Description: The threads of fate weave ever onward as two heroes cross paths. Both seek justice, yet neither can truly understand the other.
Southtown Harbor has historically been a rat's nest of criminal activity. It's a hub, of course, for the black market, as any harbor is. So many ships come in and out that it's impossible even for a non-corrupt authority to stop every thing that gets smuggled in. That situation gets even worse when you're in a city that is mostly bought and paid for, courtesy of the Syndicate. But these days, the Syndicate has been having their own problems. They've been at war with another group. One from somewhere else. And that war has exploded, spilling into the streets.
Which means that certain figures that reside in Southtown can no longer just ignore them to let them do their own thing. Obviously, the Syndicate has gotten too big for their britches again. Kyokugen must, once again, rise to the occasion and clear the streets of the festering wounds left by the economic stranglehold the city suffers under by the likes of Duke and Geese Howard.
And so it is. Ryo had heard from his students about a group of Syndicate thugs who had been particularly vicious as of late, in their collection of extortion money. Of course, the Syndicate is hard pressed and needs all the money it can get in such a time, but the brutality of this group was beyond the pale, even now. The group had been tracked back here, to a warehouse, where they had set up shop. Ryo had come to find out what kind of shop they were running, and to put an end to it, once and for all.
So here we are. Ryo Sakazaki, Mister Karate II, in the midst of a group of thugs and criminals, surrounded on all sides. They wield pipes, chains and knives, but Ryo doesn't care. He fights with the ferocity one would expect of his namesake. The Invincible Dragon. Men go flying, rising several feet into the air, limbs ragdolling in every which direction, as the man passes through like a dervish, fists and feet furiously pummeling face after face after ribcage and stomach.
There's an electrical tingle in the air, like a static build up. It smells like ozone. A sudden burst of brilliant orange light, and Ryo sends a giant wave of Ki, easily as tall as he is, punching through a crowd of the men before him.
The air of the warehouse is close and charged, tingling with the live-wire zap of adrenalin as well as the channeled chi of the Invincible Dragon. Wood dust drifts through the hot air, stirred up by the limp bodies that smash through pallets and crates, reducing them to so many shattered splinters.
Yet, something doesn't seem right. Beyond the rush of combat, lurking like a shark in dark waters, there is the sense of something fundamentally off. A shift rippling out through the time flow as events are forced into new alignments by the tampering of one distant genius Cat Girl.
Spaceless and echoing from all directions, the single word fills the entirety of the warehouse, loud enough to set ears to ringing. And though the owner of the voice that speaks it can not be seen, its tone is hard as stone and contains all the cold fury of a frozen hell.
What follows is an odd stillness, drifting dust freezing in the air and the ambient chi that charges the area fizzling out. It is as if a blanket of invisible force has been thrown over Ryo and the few remaining gang members. Slowly, gradually, a presence begins to manifest, the force of its will strong enough to impose rigid order onto the world around it. Sounds grow crisp and distinct. The borders between light and shadow grow sharp.
A 2 meter wide, 3 meter tall patch of space in the exact center of the warehouse distorts, folding in on itself, before retracting to reveal the battered shape of a man entirely encased in white and black armor. Faceless, with horns rising up from either side of his expressionless helm, the armored man kneels with his right knee and left fist braced against the ground. An extremely long sword extends out behind him from his right hand, matching the empty sheath that rides his back. Scratches and tattered slashes mar his black and white form, but most noticeable of all are his eyes. Though he has none on his face, there are many studded across his body. Glowing red and malevolent, they peer out from the front and back of each shoulder, the backs of his hands, his shins...
The aura of power radiating from his damaged form, Hakumen, one of the legendary six heroes forgotten to time, pushes down upon the cement floor with his clawed hand and begins to rise.
Of course, Ryo feels it. He feels it well before the other men feel it. It makes the hairs on the back of his neck and forearms stand on end. It sends a tremble down his spine. He turns, exposing his back to his enemies, but he no longer is concerned with them. Whatever this is, it is much, much stronger.
The other men, what few thugs remain of Ryo's devastating purge, at least, see the arrival of Hakumen, and immediately someone mutters the word "T...Terminator!" and they all turn tail and run as fast as their legs will carry them, with no thought for their peers and comrades. Primal fear has overtaken them. After all, everyone knows that criminals are a cowardly and superstitious lot. That's Vigilante Justice 101 stuff right there.
