind of novice defensive decision. Though, it seems he was already positioning it there pretty early the moment Sakura lifted up her leg.
There's a hissing from the older, larger man's teeth as he backs into another pole that holds intact.
"Ah, it's nothing to--" His voice gets a little shakier as he peeks over the attacked forearm, an inaudible sigh of relief to the metallic rattling. "Yep. Right. She wo--"
She 'wo--' what?
That's less important a question to answer than that of him walking forward towards Sakura, attempting to plant one of his sandal-clad feet on her and ascend them across a number of steps into a kick-flip, but, uh... that last bit might require some creativity because the ceiling's a bit too low for him to do the whole thing completely cleanly, but that's still a much larger, heavier man bearing down with all his weight on her.
Both of them are in a place where they'll find themselves in need of improvising.
COMBATSYS: Sakura dodges Rust's Step Ladder.
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Sakura 1/-------/<<<<<<<|=======\-------\0 Rust
Improvisation -is- the name of tbe game, in tight quarters like these. Rust is sufficiently large, so that simply getting around him wouldn't be possible, but Sakura can't really back off either--she's too close to the end of the train and opening the door, which stuck at her shoulder impact, would require a whole lot more time than she has. So she looks left, looks right, then straight ahead.
Being small, being light, is mostly a hindrance in her fights; it means that when she gets hit, she, proportionately, takes a lot more damage than she can dish out, at least physically. Sure, she's a lot tougher than her non-fighting peers, but amongst her fellow fighters, she's a frail.
But sometimes it can help, being small, and that's how it works out in this case. Sakura kicks back with her left foot, getting a bright *spang* out of the bulkhead, and as Rust lifts that leg to stomp on her, she kicks off and throws herself into a sliding kick. The aim is not to hit Rust--quite the opposite, actually, as she hurls herself feet-first into the space recently vacated by that foot, pulling herself into the smallest physical profile she can manage, sliding along the bare-steel flooring.
Popping back up gives Rust time to turn at least partially--she's not attacking him from behind--but she tries to take advantage of her size and speed by dashing up and trying to jump onto Rust's back and loop her left arm around his neck, tightening it with her right.
COMBATSYS: Sakura successfully hits Rust with Sakura Strangle EX.
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Sakura 1/------</<<<<<<<|=======\=------\1 Rust
Sakura doesn't quite nail him with the sliding kick - it's not her intent - but there is a comical effect of her just skidding underneath him as he catches himself having to balance on one leg, once again turning in place like the deformed lovechild of a ballerina and a wooden top. When he catches himself anew, Sakura's already on his back and going to work on wrangling the fight out of that big dumb face, around that big dumb neck, his eyes bulging like they're big dumb eyes - bigger, dumber eyes now - as his tongue shoots upwards from between his lips while his teeth clench tightly. (...Oh, ouch.)
Another bit of turbulence sees him lose what little footing he has as he belly flops onto the scuffed, rough, dirt-and-trash-strewn car floor while the oxygen finds itself liberated from having to do anything with his big stupid brain. (Said oxygen has no particular grudge against his lungs and wishes them the very best.)
One of the disadvantages he has comes into greater clarity - he might have reach, he might have weight, he might have surprising reflexes for a guy his age and size... but he doesn't seem to take having his mobility locked all too well, owing more to age.
Gurgling theatrically as he wrestles helplessly with a tiny Japanese girl choking the life out of him, he only gets one or two arm stretches of crawling before his right hand disappears into that toolbelt of his, withdrawing a handful of screwdrivers as his eye look up to see an abandoned suitcase that happens to be stowed overhead. (What is this car, a refitted airline passenger seating arrangement?)
Putting it all into one handful of tools, he flings the screwdrivers at the suitcase to try and dislodge it!
They all bounce off the surfaces they hit, spinning and rolling in the air backwards vaguely in Sakura's direction as the suitcase stays unmoving to this latest antic.
He snaps his fingers in his right hand in disappointment for missing the amazing trick shot.
Missing the /intended/ trick shot.
COMBATSYS: Sakura dodges Rust's Tools For The Job.
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Sakura 1/------</<<<<<<<|=======\==-----\1 Rust
This is the first indication Sakura gets that Rust is anything more than a middle-aged man who is somewhat out of his element, or so it appears. It could be a mere coincidence that all the screwdrivers he just flung are ricocheting at -her-, but... she doesn't believe in coincidences like that. After the chokehold, she released her grip and backed off--enough to give her enough time to weave through the minor storm of tools, because, well, getting hit by a screwdriver just doesn't sound like a fun time.
