World Warrior 2018 - World Warrior Round 2 L - Ramlethal vs Baiken

[Toggle Names]

Description: Despite entering the tournament in order to see the strength of humanity, the Valentine known as Ramlethal has been faced with several Darkstalkers of late. She is pleased to once more encounter a human opponent but can Baiken's fury make enough of an impression on this emotionless warrior for that feeling to last?

Standing alone in the wide open courtyard, a young girl stares aimlessly into the space infront of her in silent contemplation. Though she possesses unnaturally heighted senses of awareness, her soft amber eyes are glassy and unfocused behind half-closed lids. This, combined with the look of emotionless neutrality that typically adorns her exotic features, gives the odd teenager the appearance of being tired or disoriented.

In truth, Ramlethal was more troubled than exhausted. She had joined this bizarre competition in order to confirm for herself the sort of strength that was possessed by humanity. Her Mother had infused her mind with a great deal of knowledge but that information was difficult to interpret without context and personal experience. Human history would seem to paint them as little more than raging warmongers eager to rip one another apart for the chance to improve their own status and fortunes yet at the same time they had established great civilizations that would be impossible without incredible cooperation. Humanity seemed to possess great potential, be it aimed at destruction or creation. Potential enough to make the Universal Will itself consider them a danger.

Her brief encounters in this contest have been varied in substance but shared atleast one trait in that each of her opponents has displayed a remarkable ability to rationalize their existence despite having no greater purpose other than self-gratification. Some seemed to think that the act of pursuing that self-serving agenda is some sort of accomplishment, gaining confidence and pleasure from merely testing their limits without any clear purpose in mind. She ponders if it is perhaps this very ability to find motivation in egotism that makes humanity a danger for such a thing is easy enough to produce in such narcissistic creatures.

Stirring from her position for the first time in several minutes, the Valentine swivels her head from side to side in a slow glance at the space around her. Thick lush grass covers the majority of the courtyard but it is the large circle of hard-packed dirt that draws her attention. She stares at the arena, noting the spatters of blood both fresh and old that stains its light surface in streaks of dark color.

For what purpose was that blood spilled? Honor? Duty? Pride? Entertainment? She can not even hazard a guess. Human motivations remain alien to her mind, partially by choice. Though there is a case to be made for understanding the mindset of one's enemy, her Mother had not chosen to grant her that understanding, which must mean there is a reason behind that decision. Perhaps such knowledge would corrupt her, like Eve eating the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Good and Evil. She does not know and that makes her uneasy. Perhaps coming here was a mistake.

After her loss against Azrael, Baiken was determined to continue to push herself. It wasn't just because she hated losing, though perhaps that was part of it, because Baiken is not so different from many of the other fighters here even if she doesn't admit it. It was at least partially because she wanted to test herself, though she had a goal and a reason to achieve strength, even if she chooses not to share it with anyone else. More than one, in fact, though only one really drove her; the rest were stepping stones on her path.

Also, she had heard, from Ryo's match against her, that her next opponent wasn't human. She wanted to see for herself... and perhaps bury her sword in her, if it was necessary. (From Baiken's point of view, it would probably be necessary.)

Baiken is already here. Unlike some of her previous World Warrior matches, she is neither drinking or smoking because she is taking this battle particularly seriously. She is just... waiting, her expression difficult to read beyond a slight scowl that starts at the corner of her lips. She doesn't interrupt Ramlethal from standing quietly for several minutes, but merely watches her, staring in a manner that would be considered extremely rude if she'd done it on the street, but in the context of a battle is merely uncomfortably intense.

"Are you going to stand there all day," Baiken says. It's not really a question; her voice is rough and direct and there's not a lot of querying in it. Baiken herself takes several long strides, ending on the inside of the beaten-dirt ring. At no point does she stop staring - glaring, increasingly, in a rather challenging way - at Ramlethal.

She does not seem happy. And that's /without/ having spoken more than a handful of words to her opponent.

The Gear's head shifts slowly towards the source of the voice, glancing at the gruff woman for the first time. She had detected Baiken's arrival when the one-armed warrior had first stepped into the courtyard. Under normal circumstances the presence of someone with such an obvious aura would have prompted her to respond immediately but she had learned that the humans participating in this contest abided by certain rules. It was unlikely that her opponent would have attempted to strike her from behind and even if she had, the Valentine is confident that she could have sensed it coming.

