Neo League 0087 - NL#0098: Fumiko vs Mint

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Description: "A Flower Blooms in Osaka" -- The Neo League. A place where new, untried, untested fighters can go to scrabble in the dirt to figure out just where they may stand in the world of greater fighters down the road. Fumiko Abe, a demonstrator and practitioner of the art of Iajutsu, has stepped up in the plate to find out if she can hang with real fighters. Her first opponent as a professional fighter is one, Minal "Mint" Panesh, tiny mechanized Marine.

In the eighties and nineties, Osaka was a bustling, thriving center of opportunity. Skyscrapers sprouted from the ground as if the entire urban area were a massive garden. Money flowed like wine, and Osaka was a shining paragon of opulence.

And then, as the housing bubble burst, the new industrial aesthetic began to lose its luster. Property owners could not afford to maintain their shining monuments of aluminum and steel. Osaka began to stretch apart at the seams. Some projects continued to maintain the city's reputation as a shining paragon of modern life.

And some facades, like the one surrounding Tennoji Station, are thinner than others.

Spotlights reach skyward, unable to penetrate the dense, dull grey canopy of cloud and mist. It's nighttime, nominally, but the lights around the sprawling subway and rail complex are bright enough to make even the night light seem as unimposing as an overcast day. Buildings lit with halogen and neon line the streets, occasionally punctuated by a car whizzing down at a reasonable pace. Hardly anyone -needs- to drive by the once-bustling Tennoji any more; the gentrified city is such that each community has its own local stores and shoppes.

No, if someone comes to Tennoji, it's probably just to get smashed.

The bright lights hide no secrets: even the shadows cast by the railings of pedestrian walkways are not dense enough to conceal the homeless huddling within. Mats of cardboard line the sides of the overhead walkways, their residents nonetheless plinking away on their phones.

The Neo League knows better than to shine its cameras lights on the walkways spanning overhead, though. Japan largely looks away from its homeless -- preferring to show the bold, the brave, and the beautiful. Minal Panesh is at least one of those, her metal gauntlets catching the light as she shadowboxes in a corner, amping herself up for the challenge that awaits her.

It's nine p.m.; with most of the non-entertainment businesses have shuttered for the night, it's clear for a portion of the sidewalk beneath the rail station overpasses to be barricaded off for a special fight. Traffic cones have also cleared off a section of the street as well -- not that the sparse nighttime traffic will require such precautions.

Mint wears a light hoodie, and a pair of sweatpants, as well as her US Marine cap. And, of course, the giant metal gauntlets that have become her signature in combat. And from the pleasant smile on her face, it seems like she has no problem at all throwing those massive gauntlets around for a warmup routine.

COMBATSYS: Mint has started a fight here.

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Mint             0/-------/-------|

So much has changed in both the short and long of time. Osaka was always something bright, garish, if not a little fun in a guilty way. To see much of what has become of it is a bittersweet reminder of time's ever pressing movement.

The age and wear apparent, juxtaposed with the smaller neighborhoods gathering closer and building their own localized infrastructure, show just how much Osaka is both changing and resistant to change.

Fumiko Abe takes in the sights with a wistful eye as she carries a duffel bag to Tennoji station. It is true, that people come to Tennoji, that they come to smash. And Fumiko finds some salacious humor in the many ways that someone can get smashed in this old shopping district.

Into the lights, into the site of the Neo-League fight. A newcomer. One who has until recently endeavored in demonstration and the beauty of her arts. A woman that could have been happy without needing the practical application of her techniques.

A woman that no longer exists.

Uncertain with what to wear to the occasion, Fumiko decided to go in a way that is entirely overdressed. While what she wears isn't entirely formal, she is dressed as though she were ready to practice kendo. The dark blue outfit blending with the shadows of night. Though as her hair, kept in a high tail tonight, is rather long and a very noticeable white wave that stands out like a beacon. She nevertheless retains a very high degree of stiffness and discomfort about her. Moving steadily toward the lighting, clinging her gym bag tight.

The sight of the lights, the woman within them. An American. A soldier. Of all things for her first challenge, a cybernetic soldier. Fumiko's face flattens into a line. She steps up into the light. She nods more than bows as she clears her throat for attention.

"Good evening. I am Fumiko Abe. I believe I am in the right place. This is for the Neo-League, correct?" As she asks even if she has a good idea she's right, she's opening her bag, drawing a pair of scabbards and a belt. "I have brought wooden blades. I hope you don't feel that it is insulting to you," she adds, fastening the weapons to her hips.

