Description: After a startling success in Sydney, Team Revengeance advances in the face of dire odds into the quarterfinals. They will travel across the ocean to the legendary Taj Mahal, where Maki and Hokutomaru must face the fresh faces in this tournament, the only team that auto-qualified, the Syndicate Team. The infamous Duke, teamed with returning favorite Nagase, brings the terror of tournaments past as they will face down long runner Maki as the King Of Fighters heat up into showdown of, once again, of speed vs power. Place your bets people!
The Taj Mahal.
The Jewel of India. The towering wonder of the world sits as one of the most iconic constructs in all of time. The perfectly symmetric building is like a teardrop against the sky. For it to be the home of a King of Fighter match was almost too violent for such a beautiful place. Fortunately, the Taj Mahal would be the backdrop for this battle: The fight would be against the long reflecting pool that sits before it. All around, the audience was in place. HItbit technicians, Shahs on their elephants, and the common people, encircled off by a velvet rope around the fighting grounds before the pool. It was a balance of serenity and excitement.
And Duke was to break both.
The towering crime boss stood at his corner of the ring, arms crossed. The dark skinned fighter was smoldering in rage, his yellow eyes transfixed, as waves of violet and red chi coarse over his form. He was dressed in his three piece suit of black and red, far too elegant for a simple match. But he had standards to uphold. And while his temper was not at his opponent, it was still reaching a tower of fury. It wasn't Maki.
It was his partner, Nagase.
"Where is that damn ninja?" The Duke growls, his eyes burning as smoke builds from his form.
Where was Nagase? Maki didn't know, so it would've been a waste of time to ask her.
But anyway, getting back to the match at hand...
While Duke is smolodering and looking a bit on the frustrated side over there, Maki herself is warming up and doing some light stretching as well. There's a look on her face that appears to be rather neutral, although when she spots a fan of hers in the crowd, she smiles and gives a wave before continuing her stretches.
Once Maki's finally finished, the blonde haired ninja takes her tonfa into her hand and looks towards Duke. When she gets a look at how 'on fire' he appears, Maki can only shake her head at how Duke's overworking himself.
"Well, if he loses, it's not my fault he wasn't fully focused!" Maki comments to herself as she does some final arm and neck stretches, before getting into her fighting stance and waiting patiently for the referee to give the signal to begin.
COMBATSYS: Duke has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Maki has joined the fight here.
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Duke 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Maki
The judges make the call.
AS the gestures are made, Duke turns up his face, lips tight in a fearsome glower. He does not respond to Maki's aside to herself; whether it was unheard, or simply beneath the attention of the Duke was not clear. But as the judge makes his signal, Duke uncrosses his arm, and strides towards the center. "I have found very little patience with ninjas, young lady." The crime boss bellows, his yellow eyes transfixed upon the plucky Maki. He pauses halfway across the reflecting pool, waves of chi cascading off him gently. "But let me make this clear. What is about to happen to you?"
"Will not be your fault."
And the bell is rung.
Duke's entire body crack and snaps as he draws back a singular fist. And with explosive power, he unleashes it straight for Maki's torso with splintering force. Not for Maki necessarily, but for Duke himself: His very bones and body cracked and bruised under the sheer force of the blow. Not the fiercest strike that he could unleash. But an opening to carve apart.
He was going to start pouring in every flicker of rage into this woman.
And thinking of Nagase the entire time.
COMBATSYS: Maki dodges Duke's Medium Punch.
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Duke 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Maki
If there's one thing Maki's learned in fighting, it's that you should never let your anger get the best of you. You lose focus that way, and when you lose focus, you can't hit an opponent as easily as you might like to. Especially it's a ninja like Maki, who dodges attacks like it's nothing to her, and proves this point by stepping to the side as Duke comes in with his punch.
"I'm sorry about your patience, but I had no say in how this fight would be arranged," Maki comments as she finishes stepping to the side of Duke, avoiding his punch entirely. "I mean, if you have no patience for ninjas, that's your problem, not mine." Maki narrows her eyes. "But maybe I can help you a little bit?"
