Description: Be vewy vewy quiet, B.B. Hood is hunting werewolves. The mighty Talbain has taken residence in the Dark Forest, and what better way to flush out a wolf then by sending in a sweet little girl in a red hood? In a Midnight Channel exclusive, two titans of battle will battle for supremacy as to which is the superior Predator. Will it be the red hooded sweetheart or the mighty Talbain? Who will be the hunter, and who will be the hunted?
SOME TIME AGO
Bulleta pushes play on the combination TV/VHS she had to pick up from a thrift store. Rendered in grainy black and white, a series of scenes depicting running herbivores, first person footage of someone forcing their way through brambles, a dark, full moon, blood seeping into foliage, and decaying fauna - each crashing haphazardly into the next without so much as a consistent length between them - play out while distorted howls and snarling warble beneath it all.
It's her very first Midnight Channel invitation. After a couple playthroughs, she grabs a notepad and starts scribbling.
Fresh blood and sweat permeate the night air, forming an acrid trail through archetypically bewildering darkness. Erratic heartbeats syncopate with rapid footfalls and frantic, desperate gasps for breath. Pops of red hang from branches or brush here or there, each scrap - or sticky smear - a sacrifice to the dark gods of the Forest, that they might grant freedom from their oppressive embrace before it's too late.
Exactly which marker is noticed first is a matter of which of the man known as Talbain's senses happen to be sharpest, but suffice it to say: there is a young woman in (most of) a red dress and cloak running through the Forest as if her very life depended upon it.
The blood's smeared all over her face, arms, and legs, and splattered across her clothing, mixed with local mud and dirt; her left side seems to have gotten the worst of it. She /would/ be making decent time if it weren't for having to dodge and weave to minimize the number of branches hitting her in the face-- and, perhaps, if she weren't lugging a picnic basket that looks normal enough until it happens to shear the odd branch clear off due to its sheer weight in motion.
"Huh-- huh-- help..." she whimpers the first time since beginning her not so leisurely jog maybe ten minutes ago, "h-help... s-someone-- someone, HELP ME! PLEASE!"
A shadow moves from tree to tree.
Scent in the air. Blood and sweat. A clear trail. It tells a story. Clear and present. It runs through the tree and bracken. It is being followed.
A blur behind the trees.
Panting breaths. A running patter. Claws cut a tree's bark as the shade caroms from an old oak into the air. Gaining ground. Tracking, following, assessing. This is his territory, as far as he feels it to be. Gallon, Jon Talbain, names with meaning each, but little matter under the cover of moonlight speckling the forest floor through the canopy above.
His sense of smell is primary, but he hears so very well. And he hears the whimper, the cry, the pleading. He follows it as he does the blood. Both call to him. Both for different reasons. One calls to his belly. It makes the savage snarls and vicious growls in the back of his mind salivate for potential. To rend and rip. To raze and ruin. Easy prey. Easy sustenance. An easy kill.
The wolf may seek simple and easy. The man within does not. The mind that follows the cries. Concerned, suspicious, something is strange here. Not all may be as it seems but he cannot simply give over to the beast for this. So he settles on a difficult path, but one that perhaps may bring him closer to his perfection.
Like a shot, the wolf takes off from a tree and his howl splits the night. His shadow, cast by the moon, streaks over the forest floor. He lands, all fours to balance himself, before taking a firm position a fair distance from the girl he has tailed.
He draws himself to his full height, staring down at the coming girl. Waiting for her to come to him, screaming as she is. And when she bears down on him, he snarls and snaps at her with a single word, "Halt!"
Neither beast, nor man, had any real experience or joy at dealing with distraught people. A fair oversight in his training.
Gallon's appearance drives the color from the girl's face, leaving her as pale as the heavy orb straining to make its presence felt in the depths of the Forest. She skids, she stops-- she stumbles, falls back, and skitters backwards a few 'steps' before planting her hands and feet in stiff, panicking compliance. Those ragged breaths grow moreso with each passing moment while her bloodied body weaves like a reed ready to be blown flat at any second.
"Wh--" she stammers as wide blue eye bounce across the two-toned-- man? Before her, transfixed; idly seeking obvious blemishes in his coat. Claws and teeth are briskly checked to confirm their sharpness(and check for cracks). "... aaaah..." she helpfully pushes out after a beat.