COMBATSYS: Fumiko has joined the fight here.

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Mint             0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0           Fumiko

Minal continues firing off a few punches even as the new arrival steps up, the metal of her gauntlets' joints creaking with the stress of the motion -- even in lieu of an actual impact. It seems like she might have continued with even more strikes, had Fumiko not cleared her throat.

And then, Mint turns towards her with an amicable smile.
And that's when she starts to squint; chance positioning of floodlights has made it to where Fumiko is less recognizable as a person, and more like a silhouette bathed with lights on all sides. A moment later, Mint lowers her mechanical hands to her sides, takes a step back to resolve a more complete picture of her designated opponent -- one that gains even more completeness as she withdraws swords from a duffel.

Her hands flatten out, as she dips into the bow one might expect of a Japanese native. She's been here long enough to make that motion not look terribly insulting. "... Yep! Nice to meetcha! Minal Panesh, but you can call me Mint!"

She blinks at the question, and shakes her head slowly. "Nah, that's fine!" She raises one metal fist -- easily the size of her head. "But I'm gonna be punching with these, so take that as you will!" It could be a lethal weapon, sure -- but from how comfortable the Marine is with her bludgeons, it can be expected she has the control to scale back on that threat.

She glances sideways as the light shifts -- and it becomes clear that the lights are there on -purpose-. As is the official standing just beside the lights, giving a verbal confirmation.

"Oh. Well, it looks like we're on stage now!" chirps the New Jersey native, bringing both fists up to a ready stance, and hopping backwards. Her combat boots squeak lightly on the tilework as she bobs backwards, a smile cemented on her face. "Good luck!"

Mint squeezes her fists tightly. The turbines on her gauntlets begin to spin up -- a gentle hum that turns into a high-pitched whine.

The Neo League official gives the word to begin.
And Mint surges forward with a sudden burst of speed, clearing the gap between herself and Fumiko in a fraction of a second. Her right gauntlet carves an arc through the air, twisting to plunge the bulk of its metal knuckles, parallel to the ground, right into Fumiko's midsection -- unless, of course, the swordswoman has a better idea!

COMBATSYS: Fumiko blocks Mint's Dash Punch.

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Mint             0/-------/-------|>>>----\-------\0           Fumiko

This world of professional fighting was a different one. That is to say the least. She stands, silhouetted by the lights. Right foot sliding to position. A slight crouch, hand ready. She just needs her time, her timing, and the precise amount of foce to put her opponent down. That is her art, that is her style.

That is what she will bring to the world. To show what Japan is.

The Marine wishes her luck. Something ticks in the back of Fumiko's neck. Mild irritation. She has to bite down on her pride. She is the small one here. She is the bottom. She must rise and prove herself. She must be strong. She cannot simply be accepted as so.

Minal charges forward, engines crying out. The smiling soldier bursting with energy toward her. Not the right time to move. Not the right time to lash out. She focuses. She draws up the scabbard. The fist hits the scabbard with a heavy clunk. A blow diverted, the force rippling through Fumiko's body as she twists and skitters to the side. Her shoes, revealed to be more practical street shoes than her dress would suggest, scrape on the pavement as the woman keeps her steady footing.

Now is the time. The moment to strike. She grips her blade and lunges forward. A skipping step, a swinging slice, upwards and to the right toward Mint's midsection. A heavy bokken with a metal core to give a more realistic weight. Might not be lethal, but it's a bruiser.

COMBATSYS: Mint blocks Fumiko's Positioned Strike ES.

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Mint             0/-------/------=|>>>>---\-------\0           Fumiko

When Mint fights, it's for her own benefit. To learn more about other fighting styles, and find her own sort of enlightenment in it all. Anything external to that just doesn't seem to be her concern -- not America, not her family. Just the fun!

Her metal knuckles slam into the surprisingly solid scabbard -- and that makes Mint's smile just a bit broader, as (for once) she didn't overcommit to that blow. Her feet catch up with her a moment later, allowing her to draw that fist back and prepare for the followup, the moment of reckoning. As Fumiko's wooden blade swings upward, the Marine pivots to interpose her right arm in the way. Bokken thunks heavily against the broad side of her turbine housing, sending a shudder through the mechanical arm that resonates all the way up her arm, shaking that smile of hers into a wince of pain. She hops sideways, capturing some of that inertia as she bends her knees on the landing.