The fog that had overtaken Ramlethal's gaze vanishes before she has completed the motion and the stare that she fixes upon the maimed woman is one that is both nonchalant and keen. No, it might be more accurate to say that her expression is one devoid of any trace of emotion, the sort of empty gaze that only a monster without feeling or empathy could possess. The stormy thoughts that had preoccupied her troubled mind are impossible to perceive in her pretty face nor does her posture or body language betray anything other than fluid predatory grace as she completely turns to face Baiken after a few more silent moments.

"I was thinking," she offers suddenly, her voice a dull deep monotone that manages to contain enough traces of femininity to identify the speaker as a woman by the tone. But the words are stately blandly and without emphasis, almost as if she were merely mimicking sounds that she had heard somewhere before without truly understanding how to wield them.

The girl, if she can truly be considered as such, moves torwards the ring at a sedate but steady pace, striding across the grass on tips of her toes as if she is floating more than walking. The long cloak that hangs down about her body in a protective sheathe flutters gently with her movement of its own accord, long strands of sticky drool dripping down the wide triangular teeth that ring its lower edge leaving a thin trail of translucent slime in her wake.

The Valentine steps into the arena, her gaze never leaving the swordswoman for an instant any more. It's clear that their match has already begun, even if no blows have been exchanged. The tension in the air has changed and the pressure of the woman's presence has shifted such that she can feel the murderous intent wafting off of her like a sickly-sweet perfume. In response, the air on either side of the exotic girl bends in impossible ways as reality itself distorts under the pressure of her magical powers, rending asunder to give way to a pair of massive metal blades. Each of the gargantuan swords is easily the size of its owner, if not greater, looking more like the wings of a small plane rather than weapons meant to be wielded by someone so small. Rather than take hold of the deadly instruments, however, she leaves such menial tasks to the small creatures that now flutter silently at her sides, a pair of bat-winged orbs, one black and the other white. Though mostly featureless, each of the bizzare familiars seems to be composed entirely of a giant mouth, their freakishly humanoid teeth clamped tightly around a large metal ring with which they maintain their grip on the giant blades.

Coming to a stop at her side of the ring of dirt, Ramlethal once more lapses into silence for several seconds, peering at her foe like some sort of creepy doll. Is she waiting for something? Afraid to throw the first strike? Or simply analyzing the woman glaring at her with such hatred?

COMBATSYS: Baiken has started a fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Baiken           0/-------/------=|

COMBATSYS: Ramlethal has joined the fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Baiken           0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0        Ramlethal

Ramlethal is one of the few people in this tournament Baiken /would/ strike from behind, and call herself justified. Jubei was a Darkstalker, but an understandable one; part of the world, if an unusual part. If he wasn't so... cat, Baiken could have liked him. Azrael was unusual, powerful beyond normal measure, but had the feel of humanity... or a natural disaster.

Ramlethal is neither. She is alien. Baiken hates her and what she represents with a white fury.

This feeling only gets more intense when space itself twists around Ramlethal and her monstrous cloak. Baiken's hand, formerly resting fairly loosely on the hilt of her sword, grips it with sufficient force to turn her knuckles white before she relaxes her hand, more because a death grip on her sword is not the correct way to wield it than because she actually feels particularly relaxed.

It's hard for Baiken to restrain a snarl. She does it, sort of; her lips curl in displeasure but she doesn't actually make any sound as she watches Ramlethal and her blade-wielding familiars. She offers no words in response to Ramlethal's own, nothing but a furious expression under pressure as she attempts to hold it back.

Finally, it becomes too much, or perhaps Baiken just sees an opening. Either way, she takes it.

Baiken rushes Ramlethal. It's less uncontrolled and wild than it seems, but only just; even at her worst, Baiken is a superb fighter - if she wasn't, she wouldn't be here - and while her head might get the best of her it rarely interferes with her actual skill. She simply attempts to close the distance between herself and Ramlethal in a minimum of time.

As she gets closest, Baiken whips the sword from its scabbard, taking to the air as she tries to leap up and over Ramlethal to land behind her. Her blade is drawn upwards as she does, a rising cut that uses Baiken's jump as additional momentum; while it starts in her scabbard, the blade ends raised high as she tries to carve upwards through her inhuman opponent.