"I," is barely uttered after another beat. One of her hands begins, ever so slowly, to slide beneath the cloak pooled on the ground behind her. "P-please, please, what-- what--" A hard swallow as she roams over carefully honed musculature and takes in the way he carries himself - tall, proud, and capable of responding to a frightened, bloodied young woman with commands before violence. In a matter of seconds, she knows beyond a doubt that she's dealing with someone - thing - unlike anything she's seen, or even heard stories of.
"--a-- /are/-- you?" she forces herself to finish while dainty fingers try to close around the pistol grip hidden against her back. "L-look, I-- I d-don't want any /trouble/, I-- I just-- I just, there was this GUY, and-- and-- oh, oh, god, please, d-don't... don't... I-I have /money/, I..."
Bulleta's babbling trails off when her gaze locks onto Gallon's for a lingering second, and it's almost as if she-- /stills/ as it ticks, as if she's found her way into the eye of whatever horror she's been swept up in.
"... I just wanna go home," she whimpers as her eyes fall to the ground with a shudder.
COMBATSYS: Bulleta has started a fight here.
Strong, looming, cloaked in blues and greys darkened by the night. Eyes bright with a bestial glow. Gallon stares down at the girl, his lupine face pulled taut, fangs locked and showing. He bites back at the desire to bite. Watching the girl tug at the vicious voice within his mind.
His hand opens, claws razor sharp and wicked, on display. He doesn't have a crack, a blemish, a clear weakness on him. He is no simple beast. He comports and composes himself with all the focus of a monk in his home within the wood. He takes a single step forward. His eyes dart to her wrist, he reads the posturing but two voices growl in his head. Timid, the beast thinks. Clever, the man corrects.
He stops his forward press when she speaks and stammers. And then she locks eyes with her. He is a fighter, a warrior, a martial artist. The voice of the man in the beast is the one that starts to win. Something is off about this prey. Something is stern and strong and terribly more important than a quivering child.
He crouches, stepping back, lowers his profile. He tries to read her as prey and predator. To focus on her motions and movement. To read her body and understand the mixed signals his dual instincts are trying to send. He speaks in a rough, steady, and human voice. "Whom is there? Where do you come from?"
COMBATSYS: Gallon has joined the fight here.
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Bulleta 0/-------/-======|=------\-------\0 Gallon
COMBATSYS: Gallon focuses on his next action.
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Bulleta 0/-------/-======|=------\-------\0 Gallon
"M-my name," the teenager drenched in red stutters as Talbain tenses, hunches, and stares, "is B.B, and I was-- it's-- it's my CAR, it, I had to-- I had to walk, but there's... there're no gas stations anywhere, and this truck pulled up, a-and... and he seemed s-so, so... so /nice/, b-but..."
NEAR THE OUTSKIRTS
A red puddle's expansion trickles to an inevitable stop beneath the wide-open passenger side door. No more than a few drops manage to sluice down battered leather and past the metal step; no matter how large the wound where his jugular was, the driver only had so much life to spill. A sticky, red, swaying figurine in a faux-grass skirt lies a few feet from the puddle; red footsteps lead away from the semi truck and into the deep, dark forest.
THE DEEP, DARK FOREST
"... he's... he's gonna GET me, I-- I hit him, I tried, but I know..."
Eyes sparkling with tears dare to share another glance with the wolven warrior-monk. Gallon is /still/ crouched, still looking at her-- still reflecting far more intelligence than a beast ought to, no matter how many legs it stands on.
Good, the hunter tells herself.
"I-I KNOW he's gonna... h-he's gonna--"
Without missing a beat, she pushes up to a four-point stance so she can /sprint/ at Talbain, seeking to throw herself into the doubtlessly supportive arms of flawles predatory perfection.
"-- GET me, if I don't f-find a way OUT of here...!"
So she can whip the Uzi holstered beneath her cloak free and let off a burst from close range.
COMBATSYS: Gallon interrupts Crushing Strike from Bulleta with Rising Beast Cannon.
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Bulleta 0/-------/=======|===----\-------\0 Gallon
She speaks in staggers. She smells of blood. She is prey!
A voice of ill-reason gnawing at the back of Gallon's mind. A snarling, red-taloned voice that demands attention and needs none of it at the juncture ahead of him. A voice that needs to be fought as much as any darkstalker or man, demon or hunter. It is imperfection and it drives him away from his humanity.