If Mint realizes that her good luck cheer was taken as a slight, it's not obvious -- she's still got the same vapid smile on as before when she lunges forward. This time, she takes a more balanced approach, swinging her right and then her left fist in a one-two punch for center mass, each strike punctuated by a hiss of breath through her teeth. Her third punch, though, will be much more powerful -- a wild hook punch aiming for Fumiko's left shoulder. And this, too, will be a bruiser!

COMBATSYS: Fumiko interrupts Knuckle Dragger from Mint with Flashing Blade EX.

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Mint             0/-------/---====|>>>>---\-------\0           Fumiko

Fumiko deflected a blow. She was lunged at by an opponent, and she defended herself. There's a thrill, an intensity, a cold rush that runs down Fumiko's spine with the shuddering blow that could and possibly should have knocked the artist from her feet.

But there she is, she struck back. She struck back hard enough to hear the sound of the wood against the marine's metal. How Fumiko wishes she brought her sword. To have heard the clang. Damage to her weapon be damned. She was taking her art to its practical extent. And she would show the world.

And it all begins here in Osaka.

She finds her stance once more. She crouches, settles, waits. Two strikes. Heavy, ponderous. Fumiko relaxes when Mint closes in. Yes, the turbines are fast, but they seem to be lacking a nimble agility to their power. One fist closes in, Fumiko steps toward Mint. Fumiko turns aside. She kicks just outside of the other wild hook. Leaving the fist to clobber the air.

The strike is swift. Fumiko is a dart. Sword drawing, cutting sharply along the underside of Mint's titanic fist. Cleaving up toward Mint's breast with a heavy blow. The force of the draw taking Fumiko past Mint and standing clear. Once more the wooden blade slides into the scabbard.

Fumiko smiles, placid, feeling peace. "Thank you for this opportunity Miss Panesh. I greatly appreciate it," she says, turning back around to face her opponent.

Mint hadn't looked into her opponent at all. She's got no idea whether this is Fumiko's first fight, or her hundredth -- only that the swordswoman made a choice to use a wooden sword instead of steel.

And now, as her mechanical arm is brushed upward by the deft application of leverage, and the wooden sword cleaves right up into her chest -- does she realize that wood can hurt just as much in the right circumstances. It's probably a good thing the edge doesn't cut through fabric or flesh, because that sure would make the impact of the blade onto her underlying bones hurt that much more. And as it is -- the blow is powerful enough to propel the diminutive Special Forces soldier up into the air a good foot or so.

"Nnnngh!" exclaims Mint, arms curling in as she's flung upward. She knew the bokken could hurt -- just wasn't ready for a strike that cut -under- her arms. Gritting her teeth, she lands heavily, dropping one hand low to the ground as she struggles to force air back into her lungs.

"Y-yeah, sure... no problem...!" answers Mint, eyebrows lifting in surprise. "Always glad to fight someone who takes it seriously!"

As she speaks, Mint looks left and right, taking note of the stone columns that support the pedestrian walkways. And as soon as the last syllable tumbles from her lips, her turbines roar to a feverish pitch.

Flames spill outwards from the back of her gauntlets, as she thunders forward. Her left fist swings high, propelled by the mighty thrust as it seeks to glance across Fumiko's clavicle, spinning her around.

An instant later, Mint's feet will swing forward, boots landing solidly against the curved column. For a brief moment, the pitch of the engine will die down sharply.

And then in the very next heartbeat, Mint will be making her return, slamming a hard haymaker into Fumiko from the reverse angle. One single, solitary punch, powerful enough to reshape metal to its will -- and almost certainly send Fumiko flying if it connects as intended! "OOORAH!!"

COMBATSYS: Mint blitzes into action and acts again!

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Mint             0/-------/----===|>>>>---\-------\0           Fumiko

COMBATSYS: Fumiko blocks Mint's Cross Punch.

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Mint             0/-------/---====|>>>>>--\-------\0           Fumiko

COMBATSYS: Fumiko endures Mint's Heavy Punch.

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Mint             0/-------/---====|>>>>>>>\-------\1           Fumiko

So this is what a true fight is like? Fumiko feels the energy and the steel resolve harden within her as the rush of combat fills her. But as she looks across to her opponent, she feels a crack in her armor of pride. Maybe she should've been a warrior before this. Before the losses. Before she was pushed. A coward's existence and now newly a coward for abandoning his memory.

No, Fumiko reminds herself she is doing this for him. To all those who have lost. She will refine, hone and master her art into a fine weapon. And it will be started against this foreigner.

Fumiko shakes her head to clear her mind, her hair waving like a banner as she settles into position. A position she's just barely ready for when Mint is already on her.