Now a smile is stealing onto her face, one of anticipation and enjoyment. Now she's getting into the rhythm of the fight more fully, and it seems like Rust is, too. That's good--that's what she wants. She wants her opponents to give her their all, and she'll give them her all in trade. It's the only way to get better.
The low ceiling means Sakura can't really employ one of her favorite techniques; she has to constantly think about what she's going to do, because relying on instinct and reflex might get her to brain herself on the roof of the train car. She decides to keep things simple; once the last screwdriver is done, she advances again, her small stature letting her just be short enough to whip her right leg up, around, and over in a strange, high-arced, almost vertical roundhouse kick.
COMBATSYS: Sakura successfully hits Rust with Flower Kick.
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Sakura 1/-----<</<<<<<<<|=======\===----\1 Rust
The gasping for breath that follows his freedom seems to risk transcending the known English alphabet, so for safety reasons, it is best not to transcribe it beyond the mere footnote of this being a thing that is happening as the larger of the two combatants struggles up to... kind of stand? More like be crouched and hunched over.
For a flash of (most likely misattributed) cleverness, for the ramp-up in Sakura's mood and happiness that she is getting this guy to 'get it,' looking from behind, he looks positively wretched and kind of pathetic. His right hand goes to the back of his head although he hasn't been struck there - at all. Yet. Of the stationed cameras, the one that should capture his face... doesn't.
This is a bit of weirndess for post-editing to worry about, as the more immediate and important point for consideration and commentary is Sakura advancing before he can fully get his wind back. There appears to be an acknowledgement of movement behind himself, some attempt to avoid what's coming next by crouching low and swinging the pipe-bearing arm outward that gets aborted when the pipe strikes against the side of a seating arrangement.
This conveniently puts the back of his head right in kickin' range, and what a kick it is, as it thrusts him forward against the ground face-first while a leg kicks up in the air with an errant twitch or two.
"'m fine!" He murmurs, yanking himself up with a start as he turns about-face to Sakura. He kind of isn't - bloodied face, blood trickling out the side of his mouth, it's a jarring transition from the sort of pathetic, shambling wreck he seemed to be moments ago.
The car starts to shake violently as the downward descent gains momentum. The noise outside is growing ever louder. Metal is screeching. Something is probably very, very wrong out there.
Moving towards Sakura again, he leads with a thrusting strike with the pipe at around her chest level as he falls into a sliding kneel from the compromised footing and imperiled balance.
COMBATSYS: Rust successfully hits Sakura with Power Strike.
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Sakura 1/-======/=======|=======\====---\1 Rust
The train is starting to shake rather badly, and combined with the curves in the track, it's making standing rather difficult. Sakura starts to back off as Rust approaches, but the combination of a shake and a drop are enough to unbalance her enough that she takes that pipe thrust right into the chest. With a wordless sound of pain that nonetheless sounds like 'huRK' she gets catapulted backwards, catching herself on a pair of remaining seats so she doesn't just hit the floor, but as she pulls herself up she's coughing pretty hard, her breaths wheezy.
Shaking her head to clear it, she listens for a moment. They'd better wrap this up soon, she thinks, before things go out of whack too far to recover. The ride smoothes out a bit and she regains her stance, dropping a bit to lower her center of gravity, and she begins calling power to her hands, her chi flaring into to the space between them as she once again pulls them in front of her. This time, the power surges quickly, forming as that smallish ball, then expanding, and expanding again, quickly, forcing her arms apart as she gathers as much as she can, opening the taps up...
Before throwing the wall of power forward, as tall as she is almost, her voice raised in a loud shout to help her focus: "HADOUUUUUUUKEEEEEEEEEEEN!"
COMBATSYS: Rust narrowly escapes Sakura's Shinkuu Hadouken!
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Sakura 0/-------/---====|=======\====---\1 Rust
"Just right at!" He murmurs words equivalent to this a few times, but it's uncertain if he's saying this to Sakura, or himself, or what, that's got him all jolted up. His eyes seem to wander away even after managing to knock the smaller girl away from himself as he brings his right hand up to one of the hanging handles that has somehow survived the rigors of neglect and vandalization for so many years. "Yep..."
Seems more like he needs it to maintain his balance.