It's almost a chuckle that escapes from Mr. Karate's lopsided smirk, as steely eyes fall on that white armor, and those baleful alizarin eyes that peer out from it. The large karateka cranes his neck from side to side, each releasing a dull, stomach turningly wet snap. He raises his fists, clad in weighted and reinforced gauntlets of dark brown leather, lined with soft white fur, and he pushes his knuckles together until they snap and crackle like bubblewrap.
"So, I'm guessing you're the one that the old men have got leading this operation, eh? It's about time someone showed up who might give me a workout here. I was starting to think that the Syndicate had gone weak!!!"
For as crisp and clean and pristine a picture as Hakumen presents, Ryo is not that. He looks wild. Boisterous. Shaggy blonde locks are arrayed in a disheveled but stylish look atop his head. The beard that lines his ruggedly handsome, half-Japanese and Half-Caucasian features is one that's not a five o'clock shadow, but has been allowed to grow out. Just not to the point of being able to be called a short cropped beard. His hulking posture and thick musculature belies his short stature, making him seem larger than life, even if he doesn't quite reach 6 foot tall. His shirt, torn in places now, is a second skin of lycra, in the form of a compression shirt of dual-tone grays, smoke gray and charcoal gray, split up with a pattern at the top of his chest that reminds one both of tiger stripes and flames at the same time. His gi pants are vibrant, held about his waist with a dark obi, but the ends are tattered and stained with mud and dust. His feet are bare, despite the surroundings, with only ankle braces providing his soles any protection from gravel or broken glass.
"Sore ja, hajimeru ka? (Now then, shall we begin?)" his deep, rumbling voice calls out, as his grin widens, showing his white teeth. "Ora! Ora!"
COMBATSYS: Ryo has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Hakumen has joined the fight here.
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Ryo 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Hakumen
The fleeing men earn not even a glance from Hakumen as he rises, and rises, coming to stand nearly a foot taller than the bulky challenger that has turned to face him. Once he is fully upright, the first crack of Ryo's neck draws the many-eyed gaze of the avatar of Order, the weight of his attention settling upon the cocky man with palpable force. In the face of so much wild self assurance, the battered suit of armor stands firm and very, very still, Okami's long silver blade slanting up and away to the right.
As if in respect for the being, all within the warehouse grows equally still, not even the air daring to stir.
A short, sharp snarl of controlled fury resonates within Hakumen's helmet as he explodes forward, cement cracking sharply beneath his clawed feet. Silver hair flowing out behind him, he crosses the distance between himself and Ryo in a smeared blur, inky black energy rolling down his right leg to flow off of his foot while his long sword trails behind.
"Yet another fool places themselves in my path." Hakumen growls coldly, cement grinding beneath his claws as he plants his left foot and spins, right shin sweeping low toward the Invincible Dragon's knees. "You are mistaken, but I care little. I will not be so merciful with you."
With those words offered, the legendary hero follows the imbued sweep with another kick, right toe claws digging in to halt his rotation and allow him to pivot back around. Left foot rocketing up toward Ryo's face with all the force of a mortar shell, he does his level best to punt the shorter man up through the brick wall behind him like a cockily grinning football.
COMBATSYS: Ryo blocks Hakumen's Renka.
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Ryo 0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0 Hakumen
"I wouldn't have it any other way..." Ryo mutters in response to Hakumen's threat. As the towering suit of armor comes at him, Ryo raises his fists in front of his face, not unlike a boxer. The low sweeping kick comes in, and Ryo expertly moves, raising his knee and pivoting on his other foot to let the kick crash against the hardened bone of his shin. It hurts. Of course it hurts. Ryo has spent a lifetime building up his body to withstand such blows. Hardening his bone and muscle to the point where even steel would be hard pressed to penetrate. But it still hurts like the dickens.
The follow through is met with a similar fate, as Ryo's hands shift. His right fist slides back to the side of his face, creating a triangular shield of the side of his arm, protecting his face from the kick, and allowing Ryo a small window of visibility so that he doesn't lose sight of his attacker.
The sheer force, though, does stagger him to the side, his feet scuffing across the concrete floor audibly as he struggles to maintain his balance. Alright. This thing is strong. Is it one of those Gears? He had faced one, once before. A pretty girl with cold eyes and a cruel frown. He had been shown the strength of such things then. He wouldn't be taken aback again.