A barrage of jet-powered blows. Striking hard as wrecking balls. Once more the scabbard is used to deflect and defend. The shell cracking, flakes of finish fluttering away in the breeze as she takes the quick cross. She's knocked back, off balance, uncertain and now facing down a second rushing strike. So much speed and force is completely unlike anything Fumiko has ever run against in her life.

And now, she knows, she must fight her instincts. Fight against a cry inside of her that says she is not a fighter after all. The thrill was a moment of success. She fights against that doubt and turns into Mint's blow. But she doesn't meet it with the scabbard this time.

She draws. The action as fluid as a dance, twisting with the force of Mint's blow, slicking toward Mint. The wooden blade drawing out, slashing upward. A fan of a blow with a flick of the wrist.

Fumiko is not a woman of great insight or effort into the notions of chi of the flow of natural energies. It was something of fighters and fireballs. And yet, with her strike, a scattering of pink petals cascades, harmless, flickering away in the wake of Fumiko's savage strike.

COMBATSYS: Mint blocks Fumiko's Scattered Petals.

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Mint             0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0           Fumiko

Surrogate limbs are just one of the many signs that Mint favors decisive action over careful consideration. She's been through combat training -- she knows how the ebb and the tide of battle works. Sweat beads on her forehead as she thunders forward time and time again -- a familiar reaction to a familiar set of conditions. It's a good feeling. Less about the pain, more of an addiction to the rush of adrenaline. A runner's high, just... for the fighter, instead.

Mint was smiling on her first pass. And she'll still be smiling as her fist slams into Fumiko, unwilling to let the sensation of Fumiko sacrificing herself for the close proximity slow her down. For Mint knows as well as anyone else that the body can be repaired: it is the person that grows from combat.

But that doesn't mean she's entirely sated by Fumiko's reaction. The more Mint fights, the more she realizes that there are other actions than hitting and getting hit. The position is what matters here -- and Fumiko is able to redirect Mint's momentum against her, twisting about even as the turbine's thrust begins to ebb away.

The blade sings its song with a shower of petals. And Mint's left arm swivels sideways, taking it full on what could be considered its wrist.

The jet-powered gauntlet is hurled upward. Mint is surprised, to say the least -- she hadn't put any effort at all into keeping the bulky weapon -closer- to the ground. Her elbow jolts from the impact -- and Mint is even tugged upward, leaving the ground for an instant.

And the smile fades, as the creak of buckling metal can be heard.

It's not clear until Mint pulls her left shoulder back just what -did- happen -- and she seems a bit concerned by the way the left gauntlet is a bit... crooked.
Her right arm is perfectly fine.
A small piece around the joint of her left elbow seems bent, though.
"... Dangit..."

Mint closes her eyes, shaking her head. "I'll just have to fix this the best way I know how," she resolves.

The Marine leaps into the air, sealing her lips shut. And then she slams -both- her fists downward, with the hiss of pneumatic cylinders slamming into place. The hope seems to be that the sudden, violent force is able to unseat the mechanism and bring everything back to situation normal! "OOORAAAAH!"

COMBATSYS: Fumiko dodges Mint's BFH.

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Mint             0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0           Fumiko

To see her efforts in action. To know that her training, her style and art have this practical focus brings the unexpected thrill of combat. It feels almost pure to use her style in the way it was intended. Even if not to the extent.

The thunk of wood against metal. The force of the blow. The strength of which lifts Mint upward and bends those metal arms. Even Fumiko is surprised as she clicks her bokken back into the damaged scabbard. "I hope I haven't caused you much grief," she says, looking at the damage, the curse from Mint. "This is all rather exciting," she admits with a smile.

Knowing that Mint can at least try to fix the damage is a good thing. But part of Fumiko wants to prove herself. Prove herself to the point that the American has to admit the strength and resolve of the Japanese. Pushing back the invasion was not enough, the would should acknowledge what's happened and just why.

A leaping attack. High into the air. The cylinders kicking and the mighty fists crash down toward her. Slow, big and shiny. Something American about that attack. But Fumiko finds herself fallen into the rhythm of combat. She twists to the side, feet scraping on the ground. She bounces up into the air from the force of the ground cracking crunch.

In the air, Fumiko looks deep toward Mint as she lands on the ground. A deep breath, drawing on her reserves. A focus as she falls into the ebb and flow of battle. A steady, paced intensity as the Iajutsu practitioner readies herself. The world falling away but for the beat of her heart, and the motion of her enemy.

COMBATSYS: Fumiko enters a meditative state.