Maki speaks with sarcasm as she makes this statement, before attempting to go in low and attempt to trip Duke onto the ring with a swift kick aimed at his ankles.
COMBATSYS: Maki successfully hits Duke with Light Kick.
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Duke 0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0 Maki
For Duke, anger was a font of power.
As the thundering blow connects with nothing, Duke barely has time to adjust his footwork before the sly ninja slips in to chip at his defenses. Duke makes for the attempt to evade, to no effect. The ankles are only bruised, thankfully, as Duke slams his other leg down to compensate the impact. There is a cracking sound as the turf is ripped up, the impact tearing into Duke as much as the ground. Duke's expression darkens, as his lips curl up.
"Are you mocking me?"
Duke whips his leg around, unleashing the full force of his leg around with skeleton-shattering impact. It was as much as a roundhouse as it was a singular, forceful stomp, to hook at Maki's head and -smash- her into the ground. Power, unrelenting power. Was this like the fight with Marduk again?
Or was it something more?
COMBATSYS: Duke successfully hits Maki with Medium Kick.
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Duke 0/-------/-----==|===----\-------\0 Maki
"Mocking? Me? As if!" Maki sneers a little at that. "I'm just making my own personal observations! Not to mention I--"
Maki's next statement is abruptly ended as the kick slams into her head and sends her crashing to the mat. The mat is supposed to be cushioned for the fighters, yes, but the impact from the kick still hurts like nothing else. Although compared to Marduk's abilities, Maki's thanking her lucky stars she wasn't fighting HIM again!
Rubbing at her face where the impact hit her, Maki sighs and groans a little bit as she struggles to get back onto her feet without falling over due to the fact her vision is a little out of it at the moment.
"Damn it," Maki whispers to herself as she shakes her head, trying to get her vision back to normal. "Yeah, that did hurt, I'll give you that. But that was merely because I underestimated your attack. Don't get too cocky!"
And then Maki's rushing in again, attempting to strike Duke in the stomach with her trusty tonfa. Granted, Maki was wrong to accuse Duke of being cocky, but sometimes her mouth has a mind of its own in a fight!
COMBATSYS: Duke blocks Maki's Medium Strike.
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Duke 0/-------/----===|===----\-------\0 Maki
The kick connects.
Duke doesn't gloat or take in the strike. For him, it was work. Eat. Sleep. Crush anyone who stood in your way. With Hyena nervously playing with an elephant's tail at the sidelines, the crime boss considered that he may be forced to face both opponents alone. So be it. It what was expected of him, after all. As Duke recovers from his staggering kick, the ninja recovers in tandem. "Hurt?!" Duke states in disbelief and disgust at the blonde woman's spirit.
"Let me show you pain."
The ninja comes roaring in, and Duke steps in tandem. The weapon comes, and the crime boss reaches out with the delicate grace of swatting a fly. Duke catches the tonfa, and there is a sickening crack, followed by a geyser of chi energy, rupturing his skin around his hand and wrist. Flesh twists and tears, as Duke tightens his grip on the tonfa with another grotesque crack. And this close, it is clear what kind of effect Maki's attacks had on the crime boss.
Duke's hand was broken.
As quickly as Maki's blow snapped it, it was already regenerating, the violet red energy boiling over the wounds. Duke was healing the bone and bruises as smoothly as frost escapes a spring morning. And as the crime boss releases the tonfa, the other arm comes cascading down into a bone-shattering haymaker, aiming squarely at Maki's own collarbone. Duke, in all his fury and rage, was taking a defensive approach, trying to dismantle the ninja with as much precision he could muster at this time. And yet, as his body burns, the yellow eyes almost seem to cut through Maki with a terrifying gaze.
It wasn't clear how much Duke was power, and how much was skill.
COMBATSYS: Maki dodges Duke's Strong Punch.
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Duke 0/-------/----===|===----\-------\0 Maki
The collarbone is a painful place to be hit. Maki knows that firsthand. And she's not about to let Duke hit her there either. As she rolls out of the way, Maki comments, "No thanks, I've been shown more than enough for one lifetime!"