Still she mewls and still he listens. And he doubts. Her eyes aren't fearful. She doesn't run from him. She asks for help. And humanity is something Gallon doesn't trust for all his desires to re-attain his own. Or at the least redefine it.
And then comes the moment where the angry, snarling wolf in Gallon's mind is silenced. The hunter reveals herself. Deception is not a tool that Gallon finds pride in, but he cannot refuse it to others. And to sniff it out is a skill he knows he must master. When she charges him, his fangs are no longer bared.
The gun comes out, the wolf is unleashed. He torrents forward with a violent howl that splits the night in harmony with the staccato shout of the uzi. Gallon's form shoulder down, his body envelops in a fiery chi energy. He cuts through the air, arcing upward as the girl gets in close. The bullets glance off his hide, his furious power crashing upward and against her. His charge carries him beyond her, he strikes a thick old-growth tree and falls back to the soft fern floor of the forest.
Assuming a tall, poised stance, he looks back at his opponent. "If you are here to hunt, do not waste my time."
The rising strike throws Bulleta backwards until she, too, hits a tree-- with her spine, hard enough to make her limbs jerk and splay upon impact and leave her limp as she tumbles to the ground. The uzi is gone, having disappeared shortly after the force of his blow threw it from her hand and into the darkness of the Forest, but she still has her basket; it leaves a divot in the earth after smacking it forcefully when she lands.
"Wh-whoa, whoa, okay, okay, okay, oh-- haa-- I-- look, I, I TOLD you." The blonde's right hand comes up to wave frantically before her face as she pushes herself to her feet, using that tree as support. "Nngh-- I said I hit that guy, and he's still-- look, I, I thought MAYBE... I-I mean, you saw the moon, r-right?" She manages a nervous chuckle after half a beat and sheepishly reaches for the back of her neck.
"... well, okay, of course you saw the-- hoo, boy, this'-- is this-- I don't wanna be /specist/, o-or anything-- nngh, look, anyway, I just. Thought. Maybe," Bulleta's left hand slides along the handle of her basket until her finger's cradled against a switch hidden on the underside, "you were /him/."
The click is silent. The movement of hidden machinery opening a small porthole on one end of the basket, slightly less so-- at least, to ears like Talbain's.
The airy, percussive *FWOOMP!* and whistle of an RPG shell hurtling through that porthole towards the warrior-monk is unmistakable to man and beast alike.
"I had to make sure I knew what you /were/. You understand, don't you?"
COMBATSYS: Gallon blocks Bulleta's Smiling Missile.
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Bulleta 1/-----==/=======|====---\-------\0 Gallon
The girl is sturdy. The wolf was hasty in presuming her frail prey. The man was hasty in presuming her a simple huntress. He inclines his head, but only for a moment before he crouches lower, arms in a checking position, a distinct fighting posture. A show of respect, if just in that moment.
But she continues to talk and chatter. Gallon's ears fall against his head, his lip quivers. His fangs are readied and his claws are sharp.
A sound makes Gallon's ear twitch. He lifts his head. The girl planned something. She had more than a single gun to train on him. That was clear and present. Almost expected.
He was not expecting rocketry.
The blast shatters the air. Gallon's claws raised, his feet dig into the earth to stop his momentum. The world rings around him. His ears screaming in tones after the blast. It hadn't caught most of him, but enough of the reverberations echo in his head to throw off his balance. Nevertheless, he starts a circling pattern, scuttling through the undergrowth to get a bead on when and where to strike.
He finds it quickly. He launches himself forward with another howling endeavor. Like a rocket of his own, he charges the girl enwreathed in chi energy. A primal force to crash and shatter the resolve of this tricky and very, very well armed hunter.
COMBATSYS: Bulleta blocks Gallon's Beast Cannon.
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Bulleta 1/-----==/=======|=====--\-------\0 Gallon
The girl in red pivots to track Gallon-- until he's in the underbrush, at which point she plants her feet, tips her chin down, and breathes out slowly. Her eyes nearly shut to veil the parts of the world that don't matter as much as a clever wolf's furtive movements, just as she was taught to.
The way granny /made/ her learn to, with blindfolds, and a scampering dog, and cookies at the end--
Jerking the basket between herself and the flaring werewolf keeps him from barreling directly into her body, but the force of his honed bulk crashing against-- /whatever/ the hell that thing is made of reverberates viciously through her body. Chi roils beyond the basket like incandescent moonlight, licks across her wrist, and leaves singes where there was formerly blood.