Compare this to the youthful vigor of the young martial arts prodigy, whom now manifests so much power between her hands as to be utterly blinding. To fill the absence of space with a brilliant energy whose scope seems to far exceed what someone her age ought to be capable of. It's hard to appreciate this without being there, and it's even harder for a lot of fighters of even that guy's age to truly understand it - something that looks like someone's all looks a whole lot like that! Exactly like that.
He seems to disappear in the ensuing blast, not even leaving the outline of his battered body as the Hadouken tears through the space around and behind where he stood. A rail is ripped clean of its post. The abandoned suitcase falls out and gets shoved along the ride towards the back.
By the time one gets to the back, there... isn't a back any more. The back of the battered train car has suffered one indignity too many, and now there is a large gaping hole in the Hadouken's wake.
It also appears that the cars behind them have managed to deatch, at some point. A vacuum threatens to pull both fighters right out, given the speed they're descending. Well, it's easy to say 'both' fighters, but Rust Jr. is nowhere to be see--
"Um... hello," a meek voice says just a ways above the rattling ceiling.
Impressively, he appears to have taken his weight and managed to flatten himself up against the very roof of the car, held up by the overhead handles. He laughs nervously - he has managed to completely avoid a Shinkuu Hadouken with virtually no space to maneuver. A true sign of skill and ability!
...Less true a sign, he appears completely entangled, his limbs bent and contorted uncomfortably. He may or may not be in unimaginable pain.
The most awkward of developments in this fight so far comes to a mercifully abrupt end as his weight can no longer be supported by what he managed to get himself all wrapped up in, falling upon Sakura in a body splash that might yet stand to be one of the less proud moments of everyone involved.
COMBATSYS: Sakura dodges Rust's Weakened Light Kick.
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Sakura 0/-------/---====|=======\====---\1 Rust
Sakura is already less than proud that this middle aged man managed to completely evade her best technique in a train car. She's not about to let him -fall- on her to boot. She jolts backwards as he falls, letting him land on the train floor--and, timing a jump with the impact, looks to land on him before he can get up, specifically to land knees-first on his back and uset he momentum to spring forward, towards the now-absent back of the car.
There should still be plenty of room to manuever there, after all, and she's at least reasonably confident that she can get back to the other side if needs be.
But she definitely feels like the fight is coming close to the close... maybe that's just because she spent her best move already and doesn't have much left in the tank. That, combined with the increasingly ragged nature of their battleground... she'll chastise herself later for not reading the flow of the fight properly, but for now, she's still in the moment of it.
COMBATSYS: Rust endures Sakura's Medium Kick.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ////// ]
Sakura 0/-------/--=====|=======\======-\1 Rust
Nobody is going to be walking away from that particular exchange with their head held up high - at this rate, they might not even be holding onto their heads for much longer.
"They signed the waivers, right?"
"In seven different languages."
"Insurance provider wouldn't let us do this unless the fat guy signed his in his own blood."
"Wow, he sure got off light..."
BACK ON THE RAPDILY DETERIORATING CAB
Rust Jr. collapses in a heap and finds himself being pulled towards the back - in fact, nearly all the way off. The nasty seats, with all their missing cushions and exposed nastiness, helpfully catch him... for Sakura, giving her an elevated springboard towards the open back.
The problem is that the air being sucked out the back also sees him gliding and sliding across the floor just under and past her, affording no real benefit for spacing between them. That she might have collapsed a few of his ribs right then and there doesn't completely register to the middle-aged idiot as he peers over his shoulder towards the edge of... not quite oblivion for someone like him (the universe is not so kind), but great and debilitating pain.
"Ahh, sorry, we're gonna have to-- RUSH this," he gets out as he seems to go into a seated position on an invisible chair of some kind right before Sakura as both are now in perilous position - she inadvertedly set him up right there, and he seems keen (by Rust Jr. standards) to work with that.
Imperceptibly shaking due to the turbulence and violent rocking of their ravaged ride, the roar of the passing air around them will do their eardrums no favor. It's getting harder and harder to breathe. It's a miracle he's not sucked out into the tracks already!
Maintaining his weird posture, suddenly, he glides forward, holding the length of pipe in front of him horizontally as he appears to seek to ram into Sakura, attempting to push her along across the length of the disintegrating battleground in a race to push back towards the car they started in which is probably not much better for the wear.
COMBATSYS: Rust successfully hits Sakura with Bulldozer.