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Mint             0/-------/-======|>>-----\-------\0           Fumiko

"Grief?" Mint seemed confused by the notion. Even as the overwhelming force of her diving attack is directed into the ground, confusion reigns supreme on her face. She turns her face away from ground zero, even as her knuckles slam into the carefully tiled sidewalk, churning up a cloud of choking dust.

She pulls back from the small crater, her gauntlets clacking back into their previously chambered positions. Even as her form is silhouetted by the drifting cloud of pulverized concrete and clay, it becomes clear that her left arm is still hung at an odd angle -- and that she is now directing her right arm into resolving the conflict.

"Nah, the retaining shroud just doesn't wanna hang in place. Been working on the fit and finish for a while, I guess I need to snug it up better next time..."

Mint doesn't seem concerned with whether she makes any sense at all -- but rather on where Fumiko has dashed off to. She turns to follow the sound of feet scraping on the ground, and a smile flits back onto her face with the recognition.

"It -is- exciting, come to think of it!" Those fists raise back up to defend her upper body -- a common stance for a boxer, if one can put the thought of the overly large hands out of one's mind. But rather than press an immediate offensive, she paces herself backwards, her gaze flicking down to the wooden sword in its scabbard. The mechanic realizes she will have to contend with a weapon powerful enough to jar her gauntlets out of position -- and that will take a moment of calm. And actually -watching- her opponent, as if daring her to make the next move, so that she can react appropriately.

She draws in her breath, tilting her head sideways to avoid breathing in concrete dust. "I hope you're having as much fun as I am!"

COMBATSYS: Mint focuses on her next action.

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Mint             0/-------/-======|>>-----\-------\0           Fumiko

Fumiko stares into the middle distance. She isn't focused on any one thing. She seems simply to look into the void. Her chest rises and falls with each slow and steady breath that she takes. Her heart slows. The moment slows. Dust and cracking stone falls like raindrops in the aftermath of Mint's strike.

The swordswoman says nothing, stays her hand, looks ahead. Mint speaks, but whether or not Fumiko can hear isn't shown by any reaction.

An exhale. Fumiko's posture shifts. With the huffing breath she charges. Footsteps on pavement smack. Her hand poised over her blade.

Close in, her left hand shifts. Both blades are drawn at once, scything for Mint's midsection like a pair of scissors with lopsided blades.

COMBATSYS: Mint fails to interrupt Second Blade Strike EX from Fumiko with Foxtrot Oscar.

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Mint             1/-------/=======|>>>>---\-------\0           Fumiko

It'd be cool if Mint could say she'd seen fighters slip into the meditative state that Fumiko's in now. But they don't really do that in Bollywood movies unless montage scenes are involved.

Mint's fists are raised, prepared to strike. She's intent at staring back at her opponent, observing the rise and fall. If there was even a flinch of motion, Mint assures herself that she'd be ready for it. It's no different from any boxing match, right? Watch your opponent, wait for them to make a mistake, and capitalize upon it.

She's never fought a master of Iaijutsu before though. The opening Mint is waiting for just... doesn't appear. One moment, Fumiko is there -- and the next moment, she is not.

Minal reacts entirely on instinct, lashing forward with a rabbit punch at sternum level. But even that safe strike misses its mark, as she finds herself rocking into a pair of blades, a pincer attack closing right upon her torso with two loud and very audible clacks.

Mint finds herself doubling over in pain before she even knows -why-. Momentum carries her backwards as she falls onto her duff, heavy metal gauntlets falling limply toward the ground. Fingers splay out in a preprogrammed sequence, allowing Mint to catch herself by default -- even as the shellshocked Marine tries to make sense of what in the -world- just happened to her.

"... O-ow," she stammers, disbelief clear on her face, as she begins to push backwards, shakily raising herself back onto her feet. Alarmed eyes flash over to Fumiko, as she asks "... Wh... what just hit me?"

Two wooden swords, one long and the other short, click into their scabbards. Fumiko opens her eyes to face down Mint. She bows slightly and retakes her ready position. Her hair tie has come loose, the long white waves fall down her back and over her shoulders, bright against the dark training uniform she wears. Her meditative face remains directed at Mint.

She has never fought a real competition like this. She has shown her form, she has danced and moved in ways artistic and demonstrative of the style in its more fanciful form. But this moment has been purifying for the practitioner. She finds herself in a place of steady comfort. A drum beat of her heart steady in her head. Her enemy before her. Fumiko's hand grips the handle of her blade.

"I want to thank you for your effort," Fumiko tells Mint with a voice that's distant and cold. "This has opened my eyes to a potential I did not know I had."

