KOF 2017 - B2 Qualifier Match: Team Balance vs Sound And Fury

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Description: Right in the heart of the Windy City, two teams battle for the headliner of the great split, with returning faces coming to a brutal face to face match. Team Balance will be facing off against Sound And Fury, as wild card runs against wild card. Team Balance brings the returning ninja Ryu Hayabusa with a fresh new team, coming into the tournament with the beautiful Kasumi and the strange, even more beautiful Alma at his flanks. Facing against him is a practical army of Sound and Fury. Alexis returns with her new partners, the alien Aranha, the belligerent Tabitha, and what looks to be a cosplaying dragon mascot, Walter. The professional faces the weird in Chicago, as Balance collides with Sound and Fury in the fight for the 2nd Bracket.

It's night shift at the train yard and much to the relief of the night crew, an increased was brought in to deal with the activity that comes with hosting the first round of the King of Fighters tournament. The KoF crew has set aside a space for the fight itself with steel barricades set up in a circle around it with cameras and lights set up in key locations as well as a drone circling in the air to get the angles that the other cameras can't quite get. Behind the barricades there are portable bleachers set up to give the audience a view of their own. Then on opposite ends of the ring there's a section for each of the teams to gather and watch the fight.

In Sound and Fury's section, Aranha's warming up with assorted exercises before he stretches. The thing he found strange was that every since the island he hasn't needed to warm up and stretch and he was just as limber before the warm up and stretch as he was after. It was now just a ritual to him since he didn't really know what to do with himself in the moments before the fight.

The announcer starts introducing the teams and the members and then when it's time to call the individual fighters into the ring, Aranha gets called and he hops over the steel barrier and upon landing, waves to the crowd before staring at the Team Balance side.

The space set aside for Team Balance is notably absent one Hayabusa Ryu, the warrior put forward as the first up against whatever the King of Fighters tournament has in store for them. Truth be told, while the Dragon Ninja is more than willing to take point in this particular contest, the young shinobi rather suspects that another of their triad will be forging deeper into what this Tournament trule holds, than he...

The last scion of the Dragon Lineage is not fashionably late, this time. He is remarkably punctual, and abrupt-- one moment, his corner's entry remains empty, the announcer scratching his head... and then doing a double take.

The next instant, you see, a statuesque young man in an ornate grey-blue shozoku stands ready to enter the ring. The Ninja Prince's unmasked features are respectful, but intent, fixed solely on Aranha to exclusion of all the staff, all the spectators now roaring with excitement for the impending contest. The young master cants his head curiously, his stoic mask unmoved by whatever it is piques his interest.

"Tonight's ROUND ONE event-- the Spider and the Dragon. ARANHA vs RYUUU!!!" Unmoved, analytical, the volume of it all is turned way down for the unsettlingly calm monster slayer with the emerald eyes.

Eyes that remain fixed on his opponent's, all but looking through Aranha; and speaking naught of what they see. The intricately carved, steel capped bo-staff he carries instead of Ryuken whirls audibly through the air, sweeping a practice guard about Hayabusa's personal space as he strides into the ring.

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa has started a fight here.

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Ryu Hayabusa     0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa equips the Lunar Staff.

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Ryu Hayabusa [E] 0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Aranha has joined the fight here.

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Aranha           0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0 [E] Ryu Hayabusa

The shade wearing capoeirista steps forward nodding in acknowledgement of the fellow Full Moon Society member who he finds on the opposite side of this particular stage of the tournament. He takes a deep breath. After having personally fought alongside him in the fight against Jedah, Aranha knew he would need the performance of his life in order to just escape the prelims.

The official gives the signal to start and the Dancing Spider begins to sway to and fro in ginga before deciding to test Hayabusa's defenses. He starts as he usually does. Send out a few feelers to get an idea of how to handle his opponent and then craft a strategy based on that info.

He performs an aerial to get closer and then he lashes out with a pair of outside crescent kicks.

