SNF 2018.05 - SNF: Like A Land War In Asia

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Description: Some boys do not have mothers. The heir to the Bernstein family waits at the Great Wall Of China, ready for another test of his powers. Adelheid finds himself in a match worthy of his family name: not only will he fight two opponents once again, but in a sequential match! His two foes are the relatively fresh face Fumiko with the well worn World Rookie Champion and Psycho Soldier himself, Haru. There will be two versus one gimmicks now; only fighting one, than the other, in a King Of Fighters format. Haru's leadership will prove paramount, as Fumiko's skills will be tested on the world stage!

The Great Wall of China. A monument to a ancient and revered dynasty. A symbol of strength and perseverance, though not without its own dark secrets. Adelheid finds this place is a similar character to himself, as he stands atop the "First Pass Under Heaven" looking out across the land with eyes that burn with crimson light. The platinum haired fighter wonders if the Bernstein legacy, 'R' will create anything that will stand the ravages of time, and the test of history. How will his father shape the world into his own image? What image will that take, if he does?

Such pondering is commonplace for the introverted young man. He's a contemplative sort, and when he isn't doting on his beloved sister, he's prone to what appears to be bouts of melancholy, but in truth, is just this. Introspection and contemplation. Now, however, is not the time for such things. Now is the time for the fight. The test of his resolve against the will of others. A chance for him to seek out the true power the resides within his blood and within the techniques learned from a lifetime of tutelage under one of the world's most fearsome combatants. How will tonights opponents measure up, he wonders? Last time he had fought two contenders, it was at the same time. He had lost that match, but only by a fraction, and only after taking out the more naturally talented of the two.

At least he won't have to contend with the wretch, this time. And no autistic kids for people to make inappropriate comments about.

As the time of the battle draws close, Adelheid steps up onto the ledge of the gate, just over the entryway. He is in his battle gear for this match. No tuxedo. Simply that form fitting bodysuit of deep, dark blue that clings to his well defined, if lithesome frame. Suspenders, connected to a cumerbund fashioned out of black leather straps. Pleated pants, loose fitting, and just shy of baggy, for ease of movement and the utilization of his high-kicking combat style. German tanker boots, polished to a mirror shine. Reinforced gauntlets that come up just under his elbows, fitted to his flesh with leather straps and plated with brass emblems bearing the sigil of 'R' on the back of his fists. He looks stunning.

And as he leaps from the gatehouse and lands in the center of a whirlwind that kicks up dust from the cobblestone floor below, he also looks ready.

From all around, the cameras turn on, as the SNF film crews try to remain inconspicuous and out of the way, but still able to catch every second, every move from a multitude of angles.

The first of the two challengers approaches with soft and steady step. The beauty of the wall, despite the tourist trappings, is a comfort to Fumiko Abe. A sturdy remnant of the great work of defensive strength and civil power. It's impressive, and a delight to see it in person. Moreover, Fumiko feels a distinct and certain pride in being afforded the chance to bring a beautiful competition that can only hope to make reverence to the wall as a battlefield.

Dressed somewhat formally with a hakama and gi, both a dark blue color, she does contrast it with the very white athletic shoes that allow her her quiet approach. A mixture of practicality and respect. Her hair, long and tied back in a high tail, hangs behind her in a near waist long wave. But perhaps most important to note are the twin scabbards that hang at her waist.

She stops a short distance from Adelheid, and the film crews. She offers a short bow and states loudly that, "Thank you for this opportunity," before she holds up the scabbard harness. With a short draw, she reveals the glossy, well cared for blades are wooden brown. "I am not wielding my true swords, as this is a competition and showcase of my style. I hope this knowledge will bring out the best of your ability." The swords are replaced at her hip and with fluid motion she slides her left leg back to take position.

Fumiko Abe locks her attention on this man across the stone floor from her. Her face is serious and serene. Internally, she feels a rush and the smile that's trying to force its way to the surface. The fluttering of her heart that tells of the danger she is facing, and the thrill of competition that makes her heart dance.

COMBATSYS: Fumiko has started a fight here.

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Fumiko           0/-------/------=|

COMBATSYS: Adelheid has joined the fight here.

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Adelheid         0/-------/-------|>------\-------\0           Fumiko

As Fumiko approaches, Adelheid stands with a casual deameanor. One hand is shoved deep into the pocket of his pressed black trousers, and the other hangs loose at his side, fingers open and relaxed. His ruby red eyes fixate on the girl as she makes her introduction, and soft, rose pink lips curl up at one corner into the spectral vestige of a smile.

"I look forward to seeing what you have to offer," he replies. His voice is soft. Almost melodic. In another life, this young man could have been a heartthrob of the music world, had only his lineage not decided upon his fate already. "However, I must admit that I am disappointed that you have elected not to use living steel in this match. One must always be ready to put their life on the line, if they decide to walk the path of a warrior. I would have preferred facing a true threat."

There is no malic in his tone of voice. No accusation. Simply a passive sort of reservation. He sighs softly, but that same disappointment seems to roll right off of him as he buries his slender digits in the bangs of his silvery blonde hair, and pushes it back, only to have those bangs fall back into place, kissing at his alabaster cheeks.

"Come on, then, Miss Abe," The Prince of War states, as he clicks his heels together like a military man, and then bows at the waist with a flourish of one long, slender arm to his side. "Please do me the honor of showcasing your style. Let us come to know the truth of one another."

The response was unexpected. The man would have preferred actual steel as opposed to the safety of the wooden blade. A tingling ripple of anger courses up and down her spine, making her take a sharp breath and her lip twitching. But she does bow her head slightly. "I apologize. I did not intend to insult you by using a less-lethal weapon than I could have. I am new to these styles of combat," she excuses in a quick moment.

But the fight is on, and there is no more time to discuss things.

Abe is offered the first stroke, the first step of the dance of combat. Her breath stills, her shoes scuff on the cobbles. She darts out toward Adelheid. She skips to the right, circling, pacing, getting herself to the correct moment that she can close the gap.

A flash of movement in a sudden moment. She draws the blade with a darting close. The heavier of the two blades cut out and slash out toward Adelheid's belly before the blade is already back inside of the scabbard as Fumiko is already settling toward a defensive standing.

COMBATSYS: Fumiko successfully hits Adelheid with Positioned Strike.

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

"Please, do not apologize. It isn't an offense. I understand why you would make the decision you made. I am, however, of a different breed. The Bernstein family... We do not test ourselves lightly, or with safety in mind," Adelheid explains as he raises up, out of his bow. He had noticed that breath. That lip twitch. He'd rather not anger the girl. He wants her head clear for the match to come.

And come it does. She accepts his invitation, and as he opens his eyes, she advances upon him. As she circles, he turns casually, keeping her facing, and matching her pace. But when she comes in, her iaijutsu stylings prove to be faster than he had anticipated. He brings out an arm, trying to deflect the blunted edge of her sword against his gauntlet, but he's a fraction too slow. The blade grazes his knuckles and moves on past them, to collide against the slab of rippling muscle that are his abdominals.

He lets out a breath from the impact, but that comes with it a small chuckle, and he gives her a nod of his head, simply stating, "Good. Good."