Once Maki finishes rolling out of the way, she doesn't stop there. In a fluid motion, Maki literally seems to propel herself up into the air on her tonfa. It's almost like her entire body is being supported by one little tonfa. How it doesn't break is anyone's guess, but what she does next is even more amazing for those who don't know her well.
With a leg outstretched, Maki begins to spin around and around like a human whirlwind. If Duke gets caught during this time, he'll be the one being shown some pain!
COMBATSYS: Duke barely endures Maki's Bushin Senpuu Kyaku.
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Duke 0/-------/-======|====---\-------\0 Maki
Duke was keeping apace with his opponent.
While it was two blows against his one, one of Duke's was worth ten of Maki's. The power was coming with a careful, dismantling approach. Duke could fight quickly, or he could fight slowly. And with Maki, he was choosing slowly. Piece by piece, chip by chip, he was pulling apart Maki. As the thundering punch fails to connect, he was already stepping in for the next attack.
And Maki was coming in as well.
The spiraling attack comes faster than Duke wanted. Blow after blow after blow hammers him, as he twists his body around. The hand, previous broken by the last tonfa, was being brought around for a wind-up power punch for the side of Maki's face. As jets of chi erupt from the broken ribs tearing through his clothing, Duke finally unleashes a snarl, his glower breaking as his rage overflows. The explosive punch erupts prematurely, attempting to rip into Maki, to catch her before she could finish her spinning.
Already, Duke was running out of patience.
COMBATSYS: Maki blocks Duke's Power Axe.
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Duke 0/-------/-======|=======\-------\0 Maki
Just as Maki stops spinning, her arms go up to absorb the attack as best as they can. It was almost like she's acting on instinct faster than she can process it, for the next thing she knows, Maki is reeling backwards, shaking her arms out and muttering a curse word under her breath. Even if the attack didn't directly hit her, it still hurt a bit. "That's it, gotta stay focused." Maki slaps her face a couple times to get back within it and wipes her forehead, gritting her teeth through the pain in her head and her arms.
"Not bad, I suppose," Maki says, the only words she has to say right now. Because actions speak louder than words, and there's another action coming Duke's way. Maki grabs her tonfa and, with a yell, swings it with all her might at him.
COMBATSYS: Duke endures Maki's Genkou.
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Duke 1/------=/=======|=======\-------\1 Maki
Blow after blow.
Duke's momentum was not stopping. Slow but steady, Duke was building a terrifying momentum, coming forward as a gradual, crushing offense. Even as Maki is sent reeling, Duke was stomping towards the ninja, body bleeding from the bruising battery. As Maki's limbs burn, as she slaps her face, Duke was upon her. Eyes burning yellow, he rumbles as he draws back both of his arms. Maki comes hammering in, and Duke does not seem to be stopping... or mustering any defense. "Young lady." Duke says cooly as walks into the tonfa that shatters his ribcage, a fresh plume of chi bursting out with a little bit of the bones as it caves into his lung.
"That was a poor choice of words."
And he -slams- his arms together, unleashing a cataclysmic explosion of pure chi flame. The explosion rips apart the ground, tearing up the beautiful greenery of the Taj Mahal in a fissuring volcanic eruption. The blast was unfolding, as the audience in the path suddenly flees. Elephants trumpet as the wall of flame overflows to blow Maki away. Unless she can get out of the way?
She was going to see just how 'not bad' Duke could be.
COMBATSYS: Duke knocks away Maki with Sledgehammer.
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Duke 0/-------/-------|=======\======-\1 Maki
There's nothing you can do to avoid some attacks. But when they send you sailing across the ring away from your opponent, they really add insult to injury (in more ways than one!) So Maki's finding herself on the ropes, literally as she gets hit and goes flying acrsos the ring. She collides with them, and it looks like she's going to collapse to the ground from all the pain she's in and the injuries she's suffered...
Or is she?
Suddenly, a glow surrounds Maki, and she looks up and lets out a loud battle cry. Then, with lightning speed, she rushes at Duke, attempting to deliver several tonfa strikes, followed by a leaping vertical kick, and then finally grab him from the air and throw HIM across the ring!