"What are you?" she lowly repeats as a smile works its way across her lips and her left arm drops into a dangle by her side. "You aren't my first, you know-- just like I bet I'm not yours! But, I gotta tell ya,"
That listlessly dangling limb starts to show signs of life, circling behind her back. It's subtle, at first, but as the motion builds towards a whirling crescendo, it'd be hard for someone /without/ the razor-sharp senses of a lupine martial artist to notice it.
"You're still my first like /you/, and that's something!"
On the last few revolutions, it's almost as if the basket's getting bigger with each go 'round-- but that's just a trick of the eye, right?
"You should be proud!" she chirps while surging forward to try smiting Gallon with a picnic basket that somehow didn't /shatter/ after an impact from the Beast Cannon-- a basket that clatters, rattles, and *KLANGS!* resoundingly as it's shaken about and collides with the forest and its foliage-- and, perhaps, one of its denizens.
COMBATSYS: Gallon interrupts Shyness & Strike from Bulleta with Climb Razor.
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Bulleta 1/---====/=======|=======\-------\0 Gallon
Such a clever girl. This is indeed something that is requiring his attention and care. Something to showcase skill and to push him. Humans that can track and trail, and with something as sturdy as that basket aren't oft within the dark forests that Gallon calls home now.
The wolf is intrigued.
But he is still a fighter. Still a wolf. Still a creature of combat. And he cannot let idle interest draw him to a place where he reveals weakness. He hears her, but he isn't one to speak, not in the moment, not while the threat is ready to bear down and bring pain upon him.
She talks to distract her opponent, he will talk after he has shown her his capability.
A great basket, heavy and weighted, clanging and crashing and bashing through with whatever is granting it prodigious heft. Gallon twists, darts, down on all fours. When the basket comes down, he goes up. A sharp, flipping kick. His foot claw sparking with bestial energy as it slashes upward against the girl.
Gallon spins in the air and lands deftly on the fern covered ground. "My pride is as a fighter," he speaks low and simply, "Have at me and I will show you."
A chi-wreathed claw screeches past the basket and leaves deep gouges across Bulleta's belly and ribs. Her body spasms upright for a beat as she's opened up, then she hits her knees on her way towards a face-first collapse. Blood spreads out from underneath her shuddering, shallowly breathing form, seeping into the earth. The basket's wedged in another little divot, and - for the moment, at least - her left hand's slack rather than making any surrepitous movements across its surfaces.
When she finally /does/ stiffen and brace her hand against-- wood? When her fingers splay across that divided lid-- it's merely so she has some support to help her as she tries to push herself back to her feet with clumsy stumbling that ultimately leaves her toppling back into blood and grime, given a few seconds more. Her trembling right hand reaches for him while she strains, only to fall limp after the fall.
This is how Bulleta buys herself time to rest: her possum-game goes a few steps beyond still muscles and measured breathing.
"I-- hh--" she gasps while wriggling her right arm around those rising gouges and squeezing tight, "-- don't-- don't think I'm gonna... g-gonna..."
COMBATSYS: Bulleta gains composure.
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Bulleta 1/----===/=======|=======\-------\0 Gallon
The girl is pushed back. She's wounded and winded. The wolf and the martial artist are in unison for this moment. This is the moment to strike. He steps left, he slips right, he sights the girl against the tree and he weighs his options.
He cannot keep fighting at this force forever. He will need a moment to breath, himself. But this girl carries a great deal of firepower within that basket of hers. And to take too much time will suggest he's toying with her. Respect as a fighter cannot be denied.
So no, he will not rush her as a savage beast, with the fury of the forest at his claws. Instead, he sways and charges her. Turning left and right and getting right before her for him to plant his claws firmly into the ground and then spin. A sweeping, hard, instep kick aimed squarely at the girl's breadbasket.
The metaphorical one that is her torso, not the literal basket in which she may carry bread. And guns.
COMBATSYS: Bulleta full-parries Gallon's Medium Kick!!
