SNF 2017.07 - SNF: Finding The Future

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Description: Stage: Greece - The Parthenon. So the pair of you just took part in the saving the world? Oh, we'll spare the details from the public. But just know that -we- know what you went through. And now, the world is fast on track to destroy itself again. With Combots getting chi powers and video games ruling the world, it looks like a King of Fighters tournament with a finish that will leave the unworthy and the dangerous undeserved powers over their fellow man. What will Ryu and Rose do, as they face at the birthplace of western culture, The Parthenon? At the very least, I hope it's fighting! (WINNER: Rose)

About three and a half centuries ago, the Parthenon was hit by a Venetian mortar round, its effects catastrophic upon the integrity of the ancient building and causing hundreds of casualties alone. So many years prior, such a thing would have been unspeakable. The color has long since faded, but the white stone structure - defined by its iconic carved pillars and immaculately carved sculptures resting above them - remains standing. Much of its old splendor is forever lost to time, various details left to educated estimates. What is there, what remains, is worthy of respect and reverence equal or greater to than that the ancient peoples of this land had bestowed upon it.
A ways away from its front steps, a young man clad in an aged white gi with the faintest highlights of biege takes in the sight stoically as a long white travel bag remains slung over his shoulder. Ostensibly, he is here for a fight. He came here far earlier than expected, and expends the downtime afforded by misunderstanding time zone differences to quietly meditate on the hardships the structure and its people must have faced.
How much is really different, between then and now? What answers lie left within stone and overgrown brush, under dust and decay? Ryu would say without hesitation that the answers would be found in the fight - but he does not let the weight of where he stands now pass him by.
The skies above grow cloudier, as though promising a drizzle in mere hours - or maybe even within the hour. A gentle breeze blows through, wind whipping at the ends of his headband and the looser ends of his clothing as he puts on an impressive impersonation of a classical statue out of sheer motionlessness.

"You know," says Rose, projecting quite well out throughout the columns but not yet in sight, "For a long time they thought that these stones were always bare; that they were a stark and simple aesthetic from a better time, more pure, more moral, more virtuous."

Rose steps out from behind a pillar. She wasn't there before, was she?

She is wearing ancient Greek garb, at least after a fashion. A puce-dyed chiton with a leather belt and a high hemline that reveals more leg than was usually the case for ancient Greek women; her habitual scarf is wrapped around her neck but also beneath one shoulder. The flax of the dyed tunic is thin enough that the cloth strap she's wearing underneath it is visible. Her hair is the same as always.

"It's been a while, hasn't it?" Rose says as she steps forwards. (She is wearing open-toed sandals, but they have a wedge heel. Maybe she literally cannot stand wearing flats now.) "Before we begin, tell me how you are doing, Ryu. I understand if there is not a lot of detail to share."

Ryu's head lifts at Rose's voice. The situation would be alarming. People mysteriously speaking and appearing out of nowhere - frightening, even. The average person does not take well to surprises that rob their sense of security in their surroundings.
Ryu is not the average person. Calmly, he regards the sudden appearance of the woman showing herself from behind one of the pillars. It takes something of a negotiating miracle to allow there to be a fight so close to this wonder of an ancient culture - the so-called birthplace of the Western cultures that would follow ancient Greece.
It's something about the way she carries herself, that any protests simply do not surface among the mundane on site.
It would be difficult for Ryu to put into words all he would like to say to her, for what she did when he was at his weakest - when Vega invaded his psyche and kept warring with his own soul against a being so doused and soaked in... no, there's no longer words that do that justice.
He closes his eyes for longer than a mere blink.
"I am well. Thank you." Seeking a fight through any channel and any means where he can locate a worthy challenge... that is, for Ryu, normalcy. That he continues to do this after all that has happened since then with little to no observable deviation is enough to say, 'he's fine, it's business as usual, moving on.'
He couldn't hide it if he tried. Much happened that still weighs upon him even now. What he witnessed, what he did in order to save another... the essence of something greater yet lurking under the surface that seems to be held in check. In some ways, it seems closer, and yet, presses less against the ceiling of what contains it.
"All I know... is that the answer lies in the heart of battle," he says as he opens his eyes, letting the travel bag go slack and hit the ground. (It blends in so well he might have problems finding it again after the fact, and may prompt real questions as to if he should just get a more unnaturally colored travel bag, but this is a problem for Future Ryu.)