COMBATSYS: Maki successfully hits Duke with Bushin Gou Rai Ha.
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Duke 0/-------/----===|==-----\-------\0 Maki
The explosion was unleashed.
Duke recovers, sweeping his arms back as he stands tall. He dared her to stand back up with that withering gaze. And yet, she does. She had spirit. Duke broke spirits. And yet, she fires back at blazing speed. Duke crosses his arms, attempting to guard against it. But the speed was too much, she was piercing his defense. Blow after blow tears across his suit jacket and top, to the flesh and bone underneath. She crushes both lungs now, as his ribcage spiders inwards, crushing inwards.
And Duke falls to one knee.
Body broken, bones exposed, the man's flesh was almost like a cloak, ready to cast off. Blood pours from his suit. And Duke gasps for air from his crushed lungs. He draws in a heaving breath.
And Duke rises again.
Stomping across the green, the crime boss's glare burns, as smoke builds off his form. "Well done, young lady. You've actually shown that you are in my way." He growls with a deep baritone, a rumbling quake boiling around him. Each step comes with a steady shockwave of chi, as his skin rolls and bubbles, reforming itself in the face of Maki's attack. He strides forward, hand out, to seize Maki by her neck. And should he get a grip? He would pivot, hurling her back across the ring, back to the other side, away from the side he had desolated with his sledgehammer.
He would destroy everything here.
COMBATSYS: Duke successfully hits Maki with Quick Throw.
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Duke 0/-------/---====|===----\-------\0 Maki
Unfortunately, Duke is rather quick. And Maki finds herself in his grasp. Something she does not like. "L-let go of me!" Maki stammers, before being flung across the ring. As she's in mid-air, though, she manages to right herself and land on both feet, albeit with some difficulty. She holds her shoulder and catches her breath, glaring at Duke. "If you think you're gonna defeat me easily, you'd better think again! A wounded ninja is the worst enemy you can have!"
Despite the injuries she's sustained, Maki somehow does a backflip onto the turnbuckle. Then she does another somersault onto the ropes.
From there, Maki uses the ropes to fly directly at Duke. But not to smother him in kisses or anything like that. Instead, Maki's got her foot outstretched and she's aimed directly for Duke!
COMBATSYS: Duke endures Maki's Hassou Kyaku.
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Duke 0/-------/-======|====---\-------\0 Maki
Duke was much faster than he seemed.
As he flings her across, he lumbers back, thundering with a building tower. "Young lady." Duke says with a growl, as she flies at Duke with a kick.
"You are -nothing-"
Duke takes the blow to the chest again, driving battering that struck straight to his heart. The crime boss dips low on impact, unleashing a rising uppercut to catch Maki on her attack. A second one comes, a swift-one two blow designed to knock her away. Duke was slowing down, his reserves were wasting away. But he was not yielding, no.
He had not even truly begun to show his power.
COMBATSYS: Maki parries Duke's Tall Hammer!
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Duke 0/-------/--=====|====---\-------\0 Maki
The strength may be there, but even the strongest of attacks aren't perfect!
Maki focuses on her opponent, keeping her eyes straight on him, and doesn't flinch in the least. Somehow, with extreme reflexes, she knocks the uppercut away effortlessly! There's nothing to it literally!
That is, despite her injured state. Maki's not going down that easily it seems.
"I may be nothing," Maki says, "But at least I know how to keep a good fight going!" She attempts to then grab Duke and take him down quickly with a swift takedown technique.
COMBATSYS: Maki successfully hits Duke with Medium Throw EX.
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Duke 1/-------/=======|=====--\-------\0 Maki
Maki does earn her keep, as she crosses the line.
The crime boss, extended and off-balance, misses his mark as she slips around. Exposed, he is caught and hurled into a fierce takedown, collapsing into the grass with a disgusting crack upon his neck. Groaning in pain, he rolls, barely able to muster his limbs to stand. He looks up at Maki, eyes rolling.
And Duke narrows his eyes.