[ \\\\\\\ < > ////// ]
Sakura 1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0 Rust
Sakura sees, in a fraction of a second, what he's trying to do, and, surprisingly... she kind of agrees. But that doesn't mean she's gonna let herself get run over! So she braces for impact, knowing it'll hurt either way but hoping to at least keep the worst of the damage out. But the physical facts bite her in the rear, so to speak--Rust plows through her block easily and she cries out as she's bulldozed through to the previous car, and then tumbles badly across the flooring, fetching up against the rear wall.
She's slow to get up, and her stance is no longer the strong, steady stance it was before, but she's not quite out of the game yet. Breathing hard, she regards her opponent for a moment, then sets herself. "Alright," she says, her voice pained, "I guess this is it..."
A burst of adrenaline lets her move at least mostly like her uninjured self, as she moves to close the gap, step step step and on the third step, on her left foot, she suddenly spins forward as she drops into a crouch, supported on her left leg, her right leg scything through the air at ankle height, a flare of blue chi blades following in its wake as she spins forward rapidly, her right leg cutting through a series of reverse sweeps before she thrusts herself up to a standing position and finishes by aiming a reverse heel kick for Rust's sternum.
COMBATSYS: Sakura successfully hits Rust with Haru Ichiban.
[ \\\\\\\ < > // ]
Sakura 0/-------/-------|=======\-------\0 Rust
Upon Sakura being released from the bulldozing, the wacky older man collapses on the ground in that same maintained posture that now makes him look kind of like a turtle put helplessly on their back. Back and forth, back and forth. That he gets up to a kneel, he looks more his age as he makes a few wheezy noises.
Sakura, youthful flame that she is, does not bear the same burden of age. Renwed with one last burst of resolve and energy, her counterattack belies the wear and tear the both of them have suffered.
Rocking back up to a crouch - no, that has too positive a connotation. Hm, let's try... struggling back up to a crouch - no, that implies he has more fight left in him than there is. Let's just go with 'something back up into a crouch.'
Something back up into a crouch, the chi-laced spinning sweeps start coming, scraping against the damaged and dented car floor. His right hand rises again with that same sign that saw him decide to politely let Sakura past the previous time she might've caught sight of it...
That same hand closes into a tightly squeezes fist as his forearm goes vertical in a defensive position against him, his entire body going rigid. That defensive technique is far more famous than himself (this isn't a difficult feat, but remains ostensibly a true fact), the trademark skill of a legend whom he shares the namesake of. A defensive posture and advanced technique of the human body to harden oneself against tremendous force.
As an actual blocking maneuver, this comes up short, as Sakura's blows come in low. Battering the leg against his own, he's too stiffened by the technique to think of moving a leg back, or hopping, or crouching lower, or much of anything... but it keeps him on his feet, though his ground is rapidly being lost as Sakura pushes him back with every blow.
The finishing blow to the sternum sees her foot shoot right past that forearm and nail him dead on as he flies right back out where the two just escaped, and-- oh dear.
It should be a grisly scene. It should be an awful scene. It should be a tragic scene.
Instead, it appears the angle he was launched at just manages to clear being in the path of anything else rolling downhill at that speed. If Sakura sneaks a peek, she can see the fate of her opponent and maybe even wave him goodbye before the two lose sight of one another.
Presently, the battered, bloodied, bruised, and buffonish Howard Rust, Jr. dangles off the part of a nearby utility pole with probably the worst wedgie Sakura may have yet witnessed, expression placid.
COMBATSYS: Rust takes no action.
[ \\\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Rust can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\ <
Sakura crumples to her knees, exhausted by what turned out to be the final attack; by now the train is moving fast enough that she only catches the briefest glimpse of the wedgied Rust Jr. ... but it's an image that'll stick in her mind for quite some time to come. From one of the other cars come SNF officials and medics, but Sakura waves them off after a moment, breathing out long and slow and rising to her feet.
She turns to stare out a window, at the streaking countryside, and she muses to herself, "That... that was tough." But she's smiling, too. Not just for the win, but for the challenge faced. She wonders if Ryu ever faced a situation like that, but decides that he's probably faced -hundreds- of situations like that... and as she turns to head towards the medic station, she wavers, the injuries to her legs and the other hits she took finally taking their full toll.
A medic slips under one arm to support her and she smiles weakly. "Thanks, guys," she says, as she walks out of the train with their help.
"... do we get a stop before Hinatayama Station?"
COMBATSYS: Sakura has ended the fight here.
Log created on 23:11:28 04/29/2017 by Rust, and last modified on 11:29:50 05/02/2017.