Before those words have finished leaving his lips, Adelheid is already spinning on the toes of his rear foot. His body twists, presenting his back to Fumiko, as he curls up his knee to his chest and lets out with a rapid fire kick that is a fusion of a mule kick and side kick that leaves the young fighter standing in the splits. A hazy sheet of greyish wind chi sweeps up from the ground, following the arc of his foot to the tip of his booted toe, adding a powerful burst upon impact, should he connect with his intended target of the underside of the swordswoman's chin.

COMBATSYS: Fumiko fails to interrupt A. Kunst Eins from Adelheid with Flashing Blade EX.

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

First motion, success. Second motion should be similar. The man is polite, but he seems much different than what she has seen in the Neo League. Even if that is still an experience that at most generous can be called limited. But she is confident in her pacing and her technique. She will endure.

Compliments aside, she remains focused and ready. The back is presented. A fool's ploy? She moves forward again. Hand drawing her blade. The wooden sword comes from the sheath. A flash of the blade to topple this opponent as the last.

The kick comes too fast. Too certain. Yes, this man works in ways that Fumiko is unprepared for and she feels every moment of that strike as it connects and scatters her back and to the ground.

She rolls, but she swiftly catches herself and is back on her feet. Red faced at the fool's ploy that she in fact fell for, she readies herself for the coming press.

"Don't be discouraged. Press on, ever forward," Adelheid says, as he turns, pivoting around on the toe of his boot, and leaving his other leg extended upwards, so that it twists with him into a frontward split, instead of backwards. Only then does he let that foot drop back to the ground.

"But expect no mercy!"

With that declaration, there is a burst of air that kicks up a sudden swirl of dust at his feet. Feverish spikes of air-infused chi explode out from under his feet, launching Adelheid at the girl with the speed and fury of the wind. Those oblique red eyes are unflinching and dispassionate as he flies at her, and snaps his leg up in a front kick.

Should that front kick make its target, Adelheid will bring the heel crashing back down on her shoulder with thunderous force, and then sweep his knee around the back of her neck. A twist of his hips as he lands from his chi-vault, and he'll whip Fumiko around and to the ground, face first, with him kneeling over her.

COMBATSYS: Adelheid successfully hits Fumiko with G. Springen.
- Power hit! -

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Adelheid         0/-------/---====|=======\==-----\1           Fumiko

Words do little to dull the fact that the man against Fumiko has training and experience in spades compared to herself. She is, was, an artist, a performer that showcases technique and poise. And now, in this moment, she is rent to little by the shear force of wind and strength that Adelheid Berstein is capable of.

Fumiko is torn to the ground. The fist kick sends shockwaves through Fumiko's frame. The second kick cracks her shoulder with a leaden weight that slumps Fumiko's arm. The next hit crushes her to the ground. Face down, pinned underneath a man that far outclasses her in capability.

There, on the ground, she pauses and considers. Thinks and plans. Her breathing falls to a steady rhythm and she stills herself. Ready, focused and though still downed, in a mindset for the fight she is up against.

COMBATSYS: Fumiko enters a meditative state.

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Adelheid         0/-------/---====|=======\===----\1           Fumiko

Still kneeling with her pinned beneath him, Adelheid actually does reach down and rest his hand on the crown of Fumiko's skull, trying to reassure her. He knows what it is to fight uphill battles. How easy it is to get discouraged. To get angry and frustrated when you feel outmatched and outclassed. He imagines she, being a newcomer to the fighting scene, is feeling that accutely at this very moment. So, he is tender.

"Don't let yourself get discouraged. It's hard starting off in this world. It's harder still to keep going. After this, watch my matches in The World Warrior tournament. You'll see how hard it was for me. I lost every match."

He rolls backwards off of her and stands up to his feet. His stance is unorthodox. It is inspired, clearly, by Muay Thai fighters, but it is far more casual and loose than that. His feet are close together, with his lead leg only slightly bent at the knee, with his toe on the ground. His arms are upraised, at his sides, but just barely so, with one arm loosely extended in front of him defensively, and the other slightly curled with his palm upturned in a manner that almost seems like he might be backoning her on.

"Learn what you can, where you can. That move that I just executed? I learned that when I fought Lee Chaolan."

Adelheid offers the girl a small smile, as he takes a moment to analyze her. Study her stance, her movements, her defenses. Break them down, pull them apart. Determine where she is at her most vulnerable so that he can exploit it.

COMBATSYS: Adelheid focuses on his next action.

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Adelheid         0/-------/---====|=======\===----\1           Fumiko

An anger boils up within Fumiko. This child's words strike her not as reassuring, but as condescending. Her eyes snap open, but the fury inside of her is a cold and serpentine kind. She picks herself back up and adjusts her hair. Eyes closing as she takes a deep, steadying breath to get her into the mindset she needs to hurt.

"I will consider your words," she states in a steadied tone, once more taking her combat stance. "What you've said to me will not long leave my memory."

And then she's off, skipping nearly silently off the stones with a flashing dash of a blade. A heavy, well practiced cut. And one final focused strike before she's drawn her second blade and entered a swinging fury, a crashing wave of strikes from a long wooden blade and it's shorter companion.

COMBATSYS: Adelheid blocks Fumiko's Scattered Petals EX.

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Adelheid         0/-------/---====|==-----\-------\0           Fumiko

Adelheid bows his head to her when she says that she'll consider his words. He's an empathetic creature. He can practically feel the rage she's stuffing down. He's curious about that cold, dark fury. Where does it come from? Is this what she harnesses to fight?

She comes again, and Adelheid's eyes flicker open, tracking her movements. He lifts his fist, intercepting that first heavy cut by letting the wooden blade clack off of the brass plating that lines the back of his hand. The second is received with the back of his forearm. It stings, and he feels it to the bone, through the gauntlet, but he will endure.

The second blade is drawn, and Adelheid is hard pressed to keep up with the barrage of attacks. His hands move like a flurry, long hours of practice with the wooden dummy finally bearing fruit. Each strike is met with the hardened bone of his forearm, or the receptive palm of his hand. It is a luxury he could afford due to the blunted nature of the wooden blades, while had they been sharpened steel, he would likely have been unable to effectively mount a defense against such an attack

During that exchange, Adelheid's eyes are alight, and the expression on his face is truly boyish in his barely restrained delight.

No sooner than it is done, though, Adelheid's eyes are left glowing. Truly, eerily glowing with a vibrant crimson light that leaves tracers hanging in the air with every movement of his head. His hands erupt with the same baleful light, as if it were a mist that seeps from his pores, and bubbles up like blood smeared on an invisible glass wall.

He bursts forth with enough force that there is a small crater of cracked and shattered cobblestones where his feet pushed off the ground. He practically glides, like some sort of vengeful wraith at Fumiko. His once effeminately beautiful features are wide eyed and wild with a grin that is bloodthirsty and inhuman. It's too wide. His teeth are gritting together so hard that one might expect them to snap against one another.

His arm reaches out, his hand burning with that vile, corrosive energy as he tries to slam his open palm into her chest.

COMBATSYS: Fumiko endures Adelheid's G. Sklaven.