COMBATSYS: Ramlethal dodges Baiken's Kuchinashi.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Baiken           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0        Ramlethal

Baiken's barely restrained anger is met with silence and emptiness. For every ounce of fury that the woman has for the monster that stands opposite her in this arena of combat, the girl seems equally possessed of emotionless focus. She stares at the one-armed warrior devoid of fear, anger, or even calm. There is just nothing there save for the deadly threat posed by her very presence.

That alien stillness does not falter when at last her patience is exhausted. Ramlethal remains utterly motionless, her body immobile as stone save for the gentle ripples of the fleshy cloak wrapped about her body. Like a machine awaiting the proper event to begin its programming, she stands stoic, silent, and prepared to act.

The trigger for which she had been waiting is sprung as Baiken's deadly sword slides effortlessly out of the sheath, cleaving the space in which the distressingly emotionless monster stands with a sharp whoosh of polished steel. Or rather, where she used to be standing. Ramlethal reacts with a speed and agility that defies logic, her body bending backwards like a reed swaying in a sudden breeze. The katana's keen edge slices through the now empty air finding no purchase in the flesh that it was unleashes to seek out.

Ramlethal seems to move in slow-motion for a few instants as she hovers in the air, the awkward posture putting no pressure on her ability to remain in control of her actions thanks to her powers of flight. Baiken sails over head, her aggressive assault leaving her hanging in the air for those short couple of seconds that it takes for gravity to draw her back to the ground. But those two seconds are all that the girl needs.

Time suddenly speeds back up to normal as Ramlethal twists her hips, her backwards fall turning into an unexpected pivot that would be impossible for any human. A long tanned leg lashes out at Baiken's side with blinding speed as dull grey energy surrounds it like a smear of oily paint. It crashes torwards her falling form, seeking to catch her in the side before she can land and mount a proper defense.

The girl flows from one strike to the next, hammering at her opponent without mercy as she attempts to use that brief window of opportunity to punish the angry woman for allowing her emotions to get the better of her. Her knee slams up towards Baiken's stomach as the opposite leg swings around, the girl pirouetting with masterful grace. One final time she spins and brings her other leg to bear once again, driving the bare heel of her foot into the samurai's gut swathed in yet more of that colorless power.

COMBATSYS: Ramlethal successfully hits Baiken with Kruroj.

[       \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Baiken           0/-------/-======|==-----\-------\0        Ramlethal

Baiken's unsheathing, upward cut combined with her leap is picture-perfect. The draw is smooth, the arcing movement where Baiken orients the sword in the proper direction flawless - for that's something she has to do, drawing a sword from the same side as only her arm - and the leap impressive, capable of adding powerful force to the already strong blow.

None of it matters because Ramlethal doesn't move at all like a human would.

Baiken sails overhead as her blade fails to bite into anything more substantial than air. Her blade begins to trail pinkish chi behind it as the energy builds up along the edge of the sword, but that makes little difference aside from showering Ramlethal with tiny sparks of energy, drifting downward like cherry blossoms. It's artistic, in a way.

Baiken knows what is going to happen as soon as she reaches the apex of her jump, but there's nothing she can do to prevent it. She has nothing to brace against, no leverage to push herself away; she's at the mercy of gravity as soon as she leaves the ground, and all she can do is wait for it -

Ramlethal's foot drives into Baiken's side. It's enough to spoil her landing and then some; she doesn't touch down neatly and smoothly but hits the ground badly, tumbling to the side. It's a credit to Baiken that she can turn it into an acrobatic movement instead of an awkward stagger - or worse, simply falling on her face - but it still puts her in a bad position to deal with Ramlethal's follow-through.

The repeated impacts, though, do not drop Baiken. They force her backwards, but she remains on her feet, and the snarl Ramlethal gets in response certainly proves that Baiken is not willing to stay down from the opening gambit. She's in a bad position to strike with her sword, though, and so she doesn't; she turns her upper body slightly, blade returning to her sheathe and her hand resting against where the shoulder of her missing arm should be.

There's something poking out from Baiken's empty sleeve, now. A bulky carved dragon's head that seems almost too big to fit in it; no wonder the end of the sleeve is ragged if this is what she keeps in there. And Baiken's hand isn't just bracing against her shoulder; she's holding some kind of rope connected to the inside of the dragon's mouth...

With an almost feral grin, Baiken yanks the cord. The dragon's mouth opens, a geared system forcing the mouth open and poking something out of it - a literal short-barreled cannon, bound with cable and metal bands. With a deafening /boom/ and a cloud of sulphuric smoke that lingers in the air, Baiken fires an actual, factual cannonball from up her sleeve, sending it flying directly at Ramlethal!