COMBATSYS: Rose has started a fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Rose             0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Ryu has wandered into the fight here.

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Ryu              0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0             Rose

Rose had been fully prepared for a chat about the meaning of life after that journey of horrors - a narrative of how Ryu survived and moved on - all these things and more, but he speaks with soft and crisp efficency and Rose waits just a few moments in order to see if there is more to come.

And then there is. The answer lies in battle.

"Well, then," Rose says as Ryu drops his bag -

And she starts to move forwards with fluid ease, spreading her arms apart as if to catch the Mediterranean breeze. She moves with balletic ease and remarkable speed, because against Ryu, she knows - intimately, if not perhaps as intimately as might be hoped - that she does not need to hold back, need to restrain herself, need to do anything other than perhaps avoid aiming for the groin shot.

He would, of course, despise anything less. That much Rose knows for sure?

Either way it comes forwards with swiftness and a trailing afterimage of that coruscant pastel light that Ryu has touched before: now it is of course not aimed at him in quite as friendly away, but the principle is the same. It is a kick - not too strong, not too weak, committed but not to the point of madness - aimed at his midsection, trying perhaps to get in his guard before he can fully raise it.

Rose laughs, once, in the time it takes her to step forward three paces and kick: and a moment later, Ryu's bag /finally/ hits the ground and vanishes from sight.

COMBATSYS: Ryu blocks Rose's Medium Kick.

[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Ryu              0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0             Rose

The secret to being Ryu - one of them, at least - is that he is a man who is always ready for battle. Even at rest, every fiber of his being stands ready to test one's mettle. His right arm curves inward to deflect the oncoming mid-level kick off of his elbow. A short grunt of exertion leaves his throat, as the glow of Rose's soul carries through the tip of her feet to reach out and make further contact.
Disarming, strange, and simultaneously reminiscent of - and completely different from - the snarling, cackling power-mad psion who would exert his dominion over all. The paradox is mind-bending to comprehend within an instant. The instant is the moment Ryu lives in, as he takes a short hop back.
The bag hits the ground and proceeds to play its unsolicited game of hide and seek. (Ryu is now playing the role of 'it.')
His eyes narrow as he sizes up the wandering fortuneteller's stance and movements from a distance that would take a good four steps to cross in order to come within headbutting range. The rough cut of the rocky terrain under his bare feet are disregarded, those oversized feet well-adjusted to terrain not meant for bare feet to cross at length.
He raises his fists, one higher than the other, as his feet bob up and down. What more is there to say between them? Where Rose exudes a comfort and even playfulness to her situation, the young man before her has moved to shut out all distractions surrounding him. All errant colors, all unrelated sounds, all irrelevant scents, any and all sensations outside of the scope of what happens between the both of them.
This includes remembering where he put down the bag.

COMBATSYS: Ryu focuses on his next action.

[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Ryu              0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0             Rose

Rose's eyelashes lower as she ends up with Ryu far enough away from her that she can't just strike back out from where she is now. She smiles again, looking towards him as she takes in a deep breath. Very deep; perhaps she's trying to issue a distraction.

She then twists her scarf over her arm and things seem to slow down.

If she is being focused on, let her put on a show. The light rises around her and ripples through her body, glowing with glamour and luminous green.

It clears the air - and perhaps in its faint reflections there is a shadow of something that used to be here.

"These friezes, these statues, Ryu. Did you know? They checked them with their clever machines and a very close inspection. They were not spare white marble, barren and pristine. They were painted - painted like life itself. Don't you think that's splendid? Or does it offend your aesthetics, I wonder..."