COMBATSYS: Aranha successfully hits Ryu Hayabusa with Spin Kick.
- Power hit! -

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Aranha           1/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0 [E] Ryu Hayabusa

The other hunter, that Dancing Spider, is reputed for his fearsome cunning and unerring agility in battle for a reason. The Dragon Ninja knew this, but finds himself soundly reminded of it nonetheless, as the copoeirista sends him reeling to one side and then the other, perfectly catching the master shinobi's weaving, swiftly executed evasion... by all appearances, just as the aggressive arachnid planned it.

Skidding to one knee to catch his suddenly sidelong momentum, the last scion of the Dragon Lineage shakes off that harsh hit with nary but a grunt of complaint, or acknowledgement, his rising foretold first by one butt end of the Lunar Staff, its steel-clad haft driven squarely, directly in at Aranha's face.

Pushing upwards to regain his footing, Hayabusa whirls the weapon in a flash a half rotation about one arm, abruptly bringing the other end down from overhead, aligned squarely with the top of the Dancing Spider's skull.

Neither man seems prone to tease or banter, and respectful stoicism rules the day, the fight discusses in the crack of blows, the whirring movement of air across two deadly warriors with such grace they could be professional dancers.

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa successfully hits Aranha with Blade of the Wisdom King.

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Aranha           1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0 [E] Ryu Hayabusa

The feeler did yield a lot of information. The fact that it landed was icing on the cake for the Dancing Spider. However, the way the Dragon Ninja responds gives him significantly more info. Aranha observes as Hayabusa's staff whirls around before coming down towards his head. He brings up an arm as he rocks away but he's just a little too slow and slips past arm.

There's good news and bad news. That little rocking motion brought his head out of the path of the staff keeping him from dealing with a concussion. Wait. Does he still get those any more. Aranha wasn't inclined to find out. The bad news is the staff smashes down on his trapezius and specifically hits a nerve cluster that gives him dead right arm in addition to driving him to his knees, hard.

When he rises to his feet again, the dance is at least temporarily abandoned as his arm hangs limply to his side he leaps to the barrier and launches himself off of it feet first towards the Dragon Ninja's chest.

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa dodges Aranha's Sky's the Limit.

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Aranha           1/------=/=======|====---\-------\0 [E] Ryu Hayabusa

As the dance continues, one thing likely becomes clear to the other fighter: Hayabusa is already favoring one side, using primarily his right arm to drive the staff's momentum. The left's range of motion and power? Impeded. That's the good news, the weak spot.

The bad news is it's neither large, red, or flashing, nor does it seem to particularly slow the Dragon Ninja down as he twists a deft pirhouette out of the path of the Dancing Spider's rocketing boots. Circling tightly around his temporary adversary, the Shinobi Prince pursues Aranha as he lands out of the deft attack, continuing the flurry of offense with a feinting whirl of his bo, the actual attack coming low, courtesy of one sweeping foot.

Should that swift strike be enough to unbalance Aranha, he would not be blessed with a swift fall to the hard ground, but instead caught from below as Hayabusa twists his weight behind a rising arc of that brutal stave, and then hammered down by its reverse, overhead motion, the opposite butt spinning violently in swift succession.

COMBATSYS: Aranha fails to interrupt Mekkyaku - Soryu from Ryu Hayabusa with Bad Beat EX.
- Power fail! -

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Aranha           0/-------/=======|=======\-------\0 [E] Ryu Hayabusa

His body is slowly working out his own problems with one arm being numb. Which all things considered, while temporary, is still a bit worse off for this particular situation.

As fast as the appearance of his movements were, he still lands a fraction of a second too slow causing him to get clipped by what was supposed to only be a feint. From there it just becomes a downward spiral both from the figurative and literal perspectives. In spite of being slightly out of position Aranha attempts to throw an elbow and right before it could connect the staff connects with the capoeirista's ankle and sent into a wild spin before landing crotch first on the staff before being lifted and slammed head first to the ground.

His body slowly rises back to his feet as he lets out a pained groan.