COMBATSYS: Ramlethal dodges Baiken's Yashagatana.

[       \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Baiken           0/-------/-======|==-----\-------\0        Ramlethal

Again, Baiken's intense ferocity is met with blank neutrality. There is no look of smug satisfaction in her opponent's face as that powerful kick blasts her sideways, nor any traces of predatory hunger as she closes in to repeately slam the woman with whip-like motions of her legs. The girl's expression never changes, not even as the maimed swordswoman reveals that she has a new trick up her sleeve, quite literally, to make up for the lost arm.

Ramlethal's eyes dart sideways to the cannon and then back in the span of a heartbeat, assessing the situation almost instantly. Fire and smoke fills the air as the dragon head unleashes its thunderous payload with a deafening blast. The Valentine aborts her aggressive push, darting sideways at the very moment that the wild-eyed human yanks on the rather obvious firing mechanism. As before, she moves in a way no human could, her body gliding through the air as if yanked aside by the invisible strings of some hidden puppetmaster. The fireball rips past her, scorching the edge of her fleshy cloak with its heat and proximity, but ultimately failing to strike its intended target.

An explosion rocks the castle as the projectile detonates against the ancient stone walls of the courtyard but Ramlethal pays it little mind for by the time it has traveled that far she is already in the process of unleashing her next relentless strike. Her sideways drift turns into another sharp spin as she brings a foot up to again attack Baiken with nothing more than her body and raw magical power. The quick snap kick lashes out at the arm holding her sword, either seeking to dislodge the weapon from her grip or force her to react by lowering it block the strike.

Regardless of how the samurai chooses to deal with this threat, the girl flows effortlessly into a second strike that proves the first was merely a distraction. Her other leg snaps up high, rising almost vertical against Ramlethal's torso. There is a brief almost imperceptible pause in the moment before she unleashes her power, her dead eyes meeting with those of the human. Despite the lack of obvious emotion in the girl's face, there is the distinct impression that the warrior is being looked down upon, some trace element of disgust in this monster's demeanor that can't be pinpointed in such a quick exchange. She has little time to dwell on it before Ramlethal drops her leg down with such speed that the limb becomes a blur of brown color, her heel tracing a crescent streak of that grey energy through the space that Baiken's head now occupies.

COMBATSYS: Baiken blocks Ramlethal's Senutila.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Baiken           1/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0        Ramlethal

Baiken's cannonball does not explode. It just impacts. When you're launching a sphere of metal several pounds in weight against a single target, rigging it to explode is more trouble than it's worth.

It still makes a hell of a noise when it hits the wall, though.

Baiken abandons the cannon once it's been fired - literally. She performs an odd shrugging motion, and the dragon-head falls free, landing on the dirt of the battlefield; it only had one shot loaded, and the cannon's not insignificant weight is now nothing but a liability for the rest of the battle. So she'll worry about it later.

Bereft of the drag on her armless side, Baiken reacts rather quickly to Ramlethal's strike - and probably not in the way the Valentine expects. When Ramlethal comes in lower, Baiken hunches her upper body down slightly, using her elbow to catch the hilt poking upward from her scabbard and rotating the entire sheathed blade - and the snap kick impacts against the lacquered wood, deflecting the feinting blow harmlessly.

Less harmless is the higher kick. Baiken draws the blade again in a smooth motion, but holds it in a different grip; she keeps it reversed, more like an oversized knife than the katana it actually is. Baiken catches the descending kick with the downward-pointed blade, though even with the guard she feels the impact all the way up her arm, the strangely colourless energy from Ramlethal clashing with Baiken's own pink shimmer.

As the two are locked in place, Baiken stares past her sword at Ramlethal. One eye, of course, is not there, but the other one is particularly intense as she focuses on Ramlethal. The Valentine might be looking down on Baiken, but it's mutual. Baiken hates her opponent as she hates every Gear, and she's aware of Ramlethal - and her bounty. This is more brutal than her first battle in World Warrior, and it shows.

With her blade locking Ramlethal's foot, at least for an instant, Baiken adjusts her feet, sliding one out forward and stomping. The foot itself is not close enough to strike Ramlethal - it's not a kick - but the pillar of pink chi that erupts from the ground as soon as Baiken's foot strikes down might be a bit of a surprise, and certainly has enough force behind it to take Ramlethal off her feet and blast her backwards if she gets hit solidly.