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Bulleta 1/-======/=======|=======\-------\0 Gallon
Gallon sways and charges. Bulleta's fingers splay again, momentarily, before she flicks her wrist to seize the handle. Aching muscles protest the speed with which she leaps - /leaps/ - to her feet and threaten outright mutiny when she sways back with his incoming leg and swings the basket towards his shin. It's a combination of good placement and deceptive strength that allows her to reverse that sweeping strike's momentum until she's shoved it far enough from her body to give herself an opening; forcing her battered, draining body to comply is a matter of pure will. Given that opening, her right hand falls to the hem of her dress; a pointed flick as she darts past Talbain's side to put a little bit of space between the two hunters leaves something flat, metallic, and ominously blinking at the werewolf's feet.
"... gonna be able to help having /fun/ with you!" she pants. A wild smile bares her teeth as her feet come down and she slides into a near-crouch. "C'mon, Strong, Blue, and Silent: who's there? Where do you come from?"
COMBATSYS: Gallon blocks Bulleta's Malice & Mine EX.
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Bulleta 2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|=======\-------\1 Gallon
As explosive devices go, there are larger, deadlier ones than the landmine blinking away at Gallon's feet, but when it punctuates Bulleta's mocking questions with a tree-shaking explosion, the werewolf might not feel especially inclined to think about ranking it. The shrapnel load is modest; most of its design was focused towards producing a powerful shockwave, a respectable fireball, and minimal amounts of smoke, so as not to obscure the battlefield too badly for Bulleta, who - unlike plenty of Darkstalkers - doesn't have preternatural senses to help her cope with obfuscation.
Swift and sturdy. The hunter proves evasive. But her use of technology is beginning to wear on the thin patience of the martial artist. Not so much the wolf. "Fight as yourself, human," he snarls when the new beeping thing falls to the ground.
In the sudden moment, Gallon realizes that he has fallen for the distraction the girl has been using since the fight began. He has barely enough time to twist and absorb the brunt of the concussive blast, lifting upward and rolling away in the final moments.
His fur tinged with scorch marks, the ends of his cord belt frayed and smouldering, he rises once more to his feet. His crouch not much different than the girl's.
"Where I am from matters not. All that does is where I am going," he tells her. His voice rough, low, growling. But it is not entirely hard to detect the English on his tone.
And with his words, he proves rather literal. He rushes forward and leaps to the air with a howl. His downward arc punctuated a strong styled side kick. Not the strike of a pouncing beast, but a trained human combatant.
COMBATSYS: Bulleta blocks Gallon's Diving Kick.
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Bulleta 2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|=======\=------\1 Gallon
"'Fight as myself'...?"
Still panting, Bulleta stumbles towards the nearest tree and leans against it while giving his snarled demand a moment of smirking, head-tilting thought.
And then several more moments of choppy, wheezing giggling.
At least she does him the courtesy of looking him in the eye, now.
"Oh-- oh, /sorry/ Mr. Wolf!" She pushes off of the tree, stands up straight for a tick... then falls back against it with a heavy sigh. Despite this, the smirk finds its way back to her lips in record time. "/Sorry/ for not meeting your oh-so-high standards for what is or isn't /my/ way of fighting you-- was it the blood? The crying for help? I /thought/ that might be a little much, but well... I mean, I dunno about /you/, but /my/ invitation was pretty predator-y, so I figured: why the hell /shouldn't/ I play it up a little?"
She tracks the dive that follows his enigmatic proclamation and grits her teeth well before it's time to draw her cloak around her right arm and drag the limb into Talbain's path. The cloak itself is lightly armored, which mostly keeps her from losing more blood; a bone-rattling percentage of the blow still radiates through her right side and crushes her towards her knees.
"You're-- nngh-- a bloody /werewolf/, mate," she hisses while rolling a step or two to the side and coming up in a crouch. It was, indeed, not hard for her to detect that accent; for her part, she sounds roughly American outside of that brief mockery. "Whaddya /want/ from me, here? Bad ENOUGH that whoever organized this shit," her hand slides mindfully along the basket's handle as her gaze bounces between Gallon and the Forest around him and forces an emergency switch into position, "thought it'd be cool to put a seventeen year old GIRL in the ring with a WEREWOLF, or a PSYCHOPATH in a werewolf COSTUME for-- nngh-- " She lets her eyes linger on the brush near him for a second.
"Who is this even FOR, dude?" A gesture with her right hand as she uses the basket's sturdy weight to support her in retaking her feet.
Machinery hums dutifully within the basket. It clicks and grinds-- it struggles, as if damaged by the violence of the evening.