"Young lady." He begins, as he comes into a stand. Brushing off his suit, he roars as he flexes. His shirt explodes, as chi energy boils over his form, his topless body a boiling scar across his naked chest. His rubs his hand on his neck, as his entire body shudders, his eyes locked dead on. "Put your affairs in order.
"I will DRAG you to down to HELL!"
COMBATSYS: Duke focuses on his next action.
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Duke 1/-------/=======|=====--\-------\0 Maki
"I'd like to see you try it!" Maki says, as she steps back from the very angry Duke. "You can threaten me all you want, but as long as I keep dodging, nothing will change!" She stares at Duke. "And if you're talking to me about affairs, I'll tell you that I haven't even been on a date before." A slight smirk forms on Maki's face at her bad pun.
But then the smirk vanishes. "Prepare yourself, then! I am ready for you! Just you try me!" She takes a deep breath and blows it out. "I will even give you the opportunity you desire!"
COMBATSYS: Maki gains composure.
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Duke 1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0 Maki
"Then so be it."
And Duke unleashes the stomp.
Hurling out a powerful stomp, a massive shockwave ripples out from impact, rolling the ground in a mixture of fire and earth. Duke does not linger on it long, as he explodes forward with a singular punch, mixing the shockwave with fist, force, and fire, to blast Maki away.
COMBATSYS: Duke successfully hits Maki with Seismic Impact EX.
# Disabling hit! #
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Duke 1/-----==/=======|======-\-------\0 Maki
Maki did her best to try to avoid what was coming at her, but she got caught and found herself being knocked to the ground. Should she really have gotten her affairs in order just like that?
Even though she's bruised and beaten, Maki still refuses to give up. She pushes herself up onto her feet again, just before the referee reaches the count of five. She looks bruised and battered, yes, but her fighting spirit is invulnerable literally!
"You bastard! I'm gonna make you pay for this!" Maki staggers around, a little off-balance, but makes her way to Duke, and is attempts to grab onto him. If she succeeds in this, she'll proceed to strike him with her knee.
COMBATSYS: Duke interrupts Kneestrike Hold from Maki with Dive Bomber EX.
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Duke 1/----===/=======|=======\-------\1 Maki
Duke stands over Maki, arms crossed.
His eyes lock down, staring a smoldering hole into her, lips slightly curled into a sneer. He waited. He waited for the count. By the count of four, he shakes his head. There was more work for him to do, it was clear. As she pushes up fully, he just tracks her, as she staggers around off-balanced. "No." Duke says firmly as she moves for the grapple.
The crime boss does not give Maki the chance to make him pay. Leaping into the air with a knee raised, he interrupts her attempt with a singular, head-spiking stomp, driving her facedown into the dirt with the heel of his boot. This time, he stays there, pinning her down. He turns towards the judge.
Duke can tell the judge to start counting, but despite her weakened state, Maki's not about to give herself up that easily. Even as she hears the judge counting, she gathers her inner strength. Knowing she can make one last ditch effort, Maki breathes as best as she can, letting her mind unite with her body.
"I'm not letting myself lose that easily! I've still got one more trick up my sleeve!" She thinks to herself.
Then suddenly, she springs up and, without warning, launches directly at Duke, almost like before, only this time she's using insane speed as she flies at Duke. If Maki lands her attack, it's going to hurt more than before!
COMBATSYS: Maki can no longer fight.
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COMBATSYS: Maki successfully hits Duke with Tesshin Hou.
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Unfortunately, after she hits, Maki's body goes limp and drops to the ground. Before she's even hit the mat she's out like a light. The judge sees this and before he even starts counting, he stops the match and declares a KO. Duke's fans might be cheering, but Maki's fans are booing loudly. Maki, though, is in no position to be listening to any of that though...
She wasn't down yet.
Duke watches with smoldering contempt as the numbers are counted out. As she gains in inner strength, but he keeps the pressure on. Scowling harder, he grits his teeth as finally, finally, Maki surges back up. The relentless speed comes, as she unleashes a lightning flash blow. Duke is nearly knocked off his feet, as he staggers back. As Maki collapses, the crime boss roars in rage. Surging back at Maki, he lifts his leg straight up, for a executing heel drop. Hanging it in the air, he stares at the downed Maki...