COMBATSYS: Baiken successfully hits Ramlethal with Tetsuzansen.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Baiken           1/------=/=======|===----\-------\0        Ramlethal

Despite her lithe frame, Ramlethal's leg is possessed of a staggering amount of strength and durability. Even though the back side of the sword lacks an edge, the blade in thin enough that any normal person slamming their heel onto it would likely have regretted that outcome. The girl, however, doesn't even blink as her flesh makes contact with the hard metal. If anything, she only presses hard, putting more strength into her downwards force to drive the swordswoman down towards the ground.

Baiken masterfully escapes the trap of trying to pit raw power against the inhuman monster by forcing her opponent onto the defensive. The Valentine neatly escapes the kick, or what she thought was a kick, lifting her leg and hovering backwards far enough to escape it's reach. The same cannot be said for the pillar of energy that erupts from the ground.

Caught unprepared, Ramlethal's eyes shift downwards a moment too late as the sparkling blast of power rises up to slam into her torso. She doubles over from the impact, her eyes squinting slightly as a soft grunt escapes her lips involuntarily. Yet even this brief display of pain lacks any emphasis or emotion, her exotic features remaining devoid of expression in a way that further emphasizes her alien nature.

The Gear rises several feet into the air on the torrent of energy but rather than fall disgracefully to the ground, she simply stops in the air at the apex of the arc. Slowly adjusting her posture back to normal, she gives a dismissive toss of her head from one side to the other, flipping her wild bangs to the side so as not to obstruct her vision. She takes a moment to assess the damage that the unexpected attack had dealt her, probing her bones and organs with magic. The impact was respectable but hardly noteworthy. This woman could cause her considerable harm if she was allowed to do so but her like had been encountered and dealt with before.

"Not enough," she states, once again speaking without warning. Her amber eyes shift down to gaze upon the samurai and once again that sense of condescension radiates from the quiet doll. "The power of your rage grants you nothing special over the others. Am I to be disappointed again?"

She lets that question linger in the air for a few moments, perhaps to allow Baiken the chance to get even more angry. Emotions are one of the primary weaknesses of humanity and she knows full well how to exploit them even if she doesn't understand them entirely. Let rage blind this warrior and make her downfall all the easier.

Ramlethal lifts a hand into the air, marking the first time that she has moved her arms during this entire encounter. She holds it aloft dramatically for a couple of seconds and then swings it idly at the air infront of her with a quick swipe. One of the massive greatswords, the one floating at the matching side of her body, suddenly vanishes in a flash of green light only to pop back into existence a few feet infront of the warrior woman. Even before it fully manifests the gigantic blade is already swinging towards her in a wide horizontal strike, brilliant veridian magic flaring up to encompass its entire length.

The Valentine moves with surprising speed as this first threat draws Baiken's attention, zipping around behind her to land on the ground a few feet to her rear. She pauses for a moment, allowing the sword its chance to slice into the angry fighter before launching herself at her exposed back. Ramlethal's hands lift up in tandem, her fingers hooking into cruel claws. At the land moment she brings them together infront of her and slashes in opposite directions unleashing a crescent of ragged power designed to cleave the human asunder from head to foot.

COMBATSYS: Ramlethal blitzes into action and acts again!

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Baiken           1/------=/=======|===----\-------\0        Ramlethal

COMBATSYS: Ramlethal knocks away Baiken with Forpeli.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Baiken           1/-======/=======|=====--\-------\0        Ramlethal

COMBATSYS: Baiken dodges Ramlethal's Dauro.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Baiken           1/-======/=======|=====--\-------\0        Ramlethal

Ramlethal is damn fast, but worse to Baiken is the way she moves. She's fought freaks and monsters before, and Ramlethal moves like few of them; it isn't that she moves in a different way so much as she moves in an unpredictable one. Her balance and body language have little to do with the way she drifts and twists.

Baiken is pretty sure she could figure it out, given time; she could get a feel for Ramlethal's movements. She is almost certain that a /second/ match against Ramlethal would go better than the first. The problem, of course, is that right now she only gets one.

She's getting better. Baiken strikes with the torrent of chi, and doesn't let the satisfaction of a blow well-delivered slow her down; she moves forward in preparation to follow up, though Ramlethal has gotten some distance on her. Her single eye narrows as Ramlethal speaks to her, and she doesn't respond verbally despite her anger.