As soon as his feet find themselves set, Ryo twists his body as he draws back one hand. His palm crackles with golden light, with veins glowing under the skin, and racing down his arm to his hand. As he thrusts that treetrunk sized appendage out, the searing orb of chi rockets off, trailing like a comet as it soars at Hakumen like a missile.
COMBATSYS: Ryo successfully hits Hakumen with Ko'oh Ken.
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Ryo 0/-------/-----==|===----\-------\0 Hakumen
Once, and again Hakumen's blows are met force for force, the legendary warrior rebounding away after the blocked high kick to slide several feet back, clawed feet dragging four identical gouges in the floor as he engages them to grind to a halt. Unfortunately, the space he had planned on leveraging with Okami is swiftly turned to his cocky challenger's advantage, and a ball of golden light is launched at him across the distance, sizzling with ambient heat.
Sword blurring, Hakumen shifts as if to put it between himself and the oncoming ball of energy, but is just a fraction too slow. The comet of chi zips passed the blade and hits him dead center in the chest, splashing across his armored front. Energy hissing and crackling against the odd white plates of his body, the armored giant sways back beneath the force of the blow, claws dug deep into the ground for stability.
A low grunt of surprise escapes Hakumen's helm as he shoves forward against the energy, clearly having to apply more force than expected to power through one of the Kyokugen style's signature attacks. Still, he does manage to break through, the last of the golden energy dispersing behind him as he launches himself once more toward the bulky fighter, sword sweeping up over his head and shoulders dropping as he charges. The attack has clearly delayed him, giving Ryo a critical half second without pressure, but it seems to have left little overall impression on the furious darkstalker.
Gleaming brightly against the dimness of the warehouse, Okami descends in a one-handed strike meant to cleave right through Ryo and the ground beneath him, the long thin sword hissing through the air as Hakumen ends his charge with a powerful twist of his upper body, putting 155 KG of mass and all the strength of his armored form behind the singular blow. he does not speak further. Not yet.
COMBATSYS: Ryo interrupts Cleaving Overhead from Hakumen with Zan Retsu Ken.
-@- Dazing Hit! -@-
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Ryo 0/-------/--=====|====---\-------\0 Hakumen
Seeing the fireball smash against the armored chestplate of the creature (because he cannot fathom that it is an actual human being), Ryo feels satisfied. Of course, it will take much more than just that to take such a thing down. Much, much more. Ryo isn't kidding himself in any way, when it comes to that. This is no Syndicate street tough. This is world class talent that the Syndicate recruited here.
As the beast stalks forward through his blazing chi blast, Ryo's eyes narrow, becoming hard and cold with determination. His jaw tenses visibly as his teeth grit tight. This is where he'll see if that display played off. If it did, then Ryo might have bought himself the advantage, early in this fight. If it didn't... Then he might pay for it with his very life. That sword isn't a laughing matter. None of this is a laughing matter anymore.
There it is, though. This is just what he had hoped for. Hakumen raises that sword. He's going for an all out attack approach. If Ryo were a lesser man, he'd be killed in this very instant. Split down the middle, like some specimen laid out on a table for students to examine the curiosities of biology.
Thankfully, Ryo isn't a lesser man. This was his plan, more or less. As the sword swoops down, Ryo adjusts his stance. The blade whizzes past his ear, and bites into his shoulder before his hands clap around the blade, halting its progress through his body dead. Okay. Ryo didn't plan on letting it actually cut him. That was far, far stronger than he had anticipated. He feels the blade dig into his clavicle, and he knows that he's going to need medical attention after this. But he can't stop now. He has to keep acting, or else he will, invariably, die.
"ZAN RETSU KEN!!!"
As he had planned, Ryo unleashes with his right fist, the blade still buried in the meat of his left shoulder, and held fast by his left hand. The right comes in, moving so fast that it is a literal blur, too fast for any eye to track. Over and over, the sharp clang of his knuckles against the plate of Hakumen's armor resounds throughout the warehouse. High, low, and everywhere in between, punch after punch assaults him with machinegun like celerity.
Just when it feels like this assault might never end, Ryo rips the blade free of his shoulder with a splash of vibrant red blood, and ducks his left hand down, clenching his fist. As his entire body torques to the right, Ryo comes up with an uppercut that uses the strength of his entire body to compensate for his damaged shoulder, landing his fist just under the jaw of that faceless visage. That should ring his bell some.