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Adelheid         0/-------/-------|=======\===----\1           Fumiko

Once he's grabbed hold of Fumiko, Adelheid's rushing slide will continue on, propelled by some unnatural force outside of his body. His fingers are like burning talons that seem to sink into the flesh of her chest, clutching her with a vice grip and dragging her along with him for the ride. The bloody red and black energy surrounding his hand burns and eats away at her gi like acid.

Their destination? The side of the gate house of Shanhai Pass itself.

As they near the ancient stone structure, Adelheid's arm thrusts out, slamming the swordswoman into the wall with enough force that China's board of tourism's butthole is puckering while watching the fight unfold. There may be some structural damage.

Pinning her to the wall, The Prince of War's mad eyes peer up at her, and he raises his other hand in front of her face. It snaps shut, and there is a sudden burst of soul-burning red energy that erupts from below, creating a bloody red column of light that pierces the heavens, and engulfs Fumiko. The wails of a thousand damned souls cry out, and within that pillar of hellish pain, the visage of a screaming skull momentarily appears, before distorting and vanishing in a blur as it is swept up towards the sky.

The younger man is resilient. He is strong. Stronger than her. She finds he condescends without meaning. It burns her pride. It embarrasses her to see her art shown for an impractical dance against his simple fist and the power of his chi. She finds herself humbled in front of this boy and her pride glows white hot.

Because maybe, maybe this is what he saw and felt before his end.

The temper is bitten. Fumiko has returned her blades to their sheathes. She pants with heavy breath. And she sees the wraith approach. The smile on his face. The light from his hands. The power and the viciousness that he shows. She watches it bear down upon her with a tireless vengeance.

Fumiko Abe sees in that moment a final stand she never took. This time, she would be there. She would fall, but she would not fall without striking.

"Kenji," she whispers, eyes locking on Adelheid. And when he comes, she leans into the blow. The strikes hit. She hurtles back. The energy burning her gi. Her hair unties, cascading into a fan of white.

She slams against the ancient stones. Dashed on the rocks. Pinned to the wall. The pillar of chi burns, wailing souls scream upward. The distorting cry. The sound washing from her ears.

Monsters. Darkstalkers. Invaders. They killed him. She could have trained in ways to fight, not in ways of art. She could've stood there. She could've defended him. And now she couldn't bear to keep his name.

If this was to be her last stand, then lit it be one of note.

The strikes, the close fires of chi, they've tattered and torn at the woman. Scoured her clothing, damaged her scabbards, burned her. But Fumiko Abe still stands, and this man-thing was close.

The rage bleeds. She finds a peace. She steps forward, past Adelheid, Prince of War, and in doing so draws her wooden blade. The strike as fluid, as simple as water running down a leaf. A wake of images follows Fumiko's liquid stride, cherry petals fluttering in the wind. The step ends with Fumiko's blade out, drawn, almost as fast as the blink of an eye.

COMBATSYS: Fumiko successfully hits Adelheid with Under A Setting Sun.

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Adelheid         0/-------/----===|-------\-------\0           Fumiko

Now that Adelheid had let that surge of evil well up from somewhere within a hollowed out portion of his soul, he is left trying to wrangle it back inside before it takes him over completely. The madness inherent in his blood, a gift from his father, which in turn was a gift from a priest of destruction, it is always there, lurking just under the surface. If Adelheid were to allow it to fester, it would consume him. If he were to allow it to run unchecked, it would consume the world. Balance is necessary, and he has to let it out.

It just always seems so hard to push it back in.

This internal struggle has the young man reeling back and away from Fumiko as she prepares her artful attack. Conflicted, Adelheid attempts to slide to the side, away from her and her blade, but the violence in him wants to reach out and continue to smash her pretty head into the wall again and again to see what might come out. In the end, it is this sort of indecision that leads to him being caught up in that perfectly executed strike. For a moment, he seems paralyzed. Frozen in place, like one of his father's bronze statues. She ends her step, and Adelheid suddenly animates once again, and falls to his knees, clutching his stomach.

"That... was good! Excellent."

He stands back up, turning to face her. He offers her a smile that is warm, and kind, lighting up his delicate, finely sculpted face and making him seem incredibly youthful in that moment. "Is Kenji why you fight?"

Yes, he had heard that name.

He closes in again, this time bringing his fists up in front of him so that they frame his face in a manner that any good, defensive Thai boxer would recognize. He leads in with a low, sweeping kick with his shin, looking to dislodge her footing and upset her balance. Immediately, he follows up with the other leg rising high up in an arc like a crescent kick, only for him to pivot at the hip and snap down at the top of her head in a sidekick, instead. Following that, he turns, chambering his leg by bending his knee to his chest. He thrusts out, lunging forward with a powerful kick leveled at her chest that is surrounded by the faint, spiraling wisps of a whirlwind.

COMBATSYS: Adelheid successfully hits Fumiko with A. Kunst Vier.

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Adelheid         0/-------/--=====|======-\-------\0           Fumiko

The strike of calm and steady finality. She had stood. She had fought what she could. She knows that this isn't truly a last stand. That she will not be at the end of a road she has only just begun. But she has wounded the beast. Not Adelheid. He is not the beast Fumiko Abe needed to wound.

She turns to face him. Her expression proud despite her loose hair, burned clothes, exposed skin and torn hakama. She looks resolute. "No," she says. "I did not." Truthful, painful, half-truth, but wholly wounding.

For all her poise, the pain and damage she has taken is too clear with how slowly she is to react at the follow up assault. Her knee is knocked. She hisses in pain and stumbles. The second kick drives her head down. The thrust sends her hurtling through the air. She bounces along the cracked cobblestone until she slides to a halt.

And once more she pulls herself from the ebbing blackness that wants to consume her and drag her deeply into unconsciousness. Once more she strides forward. Once more her blade slashes. But this time, it isn't her main sword, but the smaller one. A different length, a different weight, moved with ever so different precision.

A final slice, and a final sheath, before the woman simply falls to her knees, and then over in a heap onto the stones of the Great Wall.

COMBATSYS: Fumiko can no longer fight.

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Adelheid         0/-------/--=====|

COMBATSYS: Fumiko successfully hits Adelheid with Second Blade Strike.

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Adelheid         0/-------/=======|

When she turns to face Adelheid, he takes notice. The pride in her. That determination. Even when she's on her last leg, she's portraying her strength. It is heartening, and in that moment, he is struck by her. The confession, as vague as it might be, is clued in on easily enough. Adelheid imagines that Kenji is someone she had failed and lost. He can only imagine what that would be like. If he were to ever fail and lose Rose...

He doesn't want to think of that.


As she comes in for what will be her final attack, Adelheid moves to meet her halfway. She unsheathes that short sword, and Adelheid is struck even as he reaches out to grab her. He flinches, feeling it impact his ribs and something crack. A muffled grunt of pain is let slip from behind closed lips, but he still surges forward just to catch the fallen fighter and ease her down onto the ground, rather than letting her collapse to the floor. Quietly, he says, "That hurt. You performed well."

Then, he waves to the SNF medical team to come take care of her, while he stands up and prepares for his second opponent.