This may be because Ramlethal has taken the opportunity to go on the advantage. Fast.

The flying greatsword vanishes. Baiken's head turns as she tries to regain view of the thing; she can feel the tension, she knows it's going to be used in an attack, but she can't tell /where/ until it actually shimmers back into existence with a haze of green. It's already swinging.

Baiken knows there's no parrying a blade of that mass with the much lighter one she carries. She doesn't even try. Instead Baiken goes for a leap away, but the length of Ramlethal's greatsword is too much, and it clips her, accelerating her jump beyond what she'd intended and throwing her to the dirt. This time she doesn't land on her feet; she hits it shoulder-first and rolling.

It's the roll that saves her from the follow-up strike. Baiken doesn't rise, but uses her scabbard to give her an extra kick of speed, rolling further away from the Valentine in a manner that might look comedic if it wasn't in the middle of a battle. Baiken ends on one knee, clear of the blow, and then rises to her feet, sword held in front of her in a defensive, parrying stance.

She's absolutely furious. But, unlike what Ramlethal may be hoping for, Baiken is controlling it; the white-hot flame of rage burns within her, but she does not attack wildly, instead letting it temper her. "Why don't you come here and see," she growls, the tone of her voice and the tension near her eye the greatest visible signs of her anger; her body reads as ready to fight, ready to move and react, not all tensed up and about to spring uncontrollably.

And Baiken watches.

She has a plan.

COMBATSYS: Baiken focuses on her next action.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Baiken           1/-======/=======|=====--\-------\0        Ramlethal

Ramlethal blazes past the fallen samurai, the deadly magical assault missing by inches thanks to her swift thinking and combat experience. The Valentine allows the energy she has summoned a few moments to vanish once more into the aether before she pulls herself up to a proper standing position, once more floating on the tips of her toes. The massive greatsword that had dealt the powerful blow that sent her reeling warps back to the Valentine's side unbidden, its silent carrier idly flapping away as it hoists the heavy burden without difficulty.

The girl turns in a slow circle, unhurried in her motions as she faces Baiken again, knowing full well even without using her eyes that the samurai is not closing in on her for another attack. She observes the warrior curiously for a few moments, noting the blaze of fury evident in her eyes. The words she had spoken had certainly landed home but it would seem that the human was able to control herself when the need called for it. Interesting but ultimately irrelevant.

Their exchanges thus far had made it quite clear that she had little chance of losing to this sword-wielding cyclops. One eye, one arm, and an obvious hatred that even the socially inept Valentine can see plainly. Ofcourse the reason for her rage is equally obvious to anyone who knows of her past. Mother had made sure that all of her children were as informed of those likely to stand in their way as possible and the endless wealth of information contained in the Backyard made such details trivial to uncover.

Like Baiken, Ramlethal does not immediately rush to answer the taunt, instead peering across the short distance between them in silent curiosity. Her eyes shift slowly from place to place, analyzing the woman's posture, their surroundings, and cross-referencing that data with her current outwards demeanor. It's clear that a trap is being laid, the question is: how will she respond to it?

A few more long moments pass before she comes to a decision. Ramlethal begins to stride forward, boldly gliding in her tip-toeing fashion directly towards the samurai. Though she offers no words of insult or challenge, the casual manner in which she carries herself, devoid of wariness or caution makes the message all too clear.

You aren't even enough of a threat for me to worry about.

The Valentine's eyes finally settle on Baiken's face, locking onto her gaze with unnatural calm. She lifts another hand as she approach, holding it high with the obvious intent to let the woman see what she intends to do. The two swords at her side begin to glow with a dim aura of power, seething green light wafting up from their smooth blades like mist. The Gear draws inexorably closer, distance vanishing slowly but steadily as she marches directly at Baiken without fear or hesistation, challenging her to maintain her ground in the face of the overwhelming power on display.

When atleast she draws within striking distance, Ramlethal pauses, just for an instant, lifting her hand even higher as if to give the swipe a little bit extra oomph. The greatswords shimmer eagerly, as if anticipation of tasting human blood once again, and for the first time the girl's expression changes. Her lips peel back revealing a set of jagged triangular teeth that would be right at home in the mouth of some terrible shark. Her eyes narrow as she looks down at Baiken, grinning like a devil about to drag some poor soul to Hell.