"Where're the cameras? Are there DRONES? Jesus! Like I go around fighting furries for fun!" Her hands are thrown up in frustration. After a beat, she sharply exhales and allows, "Even if you /are/ strong. And /not/ an idiot, like-- well. Basically every /other/ furry-- you'd-- well. Probably not be /that/ surprised how many of you guys there /are/ in ye olde undergrounde fighting circuite."
Or as if it's simply being asked - /told/ - to do more than it was truly designed to.
She leans a little closer, cups her right hand around her mouth.
"You hear the extra 'e's, there, right?" she wonders. "My British is kinda hit or miss."
Whatever's happening within the basket chugs to a stop as she makes that admission, allowing her to cap it off by cradling her thumb against the basket handle's inside arc, squeezing--
-- and letting a smiling RPG bounce to the ground between them.
She tries to throw herself clear of explosions - to say nothing of Gallon /himself/ - even as RPG no. 2 launches towards the werewolf.
*FWOOMP!* *FWOOMP!* *FWOOMP!* *FWOOMP!*...
Whatever infernal engineering lies within the basket seems to be working of its own accord to spew explosives not just /at/ Talbain, but near him-- /around/ him. For all Bulleta's lies, the warrior-monk can clearly infer /one/ thing about her: she's a woman who knows full and well when 'close' truly counts for anything--
-- two things: she's a woman who knows full and well when 'close' truly counts for anything, and she thinks it's hilarious when her RPGs accidentally set pristine(if terrifying) wilderness aflame, if the giggles that bubble up when one of her shells bounces right into the underbrush is anything to go by.
COMBATSYS: Gallon dodges Bulleta's #The Killing Time#.
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Bulleta 0/-------/-------|=======\=------\1 Gallon
She talks more. But this time there's something to make of it. Of the invitation, the "Midnight Channel", the individuals that sought to bring them together to fight. Enigmatic to say the least, and now they're quite aggravating.
"This is my home," he says, standing tall and walking slowly toward the wounded woman while she recovers. "Though now I must contend with hunters and fools. So be it, training and opportunity must be found where it may."
His ears twitch and focus on the basket. Another coming attack prefaced by talking. She was getting predictable. "Whoever made you participate in this farce can answer that for you," he snarls, lowering himself into his ready crouch. "But you say there are more like me? Humans tolerate others so long as they fight? Interesting."
His ears flick back when he hears her butcher his language. And he learned to speak it with a wolf's head. "That is not how you pronounce. . .," He cannot finish his nitpick when the bombs begin to fall.
One after another, they drop and explode. They shatter trees, they tear up the earth, flames spark in the fern covered floor. A carpet bombing that, for the time being, makes the Dark Forest very, painfully bright.
And yet Gallon is there. Moving like liquid, off tree and ground, leaping and bounding off here and there and remaining ahead of the dropping munitions, ahead of the rain of fire and shrapnel. The wolf howls, unscathed as he hurtles from the blasts directly toward his quarry.
"I have weapons of my own!" his howl melts from beast to man as the werewolf careens toward Bulleta. With a snap of his wrist, from the corded belt he wears from his waist, he procures a simple pair of black nunchaku. With the precision of a master, and the force of a wild beast, he swipes, swings, whirls and wings the weapon in a dancing maelstrom of crushing pain. Primitive weaponry and precision against a technological onslaught. Which shall prevail?
COMBATSYS: Bulleta blocks Gallon's Savage Million Flicker.
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Bulleta 0/-------/-------|=======\==-----\1 Gallon
There's so much smoke, flame, and screeching, howling chaos by the time the last RPG fires that Bulleta's world may as well be nothing but for the brief spell in which it's all allowed to rage uninterrupted. The scarlet-clad, red-smeared girl wobbles in place a bit, then drops the picnic basket and falls into a seat upon it with a heavy exhale. She's still watching - /listening/ - for Gallon, but here in the heart of the destruction she's so casually wrought, there isn't a trace of him to be had. After the first second, she allows herself another giggle as her weary mind considers the odds of finding prey with a ruined coat sprawled across the ground when the smoke clears.
Shortly afterwards, a nunchaku hits her left shoulder hard enough to numb it for a beat, forcing her to pull her right forearm in the way of the strikes that follow. They leave her welted, bruised, and scrambling backwards along the ground as she struggles to keep her face unbashed; this, arguably, is an upgrade over 'concussed'.