COMBATSYS: Adelheid awaits the next challenger.

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Adelheid         0/-------/=======|

That was a hard fight to watch. Yet for Haru Sakuraba, on the sidelines of the conflict, it was also necessary, purely from a tactical standpoint. That's the significant advantage of going second in the order, more than Fumiko Abe's ability to significantly wear Adelheid down: it gives Haru a chance to observe, reflect, and think. Lacking the iaidoka's physical strength and resolve, the Psycho Soldier must rely more or less on his wits.

But observation, for someone who can perceive auras and gain a sense of a person at a distance, can be a hindrance as well as a help. His words are noble, but as he watches Adelheid fight from the 'safe' distance of the SNF production crew area, the Justice High student cannot help but feel... unsettled. Something burns in that young man's heart, something of terrifying intensity despite the calm and composed demeanor.

To call it intimidating is an understatement.

But then Fumiko, fighting with all her strength to the last, finally falls, and Haru can't avoid doing what he came to do any longer. Walking to the area where the fighting is happening, he gives Fumiko a look as the medics gingerly take her somewhere secure and safe to rest, biting his lip, before turning back to Adelheid and entering the arena.

Squaring off with the Bernstein scion, he takes a deep breath, trying to push unquiet thoughts from his mind. A hand comes up, and with his fingers curled around it, the gunmetal and black yoyo in Haru's palm stands out against the tan of his skin. "I guess I'm in the opposite position from her," he says, with a sheepish grin. "My weapons don't look serious, but I take them seriously. Good luck to you."

And with that, Haru gets right into it, entirely planning to show Adel just how serious those yoyos can be. With a sweep of the arm, Haru whips said arm sideways, the weighted and unexpected weapon looking to swing sideways and heavily into Adel's side.

COMBATSYS: Haru has joined the fight here.

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Adelheid         0/-------/=======|-------\-------\0             Haru

COMBATSYS: Adelheid instinctively blocks Haru's Power Strike.

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Adelheid         1/-------/=======|-------\-------\0             Haru

Adelheid seems passive as Haru enters the stage. In fact, if anything, he seems to be at total peace. Complete serenity. The ruby gaze of the young Bernstein heir falls on the Psycho Soldier, appraising him and sizing him up, and yet there is no hostility there. If anything, it feels welcoming and warm. Those soft, rosepetal pink lips curve upwards ever so faintly, and when Haru speaks about his weapons, Adelheid simply looks to the yo-yos, and gives a shrug of his shoulders.

"The seriousness of a weapon is not in the weapon itself, but within the intent of the user," he says in that soft, silvery light voice. "Show me the seriousness of your intention. I want to witness the strength of your conviction."

Haru gets right to it, and unleashes his weapons on Adelheid with a sweeping arc. The weighted cylinder comes whipping in at the young Prince of War's side, and it seems like it may just collide against his ribs.

But a blur of motion from his left arm catches it against his forearm instead, knocking it seemingly helpless to the ground with a clatter. Still, he does feel the slight sting of that attack in his arm. Between the strength of his previous opponent and this, he might not be able to move his arms much more for the blocking. Certainly, under his gauntlets, his flesh has become a deep, dark red. Still, Adelheid seems composed and placid.

Without so much as a warning, a change in temperament, or demeanor, Adelheid bursts forward. One gloved hand lashes out, his slender, porcelain digits attempting to grasp his opponent by the face, and pull him in forward, and off balance.

Should he succeed in that small victory, and send Haru stumbling in at him, the Psycho Soldier will find his face meeting the brass re-enforced knuckles of his left fist, just a jab, but enough to send him reeling back, so that Adelheid can come through with a powerful right handed straight, his palm open and leveled to crash into Haru's face. Should that palm strike land, to the underside of Haru's chin, then a burst of blue light erupts in his palm with a strange, metallic sound. That blue and white light seems to bubble and crackle, becoming a disc-shaped shield of concussive and repelling force. It should be sufficient to knock the young fighter away from the alabaster Bernstein.

COMBATSYS: Adelheid successfully hits Haru with A. Kunst Drei.

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Adelheid         1/------=/=======|====---\-------\0             Haru

Ohhhh he's fast. Haru had a chance to see Adelheid in action against Fumiko, but still observing and experiencing are two very different things. And while the fight is still early, the Psycho Soldier has every intention of playing it safe for now, testing to see how the waters are.

PROTIP: they're painful.

One of the reasons Haru learned to use the weapons he did is because his powers work strongest by touch, and though he has that largely under control, a part of him still instinctively prefers NOT to do much touching, if he can avoid it. So it says something that when Adelheid drives in for his face, Haru actually tries to physically put a hand up and redirect the grab. Which works... but the problem is that Haru's arm is, in fact, an even BETTER lever for manipulating his body weight than his head is. The result is that Adelheid's combination goes off without a hitch, and the final burst of energy sends Haru skidding across the ground to land heavily against the crenellated edge of the Wall.

Groaning, he gets back to his feet, putting a hand to his forehead. That hurt... a lot. But of course, the SNF folks saw fit to pit Adelheid against two fighters in a row, so of course the man is powerful.

But, Haru reminds himself, they wouldn't have done that if they thought he'd walk all over Fumiko and Haru either. That means there's a chance.

"That was... a nice hit," Haru says, sounding a little dazed. After that, a beat or two of silence. 'Show me the seriousness of your intention'. Well... there is a way he could do that. Granted, the Bernstein family's fighting style is not exactly a secret, and thus this presents a certain danger... but without risk, he'd never have gotten this far.

Bringing his hands up near his face, Haru crosses his arms over each other, hands curled as if he were holding his yo-yos... but he isn't. Instead, his powers manifest as spheres of light, tethered LIKE yo-yos to his grip. Whippping his arms back behind him, he shouts "Go...!" before whipping his hands forward. The two orbs of opalescent white light trail from his fingers like pendulums, crashing together in front of him and then spiralling toward Adelheid in the form of a brilliant sphere of white light.

It's his very first:


COMBATSYS: Adelheid reflects Carnelian Fervor from Haru with G. Wand.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Adelheid         1/-----==/=======|====---\-------\0             Haru

Adel remains poised with his palm outstretched as Haru goes flying away from that disk of energy and light, which disperses as quickly as it came into being. Crimson eyes follow the young fighter to the wall, and climbs back to his feet. Were Haru faced with his father, he would have found the elder Bernstein would not afford him the opportunity to even get up without at least suffering three broken ribs in payment for the mistake of losing his footing. Adel, it seems, is much more passive.

"You're not bad, yourself," Adelheid proclaims, as he starts to stalk forward, abandoning his fighting stance in favor of a simple, casual gait. When the young man brings his hands up, one of Adelheid's thin, arched brows ticks upwards, and his head leans to the side.


The light that manifests in his hands. He knows what that is. He has faced it before, during the World Warrior event. Athena. Psychic energy. Psycho Power.

He knows well how to deal with that.


As Haru draws back his arms, The Prince of War leans forward, half-bowing at the waist, and twisting his torso ever so slightly so that his posture seems to be beckoning Haru on. That brilliant light is unleashed, and the two spheres conjoin into a drilling projectile that would surely devastate Bernstein, should they connect.