There is only a moment, a fraction of a fraction of a second, in which Hakumen is caught dead at the end of his charge, blade imbedded in the shoulder of his foe, and Ryo's shouted words hang caught in the air. It is a moment in which the armored legend attempts to act, to pull back and dodge, all of his eyes swiveling in toward the fist as it accelerates up toward his chest. But, though he might have been a legend once, he is that no longer. Not here, in this place where few know of his existence, let alone his heroic deed.
THMP THMP THMP THMP !
The material that Ryo's gloved fist makes contact with is not steel, nor is it any other metal. Smooth and incredibly hard, the sound it makes is that of a ceramic, or perhaps a dense plastic, being pounded over and over by the shorter man's iron fist. Blow after blow strikes home against solid chest and molded abdominal, the towering warrior taking every hit squarely while twisting his sword, bracing to tear it free of the shorter man's bleeding wound. A single jagged crack begins to form along the already scratched surface of his breastplate, but it does not spread further.
A final time the Invincible Dragons' fist drops, Hakumen's blade first flung aside, then reversing course as it blurs toward the side of Ryo's head. %$T THUD!
Fist meets helmet with enough strength to snap a bull's neck, Hakumen's clawed feet tearing free of the ground in a spray of cement chips. Up and up he rises, arms dropping and head back as he reels from the force of the blow, whatever is beneath the armor not quite being immune to the results of unimaginable impacts.
"I," Hakumen breathes into his helmet, the single word a bit distant, unfocused, "am the white void."
"I am the cold steel."
With each word, the odd stillness in the room grows stronger, the being's will flooding back into the room in an oncoming rush. His long sword flashes up over his head, tip nearly hitting the ceiling as both hands tighten around the hilt.
"I am the just sword!"
Descending from above, Hakumen flips forward through the air, long blade sweeping down and around in a diagonal slash meant to cleave deeply into Ryo's back. Following the strike, the armor-clad warrior rolls through space in an attempt to land solidly behind his foe on both clawed feet, continuing to speak all the while.
"With blade in hand I will reap the sins of this world and cleanse it in the Fires of Destruction! I am Hakumen!"
Though the words have the rhythmic cadence of a mantra oft spoken, the final shout comes with enough force to freeze the air in its tracks, sounds muffled and distant as if caught underwater. For just the briefest moment Ryo is given a glimpse into the man Hakumen once was. The hero that helped slay the Black Beast.
COMBATSYS: Hakumen successfully hits Ryo with Tsubaki.
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Ryo 1/------=/=======|=====--\-------\0 Hakumen
"What the hell are you saying now, chrome dome?!"
The words that the beast utter make no sense to the karateka. White void. Cold Steel. Just sword. Who is this thing? But Ryo's confusion turns against him, as he's put off of his game and unable to raise a defense before he feels the sharp edge of the blade biting deep into his flesh. it leaves a searing laceration across his back, splitting the back of his shirt wide open. The blood doesn't flow. Not immediately. The cut was too clean. Too sharp. The body needs time to register what has even happened to it.
Ryo stands there, fists raised to defend against a strike that has already landed.
"If you're so just and heroic, why the hell are you defending a crime boss' turf? You want to reap the sins of this world? That sounds like some psychotic stuff. Heavy stuff. The kind of thing that led to all that chaos that came here before, looking for that Gear. The kind of attitude we don't need any more of here in Southtown."
Turning, as his back begins to gush blood, Ryo's face is transformed. He's snarling, nose crinkled, nostrils flaring. His brows hang low over burning bright eyes of blue flame. His teeth are clenched so tight that they might crack against one another. His fists clench so tightly that the leather of his gauntlets groans in protest as it stretches over bleached white knuckles.
"You can take that kind of mentality right the hell out of my city!!!"
He swings around completely, his fist flying out with enough force that the wind starts to become visible around it, in a hazy spiral, that becomes ribbons of dust and debris that form a horizontal tornado. That punch, executed with the perfect poise of a proper, full bodied karate punch, is aimed straight for Hakumen's chest, though the intent is to blow *through* it, and not into it. As if to punctuate that point, should it land, an explosion of burning golden chi will course through the fleshy bits under the armor, and erupt out of the armored swordsman's back like an oversized muzzle flare.
COMBATSYS: Hakumen blocks Ryo's Shin Tenchi Haoh Ken EX.