And slams the foot into the ground by Maki's head.
STorming away, he doesn't even look at the judge. His eyes cast around, as Hyena applauds, clapping his hands eagerly. Duke ignores him, as he furiously -stares- through the crowd.
"Where the hell ARE you Nagase?"
COMBATSYS: Duke awaits the next challenger.
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An open air fighting arena of velvet ropes, lit harshly by flood lamps and surrounded on all sides by cameras is certainly no place for murder. Unfortunately, it's also no place for skulking. Even the best ninja would have a hard time ninjaing under these circumstances. I mean, that Nagase girl isn't here, so obviously it was too hard for her. And Maki wasn't trying to sneak, she was stretching right out in the open.
Unless Nagase is here, and is sneaking, and is just that good a ninja...
Hokutomaru's eyes widen at the thought as he peeks out from behind the enormous floppy ear of an elephant, scanning frantically around for any sign of the pretty rival ninja. Not that he'd ever tell her that to her face. Hah! That's right, a master shinobi must be stoic. Master shinobi don't gush to pretty girls about how nice there eyes are. Unless they're pop stars, and that was only once.
Lost in his thoughts, Hokutomaru is perhaps mercifully spared the sight of Duke poised over his fallen partner, prepared to squish her brains out under foot. He only realizes that it is his time to shine when the announcer begins to call final warning before team ninja is disqualified.
"Aaaah! I'm sorry Ingrid!"
The high, embarrassed shout rings through the suddenly quiet arena, able to be heard by everyone. In its wake, there is silence.
"hrm, uh..." the elephant's ear shifts uncomfortably, to the great disinterest of the elephant it is attached to.
This second shout, though made by the same high pitched, chirpy voice, comes from directly above Duke's head, as a cloud of grey smoke suddenly poof's into existence.
"Made you look!" the smoke exclaims joyfully, as three shuriken come whizzing down one after the other, the three stone stars aimed to smash into the top of Duke's head with a rapid 'thwapthwapthwap' before shattering into a million tiny pieces.
tumbling free of the smoke in the wake of the non-deadly projectiles is a small Japanese boy, short black hair swept back in wild spikes, eyes squinted shut and face scrunched up as he coughs and wheezes his way toward the ground. His body is covered in smudges of black soot, huge red scarf snapping in the wind as he tumbles out of space, half graceful gymnast, half bumbling fool.
COMBATSYS: Hokutomaru has joined the fight here.
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Duke 1/-======/=======|-------\-------\0 Hokutomaru
COMBATSYS: Duke endures Hokutomaru's Triple Shuriken.
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Duke 2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|====---\-------\0 Hokutomaru
That was not Noboru.
The sound of a child pierces the air. No, no, it couldn't be. The crime boss's eyes dart from the elephants, as the chortling rises. A puff, a flutter. A scowl. Duke's lips curl in disgust as finally, a puff appears above him. He takes a moment to look straight up.
The ninja's mischief is met with the unyielding glower of Duke, his eyes burning in an inner rage as he lowers his head too slowly. The impact of the three shuriken are clear, as the man's head looked slightly caved in, with open wounds pouring not blood, but raw chi energy. "Young man." Duke begins, with the air of a stern teacher that just caught a small boy drawing on a wall. He throws back his arms, as the sensation like a tidal rush is felt all around.
"I will make this quick."
And he slams down.
The earth explodes around him as he unleashes the mother of all shockwaves. The very rock quakes as the flood of chi explodes all around, a burning flood that boils out, to crush, to consume. The very font of Duke erupts as a volcano, rushing out and around him as a consuming shockwave.
The green is gone.
And the Duke bleeds once more.
COMBATSYS: Duke knocks away Hokutomaru with Ground Zero.