But, once more, that crackling shield of blue and white ki manifests before him, with it's strange metallic buzzing sound. Psycho power clashes against repulsive Ki, and seems to stop in its tracks, as if the two powers were canceling one another out. And then, there is a burst, and Haru's own psychic power is sent back at him, now with an added swirling twist of Adelheid's own blue-charged ki.

COMBATSYS: Haru dodges Adelheid's Reflected Carnelian Fervor.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Adelheid         1/-----==/=======|====---\-------\0             Haru

It's not unexpected, that technique. Haru knew it might be coming, and was watching for it, and in the end it's this that saves him. Adelheid's calm is inspiring, and the Psycho Soldier wishes he felt that at ease in this situation; instead he feels that anxious bubble in his stomach like he always does at these moments where the pendulum of fate can swing either way.

But... he's not the same youth that fought in KoF anymore, doing his best and succeeding sometimes by accident. Now he's a fighter, one that's learning to harness the powers he was born with, to use them as *his*. Because people like his teammates believed in him, and sporting opponents like the War Wolf -- and maybe even Adelheid, despite short acquaintance -- respected and encouraged him.

Haru stares down the return shot of his own Psycho Ball and, a split second before it would hit him, vanishes in a burst of lotus petals.

He *reappears* a few feet away a mere breath later, still at a distance from the Bernstein scion. He doesn't attack, not just yet; he needs to recover a bit from that. But right now, despite not landing a solid hit on his opponent... he looks surprisingly happy. He threw a Psycho Ball and teleported on purpose.

That's huge!

COMBATSYS: Haru formulates a plan of attack.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Adelheid         1/-----==/=======|====---\-------\0             Haru

As soon as the bolt is reflected back at Haru, Adelheid breaks his stance once more and starts to walk forward again. And then, Haru vanishes in a burst of flower petals. The platinum haired youth claps his hands together once, and his pliant, full lips part with a smile that dimples his cheeks.

"That is an impressive trick. It reminds me of someone."

When his opponent reappears, Adel sets his sights on him. He looks exhilarated, and that, too, seems to please the Prince of War. He gives the young man a nod, of his head, and reaches up, flipping his platinum bangs out of his face. "You fight like Athena. She defeated me once before, though it was a close match. I hold a lot of respect for her."

Stopping where he is, and allowing Haru to take the time he needs to compose himself after his feat, Adelheid simply drops back into his unorthodox Thai fighting stance, though when he does so, there is a barely visible shockwave that kicks up dust from the cobblestone flooring underfoot, spreading out in a series of rings with him at the epicenter. His hair is lifted, wavering in the air as if he wear underwater. His very fighting spirit can almost be seen, rolling off of him like an aura that trails upwards likes wisps of smoke rising from the licks of flames that try to reach the heavens.

Adelheid gestures with one hand, palm upturned, curling and unfurling his fingers. Come.

COMBATSYS: Adelheid gains composure.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Adelheid         1/-======/=======|====---\-------\0             Haru

Haru is briefly surprised to hear Athena's name come from Adel's mouth, and his eyebrows go up to prove it, but in truth the surprise doesn't last long. Athena and Kensou are world-famous fighters, after all; it's no shock that one of them would cross paths with the Bernstein heir at some point in their careers. "I've learned a lot from both of them," the Justice student says in total honesty. "I'm lucky to be their teammate, and I try very hard to be worthy of that honor."

What he does not say is that, for a long time, he *didn't* feel worthy, or that even now, he worries that might still not be. But if he isn't, then the only way is forward.

Adelheid did *something*, despite his lack of attacking; that much Haru can tell. It often happens, when he stops to prepare himself and take stock in these situations; the break in the action on one side compels the other fighter to do the same. The trick always comes in who's willing to break the tension first... and that kind of boldness isn't really Haru's style.

But maybe that's why he has to do it.

"Alright," he says, simply, before ducking forward, a yo-yo slapping into his palm. When he gets in striking range, Haru flicks out his wrist, sending the actual striking face of the weapon very low, toward Adel's legs... before suddenly and hopefully unexpectedly jerking it *upwards*, looking to ram it right into the bottom of the Bernstein heir's chin even as he swings the *other* yo-yo around from the side. That one is actually a feint... but if it connects, all the better.

COMBATSYS: Adelheid parries Haru's Obsidian Serenity!

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Adelheid         2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|===----\-------\0             Haru

"Both of them?"

Adelheid is taken aback for a moment, wondering who else Haru might be speaking of when he had only mentioned Athena. Then, he remembers. She had that sidekick, didn't she? He had heard of that. The monkey boy. Kensai or something to that affect. He had never met that one. And then there was their drunken master, as well. Chin?

"You are lucky to have such good mentors. As long as you continue to do your best, you will honor them just fine. Don't give up. Don't give in to despair," he says, even as Haru closes in on him. The psychic warrior's yo-yo comes in low, Adelheid lifts his leg and avoids it, stepping over the swirling disk and advancing forward. The sudden jerk upward is met with a slap of the palm of his hand, and that sidesweeping feint is dealt a similar fate within the blink of an eye. Bernstein simply swats the yo-yo aside as if it were a mere toy.


Adelheid draws back his arms, completely opening up his defenses, with his hands at either side of his chest. The entirety of his sleek, lithesome form arches back, every sinuous muscle straining to the point of becoming chiseled in stark, visible relief. Veins swell up along his biceps and forearms. His teeth grit. His ruby eyes flash. Then, he bends his body back further, and draws his hands back as far as they will go, to the point where his whole body trembles from the exertion. In the palms of his hands, two orbs of bright blue light are formed, flickering and strobing. Before him, the very air shimmers and wavers, as if there is a building heat.

And then he snaps.

Forward, his body lurches. Those long, limber arms lash out, thrusting with all of his might and crossing over his chest. As they meet in the middle, those two balls of flickering chi meet with that shimmering wall and set it ablaze. The resulting wave of energy erupts forth like a missile, and is easily the size of a fully grown man. It leaves a streaking trail behind it, and churns up the cobblestone as it cuts a path straight for Haru, leaving dust and debris swirling in the wind of it's jetstream.


COMBATSYS: Haru blocks Adelheid's G. Kronzprinz EX.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Adelheid         0/-------/----<<<|=======\-------\0             Haru

'Don't give in to despair.'

And it would be easy to do that. More often than not, even fighting people a little closer to his own level of experience, Haru feels a bit... powerless. He's never been the strongest, or the fastest. In fact he's never felt like the ANYTHING '-est'. But little by little he's gotten by. Little by little he improved, and met people, and learned and adapted and befriended. Incremental steps. A tiny bit at a time.

The hard part about changing yourself isn't actually making the changes, not by a long shot. It's making it so that you are always moving forward even when it feels like the changes you're making aren't working, aren't having the effect you want them to.

It's about not giving in to despair.

Adel is powerful, and that this is one of his stronger techniques isn't in question, and Haru has the earlier strike he made to judge by. Whatever happens, this is going to hurt. But he stands his ground, and he *watches*. Such a huge attack -- a person high! -- must have SOMETHING he can use, something he can exploit, something he can think his way through. So Haru stands his ground, and he *watches*, and waits.