She leans forward. A deep breath. A snapping stride toward Mint. Fumiko's wrist flicks. Her blade is brought to bear.

COMBATSYS: Fumiko successfully hits Mint with Quick Strike.
- Power hit! -

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Mint             1/---====/=======|>------\-------\0           Fumiko

Mint's first step backwards is shaky, but the second is not so bad. The corporal is acting as if she suddenly and abruptly moved forward a few seconds without realizing what steps happened in the middle. She's just never seen anyone -move- so fast before.

And now she's being thanked. As if the fight is already over.

"S-sure..." she stammers, not really connecting Fumiko's words with her current experience. "I'm glad to help...?"

Her heart -was- starting to get back to normal. But when she sees Fumiko lean forward, her mind reels with the possibilities. If the swordswoman is really just moving super fast, then all Mint would have to do is hop out of the way, right? Avoid the attack entirely and she should be good...

Unfortunately, her rapid motion doesn't exactly mesh with Fumiko's intent. She starts to turn. And Fumiko is aiming for center mass. ... And luckily for Mint, the point of the sword slams into the metal of her dogtag, rather than the considerably more sensitive sternum beneath. Especially considering that even mitigated by the soft metal of the dogtag, the blow is still powerful enough to amplify the corporal's angular momentum.

The force, plus the mass of Mint's own gauntlets, sends her into an uncontrolled topspin, sending her whizzing out of control towards the nearest column. ... Which she then collides into with her -head-.

Dazed, Mint staggers back from the column. She -almost- falls over, but a quick windmill of her hands seems to be enough to stabilize herself.

"...Tch... geez... You hit like a truck!" All things considered, Mint is just stunned and not actually -angry- or anything. She clenches both fists, bobbing them back and forth for a minute as she catches her breath.

"OooOOokay, Miss Fumiko... uckle up, we're goin' for a ride!" The turbines spin up. And Mint -- seeming to be on her last legs -- rushes forward! She launches with a punch -- or so it seems! But the true aim is for her to grab hold of Fumiko's shoulders and smash her bionic knee into her abdomen -- hardly a traditional boxing move, but more of a rough-and-tumble street fighting technique! "OOORAH!"

COMBATSYS: Mint successfully hits Fumiko with Lock and Load.

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Mint             1/=======/=======|>>>>>>-\-------\0           Fumiko

The blade slides back into the scabbard as Fumiko looks at Mint. Head raised, looking down her nose, tempered breaths steady. Not a look of pride quite yet, one of a steady confidence and a patience for the end. But Mint continues to fight, she continues to press on against Fumiko. And to that, Fumiko nods.

"You are as sturdy as your arms imply. Your military training was successful," Fumiko states with a nod as she once more assumes her ready stance.

"Then come for me. I am more than ready." She says, feeling the ebb and flow of this fighting thing coming more and more to her. The art of combat is something she should have applied to a long time ago.

Perhaps, had she done so, that he would still live once more comes to Fumiko. She looks down, distracted for a crucial moment. She cries out, twisting to interpose her scabbard with Mint. But the smaller woman's sheer force slams hard into Fumiko.

Her eyes bug, she coughs, sputters, her hand comes of the grip of her blade as she hurtles back, into the air, bouncing against the ground and rolling away. But Fumiko is made of sterner stuff than she's aware of. She stands back up. She shakes her head, hair waving like a banner and settling back down. Her sword hand reaches for her belly, feeling the spot she was struck with such force. "Thank you for showing me that I should not get overconfident," she tells Mint. "I should not disregard you."

She moves with a steady focus now. Twisting and moving with deft angles. She applies a degree of footwork with her approach. A sharp dash to cut distance between her and Mint. To get close and to strike hard for Mint's chest with the wooden blade.

COMBATSYS: Mint endures Fumiko's Evasive Strike.

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Mint             2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|>>>>>>>\-------\0           Fumiko

Adrenaline's some powerful stuff. And it's one of the -only- reasons Mint is able to keep standing up through this sort of brutal punishment, the kind that makes rational people throw up their arms and call it quits. In a calmer setting, Mint would be happy to enter into extended discourse with Fumiko about its merits.

But right now, Mint is focused more on hitting her indefatiguable opponent with her surprise knee. "Nope!" she agrees, hopping back and bobbing nimbly from one foot to the other. Pressing her assault further was not -exactly- in the cards at that time, nor was continuing the discourse -- not with Fumiko maneuvering about.