A hair this way or that, a scant breath later or earlier, and that exchange could have gone entirely differently for the shinobi. Hayabusa sees the branches unfold as if momentarily glimpsing the multiverse as he juggles Aranha on the end of his bo-staff rather than being pummeled back himself. The last scion of the Dragon Lineage smiles a calm, polite smile as the Dancing Spider rights himself, tucking the stave to his body and offering a polite bow.

"The invitations implied a certain type of gathering." Yes, from time to time, the stoic shinobi master has been known to snark. Very, very drily. It's a subtle ease, a show of the man behind the killer's mask that speaks to the respect the Dragon Ninja has for others who walk the path. "There is something different about you..." after several hectic exchanges, Ryu is more sure of it than ever.

Aranha would not be the first Hayabusa has crossed paths with who has-- let's say changed since that brutal tournament on an otherworldly island. It does little to quell the Dragon Ninja's intuition that going there would have played into the hands of fell powers-- which in turn does little to assuage a certain guilt for -not- fighting anyway.

-This- battle rejoins as Hayabusa launches himself into a singular aerial turn, bringing all that momentum down around a whirling rotor of extended bo-staff, aligned squarely with the Spider's chest.

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa successfully hits Aranha with Medium Strike.

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Aranha           1/-------/=======|=======\-------\1 [E] Ryu Hayabusa

Behind his shades, the capoeirista raises a single eyebrow at the snark from the Dragon Ninja not being sure what to make of it. Beyond that, he just shrugs. The dead sensation in his arm is finally subsiding, the body slowly healing the damage that has been inflicted upon him by Hayabusa. The different about him part, he can easily respond to.

He isn't given much time to respond. The staff slams into his chest. The capoeirista is caught flat footed and doesn't quite escape the staff. He stumbles backward and then and only then does he actually respond to the ninja's comment.

"Remember when Jedah mentioned my prize for becoming champion of the Majigen Series? Tessitore forced the prize on me right before I killed her."

He then swings a roundhouse glowing with blue chi, he then follows up with a spinning jump kick and finishing by turning his back to the Dragon Ninja for a fraction of a second before slamming a flip kick on the ninja's head. Each kick also glowing with blue chi.

COMBATSYS: Aranha successfully hits Ryu Hayabusa with Aggressive Dance.
- Power hit! -

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Aranha           1/------=/=======|=======\===----\1 [E] Ryu Hayabusa

The strands of this web intersect, and with Aranha's piece of the puzzle, Hayabusa perhaps perceives more of the shape they weave. Curiouser, and curiouser. The Shinobi Prince seeks to weather the storm brought to his doorstep by the capoeirista, but his guard is misaligned-- or perhaps, the rhythmic warrior's unpredictable pace and angle of onslaught momentarily slips past the Dragon Ninja's expert defenses.

The end result is Hayabusa getting hammered soundly, sent reeling from one kick to the next, until the flip upends him skywards, knocked momentarily senseless by the quick and punishing flurry.

To his credit, testament to his stubborn resilience, the last scion of the Dragon Lineage kicks out of that tumble even before his descent builds speed, skidding to a stop in a three-point crouch and facing Aranha once more.

"Tessitore...." Hayabusa echoes, with weight. "When this is all over--" A flash of hand to bandolier, a flick of the wrist, it's the only warning there is of the pair of razor-edged shuriken curving in from both sides, expertly thrown in an instant. "-- I believe we need to.. talk."

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa successfully hits Aranha with Thrown Weapon.

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Aranha           1/------=/=======|=======\====---\1 [E] Ryu Hayabusa

The capoeirista's key to dealing with attacks while their back is turned is looking under themselves be it under their arms or under their legs. In this particular case, Aranha is looking under his arm but that is of limited utility when the attacker is moving so fast that there isn't even a visible prepratory movement before the projectiles are sent in his direction. He barely has a chance to twitch downward in an attempt to get out of the way when one sticks into his shoulder and the other straight up stabs him in the butt.