It's a light comment, but not a jest.

COMBATSYS: Rose gathers her will.

[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Ryu              0/-------/-------|====---\-------\0             Rose

Where is the line drawn between a distraction, and a useful motion to read off of an opponent?
It's difficult to track Ryu's eyes beyond being 'on Rose.' There is so much to her to follow. The way the scarf hovers. The power she feeds into it, all the little tricks of the light that glint off of the colors that reflect her soul given physical form to human comprehension. There are many places for a gaze to be caught.
The ears, too, stand to be ensnared within the honeypot of cultural knowledge. Entire lifetimes, countless lifetimes, have passed before any of their own. So few things by the hands of those that have come and gone leave any sort of mark on the present day - and with it, answers as to the way things were. It begs a question - what of Ryu's own aesthetic tastes?
Such questions never register, as he determines an opening throughout a lecture whose words fail to convey their meaning. His eyes never waver.
Ryu lunges in, stretching an arm out low as the opposite winds back. When it is unleashed, he swings it forward at abdomen level, gliding forward a short distance with the strike - enough to cover the four pace range. The punch is swung as such that, on contact, it feels as though there are two separate punches being thrown within that single motion - the second coming as he extends that forearm further out, to drive the fist in deeper should contact of any sort be managed.

COMBATSYS: Rose blocks Ryu's Kyuubi Kudaki.

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Ryu              0/-------/------=|=====--\-------\0             Rose

Rose twists round as Ryu comes towards her. Her eyes stay half narrowed and her lips purse up into a smile as he charges in, lunging, bringing back his fist as he closes the range and swings his fist forwards with blurring force -

Rose leaps herself up at the last moment.

Ryu had aimed at her abdomen but instead his fist hits her thigh, which is held firm but not over-tense and as such /ripples/ with a jiggling that would perhaps be enticing to a low mind if it were seen somewhere elsewhere. In fact, of course, while he can feel that her skin's rebounded, that her tissue was impacted, she's already coming further up:

She's moving with the blow.

Her hands come up to gently cup either side of Ryu's face and she looks downwards as she inverts herself completely, coming to a suspended lull for a heartbeat directly above him. There is no sense of weight from her in that moment and she smiles down (up?) at Ryu, saying as she does, "No peeking?"

Was that chiding, or a warning?

Chiding. It was definitely chiding.

A moment later comes a ripple of synaesthetic force aimed to shock Ryu to his core - perhaps to force him to look up - but either way the flow of Soul Power, while hardly UNPLEASANT, especially deployed in this way, is certainly fatiguing - stinging - something that can sap the will to fight.

But can you drain the ocean?

COMBATSYS: Ryu interrupts Soul Fade from Rose with Shoryuken.
- Power hit! -

[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Ryu              0/-------/-----==|=======\=------\1             Rose

Ryu's eyes widen as she grabs hold of his head, suspended inversely for that fleeting moment.
The lack of weight throws him off - there are deeply-ingrained reflexes about how a fist should feel, how a grip should press... the feeling of a blow against another body. Without that feedback, he loses a sense of place of where he is versus the opponent.
It is disarming, when met with that gentle smile.
That gentle smile, and the colors that fill his ears, the sounds that reach his eyes, the soul that reaches out. The arm that struck unclenches its fist, the fingers wiggling as though losing sense of where they are buried in one's palm - losing sense of a need.
The opposite fist, instead, clenches, as Ryu looks to the graceful fortuneteller in the eye. To look deeply into what's there, as air rushes into his lungs. What will drives him - no, anyone - to throw a punch?
Is it anger? Frustration? A maniacal glee? Desperation? Rose has probably seen far more emotional fluctuations that give a 'tell' to the intent than anyone could have words for. An entire spectrum of reasons, a kaleidoscope of feelings, that so very few are privy to truly see and understand.
Ryu just punches upwards with that aforementioned clenched fist up at the reverse-suspended Rose, as though the very fist has chosen not to dwell upon the mysteries and miseries that have come from this.
"SHOOOORYUKEN!!" Comes Ryu's voice as he thrusts the opposite arm straight up into the air where Rose resides, the sheer power of the fist lifting him a far ways up from the ground as it buries itself somewhere against - or within? - Rose's bosom. Whatever willpower yet empowers this wandering warrior, no matter the numbness that runs through his mind and muscles that wears into a fading haze, he ensures at least this much.
He is willing to fight through it, if for the simple sake of doing just that. (That, or to just touch a boob.)