Mint's learned from her earlier mistake. Avoiding the move entirely, that's just not in the cards. But standing in place, she can do that -- and she does so, raising her arm and pretty much -presenting- her chest- to the brutal wooden blade!

... It hurts, not surprisingly! Minal staggers backwards a good three steps. Blackness crowds in upon her field of vision, her eyelids beginning to droop. But one thing is still in her favor -- by refusing to get out of the way, the wooden blade will take a bit longer to put back into its scabbard. Maybe the gearhead was paying better attention to her opponent after all...?

"And Marines are also -real- hard to take down!" she boasts, raising her right fist high. Turbines roar, as the exhaust pipes of her gauntlets erupt into orange flame! Mint surges forward, unleashing punch after punch after punch, aiming to drive Fumiko back against one of the many columns -- and if she manages to entrap her, she'd follow up with a flurry of rapid punches to the abdomen! "OOOORAAAAH!"

COMBATSYS: Mint has reached second wind!

[                          \\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Mint             1/-------/<<<<<<<|>>>>>>>\-------\0           Fumiko

COMBATSYS: Fumiko interrupts SNAFU from Mint with Left-Handed Draw EX.

[                                < >  /////////////////////         ]
Mint             1/----<<</<<<<<<<|=======\=------\1           Fumiko

Mint is a true warrior. Fumiko is an artist with a distinction of skill and practice. That was what Fumiko would have said before this fight began. Before she has seen just what is in her, and what fruit her tireless practice has bore.

Mint's strategy of shock and awe. To keep aggression on and push back against a less experience combatant is a good idea. To bring the fight to her with all that you can and to put her down. And most importantly, keep her from stabilizing and getting her draw ready. To fight on Mint's terms, not Fumiko's, is the way to win.

And in taking the brunt, feeling the blow, pushing past the pain and raining hammering blows down on Fumiko. The carpet bomb of fisticuffs taking place past Fumiko's extended blade is a tactic that has one particular flaw.

Fumiko Abe carries two swords.

Left hand still in a check. Fumiko strikes like lightning. The smaller, lighter secondary blade is drawn with a fluid turn. Nearly dancing as she shifts her stance from right to left facing. Her blade once more cuts underneath Mint's fist. Sliding along it toward the soft places where flesh meets the metal at Mint's chest and underarm. The wood slicing through the orange flame, too fast to catch alight. The force of the blows, the heat of the flames scorches, singes Fumiko's keikogi. She cries out in a desperate need for the strike to land. To avoid the painful strikes to come if she misses.

A second blade, protecting its wielder, strikes true against Mint's ribs with a dull thud of force and weight.

Mint may be tough, but she is far from invincible. And attacking with such fervor as she is, she's bound to leave openings for dedicated practitioners of martial arts to exploit.

Such it is that she finds unexpected pressure on her armpit -- enough to make her yelp out in pain, pulling sharply to one side as a direct result of the return strikes. And just as she's about to shove that pain aside as she had the rest, a stinging report against her ribs is enough to knock the wind out of her sails, the blade sending her sidestepping back to a safer distance.

"Nnngh..." she groans with a ragged voice. She pitches forward, planting one hand on her knee as she draws in air through her nostrils. She blinks a few times in rapid succession, barely able to even see straight.

And then she -laughs-.

"I... I think I just realized something..." she stammers, in a breathless daze. Her eyes lift upward, meeting Fumiko's, as her fists curl to her side. Almost as if she were putting her hands on her hips -- almost.

"Is... is this your first real fight?"

A grin splits her face, ear to ear.
It might even be a little creepy.
She's just punch drunk, right?

And yet, the turbines whine again. They are not done yet. Mint rushes forward, throwing all her momentum into landing one more flurry of attacks. "OOOOORAHHHHHH!" A right punch, just a bit above the sternum. A left punch, knuckles aimed to crack against Fumiko's jaw. The left gauntlet's fire will die out, allowing her to sharply reverse direction and slam the underside of the gauntlet towards her face. The right fist will slam forward again, a jet-powered punch into the ribcage powerful enough to launch the swordswoman skyward. And should all of those land -- the boosters would fire again in synchronized unison, allowing the corporal to vault upward and ram her knee upwards into Fumiko -- before the thrust dies down for one final time as Mint grabs hold of her shoulders, whipping her out of the sky and lobbing her into one of the tall supporting columns!

COMBATSYS: Mint can no longer fight.