There's a twitch and a agonized grimace which is then followed by a sigh of annoyance as he pulls the bladed weapons out of his body and drops them to the ground.

Between the still recovering dead arm, the healing he's still doing from the shoulder injury that occured, and the fact that pulling a kunai from behind would make for the most awkward of gingas, the ginga is pretty much abandoned for at least this part of the fight. The capoeirista limps towards Hayabusa and out of desperation, swings a roundhouse kick right across where he hopes the slippery ninja's face will be and then following up with spinning back heel hooking behind the Dragon Ninja's neck and pulling him face down to the ground.

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa counters Face Down from Aranha with Moonpiercer EX.

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Aranha           0/-------/-------|=======\======-\1 [E] Ryu Hayabusa

Whatever affliction Jedah may have instilled into the Dancing Spider-- a mystery that Hayabusa certainly means to delve-- the capoeirista, at least, seems much the same sportsman as he ever was, an artist that demands every ounce of the Dragon Ninja's attention to keep at bay. In this dance, the veteran fiendslayer leads; but only through stubborn determination and no shortage of chance fate.

Such are the frothing whitewaters that make up the currents of a bout between deadly professionals. With one more exercise of serendipitous synergy, Hayabusa twists adjacent to that roundhouse and drives it prematurely into the ground with a twirl of his bo.

The steel-clad end is driven home with a sharp twist back the opposite direction, bringing that momentum and the lithe, powerful shinobi's weight behind it as he stops the Spider's momentum dead in a flash of silver light and ribcage-punishing steel.

A sidelong step brings Ryu's opposite flank to bear, followed by a flexing leverage of that stave, and the opposite end cuts vertically upwards behind Hayabusa's back, cracking across Aranha's skull with a jarring, icy bolt of luminescent lunar chill. For a moment, breath itself might be scarce in the space of that shockwave.

When the momentum of kick is stopped dead, the capoeirista gasps. It's at this moment that the capoeirista knows exactly what is about to happen to him and he's asolutely powerless to stop it. Of course, in realizes that there is a positive to this but he isn't quite sure that the one to follow him is skilled enough to take advantage of it. Hell he wasn't even sure if he himself would be skilled enough to take advantage of it.

That staff connects with the skull of the Dancing Spider which in turn send the shades flying from his face, shattering upon making contact with steel barricade.

Those who have seen his fight footage or interacted face to face with him before his fateful battle will note the change he had tried to hide. His formerly brown eyes glowed blue for a moment before they flickered and dimmed as consciousness left him.

As the medical staff removes the unconscious capoeirista out of the ring, the announcer calls for the next member from Sound and Fury. And whatever positive for his team he noticed is lost to the ether.

COMBATSYS: Aranha decides that discretion is the better part of valor.

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Ryu Hayabusa [E] 1/-======/=======|

COMBATSYS: Aranha can no longer fight.

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Ryu Hayabusa [E] 1/-======/=======|

The last scion of the Dragon Lineage turns to track Aranha even as he lurches clear, intent upon the threat the capoeirista could still represent until the Dancing Spider is counted out, carted off. Hayabusa draws a deep, steadying breath and inclines his head in subtle reverence for a fallen ally and fierce competitor.

The business that they most certainly still have to discuss is filed away, for the moment, and the Ninja Prince turns his attention fully to the corner of the 'ring' accomodating Sound and Fury-- quite akin indeed to the unflinching, singular analysis he gave Aranha in the opening moments of the first round.

A polite bow, that even, emerald-eyed stare, those are what greet the next fighter to take the stage, alongside the quiet rush of air surging past the gracefully whirling bo-staff. Rotating the weapon around one arm, the other hand gestures that warrior onward.

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa awaits the next challenger.

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Ryu Hayabusa [E] 1/-======/=======|

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa has ended the fight here.