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Duke 0/-------/---<<<<|=======\=====--\1 Hokutomaru
Hitting the ground shoulders first, Hokutomaru tumbles across the marked-off arena in a little ball before springing lithely to his feet, white teeth gleaming stark against his black-smudged face as he listens to each of his shuriken hit home. Planting his left fist on his hip, he raises his right triumphantly and glances back over his shoulder, fully expecting to see the towering brute falling to the ground, defeated.
Instead, he finds the massive man glaring back at him, chi pouring from a dent in his head.
"Whoa! Your he--" he begins, a bit freaked out, but is immediately cut off by Duke's stern response.
Quick? Make it QUICK?
Hokutomaru's dark eyes narrow at that. So this guy thinks he's just a punk kid? Well, we'll see about that. He's a ninja! A ninja worthy of Team Ninja! Not even Mai was on Team Ninja! But, well, technically he isn't on Team Ninja either, but his Team is only ninja! So hah! Take that Mai!
Also,what's with the sound of approaching apocalypse?
Oh yeah, the fight!
The sound that escapes Hokutomaru as Duke's fists impact the ground could charitably be called the shriek of an enraged monkey. And if anyone ever asks, that's exactly what he'll claim it was.
Whirling away from the explosion of chi, the teenage ninja flings himself toward the corner of the ring, turning a surprisingly acrobatic double front flip as he gathers his cape-like scarf in around him. Once more he tucks himself up into a little ball, bracing for impact as he soars toward the corner post, and potential safety...
The blast strikes him full in the back, hammering the air out of him and carrying him along on its burning surface as the radius of destruction spreads ever wider. What is left of the velvet ropes and their posts are flung out into the audience, while Hokutomaru is carried up, up, up into the sky.
The top of his arc ends with him nearly 50 feet in the air, scarf smoldering and eyes wide in shock. The sheer wind pressure produced by the attack has reversed his hair spikes, blasting them forward to curl wildly around his face.
"....Auh?" he queries to the empty sky around him, dazed and confused as he hangs there in a ball, gravity yet to claim him.
"Guh!" he exclaims, uncurling into a mid-air crouch, "Buhihihihihi!"
Shaking himself like a dog, the spry little guy flips forward and finally begins to fall, flailing himself around into a corkscrew twist. Eyes narrowed in sudden resolve, he drops toward the waiting Duke with ever growing speed, arms extending to either side and scorched cape floating out behind.
"HaaaAAAAAAH!" he exclaims as he falls, body igniting in a sudden tornado of flame that sets him to spinning faster and faster like a falling drill from teenage boy hell. Smoke, ash, and flames lick out in all directions as he does his absolute best to plough right through Duke's now significantly less glowy chest and carry them both to the ground in a smoldering heap, where he can hopefully tumble away to relative safety.
COMBATSYS: Duke endures Hokutomaru's Chou Bakuen Tasumaki.
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Duke 1/----<<</<<<<<<<|=------\-------\0 Hokutomaru
Duke expected it to be over.
UNleashing the full force of his energy, the crime boss expected a quick and easy finish. He had a ninja to find. When he got his hands on Nagase... what he would do to her was unspeakable. Brutal. And far too slow. And yet, as the aftermath of the blast clears, the audience and elephants looking like an overturned toybox, something was growing clear. Narrowing his eyes, he can only barely see the movement. But the sound. That wasn't the sound of a child dying; that was something only Jezebel would know. No, that was something more dire.
It was a second wind.
The boy riots forward, and Duke snarls. Standing fast, he -glares- into the boy. His body was bleeding now, his head was bleeding. All the fire had died down. Groaning aloud, his bones crack as he wrenches the fire from his body, trying to ignite the inner flame again. Twisting his neck, he roars at he slams his body back in, taking the drill head on. The roar cuts short. Duke does not yield.
But he does bleed.
Hokutomaru does not have the privilege of cutting completely through the towering crime boss. Instead, he has the honor of plowing halfway through his chest, driving deep into his lungs, his heart. Babump. Babump. Babump. A few inches higher, and it might even be lethal for the man. Duke teeth tighten, cracking his molars from the pure pain as his pupils turn to pinpricks. The ninja might have been knocked away. But both his shuriken and his blade was carving the crime boss like a piece of meat. Duke can't even bellow as he brings his arms at the boy.