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

COMBATSYS: Mint knocks away Fumiko with Final Sacrifice.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Fumiko           2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|

Regardless of the outcome, though, Panesh is too woozy to continue standing afterwards. Darkness fills her vision -- and she would undoubtedly start to teeter over, unable to muster even the strength to keep the gauntlets from slamming into the ground with a loud crash.

"Each swing is powerful, but your arms leave you exposed," Fumiko says as she slides away and once more sheathes her blades. "But truly, I would like to thank you for participating in this competition. It has been thrilling."

She starts to tie up her hair, looking content, out of the focused near trance she had been in just a moment ago. "Yes, this is arguably my first real direct competition. Before this, I practiced in form and technique. I hadn't pushed myself against another opponent. Certainly not an American with mechanical arms."

She chatters, unaware of the conduct she should be showing, just happy and content, when she looks up at the sound of the turbines and the scream of the woman. "I really must insist. . .," she starts to talk, but takes a fist to the jaw.

The blow shocks Fumiko off her feet. The next blow tearing her in the other direction. Another hit. Fumiko ascends. Taken to the air, hurled to the side, smacking off the support column and flopping to the ground in a heap. She lands with a cry and then quiet.

Down, still. Where Mint stays down, Fumiko lifts herself back to her feet. Blooded, body radiating with pain. Her eyes wide and her hair wild, she staggers toward the fallen Panesh. Each breath a shudder of fury and rage, Fumiko's lip curls. She bites on her lip to clean the blood from a cut and stands over her fallen enemy, stands and quivers. "Know when you've lost and accept it with grace, American," she seethes quiet indignity. "Or next time I will bring steel of my own and I will have your arms over my mantle."

She may have acted as though the fight were over, unfamiliar with the way the fighters of the world act. A newcomer to this kind of competition. Fumiko Abe is not about to admit when she has jumped the gun.

COMBATSYS: Fumiko has ended the fight here.

Motivated by the sheer need to give this fight her all -- as with every pro fight she's ever been in -- Mint refuses to give up! Even though she can barely -see- Fumiko, she's sure that her opponent is just as ready as she to continue the conflict. The thought of Fumiko dropping her guard against an opponent who hasn't even yielded, before the Neo League officials even call the fight, is practically unthinkable.

It isn't till Fumiko finally cries out that Mint realizes she -may- have went too far. And that's when her knuckles slam into the tile; their spiderwebbing cracks give the Kanzuki Rail maintenance staffers just one more thing to replace and upgrade. With her massive arms anchoring her to the ground, Minal finally relents, obeying the insistent warnings from her body that tell her it's time to lay down and call this one a loss. Shoulders sag, and she lets her head droop, lungs drawing in every bit of air they can. And for a moment -- she seems more than content, closing her eyes.

It isn't until she hears Fumiko's angry tones that she realizes the fight... might not be over yet? Drowsy eyes blink open, as Mint finds herself staring at Fumiko's feet.

Even in her punch-drunk stupor, she understands.
Her tone is sober. "... I yield."

And only -then- does the Neo League fight official shout out -- and the small evening-time crowd which has gathered breaks out into a round of cheers for the winner of this challenge: Fumiko Abe.

A shuddering Mint slowly raises her head, one eye wincing shut from the pain, while the other focuses its unsteady gaze on Fumiko's eyes.

"Thanks for the fight, and... sorry. I don't... stop till I can't go no more."

She punctuates that with a faint, delirious smile, before she finally allows her weight to fall back upon her rump. If Fumiko needs a -clearer- sign, she might get it once Mint finally lets her eyes close. That -was- a good fight!

Face etched in a frown, Fumiko looks down on Mint in ways both literal and not. She coughs, shakes in her rage barely constrained by the endless effort of her need for decorum and stubborn pride of being the superior in performance. Only here, performance translates to combat and the bloody desires that undercurrent all fighting.

She bows. It's stiff and formal and angry, but she bows on being called out as the winner. Still, the threat looms in the air, even if spoken through the quiet teeth of rage, the words were said.

She hears what Minal says. She almost opens her mouth, but clamps down on her desire to speak. But something in the small woman's words suck the rage out of Fumiko's heart. She looks down at Mint, sees those eyes close, and turns away to gather her gym bag and return her practice swords to their proper place.

Before she closes the bag, Fumiko stops to look at the spider cracks on the scabbard. The first damage taken from this, her first fight. She will gild those marks when she goes home. She wants that scar to remember her resolve by. Because, despite her fury at her own social faux pas, this was indeed a -good- fight.

Log created on 13:12:56 04/28/2018 by Fumiko, and last modified on 01:34:49 04/29/2018.