Walter is here right on time at the Rail Yard. There's a place sectioned off for the contest, and the dragon-priest is tapping his shoulder with his spear as he awaits his opponent. A few quick prayers, a little yawn and rubbing of his eyes, and the priest does a few limbering up. As that drone flies overhead? He's sure to tuck his tail extra deep beneath cape and frock. He can't let his less human portions get spotted!

When Ryu finally does show up? He offers a bow and a cross of his chest.

"May the best fighter win, and the Lord guard us from harm!" Comes the English-dragon in a sportsmanlike, warm mood.

Face to face, bow to bow, there's a measure of reverent respect to the nonetheless predatory grace with which Hayabusa maintains poise and distance from his next adversary. One of Walter's secret order fights alongside the Dragon Ninja-- but is nowhere to be seen tonight.

Does Ryu know of the Golden Lancer's affiliation? Or is he simply polite, respectful to what some would deem a fault. "We are in full agreement." the Shinobi Prince offers in relatively fluent, accented English. "I anticipate an excellent fight, and will give you my best." Such is almost a threat from a man like Ryu Hayabusa, but rings only with humility and sincerity.

The Lunar Staff whirls about in a single hand grip, tucking itself under one arm and pointing outwards and behind the Dragon Ninja as his other, tekkou-clad hand beckons the knight forward.

COMBATSYS: Walter has joined the fight here.

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Ryu Hayabusa [E] 1/-======/=======|-------\-------\0           Walter

COMBATSYS: Walter has left the fight here.

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Ryu Hayabusa [E] 1/-======/=======|

COMBATSYS: Walter has joined the fight here.

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Ryu Hayabusa [E] 1/-======/=======|-------\-------\0           Walter

Walter lets out a small chuckle. It's not mocking, but rather good natured, and a bit relieved! "Finally, an opponent with manners! Have at thee then, oh valiant warrior!"

Looking over the ninja, he sizes the man up before he flexes his powerful legs! A twitch of his back, and then he's suddenly in the air! A graceful spin, and down comes the draconic warrior as golden chi coats his body and weapon!

There's no way to avoid seeing him. He's a light in the darkness, and utterly unsuited to the stealth that Hayabusa embodies. His smile is eager as he aims the (blunt) point with his whole body's weight behind it at Hayabusa's knee!

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa dodges Walter's Jump.

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Ryu Hayabusa [E] 1/-======/=======|-------\-------\0           Walter

"Our talent, our duty is ugly enough that balance demands both perspective and honor." Hayabusa once more agrees, and further clarifies, his bo whirling through the air as he twists a subtle, graceful turn to present a flank to Walter's forceful descent, and then abruptly backsteps out of the way of that spear-led missile entirely in a fluid, precisely timed maneuver that gives the Lancer little choice but to bash-land in empty space, rather than through the Dragon Ninja.

Hayabusa is back on his opponent in a flash, coming in at the Dragon Knight's own flank as he seeks to right from the impact. The master shinobi strikes from low to high with a vertical arc from his bo, the steel-clad cap aligned to impact with Walter's chest or jaw formidably enough to launch the Lancer bodily into the air.

It wouldn't be a long flight, save for the last scion of the Dragon Lineage suddenly following the Golden Lancer upwards in a flash, booted feet lashing out in a whirling series of rising spin-kicks designed to juggle Walter ever upwards-- 'ever' in this case meaning until the last would boot him clear.

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa successfully hits Walter with Shoryu Senku Kyaku.

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Ryu Hayabusa [E] 2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|===----\-------\0           Walter

Tabitha has been watching the whole time. I mean, obviously. It's her team fighting!

But not Tabitha. She kind of wishes she was, but she understands wanting to put your more experienced fighters forward, and she hasn't been doing this as long as some people, like Aranha or Alexis. Or presumably Walter, though Tabitha knows less about him.

"Damn, he's good." Tabitha finally speaks, keeping her eyes on Hayabusa. She hasn't looked away from him in a while, except a fast movement to scan over to Walter when he entered the ring. "All that with a stick?"
abitha doesn't use a weapon at all. She just rates fists higher than staves.