And that's when the real attack comes. Spinning with inhuman speed, the girl twirls on the tip of one toe, her entire body rotating as gracefully as a ballerina on stage. Her other leg lashes out, bringing the full force of the momentum that this centrifugal motion has produced into a hammering blow that she aims at Baiken's armless side.

COMBATSYS: Baiken fails to interrupt Power Strike from Ramlethal with Baku.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Baiken           0/-------/-======|======-\-------\0        Ramlethal

Baiken holds her position as Ramlethal maneuvers around her. All she does is turn to face the other woman, as impassive as she can manage. She does not back away; Ramlethal's display of power shows some things to her, but she doesn't fear it.

Baiken fears almost nothing nowadays. Almost, but not quite - but whatever she fears enough to flee from, Ramlethal is not it. Intimidation only seems to make her angrier.

Unlike Ramlethal, Baiken has no access to the Backyard's information. All she knows about her opponent is what she's seen today, and that she is a Gear with a half million (well, almost) on her head. That's enough for her to know what she needs to... but it's apparently not enough for her to stand victorious.

At the advance, Baiken does tense, a preparation to acting rather than discomfort with Ramlethal's proximity (though, honestly, there's some of that too). She sees the greatswords shift and shimmer, and can judge at least part of Ramlethal's intention.

Baiken's sword hand snaps out as she does something with the fingers on that hand, some specific movement that she can do while keeping the sword trapped between one finger and her palm; no use for a sword strike but enough to avoid dropping it. There's a surge of power from Baiken, now; gathering magic, less trained than patiently honed over years of practice of using it against Darkstalkers, monsters, and now Gears.

A symbol begins to form in the air in front of her, but Ramlethal is too fast. Her boot hits the forming character and doesn't even slow down, scattering it like a cloud of smoke and causing a shower of pink sparks to limn her heel. That it was against Baiken's armless side is not why it worked, as Baiken is used to people treating her maiming as a weakness and attempting to capitalize on it; speed and skill managed it.

Baiken staggers to the side, her spell disrupted without any more effect than a light show, her ribs aching from the impact. She snarls, audible this time; it's almost animalistic as she struggles, readying herself as she dismisses her show of power.

Ramlethal does not pause this time to taunt her opponent or use trickery to try and distract her. The fight is all but over and she does not have enough respect for this woman or her abilities to delay the inevitable by being cautious. Though she is definately one of the stronger humans, the samurai poses no real threat and thus there is nothing to be gained by observing her any further.

Whirling around to face Baiken, the Valentine strides forward without hesistation, closing the small gap created by her powerful kick in moments. She lunges at the warrior, her hand lifting as dull grey energy encompasses her hooked fingers, slashing at her with fingernail and magic. Her other hand comes up to join the first, smearing more of the pastel power in the air as she brings them forward in tandem. Her hands pass each other as they claw at Baiken's chest, raking her with another pair of slashing swipes infused with searing energy. The final strike is a simple reversal of the orientation of her wrists, swinging both arms back at the human with one last gouging swipe that carves a dull inky X into the air.

The strikes are swift but precise, slashing at her one after the other with no obvious gaps or openings to exploit. The girl's dainty fingers prove to be almost as deadly as the massive swords, impossible strength fortified by supernatural power. She shows no mercy or empathy as she tears into the wounded samurai, callously unleashing her powers with the mechanical efficiency of a mindless soldier.

COMBATSYS: Ramlethal knocks away Baiken with Forigi.

[                            \\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Baiken           1/---====/=======|=======\-------\0        Ramlethal

The fight is, indeed, closer to over than Baiken wants to admit. She thought she'd shown her skill - and, indeed, if she was being honest about it, she had. Not many people would have been able to get an invitation to World Warrior at all; fewer made it through the preliminaries, and Baiken had done both.

But it's not enough to defeat Ramlethal, she knows it, and it /grates/. How can she ever defeat That Man, the target of her wrath, if she can't take on the Gears? How can she fight the greatest of monsters when she can't fight this one?

She has to get better. She /must/.

Baiken would refuse to fall here if she could, but even her legendary tenacity has limits, and Ramlethal is finding them. The slashing fingers dig into Baiken's body with the strangely colourless energy backing them up; she manages to deflect or avoid some of the strikes, but there's just too many for her to handle even with her speed.

She knows she's going to fall, but she can do one thing: make Ramlethal hurt before she does.