As the destructive wave roars across the distance, the silver eyes widen, and he finds his answer.

As the projectile nears, the Justice student seems to do the unthinkable: he takes a deep breath and thrusts a hand forward, palm out, *right into the center*. Unlike Adel, Haru doesn't have the ability to redirect energy. But energy IS energy, and it reacts like energy would. A waveform that has a sudden sharp obstruction thrust into it will flow AROUND it. The result is that the Bernstein scion's attack smacks into Haru's palm and then starts... well. This is a small rock trying to dam a river; it is only marginally successful. But it is enough to turn what might have been a crushing, knockout blow into something merely endurably painful. It redirects JUST ENOUGH of the wavefront off to the side, or above, somewhat... JUST ENOUGH of it... so that when the smoke clears, Haru is singed and bruised and aches considerably... but he's still standing.

Don't give in to despair.

Breathing raggedly, Haru winces as he pulls that palm back; the damage to his hand is noticeable. But he shares a gift with his teammates in more ways than one; closing his eyes for a second, the Psycho Soldier lets his power flow within, the injured hand's visible bruising and burning somewhat healing before the world's eyes. "That's... good advice," is all he can say to his opponent for now.

Adelheid knows what it is like to face those who far exceed one's own skill and physical ability. He knows what it means to feel weak and helpless as a result of it. He knows what it means to feel like you're throwing yourself against a wall, over and over and over and over again, with no end in sight. The feeling of desperation, and powerlessness and defeat when it seems like you are not making progress.

If one looks on his performance in the recent World Warrior Tournament, one can see that the young man had been thrown into a situation where he faced that very same set of circumstances. And here he is now. Still, never giving up.

When Haru manages to mitigate a vast majority of the power of his Kronzprinz wave, Adelheid's smile returns, and his eyes narrow with a gleam of satisfaction. Yes. That was a thoughtfully executed defense. Was it perfect? No. He would do well to learn from Athena, to form a shield with his psychic ability. Much like he had learned from his own father, who had, in turn, created the move from watching the idol to begin with. But, even if that defense wasn't perfect, it was enough.

"Good. Very good!"

After all, if these matches are too one sided, they serve no purpose for Adelheid. He still needs to grow stronger, yet. One doesn't get strong just by training on the sandbag. There's nothing to be learned.

Even as Haru is focusing his power, Adelheid is closing in on him. His thin, arched brows come crashing down, forming a tiny crinkle above his pert, upturned nose and making him seem like some perturbed cherub. Those crimson eyes burn with intense ferocity, as if they're piercing into the psychic fighter's very soul.

"You're not aggressive enough!"

He hops and drops to the ground, sliding on his hip and thigh for the last few feet between Haru and himself, as if he were sliding into home base. His legs seek to entangle with Haru's own, scissoring in such a manner that he simultaneously uses use calf against the young psychic's shins while delivering a strong shin kick to the back of his knees, aiming to trip him up and take him to the ground.

Should he manage to do that, without Haru evading or negating his attack, Adelheid follows through by spinning on the palm of one hand, his entire body whipping around just above the ground until he comes to his feet. He swings back one foot, and launches a soccerball kick aimed for Haru's side, but at the moment of impact, an eruption of wind based chi bursts forth from the ground underneath both of them, helping to launch the pair of fighters into a low arcing trajectory through the air. Adel's soccer punt kick is fully realized, leading with the alabaster youth soaring through the air in the splits before he drops his heel down on Haru's flying body to slam him back to the earth.

"Twice now. Twice, you have given your opponent free reign to regroup and take their time in attacking you. Be mindful of the flow of combat. Sometimes it is wise to let off the pressure, but too much... You're just rolling over and offering up your neck to the wolves."

COMBATSYS: Haru successfully aids himself with Ruby Warmth.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Adelheid         0/-------/------=|=======\-------\0             Haru

COMBATSYS: Haru counters G. Springen from Adelheid with Topaz Vigilance.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Adelheid         0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\0             Haru

'You're not aggressive enough!'

It's an unfortunate truth that in Adelheid's words, poor Haru hears the voice of someone else: his father, the businessman, who did not approve of his child's seeming timidness and lack of interest in cutthroat business tactics. And for a brief moment, the Psycho Soldier's mind is flooded with memories... bad ones. Traumatic ones. Visions of a past that threaten his present, considering the reverie in which he seems lost while Adelheid makes to strike.

But as the white wave of his healing powers flows through his body, some inner voice speaks to Haru. Or, maybe... doesn't speak, but conveys something. A feeling. An intuition.

The silver eyes snap into focus, the Justice student watching Adelheid's low angle of attack and, specifically, his extended legs. For the first time since this fight started, yo-yos appear in *both* hands. "That's..."

In his mind's eye, he calculates all of it: velocity, relative distance, required strength, timing. All of the variables come crashing together and through will and grit are funneled into a single outcome: he snaps out a wrist, flinging one of his weapons through the air in a low, angled arc. And with a looping twist, the yo-yo snags Adel's leg tightly.

"That's not me."

Planting one foot and pivoting on his hip, Haru *heaves*; his captured opponent is swung into the air, using Adel's own momentum against him, before Haru's other hand lashes out, an overhead arcing swing of his other weapon directing the Bernstein heir's trajectory right back into the ground.

As both yo-yos snap back into Haru's palms, he takes a few deep breaths and continues to watch his opponent. "I know I have things I could change. Things I could improve on. But if I'm going to fight, I have to do it as myself, not anyone else," he explains, as if the technique he just used was his answer to Adel's argument about his level of aggression.

As he feels the cord of the yo-yo wind itself around his ankle, Adelheid's delicately handsome face alights with a smile. He is jerked, flung about like a ragdoll and slammed into the ground. He bounces once, and then lays there for just a moment, before he starts to laugh.


Adelheid rolls back, onto his shoulders, curling up into a ball. His feet push out with enough thrust to lift him off of the ground, and back onto his feet. Those vibrant red eyes glisten as they take Haru in. One thin brow arches, and his soft, full lips curl up at one corner, dimpling his cheek.

"It is one thing to fight as yourself. It is another to just allow the enemy to attack you unanswered. Stay true to yourself. Be mindful of the other. That... that was really good, though!"

Suddenly, the Prince of War kicks, the toe of his boot scuffing the ground as if his intention were to fling dirt in Haru's eyes. However, instead, an eruption of smokey gray chi bursts forth from the ground, becoming a wave of sharp, trailing and tattered spikes of energy that tear through the earth, churning up soil and stone, with a small whirlwind lingering just under Adelheid's rising boot.

"Let's see if you can keep it up!"

COMBATSYS: Haru dodges Adelheid's G. Kicken.

[              \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Adelheid         0/-------/------=|=======\-------\0             Haru

Of all the things Haru might have expected from Adelheid after that defense (and seeming contradiction of the Bernstein scion's advice), a compliment was definitely not high on the list. The surprise shows on his face, Haru's eyes widening just a bit, lips parting ever so slightly. Adel isn't quite like anyone Haru's fought in SNF before... though weirdly enough, his encouraging demeanor almost reminds Haru of Sven Maester, the pro wrestler. Though for Sven, the encouragement was part of the show, the performance; that didn't make it not genuine, but it feels different than how Adelheid expresses it.