Walter is luckily used to this kind of landing, and yet, the master shinobi strikes at him with that arc! It hits his chest! With a...whump? That didn't sound like metal on flesh, weirdly. Does the priest have armor on beneath his frock?

Still, he's up in the air! Kicks hit him, sound parried, but most hitting his limbs and body! Then he falls down with that last boot to the head!

Whump! Right towards the ground! A slight panic, and then...riiiiiip. There goes his frock. Torn away from his body in a desperate wing-flap to keep him from impacting the ground. It...mostly works. He's flapping lightly, hovering in the air. But now all of those scales and his wings are on full display to the now shirtless Walter.

He lets out a sigh, clearing his head. "...Every bloody time."

Another leap, and then? A flurry of swift stabs! These are far more reckless and overwhelming, trying to outstab his fellow user of the long object in battle! Can he make it past a ninja's defenses!?

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa blocks Walter's True Thrust.

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Ryu Hayabusa [E] 2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|=------\-------\0           Walter

Let's be frank-- few people in the world have seen more varied, hideous, murderous creatures than the Hayabusa Clan's premiere demonslayer. If Ryu is surprised by the overt reveal of Walter's nature... the master shinobi does not show it. The intent gold-flecked emerads that focus on the Dragon Knight do not gain any sort of deadlier light, nor does the respect in them dull. It's likely that Hayabusa sensed something 'off' about this opponent much as he did the Dancing Spider... and there was -certainly- something unusual involved when kicking the dragonkin skyward.

This also leaves the Dragon Ninja keenly ready to respond, driving those thrusts to the side with sweeping, sudden whirls of his stave, the spear cleaving several shallow gashes in the shinobi's side and hip as he weaves back, redirects the strikes with expert aplomb.

The last thrust, which might otherwise have bisected him, passes through air as the last scion of the Dragon Lineage launches into his own, unassisted flight, whirling a wheeling backflip that seems to hang in the air a moment as twin kunai whirl downwards from it, whipped at a perfect angle to connect with the Dragon Knight with stabbings both high and low, should Walter not think-- and act-- rather quickly indeed.

Tabitha certainly hasn't seen that before. (And she's on Walter's team.)

She might have been shocked out of watching Hayabusa for a while.

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa successfully hits Walter with Thrown Weapon.

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Ryu Hayabusa [E] 1/----<<</<<<<<<<|====---\-------\0           Walter

Walter flap flap flap flap! Yes Tabitha, those are indeed wings. Also a tail and scales. Said tail flicks a bit, and he's watching his opponent. Really, the man is pressing the dragon unlike anyone else he's ever fought. And he's grinning the entire time!

At least, until that man leaps up and is peppering him with kunai everywhere. This time, he's blocking more with scaled wrists than anything else. They may as well be a shield at first, but finally those blows get through! A few bloody spots here, but nothing lethal! Ryu is too good for that, after all!

"Always...BLOODY....NINJAS!" Comes the knight. Someone must have an issue with ninjas.

"First cyborg street walkers, then fake Nun Ninjas, and now an honest-to-Lord /good ninja/! No offense, Sir Hayabusa, but I have had quite enough of kunai to the bits!"

Then the man leaps back, and...rips up some railroad spikes!?

Toss! Chuck toss throw! Ryu is now being peppered with makeshift lances in the form of railroad bits. Hopefully this railyard has fighter's insurance.

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa parries Walter's Thrown Object!

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Ryu Hayabusa [E] 1/--<<<<</<<<<<<<|====---\-------\0           Walter

"They are not designed for comfort." Hayabusa admits with some measure of impassive sympathy as he lightly touches down out of his flip, one foot delicately sweeping behind the other as he faces Walter sidelong, bo leading. "Many practitioners of old arts forget their true purpose, I fear."