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Ryo 0/-------/------=|======-\-------\0 Hakumen
Looming behind Ryo with his sword held low in both hands, long hair trailing down his back, Hakumen meets his turning opponent's furious blue eyes with all of his own. His armored bulk seems to radiate an aura of cold justice, the stillness in the air only intensifying as more of his soul is brought forth into the engagement.
The mother of all punches is thrown, all of Ryo's prodigious strength behind it...
Covered knuckles meet metal with resounding force as Hakumen brings Okami into the path of the blow, his every move sharp and precise, soul here, now, freed from the void to live within this singular moment. The high, silvery chime of his blade rings through the air as it vibrates against Ryo's glove, wind gusting out from the collision to toss Hakumen's long hair lightly about.
There is stillness.
And then the golden cascade of Ryo's soul explodes out from the point of impact. However, rather than slamming into the blade and sending Hakumen staggering away, the center of the oncoming flood meets Okami's silver surface and is burned away, what little remains drifting out in either direction as a light golden mist. The edges of the blast, however, pass to either side of the sword and burn twin paths along the monster's outstretched arms before flaring out like wings behind him, the towering figure emerging from the conflagration only lightly scathed.
"Your words are that of another I once knew. He was equally foolish." Hakumen states coldly, making no move to retreat from their locked position. "I slew him, but only after he had destroyed much of the world. Perhaps it would be wise to end your threat before it has spread so far."
With that, there is a release from deep within Hakumen's frame, a relaxing of restraints. And from within him emerges a power that is staggering to the senses, a near infinite expanse of black and white, Order imposed over chaos. Skimming the smallest possible amount from the top of this ocean of power, the soul within the suit releases it into the world.
As the unearthly cascade of energy emerges from beyond, it impacts their surroundings like a physical force. a blazing white symbol bursts into life beneath the combatant's feet, its brilliant light illuminating the pair from below. A fierce wind begins to howl, rising straight up from the symbol and catching Hakumen's hair, blowing it up over his head so that the long strands separate into seven distinct tendrils that spike up and out like some sort of primordial crown. The entire warehouse shakes with the force of the release, ceiling groaning with the building pressure from beneath.
Moving faster than the untrained eye can follow, Hakumen shoves up and forward with his sword, attempting to drive Ryo's guard high and open enough space for the lunging knee that follows, cement spider webbing from the force with which Hakumen pushes off. The blow is simple, blunt, and direct, the legendary hero bringing his right knee up toward the left side of the Invincible Dragon's bearded jaw, perhaps in payment for the uppercut he was so recently treated to.
COMBATSYS: Hakumen successfully hits Ryo with Kokuujin Ougi - Mugen.
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Ryo 0/-------/--=====|==-----\-------\0 Hakumen
The strange energy throws Ryo off. Just what the hell is this thing, anyway? It's something that should not exist. There is no other way to put it. This thing does not belong in this world. Just like any other monster. Ryo steps back from the power of that pressure, and raises one arm to shield himself from it, as he clenches his fist, ready to make good on another attack, should he need.
"You don't know the first thing about me. You want to kill me?! ME?!"
He shouts, just before Hakumen's knee crashes into his jaw, snapping his mouth shut abruptly. Ryo's knocked off of his feet, his guard lowering as his arms go limp. His body courses through the air, arcing and leading him headfirst to the ground. He hits with a heavy thud, and flips over onto his stomach, face down.
"You are worthless trash," He says as he struggles to get to his feet. Blood flows freely from his shoulder, and his back, staining his shirt. "A dog without a sense of decency or humanity. You don't even have the honor to fight a man with your own fists. You think that you're so far above normal decent people that it's just okay for you to kill whoever you want? That doesn't make you strong! That makes you a god damned coward!!!"
A sudden wave of pressure sweeps across the warehouse floor, kicking up dust in an ever spreading circle from its epicenter in Ryo. It feels hot, like a the breeze from a furnace, but it holds weight, as if the very gravity within that circle has doubled in intensity.
"C'mon then, monster. Come kill me, then! Rain down your murderous intent! You talk about a threat, after speaking of cleansing the world of its sin through fire and destruction? You're either mad or stupid! I'm the one trying to protect this place from things like you!"
That weight and heat builds up, growing to stifling levels, as if they were in a sauna, and the world was trying to pull everything down to the ground forcefully. Golden light begins to shine around Ryo's feet. A few sparks, and then, slowly, swirling waves of energy, like flames, twisting around and around, spiraling up his body and suffusing him with energy.
COMBATSYS: Ryo gains composure.