With a wordless roar, Baiken strikes /into/ the attack against her. She bats away one of the clawed rips not with her sword but with her shoulder; it staggers her off-balance but she gets her feet under her and pushes forward even when Ramlethal tries to drive her away.

Her battle cry is louder the second time as pink energy begins to form along her blade as she goes full-on aggressive, ignoring the damage she's taken. It's not a way to win a fight; it's something that would get her killed if she tried to regularly. Baiken sweeps her sword in great curving arcs, not restraining herself but using a pair of brutal sweeps, one left and one back to the right.

Circling the blade, Baiken holds it overhead for a moment as the pink light become most intense, and delivers an improbably powerful blow diagonally downward at Ramlethal. Risky? Absolutely; whether she manages a solid blow or not, Baiken staggers, then drops to her knees, gasping for breath, the damage too much to continue on with.

But if she manages it, it's a blow that could cleave lesser beings than Ramlethal with that stroke alone. Even Ramlethal would have to worry about the force behind it... or so Baiken hopes.

COMBATSYS: Baiken can no longer fight.

[       \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ramlethal        0/-------/=======|

COMBATSYS: Ramlethal blocks Baiken's Tsurane Sanzu Watashi.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ramlethal        1/------=/=======|

Once again, the Valentine displays the gap between herself and the human in terms of power and skill. Even as her hand is pushed aside by Baiken's berserker rush, the girl has already begun to compensate for the movement as if she had been expecting it all along. Try as she might to contain her fury, the samurai's reckless style of combat made her predictably unpredictable, willing to take risks that other people would likely consider insane in order to land a decisive blow. Battered, humilated, and pushed into a corner, what better time for such a brazen display of suicidal resolve?

Ramlethal's eyes shift from the woman's face to the sword in her hands as she brings it to bear, the deadly weapon gleaming in the sunlight as it whips back and forth in rapid succession. Each of these powerful strokes are met with one of the Gear's bare hands, her motions adjusting effortlessly to deflect the blade with bursts of energy before she lashes out with her own attacks, forcing her opponent to pay a tithe of pain for her foolishness.

The final stroke of her vengeful assault is another matter. Ramlethal pauses as the samurai gathers her will and fury into a shimmering aura around the katana, her eyes narrowing ever so slightly. This is it then, the moment where this human unleashes their full potential in a last desperate gamble. She can tell even before the blade scythes down at her that it lacks the potential to deal her a fatal injury, though it is by no means harmless.

Were she a human, the sort of pain or injury that this strike could inflict would be immense and that threat might be enough to cause them to falter. Such things hold no power over her heart, however. Pain is but a sensation and any harm that might be dealt to her would either be mendable or simply cause her to be replaced with another just like her. She is expendable and that knowledge makes her resolve unbreakable.

Snapping her hands up, the Valentine meets the falling blade with the same disregard for sanity that Baiken herself had shown. Her hands clap together in a single smooth motion catching the blade between her palms and stopping it cold. A bright flare of light erupts from the gaps between her fingers as the Valentine's magic wages war with the rosy energy of Baiken's spirit, the pair of them locked in place for what feels like minutes as human will is pit against monsterous power.

In the end, it is the samurai's spirit that flags first. As she sinks to her knees, Ramlethal's hold on the weapon remains firm, holding it aloft with the woman's own tenacious grip keeping her arm extended. There are dozens of ways in which the girl could exploit this situation to deal a devastating blow. While outright killing one's opponent is forbidden, there were no rules about leaving them broken and helpless.

A true monster would most certainly have chosen to pursue this route, heedless to the suffering and misery that she might cause by robbing this woman of the one thing allowing her to retain her grip on sanity. Instead, once she has given Baiken a few seconds to understand the gravity of the situation, she releases the sword and takes a single step back.

Ramlethal's gaze remains fixed on the human for several more seconds, staring at her with the same unchanging impassive and alien expression. The massive blades at her sides shimmer and then twist unnaturally, vanishing back to wherever they came from along with their silent grinning carriers. Though the woman could certainly attempt to lash out at her from this short distance she had been unable to reliably strike the Gear even at her full strength. Any attempt to assault her now would merely be an exercise in futility.

"Do you understand now? Regardless of the strength or depths of your fury, you cannot change anything with mere emotions. One day, everything that you hold dear - people, objects, memories - all of it will be gone. Your struggle is meaningless."

Log created on 23:24:28 03/14/2018 by Ramlethal, and last modified on 01:52:19 03/19/2018.