It must be said that Rose did not expect things to go that way. Inverted as she is, she has little resistance or ability to avoid the Shoryuken, and so the fist slams directly into her breast and flattens it against her ribcage. The upside is that it's a piece of fatty tissue and thus absorbs shock pretty well.

The downside: Pain... YES INDEED...

Boy does this hurt. Rose's expression is thankfully not captured on 4k super-high def camera footage for later recycling into forums posting. What is more clear is the ripple of his blow as the force translates through and around Rose's body - someone striking with the force of Ryu cannot help but manage such matters, if they do not try to avoid them! Her clothing flutters violently; she topples back and lands on her feet, wobbling and breathing tightly through her teeth.

She doesn't seem to have words to say. The stars, planets and ouchie-lines radiating from her upper torso are nearly palpable.

"S... s... suh..."

Well at least I can be confident that he isn't going to strip me or do jump ropes with my intestinal tract, Rose thinks to herself even as she finally gets it together enough to complete her thought, even as her scarf whips forwards:


A burst of that light erupts outwards - shining purple and gold and green and blue in a thousand hues of pastel light - and no, it is not the ghost of her breast, it is the Soul Spark she has shot like four dozen times on SNF. Seriously folks.

Though being an Amazon would be topical, Rose thinks, even as the pain gradually eases up.

COMBATSYS: Rose successfully hits Ryu with Soul Spark.

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Ryu              0/-------/-======|=======\==-----\1             Rose

She can also be reasonably confident that Ryu will not rest on his laurels and gloat over the reversal. The Soul Power shock gradually fades from his consciousness, and with it, a renwed, sharpened focus on all that is relevant - not the scandalous angles of view available from his vantage point, or lingering where exactly the fist landed. He chooses to try and keep his present distance afforded from f, d, df+punching to maintain his favored range for gauging an opponent's abilities and movements.
The scarf whips outwards. His eyes make the mistake of following the angle of the scarf, accounting for the way it swirls and bends in the air at rest for its eventual angle of attack. Leaning heavily onto his left foot, he finds himself ramming his shoulder into the Soul Spark.
Its energy splashes about his muscled frame, and all the way up the side of his face where its dispersing color blinds - or goes through? - his eye, as his upper body rears back.
He wasn't punched in the gut or stabbed in the lungs or sucked dry from the jugular, but he can't stop himself from leaning forward in an exhausted lurch as he shuts his eyes from what goes through him. A moment of calm, weaponized. He can't stay upright without giving up a step as he staggers back once, re-tightening his fists again as he brings his gaze level to the wielder of this magnificent power.
Determined, undeterred by the disadvantage inherent in being pushed back that much further and giving his opponent that much more space to react, he hops forward into the air with a raised leg.
"TATSUMAKI SENPUU KYAKU!!" He announces this wordy set of syllables without stutter nor mispronounciation, a whirling spinkick managing to say suspended a constant small height from the ground. The world spins, inviting one to lose a sense of where they are, where everything else is, and what forms these colors and shapes normally take as they whirl faster than the human eye can comprehend.
Not Ryu, who keeps direction as he whirls towards Rose.