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Ryo 1/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0 Hakumen
"You attack that which you do not understand." Hakumen replies coldly, having stood back and watched with all of his many eyes while Ryo picked himself up off of the ground. "A normal, decent person does not stand before me. You have badly beaten many men, perhaps some who were undeserving. And now you rage not because of what I wield, but because you fear to lose. Tell me, brave warrior. How many men have cowered before you and hoped also not to die?"
There is no warmth in the harsh, blunt tone of Hakumen's voice. No respect, or mercy. There is only the white mask of judgement and those many pitiless eyes staring hatefully into his soul.
"You speak as if you understand honor. You do not. Perhaps, should you survive this encounter, you will have the opportunity to learn."
A single step forward is taken, Hakumen's sword drifting off to the side as he stares hard at Ryo, judging him through the golden cascade of flames. The blazing white glyph that has etched itself into the ground only now begins to fade, white energy rising gently into the air as a thin, glowing mist. It is through this shimmering fog that Hakumen approaches, silver sword cutting a swath of darkness as it trails along at his side.
Two more heavy steps are taken while damage across Hakumen's form begins to mend, the crack in his chest plate melting away while tears in the black mold of his armor flow back together. it is not a difficult thing for Ryo to sense the residual energy from that brief release of power lingering within the legend, strengthening him beyond his previous limits.
All at once, the avatar of Order transitions from a forward step to a sprint, blurring across the distance only a few shades slower than his last few attacks. Closing on his flame-shrouded opponent, he swings his Okami back behind him in his right hand, left snapping up from the hilt in a tight, vicious hook aimed squarely for the side of Ryo's head, attempting to hammer the unfortunate warrior off of his feet and, perhaps, into near unconsciousness. It is a quick, brutal blow, but one delivered with fist alone.
COMBATSYS: Ryo blocks Hakumen's Kishuu.
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Ryo 1/------=/=======|===----\-------\0 Hakumen
"I have badly beaten many men, yeah. Gangsters. Thugs. Criminals. People who have hurt decent people just trying to pick up their lives after all the devastation that's come to them. Every one of these guys is deserving. And not one have I killed!"
For all of Ryo's rambunctious nature, and daring-do about going out and busting some thug heads when they get to be too violent with the people of Southtown, one thing Ryo is not, and never has been, is a killer. Ryo knows too well that a life stolen is not just a life. When you kill someone, you kill every person that they could become. You kill their hopes and their dreams. You kill every life that they could have saved. A life is connected to many others, and those ripples are just too broad, too obscure to ever gauge objectively.
"No damned monster who tries to cut down an unarmed opponent is going to lecture me about honor. You clearly have a skewed sense of morality. Which makes sense, given that you're here fighting me in a drug lord's warehouse!"
Of course, Hakumen is aggressive, and comes at Ryo full tilt. The Invincible Dragon prepares, his entire body tensing up in expectation of the blow to come. He'll not back down, no matter how monstrous and terrifying the creature before him is. No matter how deep that blade bites into his flesh, or how much blood he loses, he's not going to cower in the face of it. He will fight until his dying breath. And then, knowing Ryo, he'll fight some more.
The blow comes. It isn't what Ryo was expecting, but he's better off for it. His stance shifts, body twisting to the side as his forearms produce a protective shield in front of his face and chest. The blow resounds as it crashes against his flesh, and he swears that one of his bones snapped in the process. He grits his teeth, as his feet shuffle to keep him upright, rather than spilling to the ground as Hakumen had intended.
He stops his backwards momentum abruptly, and looks out over his fists as he lunges back in. Once more, he chambers his fist to his hip, and he stomps forward with the opposite foot, putting him within arm's reach of the white-plated creature. With the speed of lightning, his punch is thrown. It is a standard karate punch that you would see any white belt in any dojo across the world doing. But this punch has been perfected. It has been practiced millions of times. Honed to a lethal apex of speed, power and precision. It is nearly the pinnacle of what human determination can accomplish.
"TENCHI HAOH KEN!!!"
COMBATSYS: Ryo successfully hits Hakumen with Tenchi Haoh Ken.
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Ryo 0/-------/-------|======-\-------\0 Hakumen
"There is strength in your fist, but your mind is weak." Hakumen states flatly, fist impacting Ryo's arm with bone-grinding force. Snapping back from the strike, the towering hero leans slightly forward as if to chase after Ryo when the blond man staggers, but holds his position, measuring the short distance between them in preparation to strike.