That stance proves fortuitous as those railroad spikes whip in, and with timing and precision-- such that it leads some number of conspiracy-theorizing fans to immediately conclude the fight is choreographed, fixed, a SHAM-- Hayabusa wades into the projectiles, perfectly deflecting each in turn. High, low, right, left, the incoming spikes connect with enchanted hardwoord, with reinforced steel, the artifact bo-staff whirling to meet them as its wielder inexorably advances in blink-and-you'd miss it flashes that would make weeping angels jealous, closing the distance the Dragon Knight tries to enforce in instants.

Once more, that twirling stave lashes out, first high, in a violent overhead smash, and then low, its return momentum coming up from beneath the Golden Lancer in an instant, before the butt end is set for a brutal plant even with his solar plexus, each volatile, abrupt motion trailing fiery tendrils of chi, a searing conflaguration that threatens to treat the Dragonkin to dragonsbreath galore.

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa successfully hits Walter with Suffering of the Asura EX.

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Ryu Hayabusa [E] 1/=======/=======|======-\-------\0           Walter

"Agreed, but somehow they are always in the worst possible parts! Do you have any idea how much it hurts to get a serrated nail in the wing, or a sickle in the tail!? Admittedly, you're a lot more practiced than the tossers I keep running into. Bad week for skullduggery, pray you no offense, Ser!"

By now, at least, Walter knows just how ridiculously fast that this man is. Thus, when that stave lashes out and crashes into him, he's able to raise up spear, and knees alike to take the blow! Chi flares into him, and he dances backwards with every blow. Again and again, he leaps away, meeting each hard crash of bo to his body with a grunt and swift defense. There's pain, it's wearing on him, but the dragon is a tough git! Put a Darkstalker through enough Vatican-approved abuse, and they simply don't fall easily.

"Oh, sod it! No more mister nice Priest!"

Seems the man's getting annoyed at the other fighter's skill. Tearing up a bit of the track, he now has two spears. Two glowing bits of metal as he slides to a stop with bruised legs and bruised /scales/! Then, leaning down like a runner, he rushes forward! Ground cracks under his feet as he charges with a proper knight's yell, and he's a golden blurr towards Ryu! He can't match speed, but that's a lot of chi, and a lot of pure bullheaded dragon rushing for the nimble man!

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa interrupts Twin Claws from Walter with Phoenix Ascendant EX.

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Ryu Hayabusa [E] 1/-======/=======|=======\==-----\1           Walter

"Some idea." Hayabusa confirms with a ghost of a smile. Ample punishment isn't solely the domain of the Vatican, after all. The training Ryu underwent to become the shinobi he is today was brutal, unforgiving, punishing by any standard; and nothing compared to the life-or-death battles that came after. Then again, he lacks wings, and a tail... at least, just this moment, but that's a somewhat tangential topic.

"You do me no offense, Dragon Knight-- I am honored to meet you." The Celestial Dragons were the mythical forebears of his bloodline, of his Clan. While Walter's own origins may be substantially removed from those Heavenly, godlike beings, the last scion of their mortal lineage can tell a few things about the Lancer's heart from their exchange thus far. From the dragonkin's tenacity, his frankness, and that all-too-rare mirror of respectful conflict among opponents who are, at heart, comrades in a far, far greater battle.

Calm, cool as ice, the Dragon Ninja faces down the Golden Lancer's ferocity and frustration with that same maddeningly precise, natural grace. He steps sidelong into the thrusts, between them to be precise, guiding first one then the other wide-- albeit with far more painful proximity and timing than the last. He is more deeply gored, his shokoku torn with a new, wide and bloody gash, but Hayabusa places himself to whirl the bo another full three-hundred sixty degrees and upend it into Walter from below.

That first rotation sense the Dragon Priest skyward once more, and once more Ryu follows him-- this time delivering a series of three windmilling strikes, the staff coming around time and time again to batter the dragon upwards, and away.

"Then may the Lord grant those that come after us safer, more comfortable, peaceful lives!" Peace. It's what a priest is there for, to rail against war and pain and bigotry and suffering. And it's an ideal he holds in his heart even as he fights, for the sake of humans and Darkstalkers alike.

"Bloody well good to meet you indeed, then!"