COMBATSYS: Rose blocks Ryu's Tatsumaki Senpuu Kyaku.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Ryu              0/-------/-======|=======\===----\1             Rose

That is the downside of Ryu: You can be pretty sure he won't try to murder you, but he WILL try to kick your ass. Fortunately Rose has had long enough to engage herself, and when that distorting light strikes home, Rose has a moment to breathe.

Just once. Ryu staggers, but only a pace, before he vaults upwards and shouts his passion into the centuried vaults. The sound rebounds off the stone of the Parthenon, and perhaps one might think the Greek gods would approve, were they watching.

Rose's response is swift and brisk as he spins. It is to watch him close, for his motion is clearer to Rose's eyes, balletic and elegant as it is in its rough and muscular way, unfinished and imperfect like the finest sort of Japanese ceramics. (How's that for an analogy?)

She leaps forwards just as Ryu's foot is pointing TOWARDS her. This is because she aims to ride the whirlwind and because she has to travel the space between them. She raises her leg, her scarf swirling down so that when his leg comes back around it scores a muffled, buffered blow against cloth instead of Rose's thigh. And she is moving then, and the rest of the travel puts her -

Well, now Ryu can see his handiwork because Rose has gotten a little overenthusiastic with this Soul Throw, and it is more of a head-lock than a shoulder-check today. The fact remains, even so, and afterwards the eruption of Soul Power aims downwards, to hurl Ryu (one hopes) to the dry stone of the birthplace of western civilization!

On top of a pillar Hermes claps briefly, before remembering nobody's supposed to see him. Fortunately, no camera was pointed.

COMBATSYS: Rose successfully hits Ryu with Soul Throw.
~~ Alluring Hit! ~~

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Ryu              1/----<<</<<<<<<<|=======\======-\1             Rose

Rose's window of opportunity to strike is deceptively small. Ryu lands from the legendary spinkick that would disorient much anyone else without losing his sense of balance, coming back to the stone beneath his feet with fists raised and stance ready as quickly as he left it to perform it. The only factor that works against him is the odd feedback of the heel against the scarf. In that instant in time, it would take him another precious measure of fractional seconds to gauge what Rose is doing this close--
Something presses against the base of his neck, and he finds himself taking a bow that puts his head on level with her chest. It is an incomprehensible force - not of weight, but of some greater emotional push - in which he can't navigate himself out of that grasp. He tries to kneel lower, a basic instinct for when he senses something might be above him.
The Soul Power courses through again, and repetition does little to steel him any further. This is a fundamental difference in the way the two of them express their own power between one borrowed from the world, and one from oneself. Robbed of comprehension and movement, he appears trivially hurled into the very stone underneath.
It shudders and cracks as he bounces against the hallowed ground, doing no favors to his back or ribs. The sensations are overwhelming, the injuries mounting. Many would take a moment to catch their breath, reflect upon themselves as to what's happening. Others would give into frustration and charge recklessly with bloodlust and fury. Yet more might be demoralized and think to yield, for their own sake.
Ryu, fighting through equal parts injury and fatigue between two direct connections of Soul Power, stands up as readily as he would at the start of a battle.
That is not the look of a man demoralized.
That is not the look of a man furious.
That is the look of a man who has found what he's wanted.
The only delay comes as he brings his hands behind his back to tie the headband ever tighter, another soft breeze flitting through. A great challenge awaits him through Rose. Such opportunities to yet climb higher, he'd find the steepest mountain cliffs he could find...!
Drawing back his hands, he cups them around the empty air as he similarly empties his mind of excess thought to embrace the vacuum. To fill the nothingness between his hands that provide a cage for the building power. The chi that shines a bright white-ish blue builds within, facing towards Rose with the same ferocity she deserves.
The same ferocity any and every fighter deserves.
"HADOUKEN!" He shouts that iconic cry, thrusting both hands forward as he unleashes the flying sphere of energy that shoots through the distance that yet comes between them. He's got more to give yet...!