After several swings, she composes herself enough to roll away from the next, then launches herself between his legs as if she's riding a Slip 'N' Slide. Her right hand slips beneath her cloak along the way so that when she comes to a crouched stop just beyond him, there's a swiftly drawn knife-blade for filtered moonlight to bounce off of. Lunging into the air, she tries to mount his back long enough to snake her left arm beneath his chin, wrench his head back, and viciously slash across his throat.
If she manages to make it to his back, she'll helpfully inform him that, "Humans tolerate all kinds of things, if you make yourself worth their while," in a hissing whisper.
COMBATSYS: Bulleta successfully hits Gallon with Smile & Slice.
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Bulleta 0/-------/-----==|=======\===----\1 Gallon
A forest aflame. The heat of rage and fire roars around the fighters. What catalogers watching treated to the sight of two silhouettes against a backdrop of light. Strikes and blocks, slips and feints and strikes again. A dance of wolf and woman in the firelight.
Bulleta slides. The wolf takes over in Gallon's mind. It claws down to the ground, embedding his slashing talons in the thick loam of the earth.
The momentary catch more than enough time for Bulleta to clamber up his back and draw her knife across his throat.
Blood spurts, the wolf cries, he twists and turns away from the girl. Separate again, blood stains the blaze of white fur at Gallon's chest. And even now, the deadly gash is showing signs of trying to stitch and close of the darkstalker's own regenerative power.
"Perhaps I will see that for myself," his voice comes and goes, ragged and reforming as he stares down Bulleta. The fire still within his eyes.
And then he moves. Slipping, a shadow against the flames. He closes the gap and swings his vicious claw down in a murderous swipe for Bulleta's own throat. To pay kind in kind.
COMBATSYS: Gallon successfully hits Bulleta with Fierce Punch.
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Bulleta 0/-------/-----==|=======\====---\1 Gallon
Bulleta has a predator's instincts, a black heart, and a disturbing level of comfort with violence.
She does /not/ have regenerative capabilities.
/Another/ set of three slashes - down her throat - is enough to bring her to her knees, then flat on her face; adrenaline kept her going through the blood loss that followed his slicing kick, but this is far different-- /uglier/, the man - and wolf, for that matter - may be able to intuit.
Eyes wide and twitching, whatever response - if any - she might have for his ambition is rendered entirely in wet gurgling. Her trembling left hand is drawn up into place against the wound, but that prolonged labor and the survival-minded clench that follow are all the movement she risks. Two red puddles swiftly expand, threatening to join together beneath her. The wounds are survivable, but the warrior-monk's claws are deadly, and the hunter only has so much life to spill; maybe there's a first aid kit in that basket, though.
She's nowhere near where she thought she'd be when she entered the Forest. If the wolf allows it, however, the man may see that somewhere - buried beneath the agony, beneath steel-hard determination to live another day - in the young woman's eyes, something wholly out of place glimmers defiantly:
COMBATSYS: Bulleta takes no action.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Bulleta can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
And one hunter falls to another's claws.
The werewolf stands, back turned to Bulleta as she gurgles for her breath. He looks down at his claws, the blood that runs down them. He feels the pull of the beast. It rages for him to taste and to take his prey. To rip open her innards and feed. She has destroyed part of his forest. She has attempted to deceive him. The beast makes its case. And its case if a very solid one.
But a wolf's eye closes and a man's opens. He flicks his hand to the side, casting Bulleta's blood with it. And he looks back at her. His chest rises and falls with the fatigue of battle. The fires from Bulleta's bombs yet burn. And he looks at them briefly before looking to the girl.
"I came to these woods to perfect myself. To walk away from the rejections of your kind. Even now the beast wishes to rip you apart and hang your face from my claws." He looks down at Bulleta, to the woman who looks as much, if not moreso, a predator than the voice clawing at his very soul, and he nods in respect. "But I will not give in to that impulse."
He turns from Bulleta and begins to walk off, stopping a few steps later to look up to the moon amid the canopy of trees, the rising smoke and the flickering embers. "Go and lick your wounds. Think on what you're losing fighting the way you are. Become better."
With his words, the werewolf dashes like a shadow in the night. Not long later, a wolf's howl cries over the forest.
COMBATSYS: Gallon has ended the fight here.
Log created on 16:42:19 05/27/2018 by Gallon, and last modified on 23:27:34 05/27/2018.