He could not even muster air in his lungs.
Instead, as exhaustion surges over him from blood and oxygen loss, Duke viciously, and almost desperately, brings his hands upon Hokutomaru. Should he get a grip with his hands? He would seize the boy, and punch him in the face. Once. Twice. And for a third, he would lift him up, and -slam- him down to the ground in another cataclysmic eruption of chi. The garden would be destroyed.
Such was the price of inviting the wrath of a Syndicate crime lord.
COMBATSYS: Duke knocks away Hokutomaru with Volcanic Bomb.
[ \\\\\\\ < > ]
Duke 0/-------/----===|=======\==-----\1 Hokutomaru
Hokutomaru was going to do it! Woo! He was going to bring this big man down! With all the might of his ninjutsu behind him, there is no way he could fail!
Then, he can feel two strong, meaty hands close around his shoulders, pushing through fire and pain to tear him out of his spin.
"Wuh?" Is all he has time to ask, dizzy and half tangled in his scarf, confused by the sudden lack of falling giant.
Then there is a fist in his face.
One, two, three blows rock the boy's head brutally back, blood spraying from his mouth and nose. It's honestly a bit sickening to watch. But, who ever thought Duke would care about something as common as decency?
Stunned, the boy ninja can only kick weakly as he is hefted overhead, then slammed into the earth with another violent detonation of chi that sees him tumbling end over end, rag dolling away to land in a heap.
"..Cuh." He grunts, a mixture of blood and smoke splatting from between his lips as he squints up at Duke from the ground, one eye already swelling shut. He would talk, but his split lips hurt too much. Also, he might have a broken rib or two.
Good eye drifting aimlessly about, dizzy, he pushes down against the ground and flops over onto his back, attempting to figure out which of the foggy figures floating across his vision is Duke. Picking one at random, he narrows his eye at it, gauging...
"Haaaaah!" he exclaims, hands moving in a well trained blur that sees a stream of stone shuriken flying lightning fast toward the unidentified object, a veritable machine gun of projectiles.
Struggling clumsily to his feet, the young boy then winds up, producing a thirteenth and final shuriken from beneath his now horribly tattered scarf. This one nearly the size of his head, he spins on the spot, winding up like a hammer thrower, and hurls it spinning through the air toward what he has decided is probably Duke, the oversized projectile bursting into flames as it whizzes through the air.
Then, Hokutomaru runs away.
Or he tries to. Spinning on the spot, he makes as if to dash off at full speed, wanting no part of this crazy man and his explodyness. Unfortunately, it's at about that moment that his body realizes that it has been beat up. Taking two skipping steps, he suddenly freezes up, eyes rolling into the back of his head, and face plants with a skid.
COMBATSYS: Hokutomaru can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Duke blocks Hokutomaru's Chou Hissatsu Shuriken.
[ \\\\\\ <
Duke's defiance continues as he finishes slamming the boy down. Still no air came out. Standing fast in a furious stance, he forces himself to stay in the glower, the weight of the crimeboss drawing down heavily. And yet, the boy rises. The ninja defies him.
And returns with another barrage.
Duke cannot risk it anymore. He has yet had a breath, and for all his unstoppable violence and the endless assault against his body, he was mortal enough. He would fall to enough cuts. Shuriken after Shuriken is unleashed, and the crime boss can only beat them away with his arms, the weapons driving deeper, and deeper. And finally, finally, the barrage stops, as he flees. Duke thunders towards him, arms bleeding.
But that was it.
The boy falls. And Duke keeps striding towards him. The judges, panicking, rush to the sides, and call it. They call the match. And only after looking Duke squarely in the eye, and tell him he was victorious, does he stop. And Duke finally inhales, and exhales. Air. Sweet air. He turns his back, as the audience musters a rolling applause. It did not matter to Duke. He only cared about one thing now.
Where was Nagase.
COMBATSYS: Duke has ended the fight here.
Log created on 17:49:41 08/28/2017 by Duke, and last modified on 10:42:56 09/07/2017.