COMBATSYS: Rose fails to reflect Hadouken from Ryu with Soul Reflect.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Ryu              1/---<<<</<<<<<<<|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2             Rose

Rose, of course, feels sore at the same time that a man near her feels satisfied with what he's found. This is hardly the first time. That's the word for you!

The pain in her chest - for it is not simply a wacky bruise; Ryu hits hard and Rose's shoulder muscles are already stiffening up somewhat - is enough to slow her swift counter-motion of her scarf. The rippling energies of the Soul radiate outwards but the Hadouken is passionate and forceful, smashing into Rose's side. The OTHER one, just so she's evenly bruised.

The burst of chi ripples through her and sends her staggering back; back, in fact, against one of those pillars. It's a lean, not a slam - the pillar is at no risk - but Rose has to breathe heavily for a moment, giving Ryu a marginally wan look.

"So what do you think - they should do here - hm? Rebuild it? Leave the ruins as they are...?"

Philosophy: it buys you time, possibly to sneak an Advil.

There are apt comparisons that can be made to a young child who has just found out that the mud outside feels awesome to roll around in with reckless abandon and get all over oneself and their clothes. A kind of innocent joy, filtered roughly through the lens of a young man who has found countless obstacles that would stand in the way of - or attempt to exploit - a quest for self-improvement that seems so simple and shallow as to be utterly naive to its detractors!
Ryu's hands draw back into the ready stance once more, as though having appeared undecided as to whether to move in with it, or to sit back and gauge what Rose's next movement might be - if anything, he seems thrown off by her loss of position and resultant staggering back towards the pillars.
"That's not a question I could yet answer." That's the first time he's spoken in that trance of his, as the colors and sounds of the outside attempt to seep through a mind and body rattled by its experiences with Soul Power.
He breathes calmly to refill the lungs in the process of emptying out the unrelated sensations and minutae anew. Though weary, his fists and feet maintain the same character. The same tightness of his fists, the same movement in his feet, rising up and down, up and down.
He's enthusiastic to see what Rose brings next... along with a probable underlying understanding and appreciation for, at the very least, not trashing the priceless ruins any further than the ravages of time and Venetian bombardment.
Philosophy, thusly, buys exactly seventeen cents' equivalent in time to sneak in an Advil. (What's the conversion rate for that today?)

COMBATSYS: Ryu focuses on his next action.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Ryu              1/---<<<</<<<<<<<|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2             Rose

"It's a very tricky one, isn't it?" Rose says as Ryu breathes and focuses himself. Her left hand slides out, unfolding from its protective clutch against her injured bosom.

Her fingers curl. "On the one hand, the past is beautiful... often more beautiful in our memories and our visions than it would have been at the time. I can tell you that to the Greeks of old, this building was important - but it would have been familiar as well. Perhaps they would have despised it, or thought it should be torn down. To us, now, it is precious as a reminder, but in Italy there are many works of the Romans. And they were even more numerous before the modern era, but the people of yore, they tore them apart for their stone."

Her right hand comes out. Her fingers curl. "And on the other hand what we see now is only beautiful because we decide it thus. To our modern sensibilities, ruins are beautiful... but look here, Ryu. Is this place sacred for its isolation, for its absence? Do we deny ourselves by not embracing the past, and bringing it back to life?"

Her fingers uncurl.

Two spheres of light, the size of marbles, sit on her palms. They are intense in their glow and they expand to something nearer to her traditional Soul Sparks, balanced there, orbiting close around a point of gravity.

"It's something I envy in you - I can feel it. Such concerns seem silly to you, don't they? Such purity of drive... I have found I lack it, now, after everything. All of my labors, my fears... and he was slain by a demon! And then the demon was slain too. In the end our hopes rested on a flower."

Rose's eyes close for a moment and she smiles.

"Ah well," she says, and the spheres shift their orbits to revolve around her.

"I suppose there's no harm in a little fun, now."