That chi doesn't stop along his body as he responds to Ryu's counter. The gore has him grinning for just a moment, enjoying a good blow against an opponent he's well come to respect, and more importantly, /like/! As spear and bo clash, wood smacking his body on the waist, he's sent upwards! There's an odd lack of resistance though. Indeed, those glorious wings flap flap flap to use the involuntary bone-shuddering updraft from Ryu to rise higher and higher into the sky! Then, again and again, there's spinning spear and bo. More and more of his body is bruised with every landed blow, but the dragon lets out a roar that's fierce, and yet, full of joy. NOw /this/ is an opponent! The beast in him sings for violence, and it's getting it. The man in him sings for challenge and respect, and recieves it!

"Hayabusa-san!" Calls out Walter in heavily accented Japanese, just to make sure the man knows he's gained an ally this day.

"Let us finish this, and give the cameras a show for the ages!" Mid-air, he poses and flexes for that flying drone. You're on TV Ryu, gotta play up the camera!

And then he turns, wings flap and he's falling like a golden comet towards Ryu. This is face and spear first, reckless, even as he feels his consciousness fleeing. An all-out, desperate, last resort attack. His roar fills the air, body blazing, as his spear falls. He's less making some graceful attack as using himself as an object to smash right into the ninja.

There's no plan for a landing. It's a falling Dragon Ball to the face.

"You owe me a new frock and a gin after this!" A salty Englishdragon Ball.

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa interrupts Spineshatter Dive from Walter with Art of the Piercing Void EX.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >                                ]
Ryu Hayabusa [E] 0/-------/-======|=======\-------\0           Walter

"These things ebb and flow..." The perils posed to society, to the innocents within it, "Both between generations, and within one's own lifetime." Still, the Dragon Ninja has to smile, again a subtle thing, but drawn out twice in short order by the Lancer. Rare form indeed, regardless of fortune's favor shining on Hayabusa in his competition against the capable fighters of Sound and Fury.

".. but you are correct. Why else would the struggle be worthy?" Leaving the world a touch better off than it was, more at peace, more attuned-- what other purpose -is- there to being a guardian of the Balance in the first place? Whether by conscious decision or happenstance, the master shinobi gives the Dragon Priest the climactic spectacle he requests-- and then some.

"I would share many fine drinks with such a warrior." Walter soars high, and Hayabusa holds his ground, staring up at the dragonkin. Walter careens low, a golden fireball screaming towards his opposite number, a pinprick of dark energy surging to life in Hayabusa's grasp, that point of light, gathering it rather than emitting it, spiralling outwards in an instant to form a miniaturized black hole in the Shinobi Prince's very hand.

In the instants it takes the Knight to descend, that singularity erupts ever larger, tugs at Hayabusa's ponytail, sets the dark blue and grey edges of his cloth shozoku fluttering madly. One would be forgiven for wondering if the technique might grow until it swallows the shinobi whole, at least until the collision. A spectacle of golden light and consuming absence thereof, the eruption blossoms outwards, consumes them both as the singularity is slammed into the arrival of the Dragon Knight...

... and then it implodes as swiftly, even more violently that it began, all that sealing force focused back to a single point as the technique swallows the bulk of the eruption... and blasts into, through Walter as much as against him, as if cutting to his very core in a singular, draining instant-- one scant moment connected to the infinite cold, the bottomless hunger of the endless void between stars.

Light and dark clash. There's a shudder of the world around them as they impact, and then that eruption swallows up Walter's form briefly. Un-light is created from the two powerful chi's reacting, opposites and yet closely aligned. When the smoke fades?

The dragon is standing, but barely. His body is smoking. Not from heat, but from ice. Little ice-cicles cling to his chin and hair and wings before shattering. He's...smiling?

"Nnn. Holding you to that Ser!"

And then he collapses like a very draconic wet noodle. His last words?


So inspiring.

Log created on 20:43:18 08/07/2017 by Aranha, and last modified on 14:52:20 08/15/2017.