Further reflection, however, is forestalled by the necessity of dealing with Adel's next strike. His moves are fast; this is perhaps the first time that Haru's had to fight someone who clearly has more experience and power than he does in SNF, though he had one or two opportunities to practice during King of Fighters. Sucking in a breath through his teeth, Haru forces himself to focus, think, visualize his destination, and...

In defiance of its lack of real physical presence, the lotus petal effect caused by Haru's teleportation is scattered by the gale Adelheid threw his way, fractions of a second after the Justice student blinks out.

when he reappears, however, Haru looks a bit winded; apparently 'doing it on purpose' is one level of mastery, and 'doing it with relatively little effort' is another entirely. It means he can't capitalize immediately on that evasion, either, giving Adel precious moments to prepare for Haru's followup.

But even if Haru *knows* that, it's a chance he still has to take. Sprinting forward to close the gap as best he can, the Psycho Soldier snaps out a yo-yo and attempts to loop it around one of Adel's limbs, ideally the kicking leg if he can, and simply *yanks* firmly, attempting to drag the blond fighter directly onto the ground.

COMBATSYS: Adelheid blocks Haru's Medium Throw.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Adelheid         0/-------/------=|=======\-------\0             Haru

"Haha!" Adelheid lets out as Haru teleports out of the way of the legendary Reppuken, made infamous by Geese Howard. Once more, the look of glee that overcomes his effeminate countenance rises to the surface. He looks more a child at play than a man in a serious fight. But, for a moment, there is a welling of something dark swimming behind those ruby red eyes of his. A festering madness that seems to want to be unleashed.

Haru's response comes whipping out at Adel, as the young boy runs at the Prince of War. Adel lashes out with the leg that Haru targets, in a low, sweeping roundhouse kick that uses his shin to knock that offending yo-yo aside, negating the throw at the sacrifice of feeling that attack blunted against the bone of his shin.

"To be faced with two fighters that show so much promise in one match! I must have gotten very lucky!"

Adelheid rushes forth, leaping into a singular forward flip and coming out of it with a flying thrust kick that is leveled at Haru's chest. Landing on his feet, Adelheid throws out a low, sweeping hook punch, his fist engulged in a minature tornado formed of chi. He's aiming to rock Haru's side with a body blow, only to push through and slam that same chi-encased fist into the boy's chest, if he's not careful.

Lightning fast, Adelheid's hips torque to the side, carrying his left leg into a swinging, low Thai style kick to the side of Haru's knee. It's swift, but still like swinging a log to try to shatter a branch. He immediately follows through with this, as well, as his blitzkrieg barrage continues. His other leg rises, chambering his knee to his chest before he pivots on his toe for a roundhouse. His leg seems to go too high, however, so he sweeps it down at an angle, in a picture perfect Brazilian Kick.

Provided he has managed to create an opening in Haru's defenses with his overwhelming aggression, The Prince of War then reaches out to try to hook his fingers around the back of Haru's neck, drawing him in and down as Adelheid's own knee thrusts up, into his midsection, and then, Adel whips around to slam the off-balanced young man face first to the ground.

COMBATSYS: Haru counters Fierce Combo from Adelheid with Moonstone Tenacity.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Adelheid         0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\1             Haru

His words are one thing, but Adelheid's aura...

At a few points, Adel has mentioned Haru's passing similarities to his teammate, Athena Asamiya. Right now, in a very Athena-like way, Haru is getting a very bad feeling about this all of a sudden. It is a thing he tries very hard to shake off and ignore, and Adelheid's adroit deflection of his grappling attempt doesn't hurt, there; you can't just leave a weighted yo-yo flopping about in the air on a line, even a short one. You have to pull it back, keep it under control, and plan your next move. And by the time Haru's regained his footing and Adelheid is facing him again, whatever that brief spike of... something... he felt was has passed.

It must have been his imagination.

But as much as Haru appreciates the Bernstein heir's consistent encouragement to do his best, the fact is that he still feels like he's doing his best to tapdance on a rockslide. Case in point: Adel's counterattack is swift, and sure; as the thrust kick comes flying toward him, Haru's raincloud-grey eyes stare at it with a sort of blank look, paralyzed with indecision. For him, time stretches out, slowing briefly to a crawl, and then...

It's like a switch goes off in the Justice student's head. Life and awareness snap back into his eyes and, in the fraction of a second before Adelheid's kick would connect, Haru's palms are thrust out, and a spherical barrier of white light surrounds him. The psychic shield 'catches' Adel's foot, holding the blond in place briefly, before it shatters in a scattering of lotus petals, releasing a counterforce that blasts Adelheid away from Haru.

As the lotus blooms fade away, Haru stands there with one hand extended, palm out. Opalescent white light, with a rainbow shimmer at the edges, flows around his body like faerie fire. He says nothing, but the big gulps of air he's taking suggest that whatever it is that's fueling him right now, it isn't going to last forever...

When Adelheid sees that flare of light, his eyes narrow, though he cannot suppress that grin from manifesting once again. He crashes into it, held suspended for a moment before the explosion sends him flying back and away. The young Bernstein sails, with those psychic lotus petals trailing behind him before they vanish into the ether from which they were summoned from.

Adelheid reaches out in midflight, his fingertips touching the earth to help him catch his balance, and flip over to his feet so that he skids the rest of the way to a halt.

"So I see... You want to burn yourself out," he says, as he peers up at the glowing boy, and brushes his fingers back through unruly platinum bangs. "Very well. Show me what you've got hidden yet!"

Adelheid rights his stance, and reaches out with one hand, curling his fingers to beckon Haru on at him, while he simply takes the moment to catch a breath of fresh air, soothing the ache in his muscles and the burning in his lungs.

COMBATSYS: Adelheid gains composure.

[              \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Adelheid         0/-------/------=|=======\-------\1             Haru


'Burn yourself out'. The truth is, these moments of consuming power, spiking out of control, are rarely conscious on Haru's part. Like the teleporting evasions, they're a thing that started being fueled by pure emotion and instinct, rather than any sort of active control. This, right now, doesn't seem much different; the Psycho Power spilling off Haru's body shows none of the refinement or precision of the rest of his fighting style so far.

"I can't..." he starts, before swallowing and locking eyes with Adel. "I can't go down without trying everything I can!"

The light flares, and for a moment, it's easy to believe that what Haru lacks is not raw power, but the experience and skill to harness all of that potential.

Kicking off the ground, the Psycho Soldier just drives forward at Adelheid with all of his strength. Yo-yos appear in both hands and, as Haru charges, they slice the air in front of him in surprisingly controlled and intricate patterns, weaving back and forth around each other to make a wall of bludgeoning force in front of him.

COMBATSYS: Adelheid dodges Haru's Garnet Intensity.

[              \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////             ]
Adelheid         0/-------/------=|=======\-------\1             Haru

When Haru shouts those words, Adelheid takes a single step back. He looks surprised. He's, truly, truly impressed. After a moment, the Prince of War smiles once again, and gives a single nod to the psychic fighter.