And then Rose rises up into the air. Her arms cross in front of her, those orbiting spheres forming a gorgeous helix that lingers lightly in the retinal afterimage. She reaches back with her foot - pushing off the stone pillar /very/ lightly, like a tiny baby bird pushing her way clear --

Even for a powerful psion like Rose, these things are tricky. The angle, of course, is wrong. So is the fact that she laughs with delight at the feeling (though it does make her sore breast sting) of diving down upon Ryu, surrounded by those tightly-spinning orbs of light.

At the last moment she twists herself a hundred and eighty degrees, though. Perhaps just to avoid a perfect repeat of what happened on her last dive-in.

COMBATSYS: Rose successfully hits Ryu with #Soul Satellite#.

[                                < >  ///////////////               ]
Ryu              2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|-------\-------\0             Rose

In any other context, Ryu would be dismissed as an uncultured barbarian without regard for the scope of what they both stand before now. Outside of battle, he could find just about any opportunity to stop, reflect on his journey, and consider whether or not there is an opportunity to better himself through the thing in question.
In battle, the fight is all that matters. For the youthful desire to just see everything and accomplish anything, there is yet a tempered patience. No sign that he'd be urging Rose to hurry up and punch him already! He allows her to find her center, whatever it will take, to bring to him her very best. He wants more. (His body might disagree with this sentiment, but Ryu wants more!)
The compliment seems to brush right off of him, further adding credence to Rose's envy. He's not here to be showered in praise by the masses, make millions of monies, or find true love. He's here for the fight, and the fight alone. When Rose takes to the air to produce the orbiting orbs which surround her and move in ways that tease unpredictable movement and a protective detail alike...
He crouches to solidify his stance against the oncoming dive and its orbiting satellites. The mind's eye filters through the shimmering lights they leave in their wake. To his training, to what he can grasp of the mysterious fortuneteller who has found it in her to have a little fun, he is as prepared as he can possibly be to test himself against this remarkable, even legendary manifestation of psionic power nearly unmatched.
This seems to be the case, on first contact, when the first of the satellites arrives.
An aura of blue envelopes the prodigial martial artist to a loud clashing sound as the first of the two spheres splashes against the open hand of a keen defense, shedding some incalculable amount of its mass as it continues its orbit around its master. It is deflected...
But it is not defeated.
What splashes from the spherical soul manifestation goes to color the psyche anchored to the body that makes contact with it. Ryu's eyes widen reflexively as he overcompensates to keep his attention centered. A chink in the proverbial armor. An uninvited calm washes over his muscles, his nerves.
The fingers of the defending hand bend and part, softening as his mouth turns from a straight line to a razor-thin oval.
With Rose's approach, the second sphere comes by to say 'hello, other soul, how are you, let me give you a friendship noogie' in a language he cannot understand as it collides against his scalp like a meteoric collision. Ryu utters a low yelp of pain as he is severed from all sense, bent over like something bopped him on the back of his head as the Soul Power wraps about him. The previously diminished first satellite makes contact once more without having to talk to the hand, and immigrates against his upper back.
A louder, echoing vocalization fills the air as it tosses Ryu off his feet across a distance of a good ten to twelve feet against the white and weathered stone surrounding the Parthenon, coming to rest before a small pile of loose rock.
His consciousness fades in and out of coherency. He would have much to say, if he could just keep hold of it for long enough to reclaim the rest of his senses beyond the bare minimum of existing as a conscious human being!
All of it kind and thankful, for the opportunity.

COMBATSYS: Ryu takes no action.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Rose             0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Ryu can no longer fight.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Rose             0/-------/-------|

In the aftermath of that flying impact, Rose is, momentarily, straddling the fallen Ryu, breathing heavily.

This is when four Italian paparazzi lean out from behind one of the other pillars (and a fifth from behind Ryu's dropped bag) to point their cameras. "Oh!!" Rose says in a flurry of remarkably noisy flashbulbs.

COMBATSYS: Rose has ended the fight here.

Log created on 19:28:14 07/03/2017 by Ryu, and last modified on 19:38:43 07/07/2017.