Whatever other insults the armored monstrosity might have planned for Ryo, he has no time to voice them. Proving once more the strength of his spirit, the warrior of Kyokugen steps in and plants his foot, putting his entire body behind a single, devastating blow. A blow that blasts right passed Hakumen's half lifted forearm and catches him squarely in the chest, its strength vibrating along the entire length of his body as he is sent sliding backwards on his heels.
A good four feet of distance opens up between the combatants before Hakumen's claws bring his backward progress to a grinding halt, glowing mist swirling around him and drawing attention to the network of jagged cracks that now mar his recently mended chest.
"Hr." Hakumen grunts cooly, crimson eyes unwavering. "I serve no master, and care nothing for this place you find me. I am here due to the meddling of the Grimalkin, and she will answer to me soon enough. If you did not wish this fight, you should not have made your challenge."
There is no apology in the monster's voice. No empathy, or hint that he cares anything for Ryo's struggles. There is only the hard certainty of one set upon a path who intends to walk it, despite all obstacles that would stand in his way.
The time for talk has passed.
White mist seeps through the cracks in Hakumen's breastplate as he lunges forward, closing the distance between himself and Ryo with a quick, powerful thrust of his right foot. Doing his best to hammer the opening kick into the smaller man's front shin and knock his leg out from under him, the monster lands, then vanishes, moving so incredibly fast that he disappears from all human perception.
Appearing above the muscular blond's head, Hakumen drops out of the sky with a vicious stomp of his clawed left foot, attempting to ride Ryo to earth and plant his face into the cement with bone-shattering force.
Only then will he pause, Okami gleaming in the dim light as he holds it thrust high overhead, arm steady, before bringing it down toward Ryo's spine in a silver blur...
COMBATSYS: Hakumen successfully hits Ryo with Kokuujin Kinji - Tengai.
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Ryo 0/-------/--=====|==-----\-------\0 Hakumen
The weight of Hakumen's armored body presses down upon Ryo from above, claws digging into his scalp. Overhead can be heard the whistling descent of his demon slaying sword, accompanied by a gentle swish of wind and the tickling sigh of parting fabric...
And the weight is gone.
Reality warps, Ryo's surroundings seeming to lurch and twist sickeningly in upon themselves. For a moment, everything is nowhere and infinity stretches out in all directions.
And then, he is once more lying face-down in the trashed interior of the warehouse, the back of his shirt sliced neatly along the spine but his skin untouched.
Of Hakumen, there is no sign.
Ryo doesn't care if Hakumen calls him stupid. He's been called that all of his life. Ryo knows that he's not handsome. He's not talented. He's not smart. He has nothing in the way of natural aptitude for anything. The only thing he does have is the spirit to keep fighting, and to keep doing the right thing, at all costs. It is what served him as a ten year old boy, left with no parents and a baby sister to care for. It is what helped him when that same sister was kidnapped, and he had to tear through the city much as he does now, in order to rescue her. And that same spirit is what will save him now. Stupid? Maybe. But at least he has that.
The lunging kick comes in, catching Ryo by surprise as he had expected a high attack. Targeting his to render him unconscious. His leg is ripped out from under him, leaving him off kilter and unbalanced.
And easy prey for the raptor strike of the armored beast.
Ryo is driven to the ground, face first, claws digging into his scalp, which turns his hair red as the blood starts to seep from the wounds. Face first, he smacks into the concrete, with a snarl of pain. Stars burst in his eyes, and a keening rings in his ears. He can barely hear the singsong whistle of the sword. He just spits blood in defiance.
And then it never comes. He had expected to be impaled on that blade, a prospect that seemed impossibly painful, due to the flattened tip of the sword. But then it never comes. The weight that keeps him pinned to the ground is released. He lifts his head, watching reality bend and distort like he was on some ferry ride in Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. The same kind of fear he had experienced as a child watching that scene grips him now, and makes his stomach lurch and flip inside of him. He rolls over to the side, and releases his lunch on the floor as it fades.
Left there, gasping for air, he climbs onto all fours and looks around. Gone.
He would have to find that one. That one is likely to become another Justice if left unchecked. A Gear made of white plates and red eyes, with a sword. Ryo thinks a trip to the library to use the internet is in order.
Next time they meet, they'll finish this.
Log created on 02:38:06 07/05/2018 by Hakumen, and last modified on 14:31:15 07/06/2018.