"That's right! Give it your all! As long as you do your best, you have nothing to regret. Nothing to be ashamed of!"

Of course, Adel also picks up on the nuances of the boy's power. The Bernstein heir is something of an analytical genius, if nothing else. He can see the raw, untapped potential there. The pure, unfiltered power. He can see that it taxes the boy, but it is only due to inexperience. With some proper guidance and training, Haru just might truly become someone worth keeping an eye on.

As the young psycho soldier rushes him with those whirring yo-yos of doom, the alabaster Prince makes a small, quiet chuckling sound. He leans forward, his eyes widening and his grin spreading into a mad rictus. Just as those slicing weapons enter Adelheid's proximity, he seems to flicker, becoming a blur of movement that shifts to the side, out of harm's way, and into Haru's peripheral vision.

He tries to wrap his gauntlet clad hand around Haru's throat, those spindly, delicate seeming fingers of porcelain digging deep, with those glassy violet painted nail digging deeper still, so that he'll have crescent moon shaped marks in his flesh for days afterwards. That is, provided that Adelheid gets a solid grip.

If he does, Adelheid pushes off the ground, more sliding just above it, propelled upon unnatural, chi manipulated winds, to drag the other young man along with him. Together, the two young men make a mad dash towards the wall of the gatehouse, where Adel will try to slam his opponent backwards. His other fist will lift and snap shut, creating a forceful whirlwind to erupt under Haru and sweep him up into the air before letting him drop.

COMBATSYS: Haru endures Adelheid's G. Drucken.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Adelheid         0/-------/----===|=======\=======\1             Haru

Haru doesn't move.

One might imagine that, given what he's done so far, Haru was preparing another reversal move. But when Adel drives in to get the grip he's looking for, the Psycho Soldier doesn't direct his power outward, or attempt to manipulate Adel's extended arm. He just... doesn't appear to do anything at all, something that seems considerably at odds with the words that just came out of his mouth, vis-a-vis not giving up. To all appearances, it looks like that's what he literally just did.

But all that is on the *outside*.

Inside is another story. Inside, Haru is fighting to keep his wits, to not give in to pain even as his body is battered repeatedly by the surprisingly extensive number of chained techniques in Adel's assault. To keep his focus clear. To make the weapon that he needs the most -- his mind -- ever-ready.

Normally, when one drops from the sky after such an ordeal, they are barely holding on to consciousness, unable to move or act. In this situation, however, that's not the case.

As he drops toward the ground, Haru inverts himself, eyes flashing, body still glowing, and looks to flick a yo-yo out at the Bernstein heir at snakebite speed. If he gets that grip, Haru simply flings the blond high into the air in a slingshot-like motion.

But that isn't the end. Before Adel can fall, Haru extends a hand and releases one of those lotus petal-like bursts of pure white light, bouncing his opponent away only to find him snagged *again* by the yo-yo and directed forcefully into the ground, then into the air by a looping, heavy swing. Strike, sling, burst, strike, sling, burst... three cycles of that before the last fling would separate the two considerably and leave Haru breathing heavily, hand on his chest, the white faerie flame flickering slowly out of existence.

COMBATSYS: Adelheid just-defends Haru's Crystal Ferocity!

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Adelheid         0/-------/----===|====---\-------\0             Haru

Adelheid is dancing back on the balls of his feet when Haru recovers from the Drucken. He has faith that the young fighter isn't done, just yet. He seemed to have accepted that punishment in order to gain himself an advantage. So, what surprise does Haru have in store for him next?

As Haru descends, Adelheid sees it. He knows that he should expect something from those toys he uses, and so he prepares himself. And that flick comes.

It seems like Adelheid reaches out to grasp the yo-yo, though it winds up winding round and round his wrist. When Haru yanks, Adel is compliant, flinging up into the air in a convincingly ragdoll fashion. His body is heaved up, suspended in the air parallel to the ground, and spinning like a corkscrew. He descends back towards the earth, and Haru sends that brilliant psychic energy his way, there's a flash of light in those ruby eyes. Suddenly, Adel comes out of his spin, and throws his hands out. He catches the burst of light within his palms, and it seems almost as if it disperses within him, as veins of glowing light trail up his arms.

As soon as boots touch the earth, Adel pushes off, closing in on Haru once again. He kicks low, his hips pivoting to deliver a near bone shattering Thai style kick, with the intention of either disabling Haru's leg, or to at least sweep it from under him and set him off balance. He follows up immediately with the other leg, hopping from one foot to the other. His knee chambers, and he brings it up only to slice back down diagonally with a roundhouse that leaves a blazing streak of slicing wind chi in its wake. The roundhouse turns him, so that he presents his back to Haru, but this is only a ploy. His roundhouse has only served to bring his knee back up to his chest, now, rechambering it for a devastatingly forceful thrust kick aimed straight for the center of Haru's chest.

COMBATSYS: Adelheid successfully hits Haru with A. Kunst Vier.

[              \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >                                ]
Adelheid         0/-------/---====|=======\=------\1             Haru

As Adelheid's stalling tactics were calculated against, by the time that final technique of Haru's has been delivered, he very legitimately has nothing left, mentally or physically. The blond attacks him, but in truth, Haru barely registers it as various kicks slam into his body. There is one moment, though, where the close physical contact forges a brief connection between attacker and attacked. Right before the final blow in Adelheid's combination, the Psycho Soldier's grey eyes meet the Bernstein heir's scarlet ones, and despite fatigue and pain and a raging inability to focus...

Haru's eyes widen, and he simply says: "You're..."

And then his body gives out on him, the eyes close, and he slumps, unconscious, to the stone of the Great Wall.

COMBATSYS: Haru takes no action.

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

COMBATSYS: Haru can no longer fight.

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

When Haru gives Adelheid that look, the blonde almost seems to recoil with surprise. He is... what? What was he going to say?

It's too late. Haru is unconscious, and Adelheid stands over his fallen body, looking down on him with a look of wonder and concern. Taking to one knee, Adelheid rests beside him and places a hand on Haru's chest. He takes a moment to catch his breath. While he might not have shown it during the match, he was pushing the limits of his exhaustion, and now, with it finally over, he can gulp down much needed oxygen by the mouthful. Still, he does smile.

"Rest now. You did good. Let's do this again sometime," he says quietly. Reaching into the pocket of his now dusty and tattered slacks, Adelheid retrieves a silver case, which he flips open and withdraws a card, emblazoned with the sigil of 'R'. This, he lays on Haru's chest, before he stands up, and waves the medical crew over to look after the fallen fighter.

Of course, Adelheid is barely better off than the pair he had faced, after enduring the best they both had to offer. It was certainly a challenge for him, though, he has gotten stronger. As he looks off into the distance, with Sky Noah looming like a dark shadow over his head, Adelheid contemplates the mountain he has yet in front of him. The mountain he'll need to climb if he is ever to surpass his father.

COMBATSYS: Adelheid has ended the fight here.

Log created on 17:58:16 05/19/2018 by Fumiko, and last modified on 12:13:21 06/01/2018.